Thursday, 8 September 2022
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Senator Wong. Can the minister please update the Senate on the Albanese government's progress on ending the climate wars? And what does this mean for the Australian people?
Thank you to Senator Pratt for the question. For many people in this chamber—regrettably, not those opposite—this day is a day that has been a long time coming, a day on which historic legislation has been passed in response to one of the most urgent and pressing issues of our time: climate change. It is no accident that the bill that the Senate has just voted on was one of the first pieces of legislation introduced by the Albanese government, because we know that Australians deserve and our nation needs overdue leadership in this area.
I'll take that interjection from the National Party: 'It's all symbolic.' It is all symbolic, is it? Well, it just really demonstrates how out of touch those opposite are and how little those in the coalition actually understand that the Australian people voted for climate change action and might want to be listened to.
With the passage of the legislation in this place, can I first acknowledge those who worked with the government constructively on sensible amendments, and can I also acknowledge the support from the business community. The Business Council of Australia said:
This legislation brings Australia a step closer to ending the so-called climate wars, which have been counterproductive and served as a handbrake on progress towards decarbonisation and have slowed our economy.
The National Farmers Federation said in evidence to the Senate inquiry that the bills are 'framework legislation that can provide business certainty'. I know it's hard for the National Party to realise that their base is not with them on this. I know that's hard, but they are not. The Investor Group on Climate Change talked about the opportunity to 'unlock hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of investment in climate solutions'. It is those opposite who are out of touch.
I thank Senator Pratt for her supplementary question and for her interest, along with every Labor senator's interest, in progress on climate. The rest of the world does watch closely what Australia does on climate. As well as lifting our international competitiveness, the passage of this legislation is a watershed moment in Australia's international standing. Countries of our region in particular look to Australia as a member of the Pacific family to act with respect for their existential interest in action on climate change. If the shadow foreign minister actually wanted to ensure we had stronger relations with the Pacific, he would not have voted against action on climate change, which is precisely one of the disadvantages to our national interests that the former government continue to hold on to. It is simply not good enough for senators to say, 'Well, this country isn't doing enough,' or, 'That country isn't doing enough.' Our Pacific family expects more from us.
We all know that this Senate, for too long, has stood in the way of climate action. Whether it's former senator Barnaby Joyce or former senator Abetz in the past or Senator Canavan, Senator Rennick and so many others today, too many senators have been part of the problem, not part of the solution. Unfortunately, some senators still persist. We see Senator Rennick now. We see people who refuse to listen to the Australian people. They refuse to acknowledge the message at the federal election three months ago. So far, it has been more of the same for them. They opposed the climate bills before they saw them. What is most extraordinary is they just ignore the message of the Australian people. They just ignore the message of the Australian people. You're not content with losing touch with Australians in Boothby, Curtin, Goldstein et cetera. You're just out of touch— (Time expired)