Transcript: Sky News The Latest with Laura Jayes

Subjects: President-elect Donald Trump; coal industry; iron ore; Paris climate change agreement

E&OE

LAURA JAYES:

What does a Trump presidency mean for Australia? This question has been asked many times over the last two days. I spoke to the Resources Minister and Minister for Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, and asked him this very question. This is what he had to say.

MINISTER CANAVAN:

I do think that the election of a Trump administration is good news for our resources sector, good news for fossil fuels in particular, and that means it's good news for Australia. Our two biggest exports are iron ore and coal, integral to that part of the economy, and Trump has said that he will ease restrictions on the coal industry in the United States. We've certainly seen a reaction from markets where resource stocks are up between 10 and 20 per cent - some higher than that actually. So that is good news for Australia, given our reliance on those industries, and for Northern Australia more than half the economy is made up from resources. So a vote of confidence for this sector is good news for Australia.

LAURA JAYES:

Well given what you've just said about the fossil fuels in particular and Trump's policies on climate change, do you think it was a mistake to ratify the Paris Climate Change Agreement just a day after the US election?

MINISTER CANAVAN:

Look, no, because we've made commitments, we're a country that keeps our word, and we should. We made those commitments at Paris, and of course Minister Bishop and Minister Frydenberg are travelling to Marrakesh, so it's right and appropriate to state to the world what we are doing with the agreement. We've ratified that, our commitments stand, but of course I don't believe our commitments are in any way inconsistent with a strong fossil fuel industry, inconsistent with a strong coal sector here in Australia. Indeed, the development of a resource like the Galilee Basin and like the Adani project will be good for the environment because it's high quality coal.

LAURA JAYES:

Should Australia also be rethinking any ongoing commitment? Will we be influenced heavily by what the United States does?

MINISTER CANAVAN:

Well look, I believe where we've got to right now in terms of our commitments and targets - of course it's been influenced by the negotiations we've had at Paris and what's happened around the world, and the United States will have a big influence about what happens for climate change going forward. But the commitments we've made are responsible and we should stick to them. We will be starting a review next year on how we will meet those targets on our climate change policies more broadly, and I'm sure all these factors will come into those considerations.

LAURA JAYES:

Trump's election is seen as a massive rejection of the status quo and what's now being described as establishment politics. What are the lessons for us, Matt Canavan? I know that you're not a city-dweller, so you get out there and speak to your constituents in regional parts, smaller towns around Australia. What are they saying to you about politics, the media, business, and where the country's headed?

MINISTER CANAVAN:

Look, we are a different country. It's not, I don't think, the same as America. Indeed, I'm not necessarily the expert because I obviously don't spend a lot of time in the US. But I think in Australia, and particularly in country areas, is people do feel like they're patronised or talked down to at times - if you have a different view on something like same-sex marriage, or if you support the mining sector for example. Lots of our commentary and feedback comes through in a dismissive way, in a patronising way, and people are going to get frustrated, and you shouldn't be.

LAURA JAYES:

What do voters want to see? What do they want to see action on? What are they talking to you about?

MINISTER CANAVAN:

Yeah look, I mean you're right; something like same-sex marriage doesn't come up all that often, but there is both an economic and a cultural aspect to this in my view. People feel like if they do like to read the bible or pray to a God that they're not particularly accepted sometimes in modern society or modern commentary. The people that perhaps are most upset about Donald Trump being elected, like Senator Di Natale who spat the dummy in the Senate yesterday, they're always talking about inclusion and wanting to have diversity and accept everybody as they are, except if it comes to people that they disagree with.

LAURA JAYES:

Give me an example of things that need to change in politics and in the media. What would you say?

MINISTER CANAVAN:

Well look, I should focus more on myself than you guys. There are lessons you …

LAURA JAYES:

[Interrupts] [Laughs], no please.

MINISTER CANAVAN:

Well, I'm not here to tell you how to do your job, Laura. Look, I think there are lessons in the US election, there are lessons in our election, there's lessons in every election for us as representatives. And you know, for what it's worth I don't think we use the word ‘listen’ enough in politics. That's the most important thing to do as a representative, is to spend your time listening to people. You'll know a lot more about what to speak about after you have done that. This is a representative role; it should be a humble and honourable role in public life, to have this honour of being a Senator for Queensland, for me. But you're only going to respect that honour if you listen to the people that elect you.

LAURA JAYES:

Matt Canavan there. He is the Federal Resources Minister and Minister for Northern Australia.

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