Carbon Pricing - Senator MOORE (Queensland) (15:06)
We have seen excitement in the chamber today, which is great on the first day. In Senator Polley's question earlier, there was so much excitement on the other side of the chamber they were all trying to answer the question. It was a wonderful moment. If you close your eyes you would think we had gone back seven months in this place to the extensive debate we had around the introduction of carbon pricing. There was nothing new, no new questions. It was just the same old focus. We have had people from the opposition standing up in this place and saying that there is no-one on the government side who cares about manufacturing, working families and the Australian economy. That shows why we are incredulous about the nature of the basis of their argument.
We know and we understand that the opposition is opposed to carbon pricing. There is no surprise in that. We had that debate and that is on the record. The opposition can run that argument but they should not confuse it by bringing in arguments about whether this government works for the economy when we have an economic record which has been acknowledged universally. We have had that situation. The only group that has been reluctant to acknowledge the role of the Australian government in protecting the Australian economy over the last period has been the opposition. We have the record of the international press and international economic fora, and we have seen the processes that show that this government is doing a responsible and effective job.
Then we have had, in their arguments about carbon pricing-there is no surprise about this-the opposition bringing in issues around manufacturing. We had the debate. Senator Carr answered several questions today. He put the question right back to the opposition about what they are doing for the manufacturing industry in this country. Standing there and blaming all the ills in manufacturing on the carbon price is not effective. We should be looking at an appropriate way forward to engage with manufacturers across this country. And we should be looking at the clean technology programs that are going to be brought in rather than running the scare argument of blame and telling the manufacturers that things are going to be worse and that there is no future. Look at the programs that have already been introduced by us to encourage people to compete in ways to change processes and change manufacturing so that manufacturing will be effective and successful in the new economy.
This is what this government is about. It has now introduced into this place a series of legislation on carbon pricing. It is not just the price on carbon; there are supplementary processes for looking at support packages for everyone in this country. Senator Wong, in some of her answers today, began to identify those. There is so much information out there that indicates what the support packages are for individuals, families and businesses-people who want to engage in moving into the future. Those on the other side just say that the world has ended and there is no value in looking at carbon pricing. We do not agree, and I doubt we ever will. What we propose-what we have now-is a road map for the future. That information is available for people.
It is really interesting when you hear people from the opposition quoting Treasury papers selectively. In the debate we had in this place earlier, the role of the Treasury was demonised. People who produced Treasury papers were seen to be biased. Their credibility was not seen to be real. So we had, again, Senator Wong and Senator Carr putting forward information, which is all on the public record, about what the processes are and about the future projections for our economy-the growth of our economy, the growth of individual wages-and where we are going to stand, not just in Australia but in the international network. Again we have heard the complaint that we are the only people taking action on carbon pricing. It is not true. That argument is out there. Certainly other countries are doing things in different ways. No-one has pretended that there is a standard approach but there must be an approach.
Senator Cormann said that there was no good time to introduce a carbon pricing process. There is definitely a good time to make change in our country, because we must. We have argued this in this place. The arguments will continue. I expect that we will have the same discussions day in and day out-fine!-but let's make sure that we are going to have the facts on the table and not consistently debate issues that have been argued here, and about which the information is available. We need to look at the issues and qualify where we are going to go in the future.