Browsing articles in "Interview Transcripts"
Sep 26, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Water Policy

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Marrickville Town Hall, Marrickville

26 September 2006

Subject: Water Policy

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The announcement today that the government will be creating another level of bureaucracy when it come to water policy is a concern unless it actually it delivers real action on the ground.

What we have is a political drought when it comes to delivering from the Commonwealth government on water policy.

Australian’s need to hear the sound of water flowing, not just chairs shuffling. What we need is a plan to promote water supply in Australia, not just a plan to promote Malcolm Turnbull.

We have a number of layers already. We have the National Water Initiative. We have the NRM Program. We have the Natural Heritage Trust. We have the Living Murray Initiative. We have the Australian Water Commission. But what we haven’t seen is real results on the ground. In spite of government rhetoric, not a single drop has been returned to the Murray as a result of the Living Murray Initiative.

Australians won’t take the Howard Government seriously when it comes to water policy unless they have a plan to deliver on climate change. This is a government that refuses to acknowledge that climate change is the greatest challenge facing the global community. When it comes to water, climate change will result in a 30% drop in rainfall and a further 25% drop in run off, so unless they address that then they won’t be taken seriously. Action against climate change should be the priority of the Federal Government when it comes to water policy.

They also need practical measures which Labor has announced previously, such as returning 1500 gigalitres to the Murray and adopting a national target of 30% recycling for water by the year 2015. These are practical initiatives that Labor has announced and the government should follow Labor’s lead, just as they are now following Labor’s lead in terms of establishing some better co-ordination of water policy.

Kim Beazley announced some 18 months ago that I would be appointed as the Shadow Minister for Water, a cabinet level position, to show how seriously we take the issue of water and to make sure there is proper co-ordination.

A streamlining of bureaucracy is needed rather than the creation of extra levels. I call upon the government to streamline its programs, along with the announcement of this new office, to make sure that we have better delivery of results on the ground.

JOURNALIST: So the new office would work if other bodies set up to do the same thing were cut back?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Certainly I think that there is a real argument that if you are trying to engage with water management in Australia you have the NRM, the NWI, the NHT and the NAP. It will take you months to work out what all the acronyms are for, let alone understand the different structures for each of those bodies. Some are direct government bodies. Some are joint federal/state announced bodies. Some have local community participations based in terms of recommendations and each one of them creates a difficulty in terms of delivery. I can’t for instance see why there is a separate National Action Plan on Salinity and a separate National Heritage Trust. Surely what we need is to streamline some of these programs so we are better able to achieve results.

The failure of the government in this resolve is perhaps indicated by today’s announcement. After more than ten years they are announcing finally, after much agitation from Labor, particularly during this term of office, to get that co-ordination going. But surely they need, if they are going to be taken seriously, a Water Minister at the federal level.

ENDS

 

Sep 17, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Campbell’s comments regarding Kyoto

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Marrickville Festival, Marrickville

17 September 2006

Subject: Minister Campbell’s comments regarding Kyoto Protocol and Climate Change

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The Howard Government is increasingly confused and isolated over climate change. This morning Senator Campbell again criticised the Kyoto Protocol in spite of the fact that he is just back from a conference discussing the extension of the protocol beyond 2012. He has again acknowledged the need for a price signal for carbon if we are going to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

Everyone supports new technology. The challenge is to increase its application and to do that you need economic incentives such as those provided in the Kyoto mechanisms.

Senator Campbell’s statement that the science in Al Gores’ documentary is sound is a direct contradiction of the dismissive and offensive comments of John Howard and Ian McFarlane this week. Reports of the impact of rising sea levels on Perth beaches is yet another reminder of the dramatic impact climate change will have on Australia with rising sea levels, lower rainfall in Southern Australia and increased number and intensity of cyclones in northern Australia and the potential loss of iconic areas including the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu.

Australia, along with the United States, are the only two countries in the world which have refused to be part of the global effort by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Australia emissions have grown by 25.1% between 1990 and 2004 if you exclude land use changes.

JOURNALIST: Isn’t action by Australia pointless because growth in China would replace Australian emissions and they aren’t a part of the Kyoto agreement?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It is an inconvenient truth for Senator Campbell that China is a part of the Kyoto Protocol. It was always envisaged that the developed countries would take the lead in reducing their emissions as they had created the problem. As Al Gore pointed out this week Australia’s withdrawal from Kyoto makes us international outlaws and undermines the prospect of all countries agreeing to targets in the future. This is particularly outrageous given that Australia will meet our generous target and hence there cannot possibly be any economic disadvantage in us ratifying Kyoto. China has a renewable energy target of fifteen percent, ours is two percent and we are seeing renewable energy move offshore as a result.

JOURNALIST: Have you seen Al Gore’s movie and what difference, if any, do you think it will have?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I, unlike John Howard and other senior Ministers who have commented on the documentary, have seen it a number of times. As I understand it there have now been tens of thousands of Australians who have already seen An Inconvenient Truth in the past few days. For all of these Australians it defies belief that we have a Federal Environment Minister who states that the science in the documentary is sound, but who then refuses to take serious action to avoid the consequences that climate change will bring.

History will judge climate sceptics such as Howard and McFarlane very harshly but will save its greatest condemnation for those like Senator Campbell who know what needs to be done but don’t have the courage to act.

As politicians we have a responsibility to remember that the future is borrowed from our children.

JOURNALIST: What do you say in response to Senator Campbell’s claim that Kyoto is a slogan not a solution?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Kyoto has been ratified by 158 countries including every developed nation except for Australia and the United States. Kyoto’s first period of implementation is from 2008 until 2012 and last year all 158 countries decided that the international agreement would be extended beyond 2012. Prior to that agreement at the Montreal Climate Change Conference Senator Campbell stated that Kyoto would end in 2012. Prior to Kyoto coming into effect on 16 February 20, the Howard Government stated Kyoto would never happen. These statements are quite frankly embarrassing Australia’s international reputation. Does anyone seriously think that if the United States ratified Kyoto tomorrow we would not join them the very next day?

Australia needs to end our isolationist position and become the 159th country to ratify Kyoto. Remember that in 1997 when the Howard Government signed the Kyoto Protocol, John Howard said it was, “a win for the environment and a win for Australian jobs”. He was right then but he is wrong now.

 

THE END

Sep 17, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Campbell’s comments regarding Kyoto

Transcript of Doorstop Interview, Marrickville Festival, Marrickville

17 September 2006

Subject: Minister Campbell’s comments regarding Kyoto Protocol and Climate Change

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The Howard Government is increasingly confused and isolated over climate change. This morning Senator Campbell again criticised the Kyoto Protocol in spite of the fact that he is just back from a conference discussing the extension of the protocol beyond 2012. He has again acknowledged the need for a price signal for carbon if we are going to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

Everyone supports new technology. The challenge is to increase its application and to do that you need economic incentives such as those provided in the Kyoto mechanisms.

Senator Campbell’s statement that the science in Al Gores’ documentary is sound is a direct contradiction of the dismissive and offensive comments of John Howard and Ian McFarlane this week. Reports of the impact of rising sea levels on Perth beaches is yet another reminder of the dramatic impact climate change will have on Australia with rising sea levels, lower rainfall in Southern Australia and increased number and intensity of cyclones in northern Australia and the potential loss of iconic areas including the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu.

Australia, along with the United States, are the only two countries in the world which have refused to be part of the global effort by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Australia emissions have grown by 25.1% between 1990 and 2004 if you exclude land use changes.

JOURNALIST: Isn’t action by Australia pointless because growth in China would replace Australian emissions and they aren’t a part of the Kyoto agreement?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It is an inconvenient truth for Senator Campbell that China is a part of the Kyoto Protocol. It was always envisaged that the developed countries would take the lead in reducing their emissions as they had created the problem. As Al Gore pointed out this week Australia’s withdrawal from Kyoto makes us international outlaws and undermines the prospect of all countries agreeing to targets in the future. This is particularly outrageous given that Australia will meet our generous target and hence there cannot possibly be any economic disadvantage in us ratifying Kyoto. China has a renewable energy target of fifteen percent, ours is two percent and we are seeing renewable energy move offshore as a result.

JOURNALIST: Have you seen Al Gore’s movie and what difference, if any, do you think it will have?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I, unlike John Howard and other senior Ministers who have commented on the documentary, have seen it a number of times. As I understand it there have now been tens of thousands of Australians who have already seen An Inconvenient Truth in the past few days. For all of these Australians it defies belief that we have a Federal Environment Minister who states that the science in the documentary is sound, but who then refuses to take serious action to avoid the consequences that climate change will bring.

History will judge climate sceptics such as Howard and McFarlane very harshly but will save its greatest condemnation for those like Senator Campbell who know what needs to be done but don’t have the courage to act.

As politicians we have a responsibility to remember that the future is borrowed from our children.

JOURNALIST: What do you say in response to Senator Campbell’s claim that Kyoto is a slogan not a solution?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Kyoto has been ratified by 158 countries including every developed nation except for Australia and the United States. Kyoto’s first period of implementation is from 2008 until 2012 and last year all 158 countries decided that the international agreement would be extended beyond 2012. Prior to that agreement at the Montreal Climate Change Conference Senator Campbell stated that Kyoto would end in 2012. Prior to Kyoto coming into effect on 16 February 20, the Howard Government stated Kyoto would never happen. These statements are quite frankly embarrassing Australia’s international reputation. Does anyone seriously think that if the United States ratified Kyoto tomorrow we would not join them the very next day?

Australia needs to end our isolationist position and become the 159th country to ratify Kyoto. Remember that in 1997 when the Howard Government signed the Kyoto Protocol, John Howard said it was, “a win for the environment and a win for Australian jobs”. He was right then but he is wrong now.

 

THE END

Sep 14, 2006

Transcript of Interview, The World Today – Minister likens Climate Change to Y2K

Minister criticised for likening global warming to Y2K

The World Today

Reporter: Gillian Bradford

14 September 2006

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has drawn furious criticism from the Opposition parties today by suggesting that the alarm surrounding global warming is similar to the predictions about Y2K at the turn of the century, which went nowhere.

Senator Campbell says it’s not useful to use extreme language to talk about the threat of global warming or people will switch off and think that there’s little that they can do.

But both the Labor Party and the Greens say the science behind greenhouse gases is real and the world should be alarmed.

From Canberra Gillian Bradford reports.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: Senator Ian Campbell is now on his way to Zurich for a meeting on climate change and one of the proposals he’ll put to that UN conference is that people need to be encouraged to do more small things that can make a difference.

Senator Campbell says if you tell people drastic action is needed many households will think there’s little they can do.

IAN CAMPBELL: If you make it too alarmist people will switch off. I saw that when I was handling the Y2K issue in Australia.

If you sort of talk about doomsday scenarios people will switch off and they won’t start taking sensible, affordable action.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: Both Labor and the Greens are appalled by Senator Campbell’s comments.

The Opposition’s Environment Spokesman is Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well the Minister is wrong to trivialise the threat of climate change and he’s certainly wrong to compare it to the Y2K bug which was about what happened when the clock ticked over on one day at the millennium.

This is the most serious challenge facing the global community, and it’s about responding to a threat that will last for generations.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: The Australian Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown, says the Environment Minister has his head in the sand.

BOB BROWN: What a foolish man he is that he won’t face up to the reality of climate change, of global heating.

The Australian populace knows about it and I’m afraid he might think it’s alarmist to talk about global warming. He should see a lot of more of Al Gore. The Prime Minister should see Al Gore’s film. It’s scientifically based. It’s what the Greens have been talking about for decades now.

We’ve simply got to look at reality. It’s not alarmist. We’re looking at the real science which says our planet is heating. It’s due to carbon dioxide and other gases. It’s being produced out of human industry. It’s up to us to turn that around.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: Does he have any point when he says if you start talking as though this is the end of the world and drastic action is needed that many people will just switch off and think there’s nothing they can do?

BOB BROWN: He’s got his head stuck in the sand. And he says, "if I bring my head out of the sand and look at reality, I’ll get alarmed".

Well Senator Campbell, it is an alarming situation, and we have to face up to that. In fact Britain’s chief meteorologist says it’s more alarming than terrorism. Well this Government makes an art form of alarming the populace about terrorism and we need to be alert to that.

But when it comes to the huge economic penalty, the huge environmental penalty, the huge lifestyle penalty coming to our children through global warming, the Minister says, "let’s not talk about that in real terms, that’s alarmist".

GILLIAN BRADFORD: Both Labor and the Greens are also concerned Senator Campbell has become a strong advocate of disposing of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, by pumping it deep into the sea bed.

Anthony Albanese again.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s not very practical if we’re putting all our eggs in that basket while ignoring renewable energy and the potential that it has to make a difference as well as looking at other issues including how to make our transport more efficient and more greenhouse friendly.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: The Greens’ Bob Brown also thinks the geo-sequestration is just not practical in Australia.

BOB BROWN: Well the first thing for Senator Campbell to come to grips with is that the 35 coal fired stations in Australia are nowhere near the north-west shelf.

They’re nowhere near these big holes under the ocean. In other words, they can’t be fitted with the technology. It’s very expensive, even if it was available, and that’s many, many years away even if it happens.

ELEANOR HALL: Senator Bob Brown ending that report by Gillian Bradford in Canberra.

 

Sep 14, 2006

Transcript of Interview, The World Today – Minister likens Climate Change to Y2K

Minister criticised for likening global warming to Y2K

The World Today

Reporter: Gillian Bradford

14 September 2006

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has drawn furious criticism from the Opposition parties today by suggesting that the alarm surrounding global warming is similar to the predictions about Y2K at the turn of the century, which went nowhere.

Senator Campbell says it’s not useful to use extreme language to talk about the threat of global warming or people will switch off and think that there’s little that they can do.

But both the Labor Party and the Greens say the science behind greenhouse gases is real and the world should be alarmed.

From Canberra Gillian Bradford reports.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: Senator Ian Campbell is now on his way to Zurich for a meeting on climate change and one of the proposals he’ll put to that UN conference is that people need to be encouraged to do more small things that can make a difference.

Senator Campbell says if you tell people drastic action is needed many households will think there’s little they can do.

IAN CAMPBELL: If you make it too alarmist people will switch off. I saw that when I was handling the Y2K issue in Australia.

If you sort of talk about doomsday scenarios people will switch off and they won’t start taking sensible, affordable action.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: Both Labor and the Greens are appalled by Senator Campbell’s comments.

The Opposition’s Environment Spokesman is Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well the Minister is wrong to trivialise the threat of climate change and he’s certainly wrong to compare it to the Y2K bug which was about what happened when the clock ticked over on one day at the millennium.

This is the most serious challenge facing the global community, and it’s about responding to a threat that will last for generations.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: The Australian Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown, says the Environment Minister has his head in the sand.

BOB BROWN: What a foolish man he is that he won’t face up to the reality of climate change, of global heating.

The Australian populace knows about it and I’m afraid he might think it’s alarmist to talk about global warming. He should see a lot of more of Al Gore. The Prime Minister should see Al Gore’s film. It’s scientifically based. It’s what the Greens have been talking about for decades now.

We’ve simply got to look at reality. It’s not alarmist. We’re looking at the real science which says our planet is heating. It’s due to carbon dioxide and other gases. It’s being produced out of human industry. It’s up to us to turn that around.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: Does he have any point when he says if you start talking as though this is the end of the world and drastic action is needed that many people will just switch off and think there’s nothing they can do?

BOB BROWN: He’s got his head stuck in the sand. And he says, "if I bring my head out of the sand and look at reality, I’ll get alarmed".

Well Senator Campbell, it is an alarming situation, and we have to face up to that. In fact Britain’s chief meteorologist says it’s more alarming than terrorism. Well this Government makes an art form of alarming the populace about terrorism and we need to be alert to that.

But when it comes to the huge economic penalty, the huge environmental penalty, the huge lifestyle penalty coming to our children through global warming, the Minister says, "let’s not talk about that in real terms, that’s alarmist".

GILLIAN BRADFORD: Both Labor and the Greens are also concerned Senator Campbell has become a strong advocate of disposing of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, by pumping it deep into the sea bed.

Anthony Albanese again.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s not very practical if we’re putting all our eggs in that basket while ignoring renewable energy and the potential that it has to make a difference as well as looking at other issues including how to make our transport more efficient and more greenhouse friendly.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: The Greens’ Bob Brown also thinks the geo-sequestration is just not practical in Australia.

BOB BROWN: Well the first thing for Senator Campbell to come to grips with is that the 35 coal fired stations in Australia are nowhere near the north-west shelf.

They’re nowhere near these big holes under the ocean. In other words, they can’t be fitted with the technology. It’s very expensive, even if it was available, and that’s many, many years away even if it happens.

ELEANOR HALL: Senator Bob Brown ending that report by Gillian Bradford in Canberra.

 

Aug 24, 2006

Transcript of Interview, Radio National Breakfast – Water Recycling

Transcript of Interview, Radio National Breakfast

Water Recycling

24 August 2006

FRAN KELLY: After years of drought with most of our cities facing water restrictions of some kind or another, water has become a big political issue. Water, or the lack of it, is right at the centre of the Queensland’s state election campaign at the moment with Premier Peter Beattie conceding yesterday that some farmers in south-east Queensland might have to be paid not to farm because there’s just not enough water around.

Yesterday, Labor federally raised the stakes by setting a target to recycle 30 per cent of waste water by the year 2015. And Federal Labor’s environment spokesman Anthony Albanese joins us now from Melbourne Airport. Anthony, welcome to the program.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning, Fran.

FRAN KELLY: Yesterday you declared that a Labor government would set a national target of 30 per cent of waste water being recycled by 2015. Now, at the moment, if we just look at Sydney, Sydney’s only recycling, I think, something in the order of three per cent of its water. If that’s any guide, your promise is not only an ambitious one, it’s well nigh impossible, isn’t it?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, it’s not. It is an ambitious target but it’s realistic and it’s absolutely necessary. We’re going to have less water because of climate change, particularly in southern Australia and we need to respond to it and we need national leadership. Sydney, in fact, is starting off a low base but Sydney has the largest water recycling plan in terms of domestic households in Australia at Rouse Hill. So there’s substantial progress being made and they’ve got a target to get it up to around about 13 per cent in coming years.

So what we need is to make sure that we take innovation and technology; apply it in the best way possible; develop consistent, comprehensive national guidelines and make sure that we can get to that 30 per cent target by 2015.

FRAN KELLY: Now, you’re being careful to say it’s a target, not a fixed promise, you know, that you can’t necessarily guarantee you’re going to do this. I mean, it will be difficult; it will be expensive. You’re already talking about a national strategy here when, of course, the states are currently in charge of their water supplies. I mean, this will cost a lot of money, won’t it, to achieve?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, it needs to be done through the COAG process but there are also efficiencies, of course, to be done, and we need to look at what the cost will be of inaction. Common sense tells you that if you increase recycling, you increase the supply and therefore decrease the cost that would have been there otherwise. And that’s the reality that we confront, and that….

FRAN KELLY: How do you do it though? I mean, it’s not like this water shortage is a new issue for Australia. Now, suddenly we’re talking about it as though we’ve suddenly got all these new ideas but these ideas, if they were any good, would have been tried by now, wouldn’t they?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, we have taken it for granted for a long, long time. Most Australians wouldn’t recognise that we actually have enough water in this country. The problem is that it falls in the wrong places. We settled in a pattern that doesn’t suit our natural environment. We have our main agricultural area in the Murray Darling where 6.1 per cent of Australia’s run-off actually occurs, and yet 65 per cent of Australia’s run-off is in the tropical north which is very sparsely populated.

So we need to come to terms with that and I think for a long time we’ve taken our natural resources for granted. We haven’t priced them accordingly. We haven’t traded them. We haven’t had those economic signals and mechanisms to make sure that water was regarded as the precious, valuable resource that it is.

FRAN KELLY: Well, when we talk ‘recycling water’, ‘recycling waste water’, what really are we talking about? Are we talking just sort of gutter run-off from rain or are we talking recycled sewage?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, recycled sewage is a very small part of any equation and that’s why what we’ve said, as part of this target, is that recycled sewage isn’t necessary. What we’ve had is a situation whereby we haven’t prioritised water recycling. Most of the water that we use, there’s something like 10 per cent or under of water used in Australia is actually used in the household. Now, a very small proportion of that is, of course, sewage. What we then have….

FRAN KELLY: But why are we so shy of sewage? I mean, you made a point yesterday of saying that Labor’s plan focuses on recycling water for industry and agriculture, not for human consumption. And, you know, there are countries in the world, I mean, the city of London drinks—the people drink eventually—recycled sewage. In Singapore, recycled sewerage is for human consumption ultimately. If it can be done and it can be done safely, why are we so frightened of putting it forward as a policy?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Because what we need to do is build confidence in recycling, and what Toowoomba showed is that it is very easy to have a scare campaign about recycling sewage water. And what occurred there is that in spite of the fact that you had both federal Labor and the federal coalition advocating a ‘yes’ vote, they only got 40 per cent support. Now, I was surprised actually that they got to 40 per cent. What we need to do is….

FRAN KELLY: So if we got rid of that though and if we’re talking national leadership, and if we got rid of … if it wasn’t such a voter-sensitive issue, would you support it? Would you be happy drinking recycled sewage?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look, I have said I would absolutely be. I mean, what was proposed in Toowoomba would have actually been cleaner than the water out of any tap in Australia. There was actually an argument that they would have had to have put some minerals back into the water because it would have been too pure. So I have no problem with it at all. But it isn’t necessary and I don’t want to see what is an important national project derailed by a potential scare campaign, and that’s why we’ve taken the position that we have.

FRAN KELLY: Alright. Anthony Albanese, thanks very much for joining us on Breakfast.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks a lot.

FRAN KELLY: That’s Anthony Albanese. He’s Labor’s environment spokesperson, joining us there from Melbourne Airport.

 

Aug 24, 2006

Transcript of Interview, Radio National Breakfast – Water Recycling

Transcript of Interview, Radio National Breakfast

Water Recycling

24 August 2006

FRAN KELLY: After years of drought with most of our cities facing water restrictions of some kind or another, water has become a big political issue. Water, or the lack of it, is right at the centre of the Queensland’s state election campaign at the moment with Premier Peter Beattie conceding yesterday that some farmers in south-east Queensland might have to be paid not to farm because there’s just not enough water around.

Yesterday, Labor federally raised the stakes by setting a target to recycle 30 per cent of waste water by the year 2015. And Federal Labor’s environment spokesman Anthony Albanese joins us now from Melbourne Airport. Anthony, welcome to the program.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning, Fran.

FRAN KELLY: Yesterday you declared that a Labor government would set a national target of 30 per cent of waste water being recycled by 2015. Now, at the moment, if we just look at Sydney, Sydney’s only recycling, I think, something in the order of three per cent of its water. If that’s any guide, your promise is not only an ambitious one, it’s well nigh impossible, isn’t it?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, it’s not. It is an ambitious target but it’s realistic and it’s absolutely necessary. We’re going to have less water because of climate change, particularly in southern Australia and we need to respond to it and we need national leadership. Sydney, in fact, is starting off a low base but Sydney has the largest water recycling plan in terms of domestic households in Australia at Rouse Hill. So there’s substantial progress being made and they’ve got a target to get it up to around about 13 per cent in coming years.

So what we need is to make sure that we take innovation and technology; apply it in the best way possible; develop consistent, comprehensive national guidelines and make sure that we can get to that 30 per cent target by 2015.

FRAN KELLY: Now, you’re being careful to say it’s a target, not a fixed promise, you know, that you can’t necessarily guarantee you’re going to do this. I mean, it will be difficult; it will be expensive. You’re already talking about a national strategy here when, of course, the states are currently in charge of their water supplies. I mean, this will cost a lot of money, won’t it, to achieve?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, it needs to be done through the COAG process but there are also efficiencies, of course, to be done, and we need to look at what the cost will be of inaction. Common sense tells you that if you increase recycling, you increase the supply and therefore decrease the cost that would have been there otherwise. And that’s the reality that we confront, and that….

FRAN KELLY: How do you do it though? I mean, it’s not like this water shortage is a new issue for Australia. Now, suddenly we’re talking about it as though we’ve suddenly got all these new ideas but these ideas, if they were any good, would have been tried by now, wouldn’t they?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, we have taken it for granted for a long, long time. Most Australians wouldn’t recognise that we actually have enough water in this country. The problem is that it falls in the wrong places. We settled in a pattern that doesn’t suit our natural environment. We have our main agricultural area in the Murray Darling where 6.1 per cent of Australia’s run-off actually occurs, and yet 65 per cent of Australia’s run-off is in the tropical north which is very sparsely populated.

So we need to come to terms with that and I think for a long time we’ve taken our natural resources for granted. We haven’t priced them accordingly. We haven’t traded them. We haven’t had those economic signals and mechanisms to make sure that water was regarded as the precious, valuable resource that it is.

FRAN KELLY: Well, when we talk ‘recycling water’, ‘recycling waste water’, what really are we talking about? Are we talking just sort of gutter run-off from rain or are we talking recycled sewage?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, recycled sewage is a very small part of any equation and that’s why what we’ve said, as part of this target, is that recycled sewage isn’t necessary. What we’ve had is a situation whereby we haven’t prioritised water recycling. Most of the water that we use, there’s something like 10 per cent or under of water used in Australia is actually used in the household. Now, a very small proportion of that is, of course, sewage. What we then have….

FRAN KELLY: But why are we so shy of sewage? I mean, you made a point yesterday of saying that Labor’s plan focuses on recycling water for industry and agriculture, not for human consumption. And, you know, there are countries in the world, I mean, the city of London drinks—the people drink eventually—recycled sewage. In Singapore, recycled sewerage is for human consumption ultimately. If it can be done and it can be done safely, why are we so frightened of putting it forward as a policy?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Because what we need to do is build confidence in recycling, and what Toowoomba showed is that it is very easy to have a scare campaign about recycling sewage water. And what occurred there is that in spite of the fact that you had both federal Labor and the federal coalition advocating a ‘yes’ vote, they only got 40 per cent support. Now, I was surprised actually that they got to 40 per cent. What we need to do is….

FRAN KELLY: So if we got rid of that though and if we’re talking national leadership, and if we got rid of … if it wasn’t such a voter-sensitive issue, would you support it? Would you be happy drinking recycled sewage?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look, I have said I would absolutely be. I mean, what was proposed in Toowoomba would have actually been cleaner than the water out of any tap in Australia. There was actually an argument that they would have had to have put some minerals back into the water because it would have been too pure. So I have no problem with it at all. But it isn’t necessary and I don’t want to see what is an important national project derailed by a potential scare campaign, and that’s why we’ve taken the position that we have.

FRAN KELLY: Alright. Anthony Albanese, thanks very much for joining us on Breakfast.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks a lot.

FRAN KELLY: That’s Anthony Albanese. He’s Labor’s environment spokesperson, joining us there from Melbourne Airport.

 

Aug 3, 2006

Transcript of meeting with Tristar workers, Marrickville

Transcript of meeting with Tristar workers, Marrickville

3 August 2006

E & OE – PROOF ONLY

Subject: Redundancy payments to workers, impact of Workchoices legislation, Tristar Steering and Suspension Ltd.

PAUL BASTIAN, Secretary NSW Branch AMWU: Martin has outlined what happened in the commission and we all know what the issue is – while on one hand the company says to its employees, look we want you to undertake this extra work in the hope that it will go somewhere, but at the same time they are not prepared to give you any cast iron commitments about your entitlements.

What this dispute goes back to is when the company was taken over there was a long dispute that you were involved to secure your entitlements – a long and bitter dispute that shut down the car industry, and you were able in that fight with the support of workers in the car industry in many of those plants, to get your entitlements secured. But now we work under a new regime. We work under the Howard Governments so called Workchoices legislation – when the rights for workers in return for their rights to be consulted, the rights to have proper representation from their union, the right to go to an independent third party like the commission and get some help have been wiped out at the swipe of a pen.

We now find a position where workers here who have done upwards of 20 years to 40 years service in this company are treated with no respect and are treated with no dignity. Their concerns about their future; the future for their family, the future for their children, are not considered by the company and they are treated simply as a commodity that this company can dispose of at will. We say that that is unacceptable in today’s society. We say that those sorts of laws are wrong and should be abolished.

Workers are entitled to some respect and some dignity. Workers are entitled, when a deal is being made, that a company should respect it and honour it, and not simply sit on the sidelines and hope that we are going to go away, or manage by intimidation or fear.

What this company is trying to do is that they know that if you accept a voluntary redundancy you accept a lower package. They know that if the company goes into voluntary administration they can get out of the process when your agreement expires, and your bond expires, and revert your entitlements back to the award and that’s no more than 12 weeks.

We say this company shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. We say the owners shouldn’t be able to get away with it. They are things that we are determined to fight on your behalf to make sure that this company honours your entitlements regardless of what the laws are. We’ll fight on your behalf so long as you want us to pursue this company to get your just entitlements.

We sought a meeting with the company. We wanted to arrange a meeting with your local member – a local member who has been involved in this company in its past manifestations TRW and Tristar, Anthony Albanese, who is also the Shadow Minister for the Environment.

We sought a meeting so the company could tell him what is happening to his constituents here in this plant – and the company has refused to meet with the local member. That is the level that this company has, not for Anthony Albanese but for you as workers and we think that has got to be addressed and we intend to carry that up. I invite Anthony to address you and tell you what the ALP position is in government in relation to workers entitlements and what their position is in relation to this law and what he thinks about this company. So I’d ask you to welcome your local member, Mr Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks Paul and thanks to Gavin. I’m not pleased to be here with my comrades from the AMWU and the AWU under these circumstances but I am pleased to stand with you proud members of these unions.

I do have a lot of history with this company. Before I was elected I actually assisted in making sure that this company, when it was TRW, could operate when for 24 hours and campaigned in the local area. TRW put in the insulation and spent about 3 million dollars. Why did I do that? Because at the time this company employed 600 workers – now we are down to 60. Now some 10 years on from that struggle to keep this place open, now it is clear that even though there are 60 workers here there is only work for a few of you – that essentially most of the time you are just sitting around.

My fear is the same as that of the Union. What is going on here is a company essentially stalling for time. I find it extraordinary I can ring up the company management, yesterday and again, today and I don’t even get the courtesy of a return phone call. I find that an outrage. The way that we used to operate in the Australia before John Howard, was that we treated each other with respect and dignity and a Federal Member of Parliament who rang up a company actually got to talk to them about what was going on. But not in John Howard’s Australia.

But what worries me is you. What worries me is your entitlements and the fact that under John Howard’s Workchoices legislation, come the end of September, when the current agreement can potentially be terminated by the company, that will reduce your entitlements.

If the company closes under the changes that the Howard Government has made to the GEERS scheme – if the company goes into voluntary administration rather than liquidation – only the limited entitlements that you would get there could be reduced even further. That GEERS scheme might not even apply.

What we have here is a very unusual case. I haven’t seen a case like it. We see an industrial relations nightmare down the track. I have dealt with in the past employees, arriving at working the morning, having a company shut up shop, locking them out of the gates and trying to remove their entitlements. Here is different.

Here we know from the way that they are behaving in the commission, that the company is intending to reduce your entitlements, and what I say, and what the Australian Labor Party says is, that is un-Australian.

We have built this nation on people like you, and me, and others who have come from all parts of the world. This is a very multicultural area. People have come to make this place their home and raise a family. What you’ve done is build a great nation.

But that nation falls apart when you have a government that is prepared to treat people like they are disposable, to throw them on the scrap heap. That is why Kim Beazley has said we’ll rip up John Howard’s Workchoice legislation. We’ll just rip it up and we’ll start again. We’ll build an industrial relations system that returns a fair umpire, that returns the right of collective bargaining and the rights of trade unions to represent workers, and return to a situation whereby the Australian principle of a fair go is recognised by all concerned.

So can I say to you – I am with you. I am will continue to come down and talk with you. I am committed to do what ever is necessary to make sure that your entitlements are protected. Because after all they are your entitlements. They are not something that is being given to you for the sake of goodwill. They are what you have earned and that is nothing more and nothing les than you are asking for.

 

I have spoken today to Kim Beazley’s office and to Stephen Smith, the Shadow Industrial Relations Minister, and we will be raising these issues next week in the Federal Parliament in Canberra.

John Howard’s Workchoice legalisation isn’t something that is obscure, it is about people – it is about you. It is about you getting screwed in a way that is completely unacceptable and completely un-Australian. I have pledged to Paul that I will do whatever I can to help you. Obviously the coming weeks will be tough but stay strong, stay together and work with the union. We will certainly do our best to make sure that you are looked after. You deserve nothing less.

 

Aug 3, 2006

Transcript of meeting with Tristar workers, Marrickville

Transcript of meeting with Tristar workers, Marrickville

3 August 2006

E & OE – PROOF ONLY

Subject: Redundancy payments to workers, impact of Workchoices legislation, Tristar Steering and Suspension Ltd.

PAUL BASTIAN, Secretary NSW Branch AMWU: Martin has outlined what happened in the commission and we all know what the issue is – while on one hand the company says to its employees, look we want you to undertake this extra work in the hope that it will go somewhere, but at the same time they are not prepared to give you any cast iron commitments about your entitlements.

What this dispute goes back to is when the company was taken over there was a long dispute that you were involved to secure your entitlements – a long and bitter dispute that shut down the car industry, and you were able in that fight with the support of workers in the car industry in many of those plants, to get your entitlements secured. But now we work under a new regime. We work under the Howard Governments so called Workchoices legislation – when the rights for workers in return for their rights to be consulted, the rights to have proper representation from their union, the right to go to an independent third party like the commission and get some help have been wiped out at the swipe of a pen.

We now find a position where workers here who have done upwards of 20 years to 40 years service in this company are treated with no respect and are treated with no dignity. Their concerns about their future; the future for their family, the future for their children, are not considered by the company and they are treated simply as a commodity that this company can dispose of at will. We say that that is unacceptable in today’s society. We say that those sorts of laws are wrong and should be abolished.

Workers are entitled to some respect and some dignity. Workers are entitled, when a deal is being made, that a company should respect it and honour it, and not simply sit on the sidelines and hope that we are going to go away, or manage by intimidation or fear.

What this company is trying to do is that they know that if you accept a voluntary redundancy you accept a lower package. They know that if the company goes into voluntary administration they can get out of the process when your agreement expires, and your bond expires, and revert your entitlements back to the award and that’s no more than 12 weeks.

We say this company shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. We say the owners shouldn’t be able to get away with it. They are things that we are determined to fight on your behalf to make sure that this company honours your entitlements regardless of what the laws are. We’ll fight on your behalf so long as you want us to pursue this company to get your just entitlements.

We sought a meeting with the company. We wanted to arrange a meeting with your local member – a local member who has been involved in this company in its past manifestations TRW and Tristar, Anthony Albanese, who is also the Shadow Minister for the Environment.

We sought a meeting so the company could tell him what is happening to his constituents here in this plant – and the company has refused to meet with the local member. That is the level that this company has, not for Anthony Albanese but for you as workers and we think that has got to be addressed and we intend to carry that up. I invite Anthony to address you and tell you what the ALP position is in government in relation to workers entitlements and what their position is in relation to this law and what he thinks about this company. So I’d ask you to welcome your local member, Mr Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks Paul and thanks to Gavin. I’m not pleased to be here with my comrades from the AMWU and the AWU under these circumstances but I am pleased to stand with you proud members of these unions.

I do have a lot of history with this company. Before I was elected I actually assisted in making sure that this company, when it was TRW, could operate when for 24 hours and campaigned in the local area. TRW put in the insulation and spent about 3 million dollars. Why did I do that? Because at the time this company employed 600 workers – now we are down to 60. Now some 10 years on from that struggle to keep this place open, now it is clear that even though there are 60 workers here there is only work for a few of you – that essentially most of the time you are just sitting around.

My fear is the same as that of the Union. What is going on here is a company essentially stalling for time. I find it extraordinary I can ring up the company management, yesterday and again, today and I don’t even get the courtesy of a return phone call. I find that an outrage. The way that we used to operate in the Australia before John Howard, was that we treated each other with respect and dignity and a Federal Member of Parliament who rang up a company actually got to talk to them about what was going on. But not in John Howard’s Australia.

But what worries me is you. What worries me is your entitlements and the fact that under John Howard’s Workchoices legislation, come the end of September, when the current agreement can potentially be terminated by the company, that will reduce your entitlements.

If the company closes under the changes that the Howard Government has made to the GEERS scheme – if the company goes into voluntary administration rather than liquidation – only the limited entitlements that you would get there could be reduced even further. That GEERS scheme might not even apply.

What we have here is a very unusual case. I haven’t seen a case like it. We see an industrial relations nightmare down the track. I have dealt with in the past employees, arriving at working the morning, having a company shut up shop, locking them out of the gates and trying to remove their entitlements. Here is different.

Here we know from the way that they are behaving in the commission, that the company is intending to reduce your entitlements, and what I say, and what the Australian Labor Party says is, that is un-Australian.

We have built this nation on people like you, and me, and others who have come from all parts of the world. This is a very multicultural area. People have come to make this place their home and raise a family. What you’ve done is build a great nation.

But that nation falls apart when you have a government that is prepared to treat people like they are disposable, to throw them on the scrap heap. That is why Kim Beazley has said we’ll rip up John Howard’s Workchoice legislation. We’ll just rip it up and we’ll start again. We’ll build an industrial relations system that returns a fair umpire, that returns the right of collective bargaining and the rights of trade unions to represent workers, and return to a situation whereby the Australian principle of a fair go is recognised by all concerned.

So can I say to you – I am with you. I am will continue to come down and talk with you. I am committed to do what ever is necessary to make sure that your entitlements are protected. Because after all they are your entitlements. They are not something that is being given to you for the sake of goodwill. They are what you have earned and that is nothing more and nothing les than you are asking for.

 

I have spoken today to Kim Beazley’s office and to Stephen Smith, the Shadow Industrial Relations Minister, and we will be raising these issues next week in the Federal Parliament in Canberra.

John Howard’s Workchoice legalisation isn’t something that is obscure, it is about people – it is about you. It is about you getting screwed in a way that is completely unacceptable and completely un-Australian. I have pledged to Paul that I will do whatever I can to help you. Obviously the coming weeks will be tough but stay strong, stay together and work with the union. We will certainly do our best to make sure that you are looked after. You deserve nothing less.

 

Jul 30, 2006

Transcript of Television Interview – Meet the Press – Uranium Policy

Transcript of Television Interview

Meet the Press

30 July 2006

Discussions about Labor’s Uranium Policy

MEET THE PRESS PRESENTER GREG TURNBULL: Hello and welcome to Meet The Press. This week Kim Beazley staked his leadership on scrapping Labor’s policy banning new uranium mines. He set himself a hurdle he must clear at next year’s ALP National Conference.

OPPOSITION LEADER KIM BEAZLEY (Monday): So tonight I announce that I will seek a change to my party’s platform to replace the no new mines policy with a new approach based on the strongest safeguards in the world. Now, I fully realise there are diverse views in my party on this matter. Indeed, there are diverse views in my shadow ministry and the caucus.

GREG TURNBULL: Indeed there are. Our guest this morning is leading the charge against Kim Beazley’s proposal, Shadow Environment and Water Minister Anthony Albanese. We’ll also hear a defence of Israel’s position in the deadly conflict in Lebanon. But first to what the nation’s papers are reporting this Sunday, July 30. The ‘Sunday Mail’ in Queensland covers the overwhelming ‘no’ vote in Toowoomba yesterday, rejecting the use of recycled sewage as drinking water. Now there’ll be a statewide referendum in 2008. The ‘Age’ reports that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has arrived back in Israel for talks on a peacekeeping force in Lebanon. The ‘Sunday Times’ says two men have been charged with disorderly conduct after yesterday’s violent anti-war protest against the Prime Minister in Perth. And with an interest rate rise looming, the ‘Sun-Herald’ says there’s now a push for longer mortgages, possibly up to 50 years. Kim Beazley’s uranium policy revamp is being hotly opposed by his Shadow Environment and Water Minister Anthony Albanese, who is our guest this morning. Welcome to the program.

SHADOW ENVIRONMENT AND WATER MINISTER ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.

GREG TURNBULL: Firstly to that Toowoomba vote, if we could just go there. I guess it’s no surprise to many Australians that a majority of Australians in Toowoomba don’t want to go drinking their own sewage.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, it wasn’t a surprising result. It was a disappointing result. You had both Federal Labor and the Federal Government urging a ‘yes’ vote primarily because the ‘no’ campaign didn’t come up with any alternative.

GREG TURNBULL: Does this mean that when this issue is revisited, as it will be presumably if Peter Beattie is still in Government in 2008, that it has to be approached another way?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, I think we need a campaign of education. Essentially, recycling, of course, is what natural processes do through the process of evaporation, cloud formation and rain, and we need to get across the idea that recycling of course isn’t necessary for potable water in most cases, but certainly for industrial use and the general principle that we need to value our water rather than use it once and then expel it into the ocean. Those days are gone.

GREG TURNBULL: Let’s go to the uranium debate that flared through the week. What’s so important about the number of mines that you’re prepared to risk blowing up the ALP conference and derailing your leader over the issue?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, uranium is a very moderate export earner, but it’s a big principle in the Labor Party, and that principle comes down to this – you can guarantee that uranium mining will lead to nuclear waste. You can’t guarantee that uranium mining won’t lead to nuclear weapons, and that’s why the principle which is embodied in the policy, which is essentially a phasing out of uranium mining, is something that many delegates to the conference and party members hold dear, and that’s why we’re having this vigorous debate inside the Labor Party.

GREG TURNBULL: What about the point that Kim Beazley made in his Sydney Institute speech, where he said banning new uranium mines would not limit the export of Australian uranium to the world, it would simply favour the incumbent producers? We’re already going to be the biggest exporter with the expansion of Olympic Dam. Aren’t you flying in the face of reality?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No. Labor’s policy has to balance two principles. One is the principle recognising the concerns with the nuclear fuel cycle, saying that until the problems of cost, waste, safety and proliferation are resolved we won’t go further down that track. But secondly, also, the economic principle that we don’t repudiate contracts, that Labor recognises economic sovereignty, if you like, and that’s why we would not repudiate contracts. But, obviously, unless getting rid of the No new mines policy is going to lead to more uranium mining, then there’s not much point having the debate.

GREG TURNBULL: Well, it seems to be a bit of a foregone conclusion that you will not succeed at the ALP conference in rolling Kim Beazley on this issue. One experienced observer of the ALP over the years is John Howard. Here’s his assessment that he made through the week. PRIME MINISTER JOHN HOWARD (Tuesday): Oh, I think he’ll get them. Surely they won’t roll him on this. I can’t believe they would! But – no, I predict it will get carried and, but all it does is bring them limping towards basic common sense.

GREG TURNBULL: Anthony Albanese, what happens if through the magic of your rhetoric, you hypnotise the conference and they do actually support your position? That would be the end of Kim Beazley, wouldn’t it?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, not at all. John Howard, of course, doesn’t have a vote in the Labor Party, and he doesn’t understand the fact that in the Labor Party we value society as something more than economic transactions between economic entities. We actually look at the social and environmental consequences of economic activity. So I’m not surprised that he doesn’t get that this is a debate within the Labor Party. But it is, as Kim Beazley himself has said, and I think he’s shown strength and leadership in doing it, he hasn’t said he’ll dictate the policy, he wants a debate, and he’s having a mature debate from a modern political party and the last democratic party left in Australia.

GREG TURNBULL: You’ve said through the week that you don’t think there are many votes in this issue for the Labor Party and perhaps, on the contrary, are you concerned that success for Kim Beazley at the conference on this issue will hand votes to the Greens, including in your own electorate?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I certainly think that this is an issue of principle, but also in terms of the politics of the issue I just don’t believe that there are people out there in marginal seats who voted for John Howard at the last election who are saying, "If only Labor got rid of our no new mines policy that we’d change our vote to the Labor Party." On the contrary, I think there’s many people who will be quite disheartened if Labor’s seen to be watering down our strong position in opposition to uranium mining. It’s clear that Labor will maintain, regardless of the outcome on the no new mines policy, a very strong position in opposition to nuclear reactors, in opposition to uranium enrichment. So there’s going to be a very clear distinction regardless of the policy outcome. But I just think that just like our position on AWAs gives us such a clear distinction on the WorkChoices legislation from the Government, we should have an absolutely clear position of no further involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle whatsoever.

GREG TURNBULL: We will come back to the uranium issue with the panel, but if I could just go to some general politics very quickly. An Ipsos Mackay opinion poll published exclusively for Meet The Press has found that two-thirds of Australians think Peter Costello should remain as Treasurer and patiently wait for another opportunity to take the prime ministership. 12% think he should retire from politics, 12% think he should resign in a huff and go to the backbench, 67% believe he should stay where he is, and 9% just don’t know. What do you think, Anthony Albanese, and do you think that view to have him stay in the job might change with next week’s interest rate rise?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well. it certainly might change, but I think that maybe they’re asking the wrong question. The question is – should he go back to doing his job as Treasurer? He seems to be talking about anything but at the moment, and today I notice he’s lecturing fathers about parental responsibility. I think he should actually get on back to the job he was elected to do.

GREG TURNBULL: Time for a break. When we return with the panel, more on uranium and the broader political landscape.

GREG TURNBULL: You’re on Meet The Press with our guest Anthony Albanese. Welcome to our panel this morning, Jennifer Hewett from the ‘Australian Financial Review’ and News Limited columnist Glenn Milne.

JENNIFER HEWETT, ‘AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW’: Mr Albanese, there’s a lot of talk about principle going on in terms of the uranium debate, but isn’t the script written for pretty practical politics, which is that you get to argue about symbolism and look honourable in defeat, and Mr Beazley gets to look tough in changing a quarter of a century-old policy?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, that’s not right. We’re having a serious debate about a serious issue. And it’s in the context, of course, of the need to address climate change. John Howard has discovered one area of climate change, and says that we need nuclear energy whilst our emissions are spiralling. So I think this will be a debate. The advantage is that it focuses attention on the need to take serious action to avoid dangerous climate change. It gives us a chance to campaign on Kim Beazley’s climate change blue print, which we released earlier this year.

JENNIFER HEWETT, ‘AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW’: You said it’s a serious debate, but the underlying serious debate is about economic management, and presumably this adds to Labor’s economic credibility if Kim Beazley is able to change this policy. But do you think that remains one of the greatest areas of weakness for the Labor Party?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, I don’t think it does at all, and I think that the difficulties that the economy’s experiencing at the moment, with the potential interest rate increase again next week, adds to problems in the Government side. On the economic side of this debate, we need to put it into some perspective. What we have here is uranium exports worth $500 million last year. That’s about the same amount as manganese ore and oxide, which we hear nothing about. It’s about the same amount as the loss of two wind farm projects in Tasmania and South Australia, which aren’t going ahead because of the Government’s failure to increase the mandatory renewable energy target. It’s a bit more, but not much more, than the $300 million contract that was signed by the Tasmanian company Roaring 40s with the Chinese Premier when he was out here earlier this year. So I think that one of the things that we need to do in this debate as the Labor Party is make sure that we get home the message that Australia is missing out on economic opportunities, both domestically in terms of our transformation to a carbon-constrained economy, the growth of the renewable energies industry, but also the massive export potential that is there for us to position ourselves to take advantage of what’s a trillion-dollar growth industry.

GLENN MILNE, NEWS LIMITED: Anthony Albanese, I would just like to go back to a question that Greg asked you in the first break, and that is you say that Kim Beazley could survive as leader if he lost on this issue at the ALP National Conference. Can you possibly explain to me how that could happen if he’s repudiated by his own party?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: This is a democratic debate. Of course, I remember a couple of years ago at a State conference Bob Carr and Michael Egan failing to get to 5% of the vote for their plan to support electricity privatisation, and yet the Labor vote went up and they got a significantly increased majority.

GLENN MILNE: Yes, but Bob Carr was Premier then, not Opposition Leader.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: That’s right, but this is a serious issue of principle in the Labor Party. Yesterday the ACT conference voted to support the no new mines policy. There isn’t a single State or Territory branch which has opposed the no new mines policy, and at the – next month, of course, all members of the party will get to vote for who the national president of the ALP is. And that will be an opportunity, I’m sure, in which people’s position on the no new mines policy will be a factor.

GLENN MILNE: So you’re going to run a no new mines candidate for the presidency of the party, is that right?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, that will be one factor, but it’s pretty clear that people are going to want to know what people’s position is on the no new mines policy and that will be a factor in them voting. There’s been various other suggestions. Some people are suggesting a write-in on ballot papers like the ‘no dams’ write-in in the election, in order for people to express their view, because I think it’s very clear that a majority of ALP members around the nation support the existing policy, don’t want any further involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle, are interested in serious action to address climate change but don’t want to go down this track.

JENNIFER HEWETT: Mr Albanese, it seems that the environment’s a mainstream issue all around the world, including from business. Why, if it’s such a big issue, are you not able to make more political headway with it as a party?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well. I think we are making headway with this issue as a party. In one way, I think there’s an opportunity for us to wedge the Government on these issues. This is a Government that really has got nothing to say about climate change. They’re isolated in terms of their failure to ratify the Kyoto protocol. They’re opposed to emissions trading, opposed to a market-based mechanism for setting a price on carbon, contrary to the call of many in the business community, and recently the climate change business round table called for early action because they know that unless we act soon to address climate change issues and to transform the economy, then it will cost more in the long run. So the sort of policies that Kim Beazley outlined in the climate change blueprint – supporting clean coal technology, supporting solar and renewables – is where we need to go.

JENNIFER HEWETT: But you need also to have that economic management underpinning, don’t you, and that’s where you seem to be having trouble getting the connection?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Except I think the days of sustainability or prosperity are long gone. What we need to do is recognise that the environment can no longer be considered as something on the end once you’ve dealt with economic and social policy. The environment must be at the core of economic and social policy in terms of sustainable outcomes, because climate change changes that from something that’s an option to something that’s a necessity, and that’s recognised by world leaders not just of the left, but take Arnold Schwarzenegger in the United States – has a $3.2 billion California solar initiative, a remarkable program. He’s got a target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for California. Across the board, world leaders are recognising the challenges that are there, and including in developing countries such as China, which has a 15% renewable energy target, and Australia is simply being left behind.

GLENN MILNE: One way you could possibly wedge the Government I guess on this issue would be to push at the national conference, given that you will probably lose the three mines issue, could you push at the national conference for increased safeguards on uranium enrichment and downstream processing over and above what Kim Beazley is already promising?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Kim Beazley has made it very clear that strict safeguards are part of his push. I mean, what we have essentially is agreement within the Labor Party that we don’t want to be further involved in the nuclear fuel cycle. It’s where you draw the line. The difference that’s there is that Kim’s saying that you should allow new uranium mines with stronger safeguards and that allows us to have a greater global influence. I think that’s optimistic, and I draw attention to people such as Mohammed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency who’s talking about the nuclear non-proliferation treaty basically being in tatters, and the comments by Al Gore, the former vice president of the United States, who has said that every single nuclear proliferation issue that he dealt with in eight years in the White House was connected to a nuclear energy issue. And of course we’re seeing it played out at the moment with Iran. Iran surely is a wake-up call that the arguments that I’m putting, re the direct links between uranium mining, it’s entry into new nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear proliferation, are ones that we should be very cautious about getting further involved in.

GREG TURNBULL: Anthony Albanese, thanks very much for joining us this morning for this discussion on uranium, and best of luck in your advocacy in the ALP conference.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks, Greg.

 

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Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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