Unions’ carbon tax tariffs could cause ‘depression’: Trade Minister

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Unions’ carbon tax tariffs could cause ‘depression’: Trade Minister

The ACTU is pushing the Federal Government to impose tariffs on imports from countries without a carbon tax.

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The ACTU is pushing the Federal Government to impose tariffs on imports from countries without a carbon tax.
 
ACTU president Ged Kearney has told the government that ‘climate change is very much union business’.
 
And ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence has told Trade Minister Craig Emerson to ‘butt out’ of the climate change debate, after he warned that such tariffs could see Australia crash into ‘depression’.
 
Recipe for disaster
 
Dr Emerson said that attempting to impose Australian industrial and environmental standards on emerging nations was a recipe for disaster.
 
‘It is perfectly reasonable for trade unions to argue for the inclusion of provisions in trade deals that support freedom of association,’ Dr Emerson said in a speech to the Centre for Independent Studies.
 
‘But any seeking of bans and restrictions on imports from countries that have lesser industrial relations protections and environmental standards than Australia would be tantamount to banning trade with most of Australia’s trade partners.’
 
Deep depression
 
This would be ‘a prescription for a long and deep Australian depression’.
 
‘It would also deny those very countries the opportunity to gain the wealth needed to rise above the struggle to survive and begin the struggle for the higher goals we can share, like political and economic freedoms and environmental protection.’
 
Lawrence dismissed Dr Emerson’s criticism of the union policy, saying the Trade Minister should ‘butt out’ of the process set up by the government to work out the details of its carbon pricing plan.
 
‘It would not be the first time he had been wrong about something,’ Lawrence said.
 
‘It should be left to the structural processes that the government set up, actually, of which we are one part.’
 
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