Senate debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Matters of Urgency

Climate Change

6:03 pm

Photo of Sue LinesSue Lines (WA, Deputy-President) Share this | Hansard source

Coincidentally, earlier today I participated in an online event titled Women's Voices, Action for Change. This was a powerful discussion about achieving First Nations gender justice and equality. It started with Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar, providing us with an overview of her landmark report Wiyi Yani U Thagani (Women's Voices). This urgency motion today is about the Glasgow Climate Pact and reminds us to respect, promote and consider First Nations people when taking actions to address climate change and in implementing the pact. Wiyi Yani U Thaganitakes a gender lens to all aspects of life, including climate justice. It starts with the premise that Aboriginal women are the backbone of caring for children and family, and caring for country. In relation to this matter, the fundamental strengths of First Nations women are linked right back to first mothers. Commissioner Oscar said, 'For too long the door has been closed and decisions are made about our lives without First Nations women being in the room.' If the government is serious about addressing climate change—and that's a big 'if', because it has a backbench full of climate sceptics—and if it's really serious about limiting global temperatures to a rise of 1.5 degrees—again, which I very much doubt—it must include First Nations peoples, particularly women. As Commissioner Oscar says, 'What we know matters.'

What we've seen, though, is policy development on the run. In the weeks leading up to the Glasgow summit, the government was still lying about what it had achieved and what it would achieve, in relation to meeting our Paris targets. We have a Prime Minister who can't even be honest about what he said about electric vehicles before the last election. We have a Prime Minister and a government who have signed up to technologies that are not yet invented. We have a government that is absolutely captured by its climate-science-denying backbenchers and by two members of the Pauline Hanson's One Nation party who the government relies on in this place, week after week, to get its legislation passed. And we have a government that's too afraid to bring legislation into this place because it's being held to ransom by up to five of its own senators, and we saw that in action on Monday.

The only way to achieve real action on climate change is to change the government and elect a Labor government, because Labor believes that a target of net zero emissions by 2050 is necessary but not sufficient. We need a road map—right now—that will get us there, not something that is made up and predicated on technologies that haven't even been invented yet. This is what an Albanese Labor government will achieve. Our climate ambition will be backed by costed policies to achieve that ambition. Good climate policy is good jobs policy—creating jobs and cutting power prices while reducing emissions. The regions will be at the centre of Labor's climate and energy policies.

The only way to achieve that is through changing this government. They're tired. We've had eight years of nothing. In the weeks leading up to Glasgow was the only time we saw a policy, but they won't tell us how much it is going to cost, and it has no real targets. It actually doesn't have too many policies able to be delivered right now. We have a Prime Minister who now can't tell the truth about what he said about electric vehicles at the time of the last election. We all know it's on video—you know, 'it's going ruin your weekend'—and now he is denying he ever said that. We have a government who are just committed to re-electing themselves. They are a government devoid of policies and leading us nowhere on climate change, and, quite frankly, they need to be sacked by Australian voters at the next election. I will take great pleasure in campaigning as hard as I can to get rid of the Morrison government, a government who are devoid of ideas, who lie about what they might do and what they have done, and who don't deserve to be in government.


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