Bill's Transcripts

Radio Interview - RN Breakfast - Paris summit; Labor’s climate plan;





SUBJECT/S: Paris summit; Labor’s climate plan; Visit to Australian Defence Personnel in the Middle East

ALISON CARABINE: Bill Shorten, welcome to Breakfast.



The Prime Minister says he’ll be seeking a strong and durable outcome at the summit, there does seem to be some degree of optimism that an agreement of sorts can be reached – does it look to you like Paris will be more successful than Copenhagen?

SHORTEN: I think Paris will be more successful than Copenhagen, because the world has now seen another five years of the consequences of climate change. I think the world’s recognised that it cannot afford to keep ignoring the problem of climate change, and we need to work together to help improve the future for our environmental circumstances.

CARABINE: You’ve been very critical of the climate targets that Malcolm Turnbull is taking to Paris, 26 to 28 per cent reduction by 2030, you say he’s a sell-out. But it looks as though the Prime Minister will be prepared to lift those targets when they’re reviewed in two years’ time. As the Prime Minister says, Paris isn’t the end game, it’s just another step on the way to achieving net zero emissions. Isn’t an increase in our targets more likely to happen under Malcolm Turnbull than it ever was under Tony Abbott.

SHORTEN: Well if we assume that anyone does more than Tony Abbott that’s a good thing, well then you’re right. But the truth of the matter is, Malcolm Turnbull and I are both in Paris, but the person who’s running Australia’s climate change policy is Tony Abbott. Malcolm Turnbull sold out his views on climate change in order to secure the votes from the right-wing base of the Liberal Party. What do you say about an Australian leader who although he knows that climate change is real is pushing Tony Abbott’s policies. To be fair to Tony Abbott, he didn’t get climate change, he was a climate sceptic, he was a denialist, and the policies which he put in place reflected Tony Abbott’s backward mindset. But what’s Malcolm Turnbull’s excuse? He gets climate change.

CARABINE: But Malcolm Turnbull isn’t necessarily looking for excuses if indeed Australia’s targets are reviewed in just two years’ time.


SHORTEN: Well Malcolm Turnbull is, let’s face it. Why would he be critical of Labor, and then he starts dropping out lines saying that well he thinks we can have higher targets? Like, what is Malcolm Turnbull on climate change? Is he the man who wants to be Prime Minister, or is he the man who wants to act on climate change? Because he can’t be both at the moment.


CARABINE: Bill Shorten you’ve taken this goal of a 45 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 with you to Paris, and the Prime Minister said over the weekend it’s ‘heroic’ and more of a political statement than an environmental one. Would you have announced such a headline grabbing greenhouse goal if Labor wasn’t trailing so badly in the opinion polls?


SHORTEN: No, well last year when Tony Abbott was in charge, Labor said that we wanted to have an emissions trading scheme. We’ve been very fair dinkum on climate change. We’ve been very fair dinkum. I haven’t changed the fashion of what I think based upon politics, I just base it upon the science. This figure of 45 per cent reduction by 2030, 45 per cent reduction off our 2005 levels of carbon pollution, we will consult with industry about it. We’re doing the work the Government was too lazy or too disinclined to do.


CARABINE: And will you model the impact on household budgets of a greenhouse goal almost twice the size of the Government’s before you lock in a 45 per cent reduction by 2030?


SHORTEN: Oh I love this discussion about you know, the scare campaign being run by the right-wing of the Liberal Party and some elements of the media. We have proposed mechanisms to reduce our carbon emissions levels – they include looking at vehicle standards, building standards, looking at an emissions trading system with international linkages, and a really strong focus on renewable energy. Malcolm Turnbull should at least have the honesty to talk about the consequences of climate change. I thought it was ironic that he was lecturing the rest of the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta about the need to act on climate change, yet when it comes to action, our policies by the current Liberal Government led by Malcolm Turnbull put as at the back of the pack.

CARABINE: Investing in new technologies would help Labor reaches its longer term ambition of net zero emissions by 2050, do you therefore welcome the Prime Minister's comments that he wants innovation and green technologies to play a big role in Paris. Is that heading in the right direction?

SHORTEN:  Of course it is. But it's not as if Malcolm Turnbull's invested the tesla battery. Let's be straight here again, you need to have targets and goals of what you have before you're going.

CARABINE Bill Shorten on your way to Paris you stopped off in the Middle East where you met Australian Defence Personnel, you were also briefed on our military operations, did you get a sense that Islamic State is being hauled and contained in Syria and Iraq?

SHORTEN: I had the privilege of visiting some of our Australian Defence Personnel who are working on the mission to stop Islamic State spreading its evil influence in Iraq and parts of Syria. Our people, in the Australian Defence Force are highly professional and are punching above their weight in contributing to the mission. Two - I think that our military operations as part of a broader coalition are forcing the terrorist to change their patterns and the way that their trying to disrupt Iraq. So I think it is having some military success. But thirdly what I am also very clear on is that air power alone or military intervention alone isn't going to deliver lasting peace in the region. We need to see a peaceful solution owned by the people and the region and the governments of the region in the Middle East where we are operating, nothing else is going to achieve the long term goals of peace and security.

CARABINE And will peace and security only be achieved long term if there are ground forces deployed to Iraq and Syria?

SHORTEN: No, I do not believe that we should be extending a large, sort of, military expeditionary force into Syria. In terms of Iraq, the Iraqi Government has got a - their the people who've invited us to do what we're doing and I see no signs of the Iraqi Government wants to invite further military escalation in terms of formed up combat troops fighting with ISIL and Iraq. I think the Iraqi Government is very happy with the contribution that's been made by coalition forces and I'm sure that they've very satisfied with the support that Australia is giving them in the support that we are giving them in their current form without expanding our military intervention in the manor which your question asked.

CARABINE:  Bill Shorten thank you for your time.

SHORTEN: Thanks very much. Have a lovely day.