Parliament House Press Conference

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Interviews

Tuesday, 26th October 2021

Parliament House Press Conference

with Chris Bowen MP

SUBJECTS: Net zero by 2050; Morrison Government’s lack of modelling; Coalition Government focused on themselves and their pay; climate change; Labor’s policy agenda.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Thanks for joining us. Today, we learned net zero from the Prime Minister’s press conference. We haven't seen the modelling and we haven't had the detail. Because there is net zero modelling, net zero legislation and net zero unity. Scott Morrison left to the last possible minute to outline a scam that leaves everything to the last possible minute. By their own words, there is nothing new in this plan. To quote their document, ‘The plan is based on existing policies’. Well, what has all the fuss been about? The word ‘plan’ doesn't constitute a plan, no matter how often you say it and what font it is printed in. As always, with this Prime Minister, it is all about marketing. All about the spin, never about the substance. If this plan was really supported by the whole of the Coalition, then Barnaby Joyce would have launched it with the Prime Minister. But we know that it is not supported by the Deputy Prime Minister, it is not supported by the Nationals Leader in the Senate, it is not supported by Keith Pitt, the Resources Minister, and it was not supported by Minister Gillespie either. The fact is that the only reason why there is not going to be legislation about net zero by 2050, it isn't because there is a risk that it won't be carried, because Labor would vote for net zero by 2050, it is because the Coalition would be embarrassed by the number of their own members who would cross the floor. And Matt Canavan gave it up yesterday when he said, ‘Oh, well, we adopted pro-climate change policies just before the 2007 election and that doesn't bind a future Coalition, either in government or in opposition, after the next election’. And that says it all about where they are at. Now, we know that the only policy detail we have seen up to this point is that Keith Pitt has been promoted to the Cabinet. That’s it. The only new policy detail. There is no new funding announced today, just Keith Pitt’s promotion and an idea that somehow the Productivity Commission will have a look at documentation every five years about how it's all going. It was really about nothing today. And that says it all about this Government that is, frankly, struggling to find any legislation to actually deal with the Parliament to keep going at the moment as we end their third term in office.

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY: Thanks, Anthony. What we saw today wasn’t a plan, it’s a scam. I've seen more detail in a fortune cookie then in documents released by the Government today. Climate change is the biggest challenge facing the planet and the biggest opportunity facing Australia. It requires leadership and detailed plans. But all we got today was the slides, slogans and not solutions. As Anthony said, the only new thing is a pay rise for Keith Pitt. They've introduced a positions trading scheme, trading promotions for policy. That's all we've got. This is a Government who, after eight years of climate wrecking and denying, today, they are simply delaying again. All we've seen after six years is still the same target, Tony Abbott 's target. And now, a projection that we might do two per cent better. At least Tony Abbott had the courage to make a target. And he was a climate change denier. At least he had a medium-term target, at least he said he said would take a target over the medium term to the world 's climate change conferences. What we got from this Government is just more of the same. What we have done is engaged in policy development and announcement. We have already announced electric vehicles tax, community batteries, already announced new energy apprentices, our Rewiring the Nation policy. And we will continue with the process. But we get this scare from the Government that somehow legislation is all of a sudden bad, as Anthony said, there is one reason they won’t legislate and that is because they are worried about the embarrassment. They say that somehow legislation is bad. Well, are they saying that Boris Johnson, that legislated net zero, that Angela Merkel’s Government that legislated net zero, that the French Government that legislated net zero are engaging in the destruction of their industries? They might want to explain that in Glasgow as well. What we saw today wasn't a plan, it is a scam. It's not a plan for the future of the country, it's a political cop-out. 

ALBANESE: Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: The Prime Minister announced projections for 2030 of 35 per cent. Will you make that projection for targets for the next election? 

ALBANESE: The Prime Minister announced a vibe today rather than a target. It's all in the vibe of what's happening. And we will wait and see in terms of the details, of course. You weren’t given any detail at all today. And of course, we haven't been either. What we said very clearly, is that we would await Glasgow and what comes out of Glasgow before we finalise all of our policies when it comes to climate change. But we won't wait for that to announce any of our policies, hence Rewiring the Nation. I asked in Parliament yesterday, would the Prime Minister adopt that? Fixing electricity transmission and making it fit-for-purpose for the 21st century is low hanging fruit. It is something that the Government could doing now. They are doing Snowy 2.0 and it won’t even be plugged in to the grid. It says it all about the laziness when it comes to this Government. 

JOURNALIST: Will you have a target for the next election?

ALBANESE: We will announce our policies after Glasgow. I've been consistent about that the whole way through. And in the meantime, we've announced Rewiring the Nation, we've announced New Energy Apprenticeships, community batteries, we've announced our cheaper electric vehicle policy. Comprehensive policies that will make a difference. We will continue to announce a series of policies that are signed off by us as a Labor Opposition. But we will finalise a number of matters after Glasgow. And it will be well-known before the election. 

JOURNALIST: Why do you have to wait for Glasgow?

ALBANESE: Glasgow is pretty important. That has been the whole focus.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible).

ALBANESE: With due respect, this Government has been there for almost nine years. And literally, two days before the Prime Minister jets off to Glasgow for the most important international conference on climate change this century, he has come up with this non-policy which has no new initiatives. Seriously, this Government today, again, have not released any modelling. They have not released any new initiatives. And in their own words, ‘This plan is based on our existing policies’. So, they themselves have stood up today, and said, ‘Nothing to see here’.

JOURNALIST: The Prime Minister said a 45 per cent emissions reduction target for 2030 was the wrong plan. Labor put that target up during the last election. 

ALBANESE: I say to the Prime Minister, move on Prime Minister. The last election was the last election. What we will be judged on is our policies for the upcoming election. And it says it all about, I did watch the Prime Minister’s press conference, the fact that he has to make things up, effectively, to then criticise them, is just extraordinary. It shows the weakness in his own position. And this is a Prime Minister who cannot even get agreement around his Cabinet table. There is no agreement. And that is because there is no agreement that climate change is real, and it requires a response. In the Labor Party, we don't have disagreement on the science. We know the action on climate change is good for jobs, good for lowering energy prices, and good for lowering emissions. The Prime Minister this week, today, he is now saying that he supports net zero emissions by 2050. That's a policy that he opposed, stridently, at the last election. He says electric vehicles are important. That is something that he rejected completely and said they would end the weekend at the last election. He says that new technologies are important in terms of storage of renewables and at the last election he said that it made as much sense as the Big Banana or the Big Prawn. This is a Prime Minister who is arguing against himself rather than actually arguing in the national interest of where our economy needs to go.

JOURNALIST: If it is not about the last election, what is your policy today about 2030?

ALBANESE: I have already answered the question. 

JOURNALIST: You said you are waiting for Glasgow. What is it that you are waiting for?

ALBANESE: There is a conference that is pretty important. And this is, of course, in terms of an international framework. And I have been consistent all year. What I have said all year is that we would finalise our policies after Glasgow. That is a sensible thing for us to do. There were some who said we would be in an election campaign. We are not in an election campaign now. What we see is the campaign is not really against a Government, it is against a rabble. Thanks very much.

ENDS

 

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Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Road
MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Office

PO Box 6022
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6277 4022
Fax: (02) 6277 8562

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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