20
Nov
2017

Turnbull’s Playing For Time.

Turnbull Playing For Time

By suddenly announcing that the resumption of Parliament will be delayed until 4 December, Turnbull has postponed by a week the possibility  of a defeat on the floor of the Lower House. At the same time, it was indicated that the finishing date for Parliament could now be Friday 15 December,  or even later.  The stated reason(s) for seeking  the extra time are that it may be needed to debate the legislation on same sex marriage and resolve outstanding citizenship issues. Turnbull told The Australian that

he was ‘very confident’ parliament would pass same-sex marriage legislation before Christmas”. “Parliament absolutely can and I’m very confident it will, and my priority and the government’s priority is to recognise the will of the people is that we should get this done, and that’s what we’re going to be doing everything we can to achieve it before Christmas,” the Prime Minister said. “I think the Opposition have got a similar commitment, so between us I’m very confident we can make it work. “There’ll obviously be a lot of debate, a lot of amendments discussed. That’s what parliament’s for, but ultimately we know we have got a very clear direction from our masters, the Australian people.”

The reality is that, with a favourable No vote on SSex marriage now extant, Turnbull is attempting to ensure that, before Christmas, as little attention as possible will be directed at policy issues which are controversial or at issues which may add to differences within the Coalition and lead to a no confidence motion. However, while there is now no need for an extended debate in Parliament on the SSex issue, there are likely to be plenty of MPs who wil welcome the opportunity to have their voices heard and their constituents informed. And the Opposition is unlikely to object.  If his strategy is successful Turnbull will be “safe” as PM until early February next year.

Bonn Climate Change Conference

In yesterday’s Commentary I drew attention to the fortnight’s Climate Change conference held by the UN in Bonn and ending last Saturday 18 November. I noted that there was no outcome as such but that the publication in the New York Times of two open Graphics released at the conference seemed to confirm the statement by the UN climate chief that countries were way behind the needed trajectory of  reductions in carbon emissions agreed at the Paris Conference in 2015.

I also said that it appeared that no Australian Minister attended the conference. However I have now been referred to a  UN press release showing that I had missed the attendance of Environment Minister Frydenberg for about seven days and had also missed two of his own press releases, one drawing attention to his own attendance (see Frydenberg on UN CChange Conference) and the other to the election of Fiji as chair of the conference (see Frydenberg on Fiji Presidency of UN CC). I missed these releases because I could not find any reference to them in Australian media.

A remarkable feature of the UN release is that it not only detailed 33 other “participants” from Australia but showed that these constituted only “small beer” of the total claimed participants of 19,115! I suppose that is now the norm for attendances at UN Conferences on Climate Change but it is a little surprising given that it appears to have been mainly “catching up” with progress toward achieving the Paris agreement of 2015 to reduce carbon emissions by 2030. That the charts published in the New York Times article attached to my Commentary indicate “no progress” doubtless provides justification (sic) for more conferences to assess progress and to urge for action. They also support the view that Australia should be in no hurry to increase its reductions of carbon emissions. It would be of some interest if “performance” charts could be compiled and published for the larger emitters since 2015 but no reliable data may be available to do that.

Below is the list of Australian “participants” at the conference but the total of this list (and the names of the participants) comes from the UN press release and Frydenberg’s release does not even mention the total. I wonder who approved such a large number for what was obviously going to be a minor event. Note that there were no participants from Treasury or Finance and hence (presumably) no reference at the conference to the possible adverse economic effects from the aimed reduction in carbon emissions

Australian Participants at UN Climate Change Conference November 2017
H.E. Mr. Joshua Frydenberg Minister of Environment and Energy Office of the Minister for Environment and Energy

H.E. Mr. Patrick Suckling Ambassador for the Environment Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms. Andrea Faulkner Assistant Secretary Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Finn Pratt Secretary Department of The Environment and Energy
Ms. Lynette Margaret Wood Ambassador Australian Embassy Berlin Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms. Kushla Munro Assistant Secretary International Branch Department of The Environment and Energy
Mr. Kane Silom Media Advisor Office of the Minister for Environment and Energy
Ms. Lauren Bain Deputy Head of Mission Embassy of Australia, Berlin Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms. Sally Box Director International Branch Department of The Environment and Energy
Ms. Elizabeth Buchan Policy Officer Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Peter Elder Director Global Development Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Chao Feng Policy Officer Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms. Louise Foster Executive Assistant Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms. Julia Gardiner Assistant Director

International Branch Department of The Environment and Energy
Ms. Lisa Gittos Policy Officer Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms. Katherine Hancock Assistant Director Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms. Phoebe Hardefeldt Policy Officer Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Peter Horne Assistant Director Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Aaron Kirby Senior Policy Officer International Branch Department of The Environment and Energy
Ms. Margalit Levin Second Secretary Embassy of Australia, Berlin Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms. Anna Mallard Policy Officer Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Richard Merzian Assistant Director Global Development Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Russell Miles Director Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Edmund Mortimer Assistant Director Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Fergus Pope Senior Advisor, Energy Office of the Minister for Environment and Energy COP23.PLOP

Mr. Carsten Rempka Australian Embassy, Berlin Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Marco Salvio Director Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms. Kathryn Sangster Policy Officer Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms. Zoe Sinclair Assistant Director Department of The Environment and Energy
Ms. Deciana Speckmann Policy Officer Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Matthew Stuchbery Assistant Director Department of The Environment and Energy
Ms. Nicole Thomas Counsellor Paris OECD Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Steven Turnbull Policy Officer Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. Gareth Williams Director Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Depart

 

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