Now that the overwhelming embarrassment has begun to settle over the 2019 federal election – after every poll in the land was proven astonishingly wrong – we are left to grapple with the questions.
Wasn’t this meant to be the climate change election?
Several experts said that for most Australians, for the first time in history, the environment was the number-one election issue.
More than 60 per cent of Australians were found to agree with the sentiment: “Global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant cost.”
At least that’s what they told us.
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But when Australians entered the voting booths on Saturday, the truth was laid bare.
It appears we do not care about climate change quite as much as we like to say we do.
Labor’s climate change policy was not perfect. The Australian Conservation Foundation rated it 56/100. The Greens received a rating of 99/100.
The Coalition, however, who not only won the election but will likely form a majority government, received a score of 4/100.
It was just last year that the United Nations warned we have 12 years to address the climate change catastrophe, before we significantly worsen our risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Have we just knocked another three years off?
At this point, we can choose to believe one of two things.
The first, is that Australians deep down, don’t care. We like to be seen to care – because it signifies that we are moral and virtuous. But when it comes down to it, when we are alone and no one is watching, we are selfish and we are greedy.
The second, is that Australians deep down, do care. They just care about other things more.
Earlier this month I spoke to Dr Jane Goodall, the 85-year-old conservationist famous for her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees. During our conversation she remarked that when people are desperate, the environment cannot be their primary concern.