Conservationists to target 'middle Australia' in election climate push
Climate change Conservationists to target 'middle Australia' in election climate push
ACF aims to pour resources into three marginal seats to inflict electoral pain on major parties for policy failures
The Australian Conservation Foundation will target three marginal seats in Victoria and Queensland in a bid to pus h âmiddle Australiaâ to demand more action on climate change, its chief executive has said.
Kelly OâShanassy made the comments at the National Press Club on Tuesday, unveiling the environmental groupâs election action plan to break the political deadlock over climate change.
The ACF will target the Victorian seats of Chisholm, currently held by Liberal MP Julia Banks, and McNamara, held by retiring Labor MP Michael Danby, along with Bonner in Queensland where the incumbent is Liberal MP Ross Vasta.
Banks has announced she will not recontest her seat as a Liberal, leading to speculation she could run as an independent; while McNamara will likely be a repeat of the three-cornered contest between Labor, Liberal and the Greens at the 2016 election.Is Australia on the verge of having too much solar energy? | Tristan Edis Read more
OâShanassy said the group chose the âmiddle Australian marginal seatsâ because it wanted to âmove t he country forward on climate changeâ. One third of voters in the seats had climate change as their top concern,a dynamic the ACF hoped would create a ârace to the topâ on climate policy.
Climate policy is set to be a key issue in the 2019 election, with Labor promising the national energy guarantee or something similar to achieve a 45% reduction in carbon emissions from electricity by 2030, and the Greens promising to push Labor to be âas ambitious as it possibly can beâ.
On Tuesday, the University of New South Wales released a report, commissioned by the mining union, calling for a new federal government authority to manage the closure of coal power plants rather than leave the timing and conditions to power companies.
Australia has 23 coal-fired power stations forecast by their operators to be closed by 2050. The report argues the government should manage the transition by creating an energy transition authority, investing in public sector infrastru cture to generate employment and promoting new hubs for hi-tech industries and services.
The Morrison government has stared down calls from Coalition conservatives to withdraw Australia from the Paris climate agreement and abolish small-scale renewables subsidies, but has shelved the emissions reduction component of the Neg and refused to rule out measures to support new coal-fired power stations.
OâShanassy took aim at Scott Morrison for claiming Australia will meet its 2030 climate targets âin a canter â" despite the evidence showing otherwiseâ, the environment minister Melissa Price for saying that getting rid of coal to save the Great Barrier Reef was a âlong bowâ and Bill Shorten â says coal will be part of our futureâ.Humanity has wiped out 60% of animals since 1970, major report finds Read more
OâShanassy said Morrison was âharming his constituents and all Australians and doing so with his eyes wide openâ by âdismiss ing climate change [and] being a spruiker for the coal industryâ.
âRight now, it doesnât look good. Australia is in a climate policy deadlock. We are nowhere after two decades.â
OâShanassy said the blame should lie âat the feet of the polliesâ but the environment movement is also âa little culpableâ for âmisstepsâ.
In response to a later question, OâShanassy said she was referring to opposition to Kevin Ruddâs proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme, which was blocked by the Greens and Liberals, and not opposition to the Turnbull governmentâs Neg.
She said the Neg âwouldâve reduced the amount of clean energy in Australiaâ which made it a âbad, bad policyâ, so the ACF resolved to not oppose the Neg architecture and instead encourage states and the next federal government to raise the emissions reduction target.
OâShanassy said the ACF will make the 2019 election âthe climate electionâ so the major party with âthe strongest climate policyâ would win.
Its policy aims are to ârepower Australia with clean electricity by 2030â, move towards zero net pollution before 2050 and prevent new coal mines.
The ACF aims to have one million conversations with voters about climate change, including 15,000 in its three target seats. It will distribute scorecards rating partiesâ policies but will not tell people how to vote.
OâShanassy said that âasking nicely with policy in hand and evidence that stacks upâ had failed to guarantee climate action, so the ACF was now focused on developing community campaigns to âmove stubborn governmentsâ and inflict âelectoral painâ on parties without a proper climate policy.Topics
- Climate change
- Australian politics
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