Transcript - Finkel Review [Parliament House Doorstop]




SUBJECT/S: Finkel Review; foreign donations

WAYNE SWAN, MEMBER FOR LILLEY: In 2013, Tony Abbott took a working carbon price and destroyed it; the consequence was that wholesale electricity prices have doubled. Tony Abbott was a wrecker then and he's a wrecker now. The tragedy however is that he's now joined by up to half of the party room, who can't face up to the basic scientific facts presented by the chief scientist and are now in revolt about a policy that is absolutely essential to our strong economic growth into the future. You can't have a first class economy unless it is substantially powered by renewable energy. The fact that the Liberal Party cannot accept the basic facts of climate change and the science that goes with it proves that they are absolutely unfit to govern.

JOURNALIST: Are you concerned though that Labor has put Malcolm Turnbull in a position where he actually can't get anything past his party room?

SWAN: No, Malcolm Turnbull has put himself in that position. He chose the chief scientist, he asked for the report. The report has gone into the party room and he cannot even carry his own party room. What is really disturbing is that the mugs and the thugs in the Liberal Party room cannot even accept basic scientific facts. What that does is threaten our future economic growth and exposes this country to dangerous climate change. You couldn't get a more toxic combination from the Liberal Party, proving that they are incapable of governing this country.

JOURNALIST: Labor last week expressed a willingness to work with the Government on climate policy. Does this throw any sort of hope out the window?

SWAN: The problem here is that the Government's party room won't work with the Government on this question, that's what we saw last night. Now you've got a Government that can't govern it's incapable but worst of all will not accept basic scientific facts of climate change and the economic implications. Prices are up since they scrapped the carbon price in 2013, wholesale prices have doubled and as a consequence of this chaos they will go up even higher. That's the consequence of Tony Abbott's wrecking tactics and he's now joined by up to half of the Liberal Party room. It's not a Liberal Party anymore it's a conservative party that looks backwards; it's a conservative party that can't face up to the facts of modern life. It doesn't matter where you look, whether it's economic equality, whether it's gender equality, or whether it's dealing with climate change these people live in the past and Tony Abbott best represents that. But sadly he's now joined by massive numbers in the party room meaning that this Government cannot govern.

JOURNALIST: Would you support Anthony Byrne's call for a parliamentary inquiry into foreign donations?

SWAN: Yes I do.

JOURNALIST: Have you experienced that, in your senior leadership positions in the party, influence by Chinese donors in the last decade?

SWAN: I have a long history in politics of putting forward strong proposals for full disclosure of campaign donations; I think it's important that we have a strict regime there. I think it is timely that we look even further at the role that large donations play whether they are foreign or domestic. I'm in favour of banning foreign donations.

JOURNALIST: Does Labor have a problem here that needs tackling on foreign donations?

SWAN: Well I'm in favour of there been a reference here. The Liberal Party once again won't face up to facts here and does not favour the inquiry, once again sticking its head in the sand.

JOURNALIST: If a climate scheme mechanism like the one that's been proposed does get through, how substantially would Labor intend to ratchet it up?

SWAN: We have to see what they are going to do and if you look what happened in the Party room last night who's confident anything is going to happen. I mean it's disgraceful, just go through it again 2013 - Tony Abbott destroyed a working carbon price, he wrecked it and now he's in the party room wrecking all this again. But the problem is, it's not just Tony Abbott now, it's dozens and dozens of Government backbenchers who are rejecting the findings of the Chief Scientist, who the Government handpicked. Consider that for a minute, that is absolutely breathtaking.

JOURNALIST: What do you think the role of nuclear should be, Jane Prentice this morning saying that should be on the table.

SWAN: Well they sound pretty desperate don't they? I don't think it's got a role for Australia.

JOURNALIST: What should Malcolm Turnbull be doing, given it’s kind of a no win situation for him, if he acts on climate policy he’s going to potentially face leadership rumblings?

SWAN: Well the Liberal Party is in chaos and it's not just on climate change. Look at the economy. Look at the recent budget, what a farce. The national accounts have been delivered, the growth figures are hopelessly optimistic. I think they are all over the shop and I think they are falling apart and I don't think that's a very good thing for the country. How that ends I can't predict. Thank you.