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Coalition's climate policy 'bullshit': Turnbu -

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Coalition's climate policy 'bullshit': Turnbull

Sabra Lane reported this story on Monday, December 7, 2009 12:10:00

ELEANOR HALL: But we begin with the latest bout of public bomb throwing in the Federal Liberal
Party.

As the new leader Tony Abbott was bolstered by the party's wins in two weekend by-elections, his
predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, was laying mines for the party and handing lines to the Government
with an extraordinary attack on Mr Abbott and the new-look Liberal Party.

Mr Turnbull wrote a furious blog in which he criticised Mr Abbott and warned that any climate
change policy that the new leader put up would be a con.

In a further blow to party unity, Mr Turnbull vowed to cross the floor and vote with the Government
when it brings its emissions trading scheme legislation back to Parliament next year.

Mr Abbott responded in a press conference late this morning that his argument is with the
Government.

From Canberra, Sabra Lane reports and a warning there is some coarse language in this story.

SABRA LANE: On AM this morning, the new Opposition Leader Tony Abbott committed the Coalition to a
new policy on climate change, by the time Parliament resumes in February based on "direct action
measures" and he downplayed comments from his shadow treasurer Joe Hockey that the new policy would
cost $50 billion but Mr Abbott says the policy will be cheaper than the Government's scheme.

TONY ABBOTT: I think that we can have a clear, a strong and an effective climate change policy
before Parliament comes back.

SABRA LANE: Including the costings?

TONY ABBOTT: Oh look, it is going to be a, it will be a credible solid and effective policy.

SABRA LANE: Those comments and a weekend interview flushed out Malcolm Turnbull this morning, who
put his thoughts on record via his personal blog ,and he titled it "Time for some straight talking
on climate change".

In the 700-word article he defends his spray from the backbench, by saying that while Tony Abbott
was a shadow minister, he was never afraid of speaking bluntly in a manner at odds with Coalition
policy. The blog continues:

EXCERPT FROM MALCOLM TURNBULL'S BLOG: So as I am a humble backbencher I am sure he won't complain
if I tell a few home truths about the farce that the Coalition's policy, or lack of policy, on
climate change has descended into

SABRA LANE: In the stinging critique of the new leader, Mr Turnbull says no-one can promise they
can cut emissions without any cost.

EXCERPT FROM MALCOLM TURNBULL'S BLOG: So any suggestion that you can dramatically cut emissions
without any cost is, to use a favourite term of Mr Abbott, "bullshit." Moreover he knows it.

SABRA LANE: The deposed opposition leader says it's impossible to criticise the Coalition's new
policy on climate change, because it doesn't exist.

EXCERPT FROM MALCOLM TURNBULL'S BLOG: The Liberal Party is currently led by people whose conviction
on climate change is that it is "crap" and you don't need to do anything about it. Any policy that
is announced will simply be a con, an environmental fig leaf to cover a determination to do
nothing.

SABRA LANE: And Mr Turnbull points out that in four or five months, Mr Abbott has advocated several
positions on the emissions trading scheme, from passing, to amending it, to straight out blocking
it and he continues.

EXCERPT FROM MALCOLM TURNBULL'S BLOG: His only redeeming virtue in this remarkable lack of
conviction is that every time he announced a new position to me he would preface it with "Mate,
mate, I know I am a bit of a weather vane on this, but...

SABRA LANE: And he signs off the blog by flagging he'll vote with the Government in February and
cross the floor.

EXCERPT FROM MALCOLM TURNBULL'S BLOG: Many Liberals are rightly dismayed that on this vital issue
of climate change we are not simply without a policy, without any prospect of having a credible
policy but we are without integrity. We have given our opponents the irrefutable, undeniable
evidence that we cannot be trusted.

Not that anyone would doubt it, but I will be voting for the ETS legislation when it returns in
February and if my colleagues have any sense they will do so as well.

SABRA LANE: The World Today made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Mr Turnbull about his
views.

The Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong.

PENNY WONG: Well, I think Mr Turnbull is telling the truth and what we see today is both Malcolm
Turnbull and Joe Hockey giving us a real insight into the chaos that is the Liberal Party's
climate-change policy.

They have made it clear that Mr Abbott's approach will be an environmental fig leaf to cover a
determination to do nothing and Mr Hockey has told us that this fig leaf will cost taxpayers $50
billion.

SABRA LANE: Is Mr Turnbull now simply providing you with slogans and lines for your next election
campaign?

PENNY WONG: Well, look Malcolm Turnbull has made clear what his views are just as Joe Hockey has.

SABRA LANE: Mr Turnbull says that he is going to cross the floor and vote with the Government. What
is your response?

PENNY WONG: Well, Mr Turnbull is holding to the agreement that the Government made with him. We sat
down and negotiated in good faith. Just a short while ago this emission, carbon pollution reduction
scheme was endorsed by the Liberal party room and since then we have seen a change of leader.

SABRA LANE: Did the Government cost other climate change policies other than an emissions trading
scheme and did you stack business cases up against one another?

PENNY WONG: Look, this work on what is the best way to reduce Australia's emissions has been going
on for over a decade now. It has occurred under both governments. We certainly drew quite heavily
on the work that Mr Howard had done, the advice to him was very clearly that an emissions trading
scheme, like the carbon pollution reduction scheme was the cheapest way for Australia to reduce its
emissions.

SABRA LANE: Can I just clarify though Minister, did you look at any other schemes other than an
emissions trading scheme?

PENNY WONG: We went to the election with this policy Sabra and that is what we have worked on and
we drew on the work at the previous government had done.

SABRA LANE: And a short time ago, the new Opposition Leader Tony Abbott responded to Mr Turnbull's
blog, by calling a media doorstop.

TONY ABBOTT: I think I know where people stand on this but the person who I am arguing with is
Kevin Rudd. He is the Prime Minister. He is the one who is proposing a $120 billion emissions tax.
He is the one who is proposing this giant money-go-round and he is the person who needs to explain
this policy to the Australian people.

ELEANOR HALL: That is the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, ending that report by Sabra Lane.