MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
SKY NEWS INTERVIEW
MONDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Liberal and Nationals inaction on Climate Change; Prime Minister Attendance at Glasgow; Barnaby Joyce; Economic Effects of Climate Inaction; Solar Panel Manufacturing.
PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Joining us live now out of Canberra is Michelle Rowland, the Shadow Communications Minister. We will step into another portfolio. Michelle, good morning to you. The Nats haven't accepted any kind of 2050 commitment just yet. David Littleproud says that that's probably unlikely today as well. Does that come as any surprise to you?
MICHELLE ROWLAND, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: It's not a surprise and this is really high farce. Here we have a Prime Minister who's apparently had this ‘Road to Damascus' moment and suddenly, he's a climate change believer. He's telling us that he's being held hostage by the Nationals who can't agree. In the meantime, the rest of the world and the rest of Australia has moved on. We've had more than 10 years of inaction by the Liberals and Nationals in this area. It has been Australian consumers and businesses who have been suffering as a result. Now we have the Prime Minister saying that he's going to go to a meeting that he should always have been prepared to attend. So it is most unfortunate when you consider the amount of time that's been wasted, the intelligence of the Australian people that's been insulted for so long.
STEFANOVIC: Bill Shorten came unstuck, though in the last election because he couldn't outline his climate costs of some of his policies. So isn't it fair enough that the Nats go through what the Liberal Party are proposing and then work out what it's going to cost and in particular, in the regions?
ROWLAND: I think the clear difference here is that these are people who, some of them at least, opposed on principle to this notion of taking action on climate change. That is the key difference here. Whilst I understand because we've been seeing it the entrails everywhere, all over the news of the Nationals, arguing that they're going to drive a bargain for what they want in this, the reality is that this is a very poor process of public policymaking. Exactly, as I said, in the meantime, we know that Australians understand that our economy needs to transition. We knew this more than 10 years ago. People understand the importance of this sector to jobs, to growing our economy, especially as we come out of the pandemic. I'll tell you what, about 10 years ago, I went to a solar panel distributor in my electorate - the biggest in Australia - and they didn't manufacture a single solar panel in Australia. We should be making these things in Australia by Australians. That is what we have been missing out on, after eight years of complete denial and inaction by this government.
STEFANOVIC: Barnaby Joyce has all but ruled out any changes when it comes to the Nats anyway, of any kind of 2030 adjustment when it comes to the 2030 targets. What's your read on that?
ROWLAND: Well, they're left with a target that they've inherited from Tony Abbott. So, we have a party that is stuck in the Abbott era, one that is refusing to realise that the world has moved on, and there were always going to be consequences for Australia for inaction in this area. The job is just being made a lot harder. We are missing out on those good jobs now. We're missing out on the important planning, we need to do now post COVID. This is a government without a plan, and indeed, without agreement within its own ranks.
STEFANOVIC: When will Labor announced its 2030 and 2035 targets?
ROWLAND: We'll do this well before the election, so people have the opportunity to see what we are offering. But let's be very clear, we are not in government now. We don't have representatives going to Glasgow. We are not in a position to be making decisions on a conference that hasn't happened yet in one which, unfortunately, we don't have much standing. The onus here is on the Government to outline exactly what it is going to do, rather than simply a plan to have a plan and having arguments in full public view.
STEFANOVIC: Michelle Rowland, thanks for your time. We'll talk to you soon.
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