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Acting against climate change

We are proud of, and our children will be grateful for, Labor in Government taking action against climate change. This site is providing links to some of the records as an antidote to the distortions and untruths from Tony Abbott and his supporters. Further links, quotes, summaries and highlights will be added over time.

House of Representatives debate on clean energy Bills | Senate debate on clean energy Bills

House of Representatives debate on clean energy Bills

Second reading 

Prime Minister Julia Gillard | Greg Combet | Wayne Swan | Jenny Macklin | Greg Combet | Mark Dreyfus | Andrew Leigh | Shayne Neumann | Graham Perrett | Simon Crean | Deb O'Neill | Laura Smyth | Mike Kelly | Stephen Jones | Gai Brodtmann | Steve Georganas | Sharon Bird | David Bradbury | Dick Adams | Steve Gibbons | Julie Collins | Bernie RipoliJill Hall | Michelle Rowland | Sid Sidebottom | Yvette D'Ath | Rob Mitchell | Kirsten Livermore | Catherine King | Laurie Ferguson | Chris Hayes | Sharon Grierson | Maria Vamvakinou | Kate Ellis | Nick Champion | Daryl Melham | Melissa Parke | Janelle Saffin | John Murphy | Anthony Albanese | Craig Emerson | Peter Garrett | Justine Elliott | Richard MarlesMichael Danby | Warren Snowdon | Brendan O'Connor | Anna Burke | Bill Shorten | Greg Combet   

Prime Minister Julia Gillard 

Most Australians now agree: our climate is changing; this is caused by carbon pollution; this has harmful effects on our environment and on the economy; and the government should act. And after all that analysis has been done, most economists and experts also now agree: The best way is to make polluters pay by putting a price on carbon.

So that is the policy of the government I lead. And that is the plan which is before the House now. A plan for a carbon-pricing mechanism which means around 500 big polluters pay for every tonne of carbon pollution they put into our atmosphere. A plan to cut carbon pollution by at least 160 million tonnes a year in 2020. A plan for tax cuts, increased pensions and increased family payments. A plan for clean energy jobs and investment. A plan for a clean energy future for our country. Today we move from words to deeds. This parliament is going to get this done.

Summary:  The Clean Energy Bills follow decades of debate, research, consultation and public policy work.  Around 500 polluters will pay. There will be a fixed price for 3 years to provide business with certainty, automatically moving to a fully flexible cap and trade emissions trading scheme after 3 years (subject to a price cap and price floor for a further 3 years to limit volatility). Pollution caps will be set with advice from an independent Climate Change Authority. Liable parties can meet up to half their obligations through use of international carbon units. A jobs and competitiveness program using 40 per cent of the revenue from carbon pricing will assist trade exposed industries. The scheme includes energy security and clean energy investment measures.

Most of the money raised from the carbon price will be used to fund tax cuts, pension increases and higher family payments. Pensions will be increased. The tax free threshhold will be tripled, and with other measures 450,000 people earning up to $20,500 will now pay no tax.

The task of government is not to hide from change but to make change work for us. Employment and investment will grow strongly with a carbon price.

Nothing hard ever gets easier by putting it off. And if you do not do what is right for the nation then you should not be in this parliament. It is time to deliver the action on climate change we need. It is time to do what is best for Australian families, what is best for future generations, what is best for this country.

Greg Combet MP

We should never lose sight of our responsibility as parliamentarians to leave our nation in a better place than we inherited it for future generations. We have been debating these issues for decades. The time for inaction has long passed—it is now time for this parliament to show leadership and to take action on climate change. It is time to make an economic reform to end the years of uncertainty around carbon pricing policies.

Wayne Swan MP 

This $8 billion package delivers new tax cuts for millions of Australians, allows more people to keep all of their wages in their regular pay packets, and means fewer people will need to file a tax return at the end of the year.

Jenny Macklin MP  

This bill makes sure it is the big polluters, and not Australian families and pensioners, who pay for the pollution they put into our atmosphere. This bill supports Australian families and pensioners to be a part of building a clean energy future for our country and for our children and grandchildren. It gives effect to these important principles by directing revenue raised from putting a price on carbon to Australian families and pensioners through increases to their payments. It gives effect to these principles by making sure that increased payments are permanent and indexed, so that payments keep pace with the cost of living now and into the future. And it gives effect to these principles by making sure these payment increases have no strings attached, so that Australian families who make small changes at home to reduce their energy use keep the full amount of the increase to their payments and can end up ahead.

Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP | Greg Combet MP  | Greg Combet MP | 

Summary: Package contains Bills to deliver low income assistance in more timely and simpler way; application of carbon price to fuels (with exception for agriculture, forestry and fishing and delay for other off road use); pricing for ozone depleting and synthetic greehouse gases; establishment of the Clean Energy Regulator; establishment of the Climate Authority; and technical machinery provisions.

Mark Dreyfus QC MP 

Releasing carbon pollution is currently free in Australia, despite the catastrophic threat carbon pollution poses to our environment. To tackle climate change, therefore, we need to correct what is routinely called the 'greatest market failure the world has ever seen'. 

Dr Andrew Leigh MP 

A poll of members of the Economics Society of Australia, released at the July Australian Conference of Economists, found that 79 per cent agreed with carbon pricing and only 12 per cent supported direct regulation. This is not some complicated economic theory. It is based on lessons from first-year economics. The best way of addressing a negative externality is to put a price on it. 

Shayne Neumann MP 

As the member for Wentworth has said, it is not possible to criticise the opposition's policy on climate change because one does not really exist. When it comes to climate change there is only one party that will act right now

Graham Perrett MP 

We cannot continue to ignore the science that tells us that excess carbon pollution is causing the climate to change in dramatic and previously unseen ways. Extreme weather events, higher temperatures and deaths associated with those, more droughts and rising sea levels are just some of the things that are happening. In Australia, the driest continent, our environment and climate are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

Simon Crean MP 

Australia is the best placed of any country in the world in terms of its resources, its innovation and its capability. What we want is a market that recognises and values those things and that is why this package, the suite of measures that we are introducing, is designed to create that market to advantage and secure Australia's future going forward. 

Deb O'Neill MP 

 in December 2009 [Christopher Pyne MP] said: " … we took an emissions trading scheme to the last election. We believe in climate change action." Judging by today's speech, you could have fooled me .Mr Pyne said on that day: "I believe passionately in climate change action." Today he is passionately telling us that there is nothing wrong and we should advance no cause. 

Laura Smyth MP

We heard the member for Wentworth as recently as last year saying in very strong terms that direct action policies on climate change were a 'recipe for fiscal recklessness'. Specifically, he had this to say this year: "… a direct action policy where the Government—where industry was able to freely pollute, if you like, and the Government was just spending more and more taxpayers' money to offset it, that would become a very expensive charge on the budget …"

Dr Mike Kelly MP and continued

I ask for the opposition to just get out of the way now that they have made themselves irrelevant. Go home over this weekend, have a look at your children and your grandchildren and think about their future and think about how you want to be remembered. What will be your legacy and where will your name be in relation to this vote when this debate is done? 

Stephen Jones MP

We know 2010 was the 34th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th century average and we know that climate change and global warming are real. We know the consequences are real and we know that we have to change the way that we do things in Australia and around the world if we are to avoid catastrophic changes. We know that if we do not act our children will pay the price.

Gai Brodtmann MP

The science is in. It is clear. It is beyond reasonable doubt. The world is warming, the oceans are becoming more acidic and the biodiversity of our planet is at risk. 

Steve Georganas MP 

The assertion by the coalition that Australia is so insignificant a nation and a people that what we do does not matter is highly flawed and more than a tad insulting. Australia is one of the 21 highest-polluting nations in the world. We also emit more per head of population than any other country. Also,  we are one of the 14 countries that each emit between one and two per cent of global emissions, which add up to 20 per cent of the world's emissions. So if we expect South Korea, France, the UK, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Canada and others to act—which they are doing—then how on earth can we argue that we do not need to?

Sharon Bird MP 

When the opposition outline their concerns about these bills—why they will oppose them and their worries about the impacts on prices for families, small businesses and so forth—I am yet to hear any analysis of their own policy and the impacts that that will have on prices and the cost of living for families, small businesses and all these people they claim to be so concerned about. There has been absolutely no reference to that that I have seen in any of the contributions from those opposite. It is as if their own policy does not exist

David Bradbury MP 

I did not seek election to parliament simply to serve time. I entered public life to make a contribution, in the Labor tradition, tackle the big challenges and, where necessary, make the hard decisions that are needed to help build the great nation that we all know we can become.

Dick Adams MP 

The world will not go on as it is and we need to tackle these issues. If we tackle them properly we will set our nation up for the future.

Steve Gibbons MP 

No country can do this alone; we all need to do our fair share. This is why British Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron recently congratulated our Prime Minister on the 'strong and clear signal' that our Clean Energy Future plan sends, saying it 'will add momentum to those, in both the developed and developing world, who are serious about dealing with this urgent threat'.

Julie Collins MP 

The confusion generated by the scare campaign mounted by those opposite is so great that many people in my electorate and, I am sure, many Australians do not even realise that the opposition are supporting action on climate change and they actually have a policy. 

Bernie Ripoli MP and continued 

There are three simple things about all these bills together: (1) climate change is real; (2) there are things that we can do about it; (3) the things that we can do about it are affordable

Jill Hall MP 

Never has the behaviour of an opposition leader been more irresponsible. For this opposition leader it is about living in the Lodge - not about the future of Australians 

Michelle Rowland MP 

I would like to begin by sharing a letter I received earlier this year from a group of primary school students in my electorate: "We are worried about our future. We want you to help our country to reduce greenhouse gas production. Climate scientists tell us that we only have ten years to turn things around. If we don't, by the time we are adults in 2020, it will be too late. We will still be alive when your life is over. We want to have a good life like you have had." 

Sid Sidebottom MP 

No price on carbon means there is no incentive to change. 'No thanks, we like what we are doing,' would be the response, unless, of course, the subsidy is huge. This would lead to corporate rent seeking in the extreme. The more carbon dioxide you pump into the atmosphere and the more technologically backward an industry is the greater the handout you can receive under the Liberals' policy. That is the logic of it.

Yvette D'Ath MP 

What does the other side really offer? They offer a model that does not achieve the bipartisan targets. In order to reach the target, they will need to plant enough trees to cover five Tasmanias, the entire land area of Germany or an area the size of Victoria and Tasmania combined. They have no support from any credible scientists or economists; in fact the Leader of the Opposition has on a number of occasions attacked leading economists and scientists for supporting the government's policy.

Rob Mitchell MP 

Even the shadow minister, Greg Hunt, when asked about how many trees you had to plant, said, 'Oh, 100 square kilometres.' That was all—100 square kilometres—and he found out he was wrong. He could not even get his maths right on how many trees you need to plant.

Kirsten Livermore MP

I do not remember the Leader of the Opposition getting all hot and bothered about John Howard's emissions trading scheme when he proposed it and started legislating for it back in 2007, a scheme that we now know—and the member for Wentworth confirmed last week—was very similar to the one we are debating today

Catherine King MP 

You have to ask yourself what has happened in recent times to change the approach of opposition members, and the answer, as I said previously, is absolutely simple: it is about playing politics, not about implementing good public policy. 

Laurie Ferguson MP

the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development ...  has said that Australia must take advantage of its favourable economic position and pursue its carbon reduction policy: "The authorities must take advantage of the favourable economic situation to pursue long term structural reforms, including those that favour output involving less CO2 emissions. 

Chris Hayes MP 

I think most people on both sides of this parliament know what needs to be done. Both sides of parliament know what we need to do to future proof our economy and both sides of parliament should be committed to doing what they have always said they would do. Above all, we need to act and we need to act now. 

Sharon Grierson MP 

As the most recent report from the Climate Commission noted: "This is the critical decade. Decisions we make from now to 2020 will determine the severity of climate change our children and grandchildren experience."

Writing yesterday in the Australian, Adair Turner, the chairman of the United Kingdom Committee on Climate Change, wrote: 'In Britain there is a general appreciation that a low carbon economy can be a prosperous one, and that the costs of global inaction on climate change would be great.'

Maria Vamvakinou MP 

as I engage with my constituents I have been consistently impressed by how young people in particular have a heightened sense of the need to protect the environment. They understand almost instinctively that we need to preserve the finite resources of our planet. These matters are very much a part of their psyche and it gives me great hope when I see their level of understanding.

Kate Ellis MP 

Carbon pricing and climate change policy have been debated widely in this country for literally decades now, including through a staggering 35 parliamentary committees and inquiries on that topic.We argued for far too long about ratifying the Kyoto protocol. Eventually we got to the point where John Howard himself concluded that pricing carbon was the best approach and proposed an emissions trading scheme.

Nick Champion MP 

This is what the member for Wentworth [Malcolm Turnbull] said last year: Climate change is the ultimate long-term problem. We have to make decisions today, bear costs today so that adverse consequences are avoided, dangerous consequences are avoided many decades into the future. It is always easy to argue we should do nothing, or little or postpone action.

Daryl Melham MP 

Treasury modelling shows that there will be an extra 1.6 million jobs by 2020 under a carbon price while gross national income per person in today's dollars will be $9,000 higher.

Melissa Parke MP 

The simple facts are these: climate change can only be addressed by concerted global action, Australia is a significant contributor to the problem and Australia is a country that is more susceptible to the worst effects of climate change than many other nations.

Janelle Saffin MP 

We talk locally about who you trust. Some people say you cannot trust the science, but that is just ridiculous. All of us, including a lot of farmers, go to the Bureau of Meteorology website every day.

John Murphy MP and continued 

 [Peer reviewed studies indicate that ] Few of Australia’s diverse environments, from the ocean to the deserts, will be immune from climatic stress and loss of species. Many of our national parks that currently protect endangered species may not have a suitable climate in the future for these species. Regional communities that rely on the natural environment for tourism income, fresh water and local recreation will be affected by the impacts of climate change on these ecological services. The damage caused by climate change will have a negative economic impact on the tourism, fishing, forestry and agricultural industries in regional Australia.

Anthony Albanese MP 

Labor has long recognised the risk of climate change to future generations and to the nation's wellbeing. Indeed, the first official act of the Labor government was to ratify the Kyoto protocol in 2007. Personally, this was a proud moment. I campaigned long and hard for Australia to ratify the Kyoto protocol. When I was the shadow minister for environment and heritage, I introduced a private member's bill in an effort to get the then Prime Minister, John Howard, to take action. In 2006 I worked with Kim Beazley on federal Labor's policy paper "Protecting Australia from the threat of climate change".  This was Labor's blueprint for tackling climate change. Unlike those opposite, Labor has always been committed to practical, real and fair action on climate change.

Dr Craig Emerson MP 

The coalition, led by the opposition leader, has come to the view, after this entire scientific debate, that carbon dioxide is weightless and yet the coalition is committed to reducing the incidence of this 'weightless' substance in the atmosphere by 140 million tonnes by 2020. Go figure.

Peter Garrett MP 

In all the environmental campaigns I have been involved in or a part of, whether it was supporting the protection of our tropical and temperate rainforests, whether it was looking for better ways to protect and conserve our coastal environments, whether it was making sure that the spoiled waterways of our country were rehabilitated so that they could be productive, or whether it was looking carefully and clearly at how we might best protect those areas of Australia which have high levels of biodiversity, none is so important—nor is there any environmental issue as important—as tackling dangerous climate change.

Justine Elliott MP

Our nation is predominantly a coastal society. About 85 percent of the population lives near the coast. It has been estimated that coastal assets valued at more than $226 billion are at risk of damage from inundation and erosion by 2100. If we look at the North Coast in my electorate and over the border into south-east Queensland, we can see how vital these coastal regions are. 

Richard Marles MP 

This debate and this vote, more than any other we have seen in this place, will be scrutinised and remembered by history. It will condemn those who vote against it. It will particularly condemn those who know in their hearts that this is the right way to go but do not vote in accordance with their beliefs.

Michael Danby MP

The shadow Treasurer, the member for North Sydney, admitted in May last year in the Sydney Morning Herald that it was 'inevitable' that Australia would have a price on carbon. He said: "Inevitably we'll have a price on carbon … we'll have to."

Warren Snowdon MP

Let me give you one example from my own electorate, the Cocos Islands, that shows that this is important. These are coral atolls with an altitude of only three metres at its highest point. Even a small rise in sea level would see the islands disappear. This is not alarmist talk; it is reality

Brendan O'Connor MP

This is about a tax which governments want to be avoided. We want the big polluters, who have been having a free lunch at the expense of the rest for too long, to be engaged with the idea of avoiding this tax by economising and innovating. The economics underlying this tax is very simple indeed. If you let the market rip and do not price pollution, you get too much of it. You get way too much of it. If you price pollution in the right way and then let the market rip, market forces are ignited to produce less pollution. That is the fundamental essence of a market based approach.

Anna Burke MP

 Those opposite sticking their heads in the sand are refusing to open their minds to the investment and employment opportunities a carbon price will provide. Some members, like the member for Menzies, in this debate have even said that the notion of a green job is mythical, and the member for Groom said last week that all new green jobs will go overseas.  Not only is it in contradiction to their own policies; it is in contradiction to the evidence already out there

Bill Shorten MP 

Australia cannot afford to surrender to those who preach the false promise that Australia does not need to change.... The biggest threat to confidence in the Australian economy is not putting a price on carbon but a federal opposition who have no confidence in the Australian people and who constantly underestimate the capacity of Australians to change. ... Real leadership does not always involve telling people what they want to hear. Real leadership means dealing with issues. ... We do not accept the proposition that industries in Australia—agriculture, mining, manufacturing and the service industry—and the nation at large lack the capacity to change.

Greg Combet MP 

There is no case, in the government's view, for delay of this important reform. It will be environmentally effective, it will be economically efficient, it will socially equitable, and the country does need to make this reform.

Debate on amendments

The Abbott opposition moved amendments to delay the implementation of a carbon price and to narrow its range. Labor rejected these amendments

Mark Dreyfus | Greg Combet | Rob Mitchell | Tony Zappia | Laura Smyth | Stephen Jones | Julie Owens | Geoff Lyons |Greg Combet | Sharon Grierson | Tony Zappia | Janelle Saffin | Sharon Grierson | Sharon Bird | Deb O'Neill | Gai Brodtmann | Tony Zappia | Amanda Rishworth | Julie Owens | Ed Husic |  Yvette D'Ath | Jill Hall | Rob Mitchell | Sharon Bird | Joel Fitzgibbon | Tony Zappia | Ed Husic | Greg Combet

Mark Dreyfus QC MP

The time to act is now. We must begin the transformation to a clean energy economy and a low-carbon economy. This transformation will begin with the passage of the clean energy bills. 

The Leader of the Opposition would rather see our economy stagnate and fall behind the economies of our competitors as long as his political interests are served. Indeed, he would rather anything as long as his political interests are served. He does not care about the inconsistency with former positions. He does not care about the views expressed by economists. He does not care for the views expressed by scientists. He cares only for his own political interest.

Rob Mitchell MP

The Prime Minister was very clear and concise in saying that she would not rule out a carbon pollution reduction scheme—a market mechanism. That is what we went to the election with.

Greg Combet MP 

Summary: The Government rejects an amendment excluding off road fuel use (noting that agriculture, fisheries and forestry are already excluded). Impacts have already been taken into account in household assistance and in existing fuel tax credit arrangements.

Tony Zappia MP 

This was said on 6 November 1990: "… the threat to our world comes not only from tyrants and their tanks. It can be more insidious though less visible. The danger of global warming is as yet unseen, but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices, so that we do not live at the expense of future generations." That is from one of Margaret Thatcher's speeches.

Laura Smyth MP 

In the most recent statements of the Leader of the Opposition in moving his amendment, we see continuing hysteria. We see a bid to delay significant action on climate change. We see a policy vacuum. We see a leadership vacuum. 

Stephen Jones MP 

... the member for Indi and the Leader of the Opposition, who have spent the last nine months travelling the length and breadth of this country knocking people out of the way to get into workshops and don silly hard hats and fluoro vests so that they could pose for cameras in front of real workers and try and send a message around the country that they care for workers. They had an opportunity in this place today to put those slogans, that cheap rhetoric, into action and put their votes where their mouths are, but they squibbed it. They had the opportunity to vote for the steel industry transformation plan.

Julie Owens MP

We hear people say that Australia's contribution is less than two per cent and therefore we should not act. I want to address that. Australia per head of population is the highest emitter in the world by quite a significant margin. When you look at it by volume we are No. 15 in the world. But more than that, when you look at the other countries that emit around the same level of greenhouse emissions as us—less than two per cent—such countries represent over 50 per cent of world emissions. If every country that emitted two per cent or less took the attitude so many on the opposition want us to take then action would be left to the remaining 50 per cent.

Geoff Lyons MP

What I find very interesting is that the vast majority of Liberal coalition members have not mentioned their direct action policy in this important debate. Is this because they are embarrassed about their policy? Is it because they would rather play cheap politics and hoodwink the Australian public about the government's plan? Is it because they do not believe the science and know that the Liberal Party will never action the policy if they do win government?

Greg Combet MP 

Summary: Cost impacts on industry are far more modest than the Abbott opposition has claimed, and specific areas of concern (such as the dairy industry) have been met in the package. 

Sharon Grierson MP 

I hear so many members on the other side spread fear through scaremongering about the loss of jobs and the threat to the economy. This defies the realities of a place like Newcastle, the city I represent. It is a city that once was dependent on one industry, BHP Steelmaking, yet we learned about diversification, innovation and investing in skills and modern capital. 

Tony Zappia MP

In Queensland, fisheries are likely worth more than $200 million per year, mainly through the Great Barrier Reef system … and tourism is estimated to contribute $9.2 billion and employs 222,000 people. That was based on a Tourism Queensland report of 2006. All of these industries and these ecosystems are at risk if we as part of the global world do nothing in respect of climate change.

Jannelle Saffin MP 

We have to put in place the incentive for business to invest in the clean energy technologies that will allow Australia to maintain its economic growth while cutting pollution.The countries that pioneer the clean technologies that will allow this decoupling to occur will be the countries that see strong and consistent economic growth through the next century.

Sharon Grierson MP

We hear from the other side: 'What's the hurry? What's the big need for this legislation?' The facts in this debate are simple. Climate change is real. The evidence is overwhelming. We are already seeing the impacts of a changing climate. Human activities are triggering those changes, and we are witnessing it in the global climate. 

Sharon Bird MP 

I could not believe my colleague Joanna Gash, the member for Gilmore, sat on the other side of the House and voted against the Steel Industry Transformation Plan, and no doubt Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who has an office in my area, will also vote against that bill. The reality is that the steel industry at this time needs those opposite to support this bill. I point out to those opposite that BlueScope as a company have made it quite clear that the carbon tax is not the issue that they are confronting. They are confronting the international circumstances and the level of the Australian dollar. 

Deb O'Neill MP 

I have to make a comment on that farcical claim of the member for Riverina that he stands shoulder to shoulder with the hard workers in the manufacturing sector, having today absolutely opposed a $300 million steel transformation package. When we are growing up we get great moral advice from our parents: beware the fake friends.

Gai Brodtmann MP 

This is the economically and fiscally responsible thing. This will ensure Australia's continued future prosperity. This will ensure continued jobs. It will ensure continued growth. It will ensure that Australia continues to compete in the world for future generations. It will ensure that this country continues to prosper in the future.

Tony Zappia MP

The opposition have run their campaign against this legislation from day one as a campaign of misinformation and fear. 

Amanda Rishworth MP 

In this debate, we have heard the member for Mackellar talk about how the seas are not really rising, saying that this is all a fabrication, people's imagination. We have heard the member for Riverina dispute the science and say: 'There's no point in acting. We shouldn't act, we shouldn't do anything about climate change.'

Julie Owens MP 

 In 2007, both sides of this House, the government and the opposition, went to the electorate promising action on climate change through a market based mechanism. The two policies were different. The opposition policy was for a three-year fixed price which they did not call a tax at the time.

Ed Husic MP

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.

Yvette D'Áth MP

I quote the following: "Those of us who do not believe the CSIRO is part of an international Green conspiracy to undermine Western civilisation or do not believe that leading scientists like Will Steffen are subversives should not be afraid to speak out, and loudly, on behalf of our scientists and our science. We must not allow ourselves to be deluded on this issue. … Now let me just say this to you: The idea that our country, this great country of ours, can sail through a 3, 4 or 5 or more degrees rise in temperature this century with our prosperity and freedom, let alone the Great Barrier Reef, intact is very naive. So this is a big issue. So in the storm of this debate about carbon tax and direct action and what the right approach to climate change should be, do not fall into the trap of abandoning the science. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that what Lord Monckton says or what some website says is superior to what our leading scientists or leading universities would say." Those are not my words; they are the words of the member for Wentworth.

Jill Hall MP 

Everybody in this parliament knows where the Leader of the Opposition stands when it comes to climate change. We understand why he has moved this amendment. We know that the Leader of the Opposition was the man who stood up and said, 'Climate change is crap.'

Rob Mitchell MP 

We cannot keep sitting there and listening to these people trying to stop taking action on climate change. This is about ensuring our nation's future. It is about ensuring our kids' future. It is about ensuring where we go in the future. 

Sharon Bird MP and continued 

"Climate change is a global problem and Australia cannot solve it alone. The multi-faceted response set out in this document will ensure Australia leads the world in our domestic approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and is a key player in effective international responses to climate change." Those were the words of July 2007, which the member opposite sought to interrupt, and they were the words of John Howard. 

Joel Fitzgibbon MP 

The Prime Minister and those who stand behind her on this side have shown very strong leadership in picking up an issue that has been debated in this country for the last 20 years. The government went to the last election promising to act on climate change, just as John Howard went to the 2007 election promising to act on climate change. Indeed, John Howard went to the 2007 election with a response to climate change not unlike the architecture of what we are putting through the House and what we have been debating in this place for a long time.

Tony Zappia MP 

The motive for delaying the introduction of this legislation is simply to ensure that the Australian people do not get to see it in operation because if they do then it will dispel much of the misinformation and the myths that have been created by members opposite when they speak about this legislation

Ed Husic MP 

We are being asked to delay action when in fact the pace of change that is occurring beyond our borders is speeding up. Eighty-nine countries, accounting for over 80 per cent of global carbon pollution and over 90 per cent of the global economy, have pledged to reduce or eliminate pollution by 2020 under the United Nations Framework on the Convention on Climate Change. There have been ETSs operating for years in 31 European countries, in New Zealand and in 10 US states. California is the world's eighth largest economy and has legislated for an ETS. Again, we are being asked not to do anything when there are many countries and many parts of the US that are already moving on this.

Greg Combet MP 

There is no case for delay of this important reform. It will be environmentally effective, it will be economically efficient, it will socially equitable, and the country does need to make this reform.

Senate debate on clean energy Bills

Second reading 

Matt Thistlethwaite | Catryna Bilyk | Louise Pratt | Carol Brown | Anne Urquhart | Ursula Stephens | John Faulkner | Mark Bishop | Lisa Singh | Jan McLucas | Gavin Marshall | Doug Cameron | Trish Crossin | Penny Wong

Senator Matt Thistlethwaite 

I ask my colleagues in this place to consider: is it fair to let our children inherit a nation with a diminished natural beauty and heritage? Is it fair to raise our children to always think of others, yet to permeate hypocrisy in this place? Is it fair to dump the burden of addressing our environmental challenges on the generations to come? With this in mind, I turn to the clean energy future package before this place and I ask my parliamentary colleagues one more question: is it fair to take no action on climate change?

Senator Catryna Bilyk 

The only action the federal opposition took on climate change was to knife Malcolm Turnbull in the back when he reached agreement with the government to pass the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. In other words, Tony Abbott came to the leadership on a platform of not acting on climate change. As always, he put his narrow political interest ahead of the national interest.

Senator Louise Pratt and continued 

WA is a very strong and prosperous state, but it is also one that is very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. However, the very good news is that our own Treasury's modelling shows that the WA economy will continue to grow, even after a carbon price is introduced, and that Western Australia will outperform other Australian states. Contrary to Tony Abbott's dire predictions, the Australian economy as a whole will also continue to grow after a price is put on carbon. 

Senator Carol Brown

We cannot ignore the overwhelming and compelling scientific evidence that human induced climate change is happening. The CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian Academy of Science and science academies around the world have all concluded that human activity is almost certainly causing climate change.

Senator Anne Urquhart 

Reducing carbon pollution is good for our environment and important for our future. With this package we will reduce pollution and create new jobs while supporting households. It is time to act, and to act decisively.

Senator Ursula Stephens 

New ideas are by their very nature disruptive but far less disruptive than a world running low on drinking water and productive land, set against the backdrop of climate change, extreme weather events and rising natural resource scarcities. 

Senator John Faulkner 

The impacts of climate change in Australia are particularly acute. The impacts of rising sea temperatures and sea levels are profound in a country where 85 per cent of us live on or near the coast. 

Senator Mark Bishop 

Summary: Local government issues have been taken into account and the government will continue to work with local government

Senator Lisa Singh 

Putting a price on pollution is about sustainability. It is about rewarding forward-focused businesses and giving traditional industry an incentive to think ahead. It is about making sure that Australia is prepared for the new types of industries and jobs which will allow us to maintain our economic prosperity. But most importantly it is about a sustainable environment: making sure we pass on a world with clean air and clean water where future generations can breathe, grow and live

Senator Jan McLucas 

Tourism, more than most sectors, has a real and direct interest in reducing carbon pollution—particularly in North Queensland. The reef, for example, contributes approx­imately $6 billion to Australia's economy and provides full-time employment for more than 50,000 people. Many local businesses and jobs in the tourism industry depend on keeping our environment in the state it is in currently

Senator Gavin Marshall 

I want to start my contribution with a quote from my good friend Senator Chris Back. On 30 November 2009 he said: "Certainly we want to see action on climate change. Anyone who says that we do not is an idiot; a complete idiot."  Of course Senator Chris Back is a member of the opposition. I bet he wishes he could take those words back now because as he looks to the left of him in the opposition, and to the right of him and in front of him and behind him, he sees those very people who do not want to take action on climate change.

Senator Doug Cameron 

I would invite any of the coalition senators to talk to the CSIRO, to the Australian Academy of Science and to our own eminent scientists within Australia who understand the issue, and not to listen to the nonsense and rhetorical flourishes that we hear from the likes of Senator Bernardi in his attempt to discredit the scientists of this country and scientists overseas.

Senator Trish Crossin 

 Some time ago in the Northern Territory I conducted a survey of constituents under the age of 25. I asked them to highlight for me what their three top issues were. Overwhelmingly—it will not come as any surprise to people—more than 80 per cent of the responses indicated that the environment and climate change were what most concerned the young Territorians that I represent

Senator Penny Wong 

The threat of climate change has certainly not materialised in the life of this parliament, and neither has the policy response. In fact, we have had some 37 parliamentary inquiries since 1991 in relation to climate change. While those opposite like to forget this, Prime Minister Howard took a carbon pricing mechanism to the 2007 election.

From 2007 to 2009 there was bipartisanship on the issue of climate change. We did not agree on every detail but we compromised and negotiated firm in the knowledge that the challenge required action. But in 2009, after the change in leadership on the other side, the opposition shifted from that approach to an approach that is based on scaremongering, deceit, a denial of the science and the creation of an environment of fear—a blatant negativity that contrasts poorly against the magnitude of the task.

Committee debate 

2 November 2011 

3 November 2011

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