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Global Climate Strike

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Tags: Climate Change

Global Climate Strike: Cassy O'Connor MP, 4 October, 2019.


Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Deputy Speaker, this morning in question time we asked the Premier where he was last Friday when thousands and thousands of Tasmanians including young people, their mums, dads, aunts, uncles and friends took to the streets to join the global climate strike. There are estimates that around the world 150 million people stood up to demand a safe climate and real climate action now.

In a stunning statement, where he could barely keep the smile off his face because he knew how ridiculous it sounded, the Premier said in response that he had other commitments. Of course, he and every single Liberal minister had other commitments at the time that thousands of children were taking to the streets. This is a quote straight from the Premier -

I was pleased to note the leadership shown by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the international stage in demanding more of China to do their fair share of reducing emissions as well.

What a disgrace. It could not have been put any better than by living treasure David Attenborough himself. At 93 years old David Attenborough is often noted as the world's most trusted celebrity, a living icon. On Triple J's Hack program today, David Attenborough absolutely smashed into the Australian Government's lack of action on climate and particularly Prime Minister Scott Morrison whose leadership our Premier lauded this morning. What Mr Attenborough says our attitude is -

No, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how much coal we burn. We don't give a damn what it does to the rest of the world.

That is from David Attenborough about the Prime Minister of Australia. As David Attenborough has told us, the Great Barrier Reef is in grave danger. It is in danger of vanishing within decades. What he says to us, given that we are responsible for this large complex and beautiful land mass, a complex ecosystem that sustain myriad life forms including the Great Barrier Reef. David Attenborough says to us, 'What you say, what you do, really really matters'.

He is talking to Australia and the Australian Prime Minister and the Premier of Tasmania who is smeared now by lauding the leadership of a prime minister who refused to go to the UN Climate Summit and instead hung out with a climate criminal at one of his donor's places. It is an absolute, unbelievable disgrace.

In better news, there are 500 councils around the world that have declared a climate emergency as at May 2019. So it is higher now. Nineteen of them are in Australia. They include the Launceston City Council and the Hobart City Council. Now that number has apparently grown to 1020 as at September this year and 50 are within Australia and that number is fast-growing.

On Monday night at Glenorchy City Council Alderman Kelly Sims will move this motion,

That Council:

(1) Affirms its commitment to future generations by addressing catastrophic climate change and biodiversity loss through its ongoing policies, strategies and leadership by supporting the declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency and registering with the Climate Emergency Declaration Organisation;

(2) Commits to building public awareness and engagement around the Declaration of a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency by endorsing the information provided to councils by the Climate Emergency Declaration Organisation and in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals about a climate emergency response;

(3) Consults with other Tasmanian and leading councils on a matter of declaring a climate emergency in order to work collaboratively, including the sharing of ideas, practice and information about addressing climate change in an evidence-based, best-practice manner;

(4) Writes to the relevant state and federal politicians and the prime minister to urge the Commonwealth Government to declare a climate emergency at a national level; and

(5) Requests a further report to be presented to council at 23 December 2019 council meeting containing work already completed and future recommendations for the implementation of a strategy and/or framework and/or action plan for councils, climate emergency response that aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Well done to Alderman Kelly Sims, showing leadership on Glenorchy City Council. We are seeing that kind of leadership shown at a grassroots and local government level right across Tasmania and the country. I hope that aldermen on Glenorchy City Council endorse Alderman Sims' motion on 30 September. That is one more council that will have declared a climate emergency in Tasmania.

The record shows that when this parliament was given an opportunity to join the 1020 councils and nations around the world that have declared a climate emergency, both the Liberal and Labor parties squibbed on it. They did not seek to amend the motion so it was more palatable to them. They refused to support it.

Ms White - Yes, we did.

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes, and you Adani in there. For goodness sake.

Ms White - You lied.

Ms O'CONNOR - How can you declare a climate emergency and be taken seriously if you want to support the Adani Coal Mine.

Ms White - It was bagging out Bob Brown for doing that. Adani. Whatever. That was during the federal campaign.


Ms White - You do not remember what we debated.

Ms O'CONNOR - Your colleagues in Canberra have signed up to the parliamentary friends of coal. You do not get away with that, Leader of the Opposition. I cannot remember once since Ms White became leader that the Labor Party has asked in question time a question on the climate emergency. That is because they are captured by the coal, oil and gas industry. They are coal lovers. They support the Adani Coal Mine. Just like the Liberal Party, they are in bed with the fossil fuel industry, which is poisoning our planet and robbing our children of a future. A pox on both your houses.