Transcript - Television Interview - Sunrise - Monday, 18 October 2021

Transcript - Television Interview - Sunrise - Monday, 18 October 2021 Main Image

By Joel Fitzgibbon

18 October 2021

NATALIE BARR, HOST: Thanks, Kochie. Well, the Nationals have stalled a decision on Australia's net zero target after a four-hour party room meeting. They believe the Prime Minister's plan for net zero emissions by 2050 will negatively impact the regions. Scott Morrison is reportedly working on an economic package worth more than $20 billion to get the party across the line. National MPs will meet again today. For more we're joined by Nationals Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, and Labor MP, Joel Fitzgibbon. Morning to you. Barnaby... yep, it's morning. I know it's been a long night. Are the Nationals going to agree to Australia going net zero by 2050?


BARNABY JOYCE, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, look, first of all, I don't know where you get the $20 billion figure from, but we will do what's right for regional people. And we will make sure that the people who represent regional people, National Party members, have the capacity to have their say. This is not, I say over and over again, this is not the unilateral position of myself, I'm merely one member, I'm convening the meeting. And what we'll do is we'll gather the information, make sure we're looking after regional people, making sure that whatever decision we make, we are focused on their jobs, on the cost of living in their towns, on their future, because that is the responsibility we have. We know about the impetus towards international obligations. But the reality is, Australia's actions by itself have no effect. But if we get it wrong, they have a major effect on the regional economy. So, our responsibility is to look after the people, like the ones I saw when I walked into the hotel the other night, and they were pretty firm on their views. And we've got to make sure that we don't take them for fools because they'll deal with us, and so they should.


BARR: Exactly. So, just on that internal research that the Coalition's doing apparently, that the Prime Minister took to Cabinet, shows 80 per cent of voters support this plan. So, are you holding out for more money, and then you'll decide, what's going to happen?


JOYCE: Well, I respect research, but you know, in the UK, they did research as well, that everything was going to be stable and work well, there'll be no problems. And they have got an energy crisis, and Europe's got an energy crisis, and China's got an energy crisis. You know, research and modeling are not letters from the almighty. They're the views of people and the views of people at a certain date with certain information before them. And what we have to do is make sure we make a decision not for just now, for now and long into the future after this decision is made. But I'm really interested in what Joel would do, seeing he's now honest, and if he was in the same position, what would his views be?


BARR: Yeah, Joel, do you think the demands are fair?


JOEL FITZGIBBON, MEMBER FOR HUNTER: Well, I don't know what the demands are, other than we need to take care of our regions. And I absolutely agree with that. But I think it's a good thing that Barnaby has now joined Scott Morrison in a late conversion to meaningful action on climate change. They now accept that you can take meaningful action without causing the price of a lamb roast to get to $100, without hurting our coal mining industry, our gas industry, and indeed our manufacturing sector...


JOYCE: ... I wouldn't jump the gun there, I wouldn't jump the gun there.


FITZGIBBON: I think the big issue here, in a sense, is that this highlights... Yeah, well, this highlights the fact that we have a Westminster system and a government which relies upon, a minority government really, which relies upon the support of the National Party to remain in government. And I think what Scott Morrison needs to do now ahead of Glasgow, is consider putting a motion into the people's house, the House of Representatives, committing to net zero emissions, a motion which would, of course, pass easily with the support of the Labor Party, and he could go to Glasgow, with the imprimatur of the people's house...


JOYCE: ... Okay, I would love to answer that. Let me answer that.


BARR: Okay, Barnaby.


JOYCE: I could put a motion into the Parliament for a whole range of things which doesn't take into account regional people, because we're in a minority in the parliament, people will know that. So, we do use our position of leverage to make sure we get a better deal. I mean, I could put a motion to the parliament for a whole range of things which are completely focused on the capital cities, and they would all pass if people had to vote. But they would do over Australia. You have got to remember, if we get this wrong, your wealth comes from your hinterland – from your iron ore, your coal, your gas, your agricultural products, and you don't see that in the capital cities, but if you lose those export dollar, we are euchred. So, we are going to make sure that we don't, and we're going to make sure that the people in the towns, whether it's Rockhampton, Tamworth, Wagga, or Geraldton, are not done over and that is our job.


BARR: Quick last word, Joel.


FITZGIBBON: Well, a motion is a statement of intent, Nat. That's what it is. It would allow Scott Morrison to go to Glasgow with the backing of the house which represents people here in Australia. Look, this is getting very serious. The only other option for him is to take the long drive to Government House and to inform the Governor General he no longer commands a majority in the House of Representatives, because he himself has made this a centerpiece of his policy. This is becoming akin to blocking budget supply. It's getting really serious...


BARR: ... It certainly is serious. A lot on the table...


JOYCE: ... It's an affirming of faith in regional people, who we are sent here to represent. We're going to continue to do that.


BARR: Okay, Well, it'll be interesting to see what happens. Thank you, Gents, for your views. Talk to you next week.