The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

5 July 2011

Doorstop Interview

Parliament House

5 July 2011

SUBJECTS: Sunday announcement of a price on carbon pollution; Tony Abbott on 7.30; credit card reforms

TREASURER:

Well last night the Cabinet agreed that we had made enough progress through our talks in the Multi-Party Committee to announce a price on carbon pollution on Sunday. Now of course there will be further Cabinet consideration and further discussions through the week but I'm confident that we have come to a point where we can announce our plans on Sunday.

Now this is pretty important because this price on carbon pollution will apply to fewer than 1,000 of our largest polluters. It will not apply directly to households. Now of course there are price impacts that flow from that, which is why we will provide assistance to households and of course assistance to industry and assistance to clean energy programs.

Nine out of ten households will receive assistance in terms of tax cuts and additional family assistance, and additional pension increases. And of course there will be assistance to industry, particularly energy-intensive trade-exposed industries. And of course there will be a battlers' buffer for those on the lowest incomes and that will apply to over three million households.

Now of course Mr Abbott admitted I think on television last night that his so-called direct action plan will hit households. It will cost them something like $720 per year. And of course he could not name one single economist last night that was out there supporting his plan because essentially what he will be doing is that he will be taxing households and paying the big polluters – a very clear contrast there.

Now, I also wanted to mention that we were successful in passing through the Senate last night very important reforms for credit card holders – reforms which will ensure that they don't pay too much interest on their credit cards and reforms which will ensure that people are not bombarded with offers from credit card companies. They're very important as well. Over to you.

JOURNALIST:

Tony Windsor has said this morning that he will support carbon tax legislation if it is similar to the deal announced on Sunday. Is the Government sitting pretty now? I mean, do you think you've got it all wrapped up in the bag?

TREASURER:

Look I don't ever take anything for granted, but the discussions we've had through the Multi-Party Committee have been constructive. Discussions with Mr Windsor and Mr Oakeshott and of course others on the Multi-Party Committee are important. We will have further discussions towards the end of the week. I'm confident that we are heading for an announcement on Sunday.

JOURNALIST:

Are you trying to avoid scrutiny by waiting until Parliament has gone before announcing the details. Are you trying to avoid scrutiny?

TREASURER:

No look this is just completely ridiculous. What we are seeing from Mr Abbott is his attempts to run an outrageous scare campaign to exaggerate the impacts of a carbon price to try and scare the pants off Australians. The fact is we need to reduce our carbon pollution. We've got to do it to ensure that we have a prosperous economy and a sustainable environment. And in this debate what we need are facts. We don't need Mr Abbott's exaggerations. We don't need Mr Abbott's wrecking tactics. The country deserves a debate based on the facts. And of course all the facts will be out there when we announce the emissions trading scheme and then we can get stuck into dealing with Mr Abbott's distortions and his scare campaign.

JOURNALIST:

Why can't we have those facts now? Why do we have to wait for Sunday?

TREASURER:

Well, because what the Government has been doing is outlining some of the principles, some of the principles on which this scheme is based. It's important to provide that sort of information. As you know generally when we are heading towards Budget there will be a lot of claim and counter claim but we've got to put a lot of detail together. We've got to announce it in a way in which people can study it. We're going to do that in the announcement on Sunday and then we can get on with the debate.

JOURNALIST:

How convinced are you that once the details are out public opinion will turn around on this issue?

TREASURER:

This is a complex area of policy. It's an important area of policy. It deserves a thorough debate. When all the detail is out there we can have that debate. I certainly look forward to having that debate in the months ahead. I don't get seized by opinion polls on a daily, weekly, monthly, or for that matter yearly basis.

The most important thing is to do the right thing by the country and doing the right thing by the country is to reduce our carbon pollution to make sure that we are competitive as an economy into the future to protect our great industries. We need to put a price on carbon to remain competitive, to drive investment in renewable energy. We need to put a price on carbon so we can have a clean energy future. A clean energy future is absolutely essential if we are going to remain a first-rate economy for the rest of this century.

JOURNALIST:

Will we see a finalised package on Sunday or will it be like the Malaysian agreement where it wasn't finalised before it was announced?

TREASURER:

Well, we never said that we were announcing a finalised agreement when we talked about the Malaysian agreement. We are finalising those details now. What you will see on Sunday is the complete set of arrangements for pricing carbon to drive a clean energy future for Australia. Thanks.