Albanese Hits Back At Dutton: ‘Dog-Whistling’ Over COP27

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The Prime Minister stated that the opposition leader’s claim—that climate aid is ‘giving away’ Australians’ money—improves the re-election chances of independents and Greens rather than Liberals.

Following Peter Dutton’s attack against Labor for supporting a fund to help developing countries recover from climate catastrophes, Anthony Albanese accused the Opposition Leader of “dog-whistling” and giving independent and Green candidates an advantage over Liberal ones in the upcoming election.

After the Cop27 summit had agreed to establish a response fund for charity, Dutton asked if “charity should begin at home”. Dutton was curious about how the climate conference would respond to extreme weather events made worse by greenhouse gas emissions in vulnerable countries.

The opposition leader inquired why the government would sign up for a $2tn loss and damage climate fund, which will send money overseas when Labor’s policies drive up cost-of-living pressures for families.

“The Prime Minister should not be giving away money they don’t have, but worse than that, she should not be sending Australian tax dollars to developing countries,” said Dutton.

Albanese lashed out at the comments and called them “a form of dog-whistling.” He noted that the government has a track record of slashing funding for essential services and institutions that support vulnerable Australians, such as health and education.

“The Liberals are desperate for another reason to campaign against Labor because of our strong climate policies,” said Albanese. “We will not be intimidated by this kind of baseless rhetoric.”

“The idea that any foreign aid is giving Australian’s money to foreigners ahead of Australian interests – the leader of the opposition knows better,” the prime minister said. Albanese added Dutton knew “exactly” what he was doing in framing the question in that way.

Then, gesturing at the crossbench where several independents and Greens now occupy seats formerly held by the Liberals, the prime minister said: “The only people who’re pleased about that question are the ones sitting in the corner over there because they represent seats where the Liberal party has rejected dog-whistling tactics like this.”.

Albanese snapped at Dutton. “I say to the opposition leader; you are better than that. You’re better than that.”

“Or maybe you’re not.”

Albanese’s strong response points to the growing tensions between Labor and the Liberal party. Both leaders have been locked in a fierce debate over climate policy. Labor argues that decisive climate action is necessary to protect vulnerable communities and reduce environmental impacts on Australia.

While the Liberals continue to push for watered-down policies like an emissions reduction fund, which experts have criticised as ineffective at reducing carbon emissions.

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