Last week the Labor party passed the Safeguard Mechanism (Crediting) Bill. This is without a doubt the most destructive bill ever passed during my time in the Senate.
Long story short, companies will be forced to buy carbon credits, more likely from offshore countries to offset carbon emissions.
These offsets however are being capped at 30% of emissions so that companies that can’t buy offsets will either be forced to close down or move their business offshore.
The legislation will destroy industry and jobs in this country. Our resource and agriculture sector will be hardest hit by this measure. They are Australia’s two biggest exports earners. All for a gas that can be recycled naturally via photosynthesis.
Make no mistake the Labor/Greens alliance are determined to destroy our country.
“The Safeguard Mechanism catches any entity or company (“facility” in the Bill) whose operations emit more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2-eq) per year. CO2-eq theoretically converts all greenhouse gas emissions to the equivalent of CO2 in terms of their estimated global warming effect. Apparently 215 facilities are caught right now in the Mechanism, but this of course could change.
Coming into effect on July 1, the Clean Energy Regulator will establish baseline emissions for each facility which they will have to better by at least 4.9 percent each year until 2030. Bear in mind that the 4.9 percent is a constant number deducted from the initial baseline. So a baseline of 100 kilotonnes becomes 95.1 in year one; 90.2 in year two; 85.3 in year three and so on. In other words, the percentage reduction becomes more burdensome as the years roll on.”
Chamber: Senate on 28/03/2023
Item: BILLS – Safeguard Mechanism (Crediting) Amendment Bill 2022 – Second Reading
Senator RENNICK (Queensland) (00:37): It’s disappointing that I have to give this speech at 20 to one in the morning because the Labor government want to ram this bill through and avoid any scrutiny and transparency. They certainly wouldn’t want the media reporting on just how damaging and destructive the Safeguard Mechanism (Crediting) Amendment Bill 2023 will be to the country of Australia. It won’t be long before we end up the way we started: as a convict colony, enslaved to ideas and regulations imposed upon us by other people in the world. It is basically going to destroy business in this country.
This bill, effectively, wants to get big companies to reduce their emissions by five per cent per year until 2030. The only way you can really do that is through offsets, because it’s impossible not to produce carbon dioxide if you’re running power. If you’re going to buy offsets, you’re going to have to either buy offsets offshore, which means money is going to go offshore, or move offshore, which means that money, businesses and jobs will go offshore. You could go broke, which means people basically lose their jobs in Australia, or you can buy offsets here in Australia.
The only way you can really buy offsets here in Australia is by buying agricultural land and locking it up. I have seen firsthand what that does to the communities in south-west Queensland when you lock up the mulga. You end up with feral pests. The farmers sell up. They pack up and move to the coast, so those small towns out in regional Australia start to lose people. They then lose services, and eventually those towns are going to die. Our wealth comes from the regions. This bill is going to destroy not just industry but agriculture as well.
The irony of it is that only a few hours ago tonight the so-called National Reconstruction Fund was passed. The Labor government are going to spend $15 billion on supposedly rebuilding manufacturing in this country. I have no idea how you think you’re going to rebuild manufacturing in this country when you’re whacking a penalty tax of up to $275 per tonne on every tonne of carbon that’s produced by a prospective factory.
This bill is going to be really bad for the Australian economy and the Australian country as a whole. Labor want to replace cheap, reliable baseload energy, in the form of coal and gas, with renewable energy. Of course, this renewable energy is actually built and constructed offshore. So we’re shutting down the things that we have a natural advantage at—all those vast natural resources we have—and we’re going to start importing from other countries the stuff that we originally exported and added value to. We’re going to end up paying three, four, five, six, seven or eight times more than what we would have gotten for it if we had actually been able to sell it in the first place—which we won’t be doing for much longer, because of these ridiculous laws.
I’ll come back to my hometown, Kogan Creek, which has the cheapest coal mine and cheapest power station in Australia. It’s right there in the ground; the coal is owned by the people of Queensland. It only costs the cost of production to get it out of the ground and burn it in a coal-fired power station, and then you’ve got cheap and reliable energy. It is that simple. But with renewables you’ve got to not just build and generate but also store energy, and you’ve got to recycle the energy. The storage is humungous. The Labor government is spending $224 million on 400 community batteries that provide power for 100,000 people. If you were to do that across the country for 10 million households, it would cost $22 billion. That’s just for storing energy.
We’re getting two kicks in the guts out of all of this. No. 1 is that we’re going to shut down industry in this country, and No. 2 is that any industry that can survive the enormous cost of the carbon credits et cetera is then going to be forced to pay a lot more money for renewable energy. I just cannot see how industry in this country is going to survive. And they won’t. They will pack up and move offshore. All these oil and gas companies will go to other places. Indonesia has heaps of coal. Papua New Guinea has heaps of oil and gas. Okay? They aren’t going to stay in Australia with this amount of red tape. We’ve already been burdened over the years with six unnecessary state governments that have their own different laws and regulations, and now we’re going to have this particular bill. Of course, it is so typical of Labor to want to sneak this bill through in the dead of night because they don’t want any scrutiny. They don’t want the journalists, who are normally up in the press gallery here, listening to the speeches delivered tonight. Labor don’t want it on the record that they are killing this country stone cold dead. And for what?
Just eight years ago, the CSIRO had its own report that said Australia absorbs two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. Human emissions are 497 million tonnes. Australia absorbs four times more already than what humans emit. So why aren’t we fighting when we go over to these international bodies? Why aren’t we saying to them, ‘Well, actually, we don’t have to do anything, because we’ve reached net zero four times over.’ Why aren’t we out there turning this upside down and getting these other countries to buy carbon credits off us? Why on earth is Australia—one of the least densely populated countries in the world—paying a tax on an ideology that hasn’t even been proven? The whole name ‘greenhouse gas’ is an oxymoron. A greenhouse is a solid object. It traps convection. Gases don’t trap convection. CO2 absorbs incoming radiation as well as outgoing radiation. It absorbs the incoming radiation at 2.8 microns. That’s five times stronger than the outgoing radiation. Don’t believe me? Look at the NASA energy budget. It’s all there. And yet you people sit here day in, day out saying that this isn’t enough. ‘This bill doesn’t go far enough. We’ve only got 20 years to save the earth or it’s all going to come to an end.’
Let’s look at some of these crazy predictions. Al Gore said that there’s a 70 per cent chance there’d be no ice in the Antarctic over summer—never happened. Greta Thunberg said that in five years time, which is about two months away, the world will have a cataclysmic climate event from which we can never return—not going to happen. Tim Flannery said that the dams would never fill again—never happened. We’ve filled them up numerous times. I’m still waiting. I’ve got a fatwa out on my good friend Andrew Bragg, here, that if Fort Denison isn’t half way under water by 2030 I’m coming for him. He knows it and he’ll be sitting up there in his room quaking in his boots. He knows. And I will guarantee you, if I’m still here in 2030, the water levels will not have risen.
They’ve been predicting this rubbish since the seventies. I notice Senator Rice was out there saying that 30 years ago she was taught about climate change and greenhouse gases. Guess what? Climate change does exist: it’s the weather. Tycho Brahe proved it in 1609, with Johannes Kepler, because the planet moves in an ellipse. Sometimes we’re further from the sun and sometimes we’re closer to the sun. That affects climate. We had an ice age 20,000 years ago. We’ve actually been warming for 20,000 years. It’s called the Holocene period. There’s plenty of evidence of all this going on. Yet here we are tonight driving our country into the ground because of a fantasy.
It’s a fantasy from this side of the chamber when they think that women can be men and men can be women and black people can be white people and white people can be black people, and gases can be solids and solids can be gases. You were taught in grade 8 that material can come in three substances: gas, solid and liquid. A greenhouse is a solid object. It traps convection. Gases don’t trap convection.
Honourable senators interjecting—
Senator RENNICK: These over here mock, but they haven’t got a clue about thermodynamics. They’re intellectual pygmies. When you get the intellectual pygmies and you cross them with the unicorn farmers you end up with a catastrophe. You end up with an economic catastrophe that will destroy this country. Shame on you that you can’t do this in the light of day—because you cannot face scrutiny. That is the modus operandi of the Labor Party.
The Prime Minister came out and said there was going to be all this accountability and transparency. There’s none. This is getting rammed through, at the last minute, with some crazy amendments by the Greens. And they’re proud of it. They are proud of the fact that they are driving this country into bankruptcy. We are going to be the Argentina of the 21st century, at the rate we’re going—and it won’t take long, with you guys. It’s not going to take long, with you guys, to drive us into the ground, because you guys have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re ideological fools.
You will reverse course on this bill before 2030 because we are going to see jobs driven out of this country. As we transition from the cheap, reliable base load energy to renewable energy—this is on top of the cost-of-living pressures. We have an RBA that’s jacked up interest rates by 10 per cent, on the back of all this crazy spending from COVID forced on us by the crazy Labor premiers. This is going to end very badly, very soon.
For you guys to be sitting over there laughing, mark my words that the day will come when we look back on you guys and we won’t be laughing. We’ll be shaking our heads going, ‘Why on earth did we let this happen?’ And you’re sitting there all buried in your phones because you know you can’t justify this bill, because you don’t have the intelligence or the integrity to explain this bill. You cannot explain how sticking a carbon tax on industry—
The ACTI NG DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Sorry, senator. Yes, Minister?
Senator Gallagher: On a point of order. Senator Rennick should be directing his remarks through the chair and not directly across the chamber.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you for that guidance.
Senator RENNICK: I should have gone through the chair. Silly me to think that the other side would not be so fragile and brittle as to have to get petty. That’s because they can’t handle the fact, Mr Deputy President, that they don’t want to be scrutinised. They can’t explain how sticking a tax on industry for a gas that yet again—we were taught in grade 8: it’s called photosynthesis; it’s plant food—is a natural part of the environment. Who on Earth would come up with this sort of idea, to tax something that’s a natural part of the environment? Who would do that? Only a party that doesn’t care for our children’s future or our country’s future. All they are going to do is empower other countries that will end up taking us over one way or the other—if they want to. I mean, why they’d bother coming here I don’t know. They’d take one look at the people in power at the moment and they’d run a mile. Who would want to come to this country?
The other thing—this is what I love about Labor policy—is that it is so inconsistent. They’re out there skiting about how they’ve got a high immigration rate, right? They’re saying, ‘Oh, we’ve got 300,000 immigrants coming in again.’ If you wanted to reduce emissions, wouldn’t you actually lower immigration? Wouldn’t you lower immigration? And while you’re at it, stick a tax on the universities that don’t pay tax on all these fees they earn from foreign students, okay? Why don’t you get the universities to pay for all the extra demands from these students as they come in and take houses? I mean, you’re going to put this housing fund up—yet again, more contradictions from the Labor Party: high immigration that puts pressure on the cost of living, pressure on housing. What are you going to do about it? More immigration, because of course they can always then get the immigrants. They meet them at the border and say, ‘Vote for us; we’re Labor; we’re gonna look after you.’
And of course it’s false-economy stuff. It’s all false-economy stuff, because this party has no idea what they’re doing. They don’t understand economics. They don’t understand science. They don’t understand patriotism They are an absolute, utter disgrace that has basically got to ram this legislation through in the dead of night. They don’t want anyone listening to any speeches, because they don’t want any scrutiny, because they can’t answer the questions, but they are sticking a tax on the Australian people, because other people on the other side of the world have said so. You don’t answer to the Australian people. You don’t have any loyalty to this country. Shame on you.