Ho, ho, ho. The folks in the galleries were treated to a display of sparkling and scintillating parliamentary wit when Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd questioned the Prime Minister on climate change yesterday:
Mr Rudd (2.07 pm) — My question is to the Prime Minister and it refers to his answer to the previous question on Kyoto. Is the Prime Minister aware that 173 countries have now ratified the Kyoto protocol, including China, India, Korea and Japan? Is the Prime Minister also aware that only three countries that signed the Kyoto protocol did not proceed to ratify it, namely Australia, the United States of America and Kazakhstan? Prime Minister, isn’t it a fact that if the USA ratified Kyoto today Australia would ratify it tomorrow — or would Australia also wait for Kazakhstan to ratify it first?
The PM, of course, receives a report on emissions trading today. It is believed that he will outline its findings in his keynote address to the Liberal Party federal council meeting on Sunday and establish a taskforce lead by DFAT head Michael L’Estrange and former Macquarie Bank deputy chairman Mark Johnson to tackle regional climate change concerns.
Rudd sought to pre-empt him in a speech last night where he outlined the conditions for an emissions-trading scheme and a collection of energy measures ranging from $50 million each to the CSIRO’s National Solar Energy Centre and geothermal energy research – and that he’s dropping his Ford Territory in favour of a hybrid.
In an interesting semantic shift yesterday, the Prime Minister branded himself as a climate change pragmatist, not realist. But his message remains the same – go careful with the climate change measures or the havoc they will wreak on the economy will make the entire country look like Borat’s village back in Kazakhstan.