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Greens Matter of Public Importance - Global Climate Emergency

23 May 2019

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Speaker, I rise to talk about the global climate emergency, which is obviously such a matter of disinterest to members of parliament that they are all leaving the Chamber on both sides, Labor and Liberal.

Madam Speaker, I do take account of your advice and will be very clear that I will be talking about the narratives that appeared yesterday. There are a number of narratives developing in this Chamber and I am interested to explore how they are so closely aligned.

Yesterday's debate about the global climate emergency sits within the context of the global discussion about the climate emergency facing the planet and all the species on it, including the human animal. We brought on a discussion in this place on the back of science and the evidence that was catalysed by the United Nations in their report last October of the climate change emergency, and on the back of hundreds of councils around the world, 532 at last count, two national governments - the United Kingdom and Ireland - and a subnational government in the ACT in Australia, which have all recognised that the world is in a state of climate emergency.

What we heard from the Liberals yesterday is a narrative that the minister has embellished upon this morning, which is that it is the Greens' fault. 'It is the Greens' fault that we are even having the conversation about a global climate emergency. The Greens are beating up the issue. The Greens are - '

Ms ARCHER - Point of order, Madam Speaker. Members cannot mislead the House by saying that we have said certain things. By all means directly quote from Hansard but if you are not sure about what is said, or you are trying to put words into my mouth, then check the content. I am not going to stand for being misled in this House. You have called a number of members to account on a number of occasions. I am not going to stand for it myself.

Madam SPEAKER - I am glad you have put that on Hansard but I have been advised it is not a point of order. Sorry about that.

Dr WOODRUFF - Madam Speaker, I hope I will not be continually interrupted by members of the Government who are taking away our private members' time by standing up and denying the narrative they are spinning about the Greens. The minister said this morning that it is the green movement that is responsible for causing the eco-anxiety that our young people are experiencing, for causing the tears of concern, depression and, frankly, terror that people are talking about on the streets.

Yesterday, hundreds of students and young people were at a snap protest. I am so saddened by the failure of this House, by the failure of every Liberal and Labor member, to recognise the global state of climate emergency.

The Liberals are also failing to recognise that we must move on from our addiction to coal in this country. We must come up with a just transition for people who are working in coal industries in Queensland and elsewhere in the country. It is their addiction to the money from the coal industry that flows to Liberal parties and the addiction that the Labor Party has to the exact same industry, which is failing young people.

The Liberals were supported lockstep by the Labor Party. It also thinks it is the green movement, in particular, the Greens party's fault that Bill Shorten is not prime minister. Rather than look at themselves, they would prefer to blame the Greens for an Adani convoy, which was picking up thousands of voices as it moved up to the Carmichael mine site in Queensland. The Bob Brown Foundation was cheering on with everybody else who understood that we have to look for a just transition and move away from jobs in coal. Like it or not, the world community will not be carving out a privileged little niche for Australia to continue to flog off that deadly fossil fuel.

Last October, the United Nations, hundreds of scientists, collectively told us that we have to stop burning coal. That means we have to stop mining it. They have given us what was likely our final warning as they delivered it in Korea. We must keep warming to 1.5 degrees at the most. They found that the current trajectory is we are on two to four degrees - up to 4 degrees by the end of the century. That is a catastrophic change to this planet; to all the systems that life depends on, humans, animals, plants and every other species, along with us, is travelling towards a very dark future.

The Liberals are now determined to spin out another few more years for the coal industry, along with Labor and blame the green movement for beating up fear in young people, for causing record rates of anxiety and depression.

I am proud to be part of a movement that speaks the truth. I am proud to listen to the scientists, to listen to the 132 governments including Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and China, that have told us one million species are already facing extinction. I am proud to be part of that movement. Every other person who is a member of the Greens is proud to stand with those children and our firefighters who have declared an emergency. This summer, the fire chiefs told us that we have to change; we have to understand, we have to do things differently. I am proud to be part of that movement.

We will continue to come in here every week, every day and talk about the truth until the Liberal and Labor parties recognise that for Tasmanians and show some leadership and act now.