73% of Australians wrong according to climate denying COALition

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Member for Hughes Kelly and Senator Abetz dismissed climate change rallies outside Parliament House last week (Screenshots via YouTube)

Does the Coalition really think it is on the right track, ignoring farmers, scientists, tourism operators, firefighters, surf lifesavers, the Australian Defence Force and 73% of the Australian public on climate change? Simon Black comments.

IT'S NOT often you see a politician spit in the face of their electorate as thoroughly as Member for Hughes Craig Kelly and Senator Eric Abetz did last week, when they dismissed climate change rallies outside Parliament House.

But how badly these two politicians have this issue wrong demonstrates just how far the coal lobby has managed to burrow into Canberra’s corridors of power. So far, in fact, that these two honourable men would urge Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the rest of the Coalition to ignore the majority of Australians, and their calls to transition away from coal and take action on climate change.

On Monday, 10 September, Craig Kelly vomited out a response to the Greenpeace protest outside Parliament House, where we sent a cheeky message to the PM to turn his back on the coal industry and to take action on climate change.

Kelly declared:

“When the extreme green Left get upset, it’s a good sign that we are on the right track.”

He was supported in this idiocy by fellow conservative Abetz, who said he took the protests as a good sign the Government were “getting people back on side”. Conservative commentators piled on, saying it was

“... a good thing when these groups are throwing eggs at you.”

Their message to Prime Minister Scott Morrison seems to be not to worry about this climate change thing, all this ruckus is a good sign.

But here’s the thing: it’s not a good sign. And the PM should listen. He should listen very bloody hard, because the overwhelming majority of voters disagree.

In dismissing the people outside Parliament, Kelly deliberately ignored hundreds of farmers who were also protesting on the lawns of Parliament.

They were people like Charlie Grell who gave an impassioned speech to his elected representatives that farmers were

“... already feeling the impacts of climate change ... [and] ... the time for debating is finished.”

His speech came hot on the heels of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), declaring they had “turned a corner” on climate change.

NFF head, Fiona Simson, said there was

“ ... always going to be some outliers who are going to have some wild ideas [but] overwhelmingly, I think it’s got to the point where the science is very acceptable.”

And it wasn’t just farmers that Kelly is urging his Parliamentary colleagues to ignore.

Jo Dodds is a Bega Valley Shire Councillor; she spoke about the “unprecedented” fires that had raged through her region earlier this year:

 “Politicians say we're not supposed to talk about climate change … what has to burn before there's action, because 69 homes in my town wasn't enough.” 

Speaking of fires — presumably, Kelly thinks the PM should ignore firefighters, too, because they’ve spoken out repeatedly about climate change.

Just this year, professional firefighter Jim Casey described fighting a fire

' ... so far outside of the bushfire season that aircraft chartered for firefighting operations had been returned.'

Two years ago, the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union called for a radical overhaul of Australian firefighting due to climate change.

This year, Vivien Thomson, who is both a firefighter and a farmer, as well as being the recipient of the Australian Fire Service Medal in 2004, wrote about the 'worrying trend in Australia' and the globe that sees us careening towards a 'year-round fire season'.

It’s getting so bad that Australia may have to stop assisting the U.S. with their firefighting efforts during our winter – something we have been doing for 20 years – because we will be too busy battling the blazes back home.

And if the PM wants to ignore firefighters and farmers, here are just a few of the other people he is ignoring by not acting on climate change:

' ... impacts [of climate change] will be long, slow, lingering and horrible'; and

  • health professionals, who warn that climate change denial is the denial of public health casualties.

And if they are all too extreme and green, what about the U.S. Secretary of Defence, James Mattis, in Donald Trump’s White House, the Navy, or the U.S. National Intelligence Agencies? In fact, the U.S. military has been warning about climate change since 2003 in a report called, 'Global Warming Could Have a Chilling Effect on the Military', that was declassified and published online.

Of course, there are scientists too. They have warned climate change could lead to drastic food shortages, rising sea levels swamping small islands, increases in terrorism and organised crime, less nutritious food and even an increase in allergies.

Oh, and 73% of the Australian population, who are concerned about climate change, with 68% wanting the government to set domestic targets to comply with our Paris commitments and 67% wanting coal-fired power to be phased out within 20 years.

Them too.

The question the PM has to ask himself is, does he really think he is on the right track ignoring all these people?

Because that’s most of Australia.

Farmers, scientists, tourism operators, firefighters, surf lifesavers, the Australian Defence Force and 73% of the Australian public.

If you think you’re on the right track when those people are “throwing eggs at you” you’ve got another thing coming.

Simon Black is the senior media campaigner for Greenpeace Australia Pacific. You can follow Simon on Twitter @mrsimblaa.

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