Topics: Extinction rebellion protest; Climate change; Federal election


Will Goodings:  But first, South Australian Senator Simon Birmingham didn’t wake up this morning to imagine he was appearing on 5AA Breakfast, and it’s not on account of some international situation the federal government is dealing with. It’s because of a local one that he’s dealing with. He rocked up to work this morning and found a whole bunch of poo on his doorstep. Senator, good morning to you.


Simon Birmingham: Morning, guys. Good to be with you.


Will Goodings: [Laughs] It’s probably not the welcome to work you wanted, even on a Friday, Birmo.


Simon Birmingham: Well, you know, I’ve been in I’ve been in isolation for the last two weeks. Today’s the first day I’ve been allowed out of a house for-


Will Goodings: They must have known.


Simon Birmingham: Maybe they got a tip off.


Will Goodings: Extinction Rebellion. Sorry, Senator. Extinction Rebellion are claiming responsibility. You moved, are you move to reconsider your position on climate and, you know, falling into line with Extinction Rebellion?


Simon Birmingham: Look, it is these radicals from Extinction Rebellion, and look, I guess I’m glad if they’re going to cause a bit of disruption it’s outside my office rather than holding up South Australians when they glued themselves to Victoria Square the other week and blocked all the traffic. So it’s a step forward in terms of their madness. I reckon in terms of climate change outcomes, we’ve got to look at the fact that Australia is committed to net zero by 2050. China hasn’t. Russia hasn’t. India hasn’t. They’re three out of the four top emitters in the world. So there’s a bit of perspective to be had here. We’re investing billions of dollars. We’re ahead of our targets in terms of reducing emissions, which many other countries can’t say. We’ve reduced them by more than 20 per cent already, which many other countries can’t say. So these guys are making a lot of noise because they obviously like the protests and likes to get attention. But we’re getting on with the real job.


Simon Birmingham: We did suggest- we know you’re the eternal diplomat, Birmo. It’s not something you would advocate, but we were suggesting that there’s a large building in Joselyn that might be a more deserving recipient of three wheelbarrows full of poop.


Simon Birmingham: Well, look, I reckon plenty of keen western suburbs gardeners out there who most welcome to stop at 107 Sir Donald Bradman Drive, Hilton this morning and help themselves for their vegie patches. Plenty of rain. So now add the manure. Go your hardest.


Will Goodings: Hey, Senator was talking earlier in the program about the fact that the prime minister has been very keen to frame the conversation that led up to the next federal election around the Australian economy and rebuilding it after the situation we’ve been in over the course of the last almost two years now. Is there going to be a policy component to this debate or is it going to be a battle of the battle of the slogans in terms of who you can trust on the economy?


Simon Birmingham: You know, the big policy component already, our budget this year was framed entirely around Australia’s economic recovery plan. We knew that coming out of COVID, they were going to be a number of challenges. Now great news for SA in yesterday’s unemployment figures. Some 31,000 jobs created in South Australia this year and a decline in the unemployment rate here. Challenges interstate, particularly in Victoria. And I guess that shows, you know, the pain that comes from lockdowns versus the opportunities from opening up. And we saw as New South Wales was taking tentative steps to open up. When this survey of unemployment occurred, they had jobs growth, whereas Victoria had jobs decline. But our budget plans are all about investment in manufacturing. The PM’s announcing another $30 million in food manufacturing investments today that’s part of a multi-billion dollar manufacturing strategy, comes on top of digital economy strategies. Obviously, here in SA, the work to progress the number of defence investments we’re making, so we’re intensely focussed on jobs and there will be a lot of policy focus on jobs to come.


Will Goodings: South Australian Senator Simon Birmingham. We hope the rest of your day is less smelly than the start of it.


Simon Birmingham: [Laughs] Thanks, guys.