Browsing articles in "Interview Transcripts"
Jan 25, 2007

Transcript of ABC NewsRadio interview

Transcript of ABC NewsRadio interview


Thursday, 25 January 2007

COMPERE: Back to the top story of this morning, as we’ve been reporting, the Prime Minister is set to unveil a multibillion dollar plan to overhaul water management and encourage farmers to be more efficient. John Howard is to throw $2½ billion at the water crisis.

The Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Water is Anthony Albanese, and he joins us now. As we’ve been reporting this morning, as part of this major speech, John Howard is going to announce government plans to wrestle control of the Murray-Darling River system away from the states—a contentious move. What’s the opposition’s response, Mr Albanese?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, we certainly have called for a streamlining of control of water resources to ensure that there’s not duplication between the Commonwealth and the states, and that’s why Kevin Rudd, last week, called for a national water summit.

Given the constitutional control that the states have over water, we think it is particularly important, though, that this be done in a cooperative manner so we wait to see the detail. We certainly think that the outcomes are what is important but we are concerned that it appears that there hasn’t been any real consultation with the states prior to them reading it in the newspaper this morning ahead of the Prime Minister’s speech.

COMPERE: Well already Malcolm Turnbull, the new minister for environment and water resources, is slating the blame home to the states for this confusion over the Murray-Darling River system. He says they fail to properly invest in water management.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Malcolm Turnbull has to stop the blame game. Malcolm Turnbull, now that he is actually a minister rather than just a parliamentary secretary, has to accept some responsibility. Malcolm Turnbull has been in charge of water policy in the government for some time and already what we have seen is that the Commonwealth have established, in 2004, arising out of the National Water Initiative, the Australian Water Fund. Now, that’s a $2 billion program. That money has been got from the states in the form of the withholding of competition payments and yet we have seen a 70 per cent underspend in that program. We have seen the Commonwealth just simply fail to respond. They have been good at allocating money; very bad at actually spending it and delivering projects on the ground.

COMPERE: If John Howard, in his speech today, does announce that the federal government will be making a bid to take over water resources like the Murray-Darling River system, do you think it will be successful if the states challenge that decision, which they are likely to do, and it does end up in the High Court? I mean, the federal government’s already had a big win on work changes there.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I certainly think that the last thing that we need is legal battles over our water crisis. What we need is resolutions and that’s why we need real solutions, a cooperative approach, an end to the blame game from the Commonwealth.

It’s quite clear that the Commonwealth does need to have greater responsibility, in my view, over our management of water resources. But the Murray-Darling Basin Commission is a cooperative body, if the Commonwealth were to completely take over then there are obviously spending implications behind that. But from my discussions with the state premiers and state ministers responsible for water resources, the states all want to see results and impacts both in terms of the pain that’s been felt in our rural and regional communities but also the water restrictions that are on in every major city in the nation. So let’s talk about solutions rather than continue this game of blaming the states and advocating conflict rather than resolution.

COMPERE: Would you take further controls away from the states on water management?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: What we’d do is sit down with them and talk through these issues in a cooperative way and discuss what is the best way to achieve outcomes, what’s the best way to stop duplication between the Commonwealth and the states, what’s the best way to ensure that we actually promote water supply, not just promote Malcolm Turnbull as an alternative to Peter Costello to replace the Prime Minister. That’s what’s actually needed [inaudible] and more results.

COMPERE: The Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Water, Anthony Albanese.


Nov 9, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop – QLD Govt. Eastern Corridor Recycled Water Scheme






Subject: Water

BEAZLEY: Now, the second announcement I’m going to make today concerns the proposed western region corridor recycle system that the Queensland Government has put to the Australian Government for some considerable time as a project that they would desire and they believe is essential.

We are prepared to commit up to $500 million from that $2 billion fund to ensure this project goes ahead. The Labor Party has committed to a target by 2015 of 30 per cent recycled water as part of the water supplies of this nation. This is all of a piece, of course, with that.

The Queensland Government is sitting down, like most of the State Governments, seriously thinking through how they deal with the chronic water problems of this nation and this is their lead proposition and we should be, as a Commonwealth, totally supportive of this.

So, I’ll announce today of that $2 billion fund, we are prepared to commit up to $500 million to make sure this Queensland project works.

I’ll now ask Anthony to say a word or two and then you can jump in.

ALBANESE: South East Queensland is getting 60,000 new people migrate to it every year and we have to address the water crisis in all of our cities, as well as in our regional towns, and our rural communities. There’s no more important project than the western corridor recycling project being put forward by the Queensland Labor Government.

They’ve put forward a scheme, the total cost of which would be $1.7 billion. What that scheme would do would free up more than 200 megalitres per day for Queensland households.

It’s just three days since the Howard Government had its crisis summit in Canberra over water. One would think that they hadn’t been in government for 10 years, 10 long years of inaction, and they forgot to invite Queensland to that summit. It was only after the intervention of the Premier that they received an invitation, which is extraordinary, given that the head waters of the Murray-Darling, of course begin here in Queensland.

What we head with the Australian Water Fund and the issue of water is no more inaction, no more delay, no more procrastination. But what we have from the Government that’s holding onto $2 billion in a fund, is a lack of action on the ground. I think Australians expect a bit more than just meetings and that’s why Federal Labor’s making this announcement today.

JOURNALIST: On the question of the recycled water pipeline, do you see that water as being solely for industry use?

BEAZLEY: As I understand, the bulk of it is to be utilised for market gardens and industrial usages, yes, so it is being contemplated, not in the context of drinking. I think over time we do need to focus sufficient levels of quality in recycling activity so that we can meet European-style standards on drinking water. But, I’m not sure that that is what is intended for this particular project. This project, as I understand it, is basically industrialised and agricultural.


Nov 6, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Marrickville – Water Summit

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Marrickville Town Hall, Marrickville

6 November 2006

Subject: Water Summit, Melbourne Cup, interest rate increase

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The Howard Government has promised buckets of money but they have stalled at the barrier when it comes to actually delivering water to the Murray Darling system.

After ten years of inaction, the Howard Government it would appear has discovered in the last few days that the Murray River is actually in crisis. The hastily convened summit convened on a few days notice, on Melbourne Cup day and on the day that the Reserve Bank Board meets to put up interest rates, would indicate that once again the Prime Minister is all about politics rather than long term policy development.

It is clear from the frameworks that have been put in place with the National Water Initiative that the government should just get on with delivering. Yet under the Living Murray initiative, it has failed to purchase any water from willing sellers and failed to deliver a drop back into the Murray. When the Howard Government has been confronted by big issues, such as the purchase of Cubbie Station offered by the Queensland Government, it’s failed to get to the barrier again.

With this hastily convened summit they forgot to invite the Queensland Government, where the headwaters of the Murray-Darling begin, or the ACT Government which has an important role in the Murrumbidgee and is a participant in the Murray Darling Basin Commission.

In a report released today the CSIRO predicts temperatures in NSW could rise by some 6.4 degrees and a 40% drop in rainfall. These dire predictions add up when other scientific surveys are taken into account. The fact is that you can’t resolve a water crisis without addressing climate change. Whilst the Prime Minister continues to be sceptical about climate change, Australians are entitled to be sceptical about his new found conversion.

Just two weeks ago on 18 October in the House, one of the lead government speakers in a matter of public importance debate about the drought and rural policy Ian Causley said the following –

‘In fact the quality of the Murray river down stream is now better than it was 10 or 15 years ago because of the intervention schemes and the policies of all governments, state and federal to stop the contamination and salinity of the Murray system’.

That was Ian Causley, a senior coalition member arguing just weeks ago.

That fact is, the Howard Government has been in denial about climate change and it has been in denial about water problems because it has failed to listen to the scientists about what the problems are and failed to listen to the economists about what the solutions are.

JOURNALIST: What would you like them to do now then?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well certainly it is a pity that after ten years of inaction this has occurred, but what clearly is needed is to get on with the business of purchasing water to put it back for environmental flows in Murray Darling System. We have at the moment under the National Water Initiative a framework for water trading and yet the Commonwealth has failed to deliver. This is because there is conflict between Malcolm Turnbull who on the one hand says that water trading is good and purchase of water by the Commonwealth is appropriate, and on the other, Peter McGauran the Agriculture Minster, who has stated that purchasing of water by the Commonwealth is not appropriate. So we have had a lot of promises from the government.

Prior to the 2004 election they promised to put 500 gigalitres back into the Murray Darling. That is one third of the 1500 gigalitres that scientists and the Murray Darling Basin Commission says is necessary to restore the health of the river system. They should up their commitment and match Labor’s commitment of getting 1500 gigalitres back into the Murray Darling and they should get on with the business of actually returning water to the river.

JOURNALIST: That’s not going to solve the problem right now though is it?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well yes it would. If the Commonwealth would actually get on with purchasing water to return those environmental flows into the system that would make a substantial improvement. But what we have seen is delays and prevarication because this is a government that only believes in spending government money when it is politically suitable and that, of course, tends to be in the run up to a Federal election.

What we actually want to see is those commitments resulting in water back into the system and a co-operative approach between the Commonwealth and the states and territories which has got off to a bad start given they haven’t even invited all the relevant states and territories.

State governments have been trying to get climate change and water on the COAG agenda for three years and the Howard Government has failed to take up those initiatives and now, in a hastily convened meeting, has put together tomorrow’s summit.


Nov 2, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Advertising expenditure double climate change

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Parliament House, Canberra

JOINT DOORSTOP – Kelvin Thomson MP

Shadow Minister for Public Accountability, and

Anthony Albanese MP

Shadow Minister for Environment & Heritage

2 November 2006

SUBJECTS: Advertising expenditure double climate change expenditure; Iraq oil imports scandal

THOMSON: The Howard Government is set to become the first Government in Australian history to spend $1.5 billion taxpayers’ dollars, on Government advertising. We learnt from Senate Estimates earlier this week that it spent $1.27 billion on media placements up until this financial year.

We know now that buried in the Budget Papers are a further $250 million to be spent for 2006/07. So, there is an avalanche of taxpayer dollars on Government advertising.

At the same time, we know that the Government has only spent some $670 million on climate change, so the fact is, it’s raining taxpayer dollars when it comes to Government advertising, but there is a drought on when it comes to climate change.

ALBANESE: It’s quite clear that the Australian Government’s priorities are all wrong. When it comes to the Howard Government, it’s self promotion first, daylight second and climate change last.

And the thing that the Howard Government Ministers have got to ask themselves this – do they want, in 20 or 30 years time, to show books to their kids and grandkids and say “this is what the Great Barrier Reef looked like”, this is what various plants and animals that were present in Australia looked like. This is what glaciers looked like before climate change arrived big time because they have been warned by the scientists, by the economists, but they still refuse to take action.

JOURNALIST: Given the quick turn around with the whole climate change debate in the last week or two, with the Government jumping on board, you must feel a bit vindicated after going along about this for years and not getting much interest?

ALBANESE: Well, what’s clear is that the Labor Party’s position has been vindicated by the Stern Report, the Labor Party released our Climate Change Blueprint in March of this year, which called for a ratification of Kyoto, a National Emissions Trading Scheme and a significant increase in the mandatory renewable energy target; as well as significant investment in clean coal technology and renewables.

What we’ve seen from the Government is a complete lack of action and what these figures highlight is that the Government is very good allocating money from time to time, they haven’t even spent the very minor amounts that have been allocated because they’d rather spend money on advertising themselves and getting themselves back into office, because they’re all concerned about their future and not about the future of the nation and the planet for this generation and generations to come.

JOURNALIST: Mr Thomson, can you just remind us what Labor’s position is on Government advertising, was it that you are going to appoint someone that it has to go through, is that it?

THOMSON: That’s right, we believe that the Auditor General’s proposed guidelines need to be put into effect. I’ve introduced a Private Members’ bill which would do that, it would ensure that there can be no money spent on Government advertising campaigns until legislation has passed the Parliament and it would require the Public Service Commissioner to scrutinise advertising campaigns and programs before they were run.

JOURNALIST: Kelvin, on the issue of alleged breaches of UN sanctions, are you concerned that is took DFAT five years to refer the BP case to Federal Police to investigate?

THOMSON: This has all the hallmarks of a cover-up. This matter was known to the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2001, and yet the investigation by the Australian Federal Police commenced in 2006. Frankly this is not good enough. In relation to the Cole Inquiry, on the one hand you’ve got an open public inquiry in relation to the wheat scandal, but concerning the other Oil for Food breaches, these things are being carried out in secret. Just when was Alexander Downer planning to inform the Australian people that all of this was going on?

JOURNALIST: The DFAT bureaucrats have stood before the Committee today refusing to answer questions for the same reasons that the Minister said he can’t. Is that acceptable given that most of the details of this BP case are out in the public anyway?

THOMSON: It’s not acceptable, in relation to the AWB scandal, the Howard Government has been hiding behind the Cole Inquiry and refusing to answer questions in the Parliament or at Senate Estimates and again here, they’re hiding behind the AFP inquiries and refusing to answer questions either in the House, when we asked them, or in Senate Estimates. It’s not good enough, there needs to be Parliamentary scrutiny, there needs to be accountability. What we’re getting instead is a cover-up.

JOURNALIST: Just a question to both of you gentlemen on Government advertising, you’re critical of the Howard Government spending too much money on advertising itself. Are you similarly critical of State Governments, particularly the Beattie and the Brack’s Government for the vast amounts they spend on advertising themselves?

THOMSON: What is required is independent scrutiny and proper guidelines. So you need to have some transparency about these things. We think that the Auditor General’s guidelines are right for the Commonwealth Government and the Commonwealth Parliament and we would introduce them in Office.

ALBANESE: I agree.

JOURNALIST: Ok, I hear you say that, but I’ve heard other people say that they are going to do stuff like that before too and when they get in power they spend millions of dollars on ads. If you’re going to be fair, you should be just as critical of your colleagues in the State Government as you are of the Commonwealth shouldn’t you?

THOMSON: Well, what I’m saying is there needs to be proper independent scrutiny and you need to have someone like the Public Service Commissioner looking at the ads and you need to have proper guidelines. The Auditor General suggested guidelines a number of years ago, after the GST Unchain My Heart ads went through, those guidelines have never been adopted. I’ve moved a Private Members’ bill in relation to this; this is evidence of our good faith and our intentions in relation to this matter, if and when we’re elected to office.

JOURNALIST: From your observation of State Governments, do you think that Labor State Government’s should also have some independent oversight of the ads that they place?

THOMSON: I believe they’re should be some independent oversight of Government advertising, that’s true for the Commonwealth, that’s true for the States as well.


Nov 2, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Newspoll on climate change

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Parliament House, Canberra

2 November 2006

Subject: Newspoll on climate change, Greg Hunt, Blogs, BP emissions trading scheme

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Today’s figures from Newspoll show just how out of touch the Howard Government is when it comes to climate change. 79% of Australians want Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. 71% of Coalition voters want the Government to ratify Kyoto.

92% of Australians know that the Howard government simply isn’t doing enough when it comes to climate change. Why are they not doing it? Because the Howard Government simply can’t be believed when it comes to climate change. They don’t think it is a serious issue. The Howard Government is frozen in time while the globe warms around it.

JOURNALIST: The Parliamentary Secretary for Environment has suggested this morning that if Labor’s policy is taken up we would see petrol price double and triple or petrol bills double or triple. What do you think of that idea and can Labor guarantee household bills won’t rise?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It is pretty desperate when they send out Greg Hunt. You know they are in trouble. Greg was running that line on Monday night. It changed on Tuesday. He should attend Question Time and listen to one of the 73 back flips we have seen from the Howard Government this week and keep up with the game here. That was the Howard Government’s line on Monday.

On Tuesday the Howard Government invented the term ‘New Kyoto’ sometime between 2 o’clock and quarter to four, and emission trading was no longer a tax according to the Howard Government.

It was something that was necessary to do. Maybe Greg Hunt has spent too much time in Hotel New Kyoto.

JOURNALIST: So he’s wrong?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Greg Hunt can’t be taken seriously on anything, let alone on the serious issue of avoiding dangerous climate change.

JOURNALIST: He has also had a go at Labor saying that its policy is only appealing to the café latte set …

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well he should have a look at the Poll. There are a lot of Australian’s drinking drink café latte around Australia today, because 92% of them say that his government, the government that he is a part of, however junior his position, is not doing enough on climate change.

71% of people who voted for the Coalition want Australia to ratify Kyoto. They want more investment in renewables. They want a national emissions trading scheme. They are essentially telling the Government what should happen, which is they should adopt and embrace Labor’s approach that we have consistently had.

Kim Beazley released our climate change blueprint in March of this year. It calls for ratifying Kyoto. It calls for a significant increase in the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target. It calls for investment in renewables, in clean coal technology and the government can’t hold a position for five minutes, let alone five months.

JOURNALIST: Anthony on another matter, the Labor candidate who was to take Bob Debus’s seat has described you as a shameless factional warrior and a miserable hack.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’m sure she wasn’t being serious at the time.

JOURNALIST: Does she have a point?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’m sure she wasn’t being serious at the time.

JOURNALIST: Do you have a response to her?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I don’t respond to anonymous comments which allegedly have been said on blogs. What I am doing and I think some of you might have noticed this week is pursuing a policy agenda on the greatest challenge facing the global community, that of climate change. That is the job that I am pursuing and that is the job I will continue to pursue.

What the Stern Report clearly indicates is the cost of inaction. What Stern says is that 20% could be shaven off global economic growth. He speaks about the combined costs of two World Wars and the great depression combined – the Great Depression but with worse weather.

JOURNALIST: You talk about the cost of inaction. Give us some example or some indication as what you see is the cost of action because surely if you are going to sign on to a carbon trading scheme and do everything you say you are going to do [inaudible].

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well I’ll give you a practical example of an emissions trading scheme and how it works. BP established an internal emissions trading scheme. You know what they found? They reached their target far earlier. They saved $650 million in the process.

The Government’s own Warwick McKibbon, who’s been appointed to the Reserve Bank board, he’s on the Government nuclear inquiry, he has come out today on the front page of the Financial Review and called for an emissions trading scheme.

Now it is about time that the Government started listening to the scientists and started listening to the economists. The only group the Howard Government has ears for is the pollsters, which explains why they have such an inconsistent, all over the place policy on climate change.


Nov 1, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Howard retreats on climate change

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Parliament House, Canberra

1 November 2006

Subject: Howard retreats on climate change, Elliot Morley, Kyoto Protocol

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The glaciers are retreating and so is the Howard Government. Just as the dinosaurs were wiped out by the ice age there is a need for the dinosaurs in this building to by wiped out politically by the age of global warming.

No one can believe John Howard takes climate change seriously. Yesterday we saw him put seven different positions between 2 o’clock and a quarter to 4. The reason they are blundering around from position to position is because they simply don’t believe in climate change. They don’t have the courage to look towards the future and make the economic adjustments that are necessary to move us to a carbon constrained economy that the Stern Review highlights for the world as absolutely necessary. This is the moral challenge for our generation and the Howard Government has been found wanting.

Today we will see some more one off announcements. Labor welcomes any increased investment into clean coal technology and into renewables, but the Stern review makes it very clear that one off announcements aren’t enough. We need a whole of government, systematic, structural change in the way that we do business.

We need to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and be part of that global effort. We need a national emissions trading scheme that we can link with other schemes. We need market economic incentives to drive investment in renewable energy and in clean coal technology that is necessary.

This morning we heard from Elliot Morley. Elliot Morley is the immediate past Climate Change Minister in the Blair Government. He is now one of Tony Blair’s and the British Government’s key climate change spokespeople.

What Elliot Morley said was that the policies of the Howard government had us ‘sleepwalking towards oblivion’. Elliot Morley nailed the Howard Government’s offensive blame of developing countries for the lack of leadership that it represented. He nailed the fact that Australia is holding the world back, is a handbrake on global action to address climate change.

The Howard Government should listen to the Elliot Morley interview on AM this morning and should take action on the basis of it. It simply isn’t enough to have one off announcements. We need that massive structural change in order to transform Australia into a carbon constrained economy and in order turn Australia to a position of leadership which we had on these issues in the early 1990s.

JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, you’ve spelled out to us what needs to be done, but yesterday Labor confined the debate to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol but do you agree that it goes far beyond that?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well we didn’t confine the debate to that at all. We asked questions of the Howard Government about the operation of the clean development mechanism. We asked questions about the closure of renewable energy projects in Australia including those in Tasmania and South Australia from the Roaring 40s company – $550 million worth of projects that are not proceeding because of the failure of the Howard Government to increase the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target.

JOURNALIST: But do you concede that the solution goes beyond simply ratifying Kyoto?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We have a comprehensive plan. The first element of it is to ratify Kyoto. This is a global challenge that requires a global solution. That’s the first element. Then you also need a significant increase in the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target. You need to establish market based mechanisms such as emissions trading. You need to have a plan for transport including a green car plan. You need to look at sustainable cities, a whole suite of policies, and harness all of government to move towards action to reduce our emissions footprint. All that we have at the moment is one off announcements from the Howard Government.

JOURNALIST: Are you saying that this $60 million announcement today, this pilot program, will have little significance in the short term?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well we welcome any announcement of new funding. $60 million is worthwhile, but what you need is a systematic approach and that is what the Stern Review speaks about – making sure that we do more than pick winners and provide funding. What we actually we need to do is harness the power of the market so that you get the whole economy moving forward in a carbon constrained way, so that you establish mechanisms which drive a reduction in emissions in the least cost way.

Now we know that system should be an emissions trading system and that is why the government released papers supporting emissions trading way back in the last century, in 1999. That is why Peter Costello took a plan for emissions trading to the Cabinet in 2003 supported by Treasury, the Department of Prime Minster and Cabinet, the Department of the Environment and the Department of Industry, and yet nothing happened because the Howard Government was captured by sectional interests, because they were dominated by climate change sceptics and because they didn’t have the courage to make the decisions that are necessary, not just for this generation but for generations to come.

JOURNALIST: The Prime Minister said the government would be interested at looking at a new Kyoto which helped big developing countries like India and China to target. Doesn’t he have a point?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well what an absolutely absurd position from the Prime Minister. What we saw yesterday was an acknowledgement that Kyoto is going to continue.

In Nairobi in a couple of weeks there are two conferences. One is the conference of the parties, all the countries who have signed up to the UN framework on climate change. Australia will be participating in that but not the second meeting of the conference of parties of the Kyoto Protocol – 165 nations sitting around the table talking about making adjustments to the way Kyoto works.

The Prime Minister doesn’t understand it. The first commitment period of Kyoto is 2008 to 2012. The Prime Minister who said that Kyoto was dead is now saying the exact opposite. He is acknowledging that Kyoto is the main game. The tragedy for Australia is that we don’t have a seat at the table on Kyoto. Kyoto is the main game. Kyoto does involve India and China.

As Elliot Morley has made very clear, commonsense tells you that if you want these developing counties to engage in targets for reductions, then it is absurd to argue that the way you bring them to adopt targets is to opt out of the system yourself.

The truth is the India is in a situation whereby they say well hang on a minute, it is the developed world that has had the advantage of economic growth, it is the developed world that has created the emissions that has lead to global warming, and you want to lecture us to adopt targets when Australia, which has the second most generous target in the industrialised world under Kyoto, is saying ‘no’ and has walked away from the table.

People have got to understand the damage that Australia has done to the possibility of getting a more comprehensive framework to move forward in the international community.

JOURNALIST: Just a point of clarification from me, does Labor support the new version of the Kyoto Protocol?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: There is no new version of the Kyoto Protocol. John Howard made it up some time between two thirty and quarter to three yesterday afternoon. There is a Kyoto Protocol which has 165 countries in it – everybody except for Australia and the United States. Elliot Morley this morning, one of the Blair Government’s chief climate change spokespeople, has told the Howard Government very clearly of the damage that they are doing to the global challenge on climate change. We should be embarrassed as a nation by the fact that the Howard Government with its intransigence and by its climate change scepticism is holding the world back.

JOURNALIST: Press Gallery journalists have called for the Labor Party to use more of Peter Garrett. Why don’t you roll him out on climate change?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Peter Garrett has been a good advocate and he indeed asked a question of the Prime Minister yesterday on this issue. What you will see on this issue from the Labor Party is not just Peter Garrett, but is also Wayne Swan as Treasury spokesperson, Julia Gillard as health spokesperson, Jenny Macklin in Education and Science, Stephen Smith in Industry and most importantly Kim Beazley.

Kim Beazley produced a Climate Change Blueprint in March of this year absolutely consistent with the key recommendations and thrust of the Stern Review released just yesterday. Kim Beazley and Labor have been ahead of the game on this issue.

Thank you.

Nov 1, 2006

Transcript of Interview, PM – Climate Change

PM – ALP and coalition locked in battle for environment vote

1 November 2006


Alexandra Kirk

MARK COLVIN: The Federal Government and the Opposition are locked in a battle for the environmental vote – with each side accusing the other of being stuck in the past.

Labor is calling the Coalition dinosaurs, and says the Prime Minister doesn’t take climate change seriously.

As Mr Howard announced around 40 projects, worth $60 million, to address global warming, the Government accused Labor of clinging to the old Kyoto Protocol – a scheme it says was designed in Europe last century – and insisted that the climate change debate had "moved on".

From Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Even the most sceptical ministers are now on board the climate change express. Both sides of politics have detected in their polling that Australians are really worried about global warming. And that includes older people concerned for their children and grandchildren.

The Prime Minister’s warned his MPs not to be mesmerised by the British Stern review, which warned of an economic catastrophe unless there’s urgent action.

But Mr Howard’s keen to highlight the Government’s environmental credentials, announcing $60 million worth of collaborative projects as part of Australia’s first contribution to the Asia Pacific climate group.

JOHN HOWARD: And a little bit of this debate over the past few weeks has given the impression that all you’ve got to do is put a signature on a bit of paper and hey presto the world stops getting warm.

Not quite as simple as that. I wish it were. It’s not.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Mr Howard says technology’s the key to addressing climate change.

JOHN HOWARD: I don’t think there’s any doubt that in order to make progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions we need to make progress in cleaning up the use of fossil fuels.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Government’s spending $8 million on testing the CSIRO’s mobile unit to capture the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, produced by coal-fired power stations.

The Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says when fully operational, it could lower global greenhouse emissions by two per cent.

But the head of the project, Dr John Wright, says commercial use of mobile carbon catchers is probably 10 years away.

JOHN WRIGHT: Then it probably has to be re-engineered to suit particular power stations. Then it has to go into a demonstration phase. And then once that’s proven, then you can go to a commercial plant.

And that is still looking at least a decade off.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Greens Leader Bob Brown is dismissive of today’s announcements.

BOB BROWN: It’s pathetic, when you see what ought to have been done.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Labor’s Environment spokesman Anthony Albanese says one-off announcements aren’t enough – insisting on the need for structural change on a global scale.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Just as the dinosaurs were wiped out by the ice age, there’s a need for the dinosaurs in this building to be wiped out politically by the age of global warming.

No one can believe John Howard takes climate change seriously.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: In Parliament Labor leader Kim Beazley continued the attack.

KIM BEAZLEY: Prime Minister, isn’t it the case that when the 165 countries which have ratified the Kyoto Protocol meet in Nairobi this month to further the practical implementation of Kyoto between 2008 and 2012, Australia and the United States will not have a vote?

JOHN HOWARD: Mr Speaker, there will be two meetings in Nairobi, and Mr Speaker the meeting about the future, the meeting about the new Kyoto, will in fact be chaired by Australia.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But Anthony Albanese says it’s the second series of meetings that will decide the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol and the Government’s refusal to ratify Kyoto has relegated Australia to observer status.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: By Australia being on the outside, not able to vote, not able to participate in those discussions in Nairobi, we are doing ourselves a great disservice. Because India will be there, China will be there, but we won’t be around the table during that debate.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Prime Minister says his Government would consider signing what he’s termed a new Kyoto.

Mr Albanese says he’s searched the Internet for "new Kyoto" and found just one entry – a hotel.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: And what comes up is a review, and the review says this: Stuffy rooms would choose another.

It says the worst aspect of the room was that the window didn’t open, and there is no way, wait for it, to cool the room down …


… or get some fresh air. They only have a heater, which works really well, blowing out only hot air.

MARK COLVIN: Labor’s environment spokesman Anthony Albanese ending Alexandra Kirk’s report.



Oct 31, 2006

Transcript of Interview – The World Today, ABC

Transcript of Interview – The World Today, ABC

Debate between Senator Ian Campbell, Minister for the Environment, and

Anthony Albanese MP, Shadow Minister for the Environment, following the release of the Stern report

31 October 2006

ELEANOR HALL: Now, for the political reaction, not only to the Stern report but also to those comments from a key member of the Australian business community about the need for a carbon tax.

We are joined in Canberra by the Environment Minister Ian Campbell and his Labor shadow Anthony Albanese. Gentlemen, thanks very much for joining us. First to you, Minister. Your government has previously ruled out imposing a carbon tax to address climate change. Do the arguments that you have just heard from the IAG CEO, Michael Hawker, change your mind?

IAN CAMPBELL: I think Michael Hawker is, broadly speaking, in tune with the government thinking. He is saying that we shouldn’t act unilaterally in Australia, that we do need, as Nick Stern has said, a global agreement that means that the costs are spread equitably across the whole globe.

I think Michael is very aware of the problem of imposing higher carbon taxes and charges, through trading schemes or whatever, in Australia unilaterally but there is no doubt that we need to work internationally to achieve an effective international agreement which will allow trading to take place across the globe. And the government set that out in its energy white paper in June 2004, that Australia would like to see carbon trading occur but at an effective global level.

ELEANOR HALL: Michael Hawker, though, was very specifically talking about a carbon tax. He wants it put in place today, he said, and that that would create certainty for Australian business—and he is talking about the Australian government setting it somewhat like a ‘reverse tariff’, as he put it, so that you could know in 2035 what tax you’d be paying.

IAN CAMPBELL: I think what Michael was saying is that he didn’t want a carbon tax put in today because it would be adverse to Australia.

ELEANOR HALL: No, he said he wanted it in place today so that the effects would be in the future.

IAN CAMPBELL: I don’t want to verbal him or misinterpret him. He was talking about taxes that would be imposed in, say, 10 years time …15 years … 20 years time.

The Australian people don’t want, for example, the price of petrol to go up. One of the biggest sources of carbon in Australia is transportation. Transportation is about I think 17 per cent, 18 per cent, of the emissions in Australia. If you are going to bring in a carbon tax that would apply to all carbon sources I presume and would be an extra tax, for example, on petrol. I don’t think Australians want that. What Australians want is investment in the solutions, the solutions that will stop carbon going into the atmosphere. That does require multibillion dollars of investments by the government and by industry. That’s one of the reasons this government is investing billions of dollars in developing the technologies, deploying them and leveraging private sector investment to the level of multiple billions. That’s really what Nick Stern is saying in key aspects of his report.

ELEANOR HALL: Anthony Albanese to you—the Labor Party has also been wary of saying it would increase taxes given the dire warnings in the Stern report. Would Labor now look at a carbon tax?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, no, we’d take the recommendations of the Stern review seriously, which are consistent with Kim Beazley’s blueprint on climate change that we released in March of this year.

The Stern review has three essential points. One is there’s got to be a global agreement and that is why we would ratify Kyoto. It’s quite clear that the agreements that will emerge out of 2012 are post the first commitment period of Kyoto [inaudible] an ongoing continuation, the beginning of that is the Kyoto protocol, so systems including the European trading system will continue.

ELEANOR HALL: Anthony Albanese, what about the argument on Kyoto, though, that it is not a global agreement because it doesn’t include the United States, China or Australia?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, it does include China—that’s a fact. China has ratified Kyoto and, indeed, the Stern review points towards China, California and the European Union as the three leading models. China is making significant advances and, indeed, the environment minister was up in China opening a wind farm, partly owned by the Roaring 40s Australian company which got funding through the clean development mechanism of Kyoto because it was a 51 per cent Chinese-owned project.

So the Stern review recommendations are consistent with Labor’s approach: ratify Kyoto; have a national emissions trading scheme. You do need a price signal—is what the Stern review says. We think the most cost effective price signal isn’t a tax; it’s an emissions trading scheme.

And the third measure that you need is to have market-based mechanisms such as the mandatory renewable energy target, which needs to be significantly increased because at two per cent, essentially the Australian renewable energy target is dead.

ELEANOR HALL: Minister, what about this point that Anthony Albanese makes that Kyoto, while it may not include the United States, does allow Australia to trade in a global trade … a carbon trading environment? Would it be worth signing on to Kyoto just for that?

IAN CAMPBELL: What we want to do is come up with something effective that actually reduces greenhouse gas emissions globally, and Australia will be an active participant in discussions. In fact we chair one of the key United Nations dialogues which is aiming to create a Kyoto 2 or post-Kyoto arrangement which will in fact bring together developing countries and developed countries and work towards the sort of international trading model that Nick Stern is looking for.

The trouble with Labor’s policy—not to be too political about it—is that they say they want a national emissions trading system and they pretend that that doesn’t mean a carbon tax. But to have a trading system you need a price and the price puts up the price of energy or fuel. So you could try to pretend….

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The market sets the price.

IAN CAMPBELL: Well, the market sets the tax. And the problem is that if you do that unilaterally all you do is drive the emissions away from Australia. It doesn’t actually solve the global problem.

You see the problem of Labor’s policy when you saw, after two years of really hard work, that the Labor Party in New South Wales came up with a national emissions trading model but before the sun set on the day they launched it, both WA and Queensland had withdrawn from it. So those two governments recognised that there were adverse environmental consequences of the trading scheme. It’s not to say that we shouldn’t work very constructively, internationally, on designing a trading scheme that works, that doesn’t drive the emissions out of Australia and into other countries.

I mean, this is a global problem. Forcing emissions out of Australia and into China or forcing emissions out of Australia into Malaysia just means the carbon gets emitted in another jurisdiction, and you don’t help, for example, save the Barrier Reef just by driving the carbon offshore.

ELEANOR HALL: Anthony Albanese, how do you respond to that—the emissions would just go elsewhere?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, that’s an absolute nonsense. What the Stern review makes very clear is that you need those market-based mechanisms if you are going to drive down global emissions. Now, the Howard government is essentially frozen in time while the world warms around it. It is led by climate sceptics in the form of the Prime Minister and the Industry Minister. It questions the science and it is now questioning the economics.

What the Stern review makes very clear is that you can’t solve these problems through one-off funding. What you need to do is establish those economic mechanisms. And it’s extraordinary that you have a government which purports to be committed to markets, which is not only led by climate sceptics, but it would appear, market sceptics as well.

Now, Peter Costello took a proposition to the cabinet some three years ago, to establish a national emissions trading scheme here in Australia. It was supported by Minister Campbell’s department, it was supported by other departments but it was knocked over by sectional interests.

Now, it is about time that this government used this report to say, ‘We got it wrong’ and put the interests of the nation and, indeed, of the planet, before its own narrow political sectional interests.

ELEANOR HALL: Minister, on this point—let’s just clarify with you. The Prime Minister said only two months ago that he was sceptical of doomsday scenarios on climate change and that in his view we had a lot … the Stern report does paint a doomsday scenario and it says the world must act within 10 to 15 years to address this problem. Do you agree with Mr Stern or with Mr Howard?

IAN CAMPBELL: Well, I don’t think there’s any difference between Mr Stern and Mr Howard. It’s just a matter of the inflection you put on it. But one of the things that Mr Stern says—that is absolutely in agreement with the Prime Minister—is that you need to use all existing technologies. One of the ones that Mr Stern looks at very closely is nuclear. And he says one of the things that we have to do—and so obviously something Mr Albanese and Mr Beazley won’t want to look at—is to get government-imposed policy restrictions on using existing technologies out of the way. And he particularly picks on nuclear and looks at some of the constraints on expanding nuclear provisions.

Now, we believe you have to look at all the technologies. You need more solar, you need more energy efficiency, you need more capture of carbon and storage—you’ve got to have that—but you also need, globally, a significant expansion of nuclear. You need more of all the clean energy solutions. And I think one of the problems Labor has—and it’s the bit of the Stern report they won’t address—is the fact that Nicholas Stern is saying, ‘We have got to ensure that existing technologies like nuclear do not have ideologically-based objections placed in their way by people who have ideological problems with these sorts of technologies.’ I think that is something the Labor Party should address.

ELEANOR HALL: We are almost out of time but, Anthony Albanese, is nuclear at least part of the solution?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Minister Campbell will be taken seriously when he says where the nuclear reactors will go and where the nuclear waste will go. Until such time as he and other government members are prepared to do that, all they are doing is using nuclear as an excuse to do absolutely nothing. And the reason why they are doing absolutely nothing was given up by the Prime Minister himself who said….

IAN CAMPBELL: Well, you can’t say that when you’re just building the biggest solar-powered plant in the world in Australia. That’s [inaudible] the biggest solar energy plant in Australia and in the world.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: If you let me finish.

The Prime Minister himself who said he wasn’t interested in what might happen in 50 years time—that’s the Prime Minister’s position.

And regarding the solar systems plant which is in Victoria, of which the Commonwealth has contributed $75 million to the $420 million project. The company itself says that is only going ahead because of the Victorian renewable energy targets, because they have that market-based mechanism there. And if….

IAN CAMPBELL: [inaudible] we are not doing anything. We’re doing a lot.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: And if Ian Campbell’s mates in Victoria are elected to government, the company itself has said that project may not go ahead.

ELEANOR HALL: And there is obviously a lot further to go in this debate. We are going to have to wind it there.

Gentlemen, thanks very much for joining us. That’s the Environment Minister Ian Campbell, and Labor’s environment spokesman Anthony Albanese.




Oct 31, 2006

Transcript of Interview on Channel 7 News – Stern Report

Transcript of Interview on Channel 7 News

with Ann Sanders

31 October 2006

ANN SANDERS: Shadow Environment Minister Anthony Albanese joins me now. Good morning, Minister.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning, Ann.

ANN SANDERS: Where’s the government failing on climate change?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, the first thing we have just seen again—the climate sceptics. These people are dinosaurs and they want to turn Parliament House into Jurassic Park.

Climate change is here right now. We’re seeing it with the drought. We’re seeing it with the decrease in rainfall in southern Australia. We’re seeing it with the increase in extreme weather events in the north. Australia is particularly vulnerable to climate change and it is simply irresponsible for the government to be just frozen in time as the globe warms around it.

ANN SANDERS: Well, the government says Australia is one of the few countries that will actually meet emission targets despite not signing Kyoto. Why is Labor so keen to ratify the Kyoto Protocol?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, the first point is that there’s an overnight report which suggests Australia won’t be able to meet our targets. But this report by Sir Nicholas Stern indicates three main points: one, is that you need an international agreement, and that international agreement is the Kyoto Protocol; secondly, that you need emissions trading—you need to have economic incentives for the move towards a carbon-constrained clean economy—and the third is that you need a massive injection, by using those economic incentives, to shift to renewable technology.

Now, the government at the moment is failing on all three fronts because it still remains in absolute denial about the greatest challenge facing the global community. They really do think the earth is flat.

ANN SANDERS: The Prime Minister says the Kyoto Protocol penalises Australia and the future is all about clean coal and nuclear power. Will Labor canvass alternative power solutions?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look, Labor will have an emissions trading scheme which would provide an economic incentive to move to clean technology. We’d substantially increase the renewable energy target. We’d make sure that that investment was there. We have got specific programs to make every school in Australia a solar school; to have a green car built here in Australia so that we look at issues such as transport.

Climate change is such a threat to our economy as well as our environment that we need a whole-of-government approach. And the Howard government simply should admit that it got it wrong and reverse its current extraordinary position which, frankly, makes us an embarrassment to the world.

ANN SANDERS: Well, the Stern report includes the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and river flows into Sydney dropping by 15 per cent. How long do you think we have to act?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The Stern report indicates that we have a maximum of 10 years to take strong action. If we don’t do that it may well be too late because of the time delay between carbon being emitted into the atmosphere and the impact that it has on our environment.

The good thing about the Stern report—and what the government misses—is that there are significant economic opportunities for those countries and businesses which are prepared to move forward in the future rather than just be stuck in the past.

ANN SANDERS: Shadow Environment Minister, Anthony Albanese, thank you very much for your time this morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to talk to you, Ann.


Oct 30, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Stern Report, Rising sea levels

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Parliament House, Canberra

30 October 2006

Subject: Stern Report, Government denials of climate change, Rising sea levels

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The Howard Government is frozen in time while the globe warms around it. The Stern Report is a clear warning of a clear and present danger, not to just to our environment but to our economy if we don’t act. What the report says is that early action will be far cheaper – perhaps five, ten or twenty times cheaper. It also says that we can’t afford to wait any longer.

It is very clear that the only way we will tackle climate change in Australia is with a change of government. This government has as its industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane. Ian Macfarlane said on the Sunday program just a couple of weeks ago that he is sceptical whether there is a connection between emissions and climate change. The Prime Minister just three weeks ago questioned the more gloomy predictions. On 27 September he said he wasn’t interested in what might happen in fifty years time. That’s the sort of lack of leadership that is taking the government to throw some money at a problem that they say doesn’t even exist.

Climate Change is the greatest challenge facing, not just Australia, but the global community and we have a government that refuses to take action.

If we are going to get serious we have to immediately ratify the Kyoto Protocol. We need to put a price on carbon by having a national emissions trading scheme. We need a significant increase in our renewable energy target. We need a climate change trigger in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act. We need to embark on programs that look at transport, that look at sustainable cities, that look at the way our buildings are built and at our planning mechanisms. We need to look at building a green car for Australia. We need a whole suit of responses.

What we get from this government is nothing. Denial in the first instance and then minor measures announced which are only possible, each and every one of them, due to measures implemented by state governments – such as the Victorian solar project which is only possible because of the Victorian Renewable Energy Target.

JOURNALIST: When you saw the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald this morning and the contrast of the two pictures and the underwater spit bridge, what did you think?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The front page of the Sydney Morning Herald today is a graphic depiction of what we can expect if the world doesn’t act. This is a reality and it is a reality in our lifetime – let alone the responsibility we have to future generations.

I just find it incredible that John Howard, Ian Macfarlane and these Ministers can deny that there is any need for a serious response to climate change. It is just an absolute abrogation of responsibility that they have. We know that there will be rising sea levels. We know that if those rising sea levels affect Sydney in that way then at the same time many of our pacific island neighbours will be underwater. Bangladesh has potentially a hundred million refugees. That was in a report by the US state Department some three years ago. The thing about this government is that it is not listening to the science; all it is listening to is the politics.

Thank you.



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