The Gillard Government is keeping taxpayers in the dark on its carbon tax agenda to such an extent that it’s now being selectively secretive about the timing of decisions supposedly taken by its so-called ‘multi-party’ committee, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Simon Birmingham said today.
“As if it isn’t bad enough that the Government won’t publicly reveal any details of compensation or inclusions and exclusions, it is now pointedly refusing to answer certain basic questions of process,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Labor is being inconsistently selective, however, picking and choosing which of the deliberations of its Multi-Party Climate Change Committee can be revealed.
“The Gillard Government has refused to answer some very basic questions about the timing of decisions on the 2012 start date or three- to five-year transition period on the flimsy premise that the committee’s deliberations are confidential to the committee.
“Yet in the very same batch of Estimates answers*, the Government has specifically listed 10 November 2010 as a ‘date for key decision’ being when the committee discussed draft Terms of Reference for the Climate Commission and Commissioners’ required skill sets.
“The Government can’t have it both ways. Either the deliberations of this committee set up by the Government are confidential or they are not.
“Four sets of publicly available minutes suggest either the deliberations are actually not confidential or that the minutes are actually worthless redactions.
“We know the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee met four times prior to the Prime Minister’s 24 February announcement of her plans for a carbon tax.
“Minutes of these four meetings are publicly available on the internet**, yet nowhere is there mention of when this committee settled on a three- to five-year transition period or 1 July 2012 start date and the Government is refusing to tell us.
“Australian taxpayers deserve transparency about this Government’s plans to make every aspect of their lives more expensive but are being kept in the dark at every step on the way.”
*See February 2011 Additional Estimates answers to questions on notice 10, 11 and 57 in the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency portfolio, available at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/ec_ctte/estimates/add_1011/ccee/index.htm (10 and 11 listed under answers relating to Program 1.1; 57 under Program 1.3)
**Minutes and communiqués of Multi-Party Climate Change Committee meetings can be found at http://www.climatechange.gov.au/government/initiatives/multi-party-committee/meetings.aspx