Senate debates

Wednesday, 20 October 2021


Climate Change

9:31 am

Photo of Lidia ThorpeLidia Thorpe (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I seek leave to move a motion in relation to approvals for new coalmines and gas projects.

Leave not granted.

Pursuant to contingent notice standing in the name of Senator Waters, I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Thorpe moving a motion to provide for the consideration of a matter, namely, a motion to provide that a motion relating to approvals for new coalmines and gas projects, may be moved immediately, determined without amendment and take precedence over all other business for 30 minutes.

This matter is of the utmost urgency. Let's right now do what needs doing. This is the last chance that we can debate Australia's climate targets before the Prime Minister goes off to Glasgow after being shamed into attending. The Queen herself says she was irritated that leaders like our Prime Minister were intending to not go to Glasgow. It's urgent we debate this matter today, right now, before the Prime Minister further isolates and embarrasses this country on the world stage. It is of the utmost importance that the Senate of this country make a commitment that we will not allow any more new coal, oil and gas. The Pope—get this!—the Pope himself, just last week said:

In the name of God, I ask the great extractive industries—mining, oil, forestry, real estate, agribusiness—to stop destroying forests, wetlands and mountains, to stop polluting rivers and seas, to stop poisoning food and people.

That was the Pope. Come on! We just did prayers. The Pope sees the urgency of this issue. The Queen sees the urgency of this issue. The Senate surely must see the urgency of this issue and suspend standing orders. It is our chance right now to send the world a message. Article 2 of the Paris Agreement requires member countries to pursue efforts to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Everyone else got the memo—the Pope, the Queen. But our Prime Minister and his junior coalition partner in the government—I don't know what happened to their memo. By suspending standing orders, we can force the government to take the action we need, and fast.

It is critical that senators in this place suspend standing orders to talk about this now, because there is no other part of this parliamentary program where we can debate the need to stop any new oil, coal and gas projects. The government's most recent Resources and energy major projects report currently has 72 dirty coal projects and 44 dirty gas projects listed in the construction pipeline. This is unspeakably reckless.

Mr President, I just sat here and heard you and everyone else acknowledge country on behalf of the Senate. The Senate acknowledges, just now, that the country is important to our people. We need to suspend standing orders right now because, for First Nations people, climate change is a matter of the most extreme importance. Oil, coal and gas are causing our planet to cook. Our people are being impacted by this right now. Zenadth Kes, also known as the Torres Strait Islands and the surrounding seas, is the home to traditional owners who have lived with a deep connection to land, sea, sky, water and culture for over 60,000 years. This is destroying them and everything that they connect to. (Time expired)


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