The federal government has been criticized in a Q&A by Labor and MPs for not having a climate policy that would bring the nation down to zero by 2050.
the main points:
- Questions were asked about why there was no federal anti-corruption watchdog
- The government has been criticized for taking too long to commit Australia to net zero by 2050
- The National Party was widely accused of being a major stumbling block in the case
Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus called the Morrison government a “mob” during a devastating inaction on climate change.
Viewer Glenn Gibson asked the panel, made up of Mr Dreyfus, independent MP Helen Haines, Liberal NSW Senator Andrew Bragg, TV director Craig Riocastle and Melbourne Demons president Kate Rovey, why the federal government left it so late to formulate climate policy. .
The question came ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland, an event Prime Minister Scott Morrison has yet to commit to attending.
Senator Bragg defended the government, saying that crafting a plan on climate change was difficult.
“The plan to cut emissions is a very complex agenda because you have to decarbonize electricity, you have to decarbonize industry and transportation, and you also have to look at agriculture,” he said.
“What you will see over the next few weeks is an agenda to decarbonize these three things with the goal of getting to net zero in a given year, and I think it is important to have a clear checkpoint along the way as part of that agenda in 2030.”
Asked what that should be like, Senator Bragg said: “Forty percent. I think that’s totally achievable. [and] It would be a reasonable goal for us to show the rest of the world that we are serious about getting to net zero.”
Mr. Dreyfus was not calm.
“This is a mob of the government,” he said.
“We have waited eight years for the government to have an appropriate climate policy.
“We had 21 policies, all of which have been abandoned as we wait for the 22nd.”
Mr. Dreyfus then accused Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and the citizens of demanding ransom from the coalition and Australia.
“The Federal Cabinet met yesterday but no one is ready to talk about what was discussed or maybe decided because we are waiting until the National Party meeting on Sunday.
“I find this ridiculous.
“We had a pre-COP in Milan a couple of weeks ago; Australia didn’t say anything in the pre-COP because we didn’t have a policy.
“These government mobs have no policy and they have let Australia down big time.”
Host Virginia Triuli mentioned that FLP wasn’t perfect on climate change policy either, with Hunter member Joel Fitzgibbon at odds with his party over several climate policies.
Mr Dreyfus blamed the Abbott government for “destroying” Labour’s past climate policies.
Indy independent member Helen Haines also launched an attack on the National Party.
“Basically, the government didn’t have a plan,” Haines said.
“There is a secret deal that is currently closed with the National Party and the Liberal Party.
“The National Farmers’ Federation has committed to zero net emissions by 2050.
The Meat and Livestock Society has committed to carbon neutrality by 2030.
“We have dairy farmers in my constituency send me their plan for climate action.
“Every major renewable project is in the regions, but are the profits going back to the regions?
“No. Because there was no plan from the NDP, they are too busy looking back and researching things that happened years ago.”
Ordinary Australians want to know what the plan is
Ms Rovey, a Premier League newcomer to the Melbourne Demons in the NFL, said she wanted to see plans from all sides of the government on what the change to net-zero and energy policies might mean for the average Australian.
She called for strategies to be made public so that Australians could see the costs associated with change, rather than colloquial political matches over who is doing the right thing or not.
“On behalf of everyone who consumes out there, can we actually see some strategies on where our next forms of reliable, renewable, and most importantly energy are going to come from?” asked Mrs. Ruffy.
“There is a lot of talk about who did the wrong thing and what policy we should have, but not enough talk about shutting down our coal plants…but what are we replacing?
Saying ‘sun pop on your roof’ is not an option for them.
“I want to see more of this talk about how we are going to realistically transition into this space to support everyone who deserves heating in their home in Australia, to access reliable and affordable forms of renewable energy.”
1000 days and rely on federal anti-corruption legislation
The coalition’s turbulent night continued with questions about why there was no Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (ICAC) at the federal level, despite promises made by the Morrison government to implement one.
Senator Bragg said he was with the ICAC at the federal level if it was the right model.
“I think an anti-corruption commission would be a good idea,” Senator Bragg said.
“I wouldn’t call it a federal ICAC, it would be about dealing with serious corruption cases.
“I was drawn to the Victorian model, which I think does a lot of good work in the background and can use coercive forces.
“That would be a very convenient thing for us in Canberra.”
Ms Haines had drafted a bill for the Federal Anti-Corruption Commission, but Senator Bragg said the government had a plan in the works and independents were not legitimizing.
However, Dreyfus said Labor would support Haines’ bill for the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
Ms Haines said that for her bill to be voted on, she would need some coalition senators to support it, but acknowledged that might be unlikely.
“The bill that I submitted to the House of Representatives, the government had absolutely no desire to discuss it,” Haines said.
“All we saw was a draft plan from the government, not legislation.
“My bill was judged by Transparency International when they viewed all integrity committees across Australia, and anti-corruption bodies, as best practice.”
Ms Haines then suggested that the National Anti-Corruption Commission be taken out of the hands of the big parties to “give what they really want to the nation”.
Watch the full episode on iview or via the Q+A Facebook page.