Interview with Kieran Gilbert Sky News – Afternoon Agenda

KIERAN GILBERT: Let’s ask the Deputy Prime Minister now, he’s with me, Barnaby Joyce, here in the studio. Andrew there reporting his understanding is that your party is seeking safeguards for jobs in your areas, as opposed to truckloads of cash. Is that right?

BARNABY JOYCE: We are certainly making sure that we look after the people of regional Australia. And Kieran, it's fair enough to say that we're going to look to people's jobs. We are going through a process, a diligent process that collects the views of the Nationals in the party room because we believe that is how we best understand the views of regional Australia. The Nationals are exclusively a regional based party, and I know that they would want from us the proper oversight. We are giving them that because we have to explain back to people in regional seats that we represent, why we've come to any position that we decide to come to. Now, I can assure you…

KIERAN GILBERT: Is that cash…

BARNABY JOYCE: I just think it's a lack of respect for the party room to start saying what is in or what is not in a deal that, to be quite frank, they have to have the right to finalise themselves. The ultimate [inaudible] resides with them. Some people are saying, I heard in some reports, “Why doesn't Barnaby lead and just go out and tell them what it is?”, because that is being totalitarian. That's not something that we expect in a democratic party.

KIERAN GILBERT: Horatio Joyce.

BARNABY JOYCE: Yeah, Horatio Joyce. I've never seen a person with a redder head than what I just saw that clip of me. The pressure must be getting to me.

KIERAN GILBERT: When you say the PM has his own mandate on climate, what do you mean by that? Are you saying that the Nats really aren't going to have much say?

BARNABY JOYCE: What I'm saying there is that the Prime Minister is the Prime Minister, no doubt about that, Leader of the Coalition, but his mandate comes from the Liberal party room. There is no mandate from the Nationals party room. There is supposed to be a Coalition mandate if they choose to agree. The mandate from the Nationals party room is still being discussed. I want to get that through really clearly because sometimes things get twisted and turned into a form of words, to be quite frank, that are unhelpful and more importantly, don't reflect exactly where the Nationals are.

KIERAN GILBERT: The Nats will get there eventually, won't they? How does the PM head to Scotland…

BARNABY JOYCE: The process will go through, we'll continue on and I'm not going to try and predetermine the outcome because that won't help, amongst other things, and also it's not my right. My right is to collect the views and to be to discern as to what those views are and if required to negotiate. We're doing this in a truncated, high colour form because it's happening in the Parliament. Maybe…

KIERAN GILBERT: Your heart is not in it, really… you argued against this sort of action before.

BARNABY JOYCE: I would clearly say that I'm always cautious. That would be a fair call and to say anything else would be to not be straight with you. And yeah, of course, I have a real sense of caution and I carry that, but my views do not have primacy in this. My views are views amongst a room and being an accountant, then being a farmer, bush accountant, you're always trying to make sure that people are cautious because that's how you keep them in business.

KIERAN GILBERT: Matt Canavan says the Prime Minister is gaslighting the Coalition party room. He said it's ironic given he wants to get rid of fossil fuels, but he's gaslighting him because he's consulting, he's already got his end result.

BARNABY JOYCE: He has definitely got a mandate from the Liberal party room – most definitely. As the Prime Minister, it's his right to basically as the Prime Minister to determine a whole raft of things. The Nationals is a separate party room and the Nationals are going through their process now. These are two different processes. I have no mandate from the Nationals party room at this stage, so I can't offer to the Coalition a Coalition mandate because I don't have one myself.

KIERAN GILBERT: You are very close to him. He's your former chief of staff. I know that you are close. Is he going out there pushing hard with your approval?

BARNABY JOYCE: No. What he's doing is, as you know, he's an incredibly erudite person and he is a great asset to this Parliament because he can really dive into the details. As a former economist, he knows how to flesh out an issue. That's of a great assistance to my colleagues in the party room. Everybody's got certain trait of skills. With Keith there’s an engineer and electrician. He’s also formidable in this space. Other people…

KIERAN GILBERT: They were both opposed to that.

BARNABY JOYCE: I'm not going to say what their position is. That's for them to say what their position is.

KIERAN GILBERT: They’ve both said that.

BARNABY JOYCE: My position, of course, is an accountant. So as an accountant, I come to it and say, what is this? What's the effect of this? What is the effect on jobs? What's the effect on our economy? And these are the issues we flesh out in the Nationals party room. If Parliament wasn't sitting, then we wouldn't be doing this in front of the cameras every day, but Parliament is sitting so that's why this is more high-colour than possibly a lot of other nation's…

KIERAN GILBERT: Our allies have committed to that 2030 emissions reduction target. Why won’t we?

BARNABY JOYCE: Because we have different economies to them. Our biggest export is iron ore, and then comes fossil fuels, gas and coal. If we were to start a premise that we're an economy like Denmark or like France with massive nuclear power, or England, where a vast section of their economy is based on the financial markets around the city of London, or…

KIERAN GILBERT: We are already beating this target. What's the target worth if we're already well passed it? You won’t even budge on that.

BARNABY JOYCE: Once you do that, then policy structure has to really fit in a very close orbit to that target because that is not that far away. And therefore, I think we ramp up in that policy target and possibly cause ourselves the same problems as what they've caused in England. England is in an energy crisis. Europe is in an energy crisis. China is in an energy crisis. You don't have to worry about modelling, just Google it and you'll find it.

KIERAN GILBERT: But these are countries that have committed to those targets…

BARNABY JOYCE: Well it hasn't worked out very well for them.

KIERAN GILBERT: But you're making this case on the energy crisis. Sounds to me like you're still not convinced yourself.

BARNABY JOYCE: I'm certainly not convinced about 2030. I'll go further than that, I just don't support it, categorically. One we're assessing and one I can just tell you right now we don't support, just don't.

KIERAN GILBERT: One you’re assessing. But again, it doesn’t sound like you’re on board with it. I've reported on you for many years and I know that you've argued against these policies for years and years. And now you're the arbiter, you’re the diplomat trying to bring it together.

BARNABY JOYCE: I’m trying to be straight with you. If you think I have a sense of caution, well yes, I do. But that's not my role. My role in this is to listen to my party room and to bring for their views and that's what I intend to do. My view is merely one. My view is merely one for myriad of views in the Nationals Party room. I will do the right thing by the Nationals party room and making sure that my discussions with the Prime Minister reflects not my views, but their views.

KIERAN GILBERT: Is this not a pantomime to say that your supporters, we get you, we're listening to you, but we're going to do a deal anyway.

BARNABY JOYCE: No, certainly not. Dispel that one from your mind straight away. There's no pantomime. That would be patently absurd and basically being disingenuous to regional people and to the Australian people. There is no pantomime here. This is fair dinkum serious business. We're going through it and we're going through it in a very diligent way. One of the reasons in the short term, to go back to your question about 2030, they have chaos in England now, they have a six-fold increase in power prices, they have the manufacturing industry with serious problems. It's rippling through China and it's causing people immense hurt. We are not going to do that to our people here in Australia, so we will be diligent in this process.

KIERAN GILBERT: Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, I appreciate your time.

BARNABY JOYCE: Always a pleasure, Kieran.

KIERAN GILBERT: Thanks to talk to you soon.