Monday, 9 November 2020
Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill 2020; Second Reading
It is a privilege to speak to and second the second reading motion on this bill today, and I would like to commend the member for Warringah for the extraordinary body of work that she has done on this bill, the Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2020.
We need a new approach. I think every person in this place would accept that we need a new approach, particularly those on the government side who, I can see, are torn on this. When they're out in their communities, they say that they want to see action on climate change, and then, when they come into this place, they are silent. This is your opportunity, so I call on all members in this place: with your leadership caucus meetings, please call for a free vote on this bill in this place. This should not be about party lines; this should be about what's right in Australia. In 30 or 40 years time, when people and students are reading Hansard, they will look back at this time. I want them to see a time when Australia actually acted, not a time about which they will say, 'Wow! Why didn't they do anything back then? They knew back then, but they did nothing.'
We need to act in this place. The business community of Australia wants certainty. They want a framework. They want us to act. This isn't radical and new. The United Kingdom has had it for 12 years. New Zealand has it. This will provide us with the framework of certainty for business so that business can make changes and can take steps forward. We have been living in a political wasteland in this place with respect to climate change for the entire time that I have had the privilege of being the member for Mayo. People in my community, including farmers, say to me: 'We're not acting on this. You don't understand. Regional Australia faces this first. We'll face an absolutely catastrophic future if we don't get this right.' And we have a duty to show leadership around the world. When we look to the Pacific islands, they know what climate change is about. Yet, here in this place, we still have people who won't accept the science, people who say they don't believe the science. Science isn't something that you either believe or not. Science is science, and the science says that we need action.
I commend the member for Warringah for this extraordinary work. What different leadership she is showing compared to previous members of Warringah who chose to take a negative step towards climate instead of a positive step. This is a wonderful opportunity for Australia, and I urge every member in this place to show leadership and to show bravery. Let's make this work.