Interview with Elysse Morgan – The Business – Thursday, 6 July 2017





SUBJECTS: Barnaby Joyce’s threat to Australian trade, Adani.

PRESENTER: Jason Clare, the DeputyPrime Minister Barnaby Joyce has indicated support for the US if it sanctions against China over North Korea. Would Labor support that?

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT: Absolutely not. This has got to be one of the stupidest things that Barnaby Joyce has ever said, and he’s said a lot of stupid things. He’s talking here about trade sanctions against our biggest trading partner. We export more than $85 billion worth of goods and services to China every year. What he’s talking about threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs.

PRESENTER: Surely Australia shouldn’t support countries that aid and abet North Korea though?

CLARE: We should utterly condemn what North Korea is doing. It’s a threat to peace and security in Asia and it’s a threat to peace and security right around the world. You’re right that China has a special role to play here. They’re playing an important role already. And we hope that China can do more here. But China can’t do it on its own. It’s going to require the support of all the countries of the world through the Security Council of the UN, through the General Assembly and hopefully through action that we’ll see in the next few days at the G20

PRESENTER: Do you think it will though or do you think the US is doing what’s needed in applying some pressure to China to reign in North Korea?

CLARE: We need to see the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. If that doesn’t happen then the risks to our region are catastrophic.

PRESENTER: The Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says Australia is inextricably linked to the US. If it came to a trade war would Labor choose China or the US?

CLARE: A trade war between China and the United States is devastating for Australia. It potentially risks a recession for Australia. Those two economies – the United States and China – are inextricably linked. If you have the United States whack big tariffs on Chinese products and then you have China reciprocate then you’re going to have massive impacts for the regional economy, for Australia’s economy, for the world economy. So that’s the last thing we want to see happen.

PRESENTER: But which would you side with?

CLARE: It’s not a question, I think where politicians often get this wrong, it’s not a question of choosing the United States or China. It’s a question of the United States and China choosing to work together. It’s their militaries talking to each other, it’s their politicians working together and it’s making sure those two economies growing together. Unless the United States, China and the rest of our region work together, we’re not going to see the jobs and the new businesses develop and the great opportunities that come from the rise of three billion middle class consumers in our region in the decade ahead.

PRESENTER: I just want to move on to Adani. This program has reported today on modelling by leading resource analytics firm Wood McKenzie that Adani will displace jobs in other coal areas of the country. Do you believe there is a real threat to jobs in other parts of the Australia because of Adani?

CLARE:  Look I can’t comment on that, I haven’t seen that modelling. But Labor’s view is that if this project is to proceed it needs to stand on its own two feet. That means that it has to go through all the necessary environmental approvals at a state and federal level and it needs to economically stack up. It shouldn’t require assistance from the Federal Government.  So we’ve made the point very clearly that with the rail line that would need to be built between the mine and the port – that’s something the company should fund and the company should build and it shouldn’t require Australian taxpayers to fund and build it.

PRESNTER: Has Labor ever considered the possible effects that Adani might have on other mining parts?

CLARE: I haven’t looked at that specifically. You’ve mentioned a report that has just come out that talks about that. I’ll take the opportunity to read that report when it’s made available to me.

PRESENTER: But is that an issue that Labor is concerned with? Is it something that you’ve considered when making decisions about Adani?

CLARE: We’ve made the decision that if a big project like this goes ahead it should be funded by the private sector. It shouldn’t be funded by the Australian taxpayer. Obviously you don’t want to see job losses in any part of Australia. We want to see more jobs created for Australian workers, not less.

PRESENTER: Has Labor ever considered what the possible impact on jobs Adani would have?

CLARE: We’ve seen the work that’s been done on direct and indirect jobs in Queensland. Potentially in the order of thousands of jobs created in Queensland. That depends in part on the expansion of the Galilee Basin beyond the Carmichael mine itself.

But let me stress the point that I’ve now made three times – we want to see more jobs created in Australia, not less. We don’t want to see Australians lose their jobs and what I’m concerned about today is you’ve got the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Barnaby Joyce threatening trade sanctions against our biggest trading partner. That’s the sort of thing that is going to lead to Australians losing their jobs in the tens if not hundreds of thousands.

PRESENTER: Jason Clare, thank you.

CLARE: Thank you.