May 29, 2007

Transcript – Climate change advertising; IWC, Turnbull, scientific whaling

Transcript of doorstop interview – Parliament House, Canberra

Tuesday, 29 May 2007


Subject: Climate Change advertising mislead; IWC Turnbull and scientific whaling

ALBANESE: We’ve now asked twelve questions in Question Time about the climate change advertising campaign that the Government has planned. The Prime Minister has looked as bad in Question Time as I’ve seen him in my 11 years. The Prime Minister of five years ago would have last Wednesday come back into the House, corrected the record and come up with some excuse for why he misled the Parliament. On Thursday he certainly would have considered his position, come into the House and corrected the record.

Yesterday he was asked on seven occasions whether the Government was planning to spend taxpayers funds on a climate change advertising campaign with considerable detail about the nature of the television advertising, about the mailouts, about the companies who’ve signed contracts to engage in this campaign. Indeed the fact is that as the Prime Minister was standing up in Parliament last week denying the existence of this campaign, the ads were actually in production.

All Australians, when they get this climate change propaganda through their letterbox and when they see the ads on television, will know that the Prime Minister has misled the Parliament. This is a Government that’s been in denial for over a decade about climate change but is now in denial about its climate change advertising campaign. What Australians need is a Government that will lead on climate change, not one that will mislead.

REPORTER: On whales, Malcolm Turnbull seems to be leading a pretty concerted push against Japan, is he doing enough?

ALBANESE: The outcome of the IWC meeting will be of course that whaling will continue for so called scientific purposes. I’m disappointed when I heard Malcolm Turnbull’s grabs this morning that he seemed to concede that there was such a thing as scientific whaling. It’s not scientific whaling, they’re not killing whales for science, they’re killing them for lunch in tuck shops. We need to be very clear that regardless of the outcome of the IWC whaling will continue. What we need to do is to adopt Labor’s plan and I call upon the Government to get serious. To take Japan and other whaling nations to international tribunals, in particular to the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea and to monitor the activity that is occurring in the Australian Whale Sanctuary.

REPORTER: Have you seen these ads?

ALBANESE: I haven’t seen the ads. I have however certainly seen material relating to the ads and certainly the information that’s flowing out. There’s a lot of frustration out there from people who know that climate change is the great moral challenge of our generation and who are frustrated at this cynical use of taxpayer funds by the Government. It’s not surprising that the number of whistle blowers out there is ever increasing.

REPORTER: Will you be embarrassed if the ads don’t appear?

ALBANESE: The ads exist, we know they exist, we know in fact that they’ve been market tested. Last week in Senate Estimates when we first raised this issue the Department said no and stone walled in a similar way in which the Prime Minister has. They then came back into the Parliament and had to table before the Senate Estimates Committee a letter from the Assistant Secretary of the Department stating that Blue Moon Pty Ltd was market testing both a pamphlet and the covering letter or the foreword from the Prime minister at a cost to the Australian taxpayer of $186,000.

This is a real campaign, it exists and it‘s reminiscent of the Howard Government in other areas, such as before they went to war in Iraq despite the fact the troops had left and they were on the borders. The Howard Government was saying that no decision had been made. It’s quite clear that a decision has been made, it’s quite clear that funds have been allocated for this campaign. It’s quite clear that the Prime Minister of today is not the Prime Minister of yesterday. The Prime Minister of yesterday, of years gone past simply wouldn’t have misled the Parliament, Wednesday last week, Thursday last week and once again yesterday.

REPORTER: Are you saying the Prime Minister has been caught out?

ALBANESE: Quite clearly the Prime Minister has been caught out misleading the Parliament. He’s continued to do it on a serial basis question after question. The Prime Minister yesterday through his own words – at one stage he responded to the sixth question he was asked on this issue, he responded that what the campaign won’t include or what ‘it’ won’t include – he acknowledged the existence of this campaign. It’s very clear that the Australian public have a right to know. Not just because climate change is the moral challenge of our generation but because it’s their funds that are being spent. The absurdity to suggest that when you market test a campaign it doesn’t relate to the campaign is like saying that sandpapering a wall has nothing to do with painting that wall. It is the preparation, it has occurred and we know the ads have been shot.