Thursday, 20 February 2020


Zali Steggall, the independent federal Member for Warringah, plans to bring a private member’s bill on climate action before the House of Representatives on March 23. Steggall hopes that the major parties can be persuaded to allow their members a conscience vote on her Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill 2020.
Very few private members’ bills are passed by parliament.  However, the non-partisanship of this bill and the overwhelming nature of recent disasters give some hope that politicians across the spectrum might come together and act in the long-term national interest for a change and end the ridiculous and futile warfare on climate policy that we as a nation have been stuck with for so long.

Steggall is working to obtain community support through her #ClimateActNow appeal in the hope that constituents will encourage their local members to support the bill.

The bill outlines ways to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions to zero by 2050. It deals with climate risks as well as with adaptation and mitigation measures to secure a more resilient Australia.  It also proposes establishing an independent climate change commission to advise parliament.

According to Kate Crowley, associate professor at the University of Tasmania, “Steggall’s bill changes the policy conversation entirely.  It calls for a detailed risk assessment of the challenges of warming across all sectors, and national plans for adapting to those challenges, while reducing emissions in a transparent and accountable way.”

Professor Ross Garnaut , author of the significant 2008 climate change review, supports the target set in Steggall’s bill. “Being introduced by a member of parliament from outside the partisan divide,” he said, “it can pass without any of the parties of government backing down from explicit electoral commitments.”

CEO of the Business Council of Australia, Jennifer Westacott, also commented favourably on the bill which, as Crowley pointed out is a signal to the Prime Minister that business wants “a more ambitious and targeted climate policy”.

For those of us who want to see effective climate action the message is clear.  Let our local MPs know our views.
            - Leonie Blain

This article was originally published in the VOICES FOR THE EARTH column in The Daily Examiner on February 17,  2020.