TRANSCRIPT: ABC News Breakfast, Wednesday 2 December 2015




SUBJECTS: Mal Brough; climate change

MICHAEL ROWLAND, PRESENTER: Acting Opposition Leader,Tanya Plibersek, joins us now from our Parliament House bureau. Tanya Plibersek, good morning to you.


PRESENTER: The Prime Minister is now back in Canberra, what do you argue he should do regarding Mal Brough?

PLIBERSEK: I think if Mal Brough doesn't stand aside himself, then the Prime Minister should stand him aside. It is very clear from the footage you played that a question was put to Mal Brough, he answered the question. Yesterday in the parliament, Mal Brough tried to deny first of all that he had done anything wrong, tried to deny he had asked for these diaries. And then, I think quite clearly, misled the parliament by saying that the interview that 60 Minutes played had been doctored. So there is the initial conduct here in allegedly getting the diaries, getting James Ashby to procure the diaries, and then the very clear mislead of Parliament yesterday, suggesting that the interview was doctored somehow.

PRESENTER: The Prime Minister has so far stood behind Mal Brough but has given himself a bit of an out in that he said if circumstances or details change he would reconsider that. Do you argue what we saw in parliament yesterday falls under that category?

PLIBERSEK: I certainly think the mislead of parliament yesterday falls into that category. But it’s up to the Prime Minister really to answer the question. He’s the minister who is responsible for enforcing the rules in Parliament - for the rules around integrity: is he the right person for the job?

PRESENTER: Mal Brough repeatedly said in Question Time yesterday that a Federal Court appeals process cleared him of any wrongdoing?

PLIBERSEK: Yes, I think if you look closely at those answers yesterday in Parliament, you will see a range of inconsistencies in the answers. I don't think anyone could fairly claim - Mark Dreyfus obviously went through in some detail the court ruling and pointed out that there was nothing like the absolution that Mal Brough claimed in the ruling. And of course, since that time, we have seen other information become available. So, I think Mal Brough is on pretty thin ice on that one.

PRESENTER: Ok, now if nothing happens, if neither Mal Brough nor Malcolm Turnbull takes the action you are calling on him to take, do we expect the Opposition to continue pursuing this in Question Time today?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think there are clearly more questions to answer. When Mal Brough goes into areas like claiming that interviews have been doctored, he opens up whole new areas of questioning.

PRESENTER: Just quickly to another issue, of course your leader Bill Shorten has been, along with the Prime Minister, in Paris for that very important climate summit. We had this morning a prominent economist Warwick McKibbin, of course a former Reserve Bank board member, saying that Labor’s promise of a 45 per cent reduction in carbon emissions cut by 2030 would require a domestic carbon price of $200. Is that the case?

PLIBERSEK: No, of course not. I notice in the same article that he says that the Government's targets are unambitious. We have said that we want a 50 per cent renewable energy target; we’ve said that we will look at things like vehicle emissions and building codes and other ways that we can reduce carbon pollution. We want to see zero net emissions by 2050 and we will consult around a target of a 45 per cent reduction by 2030. This is a target that has been recommended by the Climate Change Authority and others. And we want to talk to industry, to business, to unions, and to [ABC transmission drops out] realistic target and how we might achieve it.

PRESENTER: If not a carbon price of $200, what sort of price are we talking about to achieve Labor's aims?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I mean we are looking at an emissions trading scheme to achieve our aims and we know that emissions trading schemes are the cheapest and most cost effective way of reducing carbon pollution -  we had one, and it was working - this Government got rid of it. We also see that a large proportion of the globe is adopting emissions trading schemes that we can link into internationally, again further reducing the cost of carbon pollution abatement. But, we want to look domestically too at the things we can do to reduce carbon pollution, the first and most important is changing our electricity industry so that we have a greater reliance on renewables – that’s why we’ve set a 50 per cent renewable energy target. But also looking at things, as I said earlier, like vehicle emissions, like the building codes and so on.

PRESENTER: Ok we’ll leave it there. Happy birthday, by the way.

PLIBERSEK:  Thank you, that’s very kind.