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Speech: Climate Change Action

Speeches in Parliament
Mehreen Faruqi 4 Dec 2018

Right now we are facing a manmade disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change. If w e don' t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.

The world's people have spoken. Their message is clear: time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now.

This is the message and these are the words of Sir David Attenborough, which he gave yesterday from the People's Seat at COP 24. Everyone is looking at us to act and to act now. Thousands of schoolkids poured out onto our streets on Friday to demand action on climate change. They showed incredible courage. They are asking us to act now to save their future and the planet, to move to 100 per cent renewable energy, to quit coal and to stop Adani. History will remember them as heroes, and I am proud of them.

But if you don't take urgent action, if the Liberal-National government and the Labor opposition don't take the strongest action on climate change, history will remember you as villains. You will be remembered as cowards. Labor leader Bill Shorten recently said that Adani is not going to affect Australian emissions. This is up there with Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison's response that the latest IPCC report 'did not provide recommendations for Australia'.

It is denial of reality on both counts. Bill and Scott might live in the Canberra bubble but the rest of us do live in the real world. We know that when coal burns it emits carbon dioxide, and no matter where it happens—in Australia, in India, in China or in the US—more greenhouse gas emissions mean more climate change, which affects the whole of the world, and the last time I looked, Australia was still on the map of the world. So it's not out of sight, out of mind once you've dug up the Galilee Basin and shipped off millions of tonnes of coal, because it's coming back to bite us: more intense fires, more flooding, more drought, more extreme heat and the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.

Senator Ian Macdonald: Ha, ha!

Senator FARUQI: You won't be laughing for very long, I can tell you that! Pull your heads out of the sand! For once—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McCarthy): Through the chair, please, Senator!

Senator FARUQI: Thank you, Madam Deputy President. Pull your heads out of the sand! For once, listen to what the people are saying. For once, listen to what the scientists are saying. For once, listen to what the children are saying. Be smarter than the cabinets at IKEA! Leave the coal in the hole and the oil in the soil.


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