Senator BOSWELL (Queensland) (13:50): Yesterday the Prime Minister released several glossy documents on climate change. What she was trying to expand on was the rest of the world acting in unison to come up with an overall world view that everyone was going to march to the beat of her drum. But we owe it to the people who are going to suffer from this carbon tax to have a look at what the rest of the world is going to do. The government have not been able to explain or sell their carbon tax, and consequently the polls are indicating that there is going to be a wipe out. As Senator Joyce just said: if Labor does not start listening to its constituents and it continually bows to the pressures of the Greens, it is going to get wiped out. You can see it. Those opposite have enough ability to read a poll; surely they can see that they are on the way out. Forty-five to 55: I do not know how many seats that would leave them but it would not leave them very many. I do not think they would even muster a decent opposition if they continue to go down that road. Let us look at the fact sheets. Page 1 tells us that:
A broad range of countries have introduced, or are planning, market based emissions tr ading schemes and carbon taxes.
Let us be clear about one thing: a promise, a pledge and saying, 'In the fullness of time we may do something' is not legislation. It is a promise; it is not a commitment. Let us look at some of the countries that do have an ETS. There are only two. There is really one bunch of countries, and that is the EU. Let us look at their ETS. Ninety-eight per cent of purchased permits are free. That is since they have started. There is no tax on mining. The EU have collected $2 billion over five years. The Australian scheme will rip out of the economy—and emasculate it—$11 billion in the first year. That is the difference between an EU ETS and an Australian one. This ETS is much more vicious than anything the EU has put up. New Zealand is another case in point. They have an ETS, but they get the majority of their power from hydro, so it does not really worry them particularly.
We are told:
Australia’s top five trading partners—China, Japan, the United States (US), the Republic of Korea and India— ... have implemented or are piloting carbon trading or taxation schemes at national, state or the city level.
Let us look at some of these countries that are selectively looked at. The USA did not sign the Kyoto agreement. In fact, they put it up four times and it has failed every time. There is no federal cap-and-trade scheme. The clean energy standard looks likely to go to the backburner, with limited support from the congress. You can understand that. With over nine per cent unemployment, they are not going to burden the unemployed further.
The fact sheet also mentioned the fact that Ms Gillard claimed that there were a number of states that were going to implement some form of carbon tax. She is right, to a degree, but she failed to say that Governor Christie of New Jersey has just pulled out in the last couple of days, saying that the cap-and-trade pact does:
... nothing more than tax electricity, tax our citizens, tax our businesses with no discernible all measurable impact on our environment.
Good on him. He is speaking the truth. Canada has no ETS and is going nowhere without the USA. It has pulled out of the second-round Kyoto agreement. Korea has postponed a cap-and-trade scheme until 2015.
Let us look at Japan, our second-biggest trading partner. The country has a voluntary scheme and has also pulled out of a second round of the Kyoto agreement, along with Russia. If you want to introduce a voluntary scheme, I will commit the National Party to it. If that is what will move to help our environment and it is a voluntary scheme, I will guarantee National Party support. Japan has a voluntary scheme. It is an absolute nonsense to compare our industry-emasculating with a voluntary scheme. The UK is part of the EU and has proposed cutting its emissions by 50 per cent by 2025 on 1990 levels. That is a proposal subject to review in 2014. It is a built-in get-out clause.
India and China proposed non-binding targets and have plans to gradually introduce a carbon tax. When? In the never-never. The fact sheet, I noticed, did not dwell on the fact that India's emissions will rise by 350 per cent by 2020 and China's levels will go up by 496 per cent by 2020. And here we are struggling to cut 1.4 per cent and just about going to emasculate our economy to get there.
The fact sheets admit that our major competitor nations—Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, South Africa—are doing exactly nothing. It looks like these fact sheets are missing quite a few facts. On page 4 of the sheet, in a case of total desperation, we are informed—and this is a beauty; this is Brazil's contribution; this is what Brazil is going to front up with—that Brazil is going to change its public lighting and it aims to replace one million inefficient refrigerators annually. Well, good on it, but it is not an ETS. The truth is that Australia is more than pulling its weight and spending more with greater CO2 abatement than any country in Europe other than the UK and Germany.
In terms of cost as a share of GDP, Australia spends more than China, Japan, the US and South Korea. The truth is that what have around the rest of the world, other than in the EU countries which have got an ETS, is a very mild form of ETS compared with our draconian ETS. What we have is 'promises', 'in the fullness of time' and 'one day countries may do something'. But promises do not count. Right here and now the only countries that actually have an ETS are the EU and New Zealand. That is the full story.
If you keep going down this track—and you all can read the polls; you do not have to be geniuses; you have all been around the political scheme long enough to understand that 45 versus 55—you are going to be wiped out. You will be completely wiped out if you keep following this ETS. It is exactly like the Charge of the Light Brigade: cannon to the left, cannon to the right, and here is Senator Penny Wong and Ms Gillard charging into the canon full steam ahead! 'We don't care if we get wiped out of the saddle. We are going to go through with this.' Meanwhile the polls are saying: 'Don't do it—74 per cent of the people don't want it.' But who cares about democracy? Who worries about that? 'We are determined to crash or crash through.'
And you are going to crash. It is going to be the greatest train wreck ever seen in the history of political Australia. You are going to get wiped out and you have all brought it on yourselves because you have never had the guts, never had the courage and never had the gumption to stand up to the Greens. You never listen to the working class man; you never listen to the blue-collar workers. You have just ratted on them, deserted them and walked away from them, and you are getting your riding instructions from the Greens. You are going to pay the penalty. (Time expired)
The PRESIDENT: Order! It being 2 pm, I call on questions without notice