Rob Oakeshott’s carbon price mandate

In response to a troll recently Rob Oakeshott responded
I took an ETS to both the 2008 and 2010 ballot box, and was elected. I have a mandate to deliver.

On the 14th September, 2011, Rob Oakeshott (member for Lyne), stood up in Parliament and gave a speech regarding the Clean Energy Bill. He is a part of what he said:

If I ask the member for Warringah or the member for the Cowper at the table whether they want to live under an emissions trading scheme, I suspect their answer would be no, yet the joke is that they already do. The New South Wales Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme was introduced on 1 January 2003. To quote from the website:
It is one of the first mandatory greenhouse gas emissions trading schemes in the world.

… My view over the past three years has not changed; if anything, it has firmed. At the last two federal elections at which I stood, in 2008 and 2010, I was open and honest with my communities and said that, if elected, I would be working on pricing carbon via emissions trading. I have remained consistent and today have delivered on those election commitments. Unlike many others who chop and change or describe themselves as weathervanes on climate change, my word is my bond and I do what I can to uphold that bond.

So I stand up for the new economy of Australia, I stand up for jobs and I stand up for fewer taxes, and I do this by strongly supporting Australia moving to an emissions trading scheme in 2015.

… Today we see the Liberal and National parties, in opposition, showing all care on pricing carbon and absolutely no responsibility. They say they care, but a responsible opposition would at the very least put an alternative policy to the legislature for debate. They have not. They have called for a plebiscite as a demonstration that they have private members’ powers to contribute to the parliament, but they deny the Australian people to look at or see the details of this alternative policy.

What have they got to hide?

This is not a choice in this House between an emissions trading scheme or nothing. It is a choice between an emissions trading scheme or what I consider a Liberal-National party grants tax that Australia is consistently being denied the details of.

I was disappointed again today to see the member for Warringah once again dodge the opportunity to table their alternative for the House to consider. Consider this—and this is not politics at play—if parliament rejects the current 18 bills before the House, those of us like me who have consistently supported action on climate change must consider supporting the Liberal-National parties’ alternative option. But what is the alternative?

If I asked the member for Wide Bay or the member for Warringah the following six questions, I am assuming at this stage the answers would be ‘yes’.

Firstly, do the Liberal-National parties support a five per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 on 1990 levels? My understanding is: yes.

Secondly, do the Liberal-National parties support the words spoken by the Leader of the Opposition in the launch of his policy in February 2010 that their policy is modelled on the New South Wales Labor government’s GGAS, meaning a lot of emissions reduction at comparatively modest cost? My understanding is: yes.

Thirdly, would the Liberals and Nationals establish an emissions reduction fund to invest an annual average of about $10.2 billion in direct CO2 emissions reduction activities by 2020, funded by tax revenue? My understanding is: yes.

Fourthly, will the emissions reduction fund purchase 85 million tonnes per annum of CO2 abatement through soil carbon by 2020, regardless of whether soil carbon is in any relevant future international agreement—at an estimated cost of $8 to $10 per tonne—and is this the single biggest investment the emissions reduction fund will make? My understanding is: yes.

Fifthly, will the emissions reduction fund be prevented from purchasing emissions reductions from overseas, even if those emissions reductions are verifiable and less expensive than those able to be purchased in Australia? My understanding is: yes.

Sixthly, and finally, if a business that already reports under the Howard-Costello-Vaile-sponsored National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme undertakes an activity with an emissions level above its business-as-usual level, will that business incur a financial penalty? My understanding is: yes.

In other words, the Liberal Party and the National Party are pursuing the same reduction in emissions, relying heavily on just one technology, to be purchased at an assumed price by a government fund—with any trade in carbon emissions specifically prevented. Big emitters under this approach face the real possibility of financial penalties if they expand, with no opportunity to buy offsetting abatement from another source. This is a potential job killer and a potential economic growth killer.

With this in mind, there are two more questions I would like to ask and have answered, but the answers at this stage are critically unknown.

Firstly, will the Liberal-National party members of this parliament match the $14.2 billion over four years in reduced income taxes, Indigenous employment, soil research, biodiversity funding and higher benefits provided for under the package currently in the 18 bills before the House and, if not, what exact level of reduced income taxes or higher benefits would the Liberal and National parties provide and how would these be funded?

Secondly, if the Liberal-National party members of this parliament think they can buy abatement at $8 to $10 a tonne, how do they justify any argument that says the market price in an emissions trading scheme would not be the same?

Surely the price of a tonne of carbon is either $8 a tonne or $29 a tonne in 2015. Which one is true? Again, until this is answered, in my view they debate with false anger. At this stage, on this difference between $8 a tonne and $29 a tonne, someone’s policy in this debate is a fraud. I am backing $29 a tonne in 2015 based on all sound economic advice, yet it is unknown how on earth based on this advice the coalition can then buy in at $8 a tonne. What product in history in any market economy can be bought at one-third of its price on an ongoing basis? Do we buy milk at 80c a tonne when it is $2? Do we buy bread for $1 when it is $3? How is this so? Please, member for Flinders, member for Warringah, member for Wide Bay, explain your policy.

I would be grateful if that is answered in this debate. Until then, I strongly support the 18 bills before the House. I strongly support pricing carbon. It is not a tax. We all know you cannot buy and sell a tax. This is a carbon permit trading scheme. It is the smartest, lowest cost, lowest risk solution to the very real science question before us. I strongly encourage this House to this time, importantly, in the national interest, back this package.

Source: Clean Energy Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011

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