Doorstop - Parliament House, Canberra - 09/11/2020

09 November 2020

SUBJECTS: US election; climate policy.

SENATOR PENNY WONG, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Can I first, again, reiterate our congratulations to President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris for their victory. It's particularly wonderful to see the first woman of colour to take such office in the United States. It's a message of hope to the world.

But can I turn now to climate. Scott Morrison is increasingly isolated on climate change. We know that President-elect Biden has a net zero by 2050 policy, he has an ambitious climate change agenda. The reality is Scott Morrison is isolated on climate. He's frozen in time, while the planet is warming and whilst friends, allies and economic opportunities pass us by. Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: How will a Biden presidency influence our relationship with China?

WONG: I think there's been a bipartisan view in the United States for some time now about the competition with China and seeing China as a strategic competitor. But one thing we do know from what President-elect Biden has said is he places a greater weight on alliances and on multilateralism. And as an alliance partner, and as a country who has a deep interest in strong multilateral institutions that is a good thing for Australia.

JOURNALIST: Donald Trump is yet to concede, should he?

WONG: Well, my view is Australia should always advocate for democracy to be respected.

JOURNALIST: With climate, you say that there's more pressure on the Government now to announce a much more ambitious climate policy...

WONG: To have a policy, that would be a good thing.

JOURNALIST: But isn't that the same, can't the same be said of Labor? There does seem to be some fractures within your party as well, over this issue.

WONG: Look, we have a 2050 target - a very clear target. You know what the Government has? Words and Matt Canavan, and Barnaby Joyce, and George Christensen and let's not forget Craig Kelly. The reality is, the Morrison Government is frozen in time, whilst economic opportunities, friends and allies pass Australia by. That is a bad thing for the nation.

JOURNALIST: Will the Labor Party be contacting Mr Biden to congratulate him?

WONG: Absolutely, we will. Thank you.

Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.