HON TIM CLIFFORD (East Metropolitan) [10.18 am] — without notice: I move —
That this house —
(a) condemns the McGowan government’s interference with the operations of an independent statutory authority by so publicly and vehemently criticising the Environmental Protection Authority’s greenhouse gas emissions guidelines, leading to the eventual withdrawal by the EPA of those guidelines;
(b) expresses its concern that the McGowan government cares more about the interests of the fossil fuel industry than it does about exercising its duty of care to the people of Western Australia and ensuring a future for our children and grandchildren;
(c) recognises that addressing climate change is the responsibility of all levels of government and expresses profound disappointment with the McGowan government for using the federal government’s inaction as an excuse for failing to show leadership and take responsibility for reducing Western Australia’s emissions;
(d) calls on the McGowan government to fast-track its development of a state climate change policy to ensure that Western Australia has a comprehensive and strategic plan to reduce our emissions and contribute to the global effort to address climate change; and
(e) calls on the McGowan government to do everything in its power, including allocating appropriate resources, to ensure that the EPA can conduct a consultation process to the satisfaction of the government and work towards reintroducing greenhouse gas emissions guidelines as soon as practicable.
Comments and speeches from various members
HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [11.24 am]: I want to say a few words. Firstly, I had not realised what fragile petals government members are. Apparently every time the government makes a decision that is not complete garbage it needs a ticker tape parade and its members need a bunch of cuddles, and the Greens need to use their valuable time in this place congratulating government decisions—decisions that the Greens had often been advocating decades before the Australian Labor Party finally lifted its game and did the right thing. I can go through the long list given by the Minister for Environment—I am not going to now—and talk about the Greens’ extensive history, some of it mine, which has already been covered.
The PRESIDENT: Member, I am hoping now that you have got that off your chest, you are actually going to talk about the motion in front of us.
Hon ALISON XAMON: I will, just as I wish others had felt the need to, Madam President, because, of course, I am responding to comments that were made in this chamber on this particular motion.
I will say a few words because I am aware that my colleague Hon Tim Clifford wants to reply. In particular, I draw attention to the second point of the motion, which expresses concern about the McGowan government caring more about the interests of the fossil fuel industry. One of the things I particularly want to reflect on in the way that the Premier chose to respond to the Environmental Protection Authority’s guidelines when they were finally publicly released was the haste with which he was prepared to side with industry and condemn them. Of course, industry did not like the proposals because they expect it to lift its game and undertake a range of activities around transparency and offsets, which people have been calling for and which need to occur to take real action on climate change. It is absolutely the case that that will interrupt their business model. Unfortunately, that is the price of doing everything we can to mitigate the impending disaster that is climate change.
I have thought a bit more about how quickly the Premier was prepared to leap to the side of industry. In a few moments I will point out some of the problematic relationships that have been formed specifically with the Labor Party around the issue of donations and some of the people who the Premier was so busy to make sure he backed as soon as possible. I note that the oil and gas industry said that it has donated $73 150 to WA Labor, which is approximately 25 per cent of the donations that have been recorded by the Australian Electoral Commission, which is a total $285 356 and about two per cent of the total income for WA Labor. The oil and gas industry, plus the Minerals Council of Australia and BlueScope Steel, donated $309 150 to federal Labor, which works at about nine per cent of the donations recorded by the AEC, with a total of $3.46 million and about three per cent of its total income of $11.5 million. Across Australia, the oil and gas industry plus the Minerals Council and BlueScope donated $527 403, which is roughly eight per cent of Labor’s recorded donations in 2017–18 and about one per cent of the income received across Australia. That is a lot of money to receive from the industries that government has a responsibility to ensure are regulated appropriately, the same industries that expressed outrage when the EPA came up with its proposed guidelines to ensure increased accountability and also some capacity for offsets in some of their activities. We can dwell a little more on the issue of donations in a future debate because there is a lack of transparency that should alarm everybody, particularly considering that the Labor Party said it would come in on a platform of transparency. I do not think it passes the pub test. There is more to be said about the issue of donations and their relationship to industry. Certainly for those of us—the Greens have been at the forefront of this from the beginning—who care passionately about climate change and who are trying to ensure real action, we have to be prepared to stand up to those industries with vested interests that do not want to change their business models, even if they absolutely have to. I do not want to see any government, state or federal, effectively becoming compromised in its capacity to do the right thing because it has become too cosy with industry as a result of donations given directly to the party. I will have more to say on that in this place, but for now, I will leave my comments there and let the last few minutes go to Hon Tim Clifford.
Comments from Hon Tim Cifford
Hon TIM CLIFFORD: This chamber has provided a good example of why the community has lost trust in politics. We have parties that are too busy looking at underwriting fossil fuel projects and they are not looking to transfer some of those funds into renewable energy technologies. There are jobs in the renewable energy industries. We just need to make sure that we get on the same page and that we can deliver for our future. Hon Robin Chapple is worried about his grandchildren. I have friends who have children.
Motion lapsed, pursuant to standing orders.