SUBJECTS: Macron’s Comments about Morrison; AUKUS; Glasgow Conference & 2050 target; International Travel Borders Open

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Let’s go to Michelle Rowland now, the Shadow Communications Minister for a look at the day's top stories. The top story for us this morning Michelle being the harsh words from the French President who - in no uncertain terms - called Scott Morrison a “liar”. What's Labor's view of that this morning?

MICHELLE ROWLAND, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: Clearly Labor isn't privy to any of those conversations that had occurred. Nor were we present at where these comments were allegedly made very recently. But I should make it clear that Labor has been very vocal in support of the AUKUS arrangements. We have some questions that taxpayers want to know about as well — the cost of the scuttled plan to date and what that means for jobs in Australia, for example. But I think Australians have formed their own views on Scott Morrison's character quite apart from what may or may not have been said as part of these arrangements. He's someone who is sneaky, who will do anything to hold on to power, he's never there to take responsibility. So I think people - many people - have formed their own views of Scott Morrison quite aside from what has been said recently, apparently.

STEFANOVIC: But like you said, Labor did support AUKUS. And so a byproduct of that has been that the French are upset and that's just how it is. I mean, you would have to appreciate that the French were never going to like that.

ROWLAND: Look, Labor supports what is in Australia's national interests, and we made that very clear from day one from when AUKUS was announced. 

STEFANOVIC: Yeah. And so what do you do? What, what sort of suggestions? Would you have Michelle to eventually get things back on track?

ROWLAND: Clearly, this is going to require some adept diplomacy. This is going to take a while to recover. But one would think that often these things have the ability to be resolved quicker when they're done face to face. It's disappointing and I'm speaking very objectively here that that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment. This will take time and there are diplomats who are well versed in the arts of of these matters. I think above all else, this comes down to Australia's national interests and Australians, themselves, I think, have formed views on Scott Morrison quite apart from what's going on at the moment.

STEFANOVIC: Just on climate and the language that certainly coming out of the G20 communique, it seems to have watered down that 2050 target. It seems to have been done to placate India and China to have the highest emitters in the world. So 2050 has been taken out as a deadline and replaced by “around mid-century”. That's the new language. What's your reaction to that?

ROWLAND: We'll see how this plays out. It's very clear that Australian industry, is backing net zero by 2050, the Government has had this road to Damascus revelation, that suddenly it supports and believes in the science of climate change, it's relying on really a PowerPoint presentation rather than a plan to get us there. So I think this has some way to play out yet. Of course, we need to be ready in Australia to be able to respond to these changes, irrespective of what's going on internationally, which of course, remains really important. Glasgow is a really important moment in climate change policy, not only for Australia, but for the world. 

STEFANOVIC: And just on that point, actually, you're happy to see Australia reconnect with the world today, with international flights resuming?

ROWLAND: Oh, absolutely. I think it's a great day for Australia. I particularly think that this is a really good sign for all of our local suburban travel agents who essentially have had their businesses taken away from them through no fault of their own for 18 months or so. They've spent that time unable to diversify, because what they do is plan international travel, and have spent all that time basically processing refunds. So I'm very happy for the local travel agents, particularly in my own area who've engaged with me who've been quite disappointed in many aspects of assistance being provided by the federal government, but they'll be delighted that borders are now opening up and Australians are planning to go overseas again.

STEFANOVIC: Michelle, appreciate that. Thank you. We'll talk to you again soon. 



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