Television Interview - Weekend Sunrise

20 Nov 2022
Prime Minister
Relationship with China; global economic outlook; aim to host COP; floods visit; industrial relations legislation

MARK RILEY, HOST: Prime Minister, thanks for speaking with Weekend Sunrise.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Good to be with you, Mark.

RILEY: Are we taking it slowly on China?

PRIME MINISTER: I think it's necessary to go in positive steps, but the important thing is what direction you go in. And what occurred with the meeting with President Xi and also the informal discussions with Premier Li was steps forward in the right direction, in both Australia and China's interests.

RILEY: So can you give some hope to those Australian exporters who want to see a sliver of it, $20 billion is a lot of money? 

PRIME MINISTER: I put forward our case very strongly that it is in Australia's interest to export our wine, our meat, our seafood, our natural and mineral resources. They're great products. It’s in China's interest to import them because they're good products. So this has been counterproductive. It clearly hasn't been in Australia's interest, nor has it been in China's interest. And I put that forward respectfully to President Xi. And we'll work towards working those issues through.

RILEY: Are we heading towards a global recession now?

PRIME MINISTER: Certainly, the IMF today, the Managing Director Georgieva, was much more positive than I expected, than some out of the outlooks are. Certainly there are headwinds in the global economy. But she pointed out that we need to make sure that monetary policy works with fiscal policy, but that at the same time we look after the vulnerable. What struck me about this entire week of summits is the consistency in the messaging coming through about the way that an economy should work, about the challenge of dealing with climate change by seizing the opportunities that are there. I'm much more optimistic about the world than I was perhaps ten days ago as a result of that consistency of the message coming through overwhelmingly from the leaders.

RILEY: That’s optimistic, that’s good. Now, you mentioned climate change. Are you optimistic about your chances of hosting a COP in Australia?

PRIME MINISTER: I've received very positive feedback. I've received either commitments or at least positive considerations. No one said no. So I am positive about 2026 being able to host a COP in Australia. This is a big event. It brings tens of thousands of people to attend and coming to Australia. It would showcase Australia to the world and that is always a good thing. It's also important that during the APEC Summit that we've just had we had in the Bangkok Goals adopted, again, a consistency about the need to act on climate change. And in the Vice President of the United States’ acceptance of APEC host duties for 2023 she spoke about the goal of net zero and how that would be a focus of next year's APEC meeting.

RILEY: You’re pretty good at doing the numbers at home. This will test your ability to do them globally, I guess. And you’re heading home now.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we got quite a few commitments. Let me say that. I'm sure they have to go back and get ticked off by their respective governments. But it’s a start to get the leaders.

RILEY: You’ve got the ledger running. You’re heading home now. Are you going straight to the floods?

PRIME MINISTER: No, I am going home. And then I have spoken to Premier Perrottet. I'll be in The Lodge tomorrow and I suspect I'll have a bit of a quieter day tomorrow, which you would understand. But during the week I've left open. We've been texting each other about the possibility of visiting during the week.

RILEY: Okay, just finally, your IR bill goes into the Senate this week. Are you willing to negotiate? Are you willing to give a bit to get this across the line?

PRIME MINISTER: We always negotiate and we always are collaborative. We did that in the House of Representatives. We accepted a number of the amendments that were moved, even though we have an absolute majority. My Government is an inclusive government. We've sat down with business, we've sat down with unions and we've sat down with others who have an interest. The Senate Committee report will report. We’ll look at any practical suggestions going forward which improve the legislation. If they improve it, we'll vote for it. 

RILEY: Are you confident of getting it through in the two weeks?

PRIME MINISTER: We'll wait and see. I don't want to pre-empt these issues. But we're dealing with people with good faith. And I believe that a majority of the Parliament is doing that as well.

RILEY: Prime Minister, thanks for joining us.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks very much, Mark.