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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 90

Mr RUDD (3:21 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister and goes to the Prime Minister’s upcoming taxpayer funded television advertising campaign on climate change, which we assume will start in the break. Is the Prime Minister aware that the head of BHP Billiton, Mr Chip Goodyear, when asked this week about Labor’s target of 60 per cent cuts in emissions by 2050, stated:

Well targets for us, we set targets in every aspect of our business whether it is around profitability or production or cost and so on. Targets give people something to focus on and that is OK by us.

Prime Minister, is Mr Goodyear wrong? Through this advertising campaign are you simply seeking to convince the Australian people that climate change sceptics have somehow just become part of the climate change solution?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —I think Mr Goodyear is a very fine businessman. He has run a company very successfully, and one of the things that have happened under his leadership and under the leadership of his predecessor, Paul Anderson, is that there has been a marked change in the industrial relations policies of BHP Billiton. In fact, the old BHP used to believe in centralised wage fixation. The new BHP, now in the BHP Billiton manifestation, has moved progressively—

Ms Gillard interjecting

The SPEAKER —The Deputy Leader of the Opposition is warned!

Mr HOWARD —to a less regulated industrial relations system. I do not have to speak—

Mr Albanese —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is a question about climate change.

The SPEAKER —I listened carefully to the question from the Leader of the Opposition. He spoke about the chief of BHP, and the Prime Minister is very much in order.

Mr HOWARD —Under his leadership, the company that he has so ably led has embraced, by their tens of thousands, AWAs. BHP Billiton is a stern and resolute opponent of the industrial relations policy of the Australian Labor Party, and I endorse everything that Chip Goodyear has said about that.

In respect of climate change targets, I also endorse what Mr Goodyear has said about targets, and the interesting thing—

Opposition members interjecting—

Mr HOWARD —I do. I endorse everything he says, because what he was clearly talking about is the climate change target we currently have. That is the climate change target set by Kyoto. That climate change target is extant until 2012.

Mr Albanese —Mr Speaker, I again rise on a point of order. The question was very clear—

The SPEAKER —The Prime Minister is answering that question. He is relevant, and, if the member continues to take these frivolous interjections, I will deal with him.

Mr HOWARD —We have a target, and that target is 108 per cent over our 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. Although we have not subscribed to the Kyoto protocol or ratified it, Australia is going to be one of the few countries that will actually meet their target. Unlike many of these countries that have sermonised, hectored and lectured Australia, we are going to meet our target.

The Leader of the Opposition also asked about BHP Billiton. If my memory serves me correctly, one of the members of the task force that recommended the approach to targets embraced by the government and rejected by the opposition was none other than a Mr Lynch of BHP Billiton.