Senator George Brandis poses a curly one for Finance Minister Penny Wong in question time yesterday:

“… I refer the minister to the announcement by Fairfax Media today that it plans to slash 1900 jobs and close its Chullora and Tullamarine printing presses by June 2014. Is the minister aware that every significant stage of the Fairfax production chain, from the cost of power to produce newsprint to the cost of fuel to transport that newsprint, to the cost of electricity to operate the printing plants, to the cost of distribution will be directly affected by the carbon tax? Does the minister accept any responsibility for the loss of yet thousands more Australian jobs as a direct result of this toxic tax based on a lie?”

Brandis didn’t like the answer — that it was a “fairly desperately long bow” for him to draw. He had another crack:

“Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Given the statement made by Fairfax Media in its announcement this morning that the business is ‘already operating in very difficult times’ why has the government made those existing difficulties even worse at the cost of nearly 2000 jobs by introducing the world’s biggest carbon tax at the worst possible time?”

Seriously.

You’d probably heard Brandis’ comments before. On Lateline last night. In Michelle Grattan’s Age piece this morning. In The Australian‘s Cut and Paste column. Even on global commerce website International Business Times.

We would have thought some comments were so laughably stupid that they don’t bear repeating.

Peter Fray

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