You wouldn’t let Rudd up the GST, so don’t accept his ETS
Editor’s note: Malcolm Turnbull has a huge fight on his hands this Sunday when the Coalition has an extraordinary party room meeting to decide whether to negotiate with the Rudd Government on the Emissions Trading Scheme. Kevin Andrews is one of many Liberals who, contrary to Mr Turnbull, think the Bill should at least be delayed until after Copenhagen.
Let me pose a simple question about the ETS. By how much will the price of a litre of milk and a loaf of bread increase once the ETS is introduced?
And let me give you the simple answer: No-one knows! But increase in price they will, because Mr Rudd’s ETS is a tax on everything.
The respected financial commentator, Terry McCrann, estimates that the ETS is equivalent to initially raising the GST to 12.5 per cent.
But he warns “there is no cap on this invidious version of a GST. The effective rate could double or triple, the amount of money raised could skyrocket. Indeed, it is intended to do exactly that, with no referral back to Parliament for endorsement.”
A brief to the Victorian Treasurer estimates that electricity costs will increase between 26 and 46 per cent. This increase will cascade through the economy, affecting almost everything.
The Rudd government has refused to release another report about the hike in electricity costs. The ETS is a massive tax hike.
Worse than this, the ETS will destroy much of our competitive advantage as a nation.
It is worthwhile remembering some sobering statistics about China, whose economy will not be subject to an ETS/tax:
China’s reliance on coal as a primary source of energy is reflected in the fact that coal makes up 69 per cent of China’s total primary energy consumption;
China has an average of two new coal fired power stations opening every week, with another 500 under construction;
In 2007, China edged ahead of the United States as the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse pollution;
If unabated, by 2030 China’s emissions will grow by 139 per cent and make up 26 per cent of the world total emissions output; and
China claims that it will be a developing country for at least the next 50 years and will therefore not agree to be subject to the Kyoto Protocol.
Why on earth would Australia impose upon itself a job and economy-destroying ETS when developing countries such as China will continue to grow and pollute unabated?
None of this has been explained by Mr Rudd. Instead, he insists that Australia enact his job destroying, high taxing legislation before the rest of the world.
He cannot even wait until December when the nations of the world meet in Copenhagen to discuss climate change.
In July, the Coalition issued nine principles about an ETS. In addition, we have repeatedly stressed that there should be no Australian legislation before the Copenhagen climate change conference, due in December.
In simple language: No legislation before Copenhagen; and relative to the rest of the world, no detriment to Australian industry and no loss of Australian jobs.
The Copenhagen conference begins on December 7 – less than two months away. The US Congress will not have enacted legislation before Copenhagen. Nor will any other major emitting nation.
Despite this, Mr Rudd insists that Australia, with less than 2 per cent of world emissions, legislates beforehand. Yet he cannot tell us what the real cost will be to Australians.
The reality is that Mr Rudd’s proposals will be a tax on everything. It will cascade through the tax system, adding a massive cost to business, and hence goods and services, in Australia.
It will make the GST look like a minor imposition by comparison. Mr Rudd’s tax on everything will cost us dearly. At the very least, we should not be enacting his legislation until after Copenhagen.
And if he insists otherwise, the Opposition should campaign on the tax increases and job destroying consequences of the legislation. When the Australian people realise the con that Kevin Rudd is engaged in, their views will harden against it.
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