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ABC News Breakfast -

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JOURNALIST: Penny Wong good morning

WONG: Good morning to you.

JOURNALIST: Now we have seen what the Opposition has come up with. They have come up with a much
simpler plan and one that seems much easier to communicate. In an election year is that going to
dangerous for the Government given that you still haven't adequately explained what you have there?

WONG: Well in an election year we have got a policy from a man who believes climate change is crap
that he wants to try and sell to the Australian people, that is nothing more than a climate con
job. That's what this is. It's a plan that won't work, that is unfunded and that allows business as
usual for the polluters. What has been interesting also is that the Opposition, by their own words,
haven't funded this policy. Barnaby Joyce, their shadow finance minister, has consistently refused
to tell the Australian people how they are going to fund it. We have been upfront. Ours is fully
costed. Ours will work. Theirs won't work and isn't fully costed and will hit taxpayers.

JOURNALIST: The problem is that it is easily communicated, business seems to like it and at that
superficial level that you know many of us operate at, you could easily understand it. Do you
accept that you have got to do a much better job of selling and communicating your scheme to the
public if you are to best this?

WONG: We accept we have to explain to the Australian people what our scheme is and we also
understand as a Government...

JOURNALIST: You have had almost a full year to try and do that really.

WONG: The reason Australia, Virginia, the reason Australia doesn't have a Carbon Pollution
Reduction Scheme now is because people like Nick Minchin took over the Liberal Party, let's
remember that. Nick Minchin thinks this is some plot to deindustrialise the western world. That's
what he said. Tony Abbott says climate change is absolute crap. These people took over the Liberal
Party and that's why we don't have a scheme.

It's absolutely right the Government does have to continue to argue for its scheme, to explain to
the Australian people why our scheme is better and yes it is complex, because this is a complex
problem. This is a problem that has been generations in the making. And it isn't a problem that can
be fixed by a simple headline.

If it were we would have done it; anyone would have done it before now. But the reality is that
Tony Abbott has out forward nothing more than a con job which is to be expected from somebody who
has the views he has on climate change. It's not going to work, it is going to slug taxpayers and
at this stage it is uncosted and unfunded. He is not being up front with the Australian people as
to how he is going to pay for it.

JOURNALIST: But Penny Wong if it is, as some sceptics are suggesting this morning, simply a plan to
get him through and past the election and maybe even successfully then what are you going to do
about directly engaging him at that level? Leave it to one side whether you believe him or not, if
this scheme is just to get him through a difficult election when you have got a complex scheme to
try and sell, how are you going to counteract that?

WONG: We have to keep doing what we have been doing and what I am doing this morning which is
talking to the media, talking through the media and talking directly to the Australian people. This
is a tough problem. Climate change is not an easy problem. We would have fixed it by now in
Australia and globally if it were. But it's not going to be fixed by some con job that someone who
doesn't believe in climate change comes up with that is uncosted and that absolutely says business
as usual for the polluters. I mean it just defies logic that you could say to the industries that
pollute you can continue with your business as usual, and somehow say that that credibly is going
to deal with the issue of climate change.

JOURNALIST: Climate change sceptics abound now it seems, is it time for you and the Government to
directly engage on the issue of climate change science? Do you need to get out there now and make a
rebuttal?

WONG: We are very clear about our view about the science and it's the same view as the leaders of
almost every, in fact every advanced economy has said, that is we accept the science. The science
is real. There might be debate on the margins and there certainly are people who disagree, but the
weight of the science is very clear. I think what is more important is to think about what is the
responsible thing to do. It is not responsible for us to continue to pretend what scientists have
been telling us for years is not true, particularly when we see evidence of it occurring. We have
just come out, Virginia, of the hottest decade in our history. And that's a pretty sobering fact.

JOURNALIST: But when we have these reports of misleading and manufactured research and some really
stringent criticism of some elements of the research put together by the IPCC, that surely requires
some response from you if not damage control. Are you saying the science is so powerful and
credible that you actually don't need to engage at that level?

WONG: Virginia I have responded to it, what I have said is this, that this report from the IPCC has
been peer reviewed, it was developed by over a thousand scientists, has been rigorously tested and
there may have been some issues in some parts of the report but they are minor compared with the
central findings. And that is that climate change is occurring and human beings are contributing to
it. I have also made the point that our own scientists here in Australia, whether through the
CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology or the Australian scientists who are involved in the most recent
Copenhagen science diagnosis last year, are all pointing to the fact that climate change is real,
its happening now and it is irresponsible of governments not to act.

JOURNALIST: Tony Abbott used an intriguing term at his press conference yesterday Minister when he
was announcing his policy, he talked about a post Copenhagen world. In your view is that a world
that is not yet ready for an emissions trading scheme here in Australia. Is he right when he is
suggesting there that attitudes towards the immediacy of this problem have shifted now that there
was no real agreement reached at Copenhagen?

WONG: Well I am sure that's how Tony Abbott wants it to be. But the reality is that Tony Abbott is
out there on his own. The reality is that there is no credible leader in another advanced economy
who is putting forward the position that Tony Abbott is putting. The reality is we have over 30
countries who already have an emissions trading scheme. But perhaps most importantly his scheme
won't work. His scheme won't work and it will ask taxpayers to fund polluters and it's uncosted.

JOURNALIST: Penny Wong, good to talk to you this morning thanks so much.

WONG: Good to speak with you Virginia.