Foreign Minister Marise Payne Defends Australia's Climate Change Policies

ABC NewsMelissa Clarke

Foreign Minister Marise Payne defends Australia's climate change policies. (ABC News)

Key points:
  • Ms Payne defended the Coalition's credentials on reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • The Pacific region is emerging as a battleground for influence in global politics
  • She said the changing power dynamic in the Asia-Pacific isn't cause for concern
Foreign Minister Marise Payne has rejected demands from Pacific countries for Australia to do more to combat climate change, as she heads to Fiji for a regional meeting of foreign ministers.Pacific nations have identified climate change as the single greatest threat to their security, with leaders such as Tuvalu's Prime Minister Enele Sopoage warning Australia needs a "more progressive response".But Senator Payne has brushed off suggestions Australia isn't doing enough on climate change, stating Pacific leaders "should be pleased" with Australia's commitments under the UN's Paris Agreement.
"I think that they should be pleased that Australia is meeting our Paris commitments, that is something we are absolutely locked in to doing," Senator Payne said.

Climate change and the ADF
Speaking to the ABC ahead of her departure, she defended the Coalition's credentials on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"We are very serious and meeting our Paris commitments is the best symbol of that, in my view."
The Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting in Suva comes at a time of renewed focus on the Pacific.
The region is emerging as a battleground for influence in global politics, with Australia trying to maintain its pre-eminence as an economic and strategic partner against China's growing assertiveness.
"Well I think one of the things I think we can say, is that we live here, this is our region," Senator Payne told the ABC.
"These countries are our Pacific family and that is a very important starting point."
China has stepped up its diplomatic efforts in the region, providing more development assistance, economic loans and private sector investment.

An island's race against time
Beijing is presenting a challenge to the United States' long-running dominance as the super-power of the Asia-Pacific region.
But Senator Payne said the changing power dynamic isn't cause for concern.
"Our relationship with Indonesia has changed significantly in the last 10, 20 years, so I don't think relationships such as this are immutable," she said.
"The important thing for governments is to work with the changes, work with those developments.
"I think it's a busy space and I don't think that's a bad thing. The growth in partnerships in the region is a good thing.
"We welcome all-comers, if you like, as long as they're contributing to the things that are important to the region — to security, to stability and to prosperity."
Foreign Minister Marise Payne says Australia is "very serious" about meeting the UN's climate change agreement. (ABC News: Luke Stephenson)


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