Technology · August 4, 2022

Climate bill to pass House with Greens and support from independents

Australia has come a step closer to meeting a binding obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent from 2005 levels after the House of Representatives passed the Climate Change Bill.

After a series of Crossbench-induced changes, most of which were backed by the government, the bill passed with the backing of Labour, Greens, Independents and breakaway Coalition MP Bridget Archer.

Changes tabled by eight independents were supported by the government, while the opposition opposed them.

But amendments by Green Party leader Adam Bandt and independent Clark MP Andrew Wilkie – aimed at replacing the 43 percent target with 70 percent – were not backed by any of the major parties.

Earlier, the group of “blue-green” MPs welcomed the law, saying that while it could pass Parliament, they remain committed to fighting for higher goals.

A picture of the group revealed the powerful alliance in the Teal’s commitment to the bill.

The group said through its negotiations and talks the bill is stronger than when Labor originally drafted it.

Goldstein MP Zoe Daniel said she knew many in her own electorate and beyond would be “disappointed” that the legislation accounted for only 43 percent, not the 60 percent she had called for during her campaign.

“But my position has not changed. I think we can get there, but I think in order to move forward we need to enshrine that ground in law,” she said.

“I really wanted 43 percent to be explicitly stated as a lower limit rather than an upper limit … so as not to limit the future ambition of our climate targets.”

Warringah MP Zali Steggall and North Sydney MP Kylea Tink said it was a sign of a new way of doing things in Parliament that Climate Secretary Chris Bowen had been open to “collaborating like this”.

“I hope that this precedent, while unusual at this time, is actually how we are taking the development of legislation in this House for the next three years,” Ms Tink said.

“Because if that’s the case, I think we can all say Australia is back in the game and we’re taking a leadership role in renewable and sustainable energy, which is exactly where we deserve it.”

Wentworth MP Allegraspender said she was “proud” to have reached a point where independent voices had been taken into account.

“We came in as individuals and said, ‘This is what our community asked of us’ … We came in constructively and were received by constructive government,” she said.

Kooyong MP Monique Ryan said the cross-parliamentary cooperation had “set a new standard”.

Now that it has passed the House of Representatives, the bill will go to committee before heading to the Senate in the next fortnight for passage with the support of the Greens.

Independent Senator David Pocock could also back the bill; However, he is not satisfied that Labor has acted strongly enough.

“I don’t think that goal is high enough, but it’s important to have certainty,” he told ABC News.

“I’ve been saying all along that I want to legislate this, but I’m here to represent the people at ACT and make sure I look at the legislation and suggest ways it can be improved.

“My priority with this bill is how do we give it integrity? How do we ensure that we actually achieve the 43 percent.”

Senator Pocock echoed what Mr. Bandt told the National Press Club on Wednesday, saying that continuing to open new coal and gas projects while making commitments to cut emissions was somewhat redundant.

Senator Pockock said he was in ongoing discussions with Mr Bowen about improvements to the bill.

Mr Bowen said he wanted to thank people across Parliament for working with Government to make this a reality – with the exception of the Liberals and Nationals.

“The Liberal Party has made itself irrelevant,” he said.

“With new coal and gas, there are environmental permits, funding hurdles to overcome, economic hurdles… The Greens have a different position.”

Mr Bowen said he “hopes and expects” Australia to exceed its 43 per cent target and the legislation made it clear that it was a “floor, not a ceiling”.

“This law sends out the message and I am pleased that business and renewable energy groups as well as climate groups have welcomed the indications so much that this will now pass Parliament,” he said.

Senator Birmingham said he supports higher ambitions and if the 43 per cent target had required legislation he “would have voted for it immediately”.

“It doesn’t require legislation, though,” he told ABC radio.

“Support for higher ambitions in reducing emissions, and critically I support that… And Peter Dutton has made it clear… that we will show greater levels of ambition in the next election.”

Senator Birmingham said he respected Ms Archer’s decision to speak and support Labour’s bill.

Originally published when Anthony Albanese’s climate bill passed the House of Representatives with support from the Greens and Independents

Read related topics:Anthony AlbaneseClimate Change