Then and now: what Peter Dutton and the Coalition used to say about a 2030 emissions target

<span>Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton in parliament in 2021. The following year Dutton said of the 43%-by-2030 emissions target that he was ‘happy to see it go much higher’.</span><span>Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP</span>
Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton in parliament in 2021. The following year Dutton said of the 43%-by-2030 emissions target that he was ‘happy to see it go much higher’.Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Peter Dutton says the Coalition will not name its 2030 emissions reduction target before the next election. His Liberal and National party colleagues have enthusiastically backed this decision to decline to tell voters their plans before voting day.

But Dutton and the Coalition had a decidedly different stance before the 2022 election, goading Labor – then in opposition – for not naming their proposed emissions reduction goal. Labor did name its target well before that election, in December 2021 committing to a 43% cut by 2030.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to contrast what the Coalition has previously said about climate targets and detailed plans, and what they are saying now.

Related: Disastrous, dark shadow, destroys our economy: five climate elders on Peter Dutton’s emissions stance


26 October 2020

When it comes to this leader of the Labor party’s commitment on this issue [a 2030 target], it’s a blank space.

Scott Morrison (then the prime minister) in parliament

19 June 2022

ABC Insiders host David Speers:

What about the 43% target that is now Australia’s new emissions target for 2030? Do you support it?

Peter Dutton (then the defence minister):

Well, I’m happy to see it go much higher, David.


The target, I know you aren’t supporting legislation, but the target 43% by 2030. What’s your view?


Well our view is that we will end up – people haven’t put a figure on it – but I would suspect that we’ll end up with something like 35% just out of what we were doing. We had the target of 26 to 28% and in terms of our own target, we’ll announce that before the next election.

26 September 2022

The target that we took the ’22 election was up to 28%. It’ll be higher than 28%. There’s no doubt about that.

Peter Dutton (then the opposition leader) on the ABC’s Four Corners


In terms of the targets otherwise, we’ll make those decisions when we’re in government.

Peter Dutton, 11 June 2024


24 February 2021

You can’t be in the Paris agreement without a 2030 target. They are walking away from the Paris agreement. That is their policy position. With no 2030 target, that’s where you wind up.

Angus Taylor (then the energy minister) in parliament


That’s totally false to think that by us not meeting our 2030 target, will see us kicked out of it [the Paris agreement]

Nationals leader David Littleproud, 9 June 2024


10 August 2021

The other side of politics doesn’t even have a 2030 target. They don’t have a 2030 target. This is the core of the Paris agreement. Labor’s walked away from it. They have not told us what their 2030 target would be.

Angus Taylor (then energy minister) on Sky News


Well, the Paris Agreement is predominantly about net zero by 2050, and that’s what we’ve signed up to.

Peter Dutton, 11 June 2024


19 October 2020

It is very clear that they [Labor] have vacated the field and are not prepared to tackle climate change front-on. If they were, they would have the courage of their convictions and name a target for 2030.

LNP MP Ted O’Brien (now the shadow energy minister) in parliament

26 October 2020

What is unclear is what the policy of those opposite is. They cannot commit to a 2030 target. They can’t even tell you what it is. They talk about something that’s more than a generation away, and Australians deserve to know what their target would be in 2030 if those opposite were to go to the next election and seek to be elected by the Australian people … This leader of the Labor party can’t even sign up to an emissions reduction commitment in 2030.

Scott Morrison (then prime minister) in parliament


It’s very hard in opposition – without all the modelling and the advice from government – to put an exact figure on the table.

Peter Dutton, 11 June 2024


28 October 2021

Our government has a 2030 commitment; the opposition still doesn’t have a 2030 target at all. They don’t have one! They can’t speak to one, because it isn’t there. We have one; we took it to the last election. It was supported by the Australian people. The Labor party had one: it was 45% and it was rejected by the Australian people and those opposite have been sitting there twiddling their thumbs about what it should be ever since.

Scott Morrison (then prime minister) in parliament



Can you please clarify, will you have a target [for] 2030? Will you announce that before the election or is it going to come afterwards?

Peter Dutton:

We’ll look at the prevailing economic conditions after the next election, and we’ll make announcements in due course.

Doorstop interview, 11 June 2024


Related: ‘Paris’ is burning consensus on Australia’s climate policies – and that’s how Peter Dutton wants it

15 September 2020

Australians deserve to know what Labor’s 2030 target is and how much it will cost them.

Angus Taylor (then energy minister), quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald

29 October 2020

When those in opposition can only commit to a target three decades from now, what they are saying is this: it’s all too hard. It’s too hard to cost their policies, it’s too hard to outline what technologies will get them there.

Angus Taylor in parliament


Parties under that [Paris] agreement, the UN framework convention on climate change, are in fact governments not oppositions. So it’s honest and sensible to say we will wait until we are in a position to actually evaluate what is the effect on Australia and on Australian businesses and stay within the Paris agreement.

Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley, 12 June 2024


19 August 2021

I’ll tell you what we heard from Chris Bowen today, complete hypocrisy, where he said, on the one hand, there should be strong 2030 targets but he wasn’t prepared to say what Labor’s would be.

Angus Taylor (then energy minister) on Sky News

19 October 2021

We have that plan. It is very clear and it’s time for David and the Labor party to lay out what their plan is so we can move forward and we do need a broad set of technologies in that plan.

Angus Taylor on 2CC radio


There needs to be, particularly if you’re in opposition, the ability to understand the consequences of your policy and your actions.

Peter Dutton, 11 June 2024, on 2GB radio


12 November 2021

We’ve put it all out there. People know our policies – 2030 commitment, our 2050 commitment, our modelling is out there, our 130-page plan is out there. What has Labor got? Labor don’t even have a 2030 target. They have no plan and no modelling in terms of how they say they’re getting to 2050.

Scott Morrison (then prime minister) at a press conference


Anthony Albanese seems to want to have a fake fight about targets. Remember that a Labor-Greens government will bring you targets but will bring you no credible plan to get to net zero by 2050.

Sussan Ley, 12 June 2024, on Sky News