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Birmingham says he is opposed to a windfall tax for oil and gas companies to help assist with rising energy prices.

We don’t think that simply slugging a tax in relation to companies is going to do anything for the energy prices of Australians. You’ve got to fix supply in the gas market to provide for genuine outcomes there, and those types of taxes will actually only hurt you in the longer term because they will act as an investment disincentive and you have less supply for the future.

Birmingham said any tax would create a “disincentive” for new investment into new oil and gas exploration.

Two points on this:

  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) has previously said limiting global heating to 1.5C as set out in the Paris agreement meant there can be no new oil, gas or coal investment beyond 2021.

  • A windfall tax is not about suring-up gas supplies, but generating revenue which can re-invested in new renewable energy projects and other decarbonisation projects.

The interview closes with a question about Constitutional recognition of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Birmingham says he is still undecided on the issue.

I strongly support recognition and have done for many years and, of course, the debate around the Voice has come along subsequent to early efforts to try to achieve Indigenous recognition. When it comes to the model for the Voice, I do think Australians deserve to see more detail and have more answers about how it will work, how it will be constituted and how it will make a difference. I understand the very passionate views by those who argue for the Voice and I don’t wish to see them disrespected in any way, but I also acknowledge that there are strong Indigenous views of doubt and question about whether the Voice will be actually effective in achieving any substantial change on the ground in relation to Indigenous disadvantage

We are going to be asked to support a constitutional change for a model that is as undefined by the Government in relation to that model. It is not unreasonable to want to see the detail of the model.

Questions now turn to domestic issues – Birmingham says the Coalition is waiting for the committee processes to play out before it takes a position on whether it supports the proposal for a National anti-corruption commission but says “hopefully we can offer bipartisan support for its passage.”

He is also asked about the proposed industrial relations reforms, which the Coalition imposes and what the Coalition’s plan is to get wages movement.

Birmingham says the Coalition wants to see wages rise but does not believe the IR bill is the way to do it. Its proposal to grow wages is to “maintain economic strength”.

An economy growing as strongly as possible, keeping unemployment as low as possible – those are the things that our government managed to achieve, with strong economic growth in our last year in office, with unemployment down to 50-year lows, creating the conditions for economic growth to help to drive productive wages growth.

Birmingham was then challenged on the obvious point: wages didn’t grow under the Coalition when it was in power. Birmingham evades the question, saying instead Labor’s bill “is essentially legislation that pushes wages in some sectors, it is also going to push unemployment up in many sectors.”

Birmingham is also asked about the prospect of higher sanctions on Iran. He says targeted sanctions against the leadership of Iran, along the lines of others that have been imposed, should be imposed.

Australia is a long way behind like-minded countries and comparable nations when it comes to actions in relation to Iran. Since the murder of Mahsa Amini, we’ve seen many other lives lost, but we’ve also seen enormous courage from Iranian civilians coming out onto the streets in their thousands, making clear that they are standing firm in support of the rights particularly of women and girls, and there is a sense that this could be a moment of time in relation to Iran.

We won’t know that for sure until things unfold, but Australia should be leaning in to support those brave souls in Iran and to stand consistent with other nations.

Birmingham says he would like to see an Australian visit to Taiwan – something which the Coalition did not do while it was in government, though Birmingham says “there was discussions about a possible visit just prior to Covid occurring”.

Birmingham has also been challenged over the previous Coalition government’s refusal to engage with the government of Myanmar to secure the release of Professor Sean Turnell. He stands by the Coalition government’s refusal to engage based on the government’s human rights record.

He is also asked whether Australia should target Myanmar with sanctions.

Well, Australia should be looking for how we work with regional partners to increase pressure on Myanmar and sanctions should be on the table, as part of that.

Again, he is asked about how the Morrison government did not impose sanctions during its time in power.

Part of that consideration should be the fact that we’ve seen late in the piece of the previous government.

Birmingham says he wants Magnitsky laws passed to be applied to allow Australia to sanction foreign officials. On Myanmar:

We cannot turn a blind eye to the thousands of other individuals who are detained in Myanmar, to the abuses occurring across the country, to the oppression of minorities that are happening, to the suppression of democracy, and to the fact that it would appear they are preparing to undertake a sham election next year as an entry to try to, entree to get themselves back into the international acceptance.

Taiwan should not be recognised as a nation sate: Birmingham

Birmingham says Taiwan should not be recognised as a nation state – which is consistent with Australia’s foreign policy.

There is no change in the bipartisan there. Recognising one China but not expecting and wishing to see any change to the status quo undertaken in a unilateral way.

Birmingham is probed about the Coalition’s position on what Australia should do if a conflict erupts over Taiwan.

My view is to assess all of these matters carefully as things unfold and develop, but we should be prepared for any eventuality, so we will be looking clearly and closely at the Defence strategic review when it is released early next year.

Birmingham welcomes meeting between Albanese and president Xi

Simon Birmingham says he “welcomes” the meeting between prime minister Anthony Albanese and Chinese president Xi Jinping but says it needs to be understood in the context of decisions by previous Coalition governments.

Importantly the previous governments under Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison had to make many necessary but difficult decisions on foreign investment, on protection of critical infrastructure in safeguarding our democracy, in handling sensitive telecommunications decisions such as the rollout of Huawei.

These were difficult decisions and they were always going to cause difficulty in relation to our relationship and engagement with China, but the conduct of these meetings demonstrates that China’s attempts in terms of diplomatic isolation of Australia, the attempted economic coercion through the unfair trade sanctions have not been yielded to, they have not seen any change in Australian policy.

I welcome the fact that the Labor government has maintained those policy settings of the Coalition and has maintained a recognition that the strategic challenges of the environment we are in have not changed.

Birmingham is asked about the change of tone between the governments, with Albanese dialling back calls for war and the comparisons to the 1930s. He says it is “important that we maintain consistency in policy and a consistency where possible in language as well but that language has to be one that reflects the reality of the challenging circumstances we face.”

I think it is important that we maintain a position in our language and approach to the region that seeks to be as engaging as possible to all partners in the region, as respectful as possible, but also firm in terms of Australia’s national interest and, where necessary, calling ow egregious breaches by others, be that in relation to activities such as in the South China Sea or human rights matters.

Shadow foreign affairs minister Simon Birmingham will be speaking to ABC Insiders on Sunday morning.

We will bring you the latest as it happens.

Josh Butler

Josh Butler

Australia open to doing business with China: Albanese

Prime minister Anthony Albanese said his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping was “much more positive than was anticipated”, at the end of his two-week summit season trip.

Asked on Sky News whether Xi had given Albanese “any sort of hope or inkling that he might act on any of those”, the PM said no, but that he had optimism.

No, I think the positive statement from president Xi was that he emphasised that he wanted a better relationship with Australia. So when it comes, for example, to trade, it is in Australia’s interest to export our wine, our meat, our seafood, our wonderful products, our mineral resources. But it’s in China’s interest to receive them as well. This isn’t a charity case we’re asking for here. This is, do you want these products that are in demand in China to be traded? It’s in their interest to do it. It’s in Australia’s interest as well. And I’m very hopeful that what we can see now is positive steps forward.

Looking to the domestic picture, ahead of the (potentially) final two weeks of parliament starting on Monday, Albanese said his government was still planning to make an announcement on gas prices in coming weeks.

“We’re having a look at a range of options which are there. I’ll be briefed when I get back to Australia. More work was being done in the last week,” he told Sky.

Further with several contentious and complex pieces of legislation still in progress, including the industrial relations bill and the federal integrity commission, there has been speculation the Senate may be forced to sit for extra sitting days beyond the scheduled end of the parliamentary year next week. Albanese indicated this may be on the agenda.

We might well have to sit extra days and that’s fine. I don’t mind the parliament sitting at all. That’s what we’re paid to do.

So if the Senate needs extra time to give consideration to any matters before it, then I’d welcome that.

Long road ahead on China relationship: Albanese

Prime minister Anthony Albanese has given a round of pre-recorded interviews on Sunday morning covering Australia’s relationship with China and the thinking behind its engagement with its neighbours in south-east Asia.

Speaking to the ABC, Albanese sought to water down expectations of a thaw in the relationship between China and Australia after his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, instead suggesting it was the beginning of a “dialogue”.

It was no preconditions for the dialogue, but it was a very constructive, engaging discussion with president Xi. It’s one I appreciated. It clearly is in Australia’s national interests, but also in China’s interests, to have a stabilisation of the relationship.

Albanese said the discussion was “positive and constructive” and that China made clear that it “wants a good relationship” with Australia, though there was no suggestion the country lift $20bn trade sanctions it has imposed against Australia.

The fundamental areas of disagreement – the issue of the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, the Uyghurs – all of these issues are ones that have bipartisan support. There’s a bipartisan support for a One China policy, with support for the status quo on Taiwan. These are issues that aren’t the subject of partisanship between Labor and the Coalition.

So they’re Australia’s positions going forward. That clearly is understood. It’s in China’s interests to understand that – that we will continue to have disagreements. We have different political systems. That should not mean that you can’t have economic cooperation. That should not mean that you can’t have dialogue. Because out of dialogue comes understanding.

On Taiwan, Albanese said Australia won’t change its position on Taiwan and refused to be drawn on whether his government may consider sanctions against Myanmar following the release of Prof Sean Turnell.

Good morning

And welcome to another Sunday morning Guardian live blog.

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has returned after spending the last nine days meeting international leaders at the regional Asean summit in Cambodia. In a sign of easing tensions, Albanese secured a meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, the first time leaders of the two countrys have met in six years, though the prime minister has been warned against rising expectations as China’s $20bn in trade sanctions remain in place.

New South Wales residents in flood-hit regions are once again beginning the process of recovery despite continued warnings along several river systems. Authorities say it could be “months” before the rain eases in some places with many areas still without power and water, stopping families from being able to return.

I’m Royce Kurmelovs, taking the blog through the day. With so much going on out there, it’s easy to miss stuff, so if you spot something happening in Australia and think it should be on the blog, you can find me on Twitter at @RoyceRk2 where my DMs are open.

With that, let’s get started …



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