Bill's Transcripts

Television Interview: CNN


SUBJECT/S: MH17; MH370; Climate Change; Emissions Trading Scheme.

Bill Shorten welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: I have to ask you of course, the tragedy of the shooting down of this plane, Australia lost more than two dozen of its own citizens there and I know the Prime Minister has now launched Operation Bring Them Home. Are you confident that the remains will be repatriated in any quick fashion?

SHORTEN: This is a heart breaking disaster for many Australian families. We’re working very closely with other nations. We’re grateful for the unanimous support of the United Nations Security Council calling for a free and transparent investigation. The number one priority of Australia is to identify the remains and bring home the bodies to Australia.

AMANPOUR: I do want to read to you something that your own Prime Minister has said. He spoke to President Putin, he says President Putin has said all the right things but he needs to now do the right things and he said that, you know, the crash site is still being controlled by the very separatists who are being blamed for shooting this plane down with your citizens on it. What is your opinion on what it is going to take to get President Putin to cooperate to the fullest?

SHORTEN: Well the Prime Minister’s right. On this matter there is no internal political debate in Australia. We are united in our grief; we are united to get to the bottom of what’s happened. The UN Security Council resolution’s important. The Russian Federation are making all the right noises. Between passing a resolution and actually acting on it there’s a great level of detail and effort to go in. We think that it’s important that the international community stands up and expresses its complete condemnation for the shooting down of an innocent civilian jet liner and we think that international pressure and the Russian Federation explaining to these separatists in eastern Ukraine, this shooting down, this murder of 300 innocent souls is completely beyond the pale of civilised conduct.

AMANPOUR: We have to bring up MH370 which Australia is also involved in still trying to search for that. Angus Houston has now been dispatched to deal with the crime site in Ukraine, is also head of the MH 370 search. Is that going to stop or slow down the search for that one?

SHORTEN: Not at all. The search in the Indian Ocean as you can well imagine is an incredibility difficult process. Again, my first thoughts are with the families, just not knowing and not being able to recover the bodies of loved ones, not having that closure, it’s a fundamental stage in grieving. That’s why in the case of MH17 we want to see the victims identified, we want to see their bodies brought home and then we need to have the investigation to bring people to account for this murderous act.

AMANPOUR: Mr Shorten, clearly Australian politicians across the aisles are united in dealing with this, but there is something that you disagree very seriously with Prime Minister Abbott on and that is climate change and carbon pricing and earlier this year Australian became the first to unwind its carbon pricing scheme. What solution do you have and how do you think you can change what the Australian government has now done which some environmentalists say puts back the whole climate change debate on its back heel?

SHORTEN: You’re quite right. The Australian Government - in the last month - has been the first nation in the world to reverse action on climate change. The last three decades have been the warmest on record, from agriculture to insurance with extreme weather events through to disruption to capital markets, climate change is real. It was President Obama who said that you needed courage not whether to act, but to make sure that we act in time. So in our country, there is a very fierce debate. Labor, the party I lead, the Opposition in Australia, believes the most effective way to deal with harmful carbon pollution, to decrease the rate of which we emit heat trapping greenhouse gases is to have an emissions trading scheme, a market based scheme. 39 countries in the world have moved towards having a price on carbon, 23 sub-national jurisdictions, the Europeans to north-eastern United States and California through to seven regions in China. So I think it’s not just for our children and their children, I think it’s for the current generation. Climate change is real and governments will need to act.

AMANPOUR: On that note, Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition in Australia, thank you so much indeed for joining me today.


SHORTEN: It’s been my pleasure, thank you.