Wills MP Peter Khalil urges urgent action on climate change

February 8, 2020 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

Peter Khalil

Federal MP for Wills Peter Khalil has made his first speech in 2020 on February 6 highlighting need for strong climate action. The community of Moreland is right behind him in this regard.

Transcript (proof)

Mr KHALIL (Wills) (13:32): The people of Wills have been advocating for urgent action on climate change for decades. They’re dedicated, passionate and want only a better Australia, a better world for future generations. Yet how do the Liberals and Nationals respond to the voters I represent in the inner north of Melbourne? They dismiss them! The member for New England says we are ‘inner-city trendies’, ‘latte sippers’ while he’s on the side of ‘people from the real world’. It’s unclear what world the Liberals and the Nats are living in, but I’m here to stand up for the people of Wills, who do live in the real world. Unlike the Liberals and the Nats, we accept the science of climate change. We want to see Australia take urgent action; we, when faced with a global challenge, don’t shy away and say, ‘It’s all too hard.’ We say, ‘Let’s be leaders.’

The people of Wills can imagine a clean energy future with a safe climate for their kids. Why can’t the Liberals and Nats see that future? The PM says we can’t reach zero emissions by 2050. We can’t make a difference. Better to just adapt he says; better to just give up. We in Wills refuse to accept this. We can reach zero emissions, invest massively in renewables, lead a just transition for workers and use this policy base to give us the moral standing to push the other big emitters to reduce their global emissions. We can, because we’ve done it before. Labor governments led international agreements to protect Antarctica and the ozone. We can do it again, and all we need to act is courage and leadership. That’s what the people of Wills will continue to call for, and that is what I and my colleagues will continue to fight for in 2020 and beyond.

Peter Khalil previously presented a climate emergency petition on 19 September 2019, highlighting the existential crisis that we are facing and the actions necessary on climate change. The petition had 6,170 signatures which were collected by Shannon Loughnane who walked all the way from Melbourne to Canberra during the election campaign to deliver thousands of signatures that he and a number of volunteers had collected.

However, During the election campaign in 2018 Khalil supported Labor policy to expand gas extraction, which is incompatible with meeting the Paris Climate temperature targets.

Tied vote on climate emergency in Senate

In the Senate a motion was moved by Senator Larissa Waters (leader of the Greens in the Senate);

(1) That the Senate notes—

(a) the Bureau of Meteorology’s (the Bureau) 2019-20 severe weather outlook has indicated that ‘this summer there’s a higher chance of extreme heat developing across our inland with soils so dry and an outlook for clearer skies’;

(b) the Bureau has declared that the Murray-Darling Basin is experiencing the most severe drought conditions in 120 years of records;

(c) at the end of the 2019 sittings, more than 2 million hectares had been burnt by bushfires in New South Wales (NSW) since 1 July, including more than 10% of the area covered by NSW’s national parks and reserves;

(d) at the end of the 2019 sittings, more than 170,000 hectares had been lost in Queensland since the start of the bushfire season and more than 50 bushfires continued to burn across the state; and

(e) by the start of the 2020 sittings, the bushfire season has resulted in:

(i) at least 33 lives lost,

(ii) 18 million hectares of land burned across all States and Territories,

(iii) more than 3,000 homes destroyed, and

(iv) more than 1 billion animals killed.

(2) That the State of the Climate 2018 report, authored by the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, indicates that, as the climate crisis continues, Australia will see:

(a) a further increase in temperatures, with more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cool days;

(b) a decrease in cool-season rainfall across many regions of southern Australia, with more time spent in drought; and

(c) an increase in the number of high fire weather danger days and a longer fire season for southern and eastern Australia.

(3) That—

(a) we are in a climate emergency;

(b) the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is the major global contributor to the climate crisis; and

(c) this summer, more Australian lives are at risk from extreme heatwaves, bushfires and drought as a result.

Senator GALLAGHER from Labor supported this motion out of respect to bushfire victims, but complained about the political tone of the motion.

One Nation Senator Malcolm ROBERTS spoke opposing the motion.

The Senate devided with AYES 34, NOES 34, PAIRS 3
Question negatived

These are all the Noes:
(hint – if you want to write letters to Senators on climate action, this is a list of the ones to contact, including from Victoria):

Abetz, E (LP – Tasmania)
Antic, A (LP – South Australia)
Askew, W (LP – Tasmania)
Birmingham, SJ (LP – South Australia)
Bragg, A J (LP – New South Wales)
Brockman, S (LP – Western Australia)
Canavan, MJ (Nationals – Queensland)
Cash, MC (LP – Western Australia)
Chandler, C (LP – Tasmania)
Colbeck, R (LP – Tasmania)
Davey, P (Nationals – New South Wales)
Duniam, J (LP – Tasmania)
Fawcett, DJ (LP – South Australia)
Fierravanti-Wells, C (LP – New South Wales)
Hanson, P (One Nation – Queensland)
Hughes, H (LP – New South Wales)
Hume, J (LP – Victoria)
McDonald, S (Nationals – Queensland)
McGrath, J (LP – Queensland)
McKenzie, B (Nationals – Victoria)
Molan, AJ (LP – New South Wales)
O’Sullivan, MA (LP – Western Australia)
Paterson, J (LP – Victoria)
Payne, MA (LP – New South Wales)
Rennick, G (LP – Queensland)
Reynolds, L (LP – Western Australia)
Roberts, M (One Nation – Queensland)
Ruston, A (LP – South Australia)
Ryan, SM (LP – Victoria)
Scarr, P (LP – Queensland)
Seselja, Z (LP – ACT)
Smith, DA (teller) (LP – Western Australia)
Stoker, AJ (LP – Queensland)
Van, D (LP – Victoria)

Here is Larissa Waters commenting on answers to questions in the Senate: “After the devastating summer that we’ve had, does the government accept that we are in a climate emergency?” (Greens – Queensland):

Money talks in this place. We had a question, we got no answers. We hope to finally see some answers from this government. If we don’t, then they just need to get out of the way.


I didn’t really get an answer to the actual, very clear, specific questions that I asked. I certainly got a lot of government talking points and a lot of the usual waffle, which I want to take the chance to dissect. I first asked whether, given the absolutely devastating, tragic summer that we’ve just had, the government now accept that we are in a climate-driven emergency—a climate emergency. The science says that. The experts say that. The community knows that. The last people to get the memo are this government. What I deduced from the series of words that came out at a rapid rate was: ‘Essentially, no’. They could have just said that. We didn’t get a clear answer, but I think it’s very evident from the government’s approach that they don’t think we’re in a climate emergency—because it doesn’t suit their corporate donors to actually abide by the science.

The next question that I asked was about whether the government accepts the link between burning our coal and the severity of these fires. Again, all of the commentators and all of the experts—the folk who know this stuff—are saying there is a clear and obvious link. But: ‘Oh, no, no, no’—we didn’t get a clear answer on that one either, but apparently—’this is a global problem, so it’s not really, you know, a big deal for Australia. We don’t actually have to pull our weight globally. We’re just a tiny contributor.’ What a convenient rhetorical device. Do you hear them saying that about our sporting aspirations? Do you hear them saying that about our contribution to any other global effort—whether it’s, I don’t know, signing up to America to send troops to invade somewhere? No. It’s a very selective use of the argument, ‘Australia can’t do anything; we’re just small.’ Again, it doesn’t fly.

The last question I asked was whether or not the government accepts that its policies have us on track for more than three degrees of warming, which will inevitably result in more than three times the devastation that we are already suffering. The science tells us we’ve already had one degree of warming. If we are on track for more than three degrees, we’re on track for at least three times as much devastation—but no, neither science nor logic will penetrate this government’s rhetorical shutters.

What they do accept, though, is money from the polluters. We saw that donations data released on Monday, and what do you know? In an election year, a million bucks from big coal, big oil and big gas was donated to the two political parties that sit on the benches on the two sides of this chamber. The government took almost a quarter of a million dollars from Adani. And you know what? Adani made a donation four days before the government ticked off on the groundwater management plan for Adani. And Adani made another donation—maybe it was a thank-you donation—after that approval was issued. The facts speak for themselves. Our democracy has been sold to the highest bidder, and that bidder is the fossil fuel industry, which is turbocharging these fires and wreaking such havoc on our community.

One of the other excuses that was trotted out on behalf of the Prime Minister was: ‘If Australia didn’t export the coal, somebody else would. We’re actually doing the world a favour. We’re helping the environment by exporting our coal.’ What an absolute load of nonsense! I’m surprised the minister could actually say that with a straight face. It’s the classic drug dealer’s defence.

We all know what would happen if Australia reduced and ultimately phased out its coal exports and coal usage, while supporting those communities to transition into well-paid, decent jobs in industries that have a long-term future. If we actually took that step, the coal price would be impacted. Other countries would then see, even more, how affordable and reliable renewable energy is. That trend is already happening. Boris Johnson, for heaven’s sake, just made a climate announcement earlier today. If that person can see the global writing on the wall, why can this government not? What a great opportunity for our Prime Minister to have somebody else lead the way, yet again, and for him to then fall in line and finally take some action on the climate. But don’t hold your breath, folks.

So in question time today we were again asking about the climate emergency. Hundreds of people are camped outside parliament this week, begging this government for action on the climate emergency, begging this government to show some leadership and to step up and protect our shared future, to protect nature and to protect people. But money talks in this place. We had a question. We got no answers. We hope to finally see some action from this government—and, if we don’t, they just need to get out of the way.

Entry filed under: Climate Emergency, Labors Climate Record, news. Tags: , .

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