HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 27 OCTOBER 2021
No advanced country is more affected by dangerous climate change than Australia. Extreme weather events, including floods and bushfires, have afflicted Australian agriculture and households. Australia has the highest emissions per person in the advanced world, yet we're doing the least to combat climate change. According to this year's Sustainable Development Report, Australia ranked last of 193 countries for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What little reduction there has been under the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments has occurred despite them, not because of them. Labor's renewable energy target and state government land-clearing policies have accounted for the lion's share of the emissions reductions, which nonetheless are significantly smaller than we saw under the six years of the Rudd and Gillard governments.
We have, in this country, a range of organisations committed to fighting against climate action. Among them is the Institute of Public Affairs, whose executive director, John Roskam, once told the Sydney Morning Herald:
"Of all the serious sceptics in Australia, we have helped and supported just about all of them …"
Whether that's Ian Plimer, Jennifer Marohasy or Peter Ridd, you've seen the Institute of Public Affairs backing climate misinformation and working hard against climate action. So it might come as little surprise to the House that the name for the Institute of Public Affairs newsletter is 'The Australian way'. How appropriate that the package brought down by the Morrison government bears the very same name as the newsletter of the number one denialist think tank in Australia.
The fact is that what we saw from the Prime Minister yesterday was sideshows and slideshows, as the member for McMahon has noted. We didn't see any commitment to serious climate action. As the leader of the Labor Party said yesterday, we saw, from the Prime Minister, net zero modelling, net zero legislation and net zero unity. This should be called the 'Joyce-Morrison government' for the way in which the Nationals tail is wagging the Liberal dog. When the Prime Minister gets on a plane to go off to Glasgow, the country will be left in charge of the member for New England, who himself opposes net zero by 2050.
But net zero by 2050 isn't the goal of the Glasgow talks; it's a bare minimum pledge, which most advanced countries signed up to years ago. The debate at Glasgow is going to be over what countries will do by 2030, and the Prime Minister will turn up to that debate with the same 2030 targets as Tony Abbott, the climate change denier who once called climate change 'absolute crap' and mistakenly referred to carbon dioxide as a colourless, weightless gas—leading to a riposte by Malcolm Turnbull, who noted that he should try and make that argument to anyone who has ever dropped a block of dry ice on their foot.
The fact is that this government is running from serious climate action. It has worked for the past eight years in cahoots with climate denialists. Under the Morrison, Turnbull and Abbott governments, we have seen renewable energy jobs gutted. We have seen a failure of leadership. As Warwick McKibbin, who's not always a cheerleader for this side of the House, has noted,
“'Technology, not taxes' is actually a marketing device rather than a policy. It is actually 'inefficiently costly policy and not low-cost efficient policy'. The question is: how many sneaky income taxes are ultimately going to pay for the government's net zero strategy?”
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra