Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Matters of Urgency
I will indeed. For Senator Milne to come in here today and talk about policy is an absolute joke. If you go to the Australian Greens website to see what their policies are in relation to this matter, what does it say? Absolutely nothing. There is not one policy on the Australian Greens website. They are making no contribution to policy in this country. At least the Labor Party, although they are confused about this, have the bare bones of a policy. But the Australian Greens do not have a policy. There is not one policy on their website. I am not surprised, because we had the ‘soft on drugs’ policy and they have removed that. There is not one thing on climate change.
In relation to this matter, I am afraid the Australian Labor Party have a very long way to go. Regrettably for them, substance, not rhetoric, is required. The proposed talkfest in April or May is simply not a good enough contribution. You have enormous problems in your own ranks about where you want to go. You cannot get any sort of position at all in relation to nuclear power. This will be fought out at the next national conference. Why do you not at least enable a proper debate to take place in relation to this matter?
I want to go back and talk about some historical aspects of this government’s contribution on climate change, both in a policy sense and in relation to quite specific matters that have been addressed. It was mentioned earlier that the Australian Greenhouse Office, set up by this government in 1997, was the first agency of its type in the world dedicated to addressing climate change. But it was not a matter of setting up an office; it was not a matter of being comfortable with having that office there; it was the action that followed that. We are recognised internationally for the work we are doing in relation to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The head of the Australian Greenhouse Office is co-chairing new international talks on post Kyoto protocol approaches for long-term cooperative action on climate change. So not only was that group set up in 1997 but in 2007 our leading role in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is being recognised internationally.
I want to make this very clear—and I will go through it slowly so that those opposite can hear it and I will repeat it for them just in case: the government recognises that the best scientific advice tells us that globally we need to achieve large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades. This is the consistent approach of this government, and the Australian Greens, and their leader Senator Brown, have been attempting to distort the position of the government on this matter. It has been quite clear for some time and it is fully supported by me.
I will now go to what we have done. We are up there with the rest of the world in meeting our Kyoto obligations. By 2010 we will have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an amount which effectively equals the greenhouse gas emissions of the whole of the transport sector throughout this country.