Wednesday, 27 October 2021
Yesterday was a grim day in the global battle against climate change. In the lead-up to the Glasgow climate conference, scientists have confirmed that the current emissions reduction commitments of governments around the world will see us on track for 2.7 degrees of global warming by 2100. That would be a global catastrophe and would radically change the Australian way of life for our children.
In spite of this, we also saw it confirmed yesterday that the Morrison-Joyce government will go to the Glasgow conference with a 2030 emissions reduction target that was set by climate change denier Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. We saw the Morrison-Joyce government announce a commitment to a target of net zero emissions by 2050 yesterday but then release no detail of how it will be achieved, no modelling of what it will cost, no new money to achieve the target and no new legislation to enshrine the target. What little detail there was in the Prime Minister's new pamphlet was laughable. Eighty-five per cent of the emissions reductions to 2050 identified in the Prime Minister's pamphlet came from 'existing policies'. That would be existing climate change policies like the Renewable Energy Target, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, policies that every member of the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government went to the 2013 election opposing and then spent years trying to destroy. The other 15 per cent came from 'further technology breakthroughs'—technological innovations that they are simply hoping will happen over the next 30 years to get them to net zero. In other words, it's magic beans. They are hoping for magic beans to come and save them.
A lot of thought had been put into the marketing of this announcement, though. There was a glossy brochure. There was a new slogan, pinched from the Qantas in-flight magazine: The Australian Way. There was relentless messaging discipline, with the PM and his minister insisting 100 times in a single press conference that his pamphlet was not just a pamphlet but a 'plan'. Australians won't be fooled by this scam. They want an Australian government that is serious about us doing our bit to tackle climate change, not just empty rhetoric. They want a prime minister who will lead on this issue, not be led. They recognise that the world's climate emergency is Australia's jobs opportunity.
Albanese Labor has always believed in net zero by 2050. We didn't have to be dragged there. We've already said that we'll invest $20 billion to rewire the nation, upgrading our national electricity grid to harness Australia's potential as a renewable energy superpower, to drive down power prices and to create thousands of new jobs, particularly in the regions. Rewiring the nation is the most important investment we can make in the renewable energy capability of this nation. It is a no-brainer. Even those opposite should be able to understand it. We will connect 100,000 homes using 400 community batteries. We'll provide tax cuts for electric vehicles and embrace the Australian weekend. The next election will be a choice, and Australians will support Labor. (Time expired)