‘Our job now is not to engage in some year-long pity party,’ leadership aspirant says
— The Labor leadership aspirant Jim Chalmers says the party’s entire policy agenda, including its ambitious 45% emissions reduction target, could be upended in the wake of Saturday’s shock election loss.
“Everything is up for grabs,” Chalmers told the ABC TV’s Q&A program when asked whether Labor would review its climate policy.
Most of the panel discussion revolved around Chalmers, who confirmed he was considering nominating for Labor’s leadership ballot.
Chalmers was repeatedly backed into a corner when asked how his party’s platform might shift in the aftermath of the disappointing result on Saturday. He was forced to acknowledge that something needed to change but unable yet to say what those changes might be.
“All of these policies after an election loss are up for review, they’re up for discussion,” Chalmers said. “We have to reflect on that, obviously. We’re not going to pretend that we are not going to give consideration to all these policies.
“Obviously the vote was disappointingly weak. I’m not going to pretend that away, I’m not going to try and sugarcoat that.
“Our job now is not to engage in some year-long pity party or drag our arses around, our job now is to rebuild and renew and refresh.”
In an episode devoted mainly to campaign inquests, the retiring minister Christopher Pyne said he thought Malcolm Turnbull would have won the election had he not been dumped by the Liberal party last year.
“What Scott did was … an amazing achievement. I think Malcolm would have won the election as well. I still believe that. We gave ourselves quite a handicap last August.”
Pyne said complaints about Clive Palmer’s advertising spend – a $60m yellow campaign that heavily attacked the opposition leader Bill Shorten – were “sour grapes” and that the same criticism had not been directed at other third-party electioneering.
“A lot of [Palmer’s advertising] was complete and utter rubbish. That’s his business. That’s his business whether he spent $60m. We don’t like what GetUp has done. We don’t like what the ACTU has done. They don’t donate to us. But that’s the way things are.”
The business leader Ming Long said she did not think Palmer was “stupid” for spending so much money on a campaign where he polled about 3.4% of the national vote.
“He’s a businessman,” she said. “He wants an investment for that $60m return. It’s important for the journalists and the media in our country to keep an eye on is there a deal. Is he getting some sort of return for that?”
The journalist Alice Workman, of the Australian, highlighted how effective the Coalition campaign in regional Queensland had been at capturing concerns from coalminers about jobs. “Climate change means different things to people in inner-cities than it does to people in Queensland,” she said.
Chalmers conceded that coal had hurt Labor in key central Queensland marginal seats.
“Clearly in central Queensland and north Queensland we had a problem and that’s reflected in the results,” he said. “We would be dishonest if we tried to claim that coal didn’t play a part in that. But nationally, overwhelmingly, we need to deal with climate change. Nationally, renewable energy needs to play a bigger part of the mix.”
In a rare hour of air time, particularly one so focused on the climate crisis, the controversial broadcaster Alan Jones managed to say little that was more outlandish than his coral-coloured suit jacket. He aimed a few barbs at Labor, using lines such as the “economic suicide note” which he had repeated ad nauseam during the election campaign.
Finally, with a few moments of the panel discussion remaining, Jones could contain himself no more, trotting out a convoluted climate denial argument about the trace amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, one refuted by scientists as contrarian nonsense.
Workman rolled her eyes and said: “Oh my God.”
Jones retorted: “Alice, you’ve been speaking for most of the night.”
The host, Tony Jones, suggested Jones might need to be fact checked. It was unclear whether he was referring to Workman’s air time, or the need to decipher the broadcaster’s personal climate science.
by Ben Smee | The Guardian