Senate debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Questions without Notice

Climate Change

2:46 pm

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Foreign Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you to Senator Pratt for her question and for her advocacy over many years, like many on this side, for action on climate. The government's safeguard mechanism reforms are, really, the first chance in over a decade for us to implement climate action that gets us towards net zero. That's the important thing: how do we get to the targets that have been set, which I thought the opposition supported? I'll say more about them shortly.

Australian businesses are pleading for it because they know that reducing emissions is essential to their long-term competitiveness in a global net-zero economy. We want to deliver sensible pro-climate reforms that the Australian people voted for and that businesses need so they can reduce emissions.

But those opposite—I think Senator Canavan is demonstrating it now—oppose reforms, because there is a pathology of political conflict over there. You're not interested in solutions. You're not actually interested in reducing emissions. You're not interested in having a mechanism which enables the market to have certainty so we can deliver net zero, which, supposedly, you support in principle.

You're not interested in that, but you are interested in having conflict—the same old fights, reheated for 2023. Of course, you have to ask the opposition who they are actually fighting for. Who are you fighting for? You're not fighting for businesses, because we know the business community supported this. You're not fighting for working Australians. You opposed both new jobs and secure jobs, whether it's the minimum—

Opposition senators interjecting—


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