Senate debates

Tuesday, 10 August 2021


Climate Change

12:37 pm

Photo of Murray WattMurray Watt (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Northern Australia) Share this | Hansard source

I want to briefly contribute to this debate to flag that Labor will be supporting the motion to suspend standing orders. We will not, however, be voting for the substantive motion, because it doesn't reflect the Labor position.

I do want to take the opportunity to also bring to the chamber's attention the very serious risks that have been outlined in the IPCC report released overnight, particularly for regional Queensland and especially for northern Australia. It is somewhat ironic that in this chamber some of the hardest opponents of taking action on climate change are representatives, so called, of regional Australia. The IPCC report makes very clear that it is regional Australia, more than any other part of the country and almost more than any other part of the world, that faces the most serious risks if action on climate change is not taken. Even in the last couple of years, whether it be the Black Summer fires, whether it be floods or whether it be cyclones, we have seen that, constantly, it's regional Australia that bears the brunt of our changing climate. It's regional Australia that pays the price for this government's lack of action on climate change, and it's regional Australia that is being so profoundly let down by a government that claims to represent it.

That's before we get to the incredible job opportunities that can exist in regional Australia if we actually start taking action on climate change. We can create jobs in regional Queensland and elsewhere in regional Australia if we take action on climate change. That's probably why every stakeholder, from the National Farmers Federation to Rio Tinto, BHP and gas companies, is backing net zero emissions by 2050. It's not because they're good corporate citizens; it's because they know that there is money to be made and jobs to be created. That's why they're backing it, that's why Labor is backing it, and that's why we need this government to actually start taking some action rather than continuing the approach we always see from them, which is to never take responsibility, to blame others and to come up with spin lines to avoid actually doing anything.

Just in closing, though, I do want to respond to a couple of the points that Senator Waters has made on behalf of the Greens. In fact, I predicted, as we walked into this chamber, that most of what we would hear from the Greens this morning would be attacks on Labor, and it was, because it always is, because the Greens exist to take votes from Labor, to take seats from Labor and to actually guarantee the re-election of LNP governments.

Now, if we needed any proof of that, let's look at the founder of the Greens party, Bob Brown, and what he had to say about the notorious Adani convoy that ran through Queensland last year, contributing to the re-election of this government. He said that he was very proud of the Adani convoy; it had achieved its objective by returning Senator Waters to this chamber. It didn't matter that, in the process, it led to the re-election of an LNP government that even the Greens say is destroying the climate. That wasn't their concern. Their only concern is to come after Labor.

As for this notion that the Greens holding the balance of power would be a good thing for the climate, let's just remember the last time there was a Labor government with the Greens in the balance of power in the Senate. They blocked Labor's initiative around the CPRS. Why on earth would you let the Greens have the balance of power if you actually want action on climate change? The only way to have action on climate change is to elect a majority Labor government, and that's exactly what we intend to do at the next election.


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