Transcipt of Doorstop interview, Marrickville
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,
Regional Development and Local Government
Leader of the House
Member for Grayndler
Subject: Need for Parliament to pass the Government’s climate change legislation; Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.
Thursday, 1 October 2009
ANTHONY ALBANESE: The Rudd Labor Government was elected with a mandate to take strong action on climate change after 12 years of inaction from the former government. It’s quite clear that we need to act in the national interest, not in political self-interest.
The fact that Malcolm Turnbull, the leader of the Opposition, had to, this morning, threaten to resign in order to put pressure on his party room to take a position on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is quite extraordinary.
It’s about time the Liberal Party and Malcolm Turnbull acted in the national interest, not in their own self-political interest.
We had quotes this morning from Malcolm Turnbull, who had to say that on ABC Radio and that’s a point, if you can’t govern your own house how can you govern the nation. He then, in an interview on Fran Kelly, said this; to do nothing, to literally be a party with nothing to say, which is what some people are suggesting we should be, a party with no ideas, which is what some people are suggesting we should be, is not the party I am prepared to lead.
It’s extraordinary that after 12 years of inaction on climate change, the Coalition have reached a point whereby the leader, Malcolm Turnbull, has had to threaten to resign in order to get his party room to take a position on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
We’d call upon the Coalition party room to come on board and to support action through the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. After all, they went to the last election just as Labor did, committed to the introduction of an emissions trading scheme.
But what we’re seeing is an opposition disarray, a rabble without a cause, that does not have any position on climate change or indeed on any of the other challenges facing the nation.
Indeed, last night we saw a young Liberals’ meeting held in the electorate office of Alex Hawke, descend into violent chaos whereby Alex Hawke had to call the police and 13 police attend in order to restore some order in the electorate office of Alex Hawke.
This is the New South Wales Liberal Party branch of which Malcolm Turnbull is the titular head. It’s about time that Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals got their act in order because it is holding back the nation when it comes to the important challenges, particularly the most significant global challenge of addressing climate change.
QUESTION: Do you think though Malcolm Turnbull’s bluffing when he threatens to resign?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well I think Malcolm Turnbull this morning has put his leadership on the line. It’s a bit like a footy coach who’s got to threaten to resign in order to get his players to go out onto the field for the grand final.
This is a situation whereby Malcolm Turnbull has lost control of his party room. We call upon him to show leadership. He’s put it on the line this morning, and clearly the Coalition party room needs to come to a position which is in support of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. If they have sensible amendments, put them forward by October 20 and the Government will bargain in good faith about those amendments.
But we can’t delay any longer. We had 12 years of inaction. We now have had a period of disruption whereby the Coalition party room – it’s one thing for them to have held back action under the Howard Government, now the sceptics are seeking to hold back from Opposition the Rudd Government from taking action.
QUESTION: Do you think Malcolm Turnbull would be a good solution?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well pretty clear – it’s pretty clear that Malcolm Turnbull has lost control in his own party room. He’s reached a point whereby he’s had to put his leadership on the line. It’s clear that the sceptics are rampant out there and that while Mr Turnbull was overseas they were busy cranking up the opposition to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. And we know that the dinosaurs in the party room have been emboldened by the failure of Malcolm Turnbull to show leadership.
Now that he’s put his leadership on the line, he should be putting forward the amendments by October 20 and getting down to discussions with the Government so that we can move forward and take a position to the Copenhagen conference.
QUESTION: If Malcolm Turnbull manages to get agreement in the party room, will Labor use this towards a double dissolution election?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: What we’re interested in is the national interest and good policy. That’s why we’ve put forward the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. That’s why we’ve taken action across the board to deal with the global financial crisis.
We’re interested in good government. The problem here is that the Coalition, according to Malcolm Turnbull’s comments himself, have been distracted by people in the Coalition party room who are just interested in politics, not interested in the national interest.
QUESTION: Malcolm Turnbull seems pretty confident that an early election will be bad for the Coalition, are you just as confident that it would be good for Labor?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: We’re not interested in playing these political games. It’s quite clear from Mr Turnbull’s comments this morning that the motivation isn’t about good policy, isn’t about the national interest, it’s all about Malcolm Turnbull’s self-interest. And if there’s something that’s characterised Malcolm Turnbull’s career – in and out of politics for a long time – it’s that he always puts his own interests first.