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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

18 September 2002

Labor Split on Kyoto Widens


"I am not happy about the Commonwealth just signing up ..."

WA Premier Geoff Gallop, Australian Financial Review, 18/09/02

"I'm just telling the truth ...
"In the short term, Queensland would be disadvantaged ..."

Qld Premier Peter Beattie, doorstop, 16/09/02

A second Labor Premier has spoken out against Simon Crean's greenhouse policy.

Western Australia's Labor Premier, Geoff Gallop, has joined Queensland's Peter Beattie in contradicting Federal ALP leader Simon Crean's calls for the government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol immediately.

Both Premiers agree with the Howard Government that ratification of the Protocol in its present form would cost jobs and investment in their states.

Premier Gallop told the Australian Financial Review, "My position is that we should aspire to it, but we shouldn't sign it until all of the states and territories have been properly involved in the process so we're not disadvantaged."

This echoes Premier Beattie's statement yesterday that NSW is the only state in Australia which would benefit from immediate ratification. "The rest of us are disadvantaged."

Premier Beattie went on to support the Howard Government's decision not to ratify at the present time.

Reporter: "That's what John Howard is arguing as well."
Beattie: "Yeah, yeah sure. Well, it's true. I mean, I'm just telling what the truth is."

Premier Beattie says Australia should not ratify the Protocol unless the States are compensated for the loss of jobs and investment that would follow. Premier Gallop clearly agrees.

Simon Crean is ignoring them. Only yesterday, his Environment Spokesman issued a press release calling on the Government to "ratify the Kyoto Protocol now."

Instead of attempting to frame an effective greenhouse policy to help reduce global emissions while protecting Australia's interests, Simon Crean is happy to just join the Kyoto chorus - even if it means exporting jobs from Queensland, Western Australia and other states.

The Howard Government, by contrast, is working to meet our Kyoto target but will not rubber stamp a flawed Protocol that will damage Australia while only delivering a negligible 1 percent reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.

Media Contact:
Catherine Job 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Related Information


Question Time

Wednesday, 18 September 2002

E&OE

Member for Moore, Dr Mal Washer

My question is addressed to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage. Would the Minister inform the House about further support for the Howard Government's decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol under present circumstances? What would be the impact of ratification on Australian jobs and industries?

Dr David Kemp, Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage:

I thank the honourable Member for Moore for his question and I'm very pleased to be able to inform the House that there have been further statements that support the Howard Government's decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol under present circumstances to protect Australian jobs. Yesterday I noted the Queensland Premier Peter Beattie's support for the Federal Government's position, on the ground that actually ratifying the Protocol would cost jobs in Queensland. The House will remember that when a journalist challenged Peter Beattie by saying that's what John Howard is arguing as well, Mr Beattie replied 'well its true, I mean I'm just telling the truth, I'm just telling what the truth is'. Now again today, in that very informative paper, the Financial Review, we have another statement by another well known Australian, who said and I quote, 'I'm not happy about the Commonwealth just signing up', 'I'm not happy about the Commonwealth just signing up'. Who said that? Well, it was none other than Geoff Gallop, the Premier of Western Australia. That statement is very significant because it directly contradicts the mantra that's been coming from the leader of the opposition, that Australia should sign up now. Not when it might be in our interest to sign up, not when we could sign up on a level playing field that might protect Australian jobs and industries, but sign up now. And just yesterday, the shadow minister put out a press release saying the Howard Government must ratify the Kyoto Protocol now, now. This utter neglect of the real implications of ratification for Australian jobs and industry was obviously too much for the Western Australian Premier and he went quickly to put his views on the record and his response as reported in the press this morning, he was crystal clear about his position. He said the following 'my position is that we should we aspire to, but we should not sign it until all of the states and territories have been properly combined in the process so were not disadvantaged in Western Australia'. He said 'I'm not happy about the Commonwealth just signing up'. Now the leader of the opposition and his shadow minister, are perfectly happy to join up now, but the Premier of Western Australia is not, because he and some of his other state colleagues have actually thought through the issue. They actually care about jobs and opportunities in their states, while the leader of the opposition is happy just to barrack, to opportunistically tag along in the Kyoto congo line behind a few lobby groups. They know, Premier Gallop and Premier Beattie know that it would be foolish to sign up now to the Protocol, because that would give the message to companies looking at long term investments that they would be suffering penalties and burdens in Australia that they would not be suffering if they invested in other countries. It is quite clear that the leader of the opposition's years as shadow treasurer taught him nothing. We now have first class analysis, which shows the contraction to GNP that would occur if we signed up to the Protocol and yet the leader of the opposition seems not to understand that a contraction in GNP would mean a contraction in jobs. He ignores the results of the research on the public record, he's done none of the heaving lifting that's necessary to write policy, he has no thoughts of his own and all he does is tag along behind the vested interests that support the Labor Party. He hasn't consulted with the states, has actually managed to succeed in dividing the Labor Party on this issue. Some leadership. Some leadership. His party is now coming to pieces behind him because he hasn't been able to think through a sensible, rational, position. This Government is setting out on a strategy which will achieve the Kyoto target, we are consulting with industry, we are consulting with the states and we are taking a responsible position in the international community. We know Labor's approach to greenhouse because we've seen it before - if there's a treaty sign it. It doesn't matter if it penalises industry, it doesn't matter if it exports jobs from Australia. Well the Howard Government and the people of Australia are not going to stand for this.

Commonwealth of Australia