PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
MONDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2020
SUBJECTS: US Election; Climate Change; Superannuation Guarantee.
STEPHEN JONES, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Well democracy has been on display over the last few months and the American people have spoken. Want to congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Australia looks forward to having a fantastic relationship with our most important partner. It really is important that Scott Morrison do his utmost to ensure we continue to have not only good country to country relationships, but good people to people relationships.
Got a bit messy last week. We saw the former Ambassador Joe Hockey out there adding his voice to some of the wild conspiracy theories around voter fraud, thus far completely unfounded. I don't think it's a good look. It's not a good look for Australia. It's not a good look for the former Ambassador of Australia to be engaging in that sort of debate.
Really important that Australia gets on board with the climate change challenge. We do not want to be a pariah. We do not want to be the last country in the world to ensure that we are committing and playing our part to bringing down global carbon emissions. We’ve got a choice in this country. We really can be an energy superpower for this century, or we can cling to the arrangements of the last century. Absolutely critical, because this is about jobs. It's about jobs for our kids and our grandkids.
Australia has got a choice. We can get on board. We can be a part of the community of nations. Or can be doing what we've been doing for the last little while and that's trying to play the politics of this instead of the economics of this. If we really do care about jobs, we're going to get on board and sure that we are a part of the international community that wants to take this issue forward.
JOURNALIST: In terms of just firstly Mr. Hockey's comments, I mean they are a bit off-the-cuff comments from a former Ambassador. Were they really that much of a risk with the Australia-America relationship?
JONES: We know they were listened to. We know that they sent shock waves through the Democratic campaign. We know there was a lot of concern amongst our friends and allies in the US. I think it's pretty important that Scott Morrison comes out and makes his position clear and he puts Joe Hockey back in the box. Would have no doubt caused a lot of concern amongst our embassy officials in the US after those statements were made.
JOURNALIST: Is Australia really going to be a pariah on climate change? We've signed up to the Paris Agreement. We're in the process of reducing emission. Maybe not as much as the Labor party would like but it's not as if we're doing nothing.
JONES: Well let's just go through the list. We've got China we've got Japan we've got Europe. We've got our US allies. Our major export partners have signed up to net zero by 50. Our major export partners have signed up to net zero by 50. But the country that is exporting, the country that has got the most to lose and the most to gain, they're still having a bet each way. Now, we're not going to be able to get away for that without forever. We've got to get on board. It's absolutely imperative for jobs of people who live in electorates like mine. Big industrial, big coal mining, electorates like mine. We have to have a pathway to the future. We've got to ensure that we're creating the next generation of jobs while looking after this generation of jobs.
JOURNALIST: Do you think the China this week saying you'll need less Australian coal, Japan also flagging that, does that prove your point?
JONES: I think it's quite clear that our major trading partners are moving. They're looking to the future and not the past and it's imperative that Australia look to the future not the past. China, Japan, Europe the United States all looking to the future. Australia has to as well.
JOURNALIST: What's your view of Joel Fitzgibbon in the paper today again saying that we shouldn't ascribe too much of Joe Biden's win to his climate policy saying, that Labor shouldn't go too sort of your boots in with this, on climate and energy and gas and that sort of thing. Saying we should do more gas, should do more coal. What’s your response to Mr Fitzgibbon’s comments? He’s been saying things like that sort of thing for quite a long time. Is that kind of an irredeemable rift in the Labor Party there?
JONES: I'm glad you've asked me this question. I just want to say something about gas because this is a triumph, the Prime Minister's marketing spin around a gas led recovery. This is a triumph of marketing spin over economic reality. Of course gas is going to be a critical part of our future. Of course. It is absolutely critical to manufacturing. Absolutely critical that we ensure we have access to low price gas for our manufacturers and our households. That's not the debate here. The debate here is are we going to be a part of the international community working towards net zero emissions in 2050? And are we doing our bit to transform our economy between now and then? That's the issue. This nonsense about gas led recovery, marketing spin. Everybody knows that gas is going to be a part of our future. Absolutely critical to industry and manufacturing for at least the next decade and probably more. That's not the debate. The debate is what are we doing to transform our energy generation between now and then.
JOURNALIST: There's reports of the RBA’s got secret modelling or something to that effect on the effect of a rise in the super guarantee, meaning a reduction in wages. Did you agree with that modelling?
JONES: Look, I think every sensible piece of modelling knows there's not a one-to-one correlation between superannuation increases and wages. Of course, there is a correlation but it's not one-to-one. And if the leaked stuff out of the RBA is true, what it proves is that workers are going to be better off overall if superannuation goes up. It proves, if the data is right and I haven't seen the data I've only seen the reports of the data, but if that is true, it proves that workers are going to be better off overall if superannuation goes up. And Scott Morrison has got to come clean and come clean with the Australian people can come clean with Australian workers, is he still committed to his plan to cut superannuation?