We know that this nation is one of the hottest and driest continents on earth. We’re going to be hit particularly hard and early by climate change and that means it’s in our nation’s interests; it’s in the interests of our children and of our grandchildren to act now. Delay is the same as denial and the costs of inaction are far greater than the costs of action.
We have put up a policy that’s in the national interest. It’s a policy to tackle climate change. The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is the most effective, responsible way to reduce carbon pollution in this country and to make a difference to climate change.
Now we should recognise even Mr Howard has said that we need such a policy for this nation’s future.
Today in the Senate we saw the Liberal Party stop action on climate change. I do note that there were two brave senators who were prepared to cross the floor and vote for what they believed in and that is they voted for action on climate change.
Faced with the blocking of our planned to tackle climate change by Liberal Party extremists and deniers, let me make it very clear what the Rudd government will do next.
We will, on the first sitting day next year in February, introduce into the Parliament the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. The Bill introduced will be inclusive of the amendments agreed to such a short time ago by the Liberal party room.
We are doing this to give the Liberal Party one chance to work through and deal with this legislation in the national interest. We all know the Liberal Party is deeply divided on this question and there have been many Liberal voices prepared to speak up for the national interest and to speak in favour of our plan to tackle climate change.
We believe that over the Christmas period there is time for the calmer heads in the Liberal Party to consider this question: to consider acting in the national interest and to join with the Government on the first sitting day when Parliament resumes to take decisive steps to deal with climate change.
We will bring this Bill back into the Parliament because it’s the right thing to do in the national interest. We are determined to see this legislation pass the Parliament. We know that there are Liberals who are prepared to support this legislation. We know supporting this legislation was the position of the Liberal Party only a few short days ago.
We call on those in the Liberal Party over the summer period who believe in taking responsible action on climate change to consider their position, to consider the position of their Party and to come back to the Parliament next year ready to take action on climate change.
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