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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

6 March 2006

Beazley plans greenhouse announcement at Great Barrier Reef - but he will duck the hard questions

Labor leader Kim Beazley will reportedly announce a new climate change ‘blueprint’ tomorrow at the Great Barrier Reef – an area that the Howard Government is already protecting.

The test for Mr Beazley is – will he dump Mark Latham’s outdated two-word climate change policy: to ‘sign Kyoto’?

A person who is renowned for being prolix on just about any subject has been unable to get past two-word utterances on one of the most important public policy challenges of our age.

Two senior Labor figures are split with Mr Beazley over the need for the world to move beyond Kyoto.

The paucity of Labor’s position has been spelled out by these two senior Labor figures:

  1. Labor frontbencher Martin Ferguson – a great supporter of the Australian Government’s involvement in the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6) – told the Australian Uranium Conference last year that a group of 22,000 New Zealand businesses had called on that country's government to scrap its commitment to Kyoto and instead join the AP6: “Businesses in New Zealand are concerned that compliance with Kyoto could cost far more than the government has estimated."
    (Martin Ferguson, 12 October 2005)

  2. Union heavyweight and newly-preselected Labor candidate Bill Shorten said yesterday that “The real issue is going forward in the future, not just signing the Kyoto Protocol. That debate has come and gone.”
    (Bill Shorten, ABC Insiders programme, 5 March 2005)

Will Mr Beazley now backflip on his contemptuous dismissal of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, a breakthrough partnership which brings together for the first time the US, China, India, Japan, South Korea and Australia to develop and deploy new technologies to cut global greenhouse gas emissions?

When the AP6 agreement was announced, Mr Beazley said: “It’s nothing. It’s spin.”
(Kim Beazley, AAP, 27 July 2005)

Now Mr Beazley has the chance to join his industry spokesman, Mr Ferguson, who said “this is a regional grouping of countries that, working in partnership, has within its gift, the capacity to make a serious global impact on patterns of energy use and greenhouse emissions – and Australia is part of it.”
(Martin Ferguson, Australian Uranuim Conference, Perth, 11 October 2005)

The Australian Government is investing $1.9 billion on domestic measures to combat climate change and remains determined to reduce greenhouse gases without simply shutting down Australia’s power supply and sending jobs offshore.

Mr Beazley’s challenge is to do the same – get past slogans and set down a serious public investment plan.

Mr Beazley will reportedly make his announcement tomorrow at the Great Barrier Reef.

This is an insult. Mr Beazley has a policy to tear up the boundaries of the Reef Marine Park. He must reverse this Latham policy tomorrow.

The Howard Government acted before the last election to place one third of the Reef in protected marine park green zones – an environmental outcome which has been recognised through global awards.

The Australian Labor Party position, as articulated by Mr Latham, and retained by Mr Beazley, remains to tear up all the boundaries in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – throwing communities, fishermen and businesses into disarray and confusion.

Queensland Labor Senator Jan McLucas admitted Labor had retained its policy of tearing up the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park boundaries during a Senate Estimates hearing last year:

Senator Campbell: When were you going to review the boundaries?
Senator McLucas: In the review period that was described in the RAP ...
Senator Campbell (later): You said you were going to review the boundaries, I said I wasn't - there's the difference.
(Senate Estimates hearing, Parliament House, Canberra, 26 May 2005)

The Howard Government is acting to provide a fair and equitable outcome for fishermen and related businesses, but is determined that the boundaries in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park will remain unchanged.

Mr Beazley will give no such undertaking.

Media Contact:
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia