Interview with David Koch and Natalie Barr, Sunrise

27 Oct 2021
Prime Minister

Natalie Barr: Scott Morrison will be at Glasgow next week, and he joins us live this morning. Morning, Prime Minister, thank you for your time. Tell us, have you heard anything about the Queen's condition this morning and is a cancellation a blow for next week's summit? 

Prime Minister: No, I haven't heard anything further but have had the great privilege to meet Her Majesty on several occasions, and all Australians wish her a speedy recovery, of course. It's disappointing she won't be able to attend the summit. I'm sure everyone would have been looking forward to seeing her there. She's a, she's an extraordinary person and we just wish her all the very, very best. 

David Koch: A lot to get through tonight, Prime Minister. Other news overnight, Singapore has confirmed, will allow Aussies to travel there quarantine free from November 8, US also announced changes to travel requirements. Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to get in there now. World opening up. Are we ready to travel again? 

Prime Minister: Yeah, we are. Over half a million Australians have already been able to download their international vaccination certificate. I can announce today that last night the Health Minister signed off on the fact from the 1st of November, Australians who are double vaccinated will be able to travel overseas. As we've flagged and that's we're looking forward to that. We're getting very close now to announcing the the reciprocal arrangement with Singapore. As you know, those flights from Qantas start on the 22nd of November, and I flagged last week that we're working to a timetable around about then, which will see other visa holders in addition to Australians returning or going to Singapore and returning who are double vaccinated, being able to come to Australia. So the national plan is working. The national plan provides for this. The national plan is about opening Australia up, and that's because the vaccination rates are climbing so high. Today, I can tell you that Australia's first dose vaccination rate is now higher than the United Kingdom, higher than the United Kingdom, already higher than the United States. And that's as a percentage of the whole population. So well done, Australia. South Australia is over 80 per cent first vaxxed rates today to so well done to those in South Australia. 

Koch: Yeah, we've done a great job. Just on that, do you support unvaccinated tennis players being allowed into the Australian Open? 

Prime Minister: All the same rules have to apply to everyone. If I wasn't double vaccinated when I got home from Glasgow, I'd be doing two weeks of quarantine in Sydney, so the same rules apply to everyone. Whether you're a grand slam winner, a prime minister or a business traveller, a student or whoever. Same rules. The states will set the rules about the quarantine as they are. 

Koch: So they'll be able to come in and quarantine unvaccinated tennis players? 

Prime Minister: Correct. 

Barr: Okay. 

Prime Minister: Yeah, that's the rule. That's a rule that applies where they have those arrangements. There are many people who still come to Australia at the moment under particular arrangements. But if you're not vaccinated, you'll have to quarantine in Victoria. 

Koch: OK, let's move on to the climate change issue, which is a big one from overnight. We now, you've given us a roadmap to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. It will largely rely on new technologies. Australia's copped a lot of criticism in the past over its lack of climate action. What will this roadmap do for us? 

Prime Minister: Well, let's deal with the first point. Australia has reduced our emissions by more than 20 per cent. That's what we've actually achieved. That's greater than the US, the UK, New Zealand, Canada. We've got the highest rate of rooftop solar in the world. We've got record rates of renewable investment. So Australia is taking action on climate change. Is getting the results that other countries are not getting. And the way we're going to continue to achieve that is not by putting mandates on people and taxes on people. I mean, we didn't get this by having higher taxes or laws. We didn't get a COVID vaccine by having to pass laws on people and put taxes on them. Technology is the thing that has driven the biggest changes we've ever seen, and that's the pathway to get to net zero. We don't have to shut Australia down, stop digging things up, stop planting things to achieve net zero. Australians don't have to be punished to achieve net zero. That's not our plan. That's not the Australian way. And our plan, which is the Australian way, our plan to get to net zero by 2050 gets that balance right. And that's why I think it's the right plan for Australia. 

Barr: So a lot of you know, a bit of criticism on it. Industry, big business, says it's actually an incomplete policy because you're not explaining any detail, any costs, 30 per cent of it is technology that will be developed sometime in the future. 40 per cent of it is stuff we're already doing. What do you say to that? 

Prime Minister: Well, I reject that and it's 15 per cent which is relying on future technologies. And anyone who says they can predict every technology that's going to turn up over the next 30 years is having you on. You know, there are those who want higher taxes to achieve this. They want big, strong, big regulations forcing people to do things. And I think what our plan exposes is the myth of that. You know, there are those who say if we go down the path to net zero by 2050, we're all ruined. Well, that's not true. The world is changing, the world is moving, and we need a plan that protects Australia from those changes but realises the opportunity. But then there are the others who say you can only do this by punishing Australians, by punishing rural and regional Australia, shutting everything down, taking people's jobs away. They're wrong too. Our plan gets the balance right in the middle, which says that we can get there with technology. We are getting there. We're demonstrating it already. We're going to do it the Australian way, and we're not going to have people from overseas telling us what our economy is about and how it works. We know and we'll do the right thing for Australia, particularly in rural and regional areas. 

Koch: Let's take the politics out of it. Obviously, you support the plan. Obviously, Labor will criticise. But Australia's premier technology guru Mike Cannon-Brookes from Atlassian says this is just more BS. CNN says it's the weakest climate pledge of any rich country going to Glasgow. The New York Times says this plan is built on hope and little else. 

Prime Minister: No, I reject all of that because I mean, there are people out there who want Australia to tax people, put regulations on them, shut things down, stop Australians doing things that are the lifeblood of rural and regional Australia. We're not doing that. We don't have to do that. That is the big myth that is exposed. You don't have to shut Australia down for us to achieve our emissions reductions. We've already achieved more than 20 per cent emissions reduction and we've grown our economy by 45 per cent. We've got a million people working in manufacturing again under our policies. Under Labor, one in eight manufacturing jobs went. So we're getting this done. Now they might not like how we're doing it, but we're getting the results. Australia's actions and results speak more than the words of others, and we're getting it done. Australians want it done, but they don't want to throw their livelihoods away. 

Koch: Even David Attenborough is having a go at us. Blimey, that's embarrassing. 

Prime Minister: No it's not. I'm not embarrassed at all when it comes to doing what's right by Australia. Everyone else who doesn't understand Australia, our economy and the challenges that we have here, they're entitled to their opinions. But I'm going to do what's right for Australia and Australia is getting results. As I said, our emissions reduction better than New Zealand, better than the United States, better than Canada, better than Japan. We're getting it done. Our emissions are down. Our economy is up. We're actually showing them the way. 

Barr: So we're the best in the world, that's ...

Koch: OK. Prime Minister, appreciate your time. Thank you.

Prime Minister: Thanks a lot, guys.