Oct 29, 2009

Question without notice – Emissions Trading Scheme

Mr PRICE (3:11 PM) —My question is to the Leader of the House. Can the Leader of the House advise what procedures have been put in place to enable members to participate in the debate on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme? What challenges are being encountered in implementing these procedures?

Mr ALBANESE (Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) —I thank the Chief Government Whip for his question and indeed for his role in facilitating the participation of members of parliament in this critical debate that is before the House—for a second time. Indeed, this side of the House has gone out of its way to consult and put in place mechanisms that were asked for by the opposition to maximise the participation in the debate on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. We were in fact asked to give guarantees that people would not be gagged, that people would have the opportunity to represent the range of views that are across the other side on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. Because of that, we put in place mechanisms of the House to facilitate those arrangements. Indeed, I was given leave by every member of the House to move a resolution that was adopted unanimously, by every member of the House, on Tuesday to allow for an extension of time for debate last night, when the parliament sat until 11 pm, and again this afternoon, beyond the normal adjournment time of 4.30. Indeed, as late as this morning the opposition was adding names to the list to speak on these bills, names such as the member for Sturt, the member for Berowra, the member for McPherson—they do not want to hear from you, Member for McPherson!

They then came in here, having agreed to arrangements, having asked for extra time to have the debate, and moved a guillotine—on their own speakers! The Leader of the Opposition said yesterday in the House:

… last week, we proposed a set of common-sense amendments to the scheme and we are currently engaged in good faith negotiation with the government on them.

There has not been much good faith in the procedures occurring in this House. A request was made by the opposition. It was agreed to by the government. Procedures were put in place to ensure that agreement could be delivered. But it is not about good faith; it is about the division in the Liberal Party. They will do anything to avoid the final decision on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. What the opposition have to do is guarantee that they will not filibuster in the Senate to avoid a decision being taken on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. It is up to the Leader of the Opposition to pull his ramshackle of a party together and ensure that they genuinely support these good faith negotiations. We have already seen the Nationals say that they will vote against the CPRS.

The member for New England has amendments to the CPRS legislation that he is entitled to move and to have considered by the House. Similarly, the member for Dawson, the member for Page, the member for Chifley and the member for Shortland are entitled to make their contribution before this House. If the opposition are truly ready and keen to vote on this issue, they should give a commitment to vote on this legislation this year. Their stunt today was consistent with their strategy, which was outlined by the Manager of Opposition Business on Channel 9 and which is that they will consider their options. We know that in their tactics room they have considered moving a motion in the Senate to not have this legislation considered this year. We know that is on their agenda and their stunt today shows their absolute hypocrisy on this issue.