Cop26, G20: Scott Morrison not a liar, former finance minister Mathias Cormann says

A former colleague of Scott Morrison has rushed to his defence amid claims he has a reputation as a liar.

Scott Morrison’s reputation has again been called into question by predecessor Malcolm Turnbull, but a former colleague has trashed claims the Prime Minister has a track record of lying.

On the sidelines of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, Mr Turnbull said he had no doubt French President Emmanuel Macron had been deceived over the $90bn submarine deal.

He claimed he had experienced similar from Mr Morrison during his time in the top job.

“Oh, he’s lied to me on many occasions,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.

“Scott has always had a reputation for telling lies.”

But Mathias Cormann, who served as finance minister under both Mr Morrison and Mr Turnbull, has categorically rejected the latter’s stinging character assessment.

Asked if Mr Morrison had a track record of telling lies, the OECD secretary-general said: “No.”

“I had a very good working relationship with Scott Morrison. I had a good working relationship with Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott as prime minister,” Mr Cormann told ABC Radio National on Wednesday morning.

“I’ve always done my best to serve them to my best ability, and the opportunity to catch up with Scott at the G20, also at Cop26 … we had some very, very good conversations about the challenges ahead.”

The former prime minister’s comments echo those made by Mr Macron, who on Monday told reporters he “knew” he had been lied to by Mr Morrison.

Later, text messages between the two leaders that seemingly discredited Mr Macron’s versions of events were leaked to the media.

Key crossbench senator Rex Patrick told 2GB on Wednesday morning that Mr Morrison’s behaviour harmed Australia’s reputation on the world stage.

He added while Australia was right to walk away from the conventional submarine deal with France, the way it was handled left much to be desired.

“I absolutely supported the decision to withdraw from the French contract,” he said.

“But in this instance, I’m not convinced that we exited this program in a manner which was proper and in a manner which was fair to the French.

Originally published as Scott Morrison not a liar, former finance minister Mathias Cormann says

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Scott Morrison branded a gaslighter over leaked Macron texts

Scott Morrison has been accused of gaslighting a world leader as the diplomatic fallout over a cancelled submarine deal rages on.

Scott Morrison has been accused of gaslighting Emmanuel Macron, in a stinging attack from opposition leader Anthony Albanese.

Text messages between the French President and Mr Morrison on Monday were sensationally leaked on Monday evening, ratcheting up the tensions between the two leaders.

Mr Albanese said it was an “extraordinary step” for the Prime Minister to take.

“The attempted damage control by selectively leaking private text messages is quite an extraordinary step for an Australian Prime Minister to take,” Mr Albanese said.

“Leaders of countries and indeed people in their everyday life need to be able to engage in a professional way.

“And the leaking of this selected text message isn’t the first time that we’ve seen that occur from this Prime Minister.”

The strategically released messages sought to discredit Mr Macron’s version of events as the fracas over a cancelled $90bn submarine contract rages on.

Asked on Monday by Australian reporters if Mr Morrison had lied to the French President, Mr Macron said, “I don’t think. I know.”

But less than 24 hours later, private text messages between the two world leaders were made public.

In the messages, Mr Macron is reported to have asked Mr Morrison if he should expect “good or bad news for our joint submarine ambitions” ahead of the AUKUS agreement announcement.

Quizzed about the text disclosure later, Mr Morrison did not deny they were leaked.

“I am not going to indulge your editorial on it,” he said in Glasgow.

“What I will simply say is this. We were contacted when we were trying to set up the call. (The French President) made it pretty clear he was concerned that this would be a phone call that could result in a decision by Australia not to proceed.”

Earlier in the day, Mr Morrison claimed he had informed Mr Macron the conventional submarines being provided by France would not meet Australia’s national interest.

He later added he would not accept questioning of “Australia’s integrity”.

“I must say that I think the statements that were made questioning Australia’s integrity and the slurs that have been placed on Australia, not me, I’ve got broad shoulders,” Mr Morrison said.

“I can deal with that. But those slurs, I’m not going to cop sledging at Australia. I’m not going to cop that on behalf of Australians.”

His inference that France has slurred Australians in Mr Macron’s critique was a sticking point for Mr Albanese.

“Pretending also, the personal criticism of him is criticism of Australia, is using our nation as a human shield,” he added.

“Scott Morrison isn‘t the first leader to see himself as synonymous with his nation … Well, the news for Scott Morrison is he isn’t the state of Australia.”

Originally published as Scott Morrison branded a gaslighter over leaked Macron texts

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Scott Morrison meets with ‘dear friend’ Narendra Modi at Cop26

After a series of frosty encounters at the G20 summit in Rome, Scott Morrison has finally found a mate at Cop26.

Scott Morrison has been thanked for being a “dear friend” to India on the sidelines of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday morning took to Twitter to declare there is never “a dull moment” when he’s with his friend Mr Morrison.

It came just hours after he praised the Australian medical regulator’s decision to recognise India’s locally produced Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin.

Mr Morrison later tweeted it was “wonderful” to see his friend at Cop26.

As the G20 leaders’ summit kicked off last week, Australia and India were joined only by China to resist a global bid to phase out coal-fired power and mining.

In his address to the Cop26 summit, Mr Modi committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2070 – two decades later than the rest of the world.

The announcement falls short of a key goal of the climate summit, which is for nations to agree to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

India is the world’s fourth biggest emitter of carbon dioxide after China, the US and the EU.

It is the fifth largest export market for Australian coal, and imports into the country have risen off the back of Australian trade woes with China.

Mr Modi also promised his nation would transition to generating 50 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030.

The Indian leader made the most of his time at the UN leaders’ summit, whizzing around to meet with several of his international counterparts.

Earlier, the Indian Prime Minister was pictured with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles.

He thanked the royal for his commitment to sustainable development and climate change.

Originally published as Scott Morrison meets with ‘dear friend’ Narendra Modi at Cop26

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Malcolm Turnbull says Scott Morrison’s ‘duplicity’ was ‘shameful’ over French subs deal

Malcolm Turnbull says his successor should have had an ‘honest and open’ conversation about Australia’s nuclear future before breaking decades of diplomatic trust.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has slammed Scott Morrison for his “sneaky, “shameful” and “duplicitous” behaviour that has strained Australia’s diplomatic relationship with France.

Speaking from the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Mr Turnbull said Mr Morrison “should apologise” for “double dealing” the French over the submarine deal.

Mr Turnbull’s comments come after a day of back-and-forth between Mr Morrison and French President Emmanuel Macron, who accused Mr Morrison of lying about dumping their $90bn submarine contract in favour of a nuclear powered pact with the US and the UK.

Less than 24 hours after the public accusation, private text messages, presumably leaked from the Prime Minister’s Office, emerged, essentially undermining Mr Macron’s statement.

Speaking from Glasgow, Mr Morrison said he “would not cop a sledging” from Mr Macron and he had tried to set up a call with him before the AUKUS announcement in September that led to the diplomatic fallout.

“(Mr Macron) made it pretty clear he was concerned that this would be a phone call that could result in a decision by Australia not to proceed,” Mr Morrison said from Glasgow.

Mr Turnbull said Mr Morrison should cease hitting back and apologise.

“Firstly, because he did very elaborately and duplicitously deceive France,” he said.

“We had a relationship of the deepest trust and confidence with France – the French shared with us some of their most secret technology on submarines. It was a partnership between two nations as a cornerstone of France-Indo-Pacific strategy and to be double dealing with them the way Morrison did was shameful.

“I mean (US President) Joe Biden has acknowledged that.

“Morrison’s conduct has done enormous damage.”

Mr Morrison told reporters in Glasgow that during dinner in June with Mr Macron he had clearly told the French President that conventional submarines would no longer meet Australia’s strategic interests and any decision to transition to nuclear-powered ships would be in Australia’s national interests.

“The (French) submarine contract was a significant investment decision taken five years ago. At that point … the attack class submarine was the right decision,” Mr Morrison said from Glasgow.

“But there have been significant changes which have completely changed the game.”

Mr Turnbull said Mr Morrison should have dealt with Mr Macron “honestly” instead of “dropping hints”.

“What we should have done, and nuclear propulsion for submarines has always been an option for us … but what we should have done was had an honest and open conversation,” Mr Turnbull said.

“An honest person would have sat down with France, brought in the Americans … and said ‘look, we think we should move to nuclear propulsion’.

“The French submarine that we were working on was actually designed as a nuclear submarine and it was Australia’s request that it had conventional diesel electric propulsion.

“All Scott needed to do was to be honest and open, and that’s exactly what Biden has criticised him for because there wasn’t consultation.

“ If we had had an honest and open conversation, we wouldn’t have any of these problems. This is all the product of Scott’s duplicity.”

Originally published as Malcolm Turnbull says Scott Morrison’s ‘duplicity’ was ‘shameful’ over French subs deal

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Scott Morrison addresses Emmanuel Macron nuclear submarines deal fallout at COP26

Scott Morrison has issued a blistering response after French President Emmanuel Macron accused him of lying.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has sensationally rebuked Emmanuel Macron after the French president called him a liar.

Mr Morrison told reporters in Glasgow on Monday night that he made no apology for his decision to abandon a $90 billion submarine contract with France.

Mr Macron had accused Mr Morrison of lying by not revealing that Australia had been in talks with the UK and US over the acquisition of nuclear submarines.

Mr Macron made the extraordinary comment to Australian reporters at the G20 summit in Rome, after weeks of escalating diplomatic tensions between France and Australia.

“I just say when we have respect, you have to be true and you have to behave in line and consistent with this value,” he said.

When asked if he thought Mr Morrison had lied to him, he said: “I don’t think, I know”.

In response, Mr Morrison said he did not wish to “personalise the spat” but would not accept “statements questioning Australia’s integrity”.

“I’m not going to cop sledging on Australia,” he told reporters.

He said the conventional diesel submarines that would have been built under the deal with France would not have met Australia’s strategic needs.

“I have to put Australia’s interests before any interests that involved potentially offending others,” he said.

“The (French) submarine contract was a significant investment decision taken five years ago. At that point, given the strategic circumstance, time and technology available to Australia the attack class submarine was the right decision.

“But there have been significant changes that have occurred in our strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific, which completely changed the game.”

Mr Morrison laid out a timeline about when Australia pulled out of the deal.

The Prime Minister provided a blow-by-blow of when he raised concerns, touching on when he raised issues with the French contract, including significant delays.

Mr Morrison said he acted to abandon the deal in Australia’s national interests, and Mr Macron was given some advance warning the French deal was not working.

He said French officials had attempted to appease Australia’s concerns, without success.

Both leaders have been at the G20 summit and are now in Glasgow for the COP26 Climate Change conference.

More to come

Originally published as Morrison says ‘I won’t cop sledging on Australia’ amid nuclear subs fallout

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‘Scott no friends’: Scott Morrison mocked for G20 photo

We’ve all experienced an awkward moment before a family photo, but Scott Morrison’s was broadcast live around the world.

The Prime Minister has been mocked for being a “Scott no friends” after an awkward moment at the G20 which even saw him snubbed by an old friend.

After a frosty phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron on the way to the leaders’ summit, Scott Morrison was left without a friend to chat to during the “family photo”.

West Australian MP Patrick Gorman took to Twitter on Monday to make hay of the matter at the Prime Minister’s expense.

Speaking with NCA Newswire, the Labor MP said Mr Morrison has form when it comes to political photo ops.

“It is hard to see someone go through their awkward teenage phase in the middle of the G20,” Mr Gorman said.

“In a week’s time, Scott Morrison will get a poll telling him this was funny and he will laugh at it, too.

“World leaders saw what happened last time he hugged Malcolm Turnbull, Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump.”

In video from the meeting, it appeared several world leaders snubbed Mr Morrison as he approached them as they gathered in front of cameras.

Walking onto the podium, the Prime Minister was given the cold shoulder by Rwanda President Paul Kagame and South Korea President Moon Jae-In, who did not seem receptive to a three-way handshake.

Mr Morrison then approached old friend and long-time parliamentary ally Mathias Cormann, who should have been a sure bet for a chat.

But his former finance minister looked to his feet before turning away from the Prime Minister, before the two could exchange pleasantries.

The interaction was made all the more awkward because Mr Morrison strongly supported and campaigned for Mr Cormann to become secretary-general of the OECD.

To add to Mr Morrison’s woes, US President Joe Biden and Mr Macron could be seen enthusiastically chatting before the picture.

It’s not the first time Mr Morrison has had an awkward encounter on the world stage.

At the G7 summit in Biarritz, Mr Morrison was left out in the cold, looking down at his phone, while other leaders chatted happily away while getting in formation for the photo.

But there is still a chance for the Prime Minister to redeem himself with his peers, as the UN climate summit gets underway in Glasgow this week.

He’ll be hoping Australia’s net zero commitment will be enough to convince his stately colleagues he is serious about tackling climate change, but only time will tell.

Originally published as ‘Scott no friends’: ScoMo mocked for awkward G20 photo

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Joe Biden describes France submarine deal snub by AUKUS as ‘clumsy’

The American and French Presidents have sat down in an attempt to repair strained relationships brought about by a submarine deal.

US President Joe Biden has labelled the trilateral handling of a submarine deal, which resulted in a major diplomatic fallout with France, as “clumsy”.

Last month, Australia, the US and the United Kingdom formed a new partnership – AUKUS – which meant Canberra would scrap its $90b submarine deal with Paris in favour of nuclear technologies made available by London and Washington.

But France was blindsided by the deal having been advised on the eve of the AUKUS announcement. As a result, ambassadors were pulled from Canberra and Washington.

While Mr Biden was able to smooth over relations, Mr Morrison has faced more difficulties in repairing the relationship.

Speaking from the G20 leaders summit in Rome, Mr Biden sat aside Emmanuel Macron in their first face-to-face meeting since the deal was signed, admitting the situation could have been better handled.

“It was … clumsy … it was not done with a lot of grace,” Mr Biden said.

“I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the deal was not coming through.

“ … That certain things had happened that hadn’t happened.”

Mr Macron was asked whether repairs with the US had been repaired, saying “we clarified together what we had to clarify.”

It comes after Mr Morrison finally spoke to Mr Macron via phone on the cusp of his flying to Europe on Thursday.

While a readout of the call from Paris suggested Mr Macron expected Australia to do more to rebuild their relationship, Canberra said the dialogue had been “productive”.

According to the Elysee Palace, Mr Macron told Mr Morrison the decision had “broken” trust between the two nations.

“It is now up to the Australian government to propose tangible actions that embody the will of Australia’s highest authorities to reduce the basis of our bilateral relationship,” the readout said.

In contrast, a spokesperson for Mr Morrison described the phone call as having been a “candid discussion”.

On Friday, Defence Minister Peter Dutton suggested the reason France remained bitter about the deal was because of a looming election.

“Politicians and elections always make for an interesting mix. I think once we get through the next year, hopefully we can continue with steps to normalise the relationship,” Mr Dutton said.

Mr Morrison, who has arrived in Rome, will come face-to-face with Mr Macron at the G20 leaders summit, before they fly to Glasgow for the COP26 climate summit.

Originally published as Joe Biden describes France submarine deal snub by AUKUS as ‘clumsy’

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Scotty departs for Scotland for major climate talks

The Prime Minister is set to face world leaders for the first time since committing Australia to carbon neutral by 2050.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has flown off for key climate talks with a commitment but without finalised modelling for his plan.

Mr Morrison will meet with world leaders first at the G20 leaders’ summit in Rome before travelling to Glasgow for the much anticipated United Nations COP26 climate summit.

It is the first in-person gathering of the leaders of the world’s biggest economies since the pandemic started.

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor will accompany the Prime Minister on his VIP jet “Shark One”.

In a statement prior to his departure, Mr Morrison said the pandemic and climate would be at the top of his agenda during his time overseas.

“These important international meetings come as the world has reached a critical point in our health response and economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and our collective effort to address the challenges of climate change,” Mr Morrison said.

“COP26 will be crucial in the global effort to address the challenges of climate change.

“I look forward to supporting Prime Minister Johnson, as host of COP26, to achieve our Paris Agreement objectives and collaborate to collectively deliver net zero emissions by 2050.”

Also on Mr Morrison’s agenda will be his pitch to leaders to thwart the power of social media giants.

“We need to fully harness the benefits of digitalisation, but in doing that, making sure the rules that apply in the real world, apply in the digital world,” he told reporters earlier on Thursday.

“I will continue to press, as Australia always has, and show the leadership on this issue globally that we must hold social media platforms to account.”

After a turbulent week in parliament, the arrival of the COP26 summit will bring little relief to Mr Morrison, who is set to face calls to lift Australia’s climate targets beyond his 2050 pledge.

In the days since his policy release, Mr Morrison has copped criticism for the strategy, which lacks a solid 2030 commitment.

Instead, Mr Morrison will take projections to Glasgow, which, if reached, could reduce Australia’s emissions by 30 to 35 per cent by 2030.

He’s also set to be reunited with former colleague Mathias Cormann, who is likely to press Australia to adopt stronger climate targets – including a carbon pricing scheme.

In a statement overnight, Mr Cormann said progress across G20 nations remained “uneven”.

“G20 economies are lifting their ambition and efforts, including through the explicit and implicit pricing of carbon emissions,” the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development secretary-general said.

“However, progress remains uneven across countries and sectors, and is not well enough coordinated globally.

“We need a globally more coherent approach which enables countries to lift their ambition and effort to the level required to meet global net zero by 2050, with every country carrying an appropriate and fair share of the burden while avoiding carbon leakage and trade distortions.

“Carbon prices and equivalent measures need to become significantly more stringent and globally better coordinated to properly reflect the cost of emissions to the planet, and put us on the path to genuinely meet the Paris Agreement climate goals.

OECD analysis found Australia ranked 11th out of 18 countries for carbon pricing, which Australia imposes through fuel excise.

Australia does not have a carbon pricing scheme following the repeal of the Gillard government’s carbon tax in 2014.

Mr Cormann will also attend the G20 talks and COP26 climate summit.

The Prime Minister has previously said he will not introduce a carbon pricing scheme.

Originally published as Scott Morrison departs for Glasgow armed with a net zero commitment but without modelling

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‘Secret’ modelling underpinning Scott Morrison’s net zero policy still in spreadsheet form

Scott Morrison has been under fire for not releasing the modelling underpinning his major net zero commitment, but there’s a good reason why.

The modelling underpinning Scott Morrison’s strategy for a carbon neutral future cannot be published because the department tasked with the job has yet to finish the report.

The Prime Minister has been under pressure to release the modelling that shaped the net zero commitment he is set to take to a UN climate summit in Glasgow next week.

But officials from the Department of Science, Industry, Energy and Resources (DSIER) on Thursday revealed the report had not been finalised and work continued while Mr Morrison’s plan was deliberated in cabinet on Monday evening.

“We will make that material public within the next few weeks, and indeed, I can confirm that we are finalising the writing up of that work,” Deputy secretary Jo Evans told a Senate estimates hearing.

“You can appreciate that it’s quite a complex set of material, and as the plan was only finalised on Tuesday, we need to make sure we have written that technical work up.

“The actual modelling of course had been finalised at that point, but the write up of it, we just need to take a little bit of extra time.”

Ms Evans stressed the modelling work had been completed and the report needed additional time to ensure it was accessible to the public.

“We will publish it when we put it into a form that is suitable for putting to the public domain so that it’s understandable,” she said.

Asked what format the work was currently in, Ms Evans said: “Spreadsheets and finalised and technical reports that are designed for an audience that is more sophisticated in terms of how it will understand results.”

DSIER insisted the modelling would be released in the coming weeks in line with the promises made by Mr Morrison earlier in the week.

Asked about Ms Evans’ comments in question time, Mr Morrison stuck to his “technology, not taxes” lines.

“That document will be released in the next few weeks and it will be there, and they will be able to see it and they will be able to see that what it does through the plan that we are putting in place with technology, not taxes, with respecting people’s choices,” he said.

The nation’s chief economic forecasters on Wednesday told estimates they had provided limited advice on the impact of a net zero target but two staff had been seconded to DSIER to assist with its modelling.

Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy also conceded his department hadn’t undertaken any modelling on the economic costs of climate change in the “last few years”.

“I don’t know whether it is eight years – but we haven’t done it at least for the last few years,” he said.

Under Mr Morrison’s plan to reach net zero, more than $20bnwill be invested in low emissions technologies, including carbon capture and storage.

Mr Morrison also unveiled new projections, which if reached, could reduce Australia’s emissions by 30 to 35 per cent by 2030.

Originally published as ‘Secret’ modelling underpinning Scott Morrison’s net zero policy still in spreadsheet form

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Climate Change COP26: Kevin Rudd critical of Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Kevin Rudd has warned world leaders will see through Scott Morrison’s plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described Scott Morrison as a “C-grade Boris Johnson” and warned world leaders at the COP26 conference will see through his plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Under Mr Morrison’s plan announced on Tuesday, more than $20bn will be invested in “low emissions technologies”, but the modelling will not be released until later.

Mr Morrison will soon travel to Glasgow for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, but Mr Rudd warned the Prime Minister would likely face some criticism from other leaders.

“I think, for example, you could rely upon the European Union and probably the United States to finger Morrison for, frankly, this duplicitous,” he told the Democracy Sausage podcast.

“The 2050 carbon neutrality debate is a done deal. The real action is what governments are now committing to by way of their renewed, redefined, near-term carbon reduction targets for this decade 2020 through until 2030.

“That’s where the rubber hits the road … most governments are in the business of advancing reductions of around about 50 per cent against 2005 levels of their current greenhouse gas emissions.

“That’s certainly where the Americans have gone, that’s where most of the other majors have gone … so right now, we are a shag on a rock in terms of 2030.

“The illusion being created … is somehow there’s been a Damascus Road conversion and there’ll be garlands of flowers thrown out on the path as Morrison makes his way to the conference centre in Glasgow — nothing could be further from the truth.”

Mr Rudd also hit out at the Nationals, describing the party as “quite corrupt”.

“They’ve ceased to be a party for anything or anybody other than themselves,” he said.

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Rudd also spoke about Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine deal with the UK and US, scrapping its previous arrangement with France.

“The net consequence of what’s happened, I think is … it’s not just alienating the French, but you’ve actually turned the French into a hostile agent against Australian interests regionally and globally,” Mr Rudd said.

“(Also), you’ve established a reputation sovereignly for Australia as a country which doesn’t honour its contracts — not good.

“I think most critically … we have now at present the illusion of nuclear-powered subs arriving in this country sometime in 2030s, possibly not until the 2040s, and us being left strategically naked on the way through.

“I find that the most absolutely irresponsible element of this entire equation … I wonder where the grown ups in the room have been during these discussions.”

Originally published as Kevin Rudd criticises Scott Morrison’s plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050

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