politics

Climate change is the top issue deciding women’s vote. Here’s where each party stands on it.

To keep up to date with the federal election campaign as we head to the polls to vote on May 21, visit our election hub page. There you'll find analysis, explainers and all the results of our Mamamia Votes survey. 

Climate change is the issue on a lot of Aussie's minds right now, following months of devastating floods and unprecedented rainfall along much of the east coast.

According to our recent Mamamia Votes survey, it's the number one issue deciding how most Australian women will vote in the upcoming federal election.

In fact, out of over 5,000 people surveyed, a whopping 68.7 percent said climate change will influence them at the polls. 

Aussie women aren't alone in their concerns. 

Just last week, the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) warned that there are some governments around the world who have vested interest in keeping the fossil fuel industry alive and are holding back on transitioning to renewables, which they found to be the cheapest and most impactful way of cutting global emissions.

Australia was one of those governments called out for being heavily influenced by lobbying from fossil fuel industries. 

So with the federal election around the corner, what is the government doing about climate change and where do the other parties stand?

Here's a quick rundown on the major parties' policies. 

The Coalition.

When it comes to protecting our environment, the Liberals say they are committed to reducing emissions through technology and investing in renewable energy, among other polices listed on their party's website.

However, Climate Councillor and leading economist Nicki Hutley calculated that just 0.3 percent of total government expenditure for 2021-2024 has been committed to climate change initiatives - and most of that was committed prior to this year's budget.

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Here's a snapshot of what they're spruiking in the lead up to the election:

  • The government has a 2030 goal to cut emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels. They also have a long-term goal of net-zero by 2050, via a technology-driven Long Term Emissions Reduction Plan. 
  • They have a proven "strong track record", having beaten their 2020 Kyoto targets by 459 million tonnes (or 80 per cent of one year's worth of emissions). 
  • Across Governments and the private sector, over $40 billion has been invested in renewable energy in Australia since 2017. This decade, they'll invest more than $22 billion in low emissions technologies.
  • They've pledged to significantly increase recycling rates, tackle plastic litter, improve battery recycling and halve food waste by 2030.
  • A further $1 billion towards a $3 billion plan to strengthen the Great Barrier Reef.
  • $74 million dedicated to koala recovery and conservation.
  • Investing over $2.8 billion to enhance Australia’s Antarctic operations and science capabilities.

However...it's worth noting: 

  • The Coalition has outlined billions of dollars in fossil fuel projects, including $600 million to build a gas power plant in NSW. They plan to allow the continued export of fossil fuels beyond 2050.
  • The Coalition receives significant donations from fossil fuel industries. However, when it comes to policymaking, Taylor says he makes his "decisions by listening to advice from my department and consulting widely with my colleagues [and] with stakeholders". 

Labor. 

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has pledged to "end the climate wars" through a number of policies, including his Powering Australia plan to drive investment in cheap, renewable energy.

Here's what Labor are promising: 

  • Labor are planning to cut emissions by 43 percent by 2030 should they win the May election. Just like the Coalition, they have a plan of reaching net-zero by 2050. 
  • Allocate up to $3 billion to invest in green metals (steel, alumina and aluminium); clean energy component manufacturing; hydrogen electrolysers and fuel switching.
  • Roll out 85 solar banks around Australia to ensure more households can benefit from rooftop solar.
  • Invest in 10,000 New Energy Apprentices and a New Energy Skills Program.
  • Install 400 community batteries across the country.
  • Re-establish leadership by restoring the role of the Climate Change Authority,.
  • $85 million to scale up ‘shovel-ready’ work for Great Barrier Reef resilience and land restoration projects.
  • $200 million program to help protect and improve urban rivers and catchments. 
  • Double the number of Rangers by the end of the decade to 3,800.

However...it's worth noting: 

  • Labor plans to continue exporting fossil fuels, but will look to move towards emissions-friendly export industries. For example, they want to spent $24 billion on energy policies that will upgrade the national electricity grid and invest in electric vehicles.
  • Just like the Coalition, Labor receives significant funding from fossil fuel industries. However, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, told The Quicky that donations "make absolutely no impact on our policy".

Listen to The Quicky's full episode on where each party stands on climate change. Post continues below. 

The Greens.

The Greens acknowledge we are in a "climate emergency" and the crisis is caused by mining and burning coal and gas. 

"It’s simple, if you don’t have a plan to phase out coal and gas, you don’t have a plan for the climate crisis," they say on their party's websites. 

Their plan is to make "big corporations and billionaires pay their fair share of tax to clean up the mess they’re making, fund the transition to 100 per cent renewables and kick off a full-scale renewable export industry." 

But will the Greens actually win the election? Well, the truth is, come May 21, either Labor or the Coalition will be victorious. That's just how Australian politics works. 

So what the Greens are fighting for, is to hold a balance of power in the government which will allow them to have a greater say on what we do and don't do as a nation.

Here's what they're proposing:

  • The Greens plan to reduce emissions by 75 percent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2035. Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt, told The Quicky, "Liberals are talking about 26 percent and Labor's talking about 43 percent. So both of them have just given up on the science and given up on the Paris Agreement and not even doing what the experts advise."
  • Immediately ban the construction of new coal, oil and gas infrastructure.
  • Create long term, sustainable industries to assist in the move beyond fossil fuels and to ensure people do not lose work.
  • Phase out the mining, burning and export of thermal coal by 2030.
  • Ban all political donations from the mining and resources sector.
  • Implementing a carbon price and levy on climate pollution we export.
  • Create a non-profit publicly owned retailer to push down power bills and increase take-up of green energy.
  • Better funding the BoM, and CSIRO to predict the impacts and help us plan.
  • Replace every coal-fired power plant in the country by 2030.
  • Build a $2 billion publicly owned electric vehicle fast charging network.

It's worth noting: 

  • They plan on phasing out coal and gas, but recognise that coal and gas communities still need to be looked after. 
  • Unlike Labor or Liberals, the Greens don't take any funds from companies involved in fossil fuels.

Independents doing good things.

This election we've seen a group of independents (most of whom are women might we add), taking on mostly Liberals in a number of seats, who are united under the Climate200 banner. 

One of those women is Dr Sophie Scamps, a practicing GP in Sydney and an Independent candidate for the federal seat of Mackellar.

"Climate200 was created to try and help community backed independents like myself compete against the fossil fuel funded Liberal party," Scamps told The Quicky. 

When it comes to cutting emissions, Climate 200, as a collective, states Australia needs to reduce emissions by 75 percent by 2030 to contribute our fair share to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. However, various candidates within the fund have marginally different viewpoints within that. 

Scamps said she stands with the Business Council of Australia, which is calling for a 46 to 50 percent cut in emissions by 2030. 

"This is the minimum that we need [and] that the science tells us that we need to be able to create a livable future."

To find out which candidates attached to Climate 200 are in your electorate, search here.

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia.

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