Early last week, environmentally concerned Labor supporters were alarmed when the Fairfax press suggested Labor might fail to fully defend its legacy on carbon pricing.
We celebrated the announcement by shadow cabinet on Friday November 1 that affirmed Labor would not support repealing the carbon tax unless an emissions trading scheme was established in its place.
The post election period poses particular challenges for the environment as Labor faces a period in opposition once again. We have already been experiencing assaults on the environment and our legacy by hostile conservative state governments for some time and now we face a hostile national government which seems set on reversing many of the gains Labor fought for in government.
To plan for this new reality and to develop a focus for our campaigns, LEAN members from NSW, Victoria and Queensland recently met in Sydney to identify some of the key campaign issues, These were CSG, National Parks, commonwealth/state powers and, of course, carbon pricing. LEAN members are emphatic in celebrating Labor’s achievements in the environment and we are all keen for Labor to be seen as the principal party of the environment.
Both prior to the election and subsequently, LEAN has also been campaigning vigorously to ensure that Labor holds the line on carbon pricing and not allow the gains made in government be thrown away.
The post election leadership contest, something we eagerly embraced as rank and file members, was agreat opportunity to pursue this. We sounded out both leadership contenders via a questionnaire on a range of key environmental issues including the carbon price. We were delighted with the comprehensive responses from both Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese and their strong commitment to protecting Labor’s environmental legacy and achievements especially in carbon pricing. Read their full answers here.
LEAN congratulates Bill Shorten on his election as Labor leader. In his response to our questions, Bill said, “I stand by Labor’s record and legacy on climate change issues.” He also foreshadowed going further, as we all know we must. “I will bring together members of the Labor movement, Labor Party and Labor caucus to work on the next round of progressive, big thinking Labor policies on climate change to take to the next election,” he wrote. This is fabulous and we look forward to working with Bill and the Shadow Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Mark Butler, during this next stage of developing a progressive environmental agenda for Labor.
LEAN also looks forward to engaging and collaborating with our politicians, party members, unions, the conservation movement and the community in our pursuit of good environmental outcomes for Australia.
We would love to have you all on board for this and we urge you to join us if you haven’t already.
David Redfearn and Felicity Wade
LEAN National Co-convenors