The Government’s proposed emissions trading scheme is so confusing that even Mr Rudd and his Government’s Leader in the Senate can’t explain its impact nearly nine months after the legislation’s introduction, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Action Simon Birmingham said today.
Asked yesterday by Senator Birmingham how many Australian families will be worse off under the Government’s ETS, the Leader of the Government in the Senate gave a confused and misleading response:
“We have undertaken to fully compensate Australian families for the costs of our ETS and 92 per cent of the families will receive full compensation and working families in Australia will have those costs met.”
            Senator Chris Evans, Hansard, 3 February 2010
In response to further questions from Senator Birmingham, Senator Evans has today conceded, in the Senate at the end of Question Time, that his use of the words ‘full’ and ‘fully’ were both incorrect and has sought to correct the record.
“The Government’s own estimates indicate that around half of Australian households will in fact be worse off, with 4.2 million of the estimated 8.5 million households in 2011 to receive less than full compensation or nothing,” Senator Birmingham said today.
Yesterday’s gaffe from Senator Evans followed Mr Rudd’s appearance on Channel Nine’s Today show, during which he wrongly made reference to “a one-off adjustment to the price” of consumer goods which would in fact be continually affected by variations in the price of carbon under the Government’s scheme.
“Months after their legislation was first introduced, Senator Evans misled the Senate and Mr Rudd misled the Australian people on his TV appearance.
“If Mr Rudd and his Government’s Leader in the Senate don’t understand their great big new tax or its very real impacts on Australian households, how can the ordinary Australians most affected be expected to understand it all?
“The Coalition has presented a real alternative to the Australian people – a policy for direct action to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by the Government’s own target of 5 per cent but without Mr Rudd’s great big tax on everything.
“A significant advantage of an approach that doesn’t tax everything indiscriminately is that you don’t then need a massive compensation churn that even the Prime Minister and Senate Government Leader either don’t understand or can’t explain.”