Senate debates

Monday, 7 December 2020

Matters of Urgency

Climate Change

5:44 pm

Photo of Jenny McAllisterJenny McAllister (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Cabinet Secretary) Share this | Hansard source

Indeed, the Greens political party are touchy about this question, because it was a great mistake. It's a mistake for which they have refused to apologise, a mistake they cannot even acknowledge. The consequence of that is they continue to be completely unable to participate in constructing broad based support for climate action.

Labor will not be supporting the Greens urgency motion today, because, yet again, it is characterised by misleading information. I'm sure that the Greens will see that as no impediment to posting online a whole lot of information misrepresenting Labor's position on climate action, polluting the political debate with misinformation. But let's be really clear: Labor is the only party with a track record of legislating for climate action and is the only party with the capacity to build a broad based consensus to transition us to a carbon neutral future. Right now, under this government, nothing is happening, and that is by design. That will not change until we change the government.

According to recent research from the University of Melbourne, the cost to Australia of not delivering on the goals of the Paris Agreement, a goal that requires net zero emissions by 2050, is a staggering $2.7 trillion.

(Quorum formed) Before the Greens called a quorum in this debate—a step that they've taken on multiple occasions for purposes that they're yet to explain—I was making the point that the costs of inaction are very significant for the Australian economy. At a time when we are looking for sources of growth, new sources of economic activity and new jobs, it is incredible that the government cannot see the opportunity that is staring them in the face. This is a goal that the CSIRO says will deliver higher wages, higher incomes and lower power costs. It's a goal that the University of Melbourne says will deliver 20 times greater benefits to the economy than any costs. The Business Council says getting to net zero by 2050 will mean $22 billion of new investment per year. All major Australian companies and the National Farmers Federation and the Australian Industry Group are committed to net zero emissions by 2050. Seventy-three countries, including the UK, Canada, France and Germany, have already adopted it as their goal. All states and territories in Australia have already promised to be carbon neutral by 2050, and the Australian and international communities are united in this commitment. But it's the Morrison government that refuses to accept the target and denies the science. It misleads and lies to the community and refuses to take action. These failures have a real-life impact. Our government should go to the Climate Ambition Summit with a plan for climate, energy and economic reform.


No comments