Interview with Peter Stefanovic, Sky News

  • Transcript
Subjects: The Quad meeting, Climate change, COVID-19 vaccine rollout
10 March 2021

Peter Stefanovic: Joining me live from Canberra now is Dan Tehan, the Minister for Tourism, Trade and Investment. Minister, good to see you. Thanks for joining us this morning. So, China, is that what The Quad is all about?

Dan Tehan: No, this will be a very positive meeting with a positive agenda. It's actually a very historic meeting, the fact that these leaders will be coming together for the first time and to have the leaders of Japan, India, the US and Australia meeting in such a format is incredibly significant — and the agenda will be a positive one. They'll be talking about the COVID-19 pandemic and responses to it, about climate change and what all countries can do to help the emissions reduction targets that we all need to meet and then, also, ensuring that critical technology and supply chains, that those issues that we've seen the disruption to from COVID-19, that we've got the measures in place to help and support those countries on those important issues.

Stefanovic: Is this a step for the US, towards the US re-engaging with the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

Tehan: Look, I don't know whether it's a step towards them looking to re-join CPTPP, but it is definitely an incredibly important step in them re-engaging in the Indo-Pacific and shows, I think, a real intent from the Biden administration to engage with partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific, and to make sure that the US sends a very positive message that they are here and keen to engage in our region, which is very positive.

Stefanovic: China's not going to like this, though, wouldn't you suggest?

Tehan: Oh, look, this isn't about China. This is about us engaging with like-minded liberal democracies to address important issues in the Indo-Pacific. And, it's positive engagement in the Indo-Pacific that has led to our region prospering like it has since the Second World War, and China has been a key beneficiary of that. The economic growth which has occurred in China since the Second World War has been extraordinary, and we want to make sure that all countries in the Indo-Pacific can enjoy what a free and open Indo-Pacific can lead to.

Stefanovic: Yeah. But, will this mean ramped up military exercises involving all four of those nations in The Quad?

Tehan: No. What this will mean is very good, fruitful, open discussions on key issues for the Indo-Pacific, starting with, as I've mentioned, COVID-19, with measures to address climate change and then, also, the issues around the supply of critical technologies.

Stefanovic: Okay. Well, you had, the UK and the US yesterday did bid to work together on climate change, so, so, now, will this put extra pressure on the Australian Government to commit to net zero emissions by 2050?

Tehan: Well, we've already said that we're going to do everything we can to get to net zero by 2050 …

Stefanovic: … But, not officially committing to it, though?

Tehan: No, but we've said that, well, we've got commitments to meet our Paris targets, and we're not only going to meet those, we're going to beat them, like we did with our Kyoto targets. In terms of renewable energy, especially when it comes to solar, we are absolutely a world leader. And, the big issue is not about the target, as such, it's about how do you get there and how do you achieve it. And, through our technology roadmap, we've got very strong interest from the new Biden administration, and from lots of other countries around the region, as to how we can work cooperatively to get the technology in place will actually lead to the emissions reduction. Our track record on meeting our targets is second to none, and what we're now doing is we're working with the rest of the world to say these are the technologies that will get you there, these are the policies that will help you get there and if we work cooperatively and collaboratively together, we'll all be able to meet the targets that we want to beat.

Stefanovic: Okay. Just, I've got 30 seconds left before I've got to go, Minister. But, what sort of concerns have you got about vaccines being blocked from the EU at the moment?

Tehan: Well, we've seen some very good developments over the last 24 to 48 hours, and our hope is that we will see supplies continue to come to this country and, also, not only that, our domestic supply ramp up at the end of the month – and that was one of the most critical decisions the Government made last year, was to get those domestic supplies in place.

Stefanovic: Dan Tehan, thanks for coming on this morning. Appreciate it. Talk to you soon.

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