DAVID KOCH World leaders have gathered in Paris for the UN Climate Conference where the goal is a binding, global deal on addressing climate change. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the summit Australia will help vulnerable Pacific island nations.
To that end, Australia will contribute at least $1 billion over the next five years from our existing aid budget, both to build climate resilience and reduce emissions.
Mr Turnbull also focused on the importance of technology and innovation in tackling climate change. For more, I'm joined by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
Minister, thanks for your time, the financial assistance to help these Pacific nations will be re-directed from our existing foreign aid budget as the Prime Minister said. So, what areas are going to lose funding as a result of this?
JULIE BISHOP Well they won't lose funding because this is precisely what the small island developing nations of the Pacific are asking for. We provide aid in partnership with each country and they discuss with us where they want the aid dollars spent, because we are not the only aid donor to the Pacific, there are other countries as well and they have their own resources. So we work together with them to determine where they want the aid dollars spent. And many of them ask for it in the natural disaster resilience area. So it is to help them overcome natural disasters, environmental disasters because the Pacific is one of the most natural disaster prone regions in the world.
DAVID KOCH So if we were, for example, going to give foreign aid to Fiji to build roads, that foreign aid would go into climate resilience type programs instead now, basically.
JULIE BISHOP If indeed the roads were part of this country's climate resilience programs, well then yes, it would because this is what they are asking for. They are asking for support from Australia to help them overcome natural disasters. We have seen that in Vanuatu recently, in the Solomon Islands. They are asking for funding to help them with natural disasters and the after effect of it.
DAVID KOCH The Prime Minister is promising to halve our per capital gas emissions by 2030, sign up to this second period of the Kyoto Protocol. Would Tony Abbott have done that if he was still Prime Minister at this climate change summit?
JULIE BISHOP Yes I believe so. The 26 to 28 per cent target was of course set under Tony Abbott's Cabinet and was mandated by the Party Room at that time back in August. So the 26 to 28 per cent target, that's a reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, was a target that we agreed in August, and the issue of the Kyoto Protocol is all about ensuring that under the rules of that protocol, we can carry over the over achievement in our previous targets by 2020. It saves our budget about $2 billion and so therefore it's a sensible idea to ratify the protocol because it makes economic sense for Australia.
DAVID KOCH Yes. Reports today, you've got some narky backbenchers who reckon you are going too far. Is that overblown?
JULIE BISHOP The Kyoto Protocol issue was put to the backbench last week in the Party Room and it was endorsed unanimously.
DAVID KOCH Just while we've got you, next year's Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli could be scaled back because of the terror threat. The Dawn Service won't be affected but the service at Lone Pine could be called off. What is the threat there? Is this right?
JULIE BISHOP Well I hope that's not the case. We cannot let terrorists dictate our lives.
DAVID KOCH You haven't heard this? You haven't been informed of it or approached?
JULIE BISHOP Certainly not in relation to that level of detail. Of course any internationals events now attract an enormous amount of security. The Paris Climate Change Conference is proceeding – there are about 150 heads of governments and heads of state there – and this is just a couple of weeks after those horrific attacks, so we must not allow terrorism to dictate our lives.
DAVID KOCH This is the Veterans’ Affairs Minister saying this.
JULIE BISHOP My point is we mustn't allow this to happen. If there are changes in security because of the host country's security and intelligence arrangements, that's something that Australia would have to work with them over, but I am not aware of the specifics of Lone Pine on Anzac Day next year.
DAVID KOCH Julie Bishop, thanks for joining us.
JULIE BISHOP My pleasure.
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