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Tuesday, 2 December 2003
Page: 23419

Mr LATHAM (2:09 PM) —My question is addressed to the Prime Minister, and I refer to the international climate change conference in Milan, which is commencing today. How can it be in the national interest for the Prime Minister to commit Australia to paying all the costs of meeting our Kyoto target but not allow Australia to reap the benefits from ratifying the Kyoto protocol?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —Once again, the premise of the question is absolutely wrong. The reason why we have not been willing to ratify the Kyoto protocol is that, by doing that, we would impose costs on Australia that would not be passed on to countries like China and Russia that might well be our competitors, particularly in relation to resource projects. What the Labor Party wants us to do is sign up to something that would place burdens on Australian industry but not impose the same burdens on the industries of other countries that could well be our competitors. For us to sign the Kyoto protocol in its current form would destroy jobs in many of the industrial areas in Australia—it would be bad news for the Hunter Valley region, it would be bad news for the electorate represented by the member for Hunter, it would be bad news for Australian exporters. Overall, I am not going to be party to something that destroys jobs and destroys the competitiveness of Australian industry.