Anika Wells MP on 4BC with Scott Emerson


SUBJECTS: Relationship with France, International reaction to Australia’s climate plan, Halloween

SCOTT EMERSON, HOST: Now we are joined by Anika Wells the Labor member for Lilley and the LNP member for Ryan Julian Simmons for 4BC Drive’s own version of Question Time. How are you both?


ANIKA WELLS, MEMBER FOR LILLEY: Well. How are you Scott and Julian?

EMERSON: We’re well on a public holiday. And I think we’re, all three of us are working today so that’s the way it does go. Now first up Julian, the relationship between Australia and France it’s obviously still remaining tense. But the Prime Minister did finally get to speak to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. And oh well…it sounds like…well at least they spoke. But still a lot of tensions over the scrapping of that $90 billion sub deal.

SIMMONDS: Yeah well look I mean sometimes friends just need a little bit of space don’t they? I mean that’s not such a bad thing. But ultimately we have to put our Australian strategic interests at the forefront for Australians. I don’t think anybody would expect France to put Australia’s commercial interests ahead of their own defence. So we likewise do the same. And it’s been pleasing to see the broad support for the new AUKUS alliance. The only people who don’t support it is the Greens. And it just goes to show you how dangerous they can, they can be.

EMERSON: Well Labor, Anika Wells, has supported AUKUS. But this, the bungling over this, scrapping of the deal. It was embarrassing in terms of how it was handled at least. I think even the Australian government admitted it could have been handled a bit better.

WELLS: Yeah I think Julian’s right when he said sometimes friends need space. But also anyone who’s ever been dumped by text message knows that the trust in the relationship’s pretty broken at that point. So that’s not good for us. France is a great ally of Australia and it’s important for us in the Indo-Pacific to have France invested in the region. And obviously they’re going to have a big impact on our ability to deal in trade in Europe as well moving forward. So this, to be honest now, is on Scott Morrison to repair the relationship.

EMERSON: One of the other tasks that Scott Morrison’s got now Anika is obviously he’s heading off to Rome for the G20, then on to Glasgow for the climate change meeting there. Now obviously this week he did announce that the Coalition has put forward that policy of zero net emissions by 2050. Got the nationals on. What reception do you think he’s going get at Glasgow?

WELLS: Not a good one. If you look at the reception that we’ve gotten so far since the Prime Minister tabled the plan in Question Time on Wednesday. CNN said that Australia will be the rich world’s weakest link at Cop26. BBC said we were really late to the party and it was hard to believe. New York Times said the plan is hard to believe. So not a warm reception. And I think based on the feedback I’m getting into my electorate office about it so far, the Australian public agrees.

EMERSON: Wasn’t Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister… he said it was an heroic effort by Australia. Wasn’t that the case Julian Simmons?

SIMMONDS: Yeah sure it was. It was very welcomed by Boris and they are hosting the climate forum. But again I don’t understand this Labor obsession of needing to get a pat on the back from everybody overseas. This isn’t about the Wall Street Journal. It isn’t about anyone else overseas. It’s about Australia’s best interests in making sure that we protect the environment. We take action on climate change but we do it in a way that protects Australian jobs and Australian interests. And doesn’t involve a new tax like the Labor Party would do. I mean fine if you want to go to the international community and get a pat on the back for introducing a new tax on Australia, the Labor party can go right ahead but no way we’d ever do that.

EMERSON: Anika does Julia have a point there?

WELLS: Well Julian said that last week too that Labor was busy trying to virtue signal to its international mates. Mates like the AUKUS alliance may I point out.

SIMMONDS: Well you just quoted the Wall Street Journal. That’s obviously what you’re reading, not not listening to Australians.

WELLS: Alright Julian how about I quote you. When you spoke to the LGAQ last month in your keynote address you said that climate change was an international issue and intrinsic to our national security. Is on par with AUKUS. So is it not important that our international allies perceive us as sincere on this?

SIMMONDS: No no my point was about Australians. Australians trust us as in the Coalition government to keep them safe on their national security. And they trust us to take action on climate change, that change and keep their world, their nation and their environment safe just the same.

EMERSON: Anika Wells just in terms of that. In terms of Labor’s policy here. Can you give me a date when Labor will announce its policy regarding emissions for 2030? What will you be targeting and what will be taking to the election in terms of Labor’s policy?

WELLS: I wish I could give you our plan right now. If we were in government you would have the Labor plan. But we’re not, we’re in opposition. We don’t have our hands on the levers. We were given the government plan after eight years at two o’clock on Wednesday when the Prime Minister tabled it in Question Time. So I’m being sincere when I say this. After 10 years of the climate wars, I don’t think the Australian public wants us to come up with a plan according to a fake political deadline set by the Prime Minister. I think they want us to sincerely scrutinise the plan and try and improve it. And that’s what we’re going to do.

SIMMONDS: I don’t know we’ve got a 2030 target and a 2050 target and the Opposition haven’t managed to get either.

WELLS: You have Tony Abbott’s 2030 target when he called climate change absolute crap back in 2013 and for 2021 that is the same target you are using.

SIMMONDS: It’s the target of the international community, your beloved international community.

EMERSON: Alright then.

WELLS: The international community, the US wants to go to 50 per cent emissions reduction by 2030, you’re saying 26 per cent. That’s half of the US’s target.

EMERSON: Well we’ll see. Look obviously this is going to get…I reckon we’ll be debating about this next week after.

WELLS: For years and years.

SIMMONDS: And a few more weeks after that.

EMERSON: I think it will indeed. Well let’s go on one issue now. You, both of you Anika Wells and Julian Simmons, you’ve both got young kids. This weekend it is Halloween on Sunday. Now look when my kids were growing up, we did a bit of Halloween. When I was growing up, we never had Halloween, it just didn’t exist in Australia. Just tell me first off Julian Simmons are your kids? I know they’re pretty young. Are you doing any Halloween thing? Are you doing something at your house or anything like that?

SIMMONDS: No they’re really into it. We’re heading to the Blackwood Street Halloween festival at Mitchelton. My little boy’s chosen the costumes. So my daughter is Wonder Woman. He is Captain Marvel and I will be the mighty Thor for the day.

EMERSON: Who decided that you are worthy to be Thor?

SIMMONDS: Well my 4-year-old son. He decided the superhero theme was the way to go. So I’m quite flattered. I can tell you I’ve got a lot more muscles in the costume than I do in real life.

EMERSON: And what about you Anika Wells?

WELLS: Mark this in your diary Scott. Julian and I agree on something. My daughter, my four-year-old daughter is currently wearing a Wonder Woman costume. I’m watching her play at the moment. And she’s currently selecting from her costume capsule wardrobe what she will wear on the weekend. I think she’ll be out to the Sandgate Halloween festival. And like you, it was something that growing up I never really noticed too much at all. But people really do it now. And I think it’s a nice thing if we can encourage more people to participate in community events and look after each other. And I think getting to know your neighbours is an important thing as well which Halloween encourages. So I think it’s all harmless fun.

EMERSON: I notice Anika you didn’t jump in with your costume. Julian mentioned he was going as Thor. Has your four year old said, made a choice for you in terms of what you should be going as?

WELLS: She would if she could but I am in quarantine after parliament so I’m not allowed to leave the property. So unfortunately…

EMERSON: You can still dress up.

WELLS: Well that’s a very good point. For you, I might do a photo of it tomorrow from my front deck.

EMERSON: Thank you for that Anika. I do appreciate that. Alright Anika Wells, Julian Simmons thanks for joining us for 4BC Drive’s Question Time this week.

SIMMONDS: Pleasure.

WELLS: Have a good weekend