Issues: Asylum Seekers; Carbon Pricing; Climate Change Science
ANDREW BOLT: Every week on average we ask three or four Labor ministers to come on this show, only one has ever agreed, the Leader of the House, Anthony Albanese, who joins me again.
Anthony, let me tell you, thank you.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Happy Clean Energy Day, Andrew.
ANDREW BOLT: Well, let’s talk about that in a second, but first the boat people. In 2002, Julia Gillard called the Pacific Solution a costly and unsustainable farce, but it actually worked. Now, in fact, since Labor scrapped it, the boats have returned; 800 people have drowned on your own figures. Was that a terrible mistake?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well what we know Andrew – and we know this from the people who supported the Pacific Solution at the time, people like Andrew Metcalfe, adviser to the Howard Government and adviser to us – is that the Pacific Solution did work for a little while, but once people realised they would be settled in Australia or New Zealand word got out that it (Nauru) essentially was a bus stop on the way to Australia.
ANDREW BOLT: But the point is it was a Solution. Julia Gillard said it was a costly and unsustainable farce at the beginning; how can we trust her judgement now?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: What we’ve got to do, Andrew, is listen to the experts; and that’s what the Prime Minister’s doing and that’s what the Government’s doing.
ANDREW BOLT: You didn’t listen to the experts in two… when you scrapped the Pacific Solution? You didn’t listen to the experts then?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, no, they were saying…
ANDREW BOLT: Eight–hundred people have died.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: They were saying at that point in time that it had a deterrent value. We voted for it, remember Andrew. We voted for it in 2001 – we didn’t play politics. We voted for the legislation that John Howard brought in. What occurred though, over a period of time, is that the people smugglers model went back, because they could say to their customers: as terrible a trade as it is, you will get to go to Australia; you will just go to Nauru on the way through.
ANDREW BOLT: So you don’t think scrapping it was a mistake? I mean, you’re trying to bring it back now. The boats were three a year; you scrapped it, and now bang! We see the result: 800 people in the sea; you don’t accept you made a mistake?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, you need to respond, Andrew, at the time you’re dealing with things. Now we know that there’s a combination of both push and pull factors.
ANDREW BOLT: Yeah, but Julia Gillard, at the time said there were no pull factors; it was all push. She was wrong then, too, wasn’t she?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: The fact is that there were factors in terms of what was occurring in Sri Lanka, what was occurring in Afghanistan. You have to look at why people are leaving.
ANDREW BOLT: She actually said there were no pull factors.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: In terms of what the experts are telling us, Andrew, is that Nauru by itself won’t work today. That you need to add…
ANDREW BOLT: But what I’m trying to ask you – and everyone listening would know what I’m asking you – wasn’t it a terrible, tragic mistake leading to the loss of 800 lives, for you to scrap something that was working, leading directly to this influx of boats?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, because it wouldn’t have continued to work, Andrew. That’s what the experts tell us.
ANDREW BOLT: It may not have continued to work, but… You see there’s no connection between you scrapping the Pacific Solution and the boats returning?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well they tell us also, for example, that the implementation of Temporary Protection Visas meant that people who were here were getting their families onto boats – such as SIEV X – and that was leading to tragedy. They tell us this is a complex issue.
ANDREW BOLT: From SIEV X on, three year for six years, everyone can see what’s happened since. You don’t accept there’s any connection between you having scrapped the Pacific Solution and the temporary protection visas and the influx we saw almost immediately from that point? No connection?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: What I’m really interested in, Andrew, is how we get…
ANDREW BOLT: I just want to get to this bit: can we trust Labor’s judgement, if you got that bit wrong?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Yes we can because we are listening to the experts. We’ve struggled hard. We haven’t been dogmatic about this. We’ve been prepared to compromise. We’ve been prepared to say Malaysia plus Nauru. We’ve even offered to have an independent review into Temporary Protection Visas.
ANDREW BOLT: Into temporary protection visas, but are the experts that – telling you that Nauru didn’t work – are they the ones that told you that scrapping the Pacific Solution would be you beaut – there’d be no consequence?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: They’re telling us it won’t work?
ANDREW BOLT: Are they the same people?
ANTHONY ALBANESE:They’re telling us it won’t work.
ANDREW BOLT: No but in 2000 – no, in 2008, when you scrapped it, what were the experts telling you then?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Andrew, they’re telling us it won’t work.
ANDREW BOLT: Even 2008? The experts in 2008, did they tell you: scrap TPVs, scrap Pacific Solution – there’ll be no consequence?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: The experts were telling us…
ANDREW BOLT: Same guys?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: The experts were telling us that Temporary Protection Visas were leading to an incentive for people to get their families onto boats.
ANDREW BOLT: In 2008, did the experts tell you to scrap the Pacific Solution?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: What was starting to happen, Andrew, was that people were beginning to be – they were on Nauru, out of sight, out of mind. But guess what, they got to come to Australia.
ANDREW BOLT: All right.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Or got to go to New Zealand and the people smugglers were out there plying their trade, saying: ‘don’t worry about it; you’ll get to come to Australia’.
What we need is something that actually stops the boats. The experts tell us that Malaysia will do that, not because 800 will go but because in fact 800 won’t go once people realise that they’ll go to the back of the queue.
ANDREW BOLT: Carbon tax day, today. Your tax and the $10 billion Clean Energy Fund that you’ve got are meant to cut emissions by 5 per cent by 2020. By how much will the world’s temperature change, as a consequence of Australia’s sacrifice?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well what we know, Andrew, is that together with the world we can make a difference.
ANDREW BOLT: All right, what is the difference…
ANTHONY ALBANESE: The world is acting.
ANDREW BOLT: What is our part of that difference? It’s a huge investment. The ambition is to stop the world from heating. What is Australia’s contribution in terms of temperature?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: You know that you can’t do that sort of calculation.
ANDREW BOLT: You can, you can – I’ve got experts.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: No you can’t, Andrew. It’s the same as saying…
ANDREW BOLT: Yes you can. Professor Roger Jones of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates it – and this is the most generous estimate I’ve seen – as about 4/1000th of a degree. Would you disagree with the IPCC on this?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: What we know Andrew, is that if no one…
ANDREW BOLT: Would you disagree with that figure?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’m not a scientist.
ANDREW BOLT: So you never in Cabinet – you never in Cabinet when voting for this said: Excuse me Prime Minister, by how much difference – what’s difference this will, will this make actually to the world’s temperature? You never asked that question?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’ll tell you what we do in Cabinet.
ANDREW BOLT: Did you ever ask that question?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I’ll tell you what we do in Cabinet.
ANDREW BOLT: No, but did you ever ask that question?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: But that’s a nonsense question.
ANDREW BOLT: It’s not a nonsense if the whole thing is to stop the world from rising in temperature.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: That’s like saying, how many lives do you save through foreign aid?
ANDREW BOLT: All right.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Do you stop world poverty?
ANDREW BOLT: All right.
ANTHONY ALBANESE:So therefore you don’t make any contribution to foreign aid because world poverty would still exist.
ANDREW BOLT: No. You need a consequence for the sacrifice you’re trying to ask Australians to do. You’ve got no idea…
ANTHONY ALBANESE: And you know…
ANDREW BOLT: So I’m asking you…
ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, no.
ANDREW BOLT: You have got no idea have you, as an architect of this plan, what the cut in the world’s temperature will be? You don’t know?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Andrew, what we do know…
ANDREW BOLT: Do you know?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: What we do know, Andrew, is that if the whole world acts – we can stop dangerous Climate Change.
ANDREW BOLT: Got you, no – stop global warming.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: We need to stop it.
ANDREW BOLT: All right, what difference will Australia…
ANTHONY ALBANESE: You don’t believe in it.
ANDREW BOLT: No, no, no. I’m…
ANTHONY ALBANESE: You don’t believe in it. So it makes sense for you to oppose a price on carbon.
ANDREW BOLT: No.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: The whole world acting together will.
ANDREW BOLT: No, I’m asking – you do believe that the world is warming as a result of our gases – if we cut our gases, how much will it stop?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Andrew, you know that that’s a nonsense question.
ANDREW BOLT: It’s not.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: The question isn’t that.
ANDREW BOLT: It’s exactly the question. You’re asking people to pay this tax…
ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, the question isn’t that.
ANDREW BOLT: …and you’ll stop global – the world from warming. Well how much will it mean – make a difference?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: No Andrew that’s the wrong question, with due respect.
ANDREW BOLT: It’s the exact question.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, it’s not. The question is: if we don’t act, what will occur to the world if global temperatures rise past the tipping point of more than 2 degrees?
ANDREW BOLT: Okay. What are you going to stop?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: So we have to stop…
ANDREW BOLT: What is this – how is this going to stop it?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: It will make a contribution.
ANDREW BOLT: Which is?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, 5 per cent we will remove.
ANDREW BOLT: No, no, which is?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: We will remove 160 million tonnes of carbon.
ANDREW BOLT: I’m not going to get an answer, am I?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: 160 million tonnes of carbon, equivalent to taking 45 million cars off the road.
ANDREW BOLT: No – got cars, cars – I want temperature.
But I’ve run out of time. Look, Anthony, I’m not going to get an answer. I know this, but I really respect you coming in. You’re a straight up guy, and I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you, Andrew.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.