Senate debates

Monday, 14 October 2019

Matters of Public Importance

Girls Takeover Parliament

3:50 pm

Photo of Richard Di NataleRichard Di Natale (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I want to use my short contribution to quote Sanjoli, who's one of the women taking part in Girls Takeover Parliament in the Greens offices today. Her speech reflects the very deep worries and concerns but, at the same time, the hope that young people have for the future. While both the major parties, in their efforts to get more coal, oil and gas projects up and running, are flat out rejecting the concerns of young people, she has some very strong words to say, and I want to get them on the record:

'I have some facts about last year. Sydney saw the hottest summer day in 80 years, with a temperature of over 47 degrees Celsius. We also experienced the worst drought in living memory. Queensland alone fought with 200 bushfires, and around 30 per cent of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef have died since 2016. Our children don't deserve to go through this at all. Our women don't deserve it, because they're the worst affected by climate poverty. Our Aboriginal brothers and sisters don't deserve to see their culture die.

'The Great Barrier Reef alone provides work for 60,000 people, and if the reef dies there'll be social repercussions. Dissatisfaction and frustration among young people are already at record levels and will deepen, and social unrest will give rise to uprising. Learned members of our ruling parties seem not to understand the gravity of the situation. That's the reason that mining goes on unabated, that greenhouse gas emissions are still at a high rate while we shamefully fail to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, and that the Adani mine is welcomed with open arms.

'Since we don't have another planet to run away to and we have to pass on a legacy to future generations, we need to take action, and we have to act now. Time's ticking away and our children are looking to us with hope. We can't disappoint them anymore. We need to realise the urgency of the situation. We need to withdraw all of our support for the Adani mine. We need to switch to clean energy, cut down on fossil fuels and adopt renewable energy, which Australia has in abundance. All we need is political will, empathy and accountability towards the cause and towards the people, all of which seem to be lacking.

'The on-the-ground reality is that people are protesting, shouting their throats out, to stop Adani and take measures, but it's falling on deaf ears. All that concerns the Liberals is profits at the cost of the environment. So it's with hope for a better future that I conclude with Gandhi's words: "Be the change you want to see in the world." It is up to us.'

I couldn't have said it better myself. It's about time we started listening to people like Sanjoli. (Time expired)


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