Tuesday, 15 October 2019
I, and also on behalf of Senator Whish-Wilson, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) thermal coal combustion is a key driver of increasing greenhouse gas emissions and rising global temperatures,
(ii) the impact the current level of global warming of just 1 degrees is having on Tasmania includes worsening floods, East Coast drought, marine heatwaves, increased dry lightning storms causing bushfires, coastal erosion, biosecurity threats and ecosystem stress,
(iii) the scientific consensus is that the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, must end in order to limit global warming to 2 degrees and prevent further climate breakdown,
(iv) Western Australian-based Midland Energy has received around $50,000, and Queensland-based Junction Coal around $23,000, in grants from the Tasmanian Government for coal exploration in Tasmania, and
(v) it is in Tasmania's best interest to be a climate positive, clean energy island, and that any new coal mines would harm the agricultural and tourism sectors; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to implement a prohibition on any new thermal coal mines in Tasmania.
Any proposal for mining in Tasmania would be subject to rigorous assessment and must be in the state's best interests. As the Tasmanian government has pointed out, there has been no application made nor any mining lease granted. It's also worth noting that the Greens were at the cabinet table, including now Senator McKim, when the Hardrock coalmine in Tasmania's Fingal Valley was approved.
Referring to paragraph (a)(i), today is day 36 since I challenged the Greens leader, Senator Di Natale, to a debate on climate science and on the corruption of climate science. He has failed to respond. It is day 36 since I challenged Senator Di Natale to provide the empirical scientific data showing that carbon dioxide from human activity affects climate and needs to be cut. Again, he has failed to respond. There is no scientific justification for paragraphs (a)(i), (ii) and (iii). Indeed, empirical scientific data proves that the claims are false. All three are false, and we cannot support his motion. His three claims are false, false, false. The Greens replace ecology with ideology—socialism. One Nation is committed to restoring Australia's productive capacity. This includes providing all Australians with low-cost electricity to drive growth. Coal does that, and our country, including Tasmania, has many clean coal deposits. Tasmanians have the right to access affordable, reliable, environmentally responsible hydrocarbon fuels. (Time expired)
Labor will be opposing the motion. The approval of coalmines in Tasmania is a matter for the Tasmanian state government, not for the national parliament. Further, Labor does not support a blanket prohibition on new coalmines.
Just so Senator Roberts understands our reasons for not debating him: a wise man once said, 'Never debate a fool, because they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.' We will not be debating Senator Roberts; indeed, what we will be doing is continuing to campaign for the preservation of our planet and—
On the point of order: Senator Di Natale did not do what Senator Ruston just alleged and asserted that he did. He simply regaled to the chamber a saying, which we are all well aware of, and certainly did not attribute that—being a fool—to Senator Roberts.
I think Senator Di Natale was careful enough with his words to run along the boundary line. I will review the Hansard and come back if the Hansard recorded something different to what I recall. It did grab my attention. I remind senators again—that includes everyone; I am not just referring to Senator Di Natale here—that statements are here to explain positions taken. They are not to inflame debate, otherwise we cascade into difficulty.
Senator Waters interjecting—
That is why I am making clear, Senator Waters, that I am not referring to the Greens or Senator Di Natale; I am referring to inflammatory statements. This will descend very quickly if that happens, and I remind every senator, including myself—although I haven't done it—that any senator can deny leave for someone to make a one-minute statement. The question is that motion No. 174 be agreed to.