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AGAINST – Matters of Urgency — Climate Change

Sue Lines

Senator Roberts has submitted the following proposal under standing order 75 today:

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:

"Fear-based net zero 'climate' policies are harming everyday Australians and have no environmental justification"

Is the proposal supported?

More than the number of senators required by t he standing orders having risen in their places—

With the concurrence of the Senate, the clerks will set the clock in line with the informal arrangements made by the whips.

Malcolm Roberts

I move:

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

Fear-based net zero 'climate' policies are harming everyday Australians and have no environmental justification.

As a servant to the many different people who make up our wonderful Queensland community, I say that fear-based net zero climate policies are harming everyday Australians and have no environmental or scientific justification. Yesterday this chamber saw a display from the Greens that is best described as fear based. I could feel their terror. They were terrified. It was not fear of some impending human barbecue; it was fear of impending political irrelevance. The public are starting to wake up to the fact that climate change is the greatest display of mass formation psychosis since the Salem witch hunts.

Last weekend, Tory Prime Minister Sunak in Britain won a surprise victory in the Uxbridge by-election, campaigning against Lord Mayor Sadiq Khan's net zero policies. A Conservative politician took a stand against net zero and won. The British media have sensed the changing mood and their reporting tone has changed. Here's a sample of their headlines from the last few weeks. 'Change the ludicrous net zero timetable,' read the Telegraph__. 'Rishi Sunak must be bold and delay our net zero deadlines or the cost will be ruinous.' That was the Sun, saying what I have been saying for last 15 years, except I've been saying 'cancel', not just 'delay'. 'Sunak will have to water down net zero,' read the Spectator. The Washington Post weighed in with: 'Backlash to climate policies is growing.'

The UK going off-reservation and winding back net zero will provide economic competition to countries like Australia which continue to commit economic suicide with a net zero agenda. The money flowing into the pockets of the predatory billionaires who are behind this scam is already under threat. Swedish state energy company Vattenfall has announced one of the world's biggest offshore wind developments, the 1,400-megawatt Norfolk Boreas project in the UK, has been suspended due to spiralling costs. Increasing prices for wind turbine materials, including copper, zinc, chromium, nickel, rare earths, cement and the oil for the fibreglass blades, gearbox and lubricants, have caused a 40 per cent cost overrun. This pushed their projected cost per megawatt hour from $85 to over $100 a megawatt hour.

Offshore wind is not cheap electricity and it never will be. Wind energy is expensive and, due to the laws of physics, always will be prohibitively expensive.

This insane ideology is causing everyday Australians to feel deep pain and hurt. Building a home is getting dearer because all of the materials used in net zero are used in homes. Rising construction costs mean home ownership is harder and rents are increasing. Retooling our entire energy grid, both generation and transmission, is transferring hundreds of billions of dollars out of the pockets of everyday Australians into the pockets of the climate carpetbaggers running this scam, using rising electricity prices and higher taxes. We are the world's most energy-rich country, yet we have some of the world's highest prices for electricity. We export coal and uranium so foreign countries can have cheap, reliable power; yet the energy policies of the Greens, Liberals, Labor and the Nationals mean we cannot use it here—all in the name of this new religion of green self-flagellation.

In two weeks, I will be visiting the site of the latest green environmental vandalism in Chalumbin, Queensland. Thousands of hectares of native forest are to be chopped down for an industrial wind turbine complex—killing the environment to save it, apparently. Oil companies are experiencing record margins and profits thanks to the Albanese government allowing this profiteering, despite having the power to bring prices down. The higher the price of petrol, the less people use their cars, allowing the Albanese-Bowen government to claim progress towards net zero.

All of this is based on faulty science and selective misuse of natural events—fraud. We were told this was the hottest July on record, when in fact it was the hottest July since last year. We were told the ice extent is shrinking. However, the Arctic is within long-term fluctuations and the Antarctic is not melting, except for the section where there's significant volcanic eruption under the ice. You fearmongers didn't bother to mention that, did you?

In my adjournment speech tonight I'll speak on the warmers' scientific fraud. Even the fearmonger in chief, Jim Skea, the new head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has had to ask for an end to the hyperbole. Speaking on the weekend, Skea said, 'We should not despair and fall into a state of shock,' if global temperatures were to increase by 1.5 degrees. He said, 'The world won't end if it warms by more than 1.5 degrees.' Rebranding climate change as climate boiling is designed to drive fear.

Senator McKim said yesterday that billions of people will die. That's what he said—no facts, just fear—because the Greens are terrified of the rapidly changing public mood. People are waking up that the public are being bullied into continued support for policies that achieve nothing except to hurt human beings and harm our natural environment. Now, in this debate, the Greens are silent. (Time expired)

Carol Brown

OL BROWN (—) (): It's always good to follow Senator Roberts's contribution to what is a very important issue. We are, despite the previous contribution, living in a climate emergency. This is our reality. It's an emergency which is showing us that our summers will be marred by extremes of bushfires and floods. In the Black Summer bushfires in 2019-20, 24 million hectares of land were destroyed, millions of native animals were killed, 33 people directly lost their lives and a further 450 people are estimated to have died due to smoke inhalation. In 2022, eastern Australia was devastated by repeated floods. At least 22 people lost their lives, and thousands lost their homes or businesses, with an estimated $5 billion hit to the economy. Last year in Australia, seven out of 10 people lived in an area declared as a natural disaster zone at some point in their life, often more than once.

Since coming into office, this government hasn't wasted a moment in getting on with the job. We've lifted our 2030 emissions reduction target by half, from 26 per cent to 43 per cent. Just two weeks ago we announced we would be developing decarbonisation plans for each major sector of the Australian economy, underpinned by sector-wide economic modelling, to set us on a path to reaching our ambitious but achievable goal of net zero by 2050. One of those industries is one I work closely with in my responsibility as Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

The transport industry contributes 19 per cent of all greenhouse gases in Australia, vastly more than any other industry. Since 2005 greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 11 per cent and are currently projected to be the largest source of CO2 emissions in Australia by 2030. This government knows that reducing emissions in the transport sector through using more renewable energy sources will require concerted action across government and industry to secure long-lasting benefits by managing and minimising the impacts of the transition. That's why this government is acting through the development of a transport and infrastructure net zero road map and action plan. A draft road map will be developed this year, and the action plan will be drafted in early 2024.

This action plan will present an integrated decarbonisation road map to ensure that we take up the opportunities by carefully managing the transition to new energy sources. Further, the government is already decarbonising the transport sector through increasing the uptake of electric vehicles and developing a fuel efficiency standard through the National Electric Vehicle Strategy. Fuel efficiency standards are common elsewhere around the world. In fact, through the inaction of the former government, Australia is playing catch-up in introducing these standards. That's just a fact. We are playing catch-up because of the inaction of the previous government. Fuel efficiency standards help by reducing transport emissions, improving air quality in and around our cities, making it easier for Australians to breathe and, importantly, ensuring for people around the country that they will save money at the petrol pump.

Moving away from how we are tackling emissions in transport, the government has also reformed the safeguard mechanism. This mechanism is an important reform and one which we took to the Australian people in the last election and received a strong mandate for. No amount of denial by those opposite, who seek to undermine the climate emergency— (Time expired)

Jonathon Duniam

What a delight it is to follow Senator Brown in that rousing contribution about the government's position on the motion before us. I like Utopia, and I'm sure that the Albanese Labor government have picked most of their policy nomenclature from the script of Utopia. We've got a sector-wide strategy. We've got a road map. We've got an action plan, and all of it is going to lead nowhere, frankly, apart from disaster and destruction for the Australian economy—the offshoring of jobs, the increasing pressures on household budgets—and all of it on the basis of what Senator Brown and her colleagues describe as a 'climate emergency'.

Someone must have missed the memo, because earlier today, during question time, the government actually did refer to something that is impacting on Australians, and that is the cost-of-living crisis that we're facing. Thank the good Lord, of course, the Reserve Bank today put a hold on interest rates, but someone has missed the memo in that contribution just given from and on behalf of the Australian government about what really matters to Australians. I have to apologise to Senator Roberts, because while his motion is fantastic in many respects, it is not going to change a blasted thing when it comes to the direction the Australian government is taking with the bedfellows down the end here, the Australian Greens. Disastrous and destructive policies based on anything other than science—emotion, headline grabs, Utopia scripts, as we already heard today—if we look at these things, I think the construction of his motion points to some very important points, because balance and proportionality are important when it comes to government responses. I don't know that there's anyone in this chamber that wants to destroy the environment, contrary to the assertions that are often made about people being 'planet haters' and 'climate deniers'. I actually want this place to be a wonderful place for my three sons and their children, should they choose to have them. I'd like them to enjoy the beautiful wilderness in Tasmania.

But shutting down entire industries without any regard for the economic impact is, I think, irresponsible and it won't fix the climate emergency. It will in fact make this cost-of-living crisis worse.

Take, for example, this climate emergency that Senator Brown referred to in her contribution in talking about the bushfires on the east coast of Australia in recent times. It's Labor across the country that are shutting down the native forest industry. They want to lock up swathes of forest and throw away the key, with no management whatsoever. We have seen it happen in Victoria. We have seen it happen in Western Australia. Do you know what? When you remove management of our productive forests, you increase bushfire risks.

Nick McKim

Oh, rubbish!

Sue Lines

Senator McKim!

Jonathon Duniam

You see bunkum reports out there suggesting forestry contributes to bushfires. I tell you what: not managing forests is actually bad for our environment.

Nick McKim

That is an absolute load of rubbish, and you know it.

Sue Lines

Senator McKim, I've called you to order. I expect you to stop interjecting.

Long debate text truncated.


Date and time: 4:12 PM on 2023-08-01
Senator Pocock's vote: No
Total number of "aye" votes: 3
Total number of "no" votes: 31
Total number of abstentions: 42

Adapted from information made available by