Bill Shorten has three words for Tony Abbott on climate change: 'Bring it on'

Labor leader Bill Shorten. Photo: Getty Images

Opposition leader Bill Shorten will make the issue of climate change his primary focus in the lead up to the next federal election.

Shorten, who will address a Labor Party national conference in Melbourne today, says he’s got a new three-word slogan to challenge Abbott on climate change policies: “Bring it on”.

The Labor leader plans to announce that, if elected, his goverment will build an Emissions Trading Scheme for Australia “instead of giving big polluters fistfuls of taxpayer dollars to keep [polluting]”.

Shorten says climate change is an “an economic and environmental cancer” and that his government “will not be intimidated by ridiculous scare campaigns”.

He wants renewable energy to generate 50% of Australia’s electricity by 2030.

“This is how Australia can transform our electricity system, build a new industrial landscape and deliver a clean energy future,” he says.

Citing concerns about the future of wind energy, the Opposition leader says he wants “more Aussie farmers earning more money by putting wind turbines on their land”.

While Australia’s wind energy industry says it has up to $18 billion worth of investment on the drawing board, the Abbott goverment has been committed to reducing the number of wind farms, with Abbott labelling them “visually awful” and noisy.

Last month, a leaked draft letter from environment minister Greg Hunt revealed a proposal for a “windfarm commissioner” to deal with complaints about the industry in a bid to gain crossbench Senate support to support the government’s reduced renewable energy target (RET).

Shorten is also facing opposition from within his own political party after he conceded the Abbott government’s policy to turn back asylum seeker boats was working.

Shorten says a Labor government should be able to turn back boats if safe to do so, however, the party’s left faction is still against the policy.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, who lost the leadership ballot to Shorten following the 2013 election, says he has “real concerns” about Shorten’s support for the Coalition’s policy.

“I think that it is absolutely critical, critical that we always remember our need for compassion and to not appeal to our darker sides,” he told supporters ahead of today’s conference.

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