Hansard – Speech by Craig Kelly MP – 20 September 2011



Tuesday, 20 September 2011 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 17



Date Tuesday, 20 September 2011 Source House

Page 17 Proof Yes

Questioner Responder

Speaker Mr CRAIG KELLY Question No.

(Hughes) (NaN.NaN pm)

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (10:33): Here we are,

debating a bill that both the Prime Minister and the

Treasurer promised, on the eve of the last election, that

they would not introduce. What an absolute affront to

our democracy. As the Prime Minister has noted:

… the judgment of history comes sooner than we


I suggest that the Prime Minister should be careful

what she wishes for. When the vote on this bill comes

next month, anyone who sits on that side of the

chamber and says yes to introducing a tax that they

explicitly promised before the last election they would

not introduce, says yes to higher electricity prices, says

yes to placing Australian industry at a competitive

disadvantage—putting hundreds of thousands of jobs

at risk—and says yes to enriching foreign carbon

traders by sending billions of dollars offshore will

be remembered by history as trashing our democratic


Last Wednesday, 15 September, was the International

Day of Democracy. The preamble of the UN resolution

for that day states:

Democracy is a universal value based on the freely

expressed will of people to determine their own

political, economic, social and cultural systems …

The imposition of the world’s biggest carbon tax on this

economy is not the free will of the Australian people;

it is an assault on our democratic principles.

While everyone remembers that infamous misleading

statement, ‘There will be no carbon tax under a

government I lead’, for which history will forever

remember this Prime Minister, history should also

remember this Prime Minister for another, equally

misleading statement. She pledged not to introduce

carbon trading until a time ‘when the Australian

economy is ready and when the Australian people are

ready’. The Australian people are certainly not ready

for this big tax, having voted against it at an election,

and the Australian economy is not ready. Just look at

the results of the recent Sensis small business index

for September. It found that business confidence is

plummeting, with small business profitability falling

sharply during the quarter and now standing at record

lows. It also found that all key performance indicators

fell in the last quarter, and there has been a substantial

increase in the number of small businesses looking

to either close their doors or sell up. In this climate,

how can anyone come into this chamber and even

contemplate slugging this economy with the world’s

biggest carbon tax?

Back in high school, one of the books I studied was

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It painted a

frightening picture of a future in which an authoritarian

government maintained power through the systematic

use of propaganda and disinformation. Ultimately,

Orwell’s writings warn us about the fragility of

democracy. The parallels between Orwell’s Nineteen

Eighty-Four and the practices of those peddling this

carbon tax would have Orwell spinning in his grave.

In his novel, the ‘Ministry of Truth’ was the official

government department for telling lies to deceive the

population. The parallel with today is that we have

a Prime Minister who once stood up before this

parliament and proclaimed that ‘the Labor Party is the

party of truth-telling’. That is right: the same political

party that promised, in order to get itself elected,

that there would be no carbon tax and that is now

introducing one is the very same party that claims to be

the party of truth-telling.

In Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the character Syme,

admiring the shrinking volume of a new dictionary,


‘It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.’

Today, this government has destroyed the word

‘dioxide’. Every government spokesman corrupts the

language by referring to carbon pollution, which

creates the false impression that the carbon tax is

about preventing carbon pollution—that is, black

soot being emitted into the atmosphere. But the

theory of global warming is all about that clear,

odourless gas that makes plants grow: carbon dioxide.

According to this logic of carbon pollution, champagne

is just chardonnay infused with carbon pollution.

So, according to this government, if we want to

reduce our emissions of carbon pollution, we could

just drink chardonnay instead of champagne. I find

the repeated Orwellian chants of ‘carbon pollution’

and ‘big polluters’ both offensive and dangerous. In

Tuesday, 20 September 2011 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 18


truth, carbon pollution is black soot, also known

as particulate matter. Numerous recent studies have

found that these substances cause a variety of serious

diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and

asthma. For the Liverpool area of Sydney, which I

represent—where the local council will need to find

another $330,000 for electricity costs under this carbon

tax—statistics show that people aged between 16 and

24 have a 50 per cent greater chance of suffering

from asthma. This is most likely the result of true

carbon pollution through particulate matter from diesel


However, the government’s proposal for a carbon tax

—or, more correctly, for a tax on carbon dioxide—will

do nothing to address the very serious health concerns

associated with particulate matter. It will do nothing

to tackle the problem of diesel exhaust. In truth, if we

trained our guns on carbon dioxide, we would simply

weaken our economy, burdening it with higher costs

of producing electricity. By doing so we would in

fact weaken our ability to tackle real pollution that is

causing harm to human health today and that will cause

harm to human health for our next generation.

Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four also gave us the

concept of ‘doublespeak’, language that deliberately

disguises, distorts or reverses the meaning of words.

If Orwell were alive today he might well have

used the term ‘greenspeak’. By using doublespeak or

‘greenspeak’, global warming has now morphed into

climate change. No less an authority than Professor

Phil Jones confirmed in a BBC interview that from

1995 to 2010 there was no statistically significant

warming and that since January 2010 there has in

fact been slight global cooling. So with no global

warming occurring since 1995 in the land of droughts

and flooding rains, we can always have a perpetual

war against climate change. Using doublespeak—or

greenspeak—taxing carbon dioxide emissions has now

become the mantra of ‘putting a price on carbon,’ as

this government simply refuses to tell the truth and use

the word ‘tax’. But if it looks like a tax, if it works

like a tax, if it puts prices up like a tax and if this

Labor-Greens government has anything to do with it,

you can bet your bottom dollar that it is a tax. And—

using doublespeak or greenspeak—attempts to control

global temperatures by forestalling global warming

is twisted into the often repeated Orwellian chant of

‘taking action on climate change’. The claim of taking

action of climate change implies that something is

actually being done that will achieve something to

reduce global temperatures, but that is simply a myth

that is being spun.

Firstly, even on this government’s own figures, under

this carbon tax, emissions of carbon dioxide will

actually increase. This carbon tax will do nothing to

change the temperature. It will do nothing to change

the levels of CO2 in our atmosphere. The Orwellian

mantra of ‘taking action on climate change’ also implies

that this carbon tax will somehow stop the sea levels

from rising, the rise that has been occurring for the last

thousand years. But the truth is that this carbon tax will

have as much effect on sea levels as King Canute did

when he had his throne carried down to the seashore

and when the tide came in he commanded the waves

to advance no further. So what we have is a carbon tax

that is all pain for absolutely no environmental gain.

In Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four , the government

use memory holes to manipulate the past by rewriting

history and changing facts to fit the party doctrine—

and just look at the parallels today and at how past

scare campaigns of the preachers of global warming

have been sent down the memory hole. Remember

the prediction by the UN climate body that claimed

that, by 2010, the world would be flooded with 50

million climate refugees because of rising sea levels.

The science was certain, we were told, the time for

debate was over! So certain was this prediction, a

website affiliated with the UN even had a map showing

where these climate refugees would come from. But

with 2010 having come and gone, and without any

climate refugees—let alone the promised 50 million

—this map has now been sent down one of Orwell’s

memory holes and has been deleted from the World

Wide Web.

Then look at one of the other predictions: that climate

change had caused the endless drought. We had

Tim Flannery telling us, ‘Even the rain that falls

isn’t actually going to fill our dams and rivers.’ The

science was certain; the time for debate was over. So

government spent billions of dollars which have now

been wasted on useless and mothballed desalination

plants, money that should have been spent and invested

elsewhere on badly needed infrastructure. So now the

endless drought has ended and we have Lake Eyre

in Central Australia full, something that has only

happened three times in the last century.

Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four also warned us of

the psychological manipulation of institutionalised

brainwashing with the quote:

Who controls the past controls the future.

Look at the parallels today, with claims by a group

pedalling this carbon tax and trashing our democracy

under the name of the Australian Youth Climate

Coalition. Their website states:

… we want to be able to enjoy a stable climate similar

to that which our parents and grandparents enjoyed …

we need … a safe climate for our future.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 19


There is no such thing as a safe climate or a stable

climate. There has never been one in the past and there

will never be one in the future. Our grandparents never

enjoyed a safe or stable climate. Just look at some of the

facts and disasters from our history: between 1803 and

1992, at least 4,200 people in Australia died as a direct

result of heatwaves, including the 1895-96 heatwave,

which killed 437 people. As well as heatwaves, our

parents and grandparents and great-grandparents have

had to live with severe storms and floods. For example,

on 24 June in 1852, 89 people were drowned in a flood

in Gundagai; in March 1899, 410 people were killed

when Cyclone Mahina hit Bathurst Bay; in March 1934

another cyclone killed 99 people by creating a ninemetre

storm surge in northern Queensland; and, on

29 November 1934, torrential rain turned Melbourne’s

Yarra River into a raging torrent, leaving 35 dead, 250

injured and 3,000 homeless. As sure as night follows

day these heatwaves, floods and severe storms—these

unsafe and unstable climatic conditions of the past

—will simply continue to occur again in the future.

Whether or not Australia introduces a carbon tax will

make absolutely no difference.

Another misleading claim that we often hear is that this

carbon tax will build competitive industries. We simply

cannot build a competitive economy by generating

electricity with Chinese solar panels or by building

giant steel windmills while at the same time sending

Australian black coal off to China and India where it

is turned into low-cost electricity. Let us be clear: this

tax will place Australian industry at an internationally

competitive disadvantage. It will lower our standard of

living and it will reduce our ability to tackle many other

pressing environmental problems.

Next, we have the doublespeak or greenspeak of the

compensation. The compensation under this bill is

little more than a bribe funded by the government

borrowing another $4 billion, mainly from overseas.

The compensation will be marginal and it will be

temporary, but the damage from this carbon tax to the

economy will be permanent. If this tax is effective

it will act as a penalty. Once the tax gets high

enough, instead of using low-cost, efficient black

coal electricity, producers will change to hopelessly

inefficient Chinese solar panels or giant steel windmills

to produce electricity. When this happens and the tax

actually has the desired effect, there will simply be no

tax collected. So there will be no money to be put into

the pot to pay the compensation and so we will be stuck

with higher prices, but there will be no government

funds left to pay the ongoing compensation that will be


And, finally, the world’s largest carbon tax is not

only the greatest act of economic vandalism and

trashing of our democracy since Federation; it will be

dwarfed into insignificance once the lunacy of carbon

trading starts. Under this nonsense, by 2050, we will

be sending $57 billion—that is right, $57 billion—

offshore to foreigners to buy pieces of paper called

carbon certificates. And, for just a few dollars more,

they might even put them in a decorative frame for us,

just to keep our lights on. If we calculate the constant

increase in the number of permits and their price from

$2.7 billion, it is not only $57 billion by 2050 but the

cost between 2020 and 2050 adds up to nearly $650


Finally, Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four , gave an apt

description of those supporting the government when

he described them as possessing:

… paralysing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms

—one of those completely unquestioning, devoted

drudges on whom…the stability of the Party depended.

Those who support that bill show these parallels apply

equally today. (Time expired)

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One Response to Hansard – Speech by Craig Kelly MP – 20 September 2011

  1. artarmon says:

    A great speech that really does tell the whole truth. The misleading use of carbon is so wrong and rivals in duplicity the steam presented as smoke coming from power generators.

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