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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) commentators give his

government just three to six

months in office.

Regardless of the detail in

today's emissions targets the

Federal Government could face

an uphill battle to get its

plans through the Senate. Greg

Hunt is the opposition's

environment spokesman and he

joins us now. Good morning.

Good morning. The key issues in

relation to an emissions

trading scheme are the details of which might be in the White

Paper today is the start date.

You're still pushing for a

delay for that, aren't you? We

are very cautious about an

early start date for a very

specific reason. You won't help

the Great Barrier Reef in fact

you will hurt the Great Barrier

Reef if you drive Australian

jobs and emissions to China,

where emissions in zinc or

aluminium or pulp and paper

actually go up. The planet only

knows total emissions. So if we

send our jobs and emissions to

China through a badly designed

scheme, what happens? Global

emissions go up, bad for the

Great Barrier Reef, bad for the Murray-Darling basin. That's

the serious point. So we don't

want an outcome which is bad

for the plane net and bad for

Australia. The other argument

is developed countries need to

take the lead? We agree

absolutely in real action on

climate change. That's why what

we've been saying is we need a

clean energy revolution. Solar,

hydro, geothermal, cleaning up

the power stations rather than

closing them down. You can only

take real action if you do it

from a position of economic

strength, rather than one of

weakness. So the test we apply,

is it a level playing field for

Australian firms, so we're not

exporting jobs and emissions to

China, where zinc production

has twice the emissions as it

does in Australia? Because that

would be extremely bad for the

planet, extremely bad for

Australia, and would worsen the

problem and would worsen the

case for the Great Barrier Reef

and the Murray-Darling basin

rather than improving it. So

that's a serious and important

test. The government is making

it clear when it comes to

getting support for this policy

and this legislation in the

Senate, it would really rather

deal with you, it'd rather deal

with the coalition than the

Greens or any independents. So

what you're saying today and have been saying for a while is

that you've got the government

over a barrel. You're not

moving on a start date. It's

got to be 2011 or 2012 and

that's not negotiable? We have

a clear preference ... Is that

a preference or an immoveable

belief? We have an overwhelmingly clear preference

that we will have the best deal

for Australia and for the world

if we look at a timetable which

allows us to adapt properly.

We've always said our

preference is for 2011,

probably 2012. But let me make

this point clear: the really

important thing is whether or

not we have a system which

allows Australian firms to

clean themselves up rather than

close themselves down and ship offshore. It doesn't follow

that's going to happen, of

course. Even if an ETS starts

one year later, two years

later, it doesn't necessarily

mean anyone shuts down? The

most important thing here is

the question of the level

playing field. That I think is

the point you're making. Just

today, we've seen Origin

Energy, True Energy say we can

ship offshore. We've seen

Neostar, a zinc producer with

thousands of jobs in Hobart and

Port Pirie, Sun Metals in towns

vim, Visy, which said instead

of recycling pulp and paper in

Australia, we'd ship it to

China, bring it back to

Australia. The reason is this:

if we are not ensuring that

Australian firms have a level

playing field and we could

import exactly the same

product, but at a cheaper price

because they don't have a tax

on it overseas, then we are

likely to send Australian jobs

and emissions overseas, global

emissions go up. So that test

of: is this going to worsen

global emissions is a serious

test which we're applying and

we think all the signs are that

they will have a deep flaw and

that flaw is that it's not a

level playing field, Australian

jobs, Australian emissions

going overseas, global

emissions going up. The other big issue today is the target.

What target would the

opposition commit to? We'll

review this very carefully.

They've had a year to put in a

target and they say "But we

want you to reply within half

an hour." We will review the

target very carefully, but our

the difference between the goal is to be constructive. And

the difference between the two

sides is this ... Why do you

need to see their target

first? Well, they will have

all of the work in the White

Paper, a year's worth of work

in the White Paper, with all of

the resources, and I make no

apologies for saying we will

look at protecting the planet

and protecting Australia. If

they get the trade exposed

industries wrong, that is bad

for the planet and bad for Australia, and

Australia, and bad for the

Great Barrier Reef, because it

exports emissions and sends

emissions up. So that's THE

most important thing in the

whole White Paper. Just finally

this morning - the $1.4 billion compensation package over about

five years, which is the figure being speculated on in the

papers today, does that give

you some comfort? Malcolm Turnbull's proposal which we

took to the last election was

for always to include assistance

for low income earners and for

vulnerable groups. And secondly

to ensure, though, and

critically, and this is I think

the message from us today, that

it will be bad for the Great

Barrier Reef as well as bad for

the rest of Australia if you

export jobs and export

emissions. So that's the key

thing and if they don't have a

system which protects our export industries and gives export industries and gives us

a level playing field, then

that will hurt the