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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2555..


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Private members business—postponement

Ordered that private members business No 1 be postponed until a later hour.

Climate Change (Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets)

Bill 2008

Mrs Dunne, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.33): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

On behalf of the Canberra Liberals, I have pleasure in presenting to the Legislative Assembly the Climate Change (Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets) Bill 2008. This is a sign of our commitment to addressing the climate change challenge. This is a bill which sets real targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, in both the medium term and the long term. In addition, the bill provides a mechanism for reporting on those targets and reviewing them.

The Stanhope government has set a greenhouse gas target, a target that seems to be a defensible compromise between the unachievable and the inadequate. It could be tougher, but that is not the major problem. The problem is that that target is set for the year 2050. It is a target for our grandchildren. Leaving aside the question of what technology and what new information will be available, let us suppose that, horror of horrors, we or our grandchildren do not meet the target. Who are they going to call?

There are chances that Jon Stanhope will eclipse his esteemed rivals Robert Mugabe and Fidel Castrol for longevity and will still be in power. I know that my colleagues opposite might blanch at that, and I share their pain. But it is pretty obvious that a commitment to meet targets in 40 years time is not a serious commitment. Barring sudden developments in geriatrics, if not cryogenics, there is not much prospect of the people making the commitment being held accountable, and, hence, not much prospect of feeling the need to do something about the target. The Stanhope target is more of a warm, inner-glow political target than a target about real accountability.

With this bill the Liberal Party is putting its money where its mouth is. It is making a real commitment to the electorate and to the environment, with the first target to be met in a little over six years. For a long time, politicians have crossed their fingers and hoped that there would be some new research that would show that climate change was a figment of our imagination. The more we read and the more work that is done, the more it is revealed that climate change is real and it presents us with huge


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