Page 274 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 December 2008

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will be proud of and thank us for should be one of our greatest considerations. In this, dealing with the impacts of climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. This is an area where we all have to work together to achieve real change.

The Greens will work to have productive working relationships with both the Labor and Liberal parties and engage on issues that produce outcomes that enhance the lives and services of the people of the ACT. And, of course, I will always have an eye out for policies and programs which are good for the residents of Brindabella. Thank you.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo), by leave: My fellow members, thank you for granting me leave to make my inaugural speech in the Legislative Assembly. I acknowledge my many family, friends and fellow Greens who have joined us in the Assembly today.

I would like to congratulate the other new members of the Assembly on your recent election, particularly my three colleagues from the Greens. The class of 2008 is a large one, and I look forward to working with you, alongside those members who were already here.

I enter the Assembly with a great sense of responsibility and a great sense of optimism—responsibility because of the great challenges we face; optimism because I do believe that there are solutions and that a better future is possible. I am here to make that optimism a reality.

I believe that climate change and our response to it will be the defining issue of our times. Combined with the current upheaval in the global financial system, and the flow-on effects of that, it is easy to become disheartened, to see the challenges as insurmountable, to think there is little point in trying to make a difference. Yet the two issues are linked together in a way that also provides a point of hope. The point of convergence, that beacon of hope, is that together we need to define a different future.

Climate change is driven by our relentless consumption of fossil fuels and subsequent overloading of our atmosphere with greenhouse gases. Similarly, the global financial system is teetering on the brink because of willingness by the greedy and the foolish to build empires on things that do not exist or, perhaps even worse, on derivatives of things that do not exist. There can be no future for this kind of economic model.

But a different future is possible. The answer lies in a green new deal. This visionary plan, laid out by top global economists from the United Nations Environment Program and from Deutsche Bank, echoes President Roosevelt’s New Deal to work America out of the Great Depression and would tackle the economic crisis and the climate crisis together.

Such a plan would see a massive investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy, alternative transport and forest protection, creating high quality, permanent jobs in a thriving, prosperous green economy.

The best path to recovery is to use the same solutions to benefit both crises simultaneously, boosting our economy by breaking through the capacity constraints holding back the transition to a zero emissions economy.

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