POLITICS

Christopher Pyne And Anthony Albanese Bang Heads Over An Article They Haven't Read

"If you wanted us to comment on it, you might have told us in the green room."

23/05/2016 9:38 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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ABC Q&A
Christopher Pyne said there were no net job cuts at the CSIRO.

Liberal MP, Christopher Pyne, and Labor MP, Anthony Albanese, came head-to-head on a special two-man panel on Monday night's Q&A.

The dual covered a range of topics -- from Dutton's controversial comments labelling refugees "illiterate and innumerate" to Defence spending and climate policy.

High school student April questioned the panelists (more directly Pyne) on why the Coalition cut CSIRO funding when, as Education Minister last year, Pyne was adamant maths and science should be compulsory for students in senior years.

April asked, "What's there for students to aspire to when they're encouraged to study science while a body as successful as the CSIRO is being decimated?"

Her question was met with resounding applause from the audience. You can watch her full question here:

Pyne, who is now the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, retaliated claiming he said maths OR science, not both, and that there were no net job cuts at the CSIRO.

"That's not factually true," he said.

"There are 275 jobs going in one division of the CSIRO and 350 new jobs being opened up in another division of the CSIRO.

"Funding for the CSIRO has gone up every year under this Government, as it did under the previous Government."

Pyne was also defensive on the Government's Direct Action climate change policy, which Monday morning's The Australian had labelled a "bipartisan emissions trading scheme".

Alan Kohler's article suggested that, due to a safeguard mechanism put in place, the Government's policy will work out as essentially the same as Labor's proposed emissions trading scheme (ETS).

"Today I was pleasantly surprised to... discover about the safeguard mechanism as part of the Coalition's Direct Action approach to climate change," the audience member said.

"Why is the Coalition Government being so quiet about this virtual ETS during this election cycle?"

Pyne circled the question before admitting he hadn't read the article by Kohler.

"Nobody asked me to become familiar with it before the show so I can't talk about Alan Kohler's column," Pyne said.

"I can tell you with a number of different measures... I believe we will meet our 26-28 percent target without doing what Labor wants to do, which is bring back a job-destroying carbon tax."

Albanese, the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities, Tourism jumped in, saying Australia should have an emissions trading scheme and that Labor wasn't bringing back the carbon tax.

"We should stop the ridiculous, childish debate that we just saw of trying to say that Labor's bringing back a carbon tax, because we're not," he said.

However, when pressed by Tony Jones to address the issue of a bipartisan ETS policy, he admitted he hadn't read it either -- and chided Jones for not giving them a heads up before the show.

"I didn't see Alan Kohler's article, nor did Christopher. And if you wanted us to comment on it you might have told us in the green room."

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