Senate debates

Tuesday, 23 February 2021


Western Australian State Election

8:07 pm

Photo of Jordon Steele-JohnJordon Steele-John (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

All people, all human beings, everywhere in the world, should have access to the essentials we need to live a good life. All precious places and all plants and animals, everywhere in the world, should be protected and preserved. Over the last year, in our part of the world, people in our community have been struggling with the twin crises of COVID-19 and the continuing crisis of climate change. Many people who were struggling before COVID-19 hit are doing it even harder now. People have lost work and are staring down the barrel of losing the roof over their heads when rental moratoriums end in mere weeks.

The sense of uncertainty in the community and the sense of worry about the future is palpable in Western Australia, as it is across the entire country. This worry is exacerbated when people look to the very spaces where the solution should be being crafted—their parliaments at the state and federal levels—and yet what they see is sanctioned corruption. They see millions of dollars being funnelled from massive fossil fuel corporations like Chevron and Woodside—funnelling it into one door of the parliament and getting their legislation pumped out of the other.

In the state of Western Australia, what this means for us is that at a moment when we are faced with the opportunity to rebuild after COVID-19 in a way that addresses the climate crisis, in a way that delivers high-quality, free health care, education and affordable housing for everyone, we are instead opening up the Kimberley to fracking, we are instead selling off public housing and we are instead dodging action on climate change—throwing up smokescreens.

Mark McGowan's Labor government has been terrible when it comes to climate change. We are the only state without a renewable energy target. The state government has signed off on projects with emissions intensity four times greater than the Adani Carmichael mine—four times more polluting—at a moment in our history when we know we need to halve our emissions of carbon dioxide across the decade or face utter disaster.

It is these absences of action that are the wellspring of a deep frustration in the community when it comes to the major parties, because we look at them and we see the reality: whether you're blue or whether you're red, you're taking the same money from the same corporations and giving them the same outcomes, when it is not what the community wants. We as a community in Western Australia and across the country want to see action on climate change. We want to see every person have a roof over their head, a place to call home. We want to see education for all, high-quality and free, from cradle to grave. This is what we want. This is our demand to those who would seek to form a government in our name. On 13 March we as a community have an opportunity to vote, and I hope that we send many more Greens back to the parliament.