Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (15:06): I move:

That the Senate take note of answers given by ministers to questions without notice asked by opposition senators today.

Can I be the first in this chamber who actually voted for you to congratulate you on your accession to the Deputy President's role


Senator IAN MACDONALD: We have a new Senate but we have the same, old, incompetent, tired, dishonest and wasteful government before us. You only have to look at the ministers who answered questions today at question time to understand what abject and unmitigated failures they are as ministers, and consequently that incompet_ence shows on the government of the day.

We had Senator Ludwig telling us about the live cattle export ban. Every Australian can see that, as a result of Senator Ludwig's incompetence, Australia has lost a very fine industry, the cattle industry, employing many thousands of Northern Australians, including Indigenous Australians. We had Senator Arbib telling us how he is making make-work programs for Indigenous stockmen and Indigenous workers whilst at the same time Senator Ludwig is destroying their jobs and their livelihoods with his incompetent decision on live cattle export.

We also had Senator Conroy answering questions and demonstrating again how he and his government promised that the government would spend $4.7 billion on a national broadband network and how that has now grown to some $55 billion.

We also had a failed Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency trying to in some way exculpate the government from the mess it has created with its various climate change policies. On Friday the heads of Ford and Holden in Australia indicated that, as a result of the carbon tax, the saleroom cost of a Holden Commodore or any basic-model Australian-built car would increase by some $1,000 and the cost of production of Australian cars would increase by something like $40 million to $50 million. As the head of Holden Australia said, this sort of new tax on the manufacturing industry in Australia will cause them to 'reassess' their manufacturing presence in Australia. This is what the Labor Party's carbon tax will do. It will not do anything for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; it will simply send offshore Australian jobs, and those manufacturing industries will be working in countries with far less stringent limits on greenhouse gas emissions than the Australian nation has.

The failure of the current and past climate change ministers was easily determined by today's question time. This is the whole problem with the Australian Labor Party. There will be no appreciable benefit what_soever to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions because all of the jobs that create them will go offshore. We have heard today that fuel is going to be exempt from carbon tax. So what is going to happen to green_house gas emissions They are not going to reduce at all, and we all know that the transport industry is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.

So the government is all over the place. They are putting on this huge tax for measures which will not reduce the emissions from Australia; what they will do is send jobs offshore. The minister and the government are afraid to answer questions on what the addition of the carbon tax will do to the cost of production of Australian vehicles. The minister said she did not know about it. Well, she has a very poor department if they did not alert her to the very widespread news article that appeared last Friday. The car industries are definitely worried about their future in Australia, all because of this government's carbon tax proposals. One wonders what the workers so-called 'friends', the Labor Party, are doing to try and save those jobs in Australia.

Back to List