BILLS Clean Energy Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Income Tax Rates Amendments) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Household Assistance Amendments) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Tax Laws Amendments) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Fuel Tax Legislation Amendment) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Customs Tariff Amendment) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Excise Tariff Legislation Amendment) Bill 2011, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Amendment Bill 2011, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Amendment Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Unit Shortfall Charge—General) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Unit Issue Charge—Auctions) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Unit Issue Charge—Fixed Charge) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (International Unit Surrender Charge) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Charges—Customs) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Charges—Excise) Bill 2011, Clean Energy Regulator Bill 2011, Climate Change Authority Bill 2011, Steel Transformation Plan Bill 2011 Consideration in Detail
Mr HUSIC (Chifley—Government Whip) (21:12): I want to thank the member for Berowra. Often you have to pay to see acts of contortion and tonight we got one for free. That twisted logic that said to us that we needed to accept their idea or their proposition of an amendment to save ourselves is something else. We are being asked to delay action and it is said that that would provide some benefit when the reality is that, for every year we have delayed acting in trying to meet a bipartisan target of cutting emissions by five per cent by 2020, from 2015 there is $5 billion in cost that we would have to engage in to catch up to make that target. We are being asked to delay action and in effect assume huge costs in the process.
Tonight we were chastised, I would put it, about engaging in a scare campaign by relating fact—fact that the Climate Commission in its report The critical decade outlined clearly in the types of impacts that will come about as a result of worsening climate change as it relates to Australia should temperatures change by one per cent. A mere one per cent has impacts on Australia. The frequency, the duration, the intensity and the spread of climactic events in this country and the impacts that they have are real and they have been outlined in the Climate Commission’s report, which members opposite can access. After Cyclone Yasi we saw in one year a decrease in economic growth of one per cent—$13 billion—and inflationary impacts of up to 0.8 per cent. That was from one climactic event. So asking us to delay—
Mr SECKER: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. On your previous ruling this is quite variant to what the amendment is about, and I ask you to bring the member back to the amendment.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms K Livermore ): The member for Chifley has the call and will address his remarks to the amendments.
Mr HUSIC: There is science that underpins what we are trying to do and the fact that delay will impose a significant financial cost. What we are being asked to do by those opposite has an impact.
Mr SECKER: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member for Chifley is not addressing the amendment at all. According to your previous response and ruling to this parliament he is not addressing the amendment, which is clearly about deferring a vote until after the next parliament.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Barker has made his point of order. The member for Chifley is relevant to the amendments and he has the call.
Mr HUSIC: While I may be a rookie compared to the person opposite—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Chifley will continue—
Mr HUSIC: I was going to respond to the point of order. You made a clear ruling in relation to it and he still persisted with a point of order.
We have been asked to delay action in response to what is going on, and we cannot afford to do that. At the same time those opposite, by virtue of their amendment, ask us to delay and to wait—for what? At the point when they get in, what will they do? In a speech that the Leader of the Opposition gave to this chamber he dedicated 3,743 words in response to the Prime Minister, 244 of which actually outlined what they were proposing to do. What is interesting in this debate is not just what is said but also what is not said by those opposite and what they propose to do by in effect forcing us to delay implementation. To then not outline what they propose to do to meet their bipartisan target is completely irresponsible to the Australian public.
The fact of the matter is that we cannot tolerate an idea that we would delay action—given the consequent cost on the general economy of $5 billion a year in not acting beyond 2015—in meeting a bipartisan approach. We simply cannot afford to wait. This is what their amendment would seek for us to do. It would make us wait and delay further any action.