Senate debates

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Climate Change

3:27 pm

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Finance (Senator Birmingham) to a question without notice she asked today relating to the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

This government is spending hours and hours, days and days this week pretending that they care two hoots about cutting pollution in this country. While we've got the Prime Minister begging the National Party to allow him and his government to agree to net zero by 2050 on one hand, on the other hand he's standing out in question time today over in the other place boasting about the fact that his government is overseeing the biggest expansion of gas that this country has ever seen. He is talking out of both sides of his mouth, and it's clear for everybody to see. The EU and the rest of the world are watching on in horror as we have the Prime Minister parading around, pretending that net zero by 2050 is some big goal. Meanwhile the rest of the world is trying to work out how we cut pollution in the next decade, because that's what the science requires.

This Prime Minister is gloating about the fact that he is opening up new coalmines and new gas fields at the same time as he is trying to pretend that he cares about cutting pollution. Well, the International Energy Agency has made it very, very clear. We will not reach net zero if one single new coal, gas or oil project is developed. They are the facts. That's the expertise. That's the advice. And yet we have a Prime Minister who is whimpering in the wings and trying to pretend that everything is A-OK. What a spiv. What a fraud. What a pretence of a leader we have in Mr Morrison when it comes to climate action and cutting pollution.

We know of course that here in parliament this week we have the right-wing rump of this government holding up any action. So the Prime Minister is ready to hand out big amounts of cash to the National Party—it's not a slush fund those on that side can ever turn down—rort after rort after rort, while continuing to allow coal and gas let rip in this country. What an embarrassment of a plan to take to the international community and the international stage at the Glasgow conference in two weeks time.

The Prime Minister's net zero promise is a fraud with his expansion of new coal and gas. It's a spiv of a plan and it's going to fry the planet. I know that Senator Nick McKim would like to contribute on the topic of what a fraud this Prime Minister is.

3:30 pm

Photo of Nick McKimNick McKim (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

We are facing ecological collapse, and the climate is literally breaking down around us, yet in one of the greatest shakedowns in Australian political history, the National Party are using this existential crisis to stick out their collective hands for billions of dollars of public money in order to support a shift in rhetoric around a 2050 target. This is not only grifting of the highest order, it completely misses the point, because the science is abundantly clear. We need to act now. We need targets for 2030, not 2050, and most importantly, we need to ensure that no more new coal is extracted, exported and burnt. We need to make sure there are no new gas projects to extract, export and burn gas, which is just as damaging in climate terms as coal is. We also need to make sure that we stop strip-mining our native forests in this country, emitting vast amounts of carbon and destroying precious habitats for our threatened species. Those are the things that we should be focused on, not on meaningless distracting debate around a 2050 target. We need the Labor Party to focus on 2030, we need the government to focus on 2030 and we need the media to focus on 2030 because this is the critical decade.(Time expired)

Question agreed to.