Doorstop - Parliament House

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: Liz Truss; David Pocock; climate change legislation; Australia’s relationship with Solomon Islands.

Penny Wong, Foreign Minister: Can I first congratulate Liz Truss on being elected leader of the Conservative Party and effectively the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. We look forward to working with her – I had the opportunity to speak to Liz at the G20, I appreciated that. I appreciated also her early call to us after we won the election and Australia very much appreciates her public indication she wants to work closely with Australia and other partners. Happy to take questions.

Journalist: Ah Penny, I'm actually Vanessa Gorman doing a story on David Pocock for Australian Story next week. How do you think he's going in the Senate?

Foreign Minister: Oh look, he’s a very decent man, I though his first speech was excellent and he’s been really decent to deal with. So, I look forward to working with him.

Journalist: Oh sorry – just with the climate change bill going through the Senate.

Foreign Minister: It hasn't gone through yet.

Journalist: Hasn’t gone through yet.

Foreign Minister: No, it hasn't gone through because the Coalition has been filibustering on another piece of legislation and demonstrating yet again that they really don't want to do the right thing on climate. I look forward to them deciding that they might actually want to start debating the bill. Otherwise, we will know yet again that Matt Canavan and the Nationals are in charge of their climate policy and we've seen this movie before in the last nine years.

Journalist: We have, we have. I mean, just a last question on that and I'll go over to my colleagues, but the Lambie, Tyrrell and Pocock are asking for a few amendments. Is that something that the government is going to…

Foreign Minister: Well look, I'm going to leave it to Chris Bowen to deal with the outcome of those discussions. I would say to those senators, Pocock, Lambie and Tyrrell, thank you for your willingness to engage on this. I think the Australian people in the last election, they turned. They've had enough of the climate wars and they want a framework that we can afford. The skyrocketing cost of energy is an example

of the cost of the political uncertainty resulting from the Coalition's division of nearly a decade.

Journalist: We have seen a confirmation that Prime Minister Sogavare will be visiting Australia. How are relations going with the Solomon Islands considering the pact that they signed with China? Have things sort of been moving in the right direction there?

Foreign Minister: Well, we welcome the Prime Minister’s visit. We welcome his assurance given to the Prime Minister, to me and publicly that Australia remains the security partner of choice. We are of the view –Australia is of the view, that security is best provided by the Pacific family, of which we are a part.

Journalist: Minister, I believe there's been a couple of senators who will be moving motions, disallowance motions around the $18 million which was given to the Governor-General’s Foundation. Can you tell me anything about that? About what Labor might do with that?

Foreign Minister: I'm not clear about where that's at, in terms of the Senate. Obviously we asked some questions about that in estimates.

Journalist: More on the Solomons, apologies if this one's already been asked. But where are we at with the ship blockade? The so – so called ship blockade.

Foreign Minister: Let's be careful in our use of language. I don't think that's an accurate reflection. I think there has been an indication from Solomon Islands that obviously that they are making decisions about ship visits and we look forward to Australia and Australian ships continuing to visit. And I understand from public reports – that will continue.

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