Senate debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Matters of Urgency

Sport: Fossil Fuel Sponsorship

4:58 pm

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

I move:

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

The need for the Senate to support the banning of fossil fuel sponsorship in sport, recognising the leadership shown recently by prominent athletes speaking out against fossil fuel companies sponsoring sport organisations.

This country loves sport. Our athletes are our children's role models. For First Nations communities, sport has played a role in our gatherings and celebrations since before colonisation, bringing people together and strengthening our culture.

Recently, we have been seeing more and more athletes, fans and community leaders taking action for climate justice. This shows the next generation what good leadership looks like, in caring for our country and our communities. Climate change is making our country sick, and fossil fuel companies are continuing to destroy our lands, our waters and our skies, fuelling climate change and killing us.

Fossil fuels are the new tobacco. When we realised that tobacco had serious consequences to our health, we decided that the companies responsible for these harms had no place in sponsoring the sports teams and athletes we love. Now, as this country suffers devastating floods and fires, our athletes and everyday people are taking a stand to say that these dirty polluters have lost their social licence and have no place in sponsoring our beloved sports teams and players. In an attempt to regain this social licence, these dirty companies are pumping millions of dollars into sponsoring some of our biggest sports teams and events, giving an estimated $14 million a year to national sporting teams, not to mention the millions in donations they give to both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party every year to keep this destructive industry alive.

Recent polling shows that a majority of Australians believe that fossil fuel sponsorship is the new cigarette sponsorship, and that fossil fuel companies should be banned from sponsoring national sports teams. This research shows that fossil fuel companies have lost their social licence to sportswash our national teams and major events. Given that gas, coal and oil companies are accelerating the harmful impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, it's unsurprising that Australians and our athletes want these companies out of sport.

As the only party in this place that does not accept donations from the polluting companies that are destroying our country and the globe, the Greens welcome and support the leadership shown by our deadly Noongar sister netballer Donnell Wallam, Noongar ex-AFL player Daniel Kickert, and Australian test captain Pat Cummins in taking a stand against racist mining companies and fighting for climate justice. In voicing their objections to fossil fuel companies sponsoring their teams, these athletes are using their influence for positive change. That should be commended. The Greens want fossil fuel companies to be banned from all forms of advertising and sponsorships, including sponsoring any sporting team, organisation or event. If the government chooses to ignore the leadership of these athletes, whilst they get selfies with them and stand on podiums, which is quite hypocritical, they will be showing where their allegiances really lie: not with our athletes and not with our communities, but with their mates in the fossil fuel industry who no longer have permission to continue destroying our country and polluting the planet.


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