Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's better to live on your knees than die on your feet...

Where's the power, where's the passion?

Get a load of this (complete) Peter Garrett transcript from Thursday.

It is an amazing document. No scriptwriter could have crafted it better.

I predict it will be whizzing around the internet very fast among the people who once admired the man who used to personify power and passion.

Could he really be just another polly?

It's "just enough to make you want to cry"...

PETER GARRETT MP and WAYNE SWAN MP, Federal Labor Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Heritage; and Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer


GARRETT: The fact that the Treasury have not seen fit to consider detailed assessments of the impact of climate change on the Australian economy is yet another example of the Howard Government completely failing to understand the significance of climate change and the risks that it poses to Australia’s community and to our economy.

The Government has been on notice for a number of years that climate change is an important economic and environment issue.

The Government’s own Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability Report 2005 made a series of recommendations about climate change and stressed the need for further research. But it seems that the Treasurer simply ignored the recommendations from the Government’s report.

At the same time the Government has presided over a complete lack of action on climate change, no detailed plans on how to deal with reducing emissions and the prospects in the medium term of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions ramping out of control.

Inaction on climate change and a failure by the Treasurer to even consider what climate change will do to our Australian economy is something of an order of seriousness that most Australians will be scratching their heads about.

Why won’t they get serious about climate change? Why won’t the Treasurer recognise that there are serious economic issues at stake here? And why is it that the Government simply sits on its hands and pretends that this is not a serious issue for us, whilst at the same time, the scientists and the community around us are telling us that we need to act resolutely on climate change now?

I make one final point. Inaction on climate change is a great threat to Australia’s future prosperity.

Labor is clear that we need to address climate change. We need to have a responsible long term plan. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We need to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. We need to set targets. We need to increase mandatory renewable energy targets and we need to say once and for all that we’re going to get serious about dealing with climate change, and yet here we have the Treasurer not even in the loop on one of the most important issues Australia faces.

SWAN: I just wanted to make a couple of points. The reason that Peter and I are here this morning is that climate change is a serious economic and environmental issue, but the Howard Government is so blinded by its ideology, so befuddled by its incompetence, it will not even consider the impact of climate change on the economy, and that’s the significance of what we heard this morning.

They’re not even modelling the impact of climate change when it comes to its impact on our future prosperity. Modern governments around the world are doing that. The British Government commissioned the Stern Report. Gordon Brown has put climate change to the centre of the agenda. Peter Costello has got it in the too hard basket. He has not mentioned climate change once in 11 Budget speeches – not once from Peter Costello in all of those Budget speeches.

If you ever wanted an example of how the Howard Government is out of touch, out of time and out of ideas, it’s climate change.

Journalist: Peter, you’re well known for your views on the US alliance. How do you feel about...

GARRETT: I’m astonished that the Treasurer hasn’t actually had his eye on the ball on climate change. Climate change poses one of the greatest risks to our future prosperity and to our environment and for the Treasurer not to have had detailed economic modelling done on the likely impacts of the economy, is an astonishing, astonishing revelation.

Climate change aside though, do you have concerns about a new US communications base out in...

GARRETT: I’m here to remind Australians that the Howard Government has taken its hands of the wheel on climate change. That’s what we’re talking about today.

SWAN: Absolutely and there will be plenty of other people to talk to you about that including the responsible Shadows, which is not Peter or I.

Peter, you’ve said your previous views on US bases on Australian soil...

GARRETT: Appropriate Shadows will respond to these questions. What we’re here today to say is that Mr Costello hasn’t seen and understood the importance of climate change and that’s clear from reports today. It’s also clear that the approach of the Government, and I noticed the comments of Mrs Halonen yesterday, the Finnish Leader, when she said you need to have the widest portfolio of energy sources to deal with climate change. This Government hasn’t even considered that.

I asked the Minister for the Environment a simple question in the House. The first question I asked him which he still hasn’t answered – when will he raise Australia’s mandatory renewable energy targets?

When it comes to climate change policy the Howard Government is simply asleep at the wheel and the fact that the Treasury is not even doing serious modelling on the impacts of climate change is proof positive of that.

Why don’t you tell us what you really think about this new US base?

GARRETT: I want to tell you what I think about climate change today. That’s what the issue is for me and that’s what the issue is for Labor and that’s what the issue is for Australians who care about this matter.

We recognise that climate change poses an enormous risk and an enormous threat to us – to our economy, to our environment and it’s up to the Government now, to explain why, it’s sat on its hands for so long and hasn’t taken this issue seriously.

You’ve sung songs before about you’re opposition to US bases on Australian soil. Have your views changed since then?

GARRETT: My views are clear and they’ve been clear since I’ve come into the Parliament.

I’m here as a member of the Labor Party to talk to Labor policy. We have a plan for dealing with climate change. We have laid out a framework for actually reducing greenhouse emissions, for building economies, for building jobs sustainably into the longer term.

That’s what the Government hasn’t got and that’s what I’m here to talk about.