PM slams elites in ‘inner city wine bars’

Scott Morrison has sledged elites in "inner city wine bars" as irrelevant to delivering climate change action and net zero emissions, pledging to deliver real change without taxing industry into oblivion.

In an address to the Business Council of Australia's annual dinner, the Prime Minister pledged not to "tax the life out'' of industries as he charts a post pandemic economic recovery plan.

But he's delivered a sledge to climate change activists in doing so, in an attempt to appeal to those in the Coalition who have traditionally rejected strong action.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives at the Business Council of Australia dinner with council president Tim Reed. Picture: Joel Carrett
Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives at the Business Council of Australia dinner with council president Tim Reed. Picture: Joel Carrett

 

"We will not achieve net zero in the cafes, dinner parties and wine bars of our inner cities," the Prime Minister said.

"It will not be achieved by taxing our industries that provide livelihoods for millions of Australians off the planet, as our political opponents sort to do, when they were given the chance.

"It will be achieved by the pioneering entrepreneurialism and innovation of Australia's industrial workhorses, farmers and scientists.

"It will be won in places like the Pilbara, the Hunter, Gladstone, Portland, Whyalla, Bell Bay, and the Riverina.

 

 

"In the factories of our regional towns and outer suburbs. In the labs of our best research institutes and scientists."

The Prime Minister offered no time frame for delivering on net zero in the speech.

But Mr Morrison remains under pressure to commit to net zero by 2050, including by leading business groups.

"It will be won in our energy sector. In our industrial sector. In our agricultural sector. In our manufacturing sector," he said.

"This is where the road to net zero is being paved in Australia. And those industries and all who work in them, will reap the benefits of the changes they are making and pioneering."

Malcolm Turnbull during the National Smart Energy Summit in 2019. Picture: Bianca De Marchi
Malcolm Turnbull during the National Smart Energy Summit in 2019. Picture: Bianca De Marchi

 

The Prime Minister's remarks set the scene for Australia's position during Joe Biden's two-day climate summit this week.

But the comments sparked an immediate rebuke from former prime minister Malcom Turnbull who has been busily tweeting stories on Tuesday morning suggesting Australia is increasingly "isolated" on climate change.

Quoting Prof Robyn Eckersley, an international climate specialist at the University of Melbourne, the article Mr Turnbull referred to argued a target of a 50 per cent cut over the next decade was the minimum developed countries such as the US and Australia should be planning.

 

 

"Australia really cannot be shamed. It doesn't respond to pressure and hasn't for years and years," Professor Eckersley said. "We're really out on a large limb on climate and it's very cold out there. The question is what other countries will do when they get really tired of Australia."

Labor climate spokesman Chris Bowen has previously slammed the Morrison Government's lack of action.

"The Australian government's still stuck in the climate culture wars and can't even commit to the basic, most necessary commitment of net zero by 2050, which has been legislated for in many countries," Mr Bowen said.

"Until and unless Scott Morrison commits to a net target of zero by 2050, and a strong roadmap to get there including legislation, then we're really missing out on the opportunities and we're not doing our bit as Joe Biden and John Kerry are expecting and requiring and promoting to be done."

 

 

Originally published as PM slams elites in 'inner city wine bars'