On Monday 7 November 2022, I asked the Prime Minister if the government will commit to not opening new coal and gas projects. You can read the full transcript below.
E WATSON-BROWN: My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, your government wants to host the 2026 COP climate summit with the Pacific, yet Australia is one of the world's biggest fossil fuel exporters, with a further 114 new coal and gas projects in the pipeline. Prime Minister, to help secure the hosting of the global climate summit, will you now commit to not opening any coal and gas projects?
A ALBANESE: I thank the member for her question and for her engagement and her passionate advocacy for action on climate change. The government will be implementing the plan that we took to the election: our Powering Australia plan, our plan to reduce emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, our plan to engage with our Pacific neighbours. At the Pacific Islands Forum, which Prime Minister Bainimarama hosted in Fiji, it was clear to me that the entry card to get into discussions around the globe is action on climate change. It's taking climate change seriously. And the fact is that the communique from that summit, from the Pacific Islands Forum, welcomed the Australian government's new position as it's been welcomed around the world, as it's been welcomed in North America by President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau; as it's been welcomed in Europe by the European Commission, as it has been welcomed and will be welcomed at the COP, which the minister will be attending next week on behalf of the Australian government.
Australia is now back, engaged with the global challenge of dealing with climate change, and we know that one nation alone can't deal with it. We need to be part of bringing the community with us and we need to be part of bringing the whole globe with us as well, which is why I've been very pleased with the discussions I've had. In most countries, this is not a partisan issue. I discussed it with the new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, just last week. The first issue that we discussed as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom—a conservative prime minister—and an Australian Labor Prime Minister was action on climate change and our common positions on that. It was just like when I had that discussion with Prime Minister Johnson when he was in office and with Prime Minister Truss when she was in office as well.
The extraordinary thing about when you engage with international leaders—and we will be engaging to secure the hosting of the COP in a few years time and we will be attempting to host that with our Pacific neighbours. We're receiving strong support from around the Pacific for that objective. It would be a good thing for Australia to do, and I look forward to success, to notifying the parliament and for us to work to host what is a very important international event.