The influential Vote Climate candidate analysis has been released for the Melbourne by-election. Put together by local community groups, Vote Climate ranks and analyses the global warming policies of candidates via a questionnaire and independent research.
“Our aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff and provide the voting public with information”, Pablo Brait, Yarra Climate Action Now Convener and Vote Climate volunteer said. “As the climate crisis is the most important issue Victorians face, we encourage all voters to choose their preferences based on climate policy”.
The top rated candidate is independent Adrian Whitehead, who is running on a climate action platform. Second best candidate is Cathy Oke from the Greens.
“Our scorecard will now be letterboxed across thousands of homes in the seat of Melbourne, and our website is available for everyone to look at.” Mr Brait said.
“Ted Baillieu’s Government is ignoring the climate crisis and pushing for huge increases in coal and gas mining across the state. His Government has destroyed jobs in the wind and solar energy industries. We urge voters to send him a message by voting for the candidates most committed to climate action”, Mr Brait concluded.
For further comment contact Pablo Brait 0421 011 182
More information and analysis of all candidates here
The Vote Climate website is now live. Click on the link to inform your vote. There is a lot of spin coming from the major parties and the Labor Party in particular on climate change, but when their policies are held up to real scrutiny they don’t stack up. The climate crisis is the most pressing and important issue we face, and basing your vote and preferences on the strength of climate policy coming from the parties and candidates is a great way to help push for strong and urgent action. .
YCAN has also released our summary scorecard for the seat of Richmond:
As you can see there is a clear difference between the two big parties and the more progressive candidates. We will be distributing these scorecards in the electorate. If you can help please click here. .
For further information Climate Action Moreland has written an excellent and detailed analysis of the Labor Party’s record on coal here in Victoria.
A candidates forum on climate change was held on 22 October in Clifton Hill. It featured the four key candidates for the seat of Richmond in the upcoming state election. Richard Wynne (Labor), Kathleen Matzahn (Green), Steve Jolly (independent/Socialist) and Tom McFeely (Liberal). .
Before we start a summary of what each candidate said, it is important to point out that the true test of climate policy is in whether it addresses what the climate science says is necessary to avoid runaway climate change. This gives a context by which to judge whether a policy is good or not. At this forum only the Greens and Socialist candidates addressed the climate science and showed an understanding of the urgency of the crisis. .
Richard Wynne – Labor
Richard began by outlining the importance of tackling the climate crisis, and his commitment to this task. He then described current Labor policy. This policy includes a legislated cut in greenhouse gas emissions of 20% by 2020 on 2000 levels (already passed through parliament), a commitment to phase out 25% of Hazelwood within the next term of government and a 5% solar energy target by 2020 on top of the federal 20% by 2020 renewable energy target. .
While to a lay-person these policies may give the impression that the Labor Party is finally taking the climate crisis seriously, as mentioned above, these policies are nowhere near sufficient to avoid catastrophic climate change – and if the whole world, or if all developed countries copied Labor’s policies, then we would still be facing runaway climate change with all its horrific impacts. .
There was also very little detail as to how the 20% emissions reductions would be achieved, with what appeared to be a heavy reliance on federal government action. .
What Richard Wynne also failed to mention, is that the Brumby Government has committed $50 million of our money towards a new coal/gas-fired power station – the HRL Dual-gas proposal. According to a staffer from the Energy Minister’s office, it is this new fossil fuel power station that will replace 25% of Hazelwood, thereby cancelling out the emissions saved. .
. Kathleen Maltzahn – Greens
Kathleen began by acknowledging the urgency of the climate crisis and the fact that we only have two electoral cycles to make significant reductions in our emissions. The Greens’ policies include a 40% emissions reduction by 2020 on 1990 levels, a phase out of all coal-fired electricity generation, including replacing all of Hazelwood by 2014 with renewable energy and a significant improvement in public transport. .
Kathleen acknowledged that these emissions reductions were the very minimum that climate scientists were saying are necessary to give us a chance in avoiding runaway climate change. While this acknowledgment is good, we would like to see the Greens strengthen these policies so as to improve the odds of a safe climate future. There also needs to be far more detail in Greens policies related to how the emissions reductions will be achieved, by which date coal-fired energy will be replaced and what it will be replaced with. .
. Steve Jolly – independent (Socialist Party)
Steve started off by discussing the latest climate science, which shows that there is already too much carbon in the atmosphere to avoid runaway climate change, and so we need to go from around 390 parts per million (ppm) of carbon in the atmosphere today, to around 300-325ppm as a matter of urgency (280ppm being pre-industrial levels). This means getting to zero emissions and taking carbon out of the atmosphere. .
In line with this his policy is for zero emissions by 2020. In the area of electricity generation, he seemed to be using the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan as a basis for how to get to 100% renewable electricity – this plan advocates a roll out of wind and baseload solar thermal, which has been shown to be capable of replacing fossil fuels. He proposed a nationalisation of electricity infrastructure and public transport in order to achieve this transition. Unfortunately there were no further details provided on how zero emissions could be achieved outside the electricity sector. .
Tom McFeely (Liberal)
Tom had only very recently been pre-selected to run for the Liberal Party, and although his lack of knowledge of Liberal Party climate policy can be forgiven, what cannot be forgiven is his obvious ignorance of the climate crisis. Tom did not add any value to the forum and was overheard by a YCAN member asking a Liberal Party volunteer what Hazelwood was. It is an insult to the voters of Richmond for the Liberal Party to put forward a candidate that knows so little about the most profound crisis currently facing humanity. We hope he makes an effort to get up to speed on it. We would gladly offer to brief him in order to improve his understanding.
While we still don’t know who will be our Prime Minister, one thing is clear – the Greens have been the big winners in this election.
Adam Bandt, Sarah Hanson-Young, Bob Brown and Richard Di Natale. Photo: AAP
Here in the seat of Melbourne, Adam Bandt won his party’s first ever lower house seat (in a general election) with a massive 13% increase in the Green primary vote (to a total of 36%) and a 10% swing from Labor to Greens two-party-preferred. Nationally the Greens gained about 11.5% of the primary vote, an increase of almost 4% from last election, by far the biggest gain for any party.
It also seems like the Greens will win 5 or 6 senate spots, meaning they may win one in every state. In Victoria Richard Di Natale has been elected to the Senate with a full quota of votes. The Greens will hold the balance of power in the Senate.
Both Labor and the Greens said that climate change was the biggest issue in the seat of Melbourne.
In The Age, losing Labor candidate Cath Bowtell said, “…clearly they [voters of Melbourne] want us to work faster on reducing carbon emissions and moving to a cleaner-energy economy.”
This result doesn’t bode well for inner-city State MPs, who are facing an election in three months. The Brumby Government will have to vastly improved its climate policies if it doesn’t want to lose seats to the Greens.
We hope this result encourages some soul-searching in the Labor Party. With both big parties offering no leadership to tackle the climate crisis, more and more people will keep turning to the Greens. We hope all parties heed the signs at this election and greatly improve their climate policies.
Yarra Climate Action Now is proud to have been a part of the Vote Climate campaign in the seat of Melbourne. Our work helped make a difference in this seat and helped the party with the best climate policies win! Well done to everyone involved.
Many of us are doing what we can in our homes to cut carbon pollution and save water, and now the government must do its part.
Bush fires, floods, sea-level rises and drought — climate change is already harming us all and will get rapidly worse, unless we take urgent action.
Denial and delay are dangerous and inexcusable.
On Saturday August 21, we urge you to send a message that you want immediate and strong action on climate change.
To make your vote count for a safe climate get informed on the different policies of the parties, and pass this information on to family and friends. Below is a scorecard put together by a coalition of independent community groups, the full analysis is here (click on the scorecard to see it more clearly).
You can also check out a more comprehensive analysis looking at more issues and parties here, or the Australian Youth Climate Coalition scorecard here.
Last weekend volunteers from Yarra Climate Action Now doorknocked over 1000 homes in Collingwood and Fitzroy for the Replace Hazelwood campaign. We gathered hundreds of signatures for our petition and spoke to people about the urgent need to replace Australia’s dirtiest coal-fired power station with clean renewable energy. We got a great response from the community.
While many first-time doorknockers were nervous at the beginning, with one hour of training and practice, over 20 people hit the streets and had a good time doing it!
First time doorknocker Phil said:
“Thanks for the chance to participate. It was a great learning experience.
“Oddly, I was pretty nervous right at the start. I was worried about how to do the opening pitch when the door was first opened. I went with my partner and watched her as she did a few houses and that helped a lot.
“Following that, and after doing about 3 pitches myself I got over my nerves and started to really get into the flow. I then found it really enjoyable, in fact it really fired me up!”
Some of the YCAN volunteers doing the doorknocking training
Our next doorknocking session is Sunday 4 July in Richmond, 1-4pm (one hour training, two hours doorknocking), meeting at Melbourne Girls College, Yarra blvd, Richmond.
The Australian Greens continue their attempts to inject some common sense into the climate change debate. Yesterday they launched a proposal for a two-year carbon tax to start in July 2010 to begin the shift towards a zero carbon economy while a longer-term policy is sorted out.
The tax will be $20 per tonne of carbon dioxide at 2005 dollars, adjusted for inflation. The Greens estimate that this will raise $20 billion over the two years, half of which will be distributed to low-income households, $4 billion would go to trade exposed emissions intensive industries, $2.5 billion to tackling climate change in developing countries and around $1 billion to an Australian climate change action fund. Unlike Labor Party policy and in line with the Garnaut Review, there is no money for coal-fired generators.
While this proposal certainly does not go far enough with regards to how fast and how deeply we must cut emissions if Australia is to play its part globally in avoiding catastrophic climate change, it is at least a step in the right direction. So far the proposals from the Rudd Government only served to lock in business as usual and corporate welfare at the taxpayers’ expense.