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Early Agenda -

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KIERAN GILBERT: Good morning and welcome to AM Agenda as we await the opening of the 43rd
Parliament of Australia. The Speaker will be elected; the MPs will be sworn including the first MP
to take the oath on the Koran, Muslim MP Ed Husic and the first Indigenous Member of the Lower
House Ken Wyatt. Of course, this Parliament is going to be one where the Independents will continue
to carry enormous influence.

TONY WINDSOR: There's an enormous opportunity, we're 72 all here and for everybody to be
constructive and I think we may well see a bit of that once the argy bargy over the Speaker and
some of this other stuff's out of the way.

KIERAN GILBERT: Joining me this morning on the program, the Shadow Minister for Innovation, Sophie
Mirabella and the Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson, good morning to you both. The opening of the
43rd Parliament, a big day ahead, Sophie we heard about this kinder and gentler way of doing
business here, it doesn't seem like that that has lasted too long, does it?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: I think there's always a place for civility and manners whether it's in
Parliament or elsewhere in the community and, of course, that should be the standard, that should
be the basic standard. What the Australian people want and what the job of an Opposition is, is to
ensure that the government is the best possible government it can be. We don't have a political
system where there is one political party and that is it, we have two major political parties and
the one in Opposition keeps the government in check. After all, it was Julia Gillard who said 'draw
open the curtains, let the sun shine in, this will be the most open, the most transparent, the most
accountable government in living memory' and that's what we will do. We will keep her to that word
and we will support good policy as we have in the past during the last Labor government where there
were good economic reforms that were in Australia's interests, we supported them. We have form on
that and we will do that again and that's remember in stark contrast to the Labor Party who really
objected and obfuscate every single reform, they did not support every single reform that we tried
to introduce that was in Australia's interest.

KIERAN GILBERT: Well, Craig that all sounds fairly reasonable and it looks like from the initial
signs we're seeing from the Coalition that they will provide pairs for Ministers and so on if it's
in the national interest, of course, we've got the Parliamentary delegation to the canonisation of
Mary MacKillop for an example ...

CRAIG EMERSON: Sure.

KIERAN GILBERT: ... two Labor figures going, two Liberals will be attending as well so that won't
be an issue, but it looks like the Coalition at this stage is going to be reasonable about this. Is
that the sense you're getting?

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, I think there's some mixed messages coming out from the Coalition, let's see
how it unfolds. I don't want to make a pre-judgement about pairing arrangements, I do note that
Warren Entsch, the Opposition Whip had indicated that it won't necessarily be the case that there
would be pairing in relation to overseas travel by the Foreign Minister and myself as Trade
Minister but I don't expect to be paired if it's a non essential trip but if it's a very important
trip in the national interest I would hope and expect to do so. I will try to travel outside of
Parliamentary times but we don't necessarily set all of the international timetables for trade
negotiations for example. But, as to whether it will be a kinder or gentler Parliament I hope so
but I'm not all that hopeful just at the moment because Tony Abbott has torn up a major agreement
and that is on Parliamentary reform, something that he signed, wrote it down, it was gospel truth
but it didn't last for very long.

KIERAN GILBERT: But they say that, you know, if we just address the issue now before we move on on,
you know, the Speaker, they say it's constitutionally unsound and the argument being that the
Speaker would essentially get more than one vote, they'd have the deliberative vote in the first
round but also have the casting vote and that's almost giving the Speaker too much power in terms
of their individual vote.

CRAIG EMERSON: Well it would have been a voluntary arrangement and that was the basis upon which it
was negotiated that there would be voluntary pairing. Tony Abbott has repudiated that and I think
the problem is that, I agree with Sophie, look it is absolutely right to bring a government to
account and to expose any weaknesses of the government, that's our Parliamentary system, it's
called an adversarial Parliamentary system and it amuses me sometimes when I hear people saying oh
it's very adversarial, well that is the nature of the Parliamentary system. And, I hope that the
Coalition will support those policies that are in the national interest but I do also hope that Mr
Abbott gets over the sort of sulking phase where he seems to be saying well the Australian people
got it wrong they should have elected me ...

KIERAN GILBERT: Okay ...

CRAIG EMERSON: and he certainly is presenting as a wrecker ...

KIERAN GILBERT: ... he's ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: And that's actually, and that's actually not what Tony said, I mean ...

KIERAN GILBERT: Is Tony Abbott sulking?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Absolutely not, he's on fire because he has held this government accountable. We
went to the election, we stood our ground, we stood for very clear messages of, you know, stopping
the taxes, stopping the boats, ending the waste. They are our messages. We got extraordinary
support, more votes than the Labor Party and we now have a first term Labor government in a
minority situation. We will do what we have done in the past. We will support good policy but if
the Labor Party was expecting us to enter into a voluntary agreement to ignore the constitution and
potentially put legislation that is passed under that system in doubt and challengeable in the High
Court we would not do that and if you want to look at who has torn up bedrock election promises
that is Ms Gillard who said there will be no carbon tax, she ruled it out, she ruled it out but in
...

KIERAN GILBERT: But there's also a different set of circumstances in which we find ourselves and
they're obviously having to work with other groups aren't they?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Working together with other groups is one thing, but I have not seen a single
disagreement between Ms Gillard and any of the policies put forward by the Greens or the
Independents. Now, if the Labor Party is saying we will say and do anything and compromise any
single one of our policies or principles of good government and principles of good economic
management just to hold on to power, well that's a very disappointing thing.

KIERAN GILBERT: But, you've know, you known for some time that Labor believes in putting a price on
carbon. I mean they tried ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: But Ms Gillard ...

KIERAN GILBERT: ... twice in the last Parliament?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... told, Ms Gillard told the Australian people that she was ruling out a carbon
tax. Now, if it means that she is now beholden to the Greens and they control the agenda on what we
do about emissions and environment policy she should say so. You can't say one thing during an
election campaign and at the first turn roll over.

KIERAN GILBERT: it was point blank wasn't it? She did say 'I rule out a carbon tax under a Labor
government,' two weeks later it's back on the table.

CRAIG EMERSON: We have said that we are interested in building a community consensus about putting
a price on carbon, that's what we've said and the committee that's been set up is not just a
Labor/Green committee ...

KIERAN GILBERT: So, was it ill advised for her to say no carbon tax? Because that's what it was, it
was ruled out, Wayne Swan did the same, no carbon tax.

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, we are looking at putting a price on carbon, that's the reality but we're
going to use this committee which is not a Labor/Green committee in isolation, it's
Labor/Greens/independents and open an invitation for two members of the Coalition to join that
committee to build a community consensus about putting a price on carbon and to work on that
particular policy. It is a pretty open and transparent process, the invitation is there for the
Coalition to join it so let's not have your viewers believe that this is some sort of closed
Labor/Green committee. The Coalition can join it; I'm a bit pessimistic about that because Tony
Abbott believes climate change is absolute crap.

KIERAN GILBERT: I want to look a bit more at the committee later, but first if we can just look at
the makeup of the Parliament, the Deputy Speaker. Sophie, a couple of Liberal's apparently have
been, well Alex Somalay first of all agreed with Labor that he would support them on confidence and
supply bills then had a change of heart on Saturday. What are you hearing? Is Peter Slipper still a
prospect or is he saying no?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Look, the Coalition is united and very excited about the prospect of playing a
very important role in holding the government to account and doing its best for the Australian
people, getting the best possible government that we can. I have spoken to both these gentlemen and
they have both ruled it out, it's not an issue, it's not our job to help Ms Gillard make the
administrative decisions to form government. We're here to be a constructive when it comes to
policy. We're not going to be doormats and compliant and the administrative parts of forming
government for Ms Gillard. She's ...

KIERAN GILBERT: Were you surprised these gentlemen were considering the offers?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: I'm not surprised that the Labor Party approached them, I'm not surprised at all
because they will say and do anything to grasp on to power and to hold on to government and I have
every confidence in the Coalition, members of the Coalition that they're not going to enter into
any agreement to breach the constitution, that's just silly and that's irresponsible and both these
men are men of honour and I've spoken to them both and that's the end of the situation. It's now up
to the Prime Minister to ensure that she enters into administrative arrangements and she has people
in positions that will ensure that the Parliament does work.

KIERAN GILBERT: Are you hopeful of luring a Liberal defector still because certainly that's been
the aim thus far hasn't it?

CRAIG EMERSON: We live in strange world don't we where Sophie, on behalf of the Coalition, is
outraged about the possibility that a Coalition MP might be the Deputy Speaker. I can imagine other
...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: I didn't say outraged.

CRAIG EMERSON: ... other worlds, I can imagine other worlds where the Coalition said well why can't
we have the Deputy Speakership ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: We'd love to have the Deputy Speaker but we're not going to do that at the cost
of breaching the constitution. There's one thing being cooperative, there's another thing saying in
this special circumstance because Labor lost majority we're going to be complicit in breaching the
constitution, that's not what we're going to do ...

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, you ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... no matter how hard you try we will not do that ...

CRAIG EMERSON: ... you make ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... because that's ...

CRAIG EMERSON: ... you make your own decisions ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... not in Australia's interest to do so.

CRAIG EMERSON: Fine, fine Sophie, could I have a little crack here now? You make your own
decisions, there'll be a vote in the Parliament, I'm not predicting or forecasting any drama. These
things will be sorted out on the floor of the Parliament today so we'll know who the Speaker is,
Labor is nominating Harry Jenkins for the Speakership and we'll see who the Deputy Speaker is. But,
I really do call on Tony Abbott not to continue these wrecking tactics that he's deployed where
he's happy to tear up agreements to say that the Independents before the government is formed are
patriots and then afterwards withdraw that saying oh they're just Labor lackies. We'll let's see if
it is a kinder and gentler Parliament. I'm quite happy to accept your assurances, Sophie, but I
don't think you'll be controlling the agenda.

KIERAN GILBERT: Well, let's take a quick break, well be right back and we'll look at the climate
change committee in a bit more detail, stay with us.

Welcome back to AM Agenda with me this morning the Shadow Minister for Innovation, Sophie Mirabella
and the Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson. Let's look further at this issue of the climate change
committee. Sophie, last night on the ABC you described it as Marxist, tell us why?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: What, when you have a committee where the prerequisite for membership is that you
have to believe in a predetermined outcome, you've got to believe in a carbon tax, that is not
democracy at work, that breaches the 110 year tradition of Parliamentary committees that we've had.
So, it's not an open government, it's not a transparent government, its saying you cannot sit on
this committee unless you agree in a specific solution to reduce emissions, and that is a carbon
tax. They're not saying you have to agree in the reduction of emissions, we do that, we've got a
policy, it's a direct action plan on policy to directly tackle the reduction of emissions. This
government has said you must believe in our way or the high way, that is not democratic, that is
contrary to how committees have operated.

KIERAN GILBERT: Craig, yeah, well let's get Craig's response to that because to be a part of the
committee you've got to sign up to the, you know, subscribe to the agreed outcome before the
committee even begins, and that is a price on carbon. Why not have the dissenting view?

CRAIG EMERSON: Well, because we do need to move on. We know that Tony Abbott believes climate
change is a absolute crap, so if we have his delegates ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: It's not the argument.

CRAIG EMERSON: ... if we have his delegates on the committee they will just boil and wreck in the
Tony Abbott modus operandi. What we need and if the Coalition say Malcolm Turnbull, who does
actually believe that there needs to be a price on carbon through an emissions trading system, were
to come on to that committee I'm sure he'd be welcome. Other members of the Coalition might also
have a view that there should be a price on carbon, Tony Abbott doesn't if it's organised the way
that I think Tony would, he'd say the only people who are going on it are people who don't believe
in climate change.

KIERAN GILBERT: Why, why the confidentiality, the confidentiality clause? There's an element in the
terms of reference that says the discussions, deliberations have to be kept behind closed doors.
There are some really important documents going to be put forward before this committee like
Garnaut revising his analysis.

CRAIG EMERSON: It's a Cabinet level committee and there will be sensitive material put in front of
that committee but let's bear in mind that the committee will reach out to the community, I mean it
is talking about building a community consensus or finding a community consensus about putting a
price on carbon. So, don't believe the Coalition's rhetoric that this is some sort of closed door
committee that no one whose operations no one will see. Just as in other Cabinet discussions or
Cabinet level discussions obviously there'll be sensitive economic material from time to time and
other material, that's how it should be but it will not be a closed door committee, it actually
will reach out to the community.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: This is absurd double speak. Craig did not answer the question. It is a fact that
you cannot be a member of this committee unless you subscribe to a particular solution to some form
of carbon tax ...

CRAIG EMERSON: No, I ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... that is

CRAIG EMERSON: ... that's not right actually.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... hold on a second ...

CRAIG EMERSON: ...putting a price on carbon

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... that is a fact ...

CRAIG EMERSON: Putting a price on carbon.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... you used the word transparent, you have no shame in absolutely
misrepresenting ...

CRAIG EMERSON: There goes the kind, gentle, civil discussion ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... no, no but in misrepresenting the facts ...

CRAIG EMERSON: ... I'm not misrepresenting the facts at all.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... this committee is going to operate in secret. It will not release documents,
that is not transparency, Craig. You want ...

CRAIG EMERSON: Some secret committee that reaches out to the community ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: You want ...

CRAIG EMERSON: and seeks their views ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... no, no what the committee will do ...

CRAIG EMERSON: ... make it up as you go along, Sophie.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... is what a lot of other Labor committees do is go through the notion, the
pretence of community consultation while the real decisions get made behind closed doors by a group
of people who've already determined what the outcome is going to be, that is farcical ...

KIERAN GILBERT: Sophie ...

CRAIG EMERSON: It was going, it was a moment ago ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... that is absolutely farcical.

CRAIG EMERSON: ... a Labor/Green committee now it's a Labor only committee. This is the problem, I
mean I'm happy to be brought to account

KIERAN GILBERT: Well, let me ask ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... but let's stick to the facts.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: It's farcical situation.

KIERAN GILBERT: You could have Liberal's on there.

CRAIG EMERSON: ... this is Labor/Greens/Independent but so far no Liberals...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: How can the government, the government is not interested in consensus, the
government is only interested in a particular outcome ...

KIERAN GILBERT: But many of your party believe ...

CRAIG EMERSON: Exactly.

KIERAN GILBERT: ... that there should be a price on carbon ...

CRAIG EMERSON: Exactly.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well, our, our party has had ...

CRAIG EMERSON: But they won't be allowed on the committee.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... our party has very definite and very successful, very popular policy of
direct ...

CRAIG EMERSON: That climate change is absolute crap.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: No, you're lying and that's wrong Craig

CRAIG EMERSON: That's what Tony Abbott said, not my words, Tony Abbott's.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: our policy is direct action on climate change. Now, the government won't even
countenance any of that. That shows you they're, that they're disingenuine about not only being
inclusive and reaching a consensus but they're not genuine about being open and transparent.

KIERAN GILBERT: But, there are a number of your colleagues who believe that the debate has been had
on the science ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Absolutely and we have a policy ...

KIERAN GILBERT: ... and that a carbon price needs to be (inaudible) ...

CRAIG EMERSON: Except for Tony Abbott.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: And we have a policy. We have a policy, a direct action on climate change. And,
Craig you haven't answered the question. Why won't the this committee be open and canvas direct
action on climate change? Why is it so doctrinaire that you have to believe in increasing
electricity prices because this will be, this is Ms Gillard's committee for increased electricity
prices, we will not subscribe to that. We want real action and we want direct action ...

KIERAN GILBERT: Craig

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ...and we will get that Tony Windsor ...

CRAIG EMERSON: Have you finished with your question?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... Tony Windsor has said ...

CRAIG EMERSON: ... I think it's a speech.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... he's concerned as well about the increase ...

CRAIG EMERSOHN: It's not a question, it's a speech.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: on prices on the food.

KIERAN GILBERT: Well, let's have your response.

CRAIG EMERSON: There's no point having Tiny Abbott's trusted lieutenant on this committee who
believe that climate change is absolute crap. I think you made the point, Kieran, and almost had
Sophie agreeing with you, that we've moved beyond that but Tony Abbott's core, fundamental belief
is that climate change is absolute crap. If he exercises the sort of discipline over his troops
that we've seen in recent weeks then they will not be allowed to participate on the committee
unless and until they agree with him that climate change is absolute crap ...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: (Inaudible) party policy.

CRAIG EMERSON: ... and he will wreck the deliberations. What we want is people on the committee
from the Coalition ...

KIERAN GILBERT: You ...

CRAIG EMERSON: ... in good faith who are not being stood over the whole time by a leader of the
Opposition who fundamentally believes that climate change is absolute crap.

KIERAN GILBERT: Okay, but you guys are going to have to go soon for this, the Indigenous Welcome
...

CRAIG EMERSON: Welcome to Country.

KIERAN GILBERT: ... to Country, for the opening of Parliament. So, just one quick issue before we
go, we've only got about a minute left before I know you guys have got to go and your staffers will
be knocking on the door to get you out but ...

CRAIG EMERSON: (Inaudible).

KIERAN GILBERT: ... Yeah, the budget report today in the SMH, it's an Access Economics study ...

CRAIG EMERSON: Yes, it is.

KIERAN GILBERT: ... it says that the budget will be back in deficit the year after 2012-13. So, you
bring it to surplus, lower commodity prices and its back in deficit, so it's five minutes of
sunshine and straight back into deficit.

CRAIG EMERSON: It does confirm by their analysis that the budget will be in surplus in 2012-13
which is what Labor has been saying, which would mean that we are the first major advanced country
to bring the budget back into surplus. Second, these are based on Access Economics forecasts of
commodity prices, we are relying as we should and must on Treasury forecasts of commodity prices
which do not assume, do not assume that commodity prices will keep going up or even that they will
stay steady ...

KIERAN GILBERT: So, you're saying that they're ...

CRAIG EMERSON: ... but there is factored in to the brief ...

KIERAN GILBERT: Access is wrong?

CRAIG EMERSON: ... I'm saying that we rely on Treasury forecasts. We don't do what the Coalition
does in getting an accounting firm or an, and this is no disrespect to Access but budgets are put
together on the basis of Treasury forecasts, not Access Economics, not accounting firms.

KIERAN GILBERT: Sophie, just quickly before we have to wrap up.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: We did warn them during the election campaign that their figures didn't add up.
We warned them of the over optimistic ...

CRAIG EMERSON: How about the $11 billion black hole in your projections.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... forecasts. We warned them over optimistic figures and they denied it point
blank and now we found out that that was correct. And another thing on the climate change committee
...

CRAIG EMERSON: Oh, we're back.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: ... It has been deliberately designed to ensure that no Liberal, because have a
policy on real action on climate change can sit on the committee. It was a deliberate tactic by Ms
Gillard to ensure that.

KIERAN GILBERT: Okay, enjoy the Welcome to Country and the opening of Parliament, Sophie Mirabella,
Craig Emerson great to see you both.

CRAIG EMERSON: Thanks, Kieran.