Originally published on theconversation.com
Liberal backbencher Dave Sharma, a former diplomat, is an up-and-comer in his party and one of its moderate voices.
Holding the progressive electorate of Wentworth, where formerly Malcolm Turnbull was the member and climate change is a significant issue, Sharma was among those Liberal MPs who pressed Scott Morrison on the 2050 target before Glasgow.
In this podcast Sharma discusses climate policy, the religious discrimination legislation, a national integrity commission, voter ID, China, and the Liberal party.
Asked whether the government should improve its medium-term target at next years climate conference – which the government is not disposed to do – he argues for leaving options open.
“I wouldn’t be ruling it out, but nor do I think we necessarily need to be ruling it in. I think we need to maintain our options.
“I think we always need to be mindful of where the international environment is at on this, and that’s very much shaped our attitude towards adopting net zero by 2050.
“Australia has always been a country that doesn’t seek to be an outlier in the world. It seeks to move with the major currents of world opinion and world developments.”
With the government’s religious discrimination legislation due to be introduced next week, Sharma says: “My concern is that what should be a shield only does not, is not allowed to become a sword.
“People should be protected against discrimination on the basis of their religion. But someone’s religion or faith should not give them a positive right to discriminate against other people.”
On China, he’s encouraged by the recent joint US-China statement on climate and this week’s talks between President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping, and urges efforts to improve Australia-China relations.
“We live in the same region together. There’s a remarkable degree of common interests that we share. We’re well integrated trading and economic partners. It’s too important a relationship [..] not to be striving every day to ensure that it works better.”
Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.