Prospective MPs should be in no doubt that if they shirk strong climate action, they do so at their political peril.
As the 2019 federal election campaign formally begins, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has warned all political parties they risk a backlash at the ballot box if they ignore deep public concern and growing community mobilisation over climate change.
ACF launched its election field campaign last July and its community volunteers and allies have already held more than 200,000 conversations across key electorates about why strong action on climate change must be a core issue in this election.
ACF’s Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said this field campaign was focused predominantly on the Liberal-held electorates of Chisholm in Melbourne and Bonner in Brisbane, and the Labor-held Melbourne seat of Macnamara.
More than 850 ACF and community-led events have also been held across every state and territory, including door knocks, calling parties, candidates’ forums and street stalls.
Ms O’Shanassy said more than 75,000 people have already pledged to be climate voters, vowing to vote for candidates and parties they believe will best stop climate pollution.
“ACF knows it. The community knows it. The parties know it. And the polls show it. Climate change is a top issue in this election,” Ms O’Shanassy said.
“We’ve been working across the community since last July, having hundreds of thousands of conversations with everyday Australians about why climate change matters in this election.
“With the formal campaign underway we will further ramp-up our election work, so prospective MPs are in no doubt that they shirk strong climate action at their political peril.
“ACF is non-partisan – our involvement in this campaign is to try to spur a race to the top on climate action. We’ll independently analyse the parties’ policies and rate them in a scorecard to be released close to polling day to help people make informed choices.
“If parties want to win the votes of the huge numbers of Australians demanding stronger and more responsible climate action then they will need to stump up plans to accelerate the transition to clean energy, end coal burning and stop the Adani mine.
“Australians are already being hurt by climate change. This summer heat records were smashed. A million fish died in the Darling River. Bushfires raged in wet forests in Queensland and Tasmania. Drought worsened across large swathes of eastern Australia. And floods hit parts of Queensland.
“Climate damage is here now. This election must be a turning point for climate action.”