Sky News First Edition
Peter Stefanovic: Welcome back to the first edition. Thank you for your company this morning. Live now to Labor MP, Peter Khalil for the day’s top stories. Peter, just want to ask you about this national cabinet. Good morning to you, by the way. This plan to speed up the rollout of vaccines for people over the age of 50. Now the States and the Prime Minister have said that they want to do this in principle. What does that even mean? Is that kind of half in, half out or what?
Peter Khalil: Good morning, Pete, look, I think the PM and the government have made that classic mistake of over promising and under delivering, you know, they promised 4 million vaccines in arms by the end of March, we’ve really only had 1.6 million delivered. There’s also this question around, they’ve said they’ve got 4.6 million delivered, but where are the other 2.7 million doses? I know some reporting talked about some of them being set aside for contingency for the second jab and so on. Then you’ve got this delay that frankly is going to really jeopardize us rejoining the world community when travel opens up with vaccine passports, presumably, because we’re not going to be fully vaccinated. Well, it looks like now not until 2022. So it’s great that they want to speed it up. He’s now just re-energising the national cabinet, where was all this energy six months ago? You know, you’ve got to really ask questions about their competency in delivering and making sure that vaccine rollout worked efficiently and effectively.
Stefanovic: Well, the problem is that confidence has been shot for a lot of people. So, I mean, despite best intentions to speed things up, that’s no guarantee that it’s actually going to happen.
Khalil: That’s true. And look, I’m not, no one’s Nostradamus here and you know, we all can’t really predict the future. But I mean, I recall even saying, mate, might’ve been on this program last year in September, and it was kind of a warning it’s like, do not put all your eggs in one basket, do not just rely on three or four vaccines. Make sure you go out, like the Europeans have done, and get seven or eight sourced and make sure you have a lot of contingency, because you never know some of these vaccines might fall over at the trial stage or AstraZeneca might have a few issues as it does with under fifties. So make sure you’re actually prepared. And yet they didn’t do that, they went with a smaller number of options. You know, this is about the national interest. Peter, I’m trying not to be political about this, on the political front it’s like they’ve gotta to do their job better, basically.
Stefanovic: Onto, still with Scott Morrison. He’s done a speech last night and he’s sort of outlined a bit more of a plan or a path towards net zero in 2050. There is going to be the agriculture carve out, which is not in itself entirely new. There had been suggestions of that according to Michael McCormack, a few months ago. No new taxes as well. Do you think this can all be achieved?
Khalil: Well, Peter, the climate Wars as they’ve been called has been toxic for Australian politics for so long. Again, we’re trying to be non-partisan this morning. We want to actually resolve this. You know, you’re seeing the Biden administration going very hard on addressing climate change. There’s going to be a climate summit with 40 world leaders. So I’m asking myself, the question is, is Scott Morrison trying to sort of catch up a little bit with what’s happening and trying to pick up on the zeitgeist internationally? Not sure. But, let’s make the commitment to net zero by 2050. Let’s make sure that we’re actually then working out policies on how to get there, which he’s just started to last night. He’s getting a bit closer to that. But the fact is, he’s avoided actually saying we’re committed to net zero by 2050, because it’ll kick off a civil war in his party room. You know, so many people in the Coalition –
Stefanovic: But back on Biden, I mean, it’s that argument though, which kind of stands up, they pulled out of Paris. So isn’t it a bit rich for them to all of a sudden, you know, be banging on or putting extra pressure on countries to achieve this result?
Khalil: Well, that’s a good question. “They”, I mean, I think you mean by that the U S, “they” was actually the Trump administration that pulled out, not the Biden administration. The Biden administration throughout the campaign made very clear that they’re committed to renewable energy and renewable energy infrastructure. There’s a $1.9 trillion commitment to renewables and green power. And he’s following up on that commitment by working with the international community. John Kerry, the Envoy for Climate Change, he had a very successful meeting with these Chinese counterparts. So they’re working together, which is by the way, a very good, bright spot in what has been a lot of tension in the US/China relationship, so that’s welcomed! And Australia needs to actually be part of this! We have a great opportunity to have a green revolution, green manufacturing, renewable energy infrastructure that will power us into the 21st century and I don’t think we’re taking that opportunity under the current government.
Stefanovic: Okay, 30 seconds left Peter. Just your reaction to the Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide.
Khali: Oh, thank you Scott Morrison for finally agreeing to announce this Royal Commission on Veterans Suicide. You know, family members of the vets who’ve committed suicide, the community has been calling on this for years now. Labor has been trying to push this forward. Morrison has had to be dragged, kicking and screaming to announce this. It’s the right thing to do. It’s an important acknowledgement of what is a huge problem. We’ve had 41 diggers killed in action. We’ve had 419 who’ve committed suicide in the last decade or so. That needs to be addressed and there needs to be systems and structures in place to address it, and the Royal Commission will get us there. So it’s good news that he finally announced it.
Stefanovic: Okay. Peter Khalil, thanks for your time. Talk to you soon.