Labor and Coalition candidates avoided participating in a climate change election forum held on November 12 in the marginal Labor/Greens seat of Northcote.
Last week local climate group, Darebin Climate Action Now (DCAN) held a mock climate forum outside Northcote Town Hall, with empty chairs for Labor and Liberal candidates. DCAN members held a banner: “Who is dodging climate debate?”
As one Liberal Party insider Sunday Age recently: “The last thing the Coalition wants to do is to draw attention to environment policy, because there isn’t one."
Labor’s silence on climate change is also concerning. Carol Ride from DCAN noted that five Labor candidates were invited to speak, but none would come.
“I think that it’s outrageous that the major parties aren’t talking about climate change when it’s such a threat to our survival. Remaining silent is also climate denial," she said.
Other Northcote candidates, however, were keen to talk about climate change. Greens candidate Trent McCarthy wants much more renewable energy and green jobs. Save the Planet, which is standing Bryony Edwards, was established to focus on climate change.
In nearby Pascoe Vale, Sean Brocklehurst from Socialist Alliance also wants strong climate action. He sees private ownership of the electricity industry as a major obstacle in replacing coal with renewables. “We need to take our energy industry back into public hands. Communities in Germany are trying to reverse energy privatisations. We need to do that here too.”
Sean is also concerned with protecting people from climate impacts. “Heatwaves kill hundreds of Victorians. Governments must treat heatwaves as emergencies, and establish heat refuges throughout the state.”