National Nine News
With Brett McLeod
4 July 2011
E & OE
Subjects: Greens in the Senate, carbon tax
Now let’s get the details on one of our top stories the carbon tax. It’s been controversial since Julia Gillard’s first announcement, but now we’re told we can expect to see the finished product very soon. After months of negotiations within the all-party climate change committee, Greens Senator Christine Milne says the final package will be released within days.
It comes as the Greens added four Senators to their ranks and took the balance of power in the upper house. That virtually guarantees a smooth passage through the Senate for the carbon tax. So to discuss this issue we’re joined by Liberal frontbencher Mitch Fifield just outside the Senate Chamber.
Senator, good evening. The nine Greens are in the upper house now that means the carbon tax is a given, isn’t it?
Well Brett, there’s no doubt in the new Senate that the Greens certainly have the whip hand in the formal governing alliance with the Australian Labor Party. But we’re going to continue to mount the case that this Government is seeking to implement a new tax on the back of a lie a lie to the Australian people before the election that there would be no carbon tax under a government led by Julia Gillard.
Julia Gillard announced the petrol exemption over the weekend over the weekend. In fact, she said there will never be a carbon tax on petrol. Why don’t you believe her?
Why would we believe her? She promised there would be no carbon tax under a government she led. So there’s every likelihood she’s lying about this as well. But we’ve also got a bit of an indication about what the Government’s real plans are. The Government has agreed to undertake an inquiry into fuel excise. So it doesn’t matter whether it’s a carbon tax that affects fuel, or the result of an inquiry into fuel excise, this Government will increase the tax on fuel. People will pay more for fuel under this Government.
The fact the Greens do have the balance of power now surely that means if the Coalition ever gets into power, you would have to deal with them? They’ve already said that for the next six years there will be a carbon tax no matter what the Coalition wants.
If we were fortunate enough to form Government it would be on the back of the Australian people having rejected the carbon tax. And I would think that it would be a very game Australian Labor Party in opposition that sought to maintain a carbon tax on the Australian people when it had been rejected at the polls.
So that means you’ve given up on changing the Greens’ minds?
We’re going to continue to make the case. The Australian people have made it very clear that there should not be a carbon tax. We think the Government should take up our proposal to have a plebiscite on the carbon tax. Put it to the Australian people. Give them the opportunity that they were denied at the last election. Let the people have their say. I’m pretty sure I know what the answer would be.
Well on that Tony Abbott introduced that plebiscite bill into the lower house today, but is there any point? The Senate has already knocked it back.
The Senate hasn’t knocked it back. We lost a procedural motion in the last sitting week of the Senate to bring the debate on early. It’s our intention to put that Bill into the Parliament. It would be a great opportunity for the Prime Minister to show that she’s fair dinkum, that she actually does care what the Australian voting public think. She should give the Australian people the opportunity to have the say that they’ve been denied.
…for now. Senator Mitch Fifield at Parliament House thanks for your time.