Nov 1, 2006

Questions without notice – Climate Change and Iraq

Questions without notice

Climate Change and Iraq

1 November 2006

Mr ALBANESE (2.24 p.m.)—My question is to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister recall saying on 19 March 2003 at the National Press Club in relation to Iraq and Australia’s approach to being a part of the coalition of the willing:

I don’t believe sitting on the sidelines is either good for Australia nor do I believe it has ever really been the Australian way.

Prime Minister, using your Kyoto logic, shouldn’t Australia have waited until every other country invaded Iraq before we sent in troops? Prime Minister, why isn’t Australia one of the 165 countries who have ratified Kyoto, who make up the coalition of the willing against dangerous climate change?

Mr HOWARD—I think Laurie Oakes is right: the member for Kingsford Smith ought to take his place. But the answer obviously is that the analogy drawn by the member is absurd.

Mr Albanese interjecting—

The SPEAKER—Order! The member for Grayndler has asked his question.

Mr HOWARD—Let me, while I am on my feet—because this question is obviously about climate change, so the answer I am going to give is relevant—

Mr Albanese interjecting—

The SPEAKER—The member for Grayndler is warned!

Continue Mr HOWARD—Let me quote the words of the leader of one of the other partners in the coalition of the willing in Iraq, a very successful, noble and courageous Labour leader, Tony Blair. I invite everybody who has followed this debate, and particularly the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition at the beginning of question time, to let me read what Tony Blair had to say—and I was wrong when I said it was 26 March. It was 28 March this year, and I apologise for misleading the House. This is what Tony Blair had to say in answer to a question at our joint press—

Ms Gillard interjecting—

Mr HOWARD—Yes, it is about Kyoto too—and not Kyoto 2, the new Kyoto; Kyoto as well. This is what he had to say:

That is why it is just, as I say, a completely unrealistic debate to say that you could have a climate change agreement that doesn’t involve China and then America obviously, and of course India which is also a country of over a billion people growing at a vast rate. Now we’re not at the stage yet—

Ms Plibersek interjecting—

The SPEAKER—The member for Sydney is warned!

Mr HOWARD—He continued:

that is Tony Blair’s way of saying we have not reached a new Kyoto—

but I think it is possible to build out of the initiatives that are happening today a more realistic framework that gives us a real chance of being able to reduce emissions, which is what we need to do, and protect the climate.

The reality is that the coalition of the willing in Iraq was contributed to by Mr Blair.

Mr Hatton interjecting—

The SPEAKER—The member for Blaxland is warned!

Continue Mr HOWARD—Mr Blair knows, I know and other leaders in the AP6 know that the way of the future is to have an agreement that includes all of the world’s major emitters. If we were to follow the advice and sign Australia up to an arrangement that imposed a carbon price on the valuable resource industries of this country that did not impose the same price on our competitors, we would, in the words of the member for Batman, who cares about the workers of Australia, do enormous damage not only to the resource industries of Australia but to the workers of Australia. If you want progress on climate change, you have got to involve everybody. If you want to destroy one of the most valuable sectors of the Australian economy, hobble the resource industry with a carbon price that is not being borne by our competitors—and that in reality is the policy of the Australian Labor Party.