Wednesday, 5 December 2018
Statements by Senators
Climate Change, Mining Industry
I'll pick from the selection of tweets I've made today about my attitudes towards this government. Strangely, there's nothing positive in there! I noticed some very concerning developments overnight in Poland, where, I think we're all aware, there is a very important international conference going on, the COP24 of heads of states and governments, to deal with climate change. Many people are concerned about the position of this government on climate change and the position that it's taking at this conference—
Senator O'Sullivan interjecting—
I'm glad you interjected on this, Senator O'Sullivan. The reason I'm speaking is that what happened overnight was—
I'm getting shades of Senator Cameron making points of order on me, but I don't think it's appropriate for Senator Watt to address his remarks directly to Senator O'Sullivan. I think that he should perhaps address them to the chair. I'd ask you to remind Senator Watt that he should abide by the standing orders and that the rules do apply to him as they do to everyone else.
Mr President, through you, I would like to thank Senator Bernardi for the procedural lesson, and I'd now, through you, like to take the interjection from Senator O'Sullivan. What happened overnight at this conference in Poland was that a number of—
What occurred overnight was that a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, France, Japan and Canada, signed on to a declaration that not only emphasised the self-evident fact that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time but also emphasised the need for governments around the world to undertake measures to ensure a just transition for mining workforces, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs for people who are affected by the energy mix.
The reason I took Senator O'Sullivan's interjection about mining workers in Queensland is that the failure of this government last night to sign on to this declaration just demonstrates again that they have no concern whatsoever for mining workers, whether in Queensland or in other parts of the country. Labor has attempted a number of times to either move amendments or take other action to stop labour-hire exploitation, to stop casualisation in the mining industry in Queensland, only to see the LNP, particularly National Party representatives, take the side of mining companies rather than mining workers. The government's refusal to sign on to this declaration last night shows that this government not only is ignoring the fact that our energy mix is changing but also wants to leave Central Queensland mining workers, who will be affected by changes to our energy mix, completely in the lurch. They don't want to take any steps towards assisting these workers to transition to new work. They want to leave them to the vagaries of the market, to be thrown on the scrap heap. Senator Canavan is one of the worst offenders in claiming to support mining workers but always backing up Glencore, BHP and every other mining company.