Senator Ron Boswell noted today that New England independent Tony Windsor was on form in avoiding the facts about his support for a carbon tax, and turning a crucial policy issue into just another tirade against the National Party, laced with personal invective.
Here are some facts about Mr Windsor’s stance on a carbon tax.
He consistently voted against Kevin Rudd’s CPRS, but only because it didn’t go far enough.
Mr Windsor told the parliament during the CPRS debates that he regarded the 5% emissions reduction target that he is now prepared to vote for as “nonsensical.” In a press release he described the 5% target he now endorses “as the worst possible option, even worse than doing nothing, saying that soil carbon solutions could achieve that target on their own.”
In his 2008 Climate Protection Bill Mr Windsor called for a 30% cut in emissions by 2020 and an 80% cut by 2050 – an attitude even more extreme than the Greens, who are prepared to accept 25%. According to Mr Windsor’s bill he explicitly wants all sectors of the economy, including agriculture and transport, to feel the full weight of a carbon price tax.
His Bill said: “It is the duty of the Prime Minister to ensure that emissions of greenhouse gases from all sectors from Australia by the year 2020 do not exceed a level which is at least 30% below 1990 emissions levels. It is the duty of the Prime Minister to ensure that emissions of greenhouse gases from all sectors from Australia by the year 2050 do not exceed a level which is at least 80% below the 1990 emissions levels.” The definition of “sectors” in the bill “includes agriculture, mining, power, industry and transport, including air transport.”
The strategy also had to include “an inquiry into the impact of Government taxation and subsidies on Australian greenhouse gas emissions; including tax deductions and subsidies for fossil fuel production and consumption, car use, the aviation industry, fuel excise arrangements, the Energy Grants Credit Scheme, and fringe benefits allowances for motor vehicles.” The government has announced that Mr Windsor’s proposal for a Productivity Commission investigation will proceed, but several of his requirements for increased taxes in the transport area have already been as good as implemented by the government. The government will hit the aviation industry with a cut in its fuel tax credits next year. The fringe benefits allowance for motor vehicles has already been truncated. Mining is being hit by the carbon tax, the mining tax, and a cut in fuel excise next year.
“Mr Windsor must be pleased,” Senator Boswell said. “His long term plan, as set out in his Climate Protection Bill, to impose a huge emissions reduction target on every sector of the Australian economy, including agriculture and transport, appears to be nicely on track.”