Senate debates

Thursday, 21 October 2021



9:36 am

Photo of Katy GallagherKaty Gallagher (ACT, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Finance) Share this | Hansard source

This is the fourth time we've had a suspension motion moved by the Greens, and Labor has supported the suspension on each of those occasions. The motion before the Senate that the Greens seek to debate today is just another demonstration of the desire of the Greens to keep the climate wars going in their political interest, as opposed to actually doing something in the national interest. The Greens political party, as a protest movement, have made it clear that they want to stoke division on every side—they want to have a go at them; they want to have a go at us. The actions they took 10 years ago to vote down an ETS, they have not learned a thing from. In 2019, when they did their convoy and picked fights wherever they went, that worked so well, didn't it? That worked really well. That delivered the outcome. And in a week where we have this government fighting itself, tearing itself apart—the chaos, the disunity—the Senate should be putting pressure on this government to actually get a position to take to Glasgow on behalf of the nation, but the Greens political party come in here and want to pick a fight with everybody, all for their social media. This is not about an outcome, not about the national interest, nothing like that. Labor will support the suspension so that this chamber can debate a matter of national importance that is front of and centre of every member of this chamber's mind. We do agree with that. What we disagree with, fundamentally, is the way that the Greens conduct themselves around this debate. It's all about their political interest, all about continuing the fights, not resolving everything, not having a position, not bringing people together, not having a consensus view, not putting the pressure on the government; it's all about trying to pick a fight with the Labor Party. Again, as I said yesterday, it didn't work so well in 2013, it didn't work in 2016, it didn't work in 2019, so how about the Greens reflect on the way they conduct yourselves and actually work in the national interest, as opposed to their narrow political interest. It hasn't worked. Picking a fight with people who want to deliver real action on climate change is not going to work. The Greens membership might endorse this approach, but they need to think a bit more broadly about the matters of this nation. Do their membership need the Greens picking a fight with the Labor Party every morning at the beginning of the sitting week?

I would submit that that is not the most constructive way to pursue this matter.

What I would say is that the division, the disunity and the chaos of the government in its inability and Mr Morrison's inability to lead his government and resolve his position two weeks out from climate should be the focus of this chamber. The single focus should be on having a government that actually can represent the Australian people in two weeks time. At the moment we don't have that. That should be the matter that this chamber is trying to resolve, not trying to blow up everything and pick a fight with everybody and run a political campaign in your narrow political interests, because that is what you're doing. We support the suspension. We support the ability of the chamber to discuss the matters raised around net zero by 2050 and the position that the government should be taking to Glasgow, so we do support that. We do not support the way the Greens conduct this debate or the divisive motions they move in this chamber at the beginning of business every single morning. It's tired, it's lazy, and it won't get you anywhere.


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