Climate Change Motion

I am a little bit torn on this motion. Part of me would love to spend the next few hours debating this issue. Part of me thinks: let's spend the whole week debating this motion, because this motion fundamentally defines the difference between our two political positions in this place. On that side, there is not a problem in this country that the Labor Party do not think can be fixed through a tax. 

That is their principle. Every time an Australian hears the mention of the words 'carbon price', they must always remember that what the Labor Party are proposing—and, certainly, continue to propose—is a tax on the Australian people. When it comes to the problem of house prices in this country, the Labor Party propose a tax on those who want to invest in housing through negative gearing. When it comes to a budget problem that the Labor Party have because they want to spend so much money and because they want to keep spending money, they propose a tax on older Australians—a retiree tax. And when it comes to the problem that it might be a bit too hot outside, once again the Labor Party support a tax to try and fix it. That is the fundamental difference between our two sides. We don't think taxes solve problems; we think they create more problems than they solve, and the Australia people agree with us.

In saying all that, I don't think we should debate this motion for two hours in this place because the time to debate something in the Senate that happened 10 years ago was 10 years ago. That was the time to debate this. We had a long debate on this 10 years ago. I think it was one of the longest debates in the history of this place. Why do we need to rekindle this 10 years later? This government is not focused on events that happened 10 years ago; this government is focused on what we should do for the next 10 years for the Australian people. And the fact that the Labor Party have come into this place in the final week of parliament, when we have four days left to do things in 2019 for the Australian people, and, instead of wanting to talk about the next 10 years, they want to talk about something that happened 10 years ago just shows the bankruptcy of the modern Labor Party movement. They have no plans for the next 10 years. They don't know what they're going to do post their unexpected loss in May this year.

This just shows all Australians, leading into Christmas, that the Labor Party are all over the shop right now. What they're doing by coming in here and debating something from 10 years ago is showing that their obsession with what they call a carbon price—their obsession with a carbon tax—is like an old unrequited love from years gone by. They always return to it. It's like a high school sweetheart: they might have romances with other people but the Labor Party always return to a carbon tax and a carbon price. They always come back to it. They cannot get over this obsession with imposing taxes on Australians' electricity bills.

I heard Senator Wong earlier say there was apparently some unholy alliance between the Liberals, the Nationals and the Greens on this vote 10 years ago. She forgot to mention there was another participant in that alliance, the Australian people. The Australian people have clearly voted against a carbon price for the last 10 years. The Labor Party have taken a carbon tax or a carbon price to every election over the last 10 years and have been defeated every time. Sorry, I forgot: the Labor Party actually took to the 2010 election a policy of no carbon taxes. Remember that? It was, 'No tax on carbon; no price on carbon under a government I lead', and that is the only one where they got a sort of half victory.

The Australian people are on the side of those in this chamber who don't want to impose a higher tax on the electricity prices that people pay. They don't support it for their own reasons, of course—we on this side believe that people should be helped with living costs, not have taxes imposed on them—but also they don't support it because higher electricity prices—a price on carbon, a carbon tax—put thousands of jobs in Australia at risk. The fundamental problem for the modern Labor Party is in their name. They no longer represent labour. They no longer represent the worker. They no longer stand up for jobs. Every time a test comes for them to stand up for coalmining jobs, to stand up for manufacturing jobs or to stand up for forestry worker jobs in Victoria right now they go missing. They go absolutely missing and depart the field. So for those Australians who want to have work, a strong manufacturing industry and jobs in well-paying industries like the mining sector there's only one choice now, because the Labor Party, despite their name, no longer stand up for them, no longer fight for them and will always sell their jobs out to the Greens. The reason we're having this debate is that the Labor Party are losing votes to the Greens. They have to have their preferences. They always sell out the working industries of this country.

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