Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Climate Change

3:27 pm

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Finance (Senator Cormann) to a question without notice asked by Senator Hanson-Young today relating to climate change policy.

I rise to take note of the answer by Senator Cormann to my question today, which goes right to the heart of what is wrong with this government. Yesterday's decision by the current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, was to abandon any real moves to tackle climate change or to reduce carbon emissions—to reduce the target that ensured that there was a direction and certainty for not just Australians who want action on climate change but business that relies on that certainty as well. That decision by the current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to absolutely abandon the environment and climate action has just broken the hearts of people right across this nation.

This Prime Minister has been on thin ice when it comes to climate action for quite some time, despite the fact that back in 2009, of course, he said that he wouldn't lead a government or a party that didn't take climate change seriously. Well, I wonder what he's still doing there. What on earth is he still doing there? What on earth is the point of being the Prime Minister of the country if everything that you have ever stood for now doesn't matter—if you capitulate, if you sell out, if you sell your soul in order to keep the job?

Where is the legacy of Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party right now when it comes to climate action? It is nowhere—missing—and our entire planet continues to burn. There are 117 bushfires across the nation today, and we're not even close to summer. We're still in winter. It's freezing here in Canberra, yet there are 117 bushfires raging across the country. New South Wales is now declared 100 per cent in drought, the Murray-Darling Basin is running to a trickle and the Great Barrier Reef is in collapse.

Senator Williams interjecting—

I hear members of the National Party interjecting as I speak on this, because they are so in denial about the truth of climate change. Senator Williams and the National Party would prefer to bury their head in the sand, sell out farming communities right across this nation, because they don't want to admit that the pollution in the atmosphere, the impact that we are having on the planet, is making climate change across the globe and across this country worse. If they had any real integrity they would stand up and say to regional communities, 'Yes, we know you're hurting, and we know that there is a drought on and we know that it is being made worse because of the warming climate.' That's what the science says. But of course the National Party and the right-wing rump of the Liberal Party are obsessed with climate change denial. And it is this rump—these anti-science, anti-planet, anti-people coal junkies—who are now calling the shots inside Malcolm Turnbull's party.

We don't know how long Malcolm Turnbull will be the Prime Minister. It's anyone's guess. It could be 12 hours, it could be 24 hours, it could be a week or it could be three months. But we do know that if it's left to the Liberal-National parties then this country is never going to get serious about tackling climate change and doing what it needs to do to protect the environment. They live in denial. They deny the science, they sell out rural and regional communities and they're letting our planet burn. This Prime Minister said he cared about climate action. He's weak. He's capitulated. He's a sellout. (Time expired)

Question agreed to.


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