Transcripts

Capital Hill - Interview with Matt Doran on Climate and Territory Rights

Matt Doran

We're coming to you live from our Parliament House studios in Canberra on Ngunnawal country for this abridged edition of Capital Hill and we might as well bring in our political panel on this Wednesday and get straight into the discussion. I'm joined by Labor MP Alicia Payne and Lib Senator Andrew Bragg. Welcome to both of you. Something of a breakthrough there that the Prime Minister has just announced. We keep hearing from the government that it doesn't actually need this legislation to go through. Why is it so important to be able to get that support and get this matter through Parliament if you don't even need it to pursue your own agenda?

Alicia Payne

Well, we've made it clear that if this didn't pass the Parliament that we want to get on with the job of delivering the climate action we promised and that we need anyway. But the reason the legislation is so important is to give that certainty to business and to the international community and to Australians about the action that we're taking. Under the previous government, we had 22 energy policies. This is about enshrining in our legislation, the commitment we've made to get to 82% renewables by 2030 and so that they can back in their own investments based on that as well.

Matt Doran

So we've got Labor supporting it, we've got the Greens supporting it. It looks like the Independent, at least one Independent in the Senate, David Pocock may well support it. Andrew Bragg is the coalition going to be left out in the cold here, seeing as it's not exactly a fan of this legislation? You're going to be on the wrong side of history, as Anthony Albanese says?

Senator Bragg

Well, mate, as you know, we're not the government, we were the government, we're not government in exile, we are one of the parties of government. And so what's important, I think, is that the Liberal Party is able to commit itself to a serious, and credible emissions reduction policy. Now, we've had the 26% to 28% reduction on 2030 levels for almost ten years. That has been too long and that has not been good enough. We've now junked that and our party will now develop a new, ambitious emissions reduction policy for the next election. So I think it's really important for the country that the major parties are both committed to having serious emissions reduction policies in place.

Matt Doran

Would you not be able to demonstrate that commitment more so if you were backing this legislation in federal Parliament following that election victory by Labor and the loss of some of your most outspoken colleagues on the need for there to be more strong climate action within the Coalition?

Senator Bragg

Well, it's the second week of the new Parliament and the government's got its agenda. That's its policy. We will develop our own policy on emissions reduction and that will be done well and truly before the next election. And as I say, I think we've had the 26 to 28 policy for too long. That hasn't been good enough. We will now have a more ambitious emissions reduction policy for the next election. And I look forward to us developing that. I think it's been a significant moment that not only has the coalition committed Australia to net zero 2050, but we will also now have a stronger policy at 2030 and 2035.

Matt Doran

Just one last question on that one for you.

Senator Bragg

Very important issue.

Matt Doran

The new opposition leader, Peter Dutton is saying that that would be released closer to the election. How long are you going to be able to be able to kick this can down the road rather than coming to the Australian people and saying this is our alternative? I take your point that we are only in week two of the 47th Parliament, but this is not a new debate in Australia.

Senator Bragg

Well, I want my party to have an ambitious emissions reduction policy and that is what our leader has committed to doing. And my expectation would be that would be developed and out there at least twelve months before the next election. And I think the reality is we need to be able to present the market and the community with the fact that we are committed to emissions reduction and we have our own policy for meeting our international obligations, which will also include how we're actually going to achieve doing that.

Matt Doran

Alicia Payne I want to pick up on something else that's happened in Parliament today, a significant win for you and some of your colleagues. The Territory Rights Bill. Restoring Territory Rights Bill has managed to get through the house. It will now obviously go off to the Senate. This is about reversing the so-called Andrews ban from more than 20 years ago. What do you think is going to happen from here? You've got it through the House. I know commenting on the other place is always a bit of a fraught game in politics, but do you think you have the support to get it through the Senate as well?

Alicia Payne

Yeah, so I was really pleased to see that passed the House this morning and really thankful to all of my colleagues who have in the House voted for my constituents and those in the Northern Territory, to have the same democratic rights as other Australians. And yes, that conversation now continues in the Senate. I'm somewhat optimistic, but they're still continuing those discussions and I really welcome Andrew's support as well on territory rights. And we'll be continuing to talk with other Senators about delivering this for our constituents because for the majority of them it's not about something for their own constituents, it's asking people to support this for the people that we represent, for whom this is really urgent and something very important to people in Canberra and in the Northern Territory. And really that this discussion really is about democratic rights, not about voluntary assisted dying per se. It's about allowing us to have the debate on voluntary assisted dying that all of the states have been able to have.

Matt Doran

And you would be a close observer of things that happened in this building. You know how the Senate plays out from time to time, although Senator Bragg probably even more so, knows this. Are you worried that there could be a hijacking of this debate in the Senate by those who are vehemently opposed to voluntary assisted dying and they could use it as a proxy war on that issue rather than looking at, as you describe it, the root of this bill, which is about restoring legislative rights.

Alicia Payne

Yes, and I respect people's right to not support voluntary assisted dying. I respect all views in that debate, and obviously there are really strong views on either side. And I think it's important that we have a very respectful debate, because it's another one of these discussions, public discussion, that can have very damaging impacts on people in the community. And I must say, I found some of the speeches yesterday quite hard to listen to, opposing, when I've been part of moving a bill that is about democratic rights, essentially. And so I just think it's important that we all do try and respect different views. And again, it's about democratic rights. As federal parliamentarians, it's not our responsibility to legislate on voluntary assisted dying, but we have had the power to stop the territories having that legislation. This bill is about restoring those rights to people in the territories.

Matt Doran

Andrew Bragg do you think some of your colleagues and counterparts in the red room might see this differently?

Senator Bragg

I think it'll be close. I mean, my view is very clear. Either we have given self-government to the territories or we haven't. And my understanding is we have given self-government to the territories, so therefore, we should afford those citizens the same civil rights as we would allow people living in the states to have. My constituents and having spent a lot of time in the capital territory, I think it's only reasonable that we would allow people to have access to the same rights and privileges. But I suspect it will be close because there is a muddying of the waters here, rightly or wrongly, between the issue of territory rights and the matter at hand on voluntary assisted dying. So I think it will be close.

Matt Doran

Well Andrew Bragg and Alicia Payne slightly shorter chat than we would normally have today. But you can thank the Prime Minister for that. Thank you both for joining us on Capital Hill.

Alicia Payne

Thanks very much. Speaking.

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