Sky News Interview: First Edition: Climate Emergency Bill, Climate Change Policy, Gladys Liu



SUBJECTS: Climate Emergency Bill, Climate Change Policy, Gladys Liu
LAURA JAYES, HOST: Well, let’s go now to Peter Khalil who is standing by in our Canberra studio. Thanks so much for your time Peter Khalil. Will Labor lend its numbers for this climate emergency? 

PETER KHALIL, MEMBER FOR WILLSWell, it’s a motion. And I haven’t seen the wording of that motion, that text and as with every motion and Bill and so forth that goes through the parliament, we look at the copy, and determine the text and determine whether we would support a motion or not. I can tell you this though, it is a motion, what can be done about climate change is done by governments and obviously Labor had policies that it took to the last election that if we had won, and we were in government, would have seen $15 billion investment in renewable energy, it would have seen hundreds of millions into recycling, it would have seen a commitment to a 45 per cent reduction in emissions, it would have seen commitment to renewable energy by 2050 of 50%. That’s real action, so what this minor party now is proposing is a motion in the Senate I think, originating in the Senate or the House I think with Adam. We will have a look at it, but it doesn’t actually do anything. And what’s worse I should tell you… 

JAYES: Do you agree with the premise though? What would be, you are hedging your bets a bit here. What would be the downside of supporting this in the parliament? 

KHALIL: Oh, I think there absolutely has to be action taken on climate change. This Government is doing nothing, worse than doing nothing, it’s going backwards Laura. We’ve got David Littleproud, just in the media yesterday saying that he doesn’t believe that climate change is man-made. Despite all the evidence from science that we have seen. He said, I know, I am not sure that it is man-made.   

JAYESNo he said that he doesn’t know. He says that he is not an expert and that he is not sure. 

KHALIL: Well I am glad, that’s right, he is not an expert. That’s why he should take the advice of the experts such as the scientists, such as CSIRO, such as the vast majority of scientific evidence that demonstrates that climate change is real, it is happening. The fact is they’re not doing anything on it. They are even squibbing it with their reductions on emissions 26% and they are using the Kyoto credits, which basically the only other country that’s doing that is Ukraine. So it is much lower than even the 26% that they are saying that they are trying to reach.  
JAYES: But even Labor’s climate change policy is under review. We heard from Mark Butler and Anthony Albanese that nothing is sacrosanct there, so with an eye to reviewing all of your policies and those on climate change, do you accept that perhaps after this review, after the election defeat that you may have to rethink your level of ambition? 

KHALIL: Well Laura, you wouldn’t expect a political party to take policies that they had 5 years ago, 10 years ago to an election 2 years in the future. It is normal and I think it is right that every political party reviews its policies obviously after an election loss, we have to look at what we got right, what we didn’t get right, do the policy development work, circumstances change as well. We are undertaking that process right now.  

JAYES: Do you accept that it could be a revision down though? That Labor might, in these political circumstances in the current economic climate may need to be less ambitious?  

KHALIL: Well that has to be assessed with respect to the circumstances that we face in the lead up to the next election. What the situation is with the economy, what the situation is with the effects of climate change. All of these things has to be done of an evidence basis and I think that’s right and proper for us to conduct that policy review. I think it would be really irresponsible if we were to just stick to the same thing we had years and years ago for two years into the future. It’s a proper process. I know everyone wants us to say what are you doing now, well Albo and the leadership have said that we are going to do a proper policy review and I think people and the media particularly, need to be a bit more patient so we can do our work as an opposition. We hold the government to account and…. 

JAYES: Sure. I am not asking to declare policies now. I totally accept that. You are going through a review, an election isn’t until 2022. You sit here this morning and agree that there is a climate emergency so how will that shape your climate change policy? I mean there are a few difficult areas you need to work out. Will you be potentially more ambitious?  

KHALIL: Well I don’t know. We are going to go through a policy review. Possibly. It depends on what the situation is. There could be different parts of the policy that might change. We might need to emphasise other parts, you know the recycling industry for example has sort of collapsed in Australia, we need to focus our attention on that. Things change. It doesn’t mean it’s less ambitious or more ambitious. There could be emphasis on different elements of the work that we need to do to tackle climate change. I think that’s a responsible course of action.  

JAYES: Where do you think the Labor party should go? On climate? 

KHALIL: On? My view is that climate change is real. We need to actually address climate change as best as we can as a government. The community does as well. But obviously the actions of a government have a huge impact on emissions on the effects of climate change and that’s something that we took to the last election, some very good policies and many of them I think are important in tackling climate change and I hope that myself and other caucus members we will be part of that policy review process with respect to these areas. 

JAYES: And do you believe more broadly, we have competing messages from Wayne Swan and Mark Butler, two key figures within Labor. Who do you agree with about where you should go with your policy manifesto?  

KHALIL: Well, that’s a very broad question Laura. We are talking about hundreds of different… 

JAYES: It’s pretty simple. It’s one or the other isn’t it? 

KHALIL: There are many different policies areas and I will put my own views into the caucus process about each different policy, for what they are worth and my colleagues will do the same, our leadership does so as well. Some of those issues might be agreed with certain colleagues, some not. That’s what you have with respective to a really good policy development process. You have a discussion about it.  

JAYES: Okay, it’s going to be a long one. Finally before I let you go, Gladys Liu, how concerned are you about her links to the Chinese Communist Party? 

KHALIL: Well that interview yesterday was actually – made things less clear. You have got to ask the question, where is the Foreign Minister Marise Payne?  Where is the Prime Minister? They really need to start answering the questions about whether she is a fit and proper person to be in the parliament. What memberships she has of these organisations, whether she has taken stipends or honorariums, has she declared it? These are all serious questions that need to be answered by the Prime Minister to determine whether she is a fit and proper person for this parliament. It is very disturbing. 

JAYES: Do you think she is fit and proper?  

KHALIL: Well they need to answer those questions. They are questions that have to be answered by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. As to what I think? I don’t know. I was watching that like everybody else thinking what is going on here! There was really, much more difficult to understand things after the interview than before. It made it less clear her answers. She denied that $300,000 in donations had to be returned, so that was clearly a problem. She has denied that there were any security risks attached to some of the guests that she put towards donating towards the Liberal Party. So she has got some serious questions to answer. Ultimately the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister need to answer these questions and make those determinations.  

JAYES: Peter Khalil, I appreciate your time this morning. 

KHALIL: Thanks very much.