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Meet The Press -

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MEET THE PRESS PRESENTER PAUL BONGIORNO: Welcome to Meet the Press. The science is clear - we
humans are helping destroy the planet with our carbon gas emissions. Have we the political will to
do anything about it? The Federal Government's special adviser has spelt out the risks and the

CLIMATE CHANGE ADVISOR PROFESSOR ROSS GARNAUT (Friday): Climate change is a diabolical policy
problem. it is harder than any other issue of high importance that has come before our polity in
living memory.

OPPOSITION LEADER BRENDAN NELSON (Tuesday): Mr Rudd is at risk of doing enormous damage to our
country's economic future by getting the is wrong.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Water and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong is a guest. And later - the power
shifts in the Senate. We speak with Family First's Steve Fielding. But first - what the nation's
press is reporting this Sunday July 6. The 'Sunday Age' has, "Dried river basin sends warning, says
PM." Kevin Rudd has visited the parched Lower Lakes of the Murray River, warning that failure to
act on climate change would inflict far greater economic and environmental costs than the
introduction of an emissions trading scheme putting a price on carbon. The 'Sunday Mail' says,
"Rudd won't share our pain with climate tax." Kevin Rudd wants all Australians to pay more for
power and petrol to help save the planet - except himself. The paper says Mr Rudd won't break with
tradition and personally pay for power, lighting and heating bills at the Lodge. The 'Sun-Herald'
reports, "Nelson's son breaks ankle after night of alcohol." The son of the Opposition Leader,
21-year-old Tom Nelson, has been laid up for six weeks after a big night out to celebrate finishing
his apprenticeship. The 'Sunday Telegraph' leads with, "Naked child photo anger." A provocative
picture of a naked 6-year-old girl has been used on the cover of a taxpayer-funded magazine as a
protest over the treatment of artist Bill Henson. Professor Ross Garnaut on Friday painted a bleak
and compelling picture on the need for us to confront climate change in a serious way. The
Government will begin to outline its response soon and steering that process is minister Penny
Wong. Welcome to the program, Minister.


PAUL BONGIORNO: If I can go to the report in the News Limited Papers today, they believe that Kevin
Rudd should feel the pain like everybody else once the Emissions Trading Scheme puts prices up?

PENNY WONG: Well, Paul, can I say that the arrangements in relation to the Prime Minister's
official residents are long-standing arrangements which have been in place for successive prime
ministers. Climate change is an issue which is far bigger than what a single person in this
community - what their employment arrangements are. As you said in the introduction, this is a big
challenge. Professor Garnaut again has demonstrated to us what the scale of this challenge is, and
really what the report confirms is that failure to tackle climate change is simply not an option.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Well, the Prime Minister did freeze Parliamentary salaries as a way of identifying
with other Australians. Do you think some sort of gesture like that would be helpful in shaping
this debate?

PENNY WONG: Look, we have said since we game to Government, we recognise that governments do need
to show a leadership on these issues. There is a task force which the Prime Minister has created
for a whole of government approach on how we as a government can reduce our ecological footprint,
our carbon footprint. So these are issues we will progress, but as I said, this is what did
Professor Garnaut call it? A diabolical policy challenge. It certainly is the challenge of our
generation. We need to tackle climate change. We know that it is in our national interest and our
economic interest to do so.

PAUL BONGIORNO: What is the most diabolical part of it as far as you're concerned as the minister

PENNY WONG: Well, I think what we're asking this generation of Australians to do is to recognise
first, the costs that have accrued to all of us from the greenhouse gases, the greenhouse pollution
we've put into the atmosphere over hundreds of years, and we're asking this generation to take
responsibility for at least part of that.

PAUL BONGIORNO: And do you fear that they don't understand? That they don't appreciate why you're
asking them?

PENNY WONG: Well, what I was going to - if I could just finish the first point - we're actually
asking them to do something for their children and their grandchildren, so we're saying that we
here now have to do something, because we ought not to simply hand ball this problem to our kids
and our grand kids because it is too hard. In terms of your next question, Paul, "Do they
understand?" I recognise, the Government recognises that this is really tough and complex reform,
and we do have a long way to go in terms of explaining to the Australian people what it is we're
asking them to do. As you know.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Well, I think an example of that was the Australian Institute of Management found
that managers of businesses around Australia don't quite understand what's happening and don't know
what an ETS or an Emissions Trading Scheme is about. That's a worry, isn't it?

PENNY WONG: I accept and the Government accepts that this is tough, complex economic reform. We
have to go through a lengthy and detailed process of consultation and dialogue with the Australian
people, the Australian community, including Australian business. Now, we have had pretty intense
process consultation to date. We have now a very good focal point for the discussion in Professor
Garnaut's report which has elicited, I think, a very good discussion in the community about the
issue, and as you know, we'll be issuing a green paper which will set out the Government's
direction in relation to the emissions trading scheme - how it is we're going to reduce our
greenhouse gases into the future. And that will be another focal point for the discussion as we
move forward.

PAUL BONGIORNO: You're going to need a very big advertising campaign, aren't you?

PENNY WONG: Well, look, as you said, the survey to which you referred demonstrates we do have to
ensure that people understand what the Emissions Trading Scheme will do, what climate change will
mean. This is an enormous and complex policy challenge, so of course, government does have a
responsibility to ensure the community is there.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Do you think it will cost $55 million to tell the community what's going on?

PENNY WONG: $55 million being how much Mr Howard spent for a period of time on WorkChoices? I think
it was actually over $100 million for the 06/07 year. If there is any advertising campaign on this,
iter it will comply with the election commitments. Senator Faulkner as the relevant minister has
issued direct guidelines which include an Auditor-General sign-off.

PAUL BONGIORNO: The Government seems to be distancing itself to Professor Garnaut. Here's how he
laughed that off on Friday. ROSS GARNAUT: I'm just one input into the Prime Minister's thinking and
he's just one input into mine!


PAUL BONGIORNO: Now, he of course wants his scheme to apply as broadly as possible. Is the
Government giving itself wriggle room so it can compensate people? Is that what the distancing is
all about?

PENNY WONG: Actually, Professor Garnaut has said that 50% of the revenue from the ETS should be
given back to households, to Australian families and pensioners and carers to compensate them for
the impact of a carbon price. Professor Garnaut is independent from government, and we have always
made that clear, and he is making an extraordinarily important contribution, not just to government
thinking, but also to the community discussion and understanding of this issue, but ultimately,
government does have to make a decision. We have to make that decision base on a range of factors,
including his advice, including consultation with key stake holders in the community and the
Treasury modelling of the impact of the scheme. When we return with the panel, we ask if saving the
Murray-Darling Basin has run a poor second to vested interests. And after 24 years Alexander Downer
is pulling the pin. Mr Downer will leave Parliament next week - our longest serving Foreign
Minister. He brought plenty of colour to the job. He was also the Liberal Party's shortest-serving
leader until his comedy routine appalled.

MP ALEXANDER DOWNER: When we release our domestic violence policy, the things that batter.

PAUL BONGIORNO: On Thursday, he was relaxed about his own children keeping up the family tradition
in politics.

ALEXANDER DOWNER: I would support them in whatever they wanted to do - except organised crime. I
might draw the line at that. I don't know whether they would. You're on Meet the Press. And welcome
to our panel, Ten's Environment Reporter, Emily Rice. Good morning, Emily.


PAUL BONGIORNO: And Glenn Milne, the 'Sunday Telegraph'. Good morning, Glenn.


PAUL BONGIORNO: On Thursday the Commonwealth, States and Territories reached what they all
described as an historic agreement to save the nation's biggest river system. The Commonwealth put
$3.7 billion on the table. That's for major upgrades of irrigation and distribution. A new
independent planning authority will run the Basin from next year. But the farmers, particularly in
Victoria had a big win. There will be no cutback on the water they're entitled to another for year.

PROFESSOR OF WATER ECONOMICS MIKE YOUNG (Thursday): It is historic progress as a glacial rate. We
have a national crisis which is still not being addressed. The real disappointing thing in what
COAG has announced is that they have yet to recognise that the river is on its last legs.

EMILY RICE: Senator Wong, as Water Minister, is there enough water in the system now, putting aside
costs and caps, is there enough water in the system now that could be released into the lower lakes
immediately, this week, next week, straight away?

PENNY WONG: Look, Emily, I've said for a long time, that the problem in the Lower Lakes and the
Koorong reflects many things - it reflects where we are in terms of climate change in terms of an
historic drought and the fact is that there simply isn't enough water in the system for us to do
everything we wish to do with it. There are always trade-offs in the system. Obviously one of the
things we have to do is to protect critical human needs. To just give an indication of the
circumstances we face - we are currently tracking for much of the Murray-Darling Basin, at lower
than the worst-case climate change scenarios that the CSIRO has predicted for mid-century, for
2050, so we're really up against it in the Murray-Darling Basin. What the premiers and the Prime
Minister signed off on at COAG was an historic step to manage this river in the national interest.
But we know that in the short and medium term, we do face real challenges in the Basin.

EMILY RICE: On that point last week, you were hoping to get the trade cap between borders lifted.
Now, we have come up with an agreement to lift that cap, but as far as we know, Victoria haven't
signed a hard and fast or haven't given a hard and fast commitment to lifting the cap. Is Victoria
still dominating the Murray River negotiations? Are they still holding the power?

PENNY WONG: Can I say firstly that we're very pleased that the premiers including the Premier of
Victoria agreed to lift the cap or to seek to lift the cap by the end of next year to 6%.
Obviously, there is still a fair amount of stakeholder consultation which needs to occur. There are
some fears in some regional communities about this measure, so we do need to make sure that we
consult with them. Our view as a Government is that irrigators and the Basin is best served if we
can move to a modern water market where water can go where it provides the most benefit.

GLENN MILNE: Minister, this authority that will be set up in January it will take another year to
get up and running. Won't the lower lakes be dead by then?

PENNY WONG: Well, Glenn, we never said that the changes to the governance and management of the
Basin were the only things we were doing. That clearly is what you have to do in the medium and the
long-term and that's incredibly important. Just to put some context around this, over the last 100
years or so, we've managed this river or this river system as if it was made up of independent
States, not recognising of course that water flows across borders - and that's essentially what
we've recognised within the authority. But we do have to act within the short-term. There are two
things we have to do. One is to purchase water, and as you know, I have already invested on behalf
of the Government, we've invested $50 million in that. And the second thing we need to do is to
invest in irrigation infrastructure, so we can do more with less and return water to the river.

GLENN MILNE: Can you tell me - rate your level of confidence, will you about the future of the
lakes and the future of the Murray-Darling Basin as a whole?

PENNY WONG: Well, Glenn, I think I answered Emily before saying that this is a real challenge. We
are up against it in the Murray-Darling Basin. Historic low levels of inflow, what appears to be
climate change in action. A very difficult situation, particularly in the southern part of
Australia. What I can say is that we have agreed to provide a total of $320 million, but $200
million to the South Australian Government to look for a medium or a lasting solution, a medium
term solution for the Lower Lakes. We want to work with them to try to achieve a lasting solution
to the Lower Lakes and Koorong. But really this is an example or a symptom of the problem, a
history of allocation in the Basin, and climate change in action.

PAUL BONGIORNO: On Wednesday, you committed the Government to a target of 20% renewable energy by
2020. The Greens were puzzled by one element of your options paper.

GREENS LEADER SENATOR BOB BROWN (Wednesday): Apparently, Minister Wong is going to include burning
of components of native forests as renewable energy. Well, that's incredibly back to front.

GLENN MILNE: Minister, that's not the only criticism that the Greens have got about your climate
change package. The fact is that they have a component of the balance of power in the Senate. You
are going to have to negotiate with them. Does that mean that targets, timetabling, carbon pricing
is all on the table?

PENNY WONG: Look, we'll negotiate with a range of parties about these , issues but I think the real
issue here is what will the Opposition do? What we've seen is a range of different views put by the
Opposition. What we would say to them is this - if you're serious about confronting the challenge
of this generation, that is, climate change, if you're serious about ensuring the national
interest, the economic interests of the nation are observed and the future of our children are
considered, then I hope they will join with us in putting forward.

GLENN MILNE: So, you would go to the Opposition first? Before the Greens?

PENNY WONG: Well, I'm making the point that the Opposition as the alternative government at some
point is going to have to make some hard decisions on this front. Obviously we'll talk to the
Greens about a range of issues, but ultimately, I think the Opposition is going to have to indicate
their position on these issues.

EMILY RICE: Minister Wong, on the issue of renewables, you've copped a lot of flak over the means
testing of the solar panel rebate. I mean, how are we going to move to a more energy efficient way
in Australia if it is costing too much? Already they're screaming and saying "It just too much for
us to move." What guarantees can you give the community that it is not going to cost them?

PENNY WONG: Look, on renewables, a few things about that. First, we do have a renewable energy
target of 20% by 2020 and you referred earlier to an options paper I put out for consultation on
the design of that. We've also got $500 million investment in renewable energy, and that was an
election commitment which was put into the Budget and obviously we'll roll that out. We do
recognise over time what we are essentially doing through an Emissions Trading Scheme is going from
a high-polluting economy to a low-polluting economy, a low-emissions economy of the future. That is
a massive transition and we recognise that we're going to have to invest in that adjustment.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Thank you very much for being with us today, Senator Penny Wong.

PENNY WONG: Good to be with you, Paul.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Coming up after the break, we ask Senator Steve Fielding from Family First how he
tends to use his share in the balance of power.

PAUL BONGIORNO: You're on Meet the Press. It wasn't so much the earth moving on July 1 as the
numbers in the Senate realigning - and it could be a state of the stunt-meisters running the
circus. Senator Steve Fielding won't have to rely so much on dressing up as a bottle or borrowing
his kid's shopping trolley to gain attention, but he will be competing with Nick Xenophon who stuck
his neck out at Adelaide Zoo's giraffe enclosure to announce his run for the Senate. The big
question is, how will they use their new political grunt? Good morning and welcome, Steve Fielding.


PAUL BONGIORNO: Let's go to the big issue of the moment and that's climate change. How do you
describe yourself? Do you accept that climate change is a real problem that must be confronted?

STEVE FIELDING: Look, with any issue, there is always probably two diverse camps and one is the
climate change sceptics, and what I classify also as the climate change terrorists where you sort
of say that the sky is falling in, you've got to do it right now, drop everything and no matter
what cost for jobs, no matter what cost to families, let's get on with it and do it right now and
any delay is not right. Well, Family First is not in either camp. We believe that what you need is
to address climate change. We're all concerned about our kid's kids and making sure that they have
a planet to live on but we need to do it in a way to not push jobs offshore and push families to
the wall.

GLENN MILNE: In that context, Senator, where would you put Ross Garnaut and the report? Do you
think he's pushing things too hard and too fast?

STEVE FIELDING: Ross Garnaut is an economist and there's nothing wrong with that. Economists have
their say in Parliament but what doesn't have their say in Parliament are families and ordinary
Australians. We have to balance this out.

GLENN MILNE: But I'm interested to know where you think Garnaut fits in that spectrum?

STEVE FIELDING: I've been through the report - not in great detail yet, there are 600 pages, and I
think the report is a solid representation of the issues that is facing Australia and the globe,
not just Australia. So I think it is a very solid report. What we now need to consider is what is
the Government of the day going to actually propose? And will we know, ordinary Australians know,
at what cost it will come and therefore we can make a proper decision about how quickly we bring it
in or how we phase it in to make sure that we don't push jobs offshore short-term, knowing that
basically carbon emissions may go up even higher because some of our Asian partners don't have the
same restrictions.

EMILY RICE: Senator Fielding, the Opposition says 2010 is too quick. Where do you stand? Do you
think that we need more time or is time running out to tackle the climate change problem? Who do
you side with on this issue?

STEVE FIELDING: Time is running out, but at the same token, let's not just rush it through in such
a way we just push jobs offshore and greenhouse gasses go up because they're dirtier than we are to
a certain extent, so we have to look at this very, very carefully. Before we make any decision on
what we do that we all know what we're getting into. I was out on the street yesterday - I do a lot
of street talk - and most Australians are saying we need to do more for the environment, but there
are concerns about how quickly we bring it in.

EMILY RICE: Just on that point, you are concerned about the price of petrol already. Now, Professor
Garnaut is saying that he wants petrol included in the ETS. Where do you stand there? Do you think
that including petrol will be a burden too high for families to cope with?

STEVE FIELDING: Families are buckling over the price petrol. The last five years it has doubled.
Family First have been calling for a cut in petrol taxes for over two years of 10 cents a litre. If
petrol is included in the Emissions Trading System, we need to offset the effects. Because Families
are already buckling under the pressure. We need to make sure at the same time that we give them
alternatives and I think public transport is one way of going, but alternative fuel sources for
cars have to be ramped up.

GLENN MILNE: OK, so, your focus is families. Does that mean you're prepared to horse trade on other
issues against climate change? For example, let's take the alcopops tax which you say is a revenue
grab. Would you be prepared to support climate change if the Government fixed that up?

STEVE FIELDING: I've said from day one, Glenn, that I think horse trading from one issue to another
- you know, for example, saying that the sale of Telstra is dependant on cutting taxes - that is
just is ridiculous. But if you're talking about the Emissions Trading Scheme, you've got to be
talking about how it will impact everybody and then work out what you've got to do about it to
offset it. So petrol does come into it, because frankly, petrol tax and the emissions trading
scheme are related because the Emissions Trading Scheme will definitely push prices up but taxes
will push it down, so I think cutting petrol price makes sense, even more so today given the
Garnaut Report.

GLENN MILNE: But cutting petrol tax just doesn't alter motorists' behaviour. Greenhouse gases go up
as a result.

STEVE FIELDING: What affects motorists is seeing petrol prices go through the roof and I'm telling
you that's hurting a lot of small businesses and families and ordinary Australians. They're really
hurting from high petrol prices.

EMILY RICE: So, when the ETS does get to the Senate, are you going to hold up this big reform if it
doesn't suit you? If it doesn't suit families?

STEVE FIELDING: Look, Family First has said from day one, we'll look at the issues as they came up.
We did this with WorkChoices. We went to the government of the day. We didn't just vote against
WorkChoices. I went to the Prime Minister personally and said, "Listen this has got some major
concerns for ordinary Australians. We gave them 10 changes. Guess what, our vote wasn't needed, it
was only wanted and basically we got nothing and frankly it caused the Government some undoing.
With the Emissions Trading System, we'll look at the Government's plan. Remember, we don't have a
plan on the table. But we'll look at whatever the Government puts forward and we'll look at it from
the point of view of ordinary Australians so make sure they're getting a fair go, but also to make
sure for ordinary Australians to make sure our kid's kids do have a planet to live on.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Briefly before we go, the report today of a 6-year-old girl being used on the front
page of a taxpayer-funded magazine. Does that concern you?

STEVE FIELDING: Look, I haven't seen it and probably don't want to see it, and I think it probably
is a concern. Look, I think this is probably something that we have got probably just out of
kilter, I think. What is art and what is reasonable, I think is weighing way too much in the side
of sort of saying, well, art.

PAUL BONGIORNO: Thank you very much for being with us Senator Fielding and thank you to Emily Rice
and Glenn Milne. Until next week, goodbye.