MPI: Climate Change

Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (18:39): I note that in the past Prime Minister Turnbull has supported an ETS, an Emissions Trading Scheme. I rise to contribute to this matter of public importance, which focuses on Prime Minister Turnbull's failure to take action consistent with his words on climate change. In doing so I take this opportunity to speak about the JLN's policy on a carbon tax and an ETS.

I acknowledge that climate change is real. I also acknowledge that ice core sampling by scientists in the Antarctic shows that over the last 600,000 years the average world temperature has changed and has been much higher than today's average temperature, and it has also been much colder. I note that most scientific climate projections indicate that Australian citizens, by ourselves, have no hope of stopping world climate change—no matter what measures we take. Whether it is a carbon tax, which is a fixed charge on energy, or an ETS, which is a floating price on energy use, it is clear that a government making Australian pensioners, businesses and families pay more for their energy will never stop world climate change. It will only increase the cost of living for our families and kill off Australian jobs and businesses, and for no return. Therefore, the JLN opposes the introduction of a carbon tax or ETS until our major trading partners introduce similar taxes for their energy use.

In the meantime Australia must prepare for world climate change by boosting the numbers and resources available to our emergency services, our military, our medical professionals and our farmers. We must always make political decisions which protect our energy, water, food, national security and Australian workers' job security. In the meantime, while Australia waits for the world agreement on carbon tax or an ETS, the JLN strongly supports the following two measures, which are assured to quickly lower carbon emissions while keeping power prices low and while guaranteeing reliability of supply. The first is the doubling of baseload renewable energy in the form of hydroelectricity. The second is a community debate, followed by a national referendum, on the introduction of nuclear power generation. There is a danger in using renewable electricity, which does not have the ability to deliver baseload power 24/7, which is not affected by the availability of wind or sunlight. And that danger is a very high energy cost for all Australians.

Germany, which relies for 12.33 per cent of its energy on renewable sources, according to Parliamentary Library research, has average household electricity prices at US37.26c, or A50.67c per kilowatt hour, which is almost double that of Australia's electricity prices already.