Interview with Tom Connell on Sky News

Ashleigh Gillon: Welcome back here with Newsday. As we've been reporting, debate over climate targets has continued to dominate with Parliament sitting this week. More analysis coming up shortly with my colleague Kieran Gilbert ahead of question time. But first, the Liberal Senator, Andrew Bragg, spoke earlier here with my Newsday colleague, Tom Connell. He started by asking the Senator what decision was made in the party room today and whether the Prime Minister would be taking that to Glasgow, no matter what.

Senator Bragg: It’s pretty clear that the Liberal party's policy will be to have a net zero target and a plan to get there. And that is exactly what we should have, because, of course, global capital markets have moved on. And if you want to see more investment in the bush, then you need to be with that program.

Tom Connell: So Matt Canavan says he'll campaign against it. What do you make of that?

Senator Bragg: Well, I'm not going to reflect on my colleagues, but I would certainly say that the transition will be very expensive. And if you want to see major projects like hydrogen and offshore wind and pumped hydro, a lot of that will be supported by foreign capital. And so that's why sending the external signals that we are on board with a credible plan and an agenda to decarbonise, is essential.

Tom Connell: But what does it say about your government? If you might have, well you will have, back-benches campaigning against this central policy you've taken to an international conference?

Senator Bragg: Well, people are free to their own views. That's how democracy works.

Tom Connell: But elections aren't usually backbenches, actively campaigning against a central policy.

Senator Bragg: People always have different views. And I think that's a healthy part of the coalition. I think it's a healthy part of the ethos of the organisation.

Tom Connell: It's healthy to have people campaigning against?

Senator Bragg: I think it's healthy for people to have different views. That's part of democracy, that's part of parliamentary politics. The government's policy will be a net zero approach, and that is important on economic and national security grounds. I think that argument has been well made by the Prime Minister. I'm really interested in economic policy and I think that the world has made up their mind.

Tom Connell: So what we're not taking seemingly is any updated ambition on 2030. What do you make of that?

Senator Bragg: Well let’s see, I mean I don't know that you can be definitive about any of these judgments.

Tom Connell: Is it your view that it would be better to take? I mean, US, UK or Japan are increasing their ambitions. Is it your view that we would be best if we would as well?

Senator Bragg: Well, I think you need to show the rest of the world that you're on a credible pathway to getting to net zero. Many other countries will adopt higher targets for 2030. I think that's a reasonable thing for us to consider. But what I'm interested in is the long term plan and the long term objective and target. But you've got to show people that you're serious and that there are checkpoints along the way, that you're actually getting there.

Tom Connell: So is it more credible to have that as a commitment rather than just a projection, then?

Senator Bragg: Well, let's see the modelling. You have to have both.

Tom Connell: I'm asking about credibility. There is a projection for what we get to. But if we only take a projection, not a commitment, the more credible path in terms of what we're talking about internationally is the commitment, isn't it?

Senator Bragg: So I think there are some word fiddles here and what I would say is that my expectation is that there will be a target which would be a target to get to net zero and a plan to support that. Now, I don't think we should be repeating any of the Howard era mistakes where there were frankly, word fiddles on things like Kyoto, which became bigger than they should have been politically. So I don't think we should be going down that path.


Media contact:

Charlotte Mortlock 0401 392 624

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