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  • Speers: Time to talk to the Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce,

  • and he's the acting Prime Minister as well right now.

  • To take us there here was the Prime Minister in Washington

  • talking to SBS about climate change and the net zero plan he's working on.

  • Morrison: We're making a plan, and that plan, I believe, will address the concerns

  • that Australians have about such a big type of change. Change can be concerning.

  • And I want to give them a plan that enables them to go "OK, that's what they're gonna do,

  • I can work with that. I can see my future in that. I can see the future of my town, my region in that."

  • And that's the assurance that Prime Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers, governments, want to give,

  • and that's the way through.

  • Speers: Barnaby Joyce, welcome to the program. Joyce: Thanks for that, Speersy.

  • Speers: Good to see you there. Can you confirm for starters, are you working with the Prime Minister now on a plan for net zero by 2050?

  • Joyce: Well, obviously the discussion is happening. It would be absurd to think that people are not having discussions,

  • but ultimately we have to know the process as well and my party room, the Nationals party room

  • is absolutely part and parcel of that and discussions will be taken back to that party room.

  • We look at it through the eyes of making sure that there is not an unreasonable loss of jobs or any loss of jobs in regional areas.

  • We've got to remember this is the area where we have the mining industry and this is the area where we have the agricultural industry

  • and it's not just those farms, not just the mines, it is the towns that are attached to the commerce of those industries.

  • It is the hairdressers, the tyre business. These people also rely on the Nationals to make sure that we don't pull the economic rug out from underneath them.

  • If we look at what pulling the economic rug out looks like, then it is something that I'm sort of perplexed that there is not more discussion about it.

  • What's happening in the UK and Europe with energy prices, sixfold increases in one year. 250% increase since the start of the calendar year.

  • A few days ago 850,000 people losing their energy provider, and a real concern over there about their capacity as they go into winter

  • to keep themselves warm and even keep their food production processes going through and as quoted by The Guardian, so you don't think it is right-wing rant, that says total chaos.

  • Speers: They have a gas crisis in the UK and parts of Europe at the moment is the reason for all that.

  • Just coming back here, to your concerns about regional communities, are you seeking to have agriculture excluded from any net zero target?

  • Joyce: Well, I'm not going to go into the particulars of what - of any sort of discussions,

  • but what I can say is, it is whether the commerce of a town is excluded, whether the loss of jobs is excluded.

  • Making sure that we take people with us and we don't replicate the obvious chaos that is happening in Europe,

  • and we make sure that we keep not only our mining industry - because you've got to remember, fossil fuels are our nation's largest export.

  • If you take away our nation's largest export to affect them in any way, then you have to accept the lower standard of living.

  • Speers: Are you saying there should be no coal jobs lost, is that the bottom line for you?

  • Joyce: Well, not by reason of domestic policy. International markets - if people say the world is moving on from that,

  • you will know that because there will be no ships off Hay Point in Queensland, no ships of Gladstone,

  • no ships off Newcastle and you can assume when that happens the world has moved on,

  • but currently we have record sales at record prices and we have England reopening coal-fired power stations because they can't keep the lights on.

  • Speers: It is pretty hard to see how you get to net zero while protecting all the coal jobs, isn't it?

  • Joyce: Do you just go up to families and say, "Sorry, you don't have a job and that's it."

  • Go to the places where they spend their money, the clothes shops, accountant, the tyre business, the corner stores and say,

  • "Sorry, no more money in Singleton, no more money in Rockhampton.

  • We've taken away the money and it has affected Townsville."

  • You've got to be mindful of that, that is what a prudent government does. Of course if you get it completely wrong,

  • then the whole economy is rocked as it is in Europe and as it is now in the United Kingdom.

  • Speers: I want to be clear on this. As I say, pretty hard to see how you can agree to any net zero 2050 or any time

  • if you are demanding the protection of all coal jobs. This is the bottom line for you: No coal jobs lost?

  • Joyce: It is not the bottom line. As I say, I won't go to the particulars and I do credit your astuteness process of trying to see if I do.

  • What I can say - you would believe the world is moving on from coal, and if that's the case, there won't be any demand for the product

  • and of course, you clearly understand, the listeners understand that that is our biggest export.

  • If you start shutting down your biggest export, the Government has less money.

  • So when you want money for more pensions or the NDIS, schools, hospital, the ABC,

  • you have to accept that we've made a decision that we will bring in less money,

  • so there is less places for the Government to spend it on. As simple as that.

  • You can't just keep borrowing money and thinking that that's not ending. Everybody looks at it and economically says,

  • "Hey, guys, Australians, how do you pay us back?" What product are you selling the world that the world wants

  • and if we haven't got that product, we're in strife.

  • Speers: I'm trying establish what your position is here. As you say, the world is moving on.

  • Coal - the world will stop using coal at some point, do you agree? And how can you protect those jobs indefinitely?

  • Joyce: Well, let's say that that's - let's work that statement out.

  • If it does, people will stop buying it off us and that's the progression.

  • Speers: Shouldn't be you helping the transition the industry now and those jobs in those regions?

  • Joyce: That's part and process of anything. As technology moves on, I've got no problems with that,

  • but to make a statement, "oh, the world is moving on from coal today," it is just not right.

  • We have the highest prices and the highest volumes in the sale of thermal coal and as I said

  • because they've completely botched it in the UK unfortunately they've had to go back and re-commission coal-fired power plants to keep the lights on.

  • Speers: Don't you need to plan for the future? Isn't this your - your job, to help these regions adjust?

  • Joyce: That's why we went into the nuclear submarine contract, we plan for the future,

  • we make sure we do, but we do it with our eyes wide open, because we have to focus on the economy,

  • we have to focus on the capacity to bring in money, we have to focus on the reliance of the Australian people.

  • Speers: So is it your fear that setting a target

  • Joyce: Billions and billions and billions of dollars of revenue and billions of dollars in royalties,

  • you have to make sure you don't just - if you are going to switch it off, you have to say to the Australian people,

  • as the Labor Party should, because they want to shut down the coal industry,

  • "This is how the books are going to work." They have to show the cost, they have to drill it out.

  • (cross talk)

  • Speers: This is what you're trying to establish now. Are you saying setting a net zero target would accelerate

  • the closure of coal, and is that something you're not willing to do?

  • Joyce: Well, there's - I suppose there are many ways to look at how you achieve a net zero target,

  • but I'm just telling you the economic facts. It's just arguing against the bleeding obvious that if you shut down our major export

  • which is fossil fuels, it is the biggest - our beef exports are less than 40 days,

  • 40 days of fossil fuel exports. Your barley exports are less than three days of your fossil fuel exports.

  • It is like fossil fuels, iron ore, daylight, daylight, daylight, our Australian economy's completely different to the economies of Europe

  • which are exporting pharmaceuticals or motor cars or Boeing ...

  • Speers: It doesn't sound like you're very keen on this net zero...

  • Joyce: No, no, I'm not keen on one-line, glitzy statements by people such as Mr Albanese or Mr Bowen who don't... In

  • Speers: You're in government Barnaby Joyce. Joyce: This is how we do it.

  • Speers: I appreciate that, but you're in government. It doesn't sound like you are at all keen on anything that is going to hurt coal industry jobs?

  • Joyce: No, no, it's the little old bush accountant saying that lots of clients have ideas, but if you sit down with them and say,

  • "OK, that's your idea, let's prudently go about this because otherwise you are going to get yourself in more strife than the early settlers.

  • Speers: What about the farmers who are already doing pretty well out of soil carbon, including your electorate,

  • what is your view on carbon credits and the potential benefits for farmers?

  • Joyce: Well, look, carbon in soil is just a very good idea because it is how you increase the productivity, the soil retention,

  • the fertility of the soil and it varies. If you go out west - I tell you the truth:

  • If I want to get greater carbon sequestration, I should pull over that forest, and plant perennial summer grasses,

  • maybe Digit, or Baffle grass if it grew here, it doesn't, Bambatsi or something because that absolutely sequestrates more carbon.

  • But if you were to suggest that, the environmental movement would lose their mind.

  • But it is a scientific fact so all of these things have moderations. I remember bringing this up with Penny Wong.

  • There is a scientific fact. There is a thesis on it, I can take you to the document...

  • Speers: Are you in favour of carbon farming? Are you in favour of farmers making a buck out of this?

  • Joyce: Well, you look at - well, it's not just farmers. Farmers are incredibly important, and I'm one. I was mustering cattle yesterday

  • and we managed to get two trucks bogged and they are in the yards at the moment.

  • It's also the town, you take New England, 12% of my electorate are farmers, incredibly important, I'm one of them.

  • That means you've got 78% that are not and that 78% also needs to be heard

  • and you've got to understand the main street in Singleton, the main street in Gladstone, what's happening up there in Townsville,

  • what happens in Moura, what happens in Emerald, what happens in Muswellbrook.

  • Speers: You say there is nothing in carbon farming for them? Joyce: Yes, you've got to make sure you protect them.

  • See, a lot of carbon farming, if you just lock up areas, then of course they don't run - if you just going back to -

  • I don't know, range lands, carbon sequestration - the more you increase it, in many instances the more you have to develop the land.

  • For instance, in dairy country, about 16%, incredibly high. In the Western range country, it could be as low as one to 4%.

  • Speers: Doesn't sound like you're sold onJoyce: High improvement.

  • Speers: Doesn't sound like you're sold on carbon farming as a great benefit for those regions.

  • Joyce: No, I am, but all these things are not binary.

  • They've got to take into account the temperance and understanding of what those conditions are.

  • I have no problems with carbon farming, I have no problems with biosecurity security offsets, but you say that's blanket.

  • Well you say, no you have to take into account what happens in the towns as well. You have to be mindful of your constituency.

  • Speers: And some of your colleagues are divided on this. We know there are those who are adamantly opposed to any net zero target

  • Joyce: Yes. Speers: And there are those, we see some of them in the paper again, Michael McCormack, Darren Chester,

  • who, as long as regional jobs are protected do want to sign up to net zero. How do you bridge that divide?

  • Joyce: That seems like a perfectly plausible position. I've read the total quotes of Michael McCormack and Darren Chester

  • and they take into account exactly what I'm saying, the caveat of making sure we are looking after our people and that seems like an incredibly sensible thing to say.

  • Make sure you look after your people. You've got to paint this in pictures so people understand.

  • If I said the way we are going to have a carbon mitigation strategy in Sydney is to shut down three lanes of the Harbour Bridge

  • and shut down the Gladesville Bridge, shut down the M2 and M7 and I think we are there, folks.

  • You would lose your mind. You'd say that's outrageous. You get it. You've got to think of how it works across the board.

  • In regional areas we are actually reducing our carbon emissions, we're doing it. In your urban areas, they are going up.

  • We play this game before with the Kyoto Protocol where basically we used to own that, own the vegetation.

  • Then we wake up one day and we didn't own it and we didn't get paid for it either. We are cautious.

  • If you suggest what you are going to do in the cities to bring down carbon emissions we are all ears, we are going to listen to that as well.

  • Speers: Just on the divisions in your party though, Darren Chester has told a couple of colleagues, he has told me as well

  • that he is taking a break from the National Party at the moment, not quitting at this stage, but he's taking a break.

  • He is fed up with you not reining in George Christensen and Matt Canavan with some of their comments.

  • What do you think of MPs taking a break from the party room?

  • Joyce: The National party room is the most democratic organisation in that Federal Parliament,

  • more democratic than the Greens or the Labor Party or even the Liberal Party.

  • In the past, a good mate of mine, Kevin Hogan sat on the crossbench,

  • these issues have happened before, but I will address the George Christensen thing.

  • Now, George Christensen is retiring from politics and I do talk to George,

  • but this idea that somehow you can just go up there and demand that he no longer talks or,

  • I don't know, put hobbles on him, gaffer tape his mouth up - that's not going to work,

  • and in a nation like - what Voltaire said, well, it wasn't Voltaire, it was - I can't remember...

  • Speers: Ok, we will leave that there. Joyce: I might not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

  • Is that principle now gone? Speers: You have a chat with Darren Chester and try to solve his issues and concerns?

  • Joyce: We have a party meeting every Monday.

  • Speers: OK. A lot going on in the foreign policy space, the meeting of the Quad, the new AUKUS partnership.

  • You've in the past have described China as the greatest threat Australia faces.

  • Why is that and what should it be taking from all of these movements in the strategic sphere?

  • Joyce: Well, you always judge any person or country by their actions.

  • And obviously our job is to keep the freedoms and liberties of your children, your grandchildren

  • to the same extent that you had them, and it's not just the actions of China.

  • They go without dispute, what has happened in the South China Sea, hacking of computers, incarceration of the Uighur people,

  • access roads into India, incursions there, other territorial statements, the threats to Taiwan,

  • the people who have gone off the street just basically been whipped off the street in Hong Kong -

  • you know, of course we've got to be mindful of that and to ignore that is a foolish thing to do,

  • but the best way to bring about peace and have peace in our region is with a comparable deterrent

  • and it is not just for us that we need peace, Malaysians, Indonesians, everyone needs peace in this region.

  • Not just the Chinese becoming more overt, it is the Russians. You can see the actions of Iranians.

  • Australia has a job to do and first and foremost the role of government is to keep their people safe.

  • And we don't want war. Australians don't want war. We don't want to go to wars,

  • especially the protection of Australian soil, so we need strong allies and the AUKUS gives that,

  • a re-investment in a platform, an interoperability that can keep people safe and keep us in a region of peace.

  • Speers: Final one, Barnaby Joyce, earlier this year you said you would fight for the Murugappan family to be allowed to return to Biloela.

  • You have been Acting PM for the past week. Few get that sort of chance in their lifetime.

  • What have you done in the past week to help with that fight?

  • Joyce: We also have a cabinet system of government and I've had discussions with previous ministers.

  • My views don't change. They surround the fact that the girls were born in Australia.

  • Speers: Did you raise anything this week with the minister? Joyce: Well, people know my views and...

  • Speers: You are Acting PM, did you express those views to the minister? He made a decision this week that keeps them out of Biloela.

  • Joyce: Look, I'm aware of the decision, right, and I'm not going to go into any discussions or otherwise

  • with what I might have had with ministers or not had with ministers, that's my right.

  • Once you start doing that, people will stop having discussions with you.

  • Speers: Barnaby Joyce, thanks for joining us this morning. Joyce: You're welcome, David.

Speers: Time to talk to the Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce,

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Barnaby Joyce says net zero plans are being discussed by the Nationals | Climate Talks | Insiders

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    joey joey posted on 2021/09/26
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