Triple J Hack Programme Interview with TomTilley

Release Date: 
17 November 2014
Transcript
E&OE

Topics: Climate change, G20, Palmer United Party

TOM TILLEY:
Alan thanks for joining us.

ALAN TUDGE:
G’day Tom.

TOM TILLEY:
Alan as a country that benefitted from a highly developed industrialisation and a country that has one of the world’s biggest emissions per capita, why aren’t we chipping into the Global Green Climate Fund?

ALAN TUDGE:
Well Tom we’re doing a lot domestically.  We’ve just passed through the legislation- a $2.5 billion Direct Action fund so that we can meet our target of a five per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.

But we haven’t yet made a decision in relation to the international fund that you refer to.  I do note as you said in your introduction that the United States has made a contribution, some other countries have made a contribution.  Our focus to date at least has been on getting our own domestic scene right and we’ve just passed the legislation for our $2.5 billion Direct Action fund.

TOM TILLEY:
OK it doesn’t sound like we’re going to do it though.  Tony Abbott says we’re doing enough and he doesn’t want to do more.  Why is that?  You just listed some of the countries that are contributing, Mexico’s contributing, Canada as well and they have a similar position to us on climate change in general.  Why not for Australia?

ALAN TUDGE:
Well the most important thing Tom is that each country commits to emissions reduction targets by a certain time.  That’s what United Nations conferences have done in the past and that’s what will be done in the future.

We have committed to a five per cent reduction by 2020.  We will meet that target and we’re hoping that other countries will equally have their targets in place and will meet their own domestic targets and if collectively we do that, then we’ll have collectively made international action against climate change.

TOM TILLEY:
We’re going to meet that target because it’s a very realistic target to be kind but this question is about really how much we help developed countries.  Because Australia we’ve benefitted from industrialisation, but we also basically emit a lot of carbon into the atmosphere in doing that for developing countries, they basically want to raise their standard of living which would involve increasing their carbon emissions to a huge extent which is why China at this point is only looking at capping the growth in their emissions by 2030.  Surely we need to be getting in there and helping them do that?

ALAN TUDGE:
Well we are additionally taking a lot of other action.  For example one of the major causes of increased emissions is the destruction of the rainforests in the Asia-Pacific region.  We’ve been taking a lead in that area to try to help reduce the destruction of those rainforests.  So not only we’ve got those beautiful rainforests for generations to come Tom, but also it leads to a reduction in global greenhouse emissions at the same time, aided and supported by Australia in the process.

TOM TILLEY:
OK, now Tony Abbott said over the weekend he was standing up for coal.  Now at this point coal is the cheapest way to produce energy, why do we need a Prime Minister to stand up for it?

ALAN TUDGE:
I don’t know if that’s a correct assessment of what the Prime Minister is doing…

TOM TILLEY:
He said he’s standing up for coal, that’s a quote.

ALAN TUDGE:
I think the Prime Minister was in some respects stating the obvious Tom, that coal is still going to be around for some time.  For example China which is now the first or the second biggest economy in the world is still building a coal-fired power station each and every week.  It constitutes 24 per cent of global emissions, they consume 50 per cent of the world’s coal and they’re expected to increase their coal demand by 15 per cent by 2030.

So coal is still going to be around Tom with these very large economies and I think the Prime Minister was just stating the obvious that yes while we’re moving towards other forms of energy such as wind, such as solar, such as gas, coal is still going to be by far and away the most dominant form of energy in the near future.

TOM TILLEY:
You are listening to Triple J’s Hack programme and I’m speaking to Alan Tudge, who’s the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.  We’re reflecting on the G20 that happened over the weekend and how the discussion ended up turning towards climate change.  One person on the text line has an explanation of why, ‘Obama is so unpopular at home, that even his own party distance themselves from him in the recent elections.  He’s just deflecting attention from his poor domestic and foreign policy record’. 

Interesting explanation there Alan Tudge, as we heard, Tony Abbott was really wanting to focus the weekend’s talks on economic growth but Barack Obama really pushed climate onto the table.  Was that a bit frustrating to Tony Abbott?

ALAN TUDGE:
We always thought that Barack Obama was going to be discussing climate change at some stage.  The Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop had said that she was aware that the United States and China were in discussions about climate change.  So in some respects it wasn’t a great surprise.

The G20 Summit though is predominantly an economic forum and that was the focus of the forum this year.  If you look at the communique it is still the dominant part of the communique but climate change is also mentioned and indeed even our very initial draft communique’s always had climate change being mentioned.

TOM TILLEY:
Alright we’ve been seeing a very interesting situation develop in the Senate in the Palmer United Party- a serious and very entertaining fight basically brewing between Clive Palmer and Jacqui Lambie and she voted separately from the bloc today on an issue.  Does that concern you?  If they do split is it going to make it harder for you to get legislation through the Senate?

ALAN TUDGE:
Listen Tom we’ve always had to deal with every single individual crossbench senator in order to get legislation through the Senate.  Because quite rightly those Senators- be they Jacqui Lambie, or Clive Palmer himself, or the other Palmer United Senators, they each want their own briefings. 

Of course when they’re united and they collectively agree to vote as a bloc then sometimes it does make it easier.  But we’ll still have to deal with each individual senator, we’ll still cooperate with them, we’ll still treat them respectfully and hope that they support our agenda so that we can continue to move the country forward.

TOM TILLEY:
Alan great to have you on the show, thanks for joining us.

ALAN TUDGE:
Thanks so much Tom.