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Transcript of interview with Samantha Hawley: ABC AM: 16 October 2013: Discussing the Government's draft legislation to repeal the carbon tax



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TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW WITH SAMANTHA HAWLEY ABC AM Date: 16 October 2013

TIM PALMER: The Federal Opposition's Acting Environment Spokesman Mark Butler says Labor agrees that the carbon tax must go and is willing to negotiate with the Government.

But he says the ALP won't support the Coalition's Direct Action policy and that instead Mr Abbott needs to come to the table to negotiate an emissions trading scheme.

Mark Butler spoke to Samantha Hawley.

BUTLER: Well as we did say in the election campaign, Labor supports terminating the carbon tax. On that point we do agree with Tony Abbott. But we've always said there has to be a credible policy to combat climate change put in its place. And we say very strongly that that's an emissions trading scheme with strong supports for renewable energy like wind and solar.

And the problem with this legislation as it stands is that it puts absolutely nothing credible in place of the carbon tax.

HAWLEY: So is the only credible option, according to Labor, an ETS; that is you'll only support the dumping of the carbon tax if an ETS is put in place?

BUTLER: Well we've not seen another market-based mechanism operate around the world as effectively as an ETS. The Liberal Party in Australia is one of only two political parties, along with the Tea Party elements of the Republicans that think that there's an alternative to an emissions trading scheme.

So if Tony Abbott's got a different idea about a market-based mechanism - because direct action is not a market-based mechanism - we'd obviously look at it. But there isn't one across the world other than an ETS that operates effectively.

HAWLEY: But could he make changes to the Direct Action policy that would satisfy Labor that it was a market-based mechanism?

BUTLER: Well there's nothing in this legislation to indicate anything constructive, anything that the millions of Australians who care about action on climate change could take comfort from.

HAWLEY: But you do seem to be leaving the door open slightly.

BUTLER: Well what we've said is we do agree with the termination of the carbon tax. It's the position Kevin Rudd and I and others took to the election campaign. But there must be something credible put in its place and Tony Abbott's election policy was not something credible.

So what the Liberal Party needs to do if it wants this legislation through is to come to the table and seriously discuss an emissions trading scheme. As Bill Shorten has said, there are discussions for us to have in the shadow cabinet and in the caucus, but we have been crystal clear about this for a very long period of time.

HAWLEY: Just so we've got it very clear, the policy of Labor, 100 per cent, is that it will not support the scrapping of the carbon tax unless an ETS is put in place?

BUTLER: Well that is the policy we very clearly took in crystal clear terms to the electorate and that has been a long-standing position of the Labor Party.

HAWLEY: And that will not change?

BUTLER: It's been a long-standing position of the Labor Party.

PALMER: The Opposition's Acting Environment Spokesman Mark Butler.

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Catching up with Illuminart Artistic Director Cindy Drennan and Susan Close at event to thank sponsors of the Port Adelaide Festival. Going to be a huge weekend in the Port packed full of events and activities.

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