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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 4832

Senator RYAN (9:58 AM) —I wish to briefly conclude the comments I was making last night with respect to these bills. The final comment I wish to make is with regard to the government’s abject refusal to discuss the contents of these bills and to consider negotiations with other parties and senators in this place. It represents the very height of arrogance for the government to continue to come up with excuses and reasons to avoid discussions and negotiations about the contents of these bills, because this place knows that negotiation improves legislation. Such significant reforms of our national economy, such significant legislative programs, are always improved by negotiation because they develop a national consensus. Similar changes to our economy in recent years have always been done with a national consensus.

Indeed, when the previous government introduced its historic tax reform it sat down with members in this place despite the then opposition’s refusal to countenance the mandate given to that policy. It sat down with people in this place and negotiated its passage through the Senate. It is the height of arrogance for the government to refuse to do so and it shows its contempt—indeed, its historic contempt—for such discussions and its historic contempt for the Senate.

As I said last night, this debate is about the legislation before us. It is about the government’s proposed CPRS. It is not about climate change and it is not about the science underpinning climate change. This legislation will cost Australian jobs, it will not achieve its stated goals and it represents a massive power grab and a massive tax grab by a government obsessed with its own spin and with increasing its role in our national life rather than listening to the genuine concerns of the Australian people. This legislation will be opposed by the coalition for those very reasons.