Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has revealed he advised Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on upcoming climate talks with the United Nations in Paris.
In an interview with the ABC’s Lateline, Mr Rudd said he did not know whether Mr Turnbull would take a new leadership role at the talks but that he had spoken to him about them.
“I certainly provide advice to those who ask for it. I’ve certainly spoken to the government about Paris, I’ve certainly spoken to the Prime Minister as well,” he said.
“But the virtue of those conversations is that they remain private.”
Mr Rudd said tackling India’s carbon problem was the biggest problem the UN faces at the upcoming climate talks.
“I think the core, outstanding question that stares all of us in the face is: how do you get India, in particular, at its stage of economic development, over, let’s call it the massive carbon hump, which lies ahead?” he said.
“India is not just going to turn the lights off … how do we assist our Indian friends across that hump?”
Mr Rudd defended his recent attack on Cardinal George Pell’s conservative position on climate change, when he called the cardinal a “radical climate change sceptic”.
“To bring about global action on climate change, you need a consensus of community opinion — the Church’s influence within various communities around the world is significant,” he said.
“Therefore when you have one of the senior princes of the Church, in such a senior position now in Rome, basically saying to the Pope ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about’ on climate change, I think there is a responsibility to engage.”
Rudd ‘not a candidate’ for UN Secretary-General job
Mr Rudd also touched on his attack on what he earlier this week called the “serious nutjobs” in the “lunar right” of the Turnbull Government.
However, he would not name any names.
“I genuinely hope over time that Prime Minister Turnbull is able to bring that consensus around in his own party,” he said.
“It’s in the nation’s interest; the world watches Australia.”
The former Prime Minister also shut down speculation he had his sights set the job of UN Secretary-General, sparked when UNICEF appointed him as its chair for global sanitation and water partnership last week.
“I can give you an answer which is that I’m not a candidate. It’s eastern-Europe’s turn,” he said.