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ABC News Breakfast -

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JOURNALIST: The Climate Change Minister Wong joins us now from Canberra. Senator Wong, good

WONG: Good morning.

JOURNALIST: How many sit-down, face-to-face discussions have you had with the crossbench Senators
to try and convince them to support the ETS?

WONG: Well let's remember where we're at the moment. We have not yet introduced a bill into the
Parliament. What we have done is put forward a draft bill which we have suggested to Senators
should go to a Senate Committee. That has occurred and a Senate Committee will look at the draft
bill. So the Government, in fact has been highly consultative. We have asked the Senate to consider
legislation before we have even finalised the detail of it. So we are serious about engaging with
the Senate about this issue.

JOURNALIST: You say you've been highly consultative but how many meetings have you had with
crossbench senators - sit-down, face-to-face meetings? Have you had one?

WONG: Yes of course I have met with crossbench senators. But can I say, we are not at the point
where we're negotiating legislation because the Government hasn't yet introduced legislation.

But the key issue here is what will the Senate... whether the Senate will be up to the task. We are
introducing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme because it's the right thing to do. It's the
right thing to do for jobs, because we know climate change will hit our jobs, our economy here in
this nation very hard. It's the right thing to do in terms of driving the investment in the jobs of
the future - for example, in the renewable sector. And the question will be, particularly for
Malcolm Turnbull, whether or not he will continue to adopt a hardline position or whether he'll
revert to the position he was articulating when he first became leader.

JOURNALIST: But you haven't got any support. Does it feel like you are flogging a dead horse?

WONG: Look there's a long way to go on this and of course, we have always said we'll get criticism
from various quarters. But this is the right thing to do. Australians know that we do have to face
up to the issue of climate change. We know that climate change will impact on our economy as well
as on our environment. We know we have to start driving that investment in the jobs of the future.
And that's is why the Government is focused on doing what we said we would do at the last election,
which is to take action on climate change. Unfortunately what we see from the Opposition is a very
strange position where Mr Turnbull appears now to be running the line Dr Nelson ran - which led, of
course, to Mr Turnbull challenging him for the leadership.

JOURNALIST: Do you accept that your Ferrari argument is pretty lame. If that's the best you can
come up with in support of this legislation - to get support for this legislation?

WONG: I think the point that is important is that there seems to be some people that say: 'If it
isn't as good as I want it, then I'd rather have nothing.' And the point the Government is making
is we have to think about this over many years - this is an economic transformation that is about
driving investment in the jobs of the future as well as responding to climate change. And to those
who say 'I don't like it so I'd rather have nothing', what they are doing is locking in continued
emissions growth - a continued, increasing contribution by this nation to climate change.

JOURNALIST: It was just a line that a lot of people interpreted as: 'Well, we are not going to put
much effort into this.'

WONG: Well we have put an enormous amount of effort into this. We put out a detailed Green Paper.
We had intensive consultations with industry and community in the months between the Green Paper,
which was a discussion paper - essentially an outline of Government's policy - leading up to the
White Paper announcement in December last year by the Government. A lot of detailed policy work and
a lot of thinking. And the reason we are doing that work and the reason we're pressing forward with
this is we believe this is the right thing to do. This is in the national interest. We as a nation
have a lot to lose from climate change. That's why we have to act.

JOURNALIST: So you're going to have to move substantially to get anything through. Where are the
areas of movement as far as you are concerned? Can you alter that target? Will you alter that

WONG: I think the first question will be what the Opposition does. Mr Turnbull's position is
hardening up because he's concerned about Peter Costello breathing down his neck. But he's not
going to be able to run away from this. At some point, in the Senate, he is going to have to decide
whether he votes for action on climate change, whether he votes for investment in new jobs, or
whether he is going to continue to progress towards the climate sceptic behaviour that we saw for
12 years under the Howard Government.

JOURNALIST: Sounds like he's likely to propose a plan with a higher target. Would you agree to that
higher target?

WONG: Well he says a lot of things. He says on the one hand he wants to make ... reduce any impact on
any sector of industry, he wants to give more free permits. Andrew Robb is talking about giving 100
per cent free permits but at the same time they want a higher target. These things are not possible
to reconcile, the way in which the Liberals are proposing this. And let's remember one of the
figures that Mr Turnbull is bandying around about how he's going to achieve additional reduction in
emissions, would require - for example - would require half the area of Tasmania to be forested
every year for 10 years to get the sort of reduction in carbon pollution that he's talking about.
These are not believable policies and they are the policies of a man desperately trying to pretend
he cares about climate change - because he doesn't want to be seen as a sceptic - but he's not
prepared to stand up to those in his party room who are the same people who refused to act on
climate change for so many years.

JOURNALIST: Well we look forward to your efforts in finding some common ground. Penny Wong in
Canberra, thanks very much for talking to us this morning.

WONG: Good to speak with you.