Question Time - Climate Change

  • Transcript, E&OE

Mrs SUDMALIS: (Gilmore) (14:21): Mr Speaker, congratulations on being in the seat. My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the Minister inform the House why Australia's 2030 emissions reductions target is a responsible contribution to the international response to climate change?

Ms JULIE BISHOP: (Curtin–Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:21): I thank the member for Gilmore for her question. The government is committed to being a positive, constructive player in the international response to climate change. The 2030 emissions reduction target that we announced today is responsible, it is achievable, and it is a contribution which is in step with the efforts of other developed countries. Climate change is a global challenge that requires a global response. We are already working with other countries to deliver practical action on climate change, including through our $200 billion contribution to the Green Climate Fund and our $28 million contribution to the Global Green Growth Institute. The government is committed to achievable action on climate change, and we have an impressive track record already. Unlike most other nations, Australia not only met our first Kyoto target under the Kyoto protocol–we exceeded it. We are now on track to meet and beat our 2020 target as well.

In the context of the forecasts of our population growth and our economic growth, our 2030 target is credible, appropriate, fair and environmentally and economically sound and responsible for our national circumstances. It is a significant increase from our 2020 target, and Australia will reduce per capita emissions at a far greater rate than most other countries, including those in the EU and including the United States, Japan, China and Korea. We will halve our emissions per person over the next 15 years, and without a carbon tax. We have been inventive, we have been creative but we have always been responsible in meeting our climate change commitments while protecting the living standards of Australians and ensuring that our economy can continue to grow and jobs will continue to grow.

I have been asked what is a responsible contribution in international terms. This is a responsible contribution. What is not responsible is Labor's endorsement of a carbon reduction target of up to 60 per cent on 2000 levels by 2030. It is not responsible to reintroduce a carbon tax–a supercharged carbon tax–to do it, and Labor's own modelling shows it will hit wages, reduce household incomes and drive up electricity prices. That is the Labor way.

Mr Conroy: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. How is this relevant given the question went nowhere towards opposition policies?

The SPEAKER: The minister is absolutely entitled to canvas the debate.

Ms Macklin interjecting–

The SPEAKER: It is very difficult to make a ruling if you keep interjecting, member for Jagajaga. The minister has been asked a question; she is entitled to range within the policy topic–

Mr Perrett: Range?

The SPEAKER: Within the policy topic, but I would ask her to be relevant to the question in her remaining 30 seconds.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I was asked about a responsible contribution to the international effort. We will take a responsible target to the Paris meeting on climate change at the end of the year. It is environmentally sound, it is economically sound, it will not hit wages or reduce household incomes, it will not reintroduce a carbon tax, as the Labor Party has proposed, and it is environmentally and economically credible, sound and responsible.

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