Senate debates

Tuesday, 10 August 2021


Climate Change

12:18 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

The report last night talks about the devastating impacts of exceeding a 1½ degree climate rise. We've got 10 years, and all we see in this chamber is both parties taking massive donations from the coal, oil and gas companies. Yes, here we go again, because we will keep raising this issue until we get science based policies. We will say, until we are blue in the face, that we want to see a different government, but, if you want to get climate action, you need the Greens in the balance of power to push a new government to go further and faster on the climate crisis. If you want action on the climate crisis in the next decade—which, as last night's report says, is urgent—then you need the Greens in the balance of power, because frankly this debate about 2050 is too little too late.

While we see millions of dollars sloshing around in donations from the coal, oil and gas sector, and while we see public money being given to private companies, headed up by Liberal donors, to open up new gas basins against the wishes of a First Nations community in the Northern Territory, you will not see science based climate policy. That is why it is urgent that we suspend standing orders today—not to talk about net zero by 2050 but to talk about decent climate targets by 2030, so that we have some chance of saving agriculture in this nation and of reducing the severity of awful bushfires like those we saw not two years ago, when the Prime Minister was taking a holiday in Hawaii. We've seen awful fires now hit the birthplace of democracy, Athens, and we've seen flooding in Europe. This is real. It is not something for the future. This is happening now. We've seen saltwater incursion into our Torres Strait Islands food-producing land. This is not something that can be delayed. We need action now, and, if we want to have any chance of staying below 1½ degrees, we need rapid and urgent cuts to emissions.

The government haven't even read the science; they've never met a scientist, and they're certainly not going to start listening to them now. The flaccid pressure on them by the so-called opposition for a 2050 target, which will be too late, is frankly embarrassing. We need science to be deciding policies in this place, not donations from the coal, oil and gas companies. Until such time as other parties join the Greens in refusing donations from those fossil fuel crony capitalists, then we won't get science based policies—and, in fact, that's what the Australian populace expect and deserve from us.

We had a decent carbon price; it was working to bring down emissions. The Greens want to see good climate policy, we want to see a change of government and we want to work with the next government to push them to go harder and faster on the climate crisis, because, at the minute, without the Greens, you won't see urgent action. You will see donors getting their wishes delivered upon, which is not enough. We need a decent opposition, we need a government to listen to science and you need the Greens in the balance of power if we're to have any chance of taking climate action.

Honourable senators interjecting—


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