Tuesday, 6 September 2022
Questions without Notice
My question is to Minister Farrell representing the Minister for Resources. In order for us to avoid this climate disaster we simply can't open up any new fossil fuel or gas fields. What formula did the Minister for Resources apply in making the decision to ensure that the recent announcement didn't contravene the government's own 43 per cent emissions reduction target and Australia's commitments under the Paris Agreement?
I thank the senator for the question. I will preface my comments by saying that Minister King has been doing a terrific job in this space since she came into the portfolio—a very fine job. The Albanese—
An honourable senator: Do you have an answer?
With respect, Senator, if you'd let me finish my answer—
Government senators interjecting—
Thank you. The Albanese government went to the last election with a commitment to reduce emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, and that's what we're going to do. That's the commitment we made to the Australian people. That's the commitment we will deliver on, and in a short space of time you're going to get a chance to vote on that very commitment. In the meantime, we need to transition from the current position that we find ourselves in to that 43 per cent reduction, and the way in which we're going to do that— (Time expired)
Considering we didn't get an answer to that one: can the minister provide a time frame in which the government will sign and implement the global methane pledge for a transition out of fossil fuels into a cleaner, greener energy future?
I thank the senator for her question. The minister, Minister King, has, of course, been dealing with all of these issues. They are important issues, they're difficult issues, they are issues—
Government senators interjecting—
We took a series of commitments to the last election, and we were elected as the government of this country. One of those commitments was the 43 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 and the zero-emission target by— (Time expired)
Minister, when will this government listen to the voices of First Nations people, who have not provided free, prior and informed consent for the destruction of their cultural heritage and continue to see disrespect for their self-governance and determination of economic development relating to resources projects on their country?
tor FARRELL (—) (): I thank the senator for her question. There is no government in this country's history that's got a greater commitment to dealing with the issue of Indigenous disadvantage than the Albanese Labor government. We intend to deliver on all of the promises that we made to Indigenous Australians in the lead-up to the last election and that, of course, includes a referendum on the Voice.
Senator Thorpe, resume your seat. I do remind you and other senators, when you put a point of order, it is about the question. It is short and sharp, and it does not include any additional comments such as those that you made. The minister is being relevant. Please continue, Minister Farrell.
Thank you, Madam President. This government has made a commitment to Indigenous Australians. That commitment includes, amongst other things, a referendum on the Voice, giving Indigenous Australians a voice in this parliament. That is what we intend— (Time expired)
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Senator Wong. Can the minister outline to the Senate the importance of ending the climate wars and legislating a target on climate change?
Thank you, Senator Grogan, for your advocacy on climate and other progressive issues over many years. Those on this side of the chamber understand that action on climate change isn't just good for the future of the country, it isn't just necessary because of the situation we see around the globe; it's also good for our economy and it's good for Australian jobs. That's what it's good for. I know this is difficult for those opposite to understand. After nine years of the climate wars being a centrepiece of their political project, it is hard for them to understand that there is actually a way forward that is about jobs and about dealing with climate.
Thank you, Senator Ruston. I will seek some advice. Senator Ruston, as long as anyone answering the question does not go to the specifics of the bill before the Senate, then it is perfectly fine to talk in generalities in the way the minister is doing.
Thank you. I anticipated this might happen, actually. Can I tell you why? Because we know those on the other side will do anything not to talk about climate change. You will do anything not to talk about climate action. You will do anything not to debate the bill. You will do anything to ignore that the Australian people clearly voted for action on climate. You can't bear it, can you? You can't bear it. You can't bear it that the climate wars that you thought would continue to yield a political dividend might actually end. You can't bear it.
I would make the point, Madam President, that President Reid in 1999 made this point: that questions may not be asked on the detail of the bill or debate, but otherwise the topic is not barred from questioning. I know that it's a hard thing, isn't it? If you're a member of the coalition, you just don't want to talk about climate, because Senator Payne doesn't agree with Senator Canavan, and Senator McKenzie doesn't agree with Senator Ruston. They are utterly divided on this. They are utterly divided on this, and the voters know it. (Time expired)
I thank the senator for her question. It's really interesting, isn't it, that the party that believes they're the party of business, the party that believes they are the party of investment, are actually more like the old Soviet Union. They're more like the old Soviet Union, standing in the way of progress, standing in the way of the market.
Those opposite presided over nine years of division and delay and dysfunction when it comes to climate. If you talk to the Business Council of Australia, if you talk to the National Farmers Federation and if you talk to ACCI, all of them are welcoming a government that is actually prepared to give the market certainty, something you could never deliver when in government because of your deep divisions on this issue. The climate wars can end. We on this side will see that as a step forward. I know it's deeply distressing for those— (Time expired)
As you've pointed out, the Australians made a very clear choice at the election that they wanted action on climate change following a wasted decade under the Liberals and the Nationals. How will the Albanese Labor government climate policies deliver on action and put an end to the coalition's climate wars?
Australians did send the parliament a clear message. They voted for action on climate change. Australians in Wentworth, Australians in North Sydney and Australians in Warringah, in Mackellar, in Goldstein, in Higgins, in Boothby, in Curtin and in Kooyong made their interests very clear. It's very clear.
Opposition senators interjecting—
I know those opposite really don't like to hear just how out of step with the Australian people they are.
Opposition senators interjecting—
Listen to them. This is the most animated they've been since the election!
Opposition senators interjecting—
I'll take the interjection from Senator Watt—they've lost their reason for being, which is a decade of the climate wars preventing progress. Now what are you going to do? What are you going to do when the bill comes before the chamber? The question for the Liberal Party and the National Party is: will you learn from your mistakes? That's the question for the coalition. (Time expired)
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Senator Wong. Has the Clean Energy Regulator raised any concerns with the government about the integrity or design of two recent ACCU methods—the plantation forestry method and the landfill gas method?
An opposition senator interjecting—
Yes, I was getting some advice from Minister Bowen about the direct question. It's a dreadful thing to actually want to advise the parliament, isn't it? It's such a dreadful thing! I know it seems like an odd thing, that you'd actually want to try and advise the parliament!
Senator Pocock, thank you for the question, and thank you for your interest in this issue. I know that there have been a number of public concerns raised about the probity and the veracity of the units. Can I advise, from Minister Bowen's office, that the Clean Energy Regulator has not raised any concerns. However, concerns have obviously been raised externally by others, including, I think, the senator and others who have been in the media. I'm advised that these are being dealt with by the Chubb review, which I'm happy to give further information on when I can find that piece of paper.
Minister Bowen has commissioned a review by Professor Chubb, who, as you would know, is the former Chief Scientist, along with an expert panel. This was promised before the election. Minister Bowen, in opposition, indicated that we would, if we won government, commission an independent review to ensure the integrity of carbon credits and their consistency with our agricultural, biodiversity and other goals. Professor Ian Chubb has been appointed and is supported by three other experts in the fields of governance, science and carbon markets. The review will examine scheme governance and the integrity of key carbon crediting methods, including whether transparency could be improved.
Thank you, Senator Wong. I find it strange that the regulator hasn't raised any concerns, when I've received a letter that acknowledges the need to reform the landfill gas methods from companies that represent over 80 per cent of the ACCUs generated under this method. Given the regulator hasn't raised concerns, despite the industry having concerns, are you worried there's an inherent conflict of interest in the regulator both creating methods and then regulating them?
I thank the senator for the supplementary question. I can say to him, as someone who, unlike some in this place, does believe in the benefits of utilising the market for good, rather than for bad, that we do need integrity in the system of carbon credits to ensure that there is additionality, that we're actually reducing Australia's emissions and using an incentive to do so. I have seen some of the reporting, including, as the senator says, from firms engaging in the market. I understand the concerns he's raising. Can I say to him that these are some of the reasons why Minister Bowen has taken the view that an independent review is appropriate, and that is underway.
Thank you, Senator Wong. As you pointed out, given the need for transparency and accountability and, ultimately, integrity in our carbon markets, will the government commit to including a review of the regulator as a function of the Chubb review?
r WONG (—) (): I'll raise with Minister Bowen the issue you raise, but I would make the point that if the review is looking at scheme governance and the integrity of carbon crediting methods then, obviously, we want all aspects of scheme governance to be appropriate. As I said, these are matters which are being discussed publicly. We understand the need for integrity in the market, particularly if, as we hope, the legislation which the opposition don't want me to talk about passes this change. Then, obviously, there would be a framework which would incentivise that. I think that the terms of the review as I understand them from the advice I've received do extend to scheme governance, and that's appropriate.