Senate debates

Wednesday, 20 October 2021


Climate Change

9:31 am

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

I seek leave to move a motion in relation to approvals for new coalmines and gas projects.

Leave not granted.

Pursuant to contingent notice standing in the name of Senator Waters, I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Thorpe moving a motion to provide for the consideration of a matter, namely, a motion to provide that a motion relating to approvals for new coalmines and gas projects, may be moved immediately, determined without amendment and take precedence over all other business for 30 minutes.

This matter is of the utmost urgency. Let's right now do what needs doing. This is the last chance that we can debate Australia's climate targets before the Prime Minister goes off to Glasgow after being shamed into attending. The Queen herself says she was irritated that leaders like our Prime Minister were intending to not go to Glasgow. It's urgent we debate this matter today, right now, before the Prime Minister further isolates and embarrasses this country on the world stage. It is of the utmost importance that the Senate of this country make a commitment that we will not allow any more new coal, oil and gas. The Pope—get this!—the Pope himself, just last week said:

In the name of God, I ask the great extractive industries—mining, oil, forestry, real estate, agribusiness—to stop destroying forests, wetlands and mountains, to stop polluting rivers and seas, to stop poisoning food and people.

That was the Pope. Come on! We just did prayers. The Pope sees the urgency of this issue. The Queen sees the urgency of this issue. The Senate surely must see the urgency of this issue and suspend standing orders. It is our chance right now to send the world a message. Article 2 of the Paris Agreement requires member countries to pursue efforts to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Everyone else got the memo—the Pope, the Queen. But our Prime Minister and his junior coalition partner in the government—I don't know what happened to their memo. By suspending standing orders, we can force the government to take the action we need, and fast.

It is critical that senators in this place suspend standing orders to talk about this now, because there is no other part of this parliamentary program where we can debate the need to stop any new oil, coal and gas projects. The government's most recent Resources and energy major projects report currently has 72 dirty coal projects and 44 dirty gas projects listed in the construction pipeline. This is unspeakably reckless.

Mr President, I just sat here and heard you and everyone else acknowledge country on behalf of the Senate. The Senate acknowledges, just now, that the country is important to our people. We need to suspend standing orders right now because, for First Nations people, climate change is a matter of the most extreme importance. Oil, coal and gas are causing our planet to cook. Our people are being impacted by this right now. Zenadth Kes, also known as the Torres Strait Islands and the surrounding seas, is the home to traditional owners who have lived with a deep connection to land, sea, sky, water and culture for over 60,000 years. This is destroying them and everything that they connect to. (Time expired)

9:37 am

Photo of Katy GallagherKaty Gallagher (ACT, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Finance) Share this | | Hansard source

I can indicate that the opposition will support the suspension motion today, even though we weren't given the heads-up that this was occurring. We do believe that this is a matter of utmost importance that the nation is dealing with, particularly in the lead-up to COP26 and the Glasgow meeting, and that this is worthy of the Senate's time for debate. I would also indicate that the motion as it stands, which we also didn't see until it was circulated in the chamber this morning—which goes to some of the questions about the Greens' motives here—isn't something that we would agree to every word of. I'm just reading it on my feet, though; so, again, I would like that on the record.

There is some frustration from the Labor opposition about the way the Greens are conducting this. If you were genuinely interested in reaching a consensus or having a debate, I think there would be other ways you would be managing this other than pulling this stunt at the beginning of every sitting morning—particularly talking to us, at least, about what you were planning on doing. I would further submit that it appears to me there's no interest in bringing a consensus position to this chamber about action on climate change. It's not in your political interest to reach consensus. The Greens' political interest is to continue the fight, to continue to stoke division, even with those of us who would share similar views—not exactly the same—but who would want to see effective action on climate change. I would submit that it's not in your interests to see that happen and that we will see the Greens continue to do this and do what they did in 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and stoke division. It's in your political interest to do that, as opposed to actually dealing with the issue of climate change and reaching a national consensus that will move this country forward, protect the environment and grow the economy. That's not in your political interest. You want to fight with us, you want to fight with the government, and that's displayed by the tactic here this morning. I would submit, if you want real action on climate change: change the government. Don't do it this way—by trying to have a fight with Labor and have a fight with the government. It didn't work in 2010, it didn't work in 2013, it didn't work in 2016, and it's not working now.

9:39 am

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Well, well, well, the Labor Party, as part of the precursor to the Albanese-Bandt coalition government, calls this a stunt. The Labor party is exactly correct. It is a stunt. The No. 1 issue here is integrity and the Greens' complete lack of integrity. They have never provided the empirical scientific evidence for their claims. First it was Greta: 'We'll rely on Greta.' Then it became, 'We'll rely on the Queen.' Now, it's, 'We'll rely on the Pope'—and most of them are atheists. My goodness, what are we coming to in this country? This mob is hijacking jobs—manufacturing jobs, coalmining jobs, farmers' jobs. This is an absolute disgrace, because they show no integrity towards the people of this country; they show no integrity towards this parliament, none whatsoever. They tell lies and they make up stuff.

We now see them calling for the science. I want the science. I challenge Senator Waters to provide the empirical scientific evidence that proves carbon dioxide from human activity affects the climate and needs to be cut. She failed to provide it 11 years ago. She ran—

Photo of Slade BrockmanSlade Brockman (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Roberts, please resume your seat. Senator Thorpe, on a point of order?

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

A point of order, Mr President: the senator over here has called us 'liars', and I think that is unparliamentary, is it?

Photo of Slade BrockmanSlade Brockman (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Thorpe, he was referring to the Greens as a whole. My view is that that is not unparliamentary. I will check with the Clerk to be sure, given I'm relatively new to this role. My ruling is correct. Please sit down, Senator Thorpe.

Senator Thorpe, there is no point of order. Senator Roberts, you have the call.

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Let's make it clear: I did not call the Queen or the Pope a liar. I called them 'not scientists'. They're not scientists. But this is what the Greens rely on in the fact that they cannot provide the science. The Greens show no respect for science, no respect for humanity, no respect for the people of this country, no respect for hardworking Australians, and no respect for the farmers that they will gut with this 2050 net zero.

I also remind the Senate that it's now day 772 since I challenged Senator Larissa Waters and Senator Di Natale in this parliament to a debate on the empirical evidence and also on the corruption of the science. I point out that there is no science that backs this up from the CSIRO, and I'll have more to say about that next week. There is no science from the Bureau of Meteorology, none from the Chief Scientist—I can tell you a story about the previous Chief Scientist if there is time—none from the Australian Academy of Science and none from the IPCC. In fact, we had the Labor Party's Kevin Rudd dancing around in 2007 saying 4,000 people in white lab coats endorsed his claim. The reality is that only five academics in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change endorsed the claim of warming, and there's doubt those five were even scientists.

We'll hear more rubbish from the Greens, claiming that they have science, but the one thing that they are always consistent on is that they never produce the empirical evidence to justify their claim. They see a picture of a tree frog, a picture of a koala, a picture of a dolphin, and they say, 'This is the science.' That's it; it's complete rubbish. This has been going on for 11 years, Senator Waters.

Let me point out, Senator Gallagher, that the issue of utmost importance is the integrity of this parliament, the integrity of this country, the integrity of state parliaments, and the integrity of the people of this country and their jobs and their livelihoods. That is of utmost importance to One Nation, and I wish it were of utmost importance to every single person in this Senate, but clearly it's not.

Photo of Slade BrockmanSlade Brockman (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Ruston?

9:44 am

Photo of Anne RustonAnne Ruston (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Families and Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the question be now put.

Photo of Slade BrockmanSlade Brockman (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the question be put.

9:50 am

Photo of Slade BrockmanSlade Brockman (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the motion moved by Senator Thorpe be agreed to.

9:56 am

Photo of Dean SmithDean Smith (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr President, just on a matter of order, I draw your attention to standing order 193(2), which states:

A senator shall not refer to the Queen, the Governor-General or the Governor of a state disrespectfully in debate, or for the purpose of influencing the Senate in its deliberations.

I hope you will just keep that in mind for the future debate we might hear later in the course of today's deliberations.

Photo of Slade BrockmanSlade Brockman (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you for that, Senator Smith.