Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Matters of Urgency
The first job of people in this place is to tell the truth, to be honest about reality, to be honest about the breakdown of our climate and to be honest about the extinction crisis that we have caused and that we are living through. That's what we owe the people of Australia, whom we represent in here; that's what we owe the people of the world; and that is what we owe people who are yet to be born, who will suffer the fullest brunt of our greed and our cowardice. We have to tell the truth. So here are a few truths. We are facing an existential threat. Our pursuit of greed and profit has led us to a place where the ecosystem that sustains not only our life but all life on earth is teetering on the brink. While, around the world, the Arctic is burning, the Amazon is burning, the glaciers are melting, the tundra is melting and the feedback loops are kicking in, here in Australia the major parties have been bought, lock, stock and smoking barrel by their political masters, the big polluting corporations that fill their coffers—big coal, big oil, big gas and big forestry. They are playing the music that the major party senators in this chamber are dancing to the tune of.
It's very easy with this reality and with this truth-telling to get despondent, but there actually is still hope. That hope is embodied more strongly than anywhere else by the young people who are standing up, who are refusing to stay silent, who are refusing to be bought out and who are organising, mobilising and standing up and saying, 'Now we must strike for climate action.' Well, good on them! Power to their arms. I've got a lot more respect for them than I do for any major party senator who sits in this chamber. I say to them that I'll be with them on 20 September. The Australian Greens will stand with them on 20 September.