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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 8660


Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (17:29): I thank Senator Whish-Wilson for describing it as 'doing a deal'. I think, despite what the government says, it is a deal. Secondly, I take with a grain of salt, as do all of us in the Labor Party, his professed commitment to action on climate change, because we sat here and watched him vote with Tony Abbott, Senator Bernardi, Senator Minchin and a range of others who did not want any action on climate change against the CPRS. And then, a few years later, we watched him vote for a scheme that was actually browner for politics, so I am not sure the lecture on 'playing politics' is apposite.

But, more importantly, what the Greens should understand about our position on this is that we are actually pro-jobs and we disagree with treating investment in agribusiness and agricultural land as being more sensitive than investment in defence industries and other sensitive areas. We just disagree with it. We appreciate that people have different views. Senator Williams is here, and I know he has a different view to me. I just think that dollars invested in this country is one of the ways we ensure, and have always ensured since the arrival of the First Fleet here, that we are able to create more jobs in Australia for Australians. I think that is not a bad thing. Can I say—

Senator Williams interjecting

Senator WONG: I will take the interjections from that side, because what is fascinating about this is the economic policy from those opposite, many of whom I know agree with me, is being dictated by Senator Williams and Senator Whish-Wilson. And those in the Liberal Party who profess themselves to be people who believe in sensible economic policy are signing up to a policy which has no rationale. I am happy to go through that in more detail in this committee stage, but right now I am trying to understand. And I think if you do a 'deal'—in your words, Senator Whish-Wilson—I think people are entitled to understand it. They are entitled to understand what this means.

Senator Whish-Wilson laid out what was, frankly, a smorgasbord of red-tape propositions which might come down the track in relation to this issue. The minister is a Western Australian, and I would have thought he understood the importance of the Federation and the interests of the states and territories. And I was asking him why there was no consultation with state and territory governments. That was my first question. And the second question is—I want to know what the cost of this promise is—what is the cost of this deal?