Joint Transcript - Press Conference - 4PM - Canberra
- Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
- Minister for Social Inclusion
- Deputy Prime Minister
Joint Transcript with Senator the Hon Penny Wong MP, Minister for Climate Change and Water
TRANSCRIPTE&OE TRANSCRIPTPRESS CONFERENCE4PM 27 NOVEMBER 2009CANBERRA
ISSUES: Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme
JULIA GILLARD: I’m obviously here with Senator Wong to talk about climate change and the future of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
We all know that Australia is the world’s hottest and driest continent. We all know that Australia is being hit hardest and earliest by climate change and that’s why the Rudd Government determined to take decisive action in the face of climate change and to deliver a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
And the Government and the Liberal Party under Mr Turnbull and Mr Hockey have worked constructively and reached an agreement to take action on climate change and to deliver our Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
Now it’s an agreement to take action; it’s an agreement in the national interest; it’s an agreement in the interests of our children and their children; it’s an agreement for this nation’s future.
So can I say it is deeply, deeply disappointing that the Liberal Party has not today honoured that agreement and brought the debate in the Senate to a conclusion so that today this nation could see the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme passed through this nation’s Senate. It’s deeply disappointing the Liberal Party have not honoured that agreement.
I also want to say the Rudd Government remains absolutely committed to taking action on climate change and to securing passage of our Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. This scheme’s been ten years in the making. Endless delay is not going to cut it anymore. We need action after ten years.
I would like to pay a tribute to Mr Turnbull. Mr Turnbull has been acting constructively in the nation’s interests on this matter.
Mr Turnbull said last night and I’d like to quote him:
“Most Australians expect their political leaders and the political parties to take effective action on climate change.”
Mr Turnbull's right about that.
Mr Turnbull said last night:
“This is about the future of our planet and the future of our children and their children. It’s one of the greatest challenges of our time.”
Mr Turnbull’s right about that.
And Mr Turnbull said last night:
“We agreed with the Government on this deal. We must retain our credibility on taking action on climate change and we must also be seen as men and women of our word. We entered in to a bargain; there was offer and there was acceptance.”
Mr Turnbull is absolutely right about that.
Mr Turnbull has shown great courage and great determination to deliver this change in the nation’s interest and in doing so, he is following the lead of former Prime Minister John Howard in the establishment of an emissions trading scheme.
Now I’d also note that Mr Hockey has told the Australian people that he supports Mr Turnbull in Mr Turnbull’s agreement with the Government.
And I refer in that regard to an interview with radio national on the 10th of November with Fran Kelly where Fran Kelly said, and I quote:
“If Ian Macfarlane and Malcolm Turnbull recommend to the party room that they pass an amended emissions trading scheme, should a party room pass it,” to which Mr Hockey said yes.
Mr Hockey, like Mr Turnbull, has come to an agreement with the Government. This is an agreement with the Liberal Party.
Now the time has come for the Liberal Party to live up to its responsibilities to the nation and under this agreement.
The Government remains committed to securing passage of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. The Senate will sit on Monday and we expect the Liberal Party at that time to honour the agreement and pass the scheme.
I can confirm that the House of Representatives commence sitting again at 10am on Monday. The House will be there in anticipation of the Senate passing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
Now I would say to the Liberal Party now is the time to uphold their end of the agreement and to act in the national interest.
This scheme’s been ten years in the making. There have been 13 parliamentary inquiries and reports over the past two years alone. Now any move to further delay the passage of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme through another inquiry is just delaying action on climate change.
Can I say to the Liberal Party very clearly and to the people of this nation - Australians can’t afford any more delays on climate change. We can’t afford any more inquiries, reports or investigations into climate change.
We will be turning up here on Monday and we will be acting in the nation’s interests and in the interests of our children and their children.
The Liberal Party must turn up here on Monday and do the same. If they fail to do so, it will be clear they have been conquered by the sceptics and deniers in their ranks.
JOURNALIST:Acting Prime Minister?
JULIA GILLARD:Yes, Dennis.
JOURNALIST:Do you believe that the action today in the Senate has already provided grounds for a double dissolution trigger or will a deferral next week give you that trigger?
JULIA GILLARD:Dennis, I’m not speculating on those kind of matters; I’m not speculating about it at all. I think our focus, my focus, Senator Wong’s focus, the Government’s focus is absolutely clear. We are determined to deliver the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme; we are determined to take action on climate change. The issue for Monday is we will be here, ready to act the nation’s interests. We expect the Liberal Party to honour its agreement and to be here, ready to do the same.
JOURNALIST:When is the deal no longer on the table?
JULIA GILLARD:The deal is remaining on the table for this purpose. We obviously said to the Liberal Party that the deal was on the table for this week. We acknowledge that the debate would take time; it has taken time. We had a procedural agreement with the Liberal Party for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme to pass the Senate today. Obviously that has not occurred. So the deal remains and we are standing ready and determined to see this Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme pass the Senate and we are expecting the Liberal Party to come her eon Monday and do the same.
JOURNALIST:It goes into Monday - Kevin Rudd said on Monday as did you, Minister, this is a deal for this week only. What is your cut off date; when will the deal be no longer on the table?
JULIA GILLARD:The parliamentary debate has to come to an end. We are prepared and we’ve always said we were prepared to have senators to have time to have their say – and I will turn to Senator Wong in minute to go through how much time they have had to have their say – but we always said to the Senate we would give them time to have their say, but this arrangement was to secure passage of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
JOURNALIST:When does the debate have to come to an end?
JULIA GILLARD:You would be aware obviously that we, in terms of Senate proceedings, are in the hands of senators. We have said that we would let people have their say in this Senate debate but we are obviously also saying to the Senate that there’s been enough delay, enough inaction on climate change - now is the time to act.
We will be here Monday, the House of Representatives will be here Monday and we expect the Liberal Party to honour its agreement with us.
I’ll just turn to Senator Wong on the amount of sitting time we’ve had so far.
PENNY WONG:Just to be clear, in terms of the debate in the Senate, as anybody who’s been watching I think would be very clear what has been occurring, we have had some 28 hours of debate in total on this legislation, and I would also remind you that this is in fact the second time the Senate has debated this legislation.
We’ve been in the committee stage, which is the stage at which we consider amendments, for some 16 hours, and in that time we have progressed about 10 per cent of the amendments.
So clearly the expectation from the Government that the Liberal Party would honour its agreement and conclude the debate this week has not been met. Accordingly as the acting Prime Minister has said, we will return on Monday to the Senate and our expectation is that the Liberal Party will honour their agreement which was negotiated to pass the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
JOURNALIST:(inaudible) … as it appears tonight they’re not going to pass this bill because of what’s going on, you said you remain committed to getting this thing through. What other options do you have other than an early election or a double D…?
JULIA GILLARD:Let’s just be a little bit clear about where we are in this debate. Mr Turnbull is the leader of the Liberal Party, Mr Turnbull and the Liberal Party made an agreement with the government. It is an agreement that was supported by Mr Hockey, supported by him…
JOURNALIST:They’re out to roll him. If they roll him, they won’t honour that agreement any more.
JULIA GILLARD:Well the agreement is with the Liberal Party, we entered into it with the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party dealt with the agreement through their own internal processes.
We are saying something very clear to the Liberal Party, which is that we expect them to honour the agreement. And if they fail to honour the agreement, then that will tell you that they have been conquered by the sceptics and deniers in their ranks.
JOURNALIST: Has the government sought legal advice on whether, if the bill is referred to a Senate committee as it appears quite likely, that would be grounds for double dissolution – that it would actually be rejection of the legislation?
JULIA GILLARD: We are not focussed on anything other than delivering the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme through the Parliament, into Australian law, in the national interest and in accordance with our agreement with the Liberal Party.
JOURNALIST: So are you saying you haven’t thought past the Liberal Party voting against and getting those numbers? What is your Plan B if that doesn’t happen on Monday?
JULIA GILLARD:The focus here is on delivering the agreement with the Liberal Party.
JOURNALIST:Have you got legal advice, though, on that question of whether a Senate inquiry would constitute failure to pass?
JULIA GILLARD:I haven’t sought, and I do not have, any such advice.
When I say to you our focus is on delivering the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in the national interest, that’s our focus.
We will sit here on Monday, we will have the Parliament in progress to do just that. We have an agreement with the other political party that contends for government in this nation to do just that, we are asking that political party to honour that agreement.
JOURNALIST:Ms Gillard at the 2007 election there was …(inaudible) … Do you think the public support is as strong as it was two years ago?
JULIA GILLARD:I believe the Australian public are very, very strongly committed to acting on climate change. I think people intuitively understand that it’s in this nation’s interests to act, and they are worried about the future for their children, and their children. And I think they know that this is a major step forward for this nation in dealing with climate change.
But when we show how committed we to this, when we advocate it publicly and we come to the Parliament and argue for it, when Senator Wong stands there and defends the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme against all comers for many hours, we do that not with an eye to public option, we do that with an eye to what’s in this nation’s interests.
We are committed to this scheme because it’s right for this nation for the long term, that is why we are committed to delivering it through the Parliament.
JOURNALIST:Ms Gillard will you guillotine debate on Monday?
JULIA GILLARD:I’m not speculating upon procedures or processes on Monday. We will come to the Parliament, we will be seeking passage of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, we have an agreement with the Liberal Party to do just that.
JOURNALIST:Have they got a time on it…
JULIA GILLARD:We’ve always said we were prepared to let people…
JOURNALIST:In terms of, on Monday…
JULIA GILLARD: We will come to the Parliament, we will have the debate.
JOURNALIST:Ms Gillard, do you expect Mr Turnbull to still be leader on Monday?
JULIA GILLARD:That’s a matter for the Liberal Party, and I’m not speculating on matters within the Liberal Party. But I would say this - that Mr Turnbull, Mr Hockey, the Liberal Party entered an agreement with the Government, we are asking for that agreement to be honoured.
And I would also say, and there was a reference before by Steve Lewis to the 2007 election, my very clear recollection of that election is it was contested by Prime Minister John Howard, who was committed to an emissions trading scheme. So, can I say once again, if the Liberal Party does not honour its agreement when it comes to the Parliament on Monday, then that will be a very clear sign that they have been overrun by sceptics and deniers.
JOURNALIST:When you bring the Reps back on Monday, does the House have other business, or will MPs basically be sitting around twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the Senate CPRS legislation to come back?
JULIA GILLARD:The House of Representatives has always got business on the Notice Paper and legislative work to do. We will obviously have the House sitting here, because we are aiming to secure passage of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. The House will be there, ready to receive the legislation when it clears the Senate, as it should, under our agreement with the Liberal Party.
JOURNALIST:A sizeable proportion of the Liberal Party now think it is electorally advantageous for them to oppose your scheme, do you think as a Government you spent too much time on the detail of this and you dropped the ball on the PR, you didn’t sell it hard enough?
JULIA GILLARD:This is a major reform, in the nation’s interests; we’ve been focused on …
JOURNALIST:Did you sell it well enough?
JULIA GILLARD:I’ll let all of you and your Saturday columns speculate about that, and I’ll read them with interest over a cup of coffee. But the point here of course is, we’ve been focused, and this has been a long process - over the best part of two years now – and Senator Wong has lived through every minute of it.
This has been a long process about getting the details right, we’ve been focused on that. We’ve been focused on delivering it in the nation’s interest - it’s the right policy for this nation, for the hottest and driest continent on the planet.
I understand that there are people who speculate about public opinion on these matters. That’s not what we’re doing; we’re driven by the need for national reform in this country’s interests.
JOURNALIST:Has your office or has anyone in the Government today sounded out Joe Hockey for his views on the CPRS?
JULIA GILLARD:Joe Hockey’s on the public record as I’ve indicated to you, so the matter is one of public note.