SIMON BIRMINGHAM: It’s time for the Government to come clean about that fact that it’s got the Treasury modelling around its carbon tax so terribly, terribly wrong. They modelled on the basis that the world carbon price would be somewhere between $29 and $61. The reality is that the European ETS is currently trading at $AUD 9 – about a third of what Treasury modelled on. The Government got it wrong and the impact of that is immense. The impact in the medium term is that Australian industries will be so much more uncompetitive that there will be such a greater impact on jobs because our carbon tax is so out of whack with absolutely anything that is happening elsewhere in the world. The longer term impact when the carbon tax moves to a floating price is that revenue will crash and there will be a multi-billion dollar hole in the budget. So it’s time for the Government to come clean – it got the fundamentals of its carbon tax wrong and they need to admit that they need to redo the Treasury modelling and be upfront and honest about the impact of it on the Australian economy and on the budget in the future.
JOURNALIST: Senator, do you think that Clive Palmer’s legal challenge against the carbon tax can win?
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Well, I’m not a lawyer so I’ll leave that to the lawyers to debate but Clive Palmer is, like all Australians, entitled to take legal action. What I know is that Clive Palmer and many, many businesses throughout Australia are worried about the impact of the carbon tax. Clearly, his businesses – the businesses he’s involved in – are seriously concerned that the carbon tax will be a major impact on the jobs and competitiveness of their industries so the Government should acknowledge this will affect Australian industry – affect it hard – and measures like the taking of legal action by someone like Clive Palmer are an indication of how seriously Australian industry views the threat of the carbon tax.