Subjects; Energy, proposed encryption laws, Abbott and Turnbull BFFs
KARL STEFANOVIC: There has been plenty of heat this week in politics again. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join me now, good morning guys.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.
CHISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl, good morning Anthony.
STEFANOVIC: Talking of heat, energy ministers get together today, the states threatening to go it alone. You can’t stop them, can you Chris?
PYNE: Well look, the states and territories need to do a lot of things to help put downward pressure on energy prices, and they could start by removing the moratoriums on the exploration for gas on the mainland.
Because that is one of the main reasons why gas prices have tripled in the last few years, and that is fuelling higher energy prices, pardon the pun.
In those states, where there isn’t a moratorium on gas exploration, they are doing better. The states can’t try and push this off onto the Commonwealth, we are doing our bit.
We are stopping gas companies from being able to export their gas until they have provided enough here for domestic users. But we need more gas being created, and that means we need more exploration.
STEFANOVIC: What I’m saying though, is that you can’t really stop them going it alone.
PYNE: Well, they are sovereign governments. If they want to make their own decision that is a matter for them. But we have a considered, calm approach to this, we’re working through it, we’ve directed the Australian Energy Market Operator to do certain things.
We have introduced a new mechanism to stop gas producers from exporting gas, until they have guaranteed supply here in Australia, and we are starting to make the kinds of decisions that will give relief to consumers.
STEFANOVIC: Okay. Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly said that people will die this winter due to high power prices. He’s right, isn’t he?
ALBANESE: He’s not right. What he’s right in doing is trying to lift his own profile, at the expense of sensible policy outcomes. We know that renewables are the future.
STEFANOVIC: Aren’t Aussies worse off?
ALBANESE: Craig Kelly might want to go back to the 1950s with Tony Abbott, but he shouldn’t ask all Australians to go back and keep him company. What the Finkel Report said.
STEFANOVIC: Renewables will lead to higher prices though.
ALBANESE: What the Finkel report said very clearly, done by Australia’s Chief Scientist is that renewables would be the cheapest form of energy as we go forward. That’s why they recommended it.
We need national leadership on this issue. This is a failure of national leadership, the fact that today we’re having a national energy ministers meeting, whereby the Commonwealth isn’t able to say they support the recommendation, that they themselves commissioned for a clean energy target.
This is an extraordinary abrogation of Commonwealth responsibility and leadership, and Australians are paying the price.
STEFANOVIC: Did Craig Kelly go over the top do you think, Chris?
PYNE: Well Karl, we have a pragmatic all of the above approach to providing energy for Australians.
ALBANESE: You have none of the above.
PYNE: Not an ideological approach, unlike the Labor Party.
ALBANESE: What are you doing about the clean energy target?
PYNE: The Labor Party wants an ideological approach. We want a pragmatic all of the above approach, that includes coal, that includes renewables, that includes solar, obviously…
STEFANOVIC: There are a couple of issues that I want to get through, Chris. New laws that will compel global tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple, to unlock encrypted messages of terrorists. Do you expect a fight from the companies? Apple in the past, has shown that they are prepared to fight in the courts.
PYNE: Well Karl, it’s critical that ASIO and other agencies be able to intercept messages that are potentially designed to damage Australians, or designed to damage other people overseas that we can protect.
So in 2013, three per cent of the messages that ASIO was intercepting were encrypted. Today it is 55 per cent and it is growing, and the information that we want is mostly in the encrypted messages.
STEFANOVIC: But do you expect a fight from the companies?
PYNE: Look, I wouldn’t expect a fight from the companies, no. I think if they do try and fight the Government trying to protect Australians, they will be on the wrong side of the argument.
We will introduce legislation this year to give us those extra powers, and I think that the Australian public will support that. If people are sending encrypted messages, where they have absolutely nothing to hide, they’ve got nothing to fear. But if we have terrorists who are sending encrypted messages to protect themselves, while they hurt others, that’s not okay.
ALBANESE: We will look at any legislation with the same approach that we have had to all of this, which is a common sense approach. We must keep Australians safe. Governments have that responsibility and we should have a bipartisan approach. But we will look at the detail when it comes forward.
STEFANOVIC: Christopher, I would have liked to see the encrypted messages between Tony Abbott and the Prime Minister. Is that all sorted out now? Are they best friends forever again?
PYNE: Karl, we’re all BFFs in the Liberal Party.
STEFANOVIC: Chris, are you out of the naughty corner?
ALBANESE: He’s almost right there.
PYNE: No, I’m not going there Karl, you’ve tried this every week, for three weeks and I’m not biting.
STEFANOVIC: Why? You’ve got to get out of that naughty corner don’t you?
PYNE: I’m just getting on with my job, as you would expect, in defence industry and doing a good a job as I can.
ALBANESE: Well, there he is right. The problem for the Government is that this Abbott versus Turnbull conflict is what is stopping us having a national energy policy.
PYNE: Oh, rubbish.
ALBANESE: That is why, today, the ministers will be meeting with no outcome for a clean energy target, even though the Minister Josh Frydenberg knows it’s necessary. The Prime Minister knows it’s necessary. Christopher Pyne knows it’s necessary.
Every economist, every energy company, the Business Council of Australia, all want Finkel to be implemented in full. Yet today, we’re having a meeting that won’t have any outcomes.
STEFANOVIC: Albo thank you. Christopher. Thank you guys, have a great weekend.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.