The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for the Environment
Topics: Carbon Tax Repeal
Transcript: Doorstop Interview, Parliament House, Canberra
14 October 2013
GREG HUNT: Good morning. It's clear that at this stage the ALP has not learnt the lessons of the last election. The Australian public voted to terminate the Carbon Tax.
The Australian public voted for lower electricity prices and the Australian public voted for a return to trust in government.
The test for the ALP Caucus today is whether or not they will listen to the Australian people or whether they will just continue to thumb their nose at the people of Australia who voted.
This is a carbon tax which Julia Gillard said she would never have, which Kevin Rudd said he had terminated, which Anthony Albanese said he would set to zero.
Well, this is the day when the Caucus can accept the will of the Australian people, because otherwise they're learnt nothing, they're thumbing their nose and they have a contempt for the Australian public.
I also want to say this: we will introduce legislation to repeal the carbon tax in week one of the Parliament.
It will be our first legislative act and it will be up to the new Leader of the Opposition, and the ALP Caucus as their first legislative decision, to determine whether or not they accept the outcome of the election or whether they stand for higher electricity, gas and grocery prices.
REPORTER: Have you completed the legislation to repeal the Carbon Tax or is it still being worked on?
GREG HUNT: Actually, the legislation is well ahead of schedule and that will be released imminently. It's more advanced than we'd anticipated at this stage and so it will come very, very shortly.
REPORTER: Bill Shorten's already said today that he still supports a price on carbon and despite the mandate he doesn't have to rubber stamp everything the government puts up.
GREG HUNT: No but the central question, the fundamental issue, the central referendum issue which was raised during the campaign was repeal of the Carbon Tax.
We learnt from WorkChoices. The question is whether the ALP learnt from their deception on the Carbon Tax and the decision of the people.
REPORTER: So presuming that Mr Shorten carries through with what he's saying, would the Coalition wait for a new Senate or would it come back again in the new year?
GREG HUNT: We will not stop until the Carbon Tax is repealed.
All options are on the table and we will be relentless in carrying out our commitment to repeal the Carbon Tax.
REPORTER: So all options meaning the double-dissolution remains an option?
GREG HUNT: All options are on the table but we want to get this done now.
We don't want to wait until 1 July. We don't want to wait to invoke other mechanisms.
We want to carry out our commitment now and the only people standing between Australians and lower electricity prices are the members of the ALP Caucus.
REPORTER: Mr Hunt, you say that you want the legislation to happen now. When do you expect Parliament to be brought back, saying this is the first priority for you?
GREG HUNT: I'll let the Leader of the House make a statement on that but I imagine that that will come very shortly as well.
REPORTER: Have you started chatting to people like Clive Palmer to try and support this legislation through, come next year?
GREG HUNT: Once we've released the legislation and once we have begun that process we'll talk with everybody relevant but I do want to emphasise we're not waiting for the new Senate. We have enormous respect for the new Senate but this is a question for the Parliament now.
This is a question for the ALP Caucus and it's a very easy decision. Either they vote for higher electricity prices or they vote to honour the will of the Australian people and to reduce the pressure on electricity and gas.
REPORTER: Global warming, presumably, isn't going to go away. Do you see any time in the future when pricing carbon will be the right policy for Australia, at any time in the future?
GREG HUNT: Look, my own view is that this election has determined the path for the next twenty years. I think the world is moving in a very different direction.
The United States is moving away from carbon taxes. Canada has moved away. Japan is going precisely towards the abatement approach which the Coalition has set out.
Many have looked at the European system and people such as the head of Point Carbon have said that it's not actually reducing emissions.
So what matters to me is actually reducing emissions and the saddest part about the Carbon Tax is not only does it do economic damage but during the period from 2010 to 2020 Australia's domestic emissions go up not down.
So it doesn't do the job, it does do damage and I don't think this is the way the world is heading.
REPORTER: When you say you won't wait for the Senate, you're prepared to bring the legislation back whenever it's blocked in the Senate...
GREG HUNT: Well, we keep going...
REPORTER: ... in the current Parliament?
GREG HUNT: ...and keep going and keep going until it's repealed.
We won't be stopping, we won't be pausing, we will just keep going until it's gone.
REPORTER: You said you want the Carbon Tax repealed now, as soon as possible, that sort of language.
How would that work in the sense that companies are still expected to surrender their permits for their carbon liability in February and they're still in the middle of a compliance year? How would it work? Would they get compensated for the carbon...?
GREG HUNT: No, no what we've said is that we want the legislation through and we want it to take effect as of 30 June 2014. We said that during the election campaign and that is well established.
REPORTER: Okay, and if you don't get a repeal by that date, I mean, what happens after that?
We run into a new compliance year; there'll be another twelve months whereby free permits will be distributed. Would you compensate those companies once it's repealed?
GREG HUNT: I am very confident that under every circumstance we can have this repealed with effect from 30 June 2014.
REPORTER: Just on Clive Palmer, is it appropriate for a politician to ask for a full repayment of Carbon Tax payments when the same politician stands to gain millions of dollars by that very act?
GREG HUNT: Well, I'll leave that gentleman to speak for himself.
Alright, thank you very much.