Radio Interview - 2CC Canberra Breakfast - 10 August 2021

Radio Interview - 2CC Canberra Breakfast - 10 August 2021 Main Image

By David Smith MP

10 August 2021


SUBJECTS: Prime Minister’s performance; COVID-19 vaccine roll-out; IPCC report and Australia’s carbon emissions; and the Tokyo Olympics with athletes from Bean and Hume.

STEPHEN CENATIEMPO, HOST: Time to talk to two of our federal politicians; representing the Labor Party is the member for Bean, David Smith. G'day, Dave.


CENATIEMPO: And representing the government, the Liberal member for Hume, the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor. Angus, good morning.

ANGUS TAYLOR, MEMBER FOR HUME: Good morning, Stephen.

CENATIEMPO: Dave, can I start with you? Can you tap Albo on the shoulder and tell him he's got to stop this rubbish about the Prime Minister only had two jobs. He's basically telling the Australian
people that he's not fit for the job himself if he believes that.

SMITH: Stephen, in a sense he's let the Prime Minister off but in a pretty fair way, because what Albo said over and over again is that there are two critical jobs this year and that is rolling out the vaccine program effectively and actually doing something about quarantine. But you're right, he's got many more than two jobs – (e.g.) there's setting up an integrity commission — but there are plenty of other jobs that the Prime Minister isn't doing effectively.

But for us, if we want to actually map our way out of this pandemic, then this government has to properly get on top of the vaccine roll-out and to deal with the ongoing variants we're going to have to deal in the next couple of years something
must be done about quarantine effectively as well.

CENATIEMPO: Well, Angus, the vaccine roll-out has been slow. There's no question about that. It is now starting to ramp up and get on track. I think we're up around twenty-four per cent or something like that nationally, fully vaccinated or give or take a couple here or there and some jurisdictions doing better than others. But the concept of quarantine, the problem that the Prime Minister—and where the Prime Minister has to take blame here—is he did allow this farcical national cabinet to take control of quarantine. They failed at it. Is it time now that the federal government does have to step in and clean up the mess?

TAYLOR: Oh, Stephen, look, I'll push back a bit on that and 99, more than 99 per cent of quarantine has been hugely successful.

CENATIEMPO: Oh, no doubt about that.

TAYLOR: And it had to be done quickly and it had to be done effectively. You know, Labor lives in this world of hindsight and they love it. But we live in the real world of governing and the
quarantine has largely been successful. Now, you talked about the vaccine roll-out. We're now running at well over 200 000 a day vaccines. And we're seeing ... we've seen an extraordinary ramp up. Australians are getting on with it. Albo was missing in action
on encouraging Australians to get out there and get vaccinated for a long while. He's showing a little more action now. I wouldn't say he's overly enthusiastic, but we need all of us to be all on song getting Australians vaccinated and getting back to normal
as quickly as we can.

CENATIEMPO: Dave, there is a point to be made there and whilst I don't blame Albo for this, surely there's a role for him to play in pulling some of these state and territory Labor leaders into line, particularly in Queensland, where they've actively demonised one of the vaccines that we've got there and the one that has saved most of Europe.

SMITH: Stephen, Albo's been out there saying that Australians should be getting vaccinated every day, but the reality is many Australians still can't get vaccinated. They can't actually even book their vaccinations. There are big parts of Sydney at the moment where there are not vaccination hubs. So, look, there are real challenges on the ground for vaccination right across the country and we can try and gild the lily as much as we like, but we're still 33rd out of 38 OECD countries in relation to the vaccine roll-out. The Prime Minister likes to try and find someone else to blame for the job that he seems to have done. I actually agree with you. He had many more than two jobs to do. But on these two, he's done dismally.

TAYLOR: Stephen, can I just jump in there?


TAYLOR: You know David did exactly what Albo always does, which is "Oh, yeah, you should get vaccinated. But I tell you what, it's really hard to get it. Don't bother." This is absolutely

SMITH: Oh that's not—sorry, I didn't say don't bother.

TAYLOR: Hang on, let me finish. We've got AstraZeneca—

SMITH: No, no, —

TAYLOR: We've got AstraZeneca in large quantities out there there—

SMITH: Albo didn't say don't bother getting vaccinated; that's not right.

TAYLOR: People need to get out there and get vaccinated. Good news in Canberra—we've seen very high numbers getting vaccinated, which is fantastic and certainly in my electorate, we've seen the same. I've been out there every day encouraging people to get the vaccine, don't get fussy about the type of vaccine. They're all effective. We've just seen numbers coming in from Doherty about how effective both of them are. We've got a third one on the way in Moderna. We've got the first of those doses arriving in September. Please get out there, get vaccinated, have a look around. It's true that the first doctor you call mightn’t have some on the day, but you can always call another one. Pharmacists now also have it and a large number of pharmacists and there'll be more as well.

CENATIEMPO: Angus, I will—

TAYLOR: So, please, please, everybody.

CENATIEMPO: —I will defend Dave here in one sense in that and again this comes back to the incompetence of the state governments because the actual roll-out on the ground is happening through
them. Again, when the federal government hands over its role to a bunch of B graders, you've got to expect that there's going to be problems. I mean, isn't it time for the federal government to step in and say, look, we are going to run this and do it properly?

TAYLOR: Well, the reality of health is it's always going to be a joint venture. The hubs that David talked about, are hubs driven by state governments. I mean, he omitted to mention that you can go to a doctor, which is not a hub. And there's a lot of AstraZeneca around so, you know, go on to lots of websites telling you where there's some available—Hot Docs is a good one. There's others as well. And please, everybody, get out there, check it out, make a few calls. You might have to make more than one, I understand that. But it's really important. Whatever the vaccine, if you haven't had one yet, please get one.

CENATIEMPO: Dave, I'll give you last word on this before we move on to something else.

SMITH: First of all, Stephen, the idea that Albo said don't bother, it's just a complete slur and Angus knows that's the case. We've been pointing out challenges around the vaccine roll-out and distribution all the way through and in a practical way. The reality is the states and territories actually do a good job of this; they do it every year with the flu vaccine. They do it with our traditional immunisation. The problem here is that the federal government didn't work properly with them in the first place. We're starting to see some changes there but there are still some real challenges in terms of ensuring that people can get access to vaccines.

CENATIEMPO: Well, I think that that echoes what I've been saying—

SMITH: That's true.

CENATIEMPO: —that national cabinet has been a farce and a failure from the beginning. Angus, I want to touch on this IPCC report that has ramped up the rhetoric on climate alarmism. They've
been wrong in all their predictions leading up to now. Do we need to listen to them? Do we need to change what we're doing or are we downplaying the successes that we've already had in reducing emissions?

TAYLOR: Well, this report isn't about the successes we've already had. It's actually about the science of climate change. But we are having enormous successes. Look, there's lots of people wanting to talk down Australia. And, you know, that's true across the board. It's actually ... we've even seen it from other countries in our incredible performance on the Olympics. We quietly get on with the job. That's exactly what we're doing. We've seen very significant emissions reductions, 20 per cent since 2005. We're the world leader in household solar—you see that around Canberra. There's no other country achieving what we are on a per capita basis. We smashed our 2020 targets. We're in line to smash
our 2030 targets. We just quietly get on with the job and that is the Australian way, we're doing this the Australian way and will continue to do this the Australian way.

CENATIEMPO: Dave, on your side of politics, there are obviously two camps on this. The common sense is starting to come through a little bit. Is it getting cut through in the party room?

SMITH: Stephen, on the key issues we sing from the same hymn page and basically there's a great opportunity that Angus and the Morrison government have this week, and that's just as a bare minimum—do what the states, industry, business, agriculture groups, all our major trading partners are doing in targeting carbon neutrality by 2050; it's a bare minimum.

I mean, this report effectively is providing yet more evidence of the cost of inaction and it's past time that the government stops spinning and starts delivering for Australians. The opportunity for Angus is of course, Barnaby's stuck up in Armidale so rather than having to pander to the Nationals, the Liberals have got a good opportunity just to commit to that bare minimum of carbon neutrality by 2050.

CENATIEMPO: All right.

TAYLOR: Stephen, can I respond to that?


TAYLOR: I mean, you know, Labor talking down Australia again, I've given you the data. We've beaten—

SMITH: I'm not talking down Australia, Angus.

TAYLOR: Well our achievements—

SMITH: I'm not talking down Australia.

TAYLOR: Hang on, hang on, the achievements of Australia—and our farmers have played a lead role in this, households are playing a lead role with this—with putting solar PV on their roofs,
has beaten countries like New Zealand, Canada, United States, Japan. We're ahead of them all and that is something we should be proud of. There's more work to do. There's no doubt about that. Meanwhile, the one thing required in the Paris agreement is a 2030
target and Labor doesn't have a 2030 target; it's too scared of this after the last election. We've got to get on with the job. Practical action, keeping a strong economy, not destroying jobs, not destroying regions, not destroying sectors. And that's the
Australian way.

CENATIEMPO: All right. Let's talk about something we can all agree on. This region has well and truly punched above its weight in the recent Tokyo Olympics. Dave, I'll start with you. Was
there a highlight for you?

SMITH: For me it was the Boomers, Stephen, and particularly Patty Mills. Patty Mills, you know, began his basketball journey down in Monash shooting hoops and went to Marist College and played for the Shadows. And he's got such an amazing connection through his dad, to Eddie Mabo, his mum to the Stolen Generations. But, you know, one thing that you can see his connection to basketball history too, to the days of the Jacksons, the Hurleys, the Barnses and he leads on and off the court and 42 points, the best individual performance in Olympic medal history, extraordinary performance. There were so many of them, Stephen.

CENATIEMPO: There certainly was and a lot of them with ties to Canberra. Angus, what was your highlight?

TAYLOR: Well, David's right we were spoiled for choice in this Olympics. I mean, what an amazing spectacle and event and what a ray of sunshine at a tough time for so many Australians. But look, much to choose from—the flying mullet, what a performance, finally seeing an Australian do well in the 100 metres and the decathlon—the way those two guys work together, amazing. But the two local performances for me, Emily Chalke from Crookwell in the hockey—great local performance—and Shane Rose in medalling in the equestrian. Well done, Shane.

CENATIEMPO: Good on you. Thank you for your time, gentlemen. Dave Smith, Labor member for Bean, we'll catch up again next time.

SMITH: Thanks, Stephen.

CENATIEMPO: And Angus Taylor, Liberal Member for Hume and Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. Thanks, Angus.

TAYLOR: Thanks, David and Stephen.