Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Matters of Urgency
I rise to speak to this matter of utmost urgency. The climate collapse our world is experiencing is a threat like no other. The Australian government's inaction in the face of this is nothing short of criminal. A little more than a week into spring, unprecedented fires are raging in New South Wales and Queensland, destroying our rainforests, habitats and homes. Inaction on this climate crisis has put one million of the world's species at risk of extinction. In Australia, the Murray-Darling is close to the brink of collapse.
Australians are extremely concerned about the droughts, the floods, the extinctions and the water shortages caused by climate change, and most people think that governments are just not doing enough to combat global warming. Emergency crews across the country are crying for help, calling these severe events an 'omen of things to come', and they are dead right. Every moment this government refuses to take this crisis seriously is a moment where it is putting us all at extreme risk.
The recent IPCC report on climate change and land use confirmed what we already know—that the impacts of climate meltdown are already affecting Australia, and this will only get worse. Even as we feel these effects, we know other countries across the globe—the Pacific and the global south–are already suffering immensely. And they will be hit even harder, creating generations of climate refugees. The UN Human Rights Council says the world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope.
The imperative of profit-making, sadly, has driven our planet and society to the edge of its exploitation of the environment and workers—and it must be abandoned. We cannot sustain a society predicated on planet-killing economic growth. We must build a socially and environmentally just world. We demand an end to new coal, oil and gas. Let's transform our approach to land use in industrial agribusiness. Let's invest in caring green jobs and 100 per cent renewable energy, and let's provide a just transition for workers to a post-carbon economy. This is well within our reach.
I'm proud to say that I will be marching with the millions of students and workers across the globe who are going on strike, on 20 September, to send a strong message to the lazy, coal-loving climate-denying politicians who are doing everything they can to block real action on climate change. The message is simple: the climate crisis is happening and we demand action.