SUBJECTS: Parliament united against racism, NEG.
KIERAN GILBERT (HOST): Joining me here in the studio now this morning is the Manager of Opposition Business. Tony Burke. Mr Burke thanks very much for your time. Let's start on the broader reaction to that Anning speech because it's interesting during the catalyst it was an appalling speech but then we saw the Parliament come together in the most unified way against racism that we've seen for many years.
TONY BURKE, MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS: This week we saw the worst of the Parliament and the best of the Parliament and also note that the words that were said were more horrific than we probably had for a long time. But also the vote and the debate when it occurred the next day in both the Senate and the House of Representatives was more unifying than it has been before. Let's not forget that motion which Bill Shorten moved was almost identical to the motion that had been moved by Bob Hawke almost exactly 30 years ago. When Bob Hawke moved it, it was controversial. There was much division within the House of Reps chamber. This time no one voted against it. Now, that gives us a level of hope about how things are moving. The test for all of this isn't did we have a good day yesterday? The test for all of this is how is everyone going to behave tomorrow? Making those sorts of speeches deeply personal from the heart everybody coming to the table with really good intentions but the question then will be is everybody willing to observe that same level of discipline and not use language that's designed to encourage any sort of racial to racial argument or racial hatred, are people willing to make that sort of commitment tomorrow? I really hope they are. And I suspect yesterday helped.
GILBERT: Without going through that maiden speech again, I won’t even mention the individual's name because I don't think it warrants it. But the fact that he wouldn't even apologise when the offence was clear from the use of that phrase, that was really quite beyond the pale.
BURKE: There was also a strategic thing in that and this is the sort of  judgment you always have to work your way through on this sort of issue. So when someone wants to say something outrageous to get into the media, refusing to apologise then keeps them in the media and somebody whose name was completely unknown a week ago is now known everywhere today. And you always have to work through as a member of Parliament when you think someone's playing that sort of horrible game using the worst sort of language to get some self-promotion, you've got to ask yourself ‘am I giving them what they want by fighting back?’
GILBERT: It's the same in the media. You made the point a couple of nights ago that there's a line that's been crossed here and this has to be repudiated and you were right about that. You were proven right by the events of yesterday.
BURKE: By what followed, yes. The challenge is always you get to a point where you say well if I'm not willing to stand up now then we'll put up with anything. Then there's no limit.  That’s when the gauntlet was thrown down and said we're fighting this, we're taking a stand. You've got to be happy when every side of politics says we're standing together on this.
GILBERT: Absolutely I think it was Parliament at its best. I’ve seen it over a number of years now and I'd say that was among the most unifying and best scenes that I've seen. Let's talk about the less unified issue, the national energy guarantee debate. Even the Labor states now having different views it looks like the Palaszczuk Government is more in line with the view of Mark Butler and your side in the federal level, that you want some constructive action here. How do you encourage Victoria to be more constructive to allow this to this framework to be put in place in difficult circumstances?
BURKE: Every state will work out how to best represent the people that they represent. The key part that will be coming to the Federal Parliament will be what the targets are and emissions reductions. Mark Butler has been making clear we're determined that Australia is not permanently locked in to targets that have almost no ambition attached to them at all. So we haven't seen the legislation yet that will be coming here. But Mark Butler and Bill Shorten have been making clear that our way of dealing with that legislation will be to be trying to make sure that we can reflect the sort of targets that involve serious action on climate change.
GILBERT: Is it your view that this 26 per cent for the electricity sector basically marks a status quo arrangement that they'll get there anyway? That's the view of most experts is that the renewable component that's coming in in the next couple of years that that 26 percent is going to be achieved without any additional effort.
BURKE:  You’ve got a series of experts that have said that and as I say the Labor spokespeople have been making that comment as well. So the challenge that we've got is to make sure that a lack of ambition is not permanently locked in. And so we haven't seen the legislation. Obviously you'd expect we will end up moving amendments once we see it.
GILBERT: The view is you’re still being constructive on that issue? But you don't want to block it for the sake of blocking it?
BURKE: We want there to be a framework and we want there to be a proper level of ambition and the ball is in the Government's court to produce legislation. They'll always want to play the game and they do this in my portfolios all the time of demanding will Labor vote or for or against legislation that we haven't yet seen. I think it's been pretty clear the way we've handled this that when the Government has wanted to defy expert opinion we've been willing to work through and work through constructively.
GILBERT: Mr Burke thanks for your time. Appreciate it.
BURKE: Thank you. 


Tony Burke