While we are waiting for Senator Xenophon, I would like to say a few words in this debate on the Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 and related bills. I thank Senator Abetz for his congratulations on my swearing-in this morning. I am very pleased to be able to spend another six years in this place representing the people of Tasmania.
Labor’s position on climate change is very clear. We accept the science of climate change—unlike those on the other side—and we believe we need to do something about it. Mr Abbott obviously does not and those on the other side do not. This is quite a problem. Mr Abbott’s policy removes the legal cap on pollution and allows the big polluters absolute open slather. So, instead of polluters paying, Mr Abbott is happy to set up a slush fund worth billions of taxpayers’ dollars to hand to the polluters. All the experts agree that this will cost households more while failing to lower the pollution level.
Last year the government defunded the Climate Commission and, in the context of the Australian government’s overall spending, the government saved an absolutely paltry amount of money. This was a body to which each Australian was contributing about six cents a year. So why did they do it? It was the action of a government that resembles the flat earth society—a government that does not believe in science. Emissions trading schemes have already been adopted in many, many countries around world, including the UK, France, Germany, South Korea, Canada and parts of the US and China. Those on the other side really need to stop and think about what they are doing and take note of this.
I have had only a limited amount of time to speak, but I will be speaking later on in committee on this very important issue. I thank the Senate for the few minutes I have had so far today.