House debates

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Constituency Statements

Climate Change

5:29 pm

Photo of Matt ThistlethwaiteMatt Thistlethwaite (Kingsford Smith, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Financial Services) Share this | | Hansard source

A core Australian value is the value of community, of chipping in and doing your bit. The member for Mackellar has just mentioned surf lifesaving as the embodiment of that value of community here in Australia. I joined the surf lifesaving movement when I was 13 years old, my father before me was involved. He always said to me, 'You've got to chip in and do your bit.' When it comes to solving problems, it's inherent in Australians to do their bit as well, and we saw that during the bushfires last summer, when all Australians came together to help out during that difficult time.

But what's disappointing is that this government, the Morrison government, is not chipping in to do its bit to tackle the biggest crisis that the globe is facing: climate change. By failing to have a plan to reduce carbon emissions in Australia, this government is abandoning that great Australian tradition of community and of chipping in to do your bit. Unfortunately, under this government, carbon pollution had been increasing again before the COVID period, and that means that Australia is not doing its bit as other nations are.

With the election of Joe Biden as the United States President over the weekend, it has left the Morrison government stranded on the global stage when it comes to climate action. The President-elect is seeking to restore American leadership on climate change around the world. That's driven by a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. Over the last couple of weeks we've seen Japan, China and South Korea also commit to net zero emissions by the middle of the century. The UK and the European Union, among others, were already there, and we recently saw the UK Prime Minister urging and encouraging the Australian Prime Minister and his government to do the same thing—to do the right thing by the international community and chip in and do Australia's bit. But, yet again, this government drops the ball when it comes to taking action. The global community moves on and the Morrison government remains stuck in its own swamp of climate change scepticism and denialism. The Morrison government refuses to adopt net zero emissions by 2050, even though over 60 per cent of Australia's trade is with countries that have adopted the target.

This government has had 22 different energy policies over the course of the last eight years. The Prime Minister continues to cling to Tony Abbott's old notions of fighting the future. Every state and territory in the country is committed to net zero because it's the right thing to do. It represents chipping in and doing your bit by the Australian community. With their antirenewables ideology, they've also shown that we'll end up with higher electricity prices and higher emissions into the future.

This week we saw the New South Wales Liberal government expose their colleagues by announcing plans for 12 gigawatts of renewable energy generation into the future. Every other government in this country and every other Australian is committed to chipping in and doing their bit. Why won't the Morrison government does their bit on climate change?