The Gillard Government is doing its best to divert attention from parliamentary scrutiny of its carbon tax plans, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Simon Birmingham said today.
The Government’s Climate Commission has scheduled a public forum at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 24 May* coinciding with a Senate Budget Estimates hearing for the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency portfolio.
“This forum will divert attention away from Estimates hearings involving proper scrutiny of the budget and development of the carbon tax,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“It seems to be a miraculous coincidence that when the Government should be answering questions in Senate Estimates about their carbon tax they would rather have attention diverted by getting their high profile climate change salesman to hold court in a room just down the corridor.
“It would seem as if the Government is more interested in trying to spur a debate about the science of climate change than in seriously discussing the impacts of their policies.
“It might not be the role of the Climate Commission to debate policy responses to climate change, but it appears they’re happy to provide a good distraction from proper scrutiny of the carbon tax.
“Estimates hearings should be about Government agencies fronting up and answering questions about their policies and programs, not providing public relations distractions to shield the Government from proper scrutiny.
“Not only does this event have all the hallmarks of being a distraction, but clearly it will be virtually impossible for any Senators to attend due to the estimates hearings, making a mockery of any claims it is being held in Parliament House to promote parliamentary participation.”
*see Climate Commission letter of invitation, below