Joe Ludwig

We are now debating, notwithstanding the submissions that have gone before, the establishment of a Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Clean Energy Future Legislation. This has already passed through the House of Representa­tives, where a majority saw the need for the establishment of the joint select committee. Now it is in the Senate for concurrence.

Carbon pricing and climate change policy have been widely debated in Australia for more than a decade, including through some 35 parliamentary inquiries. This joint com­mittee will be the 36th. In 1998, the first review of emissions trading was conducted by an Australian government. Work under­taken by the then Howard government, most notably by Professor Peter Shergold, conclu­ded that pricing carbon through a market based mechanism was the best approach to tackling climate change. Professor Ross Garnaut has conducted two major reviews on Australia's best policy options for tackling climate change. But there is more. The Multi-Party Climate Change Committee met for nine months before completing its work in July this year. That is how the govern­ment's Clean Energy Future package was developed. This just gives you a frame of reference for when those opposite complain about their inability to participate in the debate.

What we have heard from those opposite has a tinge of hypocrisy, I think. On the one hand, they complain that they will not have the ability to participate; on the other hand, they do not want us to act. It is the latter which is, I believe, the real motivation be­hind the complaints from the other side. The federal coalition, the Greens and Independ­ents were all invited to participate in the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee. Guess what? Only the coalition declined the opportunity to participate in the development of this fundamental public policy reform. They could have been part of that; they could have participated in that. But they chose not to. So I do think the debate this morning is tinged with a little hypocrisy from those opposite.

The government has engaged widely, including through business and NGO round­tables, as part of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee process. The government released the framework for its carbon pricing policy and sought feedback. Draft legislation was released for consultation in late July and over 1,300 submissions were received. Every single committee established by the former coalition government, without exception, had a government majority. In contrast, this government is not seeking to have a govern­ment majority on this committee. That is indicative of the inclusive approach we have taken. The government has been open, trans­parent and consultative throughout this process. We have shared with the Australian community all the available research which has informed our thinking.

It is now time to get on with business, to establish the joint select committee, to progress the legislation, to progress towards a clean energy future. Labor's plan will cut carbon pollution and drive investment in clean energy technologies and infrastruct­ure-in solar, gas and wind. It will help build the clean energy future which future generations deserve. It will not help us that the opposition remain, effectively, climate change sceptics. The rest of the world is acting and we need to act with them.

I was not going to take up too much time in this debate, but I think one of the things I do need to do is dispel this position that the opposition bring to the parliament. There is an old equity proverb: 'You should come with clean hands if you are going to whinge about the process.' Let us look at the opposition's record on process. I take this from an essay entitled, The Senate a paper tiger?, where Labor Senator Chris Evans is quoted summarising the impact of the coalition's strategies on the passage of legislation through the Senate between 1 July 2005 and 16 December 2005. During that period, the gag was used 16 times, thus redu­cing the time available for critical scrutiny of government business by the opposition and the minor parties. The guillotine was applied and the gag was used three times on the Telstra bills and Family First Senator Steve Fielding was denied the opportunity to speak. On 11 October 2005, debate over a variation to the routine of business and sit­ting hours was gagged twice. On 3 Novem­ber 2005, debate was gagged on a motion relating to hours and routine of business. On 8 November, the gag was used over Labor's proposed amendment to the reference of the Senate Education, Employment and Work­place Relations Committee's inquiry into the provisions of the Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Bill 2005. On 1 December, Work Choices legislation was guillotined and debate gagged. On 5 December, antiterror bills and two welfare bills were guillotined and gagged.

There is an old equity proverb to the effect that if you want to come and have this debate, you should come with clean hands. Clearly you do not have clean hands in this debate. We have come to this debate with clean hands. We have ensured that there has been a consultative process. We asked you to participate in a multi-party climate change committee, but you refused. You will continue, as you have outlined, to just simply say no, to take a negative, carping approach and to argue neither the policy nor the sub­stance of the debate-you will continue to use process to just simply say no. Those on this side of the chamber are getting on with business. We are looking forward to a clean energy future. We would like to have a good policy debate on this, but I do not hold up a lot of hope for it, quite frankly. Question put:

That the motion (Senator Ludwig's) be agreed to.

The Senate divided. [12:18]

(The President-Senator Hogg)

_ Senator Wong did not vote, to compensate for the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Coonan_

Question agreed to.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 9 Yes 0 No
Bob Brown Tasmania Yes
Richard Di Natale Victoria Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Scott Ludlam WA Yes
Christine Milne Tasmania Yes
Lee Rhiannon NSW Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Penny Wright SA Yes
Australian Labor Party (77% turnout) 23 Yes 0 No
Mark Arbib NSW Yes
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Mark Bishop WA Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Yes
Doug Cameron NSW Yes
Kim Carr Victoria Yes
Stephen Conroy Victoria Yes
Trish Crossin NT Yes
John Faulkner NSW Yes
David Feeney Victoria Yes
Mark Furner Queensland Yes
Alex Gallacher SA Yes
Joe Ludwig Queensland Yes
Gavin Marshall Victoria Yes
Anne McEwen SA Yes
Jan McLucas Queensland Yes
Claire Moore Queensland Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Nick Sherry Tasmania Yes
Lisa Singh Tasmania Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Matt Thistlethwaite NSW Yes
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Yes
Jacinta Collins Victoria Absent
Chris Evans WA Absent
Don Farrell SA Absent
Kate Lundy ACT Absent
Helen Polley Tasmania Absent
Ursula Stephens NSW Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party No
John Madigan Victoria Democratic Labor Party No
Stephen Parry Tasmania Deputy President Absent
Nick Xenophon SA Independent No
Liberal Party (81% turnout) 0 Yes 21 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania No
Christopher Back WA No
Cory Bernardi SA No
Simon Birmingham SA No
Sue Boyce Queensland No
George Brandis Queensland No
Michaelia Cash WA No
Mathias Cormann WA No
Sean Edwards SA No
Alan Eggleston WA No
David Fawcett SA No
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
Bill Heffernan NSW No
Gary Humphries ACT No
David Johnston WA No
Helen Kroger Victoria No
Ian Macdonald Queensland No
Brett Mason Queensland No
Stephen Parry Tasmania No
Scott Ryan Victoria No
Judith Adams WA Absent
David Bushby Tasmania Absent
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Absent
Mary Fisher SA Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Absent
National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 5 No
Ron Boswell Queensland No
Barnaby Joyce Queensland No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Fiona Nash NSW No
John Williams NSW No
John Hogg Queensland President Yes
Totals (83% turnout) 33 Yes – 29 No