TONY Abbott vigorously attacked the prime minister’s honesty, the carbon tax and past mismanagement of schemes, including home insulation, at the Liberal National Party’s annual conference in Brisbane on Saturday.
He said the only way the government can reduce emissions under its tax plan is to buy carbon permits abroad.
“I’m all in favour of doing the right thing by the carbon traders of Equatorial Guinea and Kazakhstan,” Mr Abbott told the conference.
“And all the other places Kevin Rudd likes to visit.
“I am sure they are very decent, honest people. I’m sure the last thing they want to do is rip off Australian business.”
Mr Abbott said government documents show $57 billion will be sent abroad under this scheme.
“Whatever else this thing is, it is a get-rich scheme for foreign carbon traders,” Mr Abbott said.
Mr Abbott said the impact of the tax on Queensland’s coalmining industry will be as devastating as the state’s floods last summer.
Treasurer Wayne Swan described the comparison as despicable.
“This is just a despicable act and a new low from Mr Abbott,” Mr Swan told reporters in Cairns on Saturday.
“Mr Abbott could not even mention in his budget reply speech the floods in Queensland and their impact on Queenslanders in our economy.
“Now he is somehow seeking to link for political purposes our plans to reduce carbon pollution with the floods in Queensland.”
In his opening address to Saturday’s LNP conference, Nationals federal leader Warren Truss said Ms Gillard has betrayed Australians with the “carbon tax dagger”.
“If you buy Australian fruit and vegetables, you pay carbon tax,” he told the conference.
“But if you buy importers’ goods, you won’t. How does that help Australian industry?”