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senate vote 2018-12-04#14

Edited by mackay

on 2018-12-07 12:15:16


  • Matters of Urgency Climate Change
  • Matters of Urgency - Climate Change - Coal exports


  • Larissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) moved a motion:
  • [Larissa Waters]( (Queensland, Australian Greens) moved a motion:
  • That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:
  • > *That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:*
  • Australia's coal exports are one of the most significant contributors to climate change globally.
  • > *Australia's coal exports are one of the most significant contributors to climate change globally.*
  • This was one of ten proposed motions received by the senate before 8:30 am and was selected by lot in accordance of standing order 75.
senate vote 2018-12-04#14

Edited by EddieB

on 2018-12-05 11:54:17



  • <p class="speaker">Scott Ryan</p>
  • <p>I inform the Senate that at 8.30 am today 10 proposals were received in accordance with standing order 75. The question of which proposal would be submitted to the Senate was determined by lot. As a result I inform the Senate that the following letter has been received from Senator McKim:</p>
  • <p class="italic">Pursuant to standing order 75 I give notice that today I propose to move that in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:</p>
  • Larissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) moved a motion:
  • That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:
  • Australia's coal exports are one of the most significant contributors to climate change globally.
  • This was one of ten proposed motions received by the senate before 8:30 am and was selected by lot in accordance of standing order 75.
  • <p class="italic">Australia's coal exports are the are one of the most significant contributors to climate change globally.</p>
  • <p>Is the proposal supported?</p>
  • <p class="italic"> <i>More than the number of senators required by the standing orders having risen in their places&#8212;</i></p>
  • <p>I understand that informal arrangements have been made to allocate specific times to each of the senators in today's debate. With the concurrence of the Senate I shall ask the clerks to set the clocks accordingly.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Larissa Waters</p>
  • <p>I move:</p>
  • <p class="italic">That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:</p>
  • <p class="italic">Australia's coal exports are one of the most significant contributors to climate change globally.</p>
  • <p>Australia's coal exports are one of the most significant contributors to climate change globally. It's very timely for us to be drawing this matter to the attention of the chamber, because last week Mr Bill Shorten claimed, in relation to the Adani mega coalmine, that the emissions created by the mine would not be Australia's problem&#8212;because they wouldn't be on our books, because of complicated international carbon accounting. Well, we call BS on that, and the Australian public knows it. What an absolute joke, to completely wash his hands of any leadership on this mega coalmine and on what would be the first coal basin to be opened up in 50 years.</p>
  • <p>Australia is the world's biggest coal exporter and, sadly, both sides of politics are very happy with that situation and would like to see it continue. All the while, the international science gets clearer and sharper and, frankly, more terrifying with every instalment they give us. We are cooking our planet. We are sending ourselves to extinction, let alone all the other species we share this place with. That's why we are moving today to debate this matter.</p>
  • <p>It's very interesting that I moved a motion, earlier, calling on both parties to take a stand on the Adani mega coalmine and to simply say that it should not proceed. Labor have been very tricky about this, to be perfectly honest. They keep saying how clear their position is, yet they keep being deliberately unclear. They're saying that it shouldn't be publicly funded, but they're not saying whether they will step in and stop this mine from proceeding. It's perfectly clear. We have legal advice. We had agreement from the government yesterday in question time. There are three ways this mine could be stopped, even using our current incredibly weak environmental laws, and I say that as an environmental lawyer. I know this stuff.</p>
  • <p>If Mr Bill Shorten and his party want to take a stand on climate change he could come out today and say that he will review the environmental approvals that have been given to the Adani Carmichael coalmine, on the basis of a litany of new information that's come to light since those approvals were granted. That is a formal trigger, under our environmental laws, to review the approval. It could be reviewed and then it could be revoked. That's your first option.</p>
  • <p>There are other options. They could simply deny the groundwater management plan. It hasn't yet been approved by Queensland Labor. It hasn't yet been approved by the federal environmental minister. Either of those people could simply acknowledge that more than half of Queensland is in drought and not give free groundwater to an international coal company&#8212;when half of Queensland is on fire due to extreme weather events driven by climate change. The last way that this mine could be stopped would be to not grant approval for their water pipeline. Again, it's 12&#189; billion litres they want to take from surface water in addition to unlimited free groundwater. Why is this mega coalmining company, with a history and track record of appalling environmental practices and breaches of environmental conditions, getting free water when more than half the state is in drought and farmers are desperate to use their water allocations? Why also are they getting a four-year royalty holiday? The favours just keep on coming for this international, multinational coal company, and you've got to wonder why.</p>
  • <p>If you look at the donations made by the resources sector, including coalmining companies, including the Adani companies, it tells a very interesting story. There has been $3.4 million donated to both sides of politics over the last four years, so it isn't any wonder that we don't see a single spine on either side of this chamber when it comes to standing up for a safe climate, for a healthy future for our kids, for a prosperous economy based on clean energy, which we know creates jobs and won't cook the other half of the Great Barrier Reef. We've already seen 50 per cent of the reef's coral cover die.</p>
  • <p>The science is clear. It is being driven by climate change and extreme weather events. We are now in a climate crisis, and both of these big parties are sleepwalking into worse damage to our communities, to our economy, to our very social fabric and to nature itself. They are sleepwalking into this because they are both completely in hock to the coalmining industry, they are hooked on the donations that this industry makes and they should be ashamed of themselves. It's about time we saw a position from Labor on this. Indeed, we were given one today when Labor voted to block my motion and instead voted to say that Adani should proceed. Shame on you! The Australian public don't want this mine to proceed and I, for one, will be joining them in the non-violent direct action that they will take to stop this mine ever going ahead.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">John Williams</p>
  • <p>I want to make some comments on a couple of points that Senator Waters made about donations to political parties. I just find it amazing that, at the 2010 election, Graeme Wood, former owner of Wotif, donated $1.58 million to the Greens. At the time, it was the greatest donation to any political party in the history of Australia. Of course, come the 2 July 2016 election, Mr Wood tossed in another $600,000. That's $2.2 million donated by one bloke to the Greens party. It gets worse. I did a little bit of research into the CFMEU. What does CFMEU stand for? Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union. And they donate to the Greens. What do the Greens hate? The Greens hate construction, forestry, mining and any energy that's generated unless it's renewable. Why did that union donate $50,000 in 2015 to the Greens in the ACT? That's just amazing. This is such a farce. Let me just read a bit of my op ed that was in <i>The Australian</i> a month or so ago:</p>
  • <p class="italic">There has been a lot of discussion of late on coal-fired electricity and climate change. The IPCC has come out with another meeting and people like former Liberal leader John Hewson have entered the debate. Take a look at the facts. Australia has 22 operating coal-fired generating plants of at least 30 megawatts capacity&#8212;</p>
  • <p>There are 22 in total and we're shutting them down and not building any new ones. The article continues:</p>
  • <p class="italic">Compare that with China, our biggest trading partner, which has 1,003 coal fired power generating plants operating to the same capacity and a further 130 under construction.</p>
  • <p>We have 22 in total; China has 1,003 with 130 under construction.</p>
  • <p class="italic">The extra 130 planned in China will, on their own, produce more CO2 than the whole of Australia &#8230;</p>
  • <p>I'm going to ask a very simple question, Senator Macdonald. What do you think they're going to burn in the existing 1,003 coal-fired generation plants and the 130 under construction? They're going to burn coal.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Nigel Scullion</p>
  • <p>Goldfish.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">John Williams</p>
  • <p>Not goldfish, Senator Scullion. They're going to burn coal. Are they going to burn the inferior poor quality coal from Indonesia and China&#8212;the brown coal&#8212;or the more efficient high-energy coal from Australia? If they burn Australian coal, there are going to be less CO2 emissions. That is a fact. But, of course, the Greens want to shut down every coalmine in Australia and see that no more coal is produced.</p>
  • <p>I wonder if the Greens ever drive a car. I'm sure some of them do. I wonder what the car is made of. Is it made of leaves and bark from trees or is it made of steel? I bet you it's made of steel. How do we get steel? From iron ore. Processed with what? Coal&#8212;coking coal. We use high-quality coal to produce our steel. It's all right to have coal to produce everything the Greens want&#8212;perhaps their timber furniture, their timber floorboards, their steel-framed house or whatever they live in&#8212;but it's not all right for anyone else. This whole political line they run is just a farce. Steelmaking relies on coal. It's just a fact that the use of coal is going to increase as time goes on.</p>
  • <p>The International Energy Agency, the IEA, has declared that coal has made a comeback in the latest World Energy Outlook update. The World Energy Outlook 2018 shows continued strong growth in Asia and demand for coal through to 2040. You protest here about coal-fired generation. Why don't you go to China or Asia or India and protest there? You'd probably get short shrift if you did; that's probably why you don't go over there. The big emitters are producing and building new coal-fired generation plants, while we shut them down in Australia and then complain that our electricity prices are so high. Under the IEA's new policy scenario, which includes countries' nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement, the WEO estimates that growth in demand for coal in the Asia-Pacific will increase by 492 million tonnes of coal equivalent by 2040. The Asia-Pacific region is going to burn an extra 492 million tonnes of coal a year, but we just shut our coal-fired generation plants. There are 22 here producing reliable energy, and we're going to change the planet? No, we're not. We go through the cost and we run the risk of shifting businesses overseas and shutting them down here, like the cement industry.</p>
  • <p>I remember the carbon tax days of the Labor government&#8212;the tax we were promised would never happen under a Gillard led government, but of course it did happen with the big push of the former member for New England, Tony Windsor. We produced 10 million tonnes of cement in Australia, and 0.8 of a tonne of CO2 for each tonne of cement. So 10 million tonnes of cement makes eight million tonnes of CO2. We were going to shut the industry down and go to China, where they produce one billion tonnes of cement a year. When they produce one tonne of cement, they produce 1.1 tonnes of CO2. So if we shut down our 10 million tonnes of cement, which produced eight million tonnes of CO2, and shifted to China, if we buy 10 million tonnes off them, they produce 11 million tonnes of CO2&#8212;three million tonnes extra for cement.</p>
  • <p>This is the crazy way that people think. We in Australia put our costs up, shut our mines down, put people on the dole, drive around in cars made of tree leaves and bark and don't have any steel through the process of coal contributing to that. Be realistic. Shut industries down and move them overseas, and those same industries that do the same job overseas will actually produce more CO2 on the planet. We don't have a tent over Australia. As Dr Finkel told Senator Macdonald at Senate estimates, we can cut all of our emissions in Australia, and the change to the world would be virtually nothing.</p>
  • <p>This is a political game being played. Be realistic. No matter what we do in this country, we cannot change the planet with CO2. But we can look after our environment. We can look after our rivers and water systems. We can look after our farmland and the topsoil that's got to grow the food for thousands of years to come. We can actually put carbon dioxide into the soil, build the carbon levels, make the soil better and have a positive effect on our environment. This whole emissions trading scheme, this carbon tax and all these costs we're running now will achieve absolutely nothing.</p>
  • <p class='motion-notice motion-notice-truncated'>Long debate text truncated.</p>