26 February 2019
Transcript - #2019002, 2019

Interview with Kieran Gilbert and Laura Jayes, AM Agenda

JAYES:

Let's go live to the Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert. Stuart Robert, thanks for your time. What's your reaction to this conviction, subsequent appeal lodged by Cardinal George Pell?

ROBERT:

I was just listening to Father Brennan speak then and I thought his comments were seasoned and sound and erudite. I thought he gave a very good synopsis of the issues affecting the churches as well as the nation. It's always a - I think, quite a blow especially to faith groups when they see the leader of their organisation being charged and then found guilty by 12 of fellow citizens. So I think Father Brennan nailed some of the solemnity of the issue as well as some of the gravity, as well as perhaps some of the other issues as they move into an appeal.

GILBERT:

You're a person whose faith has guided your life and your political career as well. Did you feel anything personally when you heard this verdict yesterday?

ROBERT:

Always do because people will judge faith and they'll judge the idea of a God and a saviour through the eyes of the - I guess the fallen humanity that was on display and it's always sad that people will do that. Just because, I guess, men and women, we do the wrong thing at times and at times they do the wrong thing appallingly, it doesn't mean that a loving God is still not loving so, yeah, I think it's a sad day all round. I think Father Brennan probably nailed it quite well.

JAYES:

Let's turn our attention now to the politics of the day, Assistant Treasurer, and, well, the energy discussion, the Prime Minister's off to
Tasmania talking about hydro power again off the back of the Snowy Hydro commitment yesterday. Is this a Government cobbling together an energy and climate policy on the eve of the election?

ROBERT:

I'm pretty excited about what the Prime Minister's looking at doing in Tasmania with Battery of the Nation. When I became Assistant Treasurer, one of the first meetings I had was with the respective Minister from Tasmania, Guy Barnett, coming down with his slide pack of Battery of the Nation so this has been under active consideration for a very, very long time and if you think about it, so much of Tasmania's power is driven by hydro. The idea of a second Marinus Link across to Victoria, the idea of unlocking up to 2,500 megawatts of dispatchable power, that's something like 30 times the Tesla battery in SA. This has been in the pipeline for a while, I think it's pretty exciting and I applaud the Prime Minister for working with Will Hodgman on looking at how we can unlock it together.

GILBERT:

Some voters are questioning the Coalition's climate change credentials. Do you think this will go some way to satisfy that? Does the Government now have an argument to prosecute in the lead up to the election?

ROBERT:

Well, I think what we do in climate is very practical. So the Prime Minister announced $3.5 billion climate solutions package over the next decade that builds on the emissions reduction fund with a Climate Solutions Fund and of course we'll exceed our 2020 targets by well over 360 million tons. The energy market will meet the 26 per cent reduction on 2005 eight years early, by 2022, and the Prime Minister has constantly said and his announcements have shown that we'll meet our 2030 targets in a canter. So we're very practical in how we do it, we just get on with the job with as little fanfare as possible and Snowy 2 shows that and I think the Prime Minister's work now with Tasmania just simply reinforces that we understand there's an issue, we understand we have a part to play and we're very practically minded to get on and do the job.

GILBERT:

Assistant Treasurer, Stuart Robert, we appreciate your time, thanks for that.