21 November 2021

KIERAN GILBERT, HOST: Mr Bowen, thank you for joining us this Sunday morning, when will we see the Labor Party's emissions reduction policy?
CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY: Good morning, Kieran, pleasure to join you. We've already been announcing our climate change policies. All year, we've been announcing policies including even before this year, Rewiring the Nation, Electric Vehicle Tax Cut, Community Batteries, New Energy Apprentices - 10,000 new energy apprentices across the country.
But I've also been clear we have a lot more to say. We finally after eight years got the government's non-climate change policy, their non-target. We'll be saying more Anthony Albanese and I in coming weeks, we'll be building on the policies we've already announced. We'll be announcing the policy development that we've been working hard on all year, and we'll be giving the Australian people an alternative, not an echo the next election.
GILBERT: Is the target and the plan finalised and does it have to go to caucus over the next two weeks?
BOWEN: We'll be following our normal processes. I'll be making a recommendation to the Shadow Cabinet, all the normal processes all the rigorous analysis that you would expect us to apply, all the relevant committees that you would expect us to apply to, it goes through the shadow cabinet, and only after that process does it get announced.
GILBERT: Okay so that, is that possible within this final parliamentary fortnight?
BOWEN: Well, coming weeks, I'm not announcing it this morning. I'm not announcing the date of the announcement, but I've given you an indication that it'll be out in the next, coming weeks.
GILBERT: Are you looking at 35% that sort of range or closer to 40?
BOWEN: Nice try Kieran, I'm not announcing the policy this morning.
GILBERT: Okay but how do you how do you balance the base then who want strong action on climate, and the middle who want action but are still worried in large part about the hip pocket, how in your mind as the person charged with this, how do you balance that?
BOWEN: Good climate policy is good economic policy Kieran. Good climate policy puts downward pressure on energy prices, good climate policy creates jobs, lower power bills, more jobs, lower emissions, it comes together. It comes together in an economic package, which deals with climate change, in a climate change package, which deals with the economy. Good climate policy is good economic policies it’s good cost of living policy. That's what we’ll be outlining to the Australian people. I will be outlining a policy agenda which reduces emissions, reduces power bills and increases jobs.
GILBERT: We've got a hint from the Government not that we needed it, that even if Labor were to set your target at 35 to 38, which is what the Government's projections are, you know you're going to cop a fierce campaign regardless warning about Labor's plan, about legislating it and so on, that's the reality, isn't it?
BOWEN: Yes. Yes it is Kieran, it’s a statement of fact. Scott Morrison is a liar. He lies about Labor's policies, he lies about whatever suits him on any particular day. And the one thing that the Liberals and Nationals will unite on, as divided and dysfunctional as they are, particularly on climate, the one thing the climate change denying Nationals and the alleged so called progressive modern Liberals will unite on is a scare campaign about Labor, it’s the only thing they can agree on.
It'll be dishonest, it'll be deceitful, and it will be strong, and we'll be countering it with the facts. We'll be countering it with the implications of our policies for Australians, we’ll be countering it with the implications of their lack of effort over the last eight years, we'll be dealing with their lies with the facts. Yes, there will be a scare campaign from the Government regardless of what Labor says. If they don't like our policies, they'll make policies up, they're already doing it. It's what Scott Morrison does. At the heart of his Government beats a fundamental heart of dishonesty. And never more when a federal election is approaching as this one is.
GILBERT: After the last election, you said that people of faith, particularly in your area, Western Sydney, there are many people of religious faith, whatever that faith may be, but they didn't appreciate necessarily Labor's approach. Is it important Labor be constructive, and seek to pass the religious freedom laws before the election?
BOWEN: Well, it certainly, we certainly will be constructive but we'd like to see the bills. I mean, the Government's now been in office three years, they promised this Religious Freedom Bill, it was a big issue at the last election. Yes, it was a big issue here in Western Sydney, as you said and in other areas. They promised it before the last election. Here we are at five minutes to midnight, three years of fiddling around, nothing, nothing. And now we're told, you know, there's this bill, which we'll have to rush through. I read in the paper the Liberal Party legislation committee hasn't even been shown it, let alone the opposition. So if they want constructive engagement, they'd better engage and they'd better engage with their own side and they better engage with us. But at the moment at the moment, they're at war with each other. I read you know about disputes within the Liberal Party about this. So before it even gets to what the Labor Party does, they need to get their own house in order.
They've left it so late Kieran. If this was important to Scott Morrison, he could have done it at any time over the last three years. Let's not accept any of these excuses about he had other things to do. He could have done an ICAC he could have done religious freedom. He doesn't believe in either. He's been fiddling. He's done nothing. And now as the election approaches, all of a sudden he finds a religious freedom bill in the top drawer, which has been gathering dust for three years. People of faith are smarter than that, they see through political cynicism, Scott Morrison is the ultimate cynical politician. And if he’s going to play politics on religious freedom, as he did at the last election we will be pointing out just how fundamentally he has failed to deal with this over the last three years. If it was a priority, he might have got it out of the drawer at some point during this term.
GILBERT: Do you think this issue you know, even in that context, that you've put it, the political landscape, but do you see this issue as one that can affect the vote in electorates like yours?
BOWEN: Look yes it has been an issue. It continues to be an issue. But I'll also be pointing out and my colleagues will be pointing out just how negligent Scott Morrison has been. He sold a pup at the last election, said a religious freedom bill would be a priority. Well people see through this Kieran and they see through the cynical approach to this, you know, he came up with it at the last election now another elections coming, he's coming up with it again. I’ve held, you know roundtables with people with community leaders, faith leaders in my community, all through the term about this issue. They've been less than impressed with the Government's approach, it's fair to say they've been very disappointed with the Government's approach. And if Scott Morrison thinks he can just, you know, pull it out of the top drawer again and promise it again, like he did last time or somehow try and, you know, a bounce it through the Parliament, not even taking it to his own Liberal party room when he's got big disputes within his own party about this. Kieran he's got to get his house in order before he starts trying to throw stones at the Labor Party. We will be constructive, but you got to give us some something to be constructive with. We haven't even seen the bill and neither as I understand it has the Liberal Party Committee.
GILBERT: Thousands protesting yesterday. Do governments need to be cautious about mandates. on vaccines and things like that? Because the minority clearly can cause societal problems here?
BOWEN: Well, let's just deal with a few of these issues, care and societal problems, as you say. We're seeing threats in effect of violence, nooses, and gallows being taken through the streets of Australia's cities. I mean Australia Kieran, in 2021, we’re seeing that. And the Prime Minister did not unequivocally condemn that. This is about in effect, inciting violence against public officials, elected officials. I don't care, Labor, Liberal, Animal Justice Party, National Party, Greens, every elected member of Parliament has the right to go about their business without threats and intimidation and threats of violence, let alone acts of violence, and I can't think of another Prime Minister Labor or Liberal over modern history who wouldn't have just come out and unequivocally said in Australia, that is not on. No qualifications, no caveats. No playing footsies with people who are engaging in violence, come out and say it's not on.
Now in relation to vaccine requirements. Of course, Scott Morrison was the Prime Minister who introduced or as Treasurer, really strengthened, no jab, no pay. Now he appears to be painting himself as a freedom fighter. We've got Gerard Rennick, and I heard Stuart Robert on your program before me, refusing to acknowledge that Gerard Rennick is an anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorist who is worse than Craig Kelly was. Let's be clear, he is worse than Craig Kelly was. Craig Kelly left the Liberal Party and Scott Morrison puts up with this joker in his partyroom, a Government lawmaker. I mean, Stuart Robert I thought was pathetic and saying he's just a Senator, and the House of Representatives where it counts. I mean, what a pathetic cop out from a Cabinet Minister, somebody who has been peddling conspiracy theories right across Queensland about vaccines. You know, Scott Morrison and his Ministers dare to criticise Queensland and Queenslanders for having lower vaccination rates than some other states when they’ve got one of his own Senators with a with a strong Facebook reach and a strong social media reach daily engaging in anti-vaccine rhetoric and conspiracy theories and Scott Morrison just as he did with Craig Kelly, but this guy's worse than Craig Kelly, sits there and twiddle his thumbs and says nothing. It's not on. Scott Morrison's got to take control. Otherwise, he's just condoning anti-vax rhetoric from his own party room.
GILBERT: Now, just finally, the News Corp survey in the Sunday papers, more than 4000 people surveyed, health at the very top. Does that show you and your colleagues where you need to be focused in this campaign? And how do you feel ahead of this election? Obviously, there was a lot of confidence last time it didn't turn out as you'd hoped. Do you fear the same thing happening again?
BOWEN: I think it'll be close Kieran. I think this will be a close election. I think we're competitive. We’re in with a shot but Scott Morrison is a manipulative, deceitful, dishonest politician who will say anything and do anything to stay in office. I mean, the Liberal National parties do not turn out the lights and hand over Government to the Labor Party. It's something they hold on to and they lie about, and they do anything they can do to hold Government. We know that. It's an Everest to climb it’s a Mount Everest to climb. It's only happened three times since the war, a change of the Government to the Labor Party. So it's a big ask, it's a big task ahead of us. I believe we can. I believe we're competitive at the next election but I believe it will be a knuckle fisted fight to the very end. As we put out our alternative policies for the country, our vision for the country under an Anthony Albanese Labor Government and Scott Morrison just engages in his dishonest smears.
GILBERT: Chris Bowen we will talk to you soon appreciate it.
BOWEN: Love to Kieran, good on you.