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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 6 March 2008) . . Page.. 614 ..


Mr Stanhope: No. I have got that bit.

DR FOSKEY: What is the government’s position on the direction that the professor’s report appears to be taking?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I thank Dr Foskey for the question. Dr Foskey, it is the case that the Garnaut inquiry was commissioned by the states and territories through the Council for the Australian Federation. That was taken in the light of the obdurate refusal of the previous government to work with the states and territories on the development of a national emissions trading scheme. It was taken on the basis of the previous government’s refusal to implement the Kyoto Protocol which would take Australia forward or to show any leadership.

There was, and has been for a decade, a vacuum in leadership on climate change, reflected most specifically through the refusal of the previous government to countenance engaging with the international community through Kyoto and a refusal by the previous Prime Minister, until he saw the polling at the beginning of last year, to actually move from his position of scepticism around the reality of climate change. In that environment, given some particular or extra tension around repeated attempts by the states and territories to have climate change as a regular item on COAG agendas and a refusal by the Prime Minister to even actually pursue climate change through the Council of Australian Governments with prime ministerial leadership, the states and territories had no option but to seek, in the interests of the nation, to advance issues around emissions trading, engagement with Kyoto and the international community and a genuine desire to come to terms with the implications and the measures which we as a people and this nation must take.

So we did commission it. I do not know the dollar amount, but I am more than happy to provide it to Dr Foskey. There is an accepted formula in relation to almost all nationally commissioned work, whether it is for the commissioning of reports or the undertaking of programs and even in the dispensing of funds centrally to the states and territories. It is, more often than not, a pro rata-based agreement. There is one for all agreements that involve the commonwealth and a separate one where the commonwealth is not a party. The ACT committed to paying its standard pro rata proportion of the cost of the commissioning, and I just do not know the dollar amount. To that extent we pay, on a pro rata basis, the same as all other jurisdictions.

As to the direction, I think it needs to be understood that Professor Garnaut was an excellent choice for the pursuit of this particular task. His reputation is enormous. I am satisfied to date, Dr Foskey. I think that what we need to bring to the debate around climate change is complete rigour and a full understanding of the issues. It is rigour, objectivity and science that must inform the decisions which we as communities, as a jurisdiction and a nation take into the future. I believe the decisions we take must be based on that level of rigour.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Foskey.

DR FOSKEY: What is the government’s position on Professor Garnaut’s statement that climate change policy must begin with a science, and where does the ACT’s


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