The Guardian view on the Australian election: vote on the climate emergency

(The Guardian, 15 May 2019) Australia cannot afford three more years of policy held hostage to the hard right of the Liberal party.

The privilege of governing Australia obliges a political party, whatever its ideological leanings, to offer voters two things – coherent policies to deal with the biggest issues confronting the nation and a competent and prepared team to implement them.

The climate emergency is the most pressing issue of our time. For decades, Australia has seen this existential crisis looming and has failed to act on it.

With just 12 years to limit the global climate catastrophe, citizens here and around the world are demanding governments stand up to vested interests and act. The UK parliament has declared a climate emergency, the idea of a Green New Deal is gaining traction in the US and beyond, and students around the world are engaging in spontaneous activism to force change.

But in Australia the Coalition appears deaf to the rising clamour from the electorate. After tearing itself apart and dumping a prime minister to avoid implementing a functional climate plan, it clings to an obviously deficient emissions reduction target and has been forced back to Tony Abbott’s discredited climate policy because the hard right will countenance nothing else. That’s a policy that has seen Australia’s greenhouse emissions continue to rise for the past five years and that would put no constraint on continuing increases in the future.

The idea that a major party should seriously propose we waste money for little result for another three years, when we have no more years to waste, is a shocking abrogation of responsibility. Scott Morrison’s dismissive response to a UN report finding that the world is sleepwalking towards an extinction crisis, and his parliamentary stunt of fondling a lump of coal, underline the contempt with which he seems to treat the electorate’s legitimate and rising concerns.

External link

The Guardian, 15 May 2019: The Guardian view on the Australian election: vote on the climate emergency