Candidates answer more climate questions in #willsvotes

May 10, 2022 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

The people of Wills submitted so many questions and we could only get to a fraction of them during the candidates forum. We then selected a further six questions that had been submitted and sent them to all of the candidates that attended the forum.

Only Leah Horsfall and Sarah Jefford have responded so far – we hope to hear from the other candidates who attended the forum soon (Peter Khalil, Sue Bolton, and Emma Black). You might like to contact them and ask them to respond.

Questions included:

Climate Questions

Climate Finance

What initiatives will your party take on climate finance for developing nations in the Pacific?

Leah Horsfall (Animal Justice Party): If elected, Bronwyn Currie (lead Senate candidate) and I would support increasing international aid and taking serious action to fight climate change in partnership with regional neighbours. While working in international development I lived in the Pacific and I have friends whose home islands are already being affected by sea-level rise. I believe Australia has a responsibility, as a good neighbour, to support our neighbours in the Pacific as they face climate change.

Sarah Jefford (Australian Greens): We are committed to climate justice for our Pacific neighbours. We are committed to net zero emissions and working with Pacific communities to build infrastructure to mitigate the impacts of the climate emergency. We must take responsibility for our greater emissions and the impact on more vulnerable communities. The Greens are committed to climate justice, and supporting climate refugees with immigration programs. We will renew and increase Australia’s commitment to the Green Climate Fund with $3 billion in funding from 2022 to 2025.

Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance): Rich countries like Britain and Australia have ripped off Pacific nations over decades with mining and deforestation and through their domination of Pacific Nations economies and even dominating their governments. Australia and Britain have stolen the wealth of Pacific Nations and some of Australia’s richest family dynasties, such as the Packer family, have made huge amounts of money out of indentured labour in the Pacific.
Australia should repay this money as part of reparation to the Pacific nations.
Australia should also transfer technology that is needed for dealing with the climate crisis to Pacific nations.

Restore democratic principles regards integrity, climate, industry policy

If you were elected to Wills, what would you do restore and protect democratic principles particularly in regards to integrity, climate, and industry policy?

Leah Horsfall (Animal Justice Party): I would support the introduction of a well-resourced federal Independent Commission Against Corruption. I would represent the will of the vast majority of Australians in supporting serious action on climate change, including a target of net-zero emissions by 2035 and reducing our methane emissions by 30% by 2030. I would support the transition from high-emitting industries (e.g. fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries) to low-emitting industries such as clean energy and the booming plant-based agriculture industry.

Sarah Jefford (Australian Greens): We will initiate a Federal Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission and implement all recommendations of the Set the Standard review into Parliamentary Workplaces.

Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance): First, we would call for the axing of subsidies to fossil fuel companies. The energy industry should also be taken back into public hands.
The biggest issue is that you need to remove vested interests from the debate around climate action. If companies have own fossil fuel investments, they will continue to push for the continued use of fossil fuel to continue raking in profits. We need to take the energy industry away from these private interests and into public hands, with the running of a public energy organisation to have climate advocates and workers having input into the running of the public energy organisation.
There also need to be community-worker involvement in developing transition plans away from fossil fuel.

Melbourne Airport 3rd Runway and increase in emissions

It has been estimated that the proposed 3rd runway at Tullamarine will enable Melbourne Airport flight emissions to increase around 55%, reaching annual emissions of roughly the same level as Australia’s highest emitting power station AGL’s Loy Yang. • If elected will you lobby the new federal transport minister to deny approval of the runway because of this?

Leah Horsfall (Animal Justice Party): I am not familiar with assessments of how the proposed 3rd runway would impact animals, people and the environment. I would need to consider such assessments before making a decision. But with the limited information I am already aware of, I think it would be very likely that, if elected, I would oppose the project and lobby the federal transport minister to deny approval.

Sarah Jefford (Australian Greens): We should be encouraging flight-free travel and reducing emissions in all our activities. There is no point talking about net zero emissions on the one hand and supporting new dirty projects on the other.

Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance): Socialist Alliance supports a Very Fast Train instead of a 3rd runway. We also think that the airport needs to be taken back into public hands. As soon as the airport was privatised, all discussion about a very fast train stopped because it is in the interests of the owner of the airport to maximise the number of people who travel by air.
Socialist Alliance would oppose the 3rd runway and push for a Very Fast Train instead.

Victorian Forests, Funding for nature conservation and recovering of threatened species and habitats

The Victorian Alps are our ‘Coral Reef’, being especially vulnerable to climate change. Despite the climate exacerbated, devastating fires of 2019/20 following the Black Saturday fires of 2009, and the rapid increase in threatened species, our remaining Alpine Ash forests are being logged rather than conserved. Will your party commit to increasing funding for nature conservation in Australia, including funding for recovering our threatened species and restoring the habitat they need to survive?

Leah Horsfall (Animal Justice Party): The Animal Justice Party is absolutely committed to protecting our remaining forests and reforesting areas that have already been cleared. We support increasing funding for nature conservation including funding for threatened species. In fact, these endeavours are specifically featured in our federal election platform which can be accessed at: https://vic.animaljusticeparty.org/elections

Sarah Jefford (Australian Greens): Victoria’s public native forests have inestimable value for climate management, water supply and biodiversity, and as places for recreation and appreciation. They should be protected and managed primarily for these purposes. Our fully costed policy can be found: https://greens.org.au/vic/policies/forests-policy

Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance): Socialist Alliance would absolutely support and push for increased funding for nature conservation.

Policies Addressing Natural disasters

What are your policies to safeguard Australians against increasing number of natural disasters?

Leah Horsfall (Animal Justice Party): Having worked previously in Disaster Risk Reduction, I fully support focusing on prevention. Fighting climate change is the best thing we can do to limit the frequency and severity of natural disasters, and I’m proud of the Animal Justice Party’s strong stance in this regard. On the response side, one of our core values is equality, and I am focused on the importance of support being available equitably to those affected by natural disasters.

Sarah Jefford (Australian Greens): We need to prepare for the impacts of climate change, with infrastructure and emergency services. The Emergency Response Fund has only spent $210 million on disaster recover since 2019. We will change these investment restrictions so that $600m is spent per year until 2026-27, and $300m per year from 2027-28 on public infrastructure mitigation works. This funding will allow communities to undertake much needed infrastructure upgrades that reduce the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.
Our plan funds hundreds of thousands of jobs to restore the public service, and we will also double the current funding for Emergency Service operations, providing $5 billion in extra funding allocated to the States. This funding will make sure our Emergency Services have the latest equipment and personnel they need to respond to natural disasters exacerbated by global heating. The Greens plan also fund retrofitting homes to be more flood and cyclone resilient.

Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance): The priorities of governments need to be changed to implement the decisions coming out of the various royal commissions and inquiries about bushfire and flood emergencies. There also needs to be the involvement of local communities as well as experts in planning for mitigation. There is a lot of local knowledge that needs to be used for mitigation as well as experts.
There also needs to be the funding. The money does exist. One third of large companies pay zero tax. 55 Australian billionaires pay zero tax. More than $10 million goes to fossil fuel companies as subsidies. These are all sources of money that could be redirected to mitigation.

Action on climate and military emissions

The Australian Defence Force’s total emissions are notoriously underreported, but even without indirect emissions reported they amounted to over 900,000 tons of CO2 according to the according to the Australian National Inventory Report. With one of Labor’s main criticisms of Scott Morrison being that his Liberal government hasn’t been tough enough on the “China threat” in the South Pacific, my main concern is that Labor is contributing to an escalating military conflict between the two largest military powers and carbon emitters in the world. How can Labor commit to real action on climate while contributing to the reckless drive to a war that threatens not only our lives but our planet too? (other candidates – this question isn’t addressed to you, but your own answers are very welcome and encouraged)

Leah Horsfall (Animal Justice Party): One of the Animal Justice Party’s core values is non-violence. I support prioritising the maintenance of peace and the de-escalation of international tensions.

Sarah Jefford (Australian Greens): The Greens are committed to peace, disarmament and demilitarisation, as well as tackling the climate crisis. The Greens will demand urgent climate action to reduce the destabilising risks of climate-related disasters.

We will also seek to ensure that the Australian Defences forces are ready and available to assist civilian-led climate and disaster responses if needed.
Our full policy on peace and demilitarisation: https://greens.org.au/policies/peace-disarmament-and-demilitarisation

Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance): There is no military threat to Australia so there is no justification for the massive increase in military expenditure. There seem to be vested interests involved as well with the LNP government wanting Australia to be one of the top 10 countries producing military weapons in the world. It is a massive problem that the federal government, with the support of Labor, is escalating the war rhetoric rather than de-escalating.
War is disastrous for working class people and disastrous for the climate. The only people who win out of war are the rich elite.

Questions asked previously in the Climate Forum on 26 April:

Note: video timeline link will take you to the place in the video for that question. See post on the Climate Forum.

35:20 Question on interlinked problems by Jen

“Climate change, energy and environment are interconnected issues. You cannot address climate change without preserving the environment and biodiversity. How will you ensure close collaboration between these areas?”

Answer by Sue Bolton, Peter Khalil

38:30 Question on sustainable transport and active transport by Lisa

“We hear a lot about electric vehicles – despite Australia being a global laggard in this space – but space in our cities is as finite as fossil fuels. We need more people riding and walking – even if its for more of our short local trips. Active transport has wide ranging social and environmental benefits. If elected what improvements will you lobby for to allow more people in Wills – of all ages and abilities – to ride and walk safely – and make active transport a realistic option for more of our residents?”

Answer by Emma Black, Sarah Jefford

41:20 Question on gas as a transition fuel by Norrian of Socialist Alliance

“As natural gas produces significant greenhouse gases during its use, extraction and production, what is your policy on the use of natural gas, a fossil fuel, in the transition to a renewable energy economy?”

Answer by Leah Horsfall, Sarah Jefford

42:38 Question on Federal integrity by Ian of Coburg Uniting Church

“How would you ensure that corruption in Government is held to account by a Independent Anti-corruption Commission with teeth?”

Answer by Peter Khalil, Emma Black, Sue Bolton, Leah Horsfall, Sarah Jefford

48:00 Question on subsidies to Fossil Fuel Industries by Tom “Will you commit to ending taxpayer subsidies to the fossil fuel industries? (YES/NO)”

Answer by Peter Khalil, Sarah Jefford, Emma Black, Sue Bolton, Leah Horsfall

54:00 Question on measurement of Fossil Fuel methane, signing Global Methane Pledge by John Englart, CAMoreland

“The UN Secretary General and the latest IPCC climate report identified reducing methane emissions as very important. Methane emissions come from agriculture, mining, transport and processing of coal and gas, and waste landfill. The IEA reports that Australia’s reported methane emissions are half its own estimates. Satellite reports of Glencore’s metallurgical coal mines in the Bowen Basin show that methane emissions are being vastly under reported. What will your party do in boosting accurate measurements of methane emissions and will you push for Australia to sign on to the Global Methane Pledge of at least 30% cut in methane emissions by 2030 that 110 countries have already signed?”

Answer by Peter Khalil, Sarah Jefford, Leah Horsfall, Sue Bolton, Emma Black

1:00:30 Question on dealing with vested interests

“How will you deal with vested interests in the sectors of agriculture, mining and the trade union movement so as not to be constrained in your efforts to effectively prevent global warming?” Answer by Emma Black, Sue Bolton, Leah Horsfall, Sarah Jefford, Peter Khalil

1:06:20 Question on refugees

“Given climate change is a threat multiplier, and so will see millions more refugees in the world, what will you do to stop Australia from continuing indefinite detention of people seeking asylum?”

Answer by Peter Khalil, Sarah Jefford

1:10:00 Question on strengthen national environment laws “Will your party strengthen Australia’s environment laws with binding national standards that apply to all industries, including the native forest logging industry? Please reference the EPBC Act and how you would work on this with state governments”

Answer by Sarah Jefford, Peter Khalil

Entry filed under: aviation, election, Event, forum, news, Policy, Vote Climate. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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