SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Julia Gillard has said she wants Australia to be on the right side of history in the climate change debate. Well, if you look at what those participants in the global carbon market say and have told the World Bank, 90 per cent of them or thereabouts are pessimistic about the likelihood of any new globally legally binding treaty being reached on climate change in the near future. 90 per cent of global carbon market participants don’t think there will be a new legally binding treaty after Kyoto any time soon. That suggests Australia is putting itself on the wrong side of history, that Julia Gillard is putting the Australian economy at jeopardy compared with all of our trading partners, all of the competing countries we run the competition with for investment, for jobs, for opportunity. She needs to acknowledge that the world is not doing what Labor says, they are not implementing a carbon price as Labor says, but it is the reality as the Productivity Commission advised this Government that no other country has an economy-wide ETS [emissions trading scheme] or carbon tax of the nature that Labor is proposing to implement. With no other country doing it in this manner, nor should Australia. We should find smart options to reduce our emissions that ensure we are environmentally responsible but do not jeopardise our jobs and industry.
JOURNALIST: Did Nick Xenophon abuse Parliamentary privilege last night by naming the Catholic priest?
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: I have a lot of respect for Nick but I don’t respect what he did last night. I think Parliamentary privilege is just that it’s a privilege. It’s to be used cautiously, judiciously, sparingly. It’s not the role of politicians to play police, prosecutor, judge and jury and I am concerned that it appears that Nick has perhaps overstepped that mark on this occasion.
JOURNALIST: He says he was forced to act because the Catholic Church didn’t. You don’t respect that position?
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: I would suggest the relevant authority in these matters is always the police.