Senate debates

Monday, 7 December 2020

Matters of Urgency

Climate Change

6:05 pm

Photo of Jordon Steele-JohnJordon Steele-John (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I speak to this urgency motion as a young person and as a member of the generation who are staring down the barrel of a climate crisis and whose future looms as one defined by drought, hunger, fire and flood. Decade after decade we, the young people of Australia, have been demanding action from this parliament and yet all we hear in return is the same nonsense, the same robotic talking points delivered by one side of the chamber and the other. From one side of the chamber you get excuses and the literal talking points of the fossil fuel industry flowing forth into this place. From the other side, where the opposition sit, you see nothing but spinelessness and cowardice in the face of the greatest crisis ever to face the human species.

In my state of Western Australia we have a state Labor government that is flush with hundreds of thousands of dollars funnelled to it by Chevron and Woodside Petroleum. At their behest, the government is selling our future down a gas poisoned river and is fracking the Kimberley. On the eve of our state election it dares to bring forth a so-called climate policy that does not retain within it an emissions reduction target and does not retain within it a renewable energy target. On the eve of a season of weather in our state that proves to be one of the most damaging in our history and at a moment in time in the history of our state when we as a community have come together like never before to keep ourselves safe from COVID and are now united in our desire to rebuild in a way that enables us to tackle the climate crisis, the McGowan government is making things worse. It is opening up our state to the wholesale selling of massive tracts of our land—massive tracts of country that has been sung and stewarded for tens of thousands of years—to the gas giants that are lining the government's pockets.

It is one of the greatest acts of intergenerational theft in Australian political history. It is a condemnation of this place that right now there are children across the country organising strikes and marches at a time when their focus should be on their education, their mental health and planning what they want to do with their lives. They are putting all that aside to plan demonstrations to plead with this place, to grab it by the scruff of the neck and to say: 'Please act. Our future is at stake.' It is a shame that that should be required of my generation. (Time expired)


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