Transcript: Sky News Interview

3.30pm | October 25, 2018



HOST:  Joining Laura and I now are Tony Pasin from the Liberal Party and Jenny McAllister from the Labor Party. And Jenny, are the Labor Party willing to compromise when it comes to this issue of getting families and children off Nauru? But it looks like you've got a bit of convincing to do when it comes to the Government, particularly given what Mr Ciobo said before the break.
McALLISTER: Well, the absolute priority has got to be getting these children and these families into permanent resettlement. If people are found to be refugees they need to be resettled and it is quite shocking that it has been five years under this government and there has been almost no progress. We have been saying for some time that the government ought to engage with New Zealand about their offer to resettle some of these people. This has become a matter of urgency and of course we are willing to engage in a discussion with the Government about how to make this happen.
HOST: Tony Pasin, it is urgent isn't it? We have seen the electorate shift somewhat on this. I don't think that the electorate is not comfortable with women and children and families staying on Nauru for any amount of time than is absolutely necessary, so will the Government engage with these recommendations? Do you think a compromise can be reached this week? I mean the legislation has been in the Parliament for two years?
PASIN: Well Laura, I agree with you. This is a matter of concern and a matter that is increasingly being raised with my colleagues and I am certain that there will be some discussions but we are stuck between two difficult situations. We need to remember that nobody put more people with children and women in detention than the Labor Party and nobody has taken more out than the Liberal Party. Notwithstanding that, this is not the time for those kind of discussions. This is a time focussing on ensuring we can do all we can to ensure these individuals are safe.
HOST: It is being raised with you from your constituents more and more?
PASIN: Yes it is. And I'm not going to mislead anyone about that. Australians believe in the fair go but they also believe we need strong resilient borders and we don't want to put sugar back on the table. You know, we don't want to create the kind of pull factors that saw thousands of people illegally arriving into the country taking incredible risks and very many of whom sadly lost their lives.
HOST: Jenny McAllister, this is a real issue within the factions within the Labor Party isn't it? How fraught are the discussions and is this something that Labor wants to sort out before the election?
McALLISTER: Labor has been very clear that the situation on Nauru is unacceptable and it needs to be resolved.  Well, the Government has a proposition before it from New Zealand and it has been on the table for a long time and it stubbornly persists in requiring a global ban on all refugees who are resettled elsewhere never coming to Australia as a precondition for accepting the New Zealand ban. We say that it's not a reasonable negotiating position. People are plainly suffering and a resolution needs to be found to end the uncertainty and the Government ought to come to the table and negotiate.
HOST: Ok, Laura and I will have more on that in Straight Talking in just a moment, but I just want to ask you both though, first of all Tony. To you, on the issue of emissions reduction fund, the moderates in your Party say there needs to be a renewed investment in that as one of the conservatives within your Party, do you agree that there needs to be some sort of boost to your response when it comes to climate change? It is fine to focus on energy bills but surely a Government can walk and chew gum at the same time?
PASIN: Kieran, I don't agree that there needs to be a further investment. Emissions are at their lowest level in 28 years. We are on track to meet our international obligations. This is a global problem. We need to do our part. We are doing our part and I'm really encouraged by Minister Taylor's announcement this morning about our default power price because the people in my electorate are talking to me about their power prices. They know, the electorate of course is always smarter than people think it is. They know that we are on track to meet our global obligations and they want us now to focus on prices because any wealthy country.
HOST: The electorate is very smart and if you say no more investment to be made in the emissions reductions fund, that means you don't have an emissions reduction policy at all beyond 2020 because there is only $250 million left in that fund. Are you comfortable with that?
PASIN: Well, that's not right Laura, in the sense that it is not that we don't have a policy. We have a suite of policies that are targeting emissions reduction…
HOST: What are they?

PASIN: …and they are the policies, Laura, they are the policies that have us on target to meet our emissions.
HOST: What are they?
PASIN: Now, we've got the LRAT, the SRAT, other incentives around renewable energies and the like. Now, these are all policies that are pointing us in the direction to achieve our Paris targets. Now, we are going to achieve them in a canter, and I expect that when details are out in terms of how quickly we will achieve our Paris targets, people, including commentators like yourself, will be gobbed smacked at our achievements.
HOST: Let's go to Jenny on this issue. Because, still Labor hasn't confirmed what mechanism you will take to the election. When will you do that?
McALLISTER: The Labor Party has had a very clear position for a long time. We think there needs to be certainty for the electricity market about how we are going to deal with emissions so that the electricity market can get on with investing and that is the only way that prices are going to come down in the long term in any sustained way.
The Coalition needs to get over its anxieties about the future. The market is really clear, renewables are the future and investing in renewables is the most effective long term way of bringing down prices for ordinary households. The problem is that the market hasn't got any clear idea about how the Government intends to proceed. There hasn't been a climate policy or indeed really an energy policy for five years. We've engaged with the Government on every proposition they have brought forward and we have watched with disappointment as they have dumped every successive proposal. We are now developing our plans. We have called on the Government to re-engage on the question of the NEG, but we will have a very clear plan around the emissions reduction climate that will give the market certainty and make sure prices come down in a sustained way over the long term.
HOST: Jenny McAllister, Tony Pasin thanks so much for your time this morning.