House debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023


Safeguard Mechanism (Crediting) Amendment Bill 2022; Second Reading

1:21 pm

Photo of Max Chandler-MatherMax Chandler-Mather (Griffith, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

The member for McNamara might think this is a joke. If you're watching at home, the member for McNamara is laughing and joking about that, when the city of Melbourne—the one that he apparently lives in and cares about—was hit by a flood that was made worse by climate change. How dare he!

Sixty-eight per cent of the emissions covered under this safeguard mechanism came from corporations that donated nearly $1 million to the Labor Party's election campaign. Corporations with major projects on the line, like Santos, Woodside, Whitehaven Coal, Glencore and Tamboran Resources, as well as peak member bodies, like APPEA and the Minerals Council, donated generously to both major parties, including the Labor Party.

I've seen Labor MPs get upset when we point that out, but why else would large multinational corporations make large donations to the major political parties, including Labor, if not to exert influence? They get angry about it, but the people that should be angry are the Australians and future generations who are being sold out for a couple of million dollars in donations from fossil fuel corporations who make billions of dollars in profits and often don't pay a single cent in tax.

One of the other lies and myths that's perpetuated by both sides of politics is that Australia can't really make much of an impact tackling climate change anyway, when we know that Australia is actually the third-largest exporter of fossil fuels in the developed world. In fact, the only two countries that export more fossil fuels than us are Russia and Saudi Arabia. The biggest impact we can have on climate change is to stop opening new coal and gas mines and exporting that around the world to be burnt, driving terrible climate change.

The tragedy is that one of the lies that both sides of politics tell is that, if we stop new coal and gas projects and we make sure that we engage in a sensible transition out of existing coal and gas, somehow this will hurt livelihoods. The only livelihoods that would hurt are those of the CEOs and shareholders of these massive multinational corporations who are currently raking in massive profits and often not paying a single cent in tax. In the last reportable tax year, the top 20 fossil fuel corporations in Australia made $150 billion in revenue, and they paid $30 in tax.

An alternative to this is making those corporations pay their fair share in tax and using that revenue and wealth to fund a transition that includes investment in manufacturing, health and hospitals, and schools, making sure that we invest in housing—


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