Sky News – Cleo Smith, climate change

Wednesday, 03 November 2021

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Joining me live now is Amanda Rishworth, the Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education. Amanda, good to see you, thanks for your time. I do want to begin with this happy news, relieving no doubt for parents of WA. Cleo Smith, found safe and well.

AMANDA RISHWORTH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT: Oh look, this is just amazing, amazing news, and it’ll be such a relief to the family. But also for all of those in the community that have been watching this with a sinking feeling in their stomach. Such a relief and such, such happy news. So very exciting for everyone.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, I mean, you’re a parent, I’m a parent, it would be a worst nightmare for your child to go missing. And you know, an investigation is going to find out why, but still having a lost child would be awful.

RISHWORTH: Absolutely. And you know, you hear these stories, and many of them don’t end well. It would just be an absolutely awful time. But for the whole community I think. The whole community, I know I along with so many other people have discussed this, been concerned about it and very worried about it. So I think a relief for the family, but relief for really the whole community, because there are these stories that happen that don’t end well. So good news is always what we need.

STEFANOVIC: Yep, it is a good news day. Now let’s go to COP 26. The Prime Minister is on his way back home. What’s your assessment of his role at COP 26? And what might come out of it?

RISHWORTH: I’m still hopeful that the global negotiations will have us land on a pathway to get to net zero by 2050. That’s something that the world really needs to work towards. While there’s been announcements that I’ve welcomed, I guess I’ve been a little underwhelmed by Scott Morrison’s presentation there. There’s been some criticism about Australia’s role from other countries, which is concerning. But I’m also a bit confused. The government said that they were sticking to Tony Abbott’s targets, but the government has now sort of used a figure of 35 per cent. They seem to say one thing here and a different thing abroad. My big question for Scott Morrison is what’s the plan? What’s the economic impact? And how do we get there? They are really critical questions that need to be answered. And those commitments need to be made at this at this conference.

STEFANOVIC: Australia has done more than a lot of countries, though. You would have seen that India, it wants to be net zero by 2070, it’s a long way off. China by 2060 maybe. Russia not interested at all. I mean, do we get some credit for that?

RISHWORTH: Certainly I think it’s good that as an advanced economy we’ve made a commitment to net zero by 2050. But we do need a credible path about how we get there. The other thing is this is a global problem, every country needs to do its bit. There are consequences for Australia if the global community doesn’t respond. And so it’s very hard to be in a position where we are considered behind the pack when it comes to action on climate change. Our plan is very sketchy and we haven’t made the types of commitments that many in the global community want us to do, so it’s a bit hard for us to sit there and lecture other countries about doing their bit. If we want to have influence and we want to make sure that the world does tackle this, we have to actually get on board and demonstrate not just our commitment to that long term target, but the medium term targets, and importantly, how we are going to get there. And it’s very hard to lecture other countries when we ourselves are not seen as leaders in this space.

STEFANOVIC: But Labor doesn’t have a plan either just yet.

RISHWORTH: Well, we’ve already announced a number of policies. We’ve announced policies around rewiring the grid, which is about bringing more renewable energy online. We’ve announced policies around encouraging electric cars and tax incentives for electric cars. We’ve also talked about the apprentices that are going to be needed when it comes to the green energy of the future, we’ve announced policies on that. And we’ll have more to say. But you’ve got to remember we’re here in opposition. The government is the one that should have done economic modelling, should have got the plans in place about the plan that they’ve announced. But unfortunately with Scott Morrison you’ve got to look at the detail, because it’s very sketchy compared to actually what he says.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. Amanda Rishworth, thanks for your time as always. We’ll talk to you soon.


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