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senate vote 2021-08-10#9

Edited by mackay staff

on 2021-08-13 16:52:07


  • Matters of Urgency Climate Change
  • Matters of Urgency - Climate Change - Emergency ation needed


  • <p class="speaker">Scott Ryan</p>
  • <p>I inform the Senate that at 8.30 today 14 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 letter from Senator Waters proposing a matter of urgency was chosen:</p>
  • <p class="italic">Pursuant to standing order 75, I propose that the following matter of public importance be submitted to the Senate for discussion:</p>
  • The majority voted against a [motion]( introduced by WA Senator [Rachel Siewert]( (Greens), which means it failed.
  • ### Motion text
  • > *That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:*
  • >
  • > *The world is rapidly warming and, unless emergency action is taken, could reach 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures within the next decade, putting Australians at risk of more frequent and more intense heatwaves, fires, droughts and floods.*
  • <p class="italic">The world is rapidly warming and, unless emergency action is taken, could reach 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures within the next decade, putting Australians at risk of more frequent and more intense heatwaves, fires, droughts and floods.</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>It is. I understand that informal arrangements have been made to allocate specific times to each of the speakers in today's debate. With the concurrence of the Senate, I shall ask the clerks to set the clock accordingly.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Rachel Siewert</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">The world is rapidly warming and, unless emergency action is taken, could reach 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures within the next decade, putting Australians at risk of more frequent and more intense heatwaves, fires, droughts and floods.</p>
  • <p>In fact, it poses a risk to humanity. As was commented yesterday by the IPCC and the UN Secretary-General, this is a code red for humanity. For some of us, we have been saying this and urging for action and campaigning for action for years. I personally have been campaigning for this for over 32 years with basically the same message: climate change is coming. Climate change is happening. We risk everything on our planet through our inaction on the threat of climate change, and now we are facing the reality. There are bushfires around Australia, bushfires in northern Europe, bushfires in northern America. Floods and lots of rainfall: that's been happening in my home state in Western Australia, in the south-west of WA, for decades. You can see it step down, yet what happens? There's no action. This should be a time when this place comes together and shows leadership in the face of this massive crisis, the catastrophe that we face. As a species we have threatened every species on this planet. It's not just about us, folks. This is about every species on this planet.</p>
  • <p>The IPCC's sixth assessment report is clear: climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying. Climate change and its impacts are accelerating across the planet. Unless we make immediate and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees will be beyond our reach. That goal is fast disappearing.</p>
  • <p>The report sets out five new emissions scenarios illustrating possible climate futures. It paints a terrifying picture for Australia, one that we have been warned about for years. The intensity, frequency and duration of fire weather is projected to increase throughout Australia. As global temperatures rise from 1.5 degrees to two degrees and beyond, heatwaves, floods and other extreme events will become more widespread.</p>
  • <p>If that hadn't broken my heart already, my heart would have broken when I learned about what's going to happen to our oceans. There will be a further increase in marine heatwaves and ocean acidity in Australia. This poses severe challenges for our beautiful, world-renowned marine ecosystems, including precious places like Ningaloo and Shark Bay, places that we in Western Australia hold dear to our hearts. Scientists are virtually certain that global mean sea level will continue to rise over the 21st century. Even under the most ambitious cuts to emissions, the world's oceans will probably rise between 28 and 55 centimetres, but, if emissions remain very high, seas will rise between 63 and&#8212; <i>(Time expired)</i></p>
  • <p class="speaker">Sam McMahon</p>
  • <p>I rise today to speak on this matter of urgency. The motion today warns of more intense heatwaves, fires, droughts and floods, but I can tell you now that what we are going to see more of is the despicable behaviour that we saw out the front of this building this morning. We're going to see more of this vandalism, criminal behaviour and terrorism&#8212;yes, terrorism, because what these people are doing is terrorising employees who are just going about their daily jobs, doing their work. They do not expect to be confronted by people bearing cans of paint and buckets of goodness knows what, supergluing themselves all over the place&#8212;with glue made by the oil and gas industry, by the way. These people should not have to expect to have this sort of terrorism perpetrated at their workplace. We saw it not just today but last week at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. We saw employees going about their daily work&#8212;working for the people of Australia, working for the government&#8212;being terrorised by these despicable bunches of people.</p>
  • <p>These people over here to my right condone this sort of behaviour. Not only do they condone it; they encourage it. They think it's a good thing. Some even choose to congratulate these terrorist groups for perpetrating this sort of behaviour.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Deborah O&#39;Neill</p>
  • <p>There is a point of order, I understand, from Senator Siewert. What is the point of order?</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Rachel Siewert</p>
  • <p>These groups are not terrorist groups, and Senator McMahon is instilling fear into the community. It's outrageous.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Deborah O&#39;Neill</p>
  • <p>Senator Siewert, that is a debating point. Please resume your seat, unless you're willing to articulate what it is that you are making a point of order on. Is it on relevance or another matter?</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Rachel Siewert</p>
  • <p>It is the fact that Senator McMahon is labelling environment groups as terrorist groups.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Deborah O&#39;Neill</p>
  • <p>No, that is a debating point. Sorry, Senator Siewert.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Sam McMahon</p>
  • <p>Senator Siewert, I use the word 'terrorist' in the true meaning&#8212;they are terrorising. That is exactly what they are doing. They are terrorising people. They're terrorising employees, they're terrorising people in this building and they're terrorising the general public. That is exactly what they are doing. They are inflicting fear and terror on the general public.</p>
  • <p>This government does take environmental change&#8212;climate change, warming, cooling, whatever is going on&#8212;seriously, and we are committed to doing our part to fulfil Australia's commitment. We are on track to not only meet our 2030 targets but, in fact, exceed them.</p>
  • <p>I think it's important that we play our part in addressing all types of pollution, whether it's emissions or plastics. There's a whole range of factors that are affecting our environment. We must play our part. But, throughout history, the temperature of the earth has been dictated by sunspot activity. We have no control over sunspot activity. There has been the medieval warm period, where the earth warmed. There have been ice ages, and, in fact, a lot of scientists predict currently that we are heading into a period of low sunspot activity. That doesn't take away from our obligation to play our part, but it is certainly not the case that the temperature of the earth is completely controlled by carbon emissions. That is a falsehood. That is not a fact.</p>
  • <p>If we are serious about lowering our emissions and if we are really serious about Australia meeting and exceeding our targets, lowering our emissions and still having reliable, affordable, dispatchable energy, then I refer to Senator Lambie's question during question time: why are we not looking at nuclear power? This has to be a consideration in our energy mix if we are to meet our targets and not destroy our economy and our way of life. If we look at the developed nations around the world that have low emissions&#8212;countries in Europe, the UK and America&#8212;they all have nuclear power as part of their energy mix. In fact, all of the developed countries that have low-emissions footprints have either nuclear power in their energy mix or access to large hydro schemes. So I would say that, if we are serious about meeting and exceeding our targets, we should be looking at nuclear power: Canada, 15 per cent; the UK and America, 20 per cent. We have an abundance of fuel here in Australia. <i>(Time expired)</i></p>
  • <p class='motion-notice motion-notice-truncated'>Long debate text truncated.</p>