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Climate debate failures

Speeches in Parliament
Nick McKim 2 Dec 2019

It's really hard to escape the conclusion that climate politics in Australia is totally cooked.

You've got a government that is basically having its climate change policy set by climate deniers; that effectively doesn't have a climate policy; and that is using dodgy accounting tricks to meet its woefully inadequate targets.

Then, on the other side, you have the Australian Labor Party, that want to come in and rewrite history to focus on the past rather than the future; that still supports new coal, including one of the biggest coalmines in the world, when it gets up, the Adani Carmichael coalmine; that doesn't have a plan to phase out coal; and that still supports fracking for gas in the Galilee Basin and other places around Australia.

Then you have One Nation, that are even more rampant climate deniers than the LNP.

The real tragedy here is that you've only got one party represented in this place that's backing in the climate science, and that is the Australian Greens.

That's the debate in the chamber.

When you expand the debate outside this chamber to include the media gallery, you have significant and systemic failures by far too many members of the press in this place, and far too many senior members of the press in this place.

They have this in-built desire for centrism, where they never saw a deal they didn't want done.

But let me be very clear: there is no centrism in climate science.

There is simply the climate science.

I say to those journalists who are urging that we have more stability in the debate and that we move towards the middle on climate policy: what are you going to say to your children and grandchildren?

Are you going to say, 'I wrote about how important it was for the Greens to compromise, to walk away from the climate science'?

Good luck running that argument to your children and your grandchildren.

Some in the media here are so afraid of real debates and so allergic to the contest of ideas that they will label anything that wasn't leaked to them by one of the major parties as extremism.

There is no sensible centre on climate science.

There is just the climate science.

That is a fact.

The status quo is making our planet's climate incompatible with human life.

That is a scientific fact.

Coal and gas companies are destroying this planet's climate.

They're donating massively to both of the major parties in this place.

That is a scientific fact.

Those same corporations are riddled with people from the major parties who roll out of this place into cushy jobs for those big corporate polluters, and they are making a bloody killing.

That is a fact.

They are donating millions of dollars back to the political parties that they came from.

That is influencing the major parties' climate policy.

That is a fact.

They hire former politicians and political staffers and then use their leverage and connections to keep the relationships friendly.

That is a fact.

Then you all come together at the Midwinter Ball, sponsored by the big fossil fuel polluters, yucking it up together, congratulating yourselves for giving a few thousand bucks to charity, amongst politicians and lobbyists who are helping to cook the climate.

Have a look at yourselves, major party representatives.

Have a look at yourself, media gallery in this place, and get with the program.

Get with the climate science.

The press gallery has got to stop being a cosy club that stifles dissent and ruthlessly shuts down any criticism from outside the two major parties.

That is what the press gallery needs to do if it wants to fulfil its obligation to future generations around climate policy.

That so many journalists in this place are so wilfully blind to how the big corporates have bought out the major political parties on climate change is half of the problem that we're facing in this place.

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