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Liberal Motion - Tasmania-First Energy Policy

31 July 2019
Rosalie Woodruff MP

 

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Speaker, what a totally sickening display of hypocrisy from both the Liberal and Labor parties. It is total duplicity that both parties can pretend that this has anything to do with concern for the climate emergency the planet is experiencing right now. The children who stood on our parliament lawns will continue to come and stand on our parliament lawns and demand that their leaders take action. Action on the climate emergency means stopping the use of coal.

The IPPC has made it abundantly clear that we have to get our existing coal usage down to zero to 2 per cent on what we are using now, immediately, within 20 years' time, yet the Labor Party and the Liberal Party are both lovers of coal and they are both champion flag wavers for the coal industry. Both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party want to open the biggest coal mine in the world.

This week in federal parliament, in case the hypocrisy that is happening here is not clear enough, the utter shame-face of duplicity -

Dear colleagues, co-chair, the Honourable Joel Fitzgibbon, the Labor shadow minister for resources, member for Hunter, and Craig Kelly, the Liberal member for Hughes in federal parliament this week have proposed an invitation to all senators and members to join the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Coal Exports for the 46th parliament.

They were calling all friends from the Labor and Liberal parties to join them in the loving of coal. The only thing the Labor Party regrets about how they approached the last election was that they were not the ones to bring the lump of coal into parliament. Bill Shorten should have done that and that would have sealed their position for the election.

Mr O'Byrne - You led a convoy of middle-class people to poke working-class people in the eye. It was the biggest mistake in the election campaign and cost the progressive side of politics. You are a bunch of hypocrites.

Member Suspended - Member for Franklin - Mr O'Byrne

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Mr O'Byrne. One of us has to go out, Mr O'Byrne, and I think it is you. I ask you to leave for 30 minutes. I make that warning to everyone else if they continue with this cross-Chamber dialogue.

Mr O'Byrne withdrew.

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is pretty hard not to have to shout in this place but I have a lot to say, and behind me are all the young people in the Tasmanian community and Australia who know what they want for the future of Australia. They want us to be clean and green and that means you cannot have your cake and eat it. You cannot support the whims of your coal lobbying masters like the Liberal Party and the Labor Party do and call for clean green renewable energy. You cannot do both, because we have to get rid of our dependency on coal. We have to stop using it and we have to get rid of the old coal-fired power stations. We have to not open, Mr Tucker, the new Adani coalmine that is being proposed. We cannot do that. We simply cannot do these things.

This motion today is not about the need for climate change action. It is not about the need for renewable energy so we can bring down our carbon emissions and stop the climate emergency that is unfolding. The IPCC and the experts only last week have given us not 12 years but 18 months now. The time frame is getting shorter. This is utterly serious. This is not about political wedges. We do not have time for playing games. It is shocking and distressing for any people watching this to see that this is being treated as a joke. This is so serious.

The reason we need renewable energy in Australia is not for business, not for corporate interests, not for short-term gain, it is for the sake of our children and ourselves. I want to be able to grow old on a planet that is habitable, with plants and animals around me that can support me. I want to be able to eat food grown in Tasmania, which has a climate that can support agriculture and farming. I want to be able to go fishing and see fish in the sea and look at the beauty of the world around us. We can only do these things if we stop using coal.

Mrs Rylah - Support Robbins Island.

Dr WOODRUFF - Then do not support your colleagues in the federal government, Mrs Rylah, who are friends of coal. Stand up against the Adani line. It needs Liberal and Labor members with a spine who are not just looking at the next election.

Madam Speaker, I want to propose an amendment.

Ms Haddad - You should welcome a Labor member not supporting coal.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, there is an amendment to be proposed

Dr WOODRUFF - Madam Chair, I have an amendment to the motion. I move -

That the motion be amended by omitting all the words after 'that the House' be removed and that the following be inserted:

(1) Notes that the Liberals repeatedly talk about the Marinus project and use it as a political wedge, particularly during election periods, despite the fact that they have not put forward a financing proposal or a position on who should finance the multibillion-dollar project;

(2) Agrees that the project could cost in excess of current total public non-financial corporation sector debt and feasibility studies and prominent economists such as Saul Eslake have raised serious concerns about the viability of the project which have not been addressed by the state government;

(3) Notes that the Liberals passed legislation to set wholesale electricity prices at a higher rate than was projected, leading to energy bills decreasing by less than they otherwise would have;

(4) Notes with alarm that the Liberal Government continues to allow Entura to engage in profiteering from immoral projects overseas such as the Karuma hydro power project in Uganda, which has been linked to killings and other human rights violations; and

(5) Condemns the Liberal Government for its lack of honesty, ethics or a plan in its handling of the Energy portfolio.

It is concerning that the Liberals are approaching this issue with a deep cynicism. We all want more renewable energy, we need to protect the ecosystem, store more carbon in the ground, protect forest health and make sure our species do not go extinct. A million species are under imminent threat worldwide.

Ms O'Connor - Including humanity.

Dr WOODRUFF - Yes, that is right. We must look at each project with an eye to the local situation as well as the global story. We must look at the development applications. We have not seen it for Robbins Island or for many others that are being proposed. We must bring proper science and have a serious look at all the impacts.

Ms COURTNEY - Point of order, could you circulate the amendment so we have an opportunity to read it.

Dr WOODRUFF - Yes. We cannot simply give lip service to green energy when it involves short-term massive building constructions, which is what the Liberal motion is about. It is about building, it is about business, it is about keeping corporate donations flowing. It is not about planning for where we should put renewable energy in Tasmania, how much more we need and what is the cost of a second interconnector.

Christine Milne first coined the term 'Battery of the Nation' on behalf of the Greens. It was her forwardthinking vision. The Greens have always stood up for protecting all species by addressing the heating of the planet. For the decades we have been advocating to act on planet heating.

We will not be lectured to by the Labor and the Liberal parties. At the last election they were still waving the banner for the coal industry. This week they are promoting Australian coal exports. If Adani gets built, and Labor and the Liberals both support it, it will produce 705 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year from the coal that will be burnt as a result of the exports. Each year, it will produce 1.3 times Australia's annual carbon dioxide emissions. The United Nations says we must use zero to 2 per cent of the current coal usage. I do not understand how anyone in this place does not get the reality of what we are talking about.

I do not have time to speak to each part of the motion in detail. The Greens are open to hearing what the business case for a second interconnector would be and who would pay for it.

The Liberals keep announcing it election after election. It is simply being used as a cynical electioneering tool. Tasmanians are being treated with contempt when people like Saul Eslake are given no information about the business case. We are expected to take it on faith that it will produce thousands of jobs and bring $5 billion of economic benefit to the community. Who says and on what basis? These are massive figures. Tasmania will not receive an endless amount of funding from the federal government. We have to be clear about the value it will provide us and what it will cost us in the future. What else could we be spending that money on, if it ever comes?

On behalf of Tasmanians who have rising anxiety about the climate emergency I plead with the Government to be honest and stop using this as a political wedge. We simply do not have time to be playing games.

Stand aside from your federal colleagues and what they are doing and imagine our island is not contaminated by the revolting influence of the coal industry on federal politics. In Tasmania we can do so much. We have the capacity. We have an island that is blessed with resources but we must look ahead, not just look to the short term, to the next election.