October 26, 2021

I'm going to use my time to reflect on the climate debate and the circus we have witnessed within the Liberal and National parties over the last few weeks—in fact, over the last eight years—in fact, over the last 20 years!—that does a great disservice to the constituents of Shortland. I am incredibly disappointed and shocked by the paradigm that the National Party have set up within this debate—that is, those in regional Australia are the ones that will suffer because of action on climate change and only those in inner-city cosmopolitan seats care about action on climate change. Both claims are wrong.

Firstly, regional Australia probably has the most to lose if we don't take action on climate change. Lake Macquarie is the largest salt water lake in Australia and amongst the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. I am the proud representative of the Lake Macquarie region, but the seat of Shortland is stuck between the lake and the Pacific Ocean, so rising sea levels affect my constituency greatly. Other regional electorates, particularly those of a more agricultural nature, face huge impacts on their industry with a warming climate. Also, my constituents are deeply worried about climate change and want action.

For example, Helen from Caves Beach recently emailed me saying: 'I bet that you have children and do not wish the horrifying future that uncontrolled climate change would bring. If the latest IPCC report didn't convince you, then nothing will.' Cathy from Speers Point wrote: 'Climate change is the most important issue we are facing, and the most urgent. I'm so sick of politicians who are failing to give this issue the priority it requires, giving us political dances when we need urgent action.' Finally, Katherine from Eleebana hit the nail on the head: 'The impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the climate is catastrophic. The politicisation of this catastrophe has to stop if this Earth is to survive. The National Party's influence over any decision is ridiculously overweighted.'

We have a situation now where the Deputy Prime Minister is opposed to net zero emissions, but is suddenly for it. We've got a party where the minister for resources took 30 pieces of silver to drop his opposition to net zero emissions to get a pay bump and get back into national cabinet. And we had a situation today where the government and the Prime Minister released a plan—a plan so rock solid that the Deputy Prime Minister couldn't stand next to him for the announcement—that contained not a single new initiative. It was a plan to have a plan based on technology assumptions and wildly optimistic or mythical future technology improvements. Seriously, the vast chunk of the abatement is future technology and purchasing offsets both in Australia and abroad. This government is a disgrace on climate change. Nothing they have announced today changes that. They are betraying the future of my constituents, they're betraying the economic interests of this country, they're betraying the environmental interests of this country and they will go down in history as the worst government this country has ever seen.