TRANSCRIPT - The Today Show, Friday 14 November 2014

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Subject/s: Russia; Putin; Climate change deal; Palmer United.


KARL STEFANOVIC, PRESENTER: Joining us now is Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek. Good morning to you two, thank you for being with us.



STEFANOVIC: Malcolm, it doesn't look like you are sweating bullets.

TURNBULL: No, and I think that we want to be careful about using words like "intercept". I mean, you know, navies, countries have navies for many reasons and one of them is to project force and in the case of Russia, clearly force and grandeur and the Russian navy is in our part of the world as part of an international relations exercise showing that Russia’s still on the map and still a powerful country and-

STEFANOVIC: So it is provocative? It is a show of force then? We should be worried?

TURNBULL: Well, no we shouldn’t.


TURNBULL: We should not be worried at all. But I mean, the navy is part of every country's defence force and when like you send it out to sea in a group like this, you are projecting force and saying "Here I am, I am still on the map, I am still strong and important."

STEFANOVIC: Like we didn't know that anyway.

PLIBERSEK: Karl, I think it is very important, Karl, that we don't overreact to this incident because of course the Russian ships are in international waters, they’ve got every right to be where they are, it’s not unusual that they are where they are. It would be a lot more unusual if they were sitting in the Brisbane River. At this stage I think people just need to take a chill pill, just as Malcolm has.

STEFANOVIC: Alright okay, Malcolm, we all need to take a chill pill but you’re sending a third ship out there, just to what, observe?

TURNBULL: Well, of course, this is all part of the - I mean, I am not privy to the latest naval maneuvers. But Karl, as Tanya says, this is all very normal. This is what navies do - join the navy, see the world and they get around. And I don't think this is you know – despite the desire to beat it up, I'm surprised frankly that up there in Brisbane the Courier Mail isn't promoting some good fishing spots on the Brisbane River, inviting the Russians to come in and throw a line in.

STEFANOVIC: Well they do that anyway, the Courier Mail, it is a fine publication.


STEFANOVIC: Just on the Courier Mail, it is asking for an apology this morning. Tanya, should we get an apology from Vladimir Putin?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think the families of those who lost their lives when MH17 was shot down certainly deserve an explanation and an apology. It is not about what the Australian Government needs, it is about what the families of those who lost their lives need. And they need someone to be held accountable for what happened. And they need answers why this happened. And of course, for those nine people whose bodies have not yet been recovered, those families in particular need access to the crash site for authorities to recover those remains. So there is still a great deal that should happen and we believe that Vladimir Putin has the key to many of those things.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, next up, China and the US –

TURNBULL: Can I just say that is absolutely correct. I mean the one person who knows exactly what happened is Vladimir Putin. So he is in a position to set out the facts, clearly, cogently and accept responsibility for the actions of a group of rebels, insurgents, whatever you want to call them, who were being supported by Russia operating within the Ukraine as part of a separatist movement there. I mean he really - he should set out those facts, take responsibility, express his compassion and condolences and apologise for this terrible event. And Tanya and I are unusually in complete agreement on this.

STEFANOVIC: Let's talk about something that you don't agree on, and that is China and the US have made a climate change pact to agree to work together on reducing emissions. Malcolm, you can't be happy with where we are sitting given that potential deal for China and also the US to cut emissions?

TURNBULL: Well, the Government has welcomed this agreement, number one. Number two, Australia does have an ambitious emission reduction target. The- our reduction by 2020 is comparable to the targets described by China and America. Can I say, it is very, very encouraging, in fact something of a relief to see at long last agreement between China and America. It is early days yet, but China is making a very concerted move against burning coal. It is determined to reduce emissions in China, not just for climate change reasons but because of general atmospheric pollution, as anyone who has been to a big Chinese city recently would know. That is- environmental issues are becoming a very, very important topic and agenda in China. That is one country in the world that is able to move quickly.

PLIBERSEK: Karl, can I –

STEFANOVIC: Just quickly, Tanya. Very, very quickly.

PLIBERSEK: Well I’ve got to say, our excuse- the Liberals’ excuse was always that the rest of world wasn't acting, Australia shouldn’t act. You have now got the world’s two largest economies, two largest polluters taking substantial action on climate change. Malcolm always said that the Liberals’ policy was just a fig leaf to cover up a determination to do nothing, he is right then. Australia needs to be part of this world move. We have already lost, for example, 100 jobs of people who were creating the towers for wind farms just recently because we have taken this step backwards when it comes to tackling climate change. We are losing those clean green jobs and we are being left behind.

STEFANOVIC: Alright, we do have to go. Malcolm, unfortunately I can’t ask about the impending divorce between Clive Palmer and Jacqui Lambie. I really wanted to find out from you how Clive is, I’ve been worried.

TURNBULL: I didn’t even know they were married, actually. That’s a –

PLIBERSEK: They can probably speak for themselves I think, Karl. They’re doing a pretty good job.

STEFANOVIC: Well, Malcolm’s stuck in the middle!

TURNBULL: I’m not going to offer a - sort of a reconciliation meeting at the Wild Duck. But if Tanya wants to do so, there’s a booth there that I’m sure is available.

STEFANOVIC: Nice. I love the maneuverings. Thank you, you two. We’ll see you very soon.


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