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reduced the taxation paid by 348 companies totalling in excess of $6.5 billion in 2012/13. More significantly, through successful negotiations, and amendments to the coalitions original legislation, the party ensured that all savings resulting from the abolition of the carbon tax to electricity and gas providers had to be passed on to consumers and specifically itemised in future energy bills. This landmark policy outcome resulted in $1.6 billion being returned to everyday Australians and was an excellent example of common sense policy prevailing for the betterment of all Australians. The Labor/Green carbon tax was almost universally condemned as an expensive tax which placed an unnecessary burden on Australian companies, seeking to compete internationally against companies which were not subject to such a high tax. There was no doubt that the Labor/Green carbon tax cost many Australian workers their jobs, and wasted taxpayer funds. In addition, Palmer United’s contribution to the environment ensured the climate change agreement specifically included giving more power to the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee (ERAC), extending the duration of contracts for carbon credit projects through the $2.5 billion Carbon Reduction Fund, prioritising initiatives for improving building and street lighting, energy efficiency for low income households, transport emissions reductions, and enhancing the role of and increase resources for the Climate Change Authority. The Palmer United Party policies on climate change and renewable energy was endorsed by the world’s leading proponent of climate change, the former Vice president of the United States, Mr. Al Gore. Not only did Mr Gore endorse the policy, he made a special trip to Canberra to meet with Mr Palmer and to publicly support him and the policy at a specially convened media conference in the Great Hall of Parliament House on 24 June 2014. It should be noted that Mr Gore’s trip to Canberra was solely for the purpose of meeting with Mr Palmer and lending his personal support to the Palmer United Party’s policies. During the short visit, Mr Gore thanked Mr Palmer for his courageous policies and dined in Parliament House with Clive and a number of Palmer United members and supporters. Mr Gore did not meet with anyone else during this visit, neither the Prime Minister, or Leader of the Opposition. Clive Palmer and former United States Vice President Al Gore conducted a landmark media conference at Parliament House where many of the announcements as previously outlined regarding the environment were made. This media conference gained international exposure for Australia and the common sense policies of the Palmer United Party. Clive Palmer further introduced a Private Member’s Bill into Parliament to establish the Australia Fund to assist communities and businesses in times of natural disasters and/or market failures. The ultimate purpose of the bill was to create a fund which would assist in the support and reconstruction of Australian rural and manufacturing industries in times of crisis, including drought or unfair market intervention. It was designed to provide funds for industry and/or company restructuring and the acquisition of new technologies to make businesses more economically viable and internationally competitive. During the prolonged drought leading up to 2014, the Queensland State Government was slow to declare the Sunshine Coast a drought affected area, and it was through the perseverance of Mr Palmer and the Palmer United Party that the Sunshine Coast was finally declared a drought area by the Queensland Government in March 2014. This belated decision enabled those in need to apply for government assistance to their drought affected properties/industries. It is a sad indictment of Australian politics that it took the involvement of the Palmer United Party to bring about a common sense package of environment and climate change policies which the three larger parties in Australia had failed to achieve over many years, including the time the so called “Greens” held the balance of power in the Australian Senate. A number of politicians from the three parties privately conceded that the Palmer United Party's intervention in this policy area, was one of the greatest achievements in modern political history. 62 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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