QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: TAKE NOTE OF ANSWERS - Taxation, Energy


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (15:44): Regarding the take note motion moved by Senator Brown, as best as I can interpret it—and it was a bit all over the ship—the motion was about the government's national electricity guarantee. And what a good policy that is. It's all about reliability and affordability of electricity prices. Why did the federal government become involved in what is, effectively, and has been for the last 100 years, a state government responsibility? Clearly, state governments weren't able to manage the national electricity supply. We saw that one state, the state of South Australia, under a long-term Labor government, couldn't even keep the lights on. And it was those sorts of catastrophes at a state level that led the federal government to try and do something about it. So we've devised the national electricity guarantee, which will guarantee reliability, so that, when you turn on the lights, you'll actually be able to see something. South Australians would know better than many of us, that is something that should be accepted all the time, but, in South Australia, that didn't happen.

What's more, the guarantee will provide affordability. We will stop the electricity generators, like the Queensland Labor government business entity, Ergon, gouging the market and making huge profits at the expense of Queensland residents, simply so they can make money to shovel into the moribund Queensland Labor government and try and balance their bottom line. That's what it's about. There was an element in the national electricity guarantee related to emissions. Senator Brown said something about that and about the Paris targets. I ask Senator Brown or anyone else who might follow her in this debate to explain to me this proposition, which I keep asking someone to answer, and nobody here ever does, because they've been brainwashed and propagandised to believe that Australia's emissions are bad, but they've never thought them through. They have never exercised any independent thought.

Australia emits less than 1.3 per cent of the carbon emissions of the world. I don't argue anymore whether carbon emissions are causing climate change; let's accept they are. Australia emits less than 1.3 per cent. The big emitters—America, China and India—have no targets, or they have targets they talk about but never achieve. In fact, they've pulled out of these international agreements, if they were ever in them. I asked the chief scientist of Australia, 'If Australia reduces its emissions by 100 per cent and we reduce the world's output of carbon by 1.3 per cent, what impact will that have on the changing climate of the world?' And here's his answer: 'Virtually nothing.' That's not from me. The Greens always accuse me of being a climate change denier, which I'm not. It's a simple proposition. The chief scientist of Australia says that if Australia shut everything down, shut off all the lights, stopped every car, stopped every heater or air conditioner or factory, stopped everything, then the difference that would make to the changing climate of the world would be virtually nothing. Yet the Labor Party carry on about decreasing our emissions by 50 per cent because that's going to save the world. Fifty per cent of 1.3 per cent is somehow going to save the world. How ridiculous! How stupid and brainless to carry on with those sorts of allegations. But they think it gets them votes in the inner cities where people don't really follow these things through. I challenge anyone who is going to speak after me to tell me how reducing Australia's emissions by 100 per cent—not just 50 but 100 percent—is going to make any difference to the changing climate of the world. If you can disprove the chief scientist, who said, 'Virtually nothing,' I'll listen intently. (Time expired)

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