Laura Jayes: Okay, you’re in the Senate. They want to legislate. Labor wants to legislate a 43% reduction in emissions by 2030. They took it to the election. They have a mandate. Will you allow them to enact that mandate?


Simon Birmingham: Well that depends what the full nature of the legislation says, Laura. And that goes very much with the conversation we were just having. Simply legislating a target is meaningless without looking at the framework within which that target will be achieved. And so that’s the real question. What is the nature of the legislation-


Laura Jayes: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m not sure whether they’re going-


Simon Birmingham: -what is the framework for achieving that target and what are the implications?


Laura Jayes: I don’t think all the steps are going to be in the legislation. Isn’t that part of Parliament passes the target? Government of the day decides the steps? Isn’t that how it works?


Simon Birmingham: Well, that’s certainly not how I would expect it to work. The Parliament should clearly have a say in relation to the type of steps and there should be some clarity around how it is that such a target would be met. And what is what is the premise behind the legislation? Is it a target with consequences or is it simply a symbol? So if the a target with consequences, then rightly we need to scrutinise the consequences and how that is laid out. If it is purely a symbol and is of absolutely no consequence, aside from the Parliament making a statement in favour of a 43% emissions reduction target, well then what’s kind of the point of it, aside from making a statement, rather than actually having the clarity about how it is achieved. There for the Government to answer those questions. For us we need to see the legislation to be able to make an informed decision about whether there are any consequences to that legislation and if there are what they are and whether the Government’s got that right.


Laura Jayes: Okay. Your inclination, if you will, Senator, if it comes down to it and all that detail there and it’s symbolic and it’s just that 43% target by 2030, will you block out or will you pass it?


Simon Birmingham: I want to see Australia achieve as great an ambition in emissions reduction as is possible. And I want to give as strong a support as is possible to achieving those emissions reductions. But I’m not going to give blank checks to the Government personally, and nor should the opposition give blank checks to the government and without actually seeing the nature of legislation and their proposals. So there’s a concept that the government has put out there about legislating the target. Let’s see the meat on the bones of what that concept actually is, and then we can make a decision about it. The emissions reduction target itself, if it can be achieved without causing loss of Australian jobs, if it can be achieved without driving power prices higher for Australians, then of course I want to see us achieve that maximum ambition. I want to work with Australian business, industry and others and to protect those jobs, to protect Australian households as much as possible, and to achieve that maximum ambition to contribute towards climate action.


Laura Jayes: Okay. Before I let you go, these sanctions from Russia, 121 Australians on that list, including some of our very own Sky News journalists as the shadow foreign minister, what is the actual effect of being on this blacklist?


Simon Birmingham: Laura, some of us have been on those lists for for a few months. And so so those who have been added, like those of us who are already there will find that that of course, we’re no longer able to travel to Russia. Not that I expect too many people had much intent of travelling to Russia. I understand there may be other implications around financial or other engagements with Russia. But really, this is Russia playing petty games. The serious issue that is at stake here is, is the respect for the sovereignty of Ukraine, the horrific human toll that continues to occur. I am very pleased to see that many parts of the international community are rallying once more in support of Ukraine. The United States is committed further support to Ukraine and I hope and urge the new Australian Government to continue, as we did, with providing maximum assistance of military nature, as well as of civilian support to Ukraine and the people of Ukraine to help them continue their heroic fight against Russia, as we’ve seen, and for which they should be very proud of the way in which they have defended themselves to date.


Laura Jayes: You don’t want to go to sunny Russia, Senator, not on your list?


Simon Birmingham: LJ, it’s not quiet on the holiday plans, that’s for sure.


Laura Jayes: I’m a bit disappointed. I’m not on the blacklist, actually, but we’ll see. Give it time.


Simon Birmingham: Keep asking me questions and I’m sure you will be.


Laura Jayes: Okay, Senator Simon Birmingham, thanks so much for your time.


Simon Birmingham: My pleasure.