Combet Claims 1/3 of Opposition MPs Boosted Mining Shareholding While Condemning Carbon Tax
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet criticised Opposition MPs for speaking against the carbon tax while at the same time boosting their investment in mining which is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
He claimed that 34 or one-third of Coalition MPs, senators or their families made fresh mining investments in the past 24 months. Mr Combet based his statement on updates in the parliamentary register of members’ interest.
“There might be a little insider trading strategy going on, but it demonstrates hypocrisy. If there were a TV reality show, Australia‘s Greatest Hypocrites, they would be the winners,” The Australian quoted Mr Combet.
Among those on the list is communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull who recently bought shares in Sundance Resources, Griffin Coal Mining and EnviroMission. Mr Turnbull said even if the members of the opposition have been buying mining shares, he insisted it is a reflection of collective confidence in the outcome of the next election, which according to polls the Coalition has higher chance of winning than the Labor Party.
The minister pointed out that even if Coalition leader Tony Abbott had been warning that the carbon tax, slated to be collected beginning July 1, would damage the Australian economy, there continues to be multi-billion takeovers, massive investments and new mine approvals.
“It is not just big companies that are investing, it is also many small investors, including many members of Parliament who have a lot of confidence in the future of the industry,” Mr Combet quipped.
He said the other MPs who recently made mining investments were Victoria MP Josh Frydenberg, New South Wales MP John Alexander, Queensland MPs Stuart Robert, Ken O’Dowd and Teresa Gambaro and Western Australia MP Michael Keenan.
Despite the initial carbon price of $23 per tonne, Mr Combet said the local economy would continue to remain strong and generate 1.6 million new jobs over the next eight years, while per capita income would rise to $9,000.
His outlook contrasts with Mr Abbott’s who had been predicting the death of several Australian regions such as Gladstone, Latrobe Valley, Portland and Hunter. The Opposition leader’s negative outlook has been blamed for the drop in his approval ratings, while his rival, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, has slightly increased her voter approval rating.
Ms Gillard also debunked Mr Abbott’s claim that Australia’s carbon price is the highest in the world. She cited that Norway’s carbon price on petrol is $64, Switzerland imposes a fossil tax of $37, Sweden taxes heating fuel at $145 and Ireland’s carbon price is higher by $1.
However, climate change expert Tim Wilson of the Institute of Public Affairs insisted that Australia’s carbon price is the highest in the world because it is applied directly to majority of the Australian economy. Mr Wilson admitted that while other countries may have higher carbon taxes, these are very narrow and specific to just some sectors.
Mr Wilson admitted that while other countries may have higher carbon taxes, these are very narrow and specific to just some sectors.
Mr Wilson also cited the newly released State and Trends of the Global Carbon Market report of the World Bank which showed the global average price for carbon went down to $9.75 from $11 a year ago.
Meanwhile, the government of Darwin City blamed the carbon tax, inflation and other factors for causing an increase in rates by 4.5 per cent from the previous year’s average of $1,314.25. Darwin also hiked the price of its residential garbage collection and recycling by 17 per cent or $245 per house.