Senate debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Matters of Urgency

Climate Change

5:09 pm

Photo of Claire ChandlerClaire Chandler (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I inform the Senate that at 8.30 am today 18 proposals were received in accordance with standing order 75. The question of which proposal would be submitted to the Senate was determined by lot. As a result, I inform the Senate that the following letter has been received from Senator Thorpe.

Pursuant to standing order 75, I give notice that today I propose to move "That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

That the Glasgow Climate Pact, agreed to by nearly 200 countries, including Australia, resolved to pursue efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, which according to the International Energy Agency would require no new coal mines or new gas fields, and is consistent with respecting, promoting and considering the rights of First Nations and Indigenous peoples when taking actions to address climate change."

Is the proposal supported?

More than the number of senators required by the standing orders having risen in their places— I understand that informal arrangements have been made to allocate specific times to each of the speakers in today's debate. With the concurrence of the Senate, I shall ask the clerks to set the clock accordingly.

5:10 pm

Dorinda Cox (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

At the request of Senator Thorpe, I move:

That the Glasgow Climate Pact, agreed to by nearly 200 countries, including Australia, resolved to pursue efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, which according to the International Energy Agency would require no new coal mines or new gas fields, and is consistent with respecting, promoting and considering the rights of First Nations and Indigenous peoples when taking actions to address climate change."

I rise to thank three brave environmental warriors who right at this minute are in 35-degree heat, putting their bodies on the line to stop work today at Woodside's Pluto project in the Burrup, working to stop the environmental criminals. This morning I spoke to Petrina, a mother and schoolteacher who has locked herself to a concrete barrel inside a caravan to block the Burrup Road, the only road into Australia's biggest gas hub. Alongside her are Elizabeth, a grandmother, and Caleb, a 23-year-old schoolteacher, who is chained to a concrete barrel under a car. The lands of the Murujuga people are made up of five language groups, so I pay my respects to them, their elders past and present and their emerging leaders. Murujuga always was and always will be Aboriginal land. The word 'Murujuga' means 'hip bone sticking out' in the Ngarluma Yapurarra language and consists of a narrow peninsula of land and 42 islands located near the town of Dampier in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

For First Nations people, land and people are connected, both physically and spiritually. There is a belief among First Nations people that if country gets sick, damaged, degraded and polluted then they too will become ill and might even die. By protecting the land, the people are also protected. Everyone is responsible for looking after country, even non-First Nations people who live and work on this land. This is not Woodside's land. This is not BHP's land. It's not the state government's land. This is our land, and we've looked after this land for thousands of years. We have been the custodians of the ancient Murujuga rock art, which depicts the Seven Sisters dreaming story that is etched into the rock. We know that, when people fight for nature, nature wins. We saw this at James Price Point. We saw it when people were locked onto tractors to save the Beeliar wetlands to stop a highway being built through those beautiful and precious wetlands. It was a campaign that, by the way, Labor supported and protected, so we know that Labor can protect the environment, but they only do it when they get votes to win elections. Why can't they do it all the time? I'll tell you why. It's because of donations. Woodside donate $220,000 every year to both the Liberal and Labor parties. In a statement to the Australian Financial Review, shadow resources minister Madeleine King said, 'The investment decision to go ahead with Scarborough was consistent with the global move towards decarbonisation.' That sounds pretty much like a line straight out of Woodside's playbook. Is Woodside writing talking points for Labor or is Labor writing talking points for Woodside? It's anyone's guess. The Greens are the only party that are turning up to protect nature, to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage and to reduce the dangerous, polluting emissions that are cooking this planet.

On Monday, the WA state Labor government's support of Australia's most-polluting gas project paved the way for Woodside and BHP to give the final tick of approval for the Scarborough gas project, which will generate 1.6 billion tonnes of emissions every year, equivalent to 15 coal-fired power stations. There's a groundswell of opposition coming together against this project, including from investors. The world has been turning against oil and gas and the extraction of fossil fuels, since the Glasgow summit. We know that Japan and Korea are transitioning out of gas. Any suggestion by Woodside CEO Meg O'Neill that this project will assist in decarbonising the planet is blatantly untrue. There is no credible evidence to back that up.

Today I was taking a look at Woodside's Indigenous communities policywhich was released, funnily enough, in August 2020, not that long ago. Unfortunately, I had to laugh with horror as I read the policy, because it couldn't be further from the truth. Post-Juukan caves, where lots of corporates made statements like this, Woodside claim that they will be 'guided by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples'. They will ensure their 'management of cultural heritage is thorough, transparent and underpinned by consultation and continued engagement'. They will avoid 'future damage or disturbance to cultural heritage' and, 'if avoidance is not possible', 'minimise and mitigate the impacts' in consultation with communities. They will also support 'self-determination, economic empowerment … and cultural heritage protection'.

To me, these are absolute lies. Now we are witnessing Juukan Gorge in slow motion, thanks to Woodside's obsession with fossil fuels. In my conversations with community, I have seen no evidence of Woodside upholding UNDRIP or protecting cultural heritage. In fact, what I have witnessed is the exact opposite. This is nothing short of gross negligence, and these governments and companies will have to answer to our kids and their kids for generations to come. They are the criminals here. To Petrina, Elizabeth and Caleb, I say: thank you, because you are the real change-makers.

5:16 pm

Photo of David VanDavid Van (Victoria, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Again, I thank those in the corner for their matters of urgency motions—they're like dorothy dixers to us. They set up a debate which we're very, very happy to have. The Morrison government is the only party in this chamber with a whole-of-economy, long-term emissions reduction plan that will see us meet and beat our 2030 target and achieve net zero by 2050 without imposing new costs on households, small businesses, our traditional industries or the economy. Those opposite will tax their way there. We know that. They've done it before. They'll do it again. Those in the corner would just blow up the economy. Shutting down fossil fuels overnight would just kill the economy. The loss of jobs would be enormous, poverty would be rife—all the things that they pretend they argue for, we would see in Australia overnight.

The Prime Minister took to COP26 a plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 in the Australian way—that is, looking at where we have strategic advantage and where we can make the easiest and biggest gains with the least amount of money. And, by money, we're talking about incentives to partner with other levels of government and business. We will act in a practical, responsible way to reduce emissions, while preserving Australian jobs and taking advantage of new opportunities for industries and regional Australia. The government will not support the Greens' reckless and economy-destroying climate policies that would force industries to shut and projects to be delayed or cancelled and would destroy Australian jobs and industries. Labor, if elected at the next election—and there's a big 'if'—will have no choice but to bow to the Greens' bidding. We hear that from the Greens every day in this place—how they say they need to be the party with the balance of power in this parliament. And we've seen what that would cause.

Australia's economy is almost unique amongst developed countries, with an economy specialising in the production of energy and emissions-intensive commodities. That's why our proportion of non-export emissions is incredibly low. Ahead of and during COP26, Australia worked closely with our Pacific family to come up with ways to bring about lower emissions while building our regional partners' resilience and funding any needs that they have. We particularly welcome the outcomes on the international carbon markets and the standardised transparency framework, which was a major focus for Australia, because transparency is the key to accountability and to translating ambition into achievement. This goes to the heart of the Paris agreement, which relies on countries delivering on their commitments to achieve a global net zero outcome. Australia's emissions reporting and transparency is the gold standard, and we expect all major emitters to display similar levels of transparency. As I mentioned before, in our area of the world, through the $104 million Indo-Pacific Carbon Offsets Scheme, we're working with our regional partners to build on their emissions accounting and reporting capabilities. Strong transparency integrity standards are vital to ensuring carbon markets deliver real and verifiable emissions reductions.

Australia has doubled its climate finance commitment to $2 billion over the next five years. More than 70 per cent of our support is focused on climate resilience and adaption. At COP26, countries committed to scaling up cooperation to make low-emissions technologies the most cost-effective and reliable option available. The technologies that we need to reach net zero don't yet exist, but our energy technology road map maps a path to finding those technologies, bringing down the cost such that they are competitive and ensuring that we, Australia, and the rest of the world have the technologies available to us to significantly reduce emissions and decarbonise our economy.

Analysis by the IEA, the International Energy Agency, shows that half the global reductions required to achieve net zero will come from technologies that are not yet ready for commercial deployment. China, the world's largest emitter, has not yet put an end to building thermal coal generation and production. In fact, in the first half of 2021 the country announced that they would build 43 new coal-fired power plants, which will emit an estimated 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. At Glasgow, Prime Minister Modi of India announced that by 2030 India will reduce its total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes and meet half of its energy requirements with renewable fuels, and also pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2070.

Other developing countries do not have the luxury of well-off countries, such as in the EU, by buying cheap offset credits to reduce their emissions. They require solutions that are inexpensive, that provide reliable power and that materially reduce their emissions. That's why the Morrison government's technology investment road map is so important. This government's road map is a plan to accelerate new technologies like hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, batteries and healthy soils that will help reduce emissions here and around the world. So far we have committed to invest $20 billion in new energy technologies by 2030, to drive at least $80 billion of total public and private investment over the decade. This investment will support at least 160,000 new jobs.

This road map is clearly working. Over the last two years our position against our 2030 target has improved by 639 million tonnes. This is the equivalent of taking all of Australia's 14.7 million cars off the road for 15 years. So while those opposite are happy to stand up and make statements that make them feel good and look good on social media, this government is working on delivering actual results that not only reduce our emissions but also drive investment and economic growth. We are about taking action not making statements.

Thousands of jobs will be created by 2050 by the creation of an Australian hydrogen industry. This follows on, very nicely, from the work that has been done over recent decades on building an LNG industry. The amount of investment—some government; mostly private—that built that industry will go a long way. It has created markets that Australia will follow up and that we will transition to selling hydrogen into when those markets transition away from natural gas. Regional hydrogen hubs, that we are building in regional Australia, will help develop the industry and create jobs. Our priority is to produce clean hydrogen under $2 a kilo. Low-cost, clean hydrogen holds significant promise for the world's energy future, and Australia has what it takes to be that world leader in hydrogen, just like we did with LNG.

Our government's $1.2 billion hydrogen investment is set to increase, boosting economic activity and jobs in regional Australia. An additional $150 million for a further two locations under the Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs program will enable the rollout of hydrogen hubs across seven priority regional sites. Hubs will consolidate Australia's natural resource strengths to unlock cheap, clean energy and stimulate a potential surge in industrial activity. An Australian hydrogen industry could generate more than 8,000 jobs and deliver over $11 billion a year in GDP by 2050. The research that's going on will help lead the creation of those hydrogen hubs and industry, whereby we will then reach our goal of producing green hydrogen below $2 a kilo. Our aim is to accelerate this process so that clean hydrogen achieves parity with other energy fuel sources that give us firm power in the quickest possible way.

The Morrison government has a plan. We took that plan to the last election. We took it to Glasgow. We're meeting and beating that plan. We're meeting and beating our emissions targets and we will continue to do so.

5:26 pm

Photo of Tim AyresTim Ayres (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The Morrison government doesn't have a plan; it's got a pamphlet. It's got a different plan every few months. It always changes. It's a plan that lacks ambition, lacks capability and lacks the things that Australians need to have confidence in the government.

All the way through this term Mr Albanese has indicated that, following the Glasgow conference and following the government finally releasing what passes for modelling, he and Mr Bowen will set out for the electorate precisely the climate and energy framework that will deliver a credible approach to Australia's position on climate and energy. That will come soon. He will do it. He has indicated that it will happen, and it will happen. It is something that the government have singularly failed to do over the course of the last eight, going on nine, long years of failure and ineptitude. Even with all the resources of government, they have failed. I suppose in some respects they've succeeded: they've had not one policy framework but 21—a hodgepodge of mutually opposed, utterly contradictory, befuddled and shambolic policy offerings. That's why we're last in the OECD.

It's only a Labor government that will deliver a credible policy framework in climate and energy. Labor's climate and energy policy, when it's released, will be directed towards the following national objectives. No. 1 is reducing electricity and energy prices for Australian households and businesses. No. 2 is reducing our emissions profile—Australia's emissions contribution—in order to, importantly, reduce our contribution but also to try and restore Australian credibility around the world, which has been so utterly trashed by this government. No. 3 will be about driving investment in new, good jobs—permanent jobs, not bodgie labour-hire jobs, not casual jobs, but real jobs in our industrial suburbs and in our regions and in our cities. We will do that by having lower electricity and energy prices and by making improvements in reliability and capacity to the grid, with investments in capability, with expansions in mining and mining technology, and with other efforts to try and push Australian exports up the value chain.

Our contribution through the National Reconstruction Fund and the Rewiring the Nation initiative, already announced, will be the biggest single policy contribution of any Australian government to rebuilding and reindustrialising our regions. That's what we'll do if we're elected. It's a solemn commitment to the regions and our industrial suburbs. It will have a real, material effect on our emissions profile. And it will be, finally, from an Australian government, a credible commitment on climate and energy.

Now, if you vote for the government, you won't get that. If you vote for the Greens political party, you won't get that—you'll undermine that—or if you vote for the National Party or One Nation. The only way you'll make progress on climate and energy and on jobs in the regions is by voting for the Labor Party. It is a critical national objective. There's no wedge, no political games, no tricks, no clever politics, no marketing, no spin, nobody left out, nobody left behind. It is a critical national objective for our economy, our society and our environment, and to protect jobs. If you want real action on climate and energy, if you want lower power prices, if you really care about blue-collar jobs beyond dressing up as a blue-collar worker, if you want more industry and a better environment, then vote for it. If Australians waste votes on them or them, that will undermine the capacity for change. It will put us further behind in the race for jobs and opportunity because, unlike the bloke who currently leads the government, Albo will do what he says and say what he means and will deliver.

Photo of James McGrathJames McGrath (Queensland, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Sorry, Senator Ayres. Senator Davey, on a point of order.

Photo of Perin DaveyPerin Davey (NSW, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I think we are advised not to refer to people from the other place by their nicknames.

Photo of James McGrathJames McGrath (Queensland, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

If we could refer to members of the other place by their correct titles, thank you, Senator.

Photo of Tim AyresTim Ayres (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Thanks very much. On our side we've got party discipline, strength of purpose, a common commitment, and we've demonstrated that. We've one message, not 12 messages, unlike Mr Morrison, who says one thing in Glasgow and says something entirely different in Gladstone, or Senator Canavan, who says that we should put aside $250 billion of public money to directly fund projects that commercial lenders won't fund, or his mate, Mr Pitt, who supports this but doesn't say it anymore because he wants to protect the only job that he cares about—his own, in the cabinet.

Now, Senator Canavan, in a rare moment of clarity, said that he knows that that policy that he supports and that Mr Pitt supports will push up mortgage interest rates and increase the cost of borrowing for businesses. But that's okay, apparently. Home mortgage costs up by what? Fifty dollars a month? Eighty dollars a month? A couple of hundred dollars a month? This is a reverse scare campaign. It's Senator Canavan who's wandering around the country telling Australians and Australian businesses that his policy framework is going to push interest rates up, when wages are going down and have been year after year, in the longest sustained period of zero wage growth. When household incomes are going down, Senator Canavan wants to push mortgage interest rates up. He thinks ordinary Australians can find a couple of hundred dollars every month to fund his ideological frivolity.

I want to go from a former Trotskyite to the bunch of current Trots and faded university politicians over here. That cavalcade to Queensland symbolised everything that's wrong with the self-indulgent, self-defeating narcissism that defines the Greens political party today. What's their real target for 2022? It's 10 per cent. Their real target is 10 per cent. Ten per cent of Australian voters is the only thing that they care about. They don't care about the climate; they only care about themselves.

It's been a long time. Both Senator Canavan and the Greens need each other. Political polarisation suits them, because that's their business model. There's no progress with the Greens political party—I mean, save me! These people come in here talk about the 'old parties'. They've been here in Australian parliaments for 37 years—for 37 years the Greens have been turning up in Australian parliaments! Do you know how many national parks they have delivered? Zero. How much impact on species extinction has the Greens political party had? Zero. Not a kilogram of carbon has been emitted—or not emitted—or taken out of the atmosphere because of the activity of the Greens political party. It's just narcissism, noise and seats. That's all they're interested in.

They're pretend progressives who haven't learned and who haven't changed. It's the same stunts—the tired, boring and irrelevant stunts. Ten per cent of the primary vote is all they care about. They're not part of the solution; they are part of the problem if you care about climate change and if you care about real action on climate.

5:36 pm

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

[by video link] Despite harming the Aboriginal people in many ways, the Greens, dishonestly and falsely, pretend to care for Aboriginals. In pushing Greens policies, ripening in 2030, the Greens are in fact pushing Australia down the UN's agenda 2030 path.

For example, let's consider something as basic as land rights and land use before we get onto the Glasgow distraction. It's not immediately obvious, but the United Nations globalist strategy significantly influenced Australia's Native Title Act, which pretends to give Aboriginal people access to land yet actually limits and, in many ways, prevents all Australians, including Aboriginals, from using the land and even accessing the land. From my recent listening across Cape York, all Cape York communities in Far North Queensland confirmed yet again many Aboriginal and European community leaders' dissatisfaction with the reality and impact of native title legislation. The Native Title Act preamble refers many times to United Nations principles. When a claim is successful under native title, individuals find that they're prevented from owning their own home within the area of the claim and face impediments in raising money for business loans for lack of collateral. In practical terms, the rights of Aboriginal people and their lives have not been improved under the Native Title Act.

That said, let's look at the other policies that the Greens have raised here. The United Nations actually drives the Glasgow agenda. Let's look at that more closely, because it lacks substance—as do the Labor-Greens coalition climate and energy policies and the Liberal-Nationals coalition climate and energy policies. Contradictions erupt and abound in climate and energy policies, because no politician has ever provided the logical scientific points as evidence for those policies. John Howard's government introduced the abominable Renewable Energy Target and his government stole farmers' property rights to use their own properties. Yet, six years after being booted from office in 2007, he confessed in London in 2013 that he is agnostic on climate science. He had no science. The whole thing was drive just by whims and fairytales. He had no science to support what has become the gutting of our electricity sector and our productive capacity.

In 2016, the then Father of the Senate, Ian Macdonald, said that there has never been a debate on the climate science. He was correct, and there still hasn't been one. Two months ago, 10 federal parliamentarians confirmed in writing to me that they have never been provided with the scientific evidence. They had the integrity and courage to say so. In August last year, 19 federal parliamentarians from the Greens, Labor, Liberal and Nationals parties—who were all advocating climate alarm and climate policies—failed to provide me with any scientific evidence for their claims. In 2007 and 2008, Kevin Rudd claimed 4,000 scientists supported the claim that carbon dioxide from human activity affects climate and needs to be cut. The data from the UN IPCC—the climate body in the UN—shows that only five endorsed the claim, and there's doubt they were even scientists. The Greens, instead of science, have a well-worn trick of using emotional stories and have never produced the evidence.

There is no basis for these policies the UN is driving it in this country. Freedom of information requests and Parliamentary Library research revealed to me no evidence for this. Here we have the Labor-Greens coalition pushing this, and who does it hurt the most? It hurts the people who are poorest, who are not— (Time expired)

5:40 pm

Photo of Matthew CanavanMatthew Canavan (Queensland, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I welcome the opportunity to debate this motion. I must confess I have felt a hole in my life since the Glasgow climate conference ended. It was the best comedy I have seen for decades. It was a laugh a minute. I was waiting with bated breath for most of the agenda. Ever since it's ended, it's been a bit like the Olympics ending—there's nothing to watch on TV anymore; nothing really comes up to scratch. One of the highlights was on day 42 or something, which was the gender innovation science day. I know Senator Duniam was watching that one. There that was an absolute cracker.

But it was mainly the participants at Glasgow that made it what it was. It was the people who went along there. We all owe them a debt of gratitude. One of my favourite parts was the headline of a Reuters story, I think, which said, 'German Greens want more Russian gas'. It sums it up, doesn't it? The Green activists like to talk the talk—they love to talk the talk—but when it comes to walking the walk they still want to be able to heat their homes and to be able to fly to these climate conferences, and they'll use fossil fuels as much as they can to get there. They just don't want the gas coming from Australia or from their own countries. They like it to come from dictatorial regimes like Mr Putin's or indeed the Chinese Communist Party's, which we'll get to.

Another favourite was BBC Scotland, who during the Glasgow conference tweeted:

Gas and air is the most popular pain relief in childbirth, but many don't realise its climate impact.

That's what they tweeted. I've had five children and I don't think I'll be going to a delivery suite again, but for all those listening, particularly the blokes out there who may one day find themselves in a delivery suite trying to give comfort to their wife, I make the suggestion that it's probably best not to say to your wife in that circumstance, 'I know this is tough, honey, but we must think of the planet.' I don't think that would be a smart idea. I don't think you should do that. No-one is going to do that. How absurd are these guys? How absurd is the United Nations, who say that to save the planet we're allowed to eat only 14 grams of red meat a week? So if any of us here are going down to the Kingston Hotel and having a 400-gram rump this fortnight, just remember that's a little bit over your allocation for the month. That's it for you—no more red meat for the month if you care about the planet, otherwise you are an environmental vandal. You're a criminal, in fact. You're absolutely a criminal.

But I can't go through this contribution without paying tribute to the greatest entertainer Australia has exported for some time, Mr Twiggy Forrest. He was over there getting some pressure, I suppose, about the fact that President Xi Jinping had not attended the Glasgow conference. He responded by saying that he was going to convince Xi Jinping—unsuccessfully as it turned out—to come along to the conference. Mr Forrest was reported as saying that, from what he sees happening in China, the younger generation have a very strong will to have carbon-neutral power. Mr Forrest went on to say:

And one thing which the Chinese government is incredibly good at doing is listening to the mood of its people.

That's what he said. I actually agree with Mr Forrest. I agree with Twiggy on this one, because I ask you: when is the last time you heard a person living in China complain about their own government? It doesn't happen. You never hear about it. It's just not happening. They must be doing a fantastic job, because there are no complaints coming out of China. Mr Forrest is absolutely right. How absurd are these guys? These are the people who want to tell us what to do, who want to dictate our lives, and who want to tell us what to eat, what car we can drive and how we can power our homes.

The Greens have done all this work, but I don't know if they stayed around for the end of Glasgow. They must have missed the ending because this motion says that, because of the Glasgow conference, we're not allowed to approve new coalmines or build new gas facilities. That's not actually how it ended. It ended in tears. The whole thing ended in tears—literal tears. There was crying because India had the temerity to want to develop and grow the same way other industrialised economies have done, so they demanded that, in fact, coalmines and coal-fired power be still allowed and that they just be reduced over time. There was no mention of gas being ruled out completely, which means nothing about the approval of the Scarborough project is inconsistent with Glasgow. This motion simply shows that the people over either were not watching Glasgow or were so mentally scarred by it that they have already repressed the experience from their memory, because Glasgow was a huge win for oil and gas.

Ever since the end of the Glasgow conference, there's been nothing but good news for the workers in this country who work in this great coal industry—which we are lucky enough to have—and for those who work in the oil and gas industry. It has been a cavalcade of great news for them. We already heard it mentioned here that we've had the approval of the massive $16½ billion Scarborough project, with over 3,000 Australian jobs. Three thousand people from this country will be able to work thanks to the approval for that project going ahead. They've attracted $16½ billion of investment. We're constantly told no-one will build coalmines or gas fields. Well, they're doing it. Since Glasgow, we had the headline in Reuters, 'China doubles down on a slower coal exit after COP26 spat'. So China is continuing with more coal. It's a green light for coal under this Glasgow agreement.

One of the more remarkable things concerns the Dutch government, which is a very green government. They were committed to a stronger Glasgow agreement than ended up coming out. But, since Glasgow, the Dutch government are now focused on trying desperately to keep a little company called Shell headquartered in Amsterdam. What are they doing? They are offering Shell a tax cut of 15 per cent, to keep them in the Netherlands. So they went to Glasgow. They flew over there, presumably, in their private jet, which has got to be fuelled with fossil fuels. They say they want to go green. Then they go back home to the lovely surrounds of Amsterdam and give tax cuts to big oil companies, because—guess what?—they want jobs, too. I'm sure the Dutch government want jobs, too. Finally, since Glasgow, we've seen the headline, 'US coal prices surge to the highest level since 2009'. That's the highest point in over 12 years. This is because this restriction of coal, oil and gas is pushing up fossil fuel prices to record levels—the highest levels that we've ever seen—because there is significant demand for fossil fuels around the world.

I want to finish on making a very important point that relates to the Scarborough project. This is a project that will produce oil and a lot of gas, and there are a lot of things that comes from those products. I think the average Australian doesn't understand that it's not just about heating our homes or what we put in our petrol tanks. Oil and gas create a whole raft of other products that our modern economy relies on. One of the saddest pieces of news since Glasgow has been that Incitec Pivot, an Australian company, has announced that it will close the last urea manufacturing facility in Australia. Urea is the most important fertiliser used in agriculture production. It is the fertiliser that is, by far, the most used in this dry continent, and, without it, we would not be able to grow the same amount of food that we currently grow. Now we will be completely reliant on imports for our urea fertilisers. Urea comes from natural gas. You cannot make urea without natural gas. It is the carbon dioxide in urea that activates plant growth and allows us to grow things in this world. But you never hear that from these so-called experts on the oil and gas industry who like to say a lot about an industry that they know very little about, that they talk to no-one in, and that they just want to shut down, not knowing the consequences for average Australians.

This is not just about the workers in that industry. It's not just about the royalties that help pay for our hospitals and schools. It is about our basic ability to feed ourselves as a country, to power ourselves as a country and ultimately to defend ourselves as a country. If we shut down all the oil and gas and coal production here in this country, we know that the Greens, as I said, will still want the products; they'll still want to eat, they'll still want to fly and they'll still want to be able to heat their homes, so they will instead import all those products from other regimes who don't shut down their production, like China and Russia, and we will be more dependent on those countries. To defend this country, we need to support our resources industry, including coal, oil and gas.

5:50 pm

Karen Grogan (SA, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Let's be clear: the only way to get a good climate policy—or any climate policy, for that matter—is to change the government. Moving away from fossil fuel requires an effective energy transition, and we have an incredible renewable future ahead of us. But only a Labor government will deliver this and will deliver Australia's potential as a renewable energy superpower, reduce emissions, reduce energy prices and deliver the industry and jobs growth that can be a serious part of addressing climate change.

We all remember when the Greens teamed up with Tony Abbott in 2009 to sink Australia's best chance at lasting climate action, and we are still reeling from that now. Had the Greens supported real action on climate change back then, Australia would be in a much better position today. The coalition's decade of delay has already cost thousands of new energy jobs and is setting Australia up for failure. The government's approach to this critical climate conference in Glasgow was just plain embarrassing. Rather than digging deep to commit to a plan for transition, the Prime Minister spent most of his trip to Glasgow in a diplomatic incident with France and being accused by President Macron of lying. Morrison had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the most basic commitment: a target of net zero emissions by 2050. Then he voluntarily signed an international agreement to revisit the 2030 targets at the end of the COP, but a few hours later he said he wouldn't. Liberal inaction, chaos and lies have left Australia behind the game in terms of economic opportunities. In contrast, Labor sees the world's climate emergency as Australia's jobs opportunity. We should be fighting at the front of this emergency, not whingeing at the back of the pack.

I'm proud to represent South Australia in this place. Under the Weatherill government, our state took the need to transition to renewables very seriously. We became a world leader in renewables and in building a low carbon economy. There are so many projects in South Australia, particularly in regional South Australia, such as the Hornsdale wind farm, the proposed Port Augusta renewable energy project, which is combining wind and solar and bringing together a clean energy generation capacity of 320 megawatts, and the South Australian big battery—the list of projects goes on. What it takes is a government that believes and a government that will commit to the economic development that is necessary in order to address climate change and build jobs.

South Australia has shown that a transition away from fossil fuels and towards clean renewable energy is possible, and it unlocks the economic opportunities and a pipeline of secure, well-paid, clean energy jobs. That is the pathway that an Albanese Labor government will also take. But time is running out, and we are desperately in need of a government that will take this emergency seriously—that will actually take serious action on well-balanced policies to make a fundamental difference to the future of this country.

I want to acknowledge that part of this motion talks about the rights of First Nations peoples in relation to climate action. First Nations peoples are critical to the process of responding to the climate emergency, with their deep knowledge of land management, the enormous leadership that they have shown, their commitment to balancing human needs with environmental needs, their inherent connection to the land and their understanding of how the seasons operate and how to protect that land. First Nations voices are vital to the process, and clearly they are calling out for better engagement and a stronger voice in responding to this existential threat to their country. The only option we have to address climate change and build a better future for this country, which includes building our economic strength, is to change the government. Those opposite and those on the corner have no hope. It is only a Labor government that is going to deliver us a decent outcome and address climate change.

5:56 pm

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

It was only yesterday that I stood up here to remind this place that the climate crisis is being caused by a failure to listen to and act on the advice, knowledge, science and wisdom of First Nations people in this country, not to mention indigenous people around the world, particularly those from countries that are still recovering from colonisation. First Nations people here and around the world have a role to play in preventing climate change and economic destruction, and that role is as leaders. For over 350 million First Nations and indigenous people around the world, climate change will impact our homelands earlier and more severely. It's already happening in this country. This isn't some sort of hypothetical situation or something that is going to happen in the distant future; it's actually happening now.

Today I stood out the front of this building to be in solidarity with traditional owners from what we now call the Beetaloo basin. I'd like to use the rest of my time speaking on this matter of urgency to read their open letter:

We speak as Traditional Owners and custodians of and around the lands and waters that you call the Beetaloo and connected basins. Although we come from many Nations, we have come together to put an end to the ongoing threat of fracking on our countries, which will denigrate and desecrate our lands.

We know our country. We read it, we understand it, and we alone speak for it and its songlines. It is our birthright—handed down by bloodline.

Together, we fight for it.

Our connections to country have been established and proven time and time again by the white man's law. We hold Native Title and Land Rights—a system that is meant to protect and enforce our rights. These have been denied to us.

For years, we have been told lies by the gas and oil corporations. That there would be no damage to the country or poison in our waters. These companies won't even answer the most basic of questions—where they plan to drill or how many wells they want to build.

These gas corporations lack any respect for us as Traditional Owners. They have failed to follow proper process in consultation with us, failed to acquire consent, failed to provide transparency in their dealings with us, and have systematically excluded our voices from the decision-making process for activities on our Country.

We don't have the same resources as these corporations. The system is already set up against us.

This Federal Government coming in over the top of what little processes we have undermines our land rights as Northern Territory Traditional Owners. The same Government who has never come out to our communities to sit with us or meet with us. They are failing to represent us.

Giving $50 million to mining corporations for an 'economic recovery' to start drilling will only line the pockets of huge corporations who want to take more than we're willing to give. It does nothing but hurt us, our communities and our country more.

What about our recovery? The money to finally fulfill the empty promises of proper housing in our communities, or resourcing the health services we've been calling for for years.

And what about country's recovery? Country's water is the blood that flows through our body, and it is already poisoned. Where is the money to clean the water many NT communities are forced to drink?

This is short term money that will cause long term pain, sow division and damage country and community. We will not allow you to cause any more pain, hurt or division in our communities.

Hear us when we say—we won't allow fracking gasfields on our country. Not now. Not ever.

We are united. This is our land, and we're ready to do whatever it takes to protect country.

Don't frack the NT! Don't frack the NT! Don't frack the NT!

Photo of James McGrathJames McGrath (Queensland, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! Senator Thorpe, you know perfectly well that props are not allowed. You continue to flout the rules of this chamber. Please don't do that.

Photo of Deborah O'NeillDeborah O'Neill (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I return the call to you, Senator Thorpe. I hope you can adhere to the standing orders.

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

I will adhere to the standing orders and I'll put my prop away. I hope that people in this place listen to that very clear letter from Northern Territory traditional owners. If you can't do that then please take your dot paintings down.

6:03 pm

Photo of Sue LinesSue Lines (WA, Deputy-President) Share this | | Hansard source

Coincidentally, earlier today I participated in an online event titled Women's Voices, Action for Change. This was a powerful discussion about achieving First Nations gender justice and equality. It started with Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar, providing us with an overview of her landmark report Wiyi Yani U Thagani (Women's Voices). This urgency motion today is about the Glasgow Climate Pact and reminds us to respect, promote and consider First Nations people when taking actions to address climate change and in implementing the pact. Wiyi Yani U Thaganitakes a gender lens to all aspects of life, including climate justice. It starts with the premise that Aboriginal women are the backbone of caring for children and family, and caring for country. In relation to this matter, the fundamental strengths of First Nations women are linked right back to first mothers. Commissioner Oscar said, 'For too long the door has been closed and decisions are made about our lives without First Nations women being in the room.' If the government is serious about addressing climate change—and that's a big 'if', because it has a backbench full of climate sceptics—and if it's really serious about limiting global temperatures to a rise of 1.5 degrees—again, which I very much doubt—it must include First Nations peoples, particularly women. As Commissioner Oscar says, 'What we know matters.'

What we've seen, though, is policy development on the run. In the weeks leading up to the Glasgow summit, the government was still lying about what it had achieved and what it would achieve, in relation to meeting our Paris targets. We have a Prime Minister who can't even be honest about what he said about electric vehicles before the last election. We have a Prime Minister and a government who have signed up to technologies that are not yet invented. We have a government that is absolutely captured by its climate-science-denying backbenchers and by two members of the Pauline Hanson's One Nation party who the government relies on in this place, week after week, to get its legislation passed. And we have a government that's too afraid to bring legislation into this place because it's being held to ransom by up to five of its own senators, and we saw that in action on Monday.

The only way to achieve real action on climate change is to change the government and elect a Labor government, because Labor believes that a target of net zero emissions by 2050 is necessary but not sufficient. We need a road map—right now—that will get us there, not something that is made up and predicated on technologies that haven't even been invented yet. This is what an Albanese Labor government will achieve. Our climate ambition will be backed by costed policies to achieve that ambition. Good climate policy is good jobs policy—creating jobs and cutting power prices while reducing emissions. The regions will be at the centre of Labor's climate and energy policies.

The only way to achieve that is through changing this government. They're tired. We've had eight years of nothing. In the weeks leading up to Glasgow was the only time we saw a policy, but they won't tell us how much it is going to cost, and it has no real targets. It actually doesn't have too many policies able to be delivered right now. We have a Prime Minister who now can't tell the truth about what he said about electric vehicles at the time of the last election. We all know it's on video—you know, 'it's going ruin your weekend'—and now he is denying he ever said that. We have a government who are just committed to re-electing themselves. They are a government devoid of policies and leading us nowhere on climate change, and, quite frankly, they need to be sacked by Australian voters at the next election. I will take great pleasure in campaigning as hard as I can to get rid of the Morrison government, a government who are devoid of ideas, who lie about what they might do and what they have done, and who don't deserve to be in government.

Photo of Deborah O'NeillDeborah O'Neill (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

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