Wednesday, 23 November 2022
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy. Before the election, Labor promised to reduce power prices on at least 97 occasions, but before the election Labor was completely silent about signing up Australia to a $2 trillion UN fund to send money to countries all around the world. Why is the government sending taxpayers' money offshore while taking no action to reduce the power bills of struggling Australian families?
The member for Deakin and the member for Aston! There is far too much noise in that corner of the world. Just cease interjecting. The minister has not begun answering the question. He's fair game once he starts, but can we just have silence before the minister begins?
The Leader of the Opposition is not helping.
He's obsessed. There's a lot in that question and a lot I could talk about, but I'll deal with the latter part of the honourable member's question: because on this side of the House we do believe in engaging on how to deal with the impacts of climate change here and around the world. That's what we believe in. We believe in doing that domestically and we believe in doing that internationally, and that's what we were doing last week at the COP meeting. We believe that this is an important security issue in our region as well—in the Pacific and in South-East Asia. That's what we believe.
There is a genuine difference of view, it appears, between the opposition and the government on this question. We believe in engaging in the international conversation. We believe in shaping that conversation. That's what we were doing last week—negotiating, talking to the Pacific, talking to developed countries, talking about good design, talking about ensuring wealthy countries that weren't wealthy in 1992 are making a contribution, and making sure that the loss-and-damage payments are focused on the most vulnerable countries, countries in our region like Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa. That's what we believe.
We believe countries in our region, like Fiji, which is estimated to lose five per cent of its GDP every year due to climate change induced natural disasters, have a right to a seat at the table. We believe it's in our interest to engage with them. If the opposition have an alternative view, I invite them to outline it. They say this is not a conversation we should be involved in. They say we should not be talking at the COP or talking to Pacific nations. I invite the Leader of the Opposition, on this topic—he's the alternative Prime Minister of this country. If successful, it would be his role to be the chief diplomat of the nation. I invite him, today, to invite the high commissioners and ambassadors of the Pacific to hear why he doesn't think we should be engaging in this conversation. Invite them all in, and let him explain why he thinks our country should have no role in helping the Pacific. The Leader of the Opposition could weave a few jokes into his discourse about climate change and the Pacific!
If he wants to do that, he should explain it. He should explain to the Pakistani community—I've met with Pakistani leaders about the $30 billion worth of damage to their economy. He should explain why that's not our concern, why we have no interest in this matter. If this is his approach, he should explain that to the Australian people. Our view is clear: we will engage, we will be involved and we will be the constructive players in climate debates, because Australia is back at the table after 10 long years.