Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Order In The House -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) Welcome to Order in the House, a review of the week's business in Federal Parliament. Let me say to the climate change purists or the climate change fanatics, on the other side... ..let me say to them, the cleanest and greenest energy source of all is the one you won't look at, and that's nuclear power. The message out of the Government this question time, the beginning of 2007, leaves most of us gobsmacked. Will the Minister confirm that Sydney University research shows rising sea levels could lead to erosion extending up to 70 metres inland from the promenade at Bondi Beach. This is strategy of the opposition, Mr Speaker, what they are seeking to do is to create a massive scare campaign. THEME MUSIC It was no surprise that climate change dominated proceedings in Parliament's first session for 2007. Buoyed by some positive opinion polls, Kevin Rudd was out to make the Prime Minister's New Year

an unhappy one. Thank you, Mr Speaker. My question is to the Prime Minister. Did a submission proposing an emissions trading scheme go to Cabinet in August 2003? Was that proposal rejected? The Honourable the Prime Minister. Mr Speaker, I don't carry in my head... LAUGHTER I don't carry in my head the details of every submission that's has gone to Cabinet. But let me simply say, that our position in relation to an emissions trading system is that we have, at present, at work, a joint task group between the government and the business community. And tomorrow that task group will be releasing a discussion paper which deals with these matters. Does the Prime Minister recall his Industry Minister saying just six months ago, "I am a sceptic of the connection "between emissions and climate change?" Does the Prime Minister support this statement? The Honourable the Prime Minister. Well, Mr Speaker, it's not only... ..remarks made by people in this parliament. There's a farmer I know who's sceptical about that connection too as well... well, Mr Speaker. But, look, you can debate... And let me say to the Leader of the Opposition that...

..the jury is still out on the degree of connection. My question again is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, I refer to your Environment Minister's comments on 3 February

that the geology of the east coast is adequately elevated to deal with a 1-metre sea rise. LAUGHTER And that claims about rising sea levels are "very exaggerated". Does the Prime Minister support this statement? The Honourable the Prime Minister. Mr Speaker, I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that I'll check out your reference to it before I give an answer. LAUGHTER AND JEERING My question again is to the Prime Minister, and I refer to his answer to my previous question. I refer to this transcript of an interview between the Environment Minister, Mr Turnbull, on ABC 'AM' program of Saturday the 3rd of February, where the Environment Minister says, and I quote in full, "But you're talking about something less than a metre over 100 years. "So this is not a sort of, you know, an Al Gore-type apocalypse "that we're talking about." He goes on - "There's a lot of very exaggerated claims, and you have to bear in mind "that most of our coastal population lives on the east coast of Australia. "And because of the geology or topography of the east coast, "you know, much of that is adequately elevated "to deal with a 1-metre sea rise." Prime Minister, do you support this statement? The Honourable the Prime Minister. I tell you what I do support - doing my own research. SHOUTING AND JEERING Malcolm, do you agree with that? Are you sticking to that, Malcolm? Order. ORDER! Order. The Honourable the Leader of the Opposition. Yes. Mr Speaker, I would seek leave to table this transcript for the Prime Minister's assistance. Is leave granted? Thank you, Mr Speaker. My question's for the Minister for Environment and Water Resources. Will the Minister raise Australia's mandatory renewable energy targets? The Honourable the Minister for Environment and Water Resources. Mr Speaker, unlike the Opposition, who... INTERJECTIONS

...who has developed... Order! ..who has developed a closed mind on climate change issues, which seems...seems to owe more... Order! The Member for Ballarat. INTERJECTIONS The Member for Fowler. Mr...yeah, very good, thank you. Thank you. Mr Speaker... INTERJECTIONS ..the response to climate change is a complex one. It requires an open mind, and it requires practical measures. What the Opposition is giving us now is some kind of cramped political theology. Nobody is allowed to doubt.

Sceptics are to be banned. Anybody with an open mind Anybody that considers a solution is to be banned. What does the International Energy Agency say

about the responses to greenhouse gases? The Minister has the call. What do they say... Mr Speaker, they say the measures will be energy efficiency, clean coal and nuclear power, in that order. What does the Opposition do? Takes off the third biggest contributor to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the agenda totally. The Government will consider... The Government...well, I'm... Order. The Minister will resume his seat. The Honourable the Manager of Opposition Business. Mr Speaker, as you would have observed, that was a nine-word question - very specific. Will the Minister raise Australia's MRET? The Leader of Opposition Business will resume his seat.

I was listening carefully to the Minister. I believe he was about to answer the very... ..he was about to answer the very point that the... ..Manager of Opposition's risen. Order! ORDER! Order. I haven't called the Minister yet.

Order. The Minister does not have the call. Members will come to order or I'll take action. INTERJECTIONS The Member for Melbourne has already been warned. The Minister. The Government approaches the climate change challenge with an open mind, and the mandatory renewable energy target

has been particularly successful. We are on track to meet our Kyoto target and are committed to doing so. We will...we are investigating emissions trading, just as we have investigated the options for nuclear power. All measures...all measures which are capable of combating climate change and of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and which do so in a manner that protects and preserves our standard of living, will always be under consideration. And they are spreading, Mr Speaker... They are signing... ..spreading, Mr Speaker, a most pernicious untruth. And that untruth is - and you know it's untrue... It is that if you ratify Kyoto, the drought will break, global warming will stop and everything will be right in the world. The message from the IPCC fourth assessment report, the message from the Stern report and the message from every piece of science we've seen for many years is that there is so much inertia there is so much heat in the system, that global warming is going to continue for decades - probably till the end of the century. We have to live with the consequences of this phenomenon for many years. And the mitigation efforts that we take today will rebound to the benefit of our grandchildren, if not our great-grandchildren. But we, we in the Government, are committed to long-term planning. We are committed to ensuring that our children and grandchildren will benefit. And I would compare that, Mr Speaker, with the extraordinary complacency and neglect by various state governments with respect to their water resources. All around Australia... All around Australia, the greatest manifestation of a hotter and drier climate is water scarcity, not just in the bush but in the cities. Every day when pensioners pull muscles, crack backs lugging heavy buckets to water their gardens in Brisbane...

When they look at their dry and desiccated lawns and their dead roses, they remember, Mr Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition. It was him... It was him and Wayne Goss, in 1989, that chose not to build the Wolffdene Dam.

Brisbane...Brisbane is in a drought today. Brisbane is short of water today because of the failure to plan ahead. Because it suited the Leader of the Opposition politically and electorally not to build a dam. If that dam had been built, Brisbane would have enough water to tide it through this dry time. This is not just in Brisbane - Bob Carr did exactly the same thing. We know the Labor Party's record on water resources. We know their form, and their form is just like Mr Micawber - "Something will turn up. Don't worry. Cancel the project. "Put it on the back shelf. It'll rain next week. Pray for rain." Now, Mr Speaker, we are planning ahead. We have the runs on the board. We are looking at every option - nuclear power. We're looking at an emissions trading scheme. We have everything on the table. And what does the Opposition have to say... What does the Opposition have to say in response to that? They have defined a new heresy. And what is the heresy? Mr Speaker, it is the heresy of scepticism. Scepticism - "a sceptic is a person inclined to question or doubt accepted opinions." Oh, no. We can't have any questioning or doubting. No, not...what I...I... I question myself... I question myself whether we are moving... ..whether we are moving... Order! ..we are moving into some... ..into some new...some new form of totalitarianism where the edicts... The Member for Melbourne Ports! ..the great edicts... ..the edicts from the Opposition, the gospel according to the Labor Party, cannot be questioned, cannot be queried. The Honourable the Leader of the Opposition. Thanks, Mr Speaker, my question again to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, is it the case that after 11 years in Government the Government has refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol, failed to increase the mandatory renewable energy target, failed to introduce a national emissions trading scheme? Prime Minister, how can a government that is full of climate change sceptics be part of the climate change solution?

Hear, hear! The Honourable the Prime Minister. Well, Mr Speaker, it is true that we haven't ratified Kyoto, because to ratify Kyoto would not be in Australia's interests. The truth, Mr Speaker, is that this government... ..this government is composed of a lot of people

who are sceptical about certain things. They're sceptical about knee-jerk environmental solutions that would damage the jobs of coal miners in Australia, Mr Speaker.

They're sceptical about responses to climate change that would put Australia at a competitive disadvantage

with the rest of the world. They're also sceptical, Mr Speaker, about ruling out solutions that are clearly in the long-term interests of this country. Let me say to the climate change purists, or the climate change fanatics, on the other side... ..let me say to them - the cleanest and greenest energy source of all is the one you won't look at, and that's nuclear power, Mr Speaker. The Honourable the Leader of the Opposition. Thank you, Mr Speaker. My question again is to the Prime Minister. I refer to his answer to my previous question where he indicated that a decision to ratify Kyoto would be a "knee-jerk reaction by environmental extremists". Prime Minister, if that's the case, why did you sign Kyoto? And why did you say at the time, "The Kyoto protocol is a win for the environment "and a win for Australian jobs"? The Honourable the Prime Minister. Mr Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition takes a debating point on...on...

..takes a debating point, which he's entitled to do, but he knows as well as I do, Mr Speaker, that we have not ratified the Kyoto protocol. We won't ratify it, Mr Speaker, not only because it would be a knee-jerk reaction but because it would actually impose obligations on this country that would be damaging to us, because the same obligations would not be imposed on countries with which we are competitors. And our reason for not signing Kyoto -

ratifying it, whatever description you want to use, Mr Speaker, whatever it is, whatever description you use, our reason for not endorsing Kyoto, Mr Speaker, is that it would damage this country's interests. And until, Mr Speaker, we can have an international arrangement which includes the great emitters of the world. I think you have about, what, 32% of the world's emissions covered by those who've ratified Kyoto, Mr Speaker, effectively. And until you have an international arrangement

that, effectively, includes countries like the United States and China, this country with, what, 1.6 of the world's global emissions. It's been said before that if we closed down everything in this country tomorrow, in nine months the emissions that were saved by the closure in Australia would be equalled by the addition to emissions by China in just nine months, Mr Speaker.

That is a scale of the international problem. The Leader of the Opposition knows that. On this question of climate change the message out of the Government, this question time, the beginning of 2007, leaves most of gobsmacked... ..most of us gobsmacked. Here we have the citadel of scepticism when it comes to climate change.

When you come to the statements by the Prime Minister where he says in question time today - the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia - a large economy, 20 million people facing one of the great challenges of our civilisation and certainly this country's settled history, he says - "The jury is still out on the degree of connection."

But not just the Prime Minister says that. The Industry Minister over here says he's sceptical about any connection existing whatsoever. But what is stunning, what is absolutely stunning, is this bloke sitting at the table. Day 1 on the job as Environment Minister, and he takes to the dispatch box and says he also proudly wears the badge of a climate change sceptic. That's not true. When you look at the Hansard in terms of what you had to say on that, Environment Minister, I think you will soberly surprised. I would draw the Environment Minister's attention to this document - "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." It is called 'Summary for Policymakers.' It came out last Friday. I would commend all those who are reading the Hansard and all those participating in this debate today

to read carefully this 22-page document. On the question of the connection, I draw the Minister's attention and I'd like him to respond to this when we actually get to his response to the MPI. On page 4 we have his... On page 3 we have a clear statement which says as follows - "The understanding of anthropogenic warming and cooling influences

"on climate has improved since the Third Assessment Report..." - that was about five or six years ago - "..leading to very high confidence "that the globally averaged net effect of human activities "since 1750 has been one of warming." Go to the footnote - what is a "very high confidence" defined as? 'Very high confidence' means - at least a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct. This is the document, this is from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is the one to which - how many Australian scientists participated, Minister? We were briefed, I think, the other day, some 40 to 42 Australian scientists. This is the document on which the international community is seeking to frame a consensus for responding to this global challenge of climate change, yet we have the three responsible Ministers of this Government today saying to the nation, through the Parliament, "We...are...still climate...change sceptics." Minister, I would ask you sincerely on behalf of the nation to reconsider that position. When you look at the rest of what the Minister had to say most recently on the question of rising sea levels, "We can easily cope with a metre sea rise." Interesting proposition...

Interesting proposition, Minister. Order. When it comes to the Minister's response to the Shadow Minister's question about, would he increase the mandatory renewable energy target, it was duck and weave from central casting. On the question that we put earlier to the Prime Minister, what about the submission

Cabinet considered on a national carbon trading scheme back in, when, August 2003,

suddenly the Prime Minister - he whose memory never slips - had a memory lapse. Because that was something in the vicinity of 3.5 years ago. A cabinet submission was put to this Cabinet

of this Government of this country to do something then on carbon emissions, and what did they do? They did nothing. Why then do we have this sudden flurry of activity, at least at an apparent and public political level, on the part of this government on climate change?

One thing has happened, it is simply this - that the opinion polls have shifted. The most sure barometer of this Prime Minister's engagement with the serious political questions which face this country and the policy challenges which we face in the future is this, when the opinion polls turn, John Howard runs big-time after them. The science has been in for a long time. The only thing that has changed is the opinion polls, hence a flurry of apparent political activity. But my challenge again is this - how can a government full of climate change sceptics

be part of this nation's climate change solution? Climate change. Water. Water in the long term can't be dealt with effectively unless we are dealing with climate change. I should say, Mr Speaker, in every speech I have given, have said climate change is a fact, global warming is a fact, and it is contributed to, or largely caused by human activities. So I don't know whether that makes me a sceptic or not. But I would hate anybody to say that I was a person who unquestionably accepted or refused to question

accepted opinions.

The key thing always, particularly in scientific matters, is to have an opening and questioning mind. The point of view that the Opposition presents as the right posture, is that of some uncritical acceptance of a dogma. That is the worst way to deal with Australia's challenges. We have to have all of the options on the table - and indeed we do. Consider Labor's so-called climate summit

that they're proposing to have. The Leader of the Opposition said, "We want to have all the ideas on the table." And immediately a journalist said, "What about nuclear power?" "Oh, no, we won't accept that - that's not on the table."

So you can only have an idea if it is one that fits in with the rigid dogma of the Opposition. What he's trying to do is rebadge the word sceptic, because he knows the Howard Government is full of climate change sceptics,

so now he is pretending that the word 'sceptic' in that context means someone who thinks and questions. But we all know that, in the climate change debate, a climate change sceptic is actually someone who says, "There is no global warming." They are deniers. They are people who believe that the current things that we are seeing are just a result of natural weather patterns. If you are a climate change sceptic and you believe it's just the weather, then you are a do-nothing person, because nothing can be done about the weather. That is what a climate change sceptic is -

someone who doesn't want to do anything. And that's what your government's full of. Redefining the word 'sceptic' is not going to fix that problem for you. You've got a problem with sea water, a problem with sceptics. You went on to say, "Sceptics are people who question dogma." The problem for you is, with your government full of climate change sceptics,

you're actually the people with the worst dogma, because you're the people who say, "The only way of dealing with all of this is to have nuclear energy." The Prime Minister was at the dispatch box today saying, "It's the greenest and cleanest and safest," and all the rest of it. ever heard of solar waste? Has anybody ever heard of wind power waste? How is it that nuclear energy is cleaner and greener and safer than solar energy or wind power energy? It is just absurd. The worst pieces of dogma come from the Howard Government. You have a problem, Minister, with sea water, sceptics and being taken seriously. The Parliament, including your own side, was laughing at you today. The Treasurer was laughing at you. The Leader of the Government Business was trying to get you to sit down. The Member for Lalor will address her comments through the chair. Sorry, Mr Deputy Speaker. I saw the Treasurer laughing today. You might have observed it yourself, Mr Deputy Speaker, I know you're an observant man. You might have seen the Leader of the Government Business seek to have the Minister at the table sit down. After the performance today, he is no longer a person who can be taken seriously. Prime Minister. Mr Deputy Speaker, I seek leave... No, I don't think I need leave. I wish to correct an answer I gave earlier today. The Leader of the Opposition asked me the following question. He quoted a remark made by the Industry Minister which said, "I am a sceptic of the connection between emissions and climate change. "Does the Prime Minister support that statement?" I mistook that as a reference to the connection between climate change and drought, and my interpretation is evident from the transcript of my answer, where I referred to a farmer who was mentioned in the press this morning. I also went on to talk quite a bit about the drought and the Government's response. Having read the transcript of the question, it is quite clear that I did mistake it. I was wrong to talk about climate change and drought, when the question was about climate change and emissions. And just for the record, I do believe there is a connection between climate change and emissions. I don't really think the jury is out on that. I do think that the jury is out on the connection between climate change and drought, and that's a view shared by the Shadow Minister, the Member for Kingsford Smith.

I thank the House. An uncharacteristic slip from the Prime Minister. On Wednesday, two of parliament's rising stars locked horns, as the climate change debate was fuelled by the release of a paper on carbon trading. Can I say very directly that the purpose of this paper is to promote

an intelligent debate on the issue of what form an international emissions trading system might take, how that would impact on Australia, and what form that a national emissions trading system in this country might take and the circumstances in which it might be introduced.

I want to make it clear, Mr Speaker, that in looking at this issue, this group, which brings together senior members of the federal bureaucracy as well as senior business figures, is a very intelligent and sensible way

of trying to get the right outcome in relation to the environment. In joining the business community and the Government, I've had very much in mind the dictum of the Member for Batman, who I find a ceaseless source of encouragement and inspiration on this subject, when he said, "It's time to abandon the political correctness "espoused by the green movement. "Let's be real - "without getting business on board we cannot achieve anything." MEMBERS: Hear, hear. And I happen to agree with that. I think the most intelligent way of looking at an emissions trading system either here or internationally is in fact to join the business community to the process,

and that is exactly what we have done. I do make it clear again that we have no intention of introducing an emissions trading scheme which damages Australia's international competitiveness. We are not going to sacrifice the jobs of coalminers in pursuit of some kind of knee-jerk reaction. We need a measured, sensible, consistent, intelligent reaction to the problem of climate change. Of course, in determining whether a national system might cause damage to our international competitiveness, we must necessarily pay regard to the responses of other nations to the issue of emissions trading. Did the Prime Minister receive these government reports on emissions trading in March 1999? In June 1999? In October 1999? And in December 1999? Did the Government say no to each of these reports and then disband the emissions trading team in the Australian Greenhouse Office? Given the Prime Minister has ignored all the climate change warning bells in the past, why should Australians believe you on climate change for the future? The Honourable the Prime Minister. The reason why I believe the Australian people will believe me is that I have a track record of putting the interests... MEMBERS INTERJECT Order! Order! ..of putting the jobs of Australians ahead of anything else, and that is what I will continue to do. And quite frankly, if the advice of many on the other side had been taken, not all, not the Member for Batman or the Member for Hunter, who also has a very distinguished record in relation to these matters. The Member for Hunter has been astute enough to point out that if you introduce a national emissions trading system, you've got to abandon the MRET targets. I wonder if that's a view shared by the Member for Kingsford Smith. I wonder if it's a view shared by the Leader of the Opposition. Back when the energy white paper was introduced, we looked at whether we would increase the MRET targets. We decided against that

because we thought it was better to invest in low emission technology.

The investment in that low emission technology has led not only to investments in clean coal technology but also to an investment near Mildura, Victoria, which represents the largest investment in solar energy

anywhere in the world, and that is a product of the policies of this government. I can say to the Leader of the Opposition that we will put the jobs of Australians ahead of ideology in responding to this issue. Did the Prime Minister actually say on 'Lateline' two days ago that a four to six degree temperature rise would, I quote, "Be less comfortable for some than it is now"? Given that CSIRO states that a three degree rise will result in the decimation of the Great Barrier Reef and the dengue fever transmission zone reaching Brisbane and possibly Sydney, what exactly did you mean when you said that Australians would be less comfortable? In calling the Prime Minister,

I would ask the Leader of the Opposition not to use the word 'you'. I call the Prime Minister. Perhaps when addressing the Leader of the Opposition I should use different language. Let me simply say again what was the substance of my comments on the 'Lateline' program the other night, and that is, that this government did recognise that climate change represented a challenge, but I also made it clear that, in responding to it, we did not intend to embrace knee-jerk reactions that were going to damage the Australian economy. Because at the end of the day, the first responsibility of this Government is to secure the welfare of the Australian people in all their various dimensions. One of those dimensions is to make sure

that our public policy responses on all sorts of issues

the job security of Australians and do not damage the international competitiveness of this country. My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources. I refer to the Minister's comments on February 3, that, "There's a lot of very exaggerated claims

"and because of the geology or the topography of the east coast, "much of that is adequately elevated to deal with a one-metre sea rise." Will the Minister confirm that Sydney University research shows rising sea levels could lead to erosion extending... MEMBERS INTERJECT Order.

The Member will resume his seat. The Member for Mackellar on... Thank you, Mr Speaker.

That question was asked yesterday and fully answered by the minister concerned, so it is out of order. The Member for Mackellar will resume her seat. The Member for Kingsford Smith is still asking his question, and I will ask him to continue. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Will the Minister confirm that Sydney University research shows rising sea levels could lead to erosion extending up to 70 metres inland from the promenade at Bondi Beach? The honourable, the Minister for Environment and Water Resources. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am impressed that the Member for Kingsford Smith has so quickly picked up the techniques of the Leader of the Opposition that he too is misrepresenting the remarks that I made on 'AM', which, for honourable members who are interested in reading, are set out relevantly, in full, in my speech on the MPI yesterday. What I said was that much of the east coast, not most of it, not all of it, much of it - is adequately elevated. The fact is that I went on to say that the response to rising sea levels... MEMBERS INTERJECT Order! Order! The Minister will resume his seat. The Minister will be heard, and I will deal with anyone who continues to interject. I went on to say that the response to rising sea levels will require both planning measures and engineering measures. It can be adapted to in some cases. There are a range of measures that will be used to deal with rising sea levels, and, of course, as I mentioned in the 'AM' interview, the consequent storm surges, because it is not simply a question of the sea level rising but the consequent storm surges. Now, the Honourable Member is, again... This is the strategy of the opposition - what they are seeking to do is to create a massive scare campaign. We are talking about, at the higher limit, a sea-level rise of 58 centimetres over 100 years, at the lower level, 18 centimetres. In the course of the last century,

we have had a rise in sea level in Australia of 20 centimetres already, so rising sea levels are not new. We have dealt with them. We have adapted to them. China is the world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Only a few years ago it was forecast to overtake the United States by 2020. China's growth has been so rapid that it is expected to overtake the United States by 2010 or even 2009. So it is growing extraordinarily quickly in terms of its greenhouse gas emissions. That is because China is heavily dependent on coal. It consumes more coal than Australia does. In 2005 we consumed about 124 million tonnes of coal, the Chinese consumed over 2.2 billion tonnes of coal. Billion tonnes of coal in each case. I beg your pardon. So, what that represents, what that represents, is our coal consumption represents a little over 5% of China's consumption. So China is commissioning the equivalent of a 1,000 megawatt coal-fired power station every five days. Its additional growth in emissions equals Australia's annual total every eight months. So that gives an idea of the scale of the problem. Only this morning, both in the press and on the radio, Mr Qin Dahe, the Chinese scientist who was co-chair of the United Nations scientific panel that produced the fourth assessment report, stressed China's dependence on coal. He said that it was 69% dependent on coal for its energy needs and that would continue. He also stressed the need for technology solutions to clean up its coal. Australia is leading the world in clean coal technology, be it through the Low Emissions Technology Development Fund, where over $200 million of clean coal related projects

projects that are relevant to clean coal technology have been announced, all through the AP6,

all through the agreement the Prime Minister announced in January, the Australia-China Joint Coordination Group on Clean Coal Technology. Across a wide range of programs, Australia is working actively, and has been for many years, to develop clean coal technology, practical measures, demonstration projects, scientific research. This is often correctly presented as being in our national interest as a great coal exporting nation, it is a vital part of protecting our coal industry, as the head of the CFMEU said only this morning, but it is also vitally in the world's interest. Because we recognise that, no matter how much we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the critical reductions have got to take place in the countries which are the largest emitters.

China is saying today, as it has said again and again, that in order to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, it needs affordable technologies that enable it to clean up its coal. Australia is working to provide that technology. My question is to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware of a confidential cooperative research centre report by five CSIRO scientists which reportedly states that solar thermal technology has the capacity to produce Australia's entire current electricity demand, and could be cost competitive with coal within seven years? Given that the Newcastle company Solar Heat and Power has been forced to move to the US to obtain development support for this technology, can the PM explain whether this report will be placed on the energy options table? Don't its findings that solar thermal is poised to play a significant role in baseload generation in Australia contradict your assertions that clean coal and nuclear are our only feasible baseload energy options? The Honourable the Prime Minister. I do not know the detail of that particular study, off the top of my head, but I am perfectly happy to have it examined and put into the mix. I have to say to the Honourable Member that the view that solar can produce baseload power would be at odds with the overwhelming bulk of scientific opinion. The Minister for the Environment and Heritage explained to us what China was doing to deal with its greenhouse gas emissions, and making the argument, if I understand him correctly, that Australia's robust addressing of reducing greenhouse gas emissions needs to be seen in the light of the fact that China - a country much bigger than ours -

actually produces more. I notice that the Minister for the Environment did not mention that China has a very significant mandatory renewable energy target, and it is true, as he said, that they are investing significantly in clean coal. But the final point that the Minister for the Environment did not make

is that China is doing more than Australia. China is doing more than Australia is, Mr Deputy Speaker. Interestingly, the electorate of Kingsford Smith, which I represent, includes the University of New South Wales, and that is where Dr Zhengrong Shi completed his PhD in solar energy. His technology was clever, and the future looked bright. After all, he was living in a country which receives more radiated solar energy than most other countries. But Dr Shi, unable to get support for his company in Australia, ended up taking his business to China. He is now China's third or fourth-richest man. He is not a climate change sceptic, nor is Dr David Mills, as the Member for Calare identified in his question. Dr Mills is a world leader in solar research who, after 30 years of research and development in Australia, has to take parts of his company offshore to California because Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger - 'Arnie' - has vowed to cut greenhouse emissions by a massive 80 per cent over the next 45 years. Arnie Schwarzenegger is not a climate change sceptic. As Dr Mills said, "The Australian Federal Government refuses..." (Mr Turnbull interjects) This is the quote. As Dr Mills said in his parting quote, and I say this through the Deputy Speaker, "The Australian Federal Government refuses to put in place strict emissions targets, strict legislation to enforce those targets, and reliable long-term market valuations for carbon emissions avoided. "We can find all of those things overseas." That is the direct quote from Dr Mills. The Minister is warned! That is inaction, as identified in the subject of this MPI, by the Howard Government.

Australian business is being forced to go overseas to continue to produce greenhouse-good technologies. The mums and dads of Australia are realists. They know about climate change. They are educating themselves about its implications, and they are feeling concerned and anxious about the future for their kids. And why wouldn't they, given the time lines and the scale of this issue? But they are not climate change sceptics.

The Prime Minister and his government have had an uneasy and confused period in dealing with climate change. Their position has shifted significantly, but for the last 11 years, one consistent theme has emerged from the Howard Government - that is, climate change is not a real, present and future danger to the Australian way of life,

to our economy, to our ecology and to our society. In the last week, with climate change awareness at an all-time high, we again heard some extraordinary assertions by the Prime Minister and his Environment Minister on this issue. Last Monday night, four days after the release of the fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, the Prime Minister was asked, on ABC TV's 'Lateline' program, "What do you think living in Australia would be like by the end of this century for your own grandchildren, if the average mean temperatures around the world do rise by somewhere between four and possibly more than six degrees Celsius?" As we know, the Prime Minister answered by saying, "It would be less comfortable than it is now." That is something of an understatement. A four to six degree increase in temperature is dismissed by the Prime Minister as potentially uncomfortable. That potential increase carries a burden on future generations to try to manage highly stressed ecosystems, with our natural icons under siege and with health, security and social implications on an order hitherto unseen. The Prime Minister went on to challenge the accuracy of the IPCC report by saying, "I think it is very, very hard for us in 2007 to try, with that kind of mathematical accuracy - with great respect to the scientists - to sort of extrapolate what things might be like." The nub of the problem lies in the Prime Minister's own misconceptions about climate change, and in his refusal to take responsibility for a decade of inaction by his Government. This IPCC report was produced by 600 authors from 40 countries,

including 42 scientists from Australia. There were 620 expert reviewers, and 113 governments involved. The Prime Minister says that it is very hard for them

to try to work out with some kind of mathematical accuracy to "sort of extrapolate what things might be like"? They have done exactly that - perhaps not with mathematical accuracy, but with enough accuracy to give prudent governments a clear identification of the nature of risk

that lies at the heart of this climate change issue.

This is an issue about managing risks, and this is where the policy approach of the Howard Government is deficient. The Member for Kingsford Smith reminds me of a person

who thinks that they do their bit for the environment by putting a bumper sticker on their car or exercising some personal...saving or recycling activity in their own home. "Don't worry - I've done my bit for the water challenge. "I've got a water tank." Many of us have water tanks.

It is all very commendable, and I commend everyone who has a water tank, but it is not going to fix the problem by itself. The Member for Kingsford Smith's solution is to say Australia should impose on itself a massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, which will have an enormous effect on the Australian economy, the extent of which

he either does not know or will not tell. He knows, as we all do, that that self-inflicted restraint will have no effect at all on global warming, unless it is matched by a similar reduction around the world. What will the Member for Kingsford Smith do if massive reductions in emissions are imposed on Australia way beyond those of our competitors? What will he do when there are thousands of Australians out of work, when instead of adding two million jobs, as the Howard government has done, two million jobs are swept away and when the cost of energy intensive industries goes through the roof? What will he say when nothing changes, when nothing happens to climate, when it is still getting warmer and still getting drier? Will he say, "I console you, you poor, unemployed people. from my pillar of virtue. I console you because you have done the right thing. We have sacrificed you in the interests of our ideology. You, your jobs and your livelihoods have been sacrificed, "and, by the way, nothing has been achieved." That is the Labor Party philosophy. The Prime Minister sneeringly dismisses the Kyoto protocol as totally ten minutes ago - as last year's fashion - Australian business continues to be locked out of $30 billion in carbon trading, and Australia is, once again, asked to leave the room when the real climate change negotiations start. Some of us in this chamber have spent a long time campaigning on issues like climate change, and we have watched and witnessed the scientific evidence accumulate which tells us that if we continue to increase the production of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, the likelihood of an ever increasingly warm world will jeopardise our way of life and will certainly create an additional range of problems, obstacles, hurdles and challenges for our kids to deal with. I think it is really a question about duty of care, because we owe a duty of care to the people who we serve in this place. The lawyers in the House, including Members opposite, will recognise that the definition of duty of care and an understanding of duty of care involves consequences that can be foreseen. We now have the best scientific brains in the world telling us that we can foresee with some degree of certainty - in some instances with a 90% degree of certainty - what the consequences will be. We need to exact a duty of care now, instantly, to recognise the scale of the threat that we face.

On Thursday, water became the focus, as the Prime Minister met the state Premiers

to discuss the Commonwealth's proposed takeover of the Murray-Darling basin. Is the Prime Minister aware of an allegation that there is a $900 million hole in the provision of funds for the Government's national initiative on water security? What is the Prime Minister's response? The Honourable the Prime Minister. I am aware of this allegation. It was contained in a document prepared by the management team of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, and sent to partner governments in the current commission arrangement. After it appeared in the papers this morning, it was trumpeted by the Member for Grayndler, the Member for Lilley and the Member for Melbourne. If that was the trumpeting, and that is the history, I can inform the House that the allegation is completely incorrect. I can also inform the House that this has been acknowledged by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission,

which, shortly before question time, issued a statement saying,

"This document contains" - referring to the document issued last night - "a statement that the available budget for a new commission will be decreased by approximately $900 million over 10 years. "I am now aware that this statement is incorrect." That has been issued under the name of Wendy Craik, the chief executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. This little incident illustrates the two faces of the Leader of the Opposition. When I announced my plan, the Leader of the Opposition said, "I want to take politics out of water." He said, "I want to end the blame game. "I want to cooperate with the Prime Minister." He was saying that, and all the while he has his three amigos endeavouring at every turn to undermine the plan. It would have been quite easy - if the Leader of the Opposition or any of his front bench had wanted to know whether the claim made in that document was correct, all they needed to do was ring up my office or ring up my department and they could have been told.

Treasurer, given that the Prime Minister has not made his officials available to brief us...

UPROAR Order! Order. Order! Members on my right! The Member for Sturt! How much of the $10 billion water plan is additional to what the Commonwealth and the states were already committed to spending in their budgets, prior to the water plan's announcement? The Honourable the Treasurer. The Commonwealth's offer of $10 billion is new money - that is, it is additional to all of the money which the Commonwealth had previously committed in relation

to the National Water Initiative and in relation to the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, and it is in addition to the top-up which I announced in last year's budget. If the states hand over management of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission - get a load of this - there will be a significant saving, a huge saving. If the Labor states hand over to the Commonwealth, they will save money. They will take money which they otherwise would have been required to put into the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. They will save it because they will not be putting it in. There are the bona fides of the Commonwealth. Does the Minister support the fact that, under the new management arrangements for the Murray-Darling Basin proposed by the Prime Minister, farmers will not be able to construct an on-farm dam unless it complies with the strategic plan for the basin,

administered by the Department of the Environment and Water Resources here in Canberra? The Honourable the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. I thank the Honourable Member for his question. I would not have expected the Labor Party to give me an opportunity to speak about a $10 billion water package in this way. The benefits of the water package are well known. Irrigators are supporting it - they know what is in it for them. They know that this is a historic effort by the Commonwealth Government to support their industries and to give them a more secure, sustainable future. We will be consulting with the rural industries. Irrigators in rural communities are the starting point of this package, as well as water efficiencies and returning water to the environment. Given the Prime Minister's reference to coalminers and their jobs as an excuse for his inaction on climate change, I ask the Prime Minister whether he has seen the comments made last night by the president of the coalminers union, Tony Maher, that, "Coal miners have voted to support carbon trading and, frankly, it is a disgrace that the Howard Government "has taken 10 years to even start talking about it." Does the Prime Minister support this statement from the coalminers union? The Honourable the Prime Minister. I have seen that statement made by Mr Maher, and it has long been my view that leaders do not necessarily speak for workers. UPROAR I find this fascinating - the automaticity! He was meant to be different. He was meant to be different. But the Labor Party instinctively thinks, "Workers equals unions, equals union bosses, "and when union bosses speak, they speak for workers." I have news for the Leader of the Opposition - for the last 10 years, a lot of coalminers have voted for us. Prime Minister, why, after three days in Parliament,

do you still refuse to repudiate the statement by the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources that he is a sceptic on the connection

between carbon emissions and climate change? Has the Prime Minister seen Rio Tinto's statement that Rio Tinto believes that emissions of greenhouse gases resulting from human activities are contributing to climate change? If Rio Tinto now accepts that

there is a connection between carbon emissions and climate change, isn't it time that you and the Industry Minister got on board as well? The Honourable the Prime Minister. I think the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources is an outstanding representative

of the interests of industry and the Government.

He is widely respected and admired within the resources sector, because he understands the importance of that sector. I certainly do not intend to repudiate him - he is a wonderful colleague, and he will continue to be a very active member of my Government. Does the Prime Minister accept the connection between climate change and the severity and length of droughts into the future? The Honourable the Prime Minister. I think there is some connection. I think the degree of it is a matter of debate, and the jury is out on the degree to which there is that connection. It is fair to say that most Australians believe that we have had drought for a very long time.

Common sense tells you that the variability of rainfall across this country has been with us for a long time. Every drought eventually ends. The important thing is to tackle the great challenge this country has.

Rather than having a theoretical debate, you actually need to tackle the practical aspects of drought. That is what we are doing. We are doing this. This afternoon is a historic opportunity. It is a moment in the history of this country - the coming together of federal and state governments to do something lasting about water security. That's all from Order in the House this week. The House of Representatives will sit again later today, while the Senators will spend the week doing committee work. THEME MUSIC

Closed Captions by CSI TRUMPET FANFARE CHEERFUL MUSIC Couragen Arthur, stop teasing. I have nothing against the girl. Except you don't know he and you don't know anybody who doesn But that's not her fault. It is If she was somebody worth knowing I'm thinking of John. Why? He's got to live with her Certainly. They alienate relatives Pardon me. Oh, would you mind, sir Thank you, Mrs Wendell Happy about the wedding Delighted. The bride is making a big hit Oh, we think she's lovely. Enchanting. Thank you, sir What's her name again? Nancy. No reflection on your aunt, John If a perfect woman exists, I want to meet her Very well, sir. I'll oblige you. Nancy I want you to meet two of my leas objectionable relatives How do you do, Mrs Wendell? So you're Nancy So wonderful of you to make this long trip from Florida. John's so grateful. It wouldn't seem right without you. Nor to us We just dropped everything and flew I'm sorry I rushed you, old girl, but now... Don't call me "old girl" Give me a drink WAITER: Champagne? And I'm very glad to know you Prove it then. Oh. (Laughs) Why do you never want to kiss your real nieces? Isn't she nice? She's luckyn If you're nice, you have to be lucky. If you're lucky, you can afford to be nice Hello. WOMAN: How are you, my dear? So nice to see you And you. I think they like me. That's a remarkably discerning observation Darling, you take it for granted, which is very foolish. Mm-mm, I'm not taking anything for granted till the ring's on your finger I'm living in a dream worldn I keep pinching myself I think I've always wanted to marry you, Nancyn Even before I knew you I'm glad. I want for you to want me... very much. And don't sign any business deals on the 20th, 23rd or 27th. Thenceforth, you're under the sign of Venus and you're in clover! Good Very interesting. Oh, Miss Patton What's your birthday Wait a minute. Not the year, just the month November 3. November 3. "People born under this sign ar loyal, generous, self-sacrificing "They make devoted friends and ideal marriage partners. There. Darn, wouldn't you, though "They're tolerant, kind clear-thinking and dependable. Sure that's the right page? Mm-hmn I am. You be quiet. I'll read yours soon Pardon me, sir. There's a gentleman to see you in the library He wouldn't give his name He said it was most important Excuse me, dear. I'll be right backn Of course. Oh, I see now Those are just the good qualities "On the negative side, these Scorpi people can be exceedingly cruel, "selfish, indifferen and destructive. I'm Dr Blair How do you do? I practised psychiatry here in New Yorkn I saw a picture in the paper of th young woman you intend to marry.., I believe Yes. Yes, that's what I feared. I don't think that's any of your business. When you've heard the facts, you'll be grateful to me Married? (Chuckles) Are we talking about the same person? Oh, yes. Definitely It's been quite a while sinc I've seen her, but this is Nancy If Miss Patton had been married, she would've told me No, I'm not surprised she didn't tell you. Truth is beyond Nancy. She's a hopelessly twisted personality. She has ruined the lives of at least three men. And speaking for myself... Just a moment She may pretend not to know me. Well, my statements can be proved. There are marriage records. I can prove you're a lia without them Her birthday? Let me see... A husband wouldn't forge his wife's birthday November what The, uh...the third, isn't that right? You rang, sir (People sing) # Nancy, what'll you do... # Uh, never mind. And, uh...see that I'm not disturbed for a few minutes. (All sing) # Nancy, Nancy, what'll you do to him now? # He's only a fish in a gilded dish # About to be fried, and how! # (All laugh) DISTURBING MUSIC You, met Miss Patton in 1938, you say? Yes, in Miami, where I'd gon to be with a patient Strange, but at that time I though it was the luckiest of accidents Oooh! So sorry. She was a little shaky, so I insisted upon seeing her home. And from that moment, we were practically inseparable. She seemed so perfect, it was alarming. And despite my psychiatric training, I was unable to detect the slightest flaw in her, which, in itself, should have given me pause, ROMANTIC MUSIC She knew I was 36 and had no money and...and very little to offer her, but to my great joy, she didn't seem to mind. APPLAUSE 'THE FIRST NOEL' PLAYS There was no mistletoe, but she accepted the substitute. After a brief honeymoon, we returned to New York, I, frankly, couldn't understand what Nancy saw in it, but I soon found out. I was amazed at the taste and ingenuity that Nancy demonstrated.

My life was complete. That morning, I arrived at work with my heart singing, never dreaming what lay in store for me. Good morning. There's a young man in your office. He wouldn't wait out here Did he give his name? No, sir. He isn't a patient Hmm. Dr Blair? Yes? You surprised me. Most psychos are older. Were you, uh, sent by someone I came on my own. My name's Clyde. Sorry, I only see peopl by appointment I'm not here for treatment. I want some advice. If you'll speak to my secretary... You must listen A man's life is at stake He's in Sing Sing. He's going to di tomorrow and he's not guilty I can't prove it, but someone can All this has nothing to do with me. Oh, yes, it has Mr Clyde, I ask you again... No. Have you been drinking? I can hold it Look, I'd rather you left peacefully but if you force me to... Go ahead, throw me out My dear fellow, please be reasonable I can hardly convince the district attorney that evidence is being withheld in a case I know nothing about.. I'm talking about your wife. Does that make any difference? Nancy's quite a girl, Doc, but I don't exactly envy you. What do you mean by that What do you know of my wife Maybe I know enough to charge her with murder. You don't need a drink Sit down, pleasen Use the couch if you want to Why? It's more comfortable. WYATT: Yes, sir. I can't see anybody now Please oblige me, Mr Clyde. I can' help you unless you cooperaten You're suffering from hysteria You won't accomplish anything until you pull yourself together Nobody would listen to you like this I want to tell you the facts. I want to hear ALL the facts not just those you want to tell men I would've liked to psychoanalyse him - to get at the root of his problem, but it'd be impossible in his condition. And yet my concern for Nancy and the very natural, though I must admit, masochistic curiosity goaded me on. Do you recall your first meeting You're beginning to sound professional again, Doctor. Oh, sorry, I was remembering the first time I met Nancy Yes, she makes an impression. It's been three years since she first came to my art class. I remember it. Oh, you're an art teachern Portrait painter. To make a living during the Depression I took pupilsn I see. And Nancy was one of them From that day on, so far as I was concerned, she was the only one. I knew it the moment I saw her. It was like the perfect girl, the one you'd always imagined, never expected to meet, suddenly materialised - if you know what I mean. I hadn't seen her come in. Someone brought her. I must've looked funny staring at her because she smiled. Excuse me Hello You don't know me. I'm Nancy Monks. Thelma brought me. Fine She didn't think you'd mind. Not at alln Didn't she tell you? No chancen I've been bawling her out Whenever I show her something, she does the oppositen I wouldn't mind if she had talent I mean it, alrightn I should kick her out Oh, no. Don't look at mine. Why (Laughs) Well, I wish you wouldn't. It's very interesting Who taught you to draw My father. That's how I know it isn't good. Not particularly. Oh, I've frightened you No, I... ..I just don't care about art. I mean...uh... I'd never take it seriously. Er...for myself, I mean. You're wasting my timen Do you think I enjoy this I'll pay... I don't take money for nothing I'm not conducting a class so th parasitic rich can escape boredom I'm not that hard-up Well, I...I hope you never will be, Mr Clyde. I admire your principles, I... ..I wish I could say the same for your disposition. May I have my pad, please? Certainlyn Thank you. I go to all the trouble.. Forget it. Did you ever hear of Andrew Bonner How many millionaires take an interest in unknown artists She's Bonner's daughter? "Parasitic rich" "Paranoia Clydeb would be more to the point GENTLE MUSIC Nancy had created a disturbing impression. It made me pretty sore because I liked the girl. I couldn't forget her. Good evening, Mr Clyde Good evening I didn't mean to ignore Luigi and his wife, but I was in no mood to talk to anyone. I wanted to think about Nancy to try and...try and analyse my feelings. Why was I always throwing away the very things I wanted? Suddenly I was aware that... ..I was looking at her. If it'll make any difference, I'd like to apologis for this afternoon Do you often act like that? Yes Are you alone Then I'll sit down I really didn't mean to be offensive That hardly seems possible. I know. Forgive me Then let's forget it, shall we? Right Joe, bring us a bottle of chianti. MAN: Yes, sir I was terrified when he caught me, but Mr Bonner said, "Miss Monks, anyone who can dra a recognisable likeness of m "while taking dictation is an artistn I thought he was jokingn That was yesterday And today he said, "Miss Monks have you joined an art class yet? Well, I just laughed, but he was serious He made me take the day off On company time? On company time Oooh, I get it. He wants to be...friendly. No. No? In a way, it's business with him He thinks people work bette who have a creative outlet Revolution. You know what he's don for modern art. I needn't tell you Well, I just hope he never discovers me. Why? He knows as much about art as Luigi (Scoffs) Now you're being unfair You are a difficult young man, aren't you Impossible. Now, tell me some more about yourself. What more is there to tell Oooh, you know - what you do with your evenings, if you like dogs, whether you're happy. I'm very happy, thanks No thanks to me. I haven't made you happy. That's true Must be someone else. I merely mean that I'm having a good time Even when you're out with another man? Uh-huhn Suppose he caught us? (Laughs) If you want me to say that I'm not in love, if you think it'd add anything to the evening.. A great deal, but I don't believe it. Are you? Nope And I don't intend to b for a long, long time Mmm, nothing. Just waited. That evening settled it. I was determined to have Nancy if it killed me. She continued in the class, so I had plenty of opportunity to see her. One day, she came up with a surprise. Norman, this is Mr Bonner Hello. How do you do? Miss Monks has been telling m all about your work You've made quite an impression upon her Thanks. Are you doing well Well enough. I like encouraging young painters Yes, so I've heard. I can't say I understand wha they're all doing, but.. 'Cassandra'. I think it's a masterpiece. I told Mr Bonner I always listen to Nancy She has such excellent taste I congratulate you, Mr Bonner. Most rich people make the mistake of relying on their own. I know the ones you mean. Nancy sat for this. You'll notice I used her hair. Do you like it I don't know. I would have to study it more carefully. When I think of Cassandra, I see a madwoman - a woman with prophetic eyes, wonderful eyes. Yes. You have them. Tell me, Mr Clyde, how'd you happen to miss the eyes? Or are you partial to hair? I paint pictures, not anatomy You'll take it, won't you It's not for sale. I don't mean sell it, Norman Mr Bonner wants to borrow i for a private exhibition at his home He has one every year I can't promise anything startling, except being seen by important people. By 'important', you mean wealthy I presume Yes. Even wealthy people enjoy good paintings occasionally. I'd be happy to meet some. Fine. Then we can count on you, eh? You can hang six. Any ones you like ORCHESTRA PLAYS ELEGANT MUSIC Congratulations, darlingn I'm very proud You're Clyde? Yes. Congratulations. It deserves the award. Unique idea. Thank you. I'll give you $500 for it As a painting, or an investment? As an investment, I wouldn't give you anything You're right, but as a painting, it's worth much more. The price is $5,000. Oh, Norman, be reasonable Let him talk. He's enjoying it Only keep him away from my wife She isn't as hard-headed as me (Both laugh) Excuse me just a moment Is that his wife? She's been that way for years Here he is, Martha, Mr Norman Clyde Oh, Mr Clyde, I want to tell you how pleased I amn In my opinion, the judges were absolutely correct Thank you, Mrs Bonner. Has my husband bought 'Cassandra' Not yet. Then I will You see Aren't you going to ask the price How much is it Mr Clyde just informed m he wants $5,000 Well, I think that's little enough, don't you? Now you've started something Mrs Talbot has lost a bracelet. She left it in the powder room. Did you tell Dexter Yes, but he hasn't found it. Please forgive me I don't know of anything more distressing There's a detective here somewheren Detective? What for? Well, you can't be too careful People slip in Mr Bonner does it for my sake, Mr Clyde I'm always a little nervous when I wear this Is there anything we can do? No, don't give it a second thought I'm sure it will turn up MAN: Good evening, Mrs Bonner. Good evening. WOMAN: Good evening. Well, that's a very tempting offer, Mr Clyde. Do I hear a taker We couldn't eat it, could we? That reminds me - I'm starvedn Let's get out of here Come on. The food's in here. Oh, no, too many butlers. I like it thrown at me. Come onn