ANTHONY ALBANESE – TRANSCRIPT – RADIO INTERVIEW – ABC RADIO AM WITH SABRA LANE – WEDNESDAY, 24 JUNE 2020
ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
ABC RADIO AM WITH SABRA LANE
WEDNESDAY, 24 JUNE 2020
SUBJECTS: Bipartisan support on energy; carbon capture and storage; National Press Club vision statement on science.
SABRA LANE: Good morning, and welcome back to AM.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Good morning, Sabra.
LANE: You’ve offered bipartisan support to the Prime Minister on energy. How genuine are you?
ALBANESE: Absolutely genuine. Because we’ve been talking with the experts, we’ve been talking with investors. And more importantly, we’ve been talking to the community and I think the community wants to see solutions. And at this time, during a health pandemic, and when our economy is in recession for the first time in 30 years, we need to identify what are the potential ways in which the economy can grow stronger arising out of this crisis. And one is to actually have an energy policy. We don’t have one at the moment. So, putting forward a framework which is sensible, which is flexible, which is enduring, it is about getting agreement on the rules for investors. This isn’t about getting rid of all disagreement between the two parties. I outline our strong support for climate change action in my science statement today.
LANE: Already this morning, the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, says he doesn’t know if this is genuine because he points out that your energy spokesman, Mark Butler, recently described carbon capture and storage projects as just a pipe dream. What’s your response?
ALBANESE: Look, this is a genuine offer to sit down and provide a framework. One that’s scalable, so that it doesn’t, for example, we have said very clearly that we want a zero net emissions target by 2050. The Government disagrees with that. Well, okay, let’s put that disagreement, let’s just recognise that that’s there. But that shouldn’t stop there being a framework. And we’re flexible about it. We’ve said whether it’s the NEG, or an emissions intensity scheme, or a clean energy target, you should be able to agree on that framework that provides that investment certainty. We saw last year, a massive drop in renewable investment, 50 per cent in 2019. That’s before the recession. Unless we actually address these issues, then what we’ll see is less growth, less jobs. And we can get it right. I firmly believe that action on climate change can actually reduce emissions but also create jobs and reduce power prices.
LANE: There are conditions to Labor’s support. No nuclear power in the new funding mechanism for carbon capture and storage. They are ideological touchstones for some within the Government. Are those hurdles just too big to clear?
ALBANESE: Well, we’re just putting forward our clear position. We’re opposed to nuclear power. We actually don’t believe that stacks up economically in this country. We see it as a part of culture wars. And we don’t think that carbon capture and storage should come at the expense of using the existing renewable energy frameworks such as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and ARENA. ARENA is about to run out of funding. And that’s been a very important agency to drive change through the economy. And it requires certainty going forward. And that’s one of the things that we’d be looking for from sitting down with the Government and trying to nut out an agreement. And I don’t see why a Government that says that it’s interested in moving the country forward and more consensus in politics, wouldn’t be prepared to engage constructively. It’s a genuine offer, the Government should take it up.
LANE: Some might interpret this as an attempt to win votes in a key close by-election next week for Eden-Monaro. Both you and Mr Morrison have been campaigning very hard there and clearly, the seat is in play. If you lose there, what will that say about your leadership.
ALBANESE: Look, this is a by-election that is about the people of Eden-Monaro. It’s about the Government’s response to the bushfire crisis. This is about issues such as the fact that they don’t really have an energy policy at the moment. It’s about jobs. It’s about the JobKeeper program and people who’ve missed out. They are the issues that are running on the ground. We’ve been working on this policy for a considerable period of time. And it is now time for us to be putting forward more vision statements. Today’s on science and the economic recovery at the National Press Club, is aimed at doing that. This is one of the components in policies that we’re putting forward. But this is a framework which is designed to actually get change. Because what investors are saying to us is that unless we have certainty going forward, then it’s a handbrake on the economy. And manufacturers are saying that. This is about jobs. We are in a recession, we’ve got to identify how we come out of that stronger.
LANE: Mr. Albanese, in this speech you will also talk about science. I think you had plans to give the policy to the Party’s Deputy Leader. What else are you planning given that the Party promised to boost R&D spending to three per cent of GDP by 2030 at the last election, does that now stand or do the economic circumstances mean that is a commitment now that you can’t make?
ALBANESE: Well, what we’ll be talking about today is a range of measures, including the fact that we don’t have appropriate research into pandemics here in this country. And we need to acknowledge that. We’ll be talking about the importance of science and raising it up in our educational institutions. I’ll be talking about projects such as at Murchison and the amazing capacity that Australia has in the past to make scientific discoveries, but we haven’t always been good at commercialising those opportunities. And I’ll be talking about that. That it’s about science as a job creator as well as about creating a better society and a better quality of life for people that scientific breakthroughs do.
LANE: Anthony Albanese thanks for talking to AM this morning.
ALBANESE: Thanks very much, Sabra.