22 October 2021


SUBJECTS: Political Panel with Andrew Wallace MP; States re-opening from COVID lockdown; Climate policy and Glasgow.

DANICA DE GIORGIO, HOST: Time now to discuss the day's top stories. Joining me live are Liberal MP Andrew Wallace and Labour MP Alicia Payne. Good afternoon to you both. Let's get straight into it. I want to begin with the road maps to reopening across the country ahead of Christmas. Tasmania now joining New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT team, and of course, Queensland this week, in announcing that Christmas reunions are back. WA not budging. Alicia, are states like WA and South Australia now under pressure to also announce a plan?
ALICIA PAYNE, LABOR MEMBER FOR CANBERRA: Yes, obviously, it's very difficult for families, in WA or with family back in WA, who were hoping to get back to see them for Christmas. And there is a bit of pressure there. But you can also understand why premiers don't want to do that, if they don't have COVID in their state, and the vaccination rates obviously aren't up there yet for them. So if we had got the vaccination rollout right in the first place, they probably would be ready to open up but it's the case that they're not.
DE GIORGIO: Can you blame the vaccine rollout on this Alicia, states like Western Australia have had a lot more time to roll out their vaccine, is complacency a factor in WA?
PAYNE: Well, I suppose they haven't had the incentive of being in lockdown, which is a really unfortunate incentive that so many Australians have had to have to go and get vaccinated. Of course, I'm sure they are as much looking forward to opening up as everyone else. But some of the supply, of course, was prioritized going to New South Wales. So they haven't had that as much as those other states. But, yes, I hope that they can get vaccinated and can open up as soon as possible as well.
DE GIORGIO: Andrew, let's talk about Queensland, your home state, of course, finally announcing a roadmap to reopening this week. But how hard will it be for the state moving forward? New South Wales and Victoria are on a unity ticket to re-open internationally, quarantine free from next month. You can essentially go to Singapore before you go to Brisbane. Where does this leave Queensland?
ANDREW WALLACE, LIBERAL MEMBER FOR FISHER: I think this is one of the good things that comes out of competitive federalism because but for the actions of Dominic Perrottet, I think most of the states would still be languishing around and having their borders locked down. So more power to Dominic Perrottet to really putting the pressure on the likes of Queensland. Queensland, of course, announced recently that December 17 will be our opening date. But currently, Queensland is similar to Western Australia in that it's, it's caught by this complacency trap, because we haven't had the same sort of breakdowns as Victoria, or breakouts as Victoria and New South Wales. People have been reluctant to go and get vaccinated. So Queensland vaccination rates both for single vaccine, and double vax are around 12 points behind the national average. So come on Queenslanders, we can do better than that. Go out and get vaccinated. The premier has set that date for December 17 as our opening date. We are running out of time. So if you haven't been vaccinated, please go out and get vaccinated today.
DE GIORGIO: Yeah, absolutely. And fingers crossed for a reunion for everybody. Let's move on now because we are running out of time today. But let's move on to climate now. The nationals have finalized their list of demands for the Prime Minister for a net zero deal. Andrew, I'll start with you. What do you think that this is going to cost the government?
WALLACE: Well, the short answer, of course, is I have no idea. I haven't seen the letter that's gone to the Prime Minister. But look, I think, you know, what's important to recognize here is that, you know, we just can't keep going as we're going, to be able to expect for us to be able to look after the climate and keep doing what we're doing. As a world is like heading west and looking for a sunrise. We do need to take action. The federal government has announced that, you know, we are, we do want to make an announcement about reaching net zero by 2050. I think it's also very important to recognize that unlike many other countries, Australia has already reduced our carbon emissions by 20.8%. From our 2005 levels. So we are achieving, we are we are on track to meeting our Paris commitments already. Those 2030 commitments, we are absolutely on track to meeting and beating those. When the federal government, the Australian Federal government makes a commitment we stick by it.
DE GIORGIO: All right, well, let's move on to Alicia now, in terms of Labor, when will the party release its plan?
PAYNE: It is just so embarrassing for Australia that we're two weeks out from Glasgow, and the Liberals and the Nationals are still fighting about committing to net zero, which is the absolute bare minimum. And this is when the IPCC, the most authoritive, independent body of climate scientists has said this is Code Red for humanity. And we are arguing about net zero, which is the absolute bare minimum. Now we're two weeks from Glasgow, but let's not forget they have had eight years, this government has been in for eight years, and we have seen no action on climate change. And we are being increasingly left behind. The world is leaving Australia behind, the market is moving on. This is a jobs opportunity. These people are stuck in the past and it is really time to get with the program.
WALLACE: You can't say we haven't done anything on climate change. That's just not true.
DE GIORGIO: Alicia, when is Labor going to release its plan?
PAYNE: Well, we have already committed to net zero by 2050. And we have already announced several policies. We want Australia to be a renewable energy superpower and we've made no secret that we have much more to say about this before the next election. But this is about the government, it is the government that unfortunately is representing Australia at Glasgow in two weeks, and we don't know what their policy is yet.
DE GIORGIO: Alright, unfortunately, we have to leave it there. We've run out of time today. Andrew Wallace and Alicia Payne, great to chat as always. We'll see you next week. Thank you.