For most Australians, our new Minister for the Environment, WA MP Melissa Price, will be a total unknown.
She was elected in 2013 to represent the electorate of Durack, the largest single member electorate in the world. Price became Assistant Minister for the Environment in December 2017 and has now been elevated to the top job.
Prior to entering parliament, Ms Price was a lawyer, working as general counsel for CBH Group and Crosslands Resources Ltd.
Crosslands Resources is owned by the Mitsubishi Corporation. It owns the Jack Hills iron ore mine and the Jack Hills Expansion Project, located 380 kilometres north-east of Geraldton.
The CBH Group (an acronym for Co-operative Bulk Handling), is a grain growers’ cooperative that handles, markets and processes grain from the wheatbelt of Western Australia.
In 2016 the Australian Taxation Office revealed that despite generating more than $3.4 billion in revenue in 2013/14, the company paid no tax. This made it Australia’s biggest revenue earner not to pay tax in the period under review.
Ms Price appears to be a climate change denier, just what we don’t need in the Environment portfolio, particularly in combination with the Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, who notably also happens to be a climate change denialist.
In November 2015, she spoke in parliament to “set the record straight and to smash yet another one of the myths started by the increasingly irrelevant Labor Party.”
Whether you believe so-called climate change is due to human behaviour, planetary motion, ocean currents or solar variability et cetera, to me, is not the point. The world is rejecting carbon taxes and embracing direct action style approaches involving practical actions to reduce emissions.
Like most of their other portfolios, the Labor Party do not have a plan to tackle climate change. They just whinge or do nothing new in particular. They make a big song and dance about the government’s plan, yet they do not have a policy on the area themselves or none that they care to commit that might be new. In the last five years, the Labor Party have had five—that is right, five—different policies, while we on this side of the chamber have had one strong, consistent and effective policy.
While in government together last term, Labor and the Greens presided over a series of waste, mismanagement and bungles. Who could forget the carbon tax? It was their big idea for dealing with climate change. This tax did little to improve the environment, but it put a huge impost on the price of energy in this country. It had the greatest impact on the most vulnerable members of our community, whom those opposite say they represent. What a joke? Of course, the biggest flaw is that the carbon tax was a local tax. If global warming is the problem it was trying to solve then, by definition, we require a ‘global solution’. That is why Australia must join with the international community to determine how to achieve a long-term global reduction in CO2, emissions.
While we are talking about those opposite, who could forget the Home Insulation Program, which was linked to deaths of four people, 224 home fires and 70,000 repairs.
It is worth repeating, because it was Australia’s greatest embarrassment. There were the bungled green loans. Three independent reports found extensive mismanagement. Let’s not forget the citizens assembly. What a fabulous initiative! It was a 2010 election promise to assemble 15 citizens to discuss ways to tackle climate change, which was dumped just weeks after the election. What a shameful waste!
Mr Deputy Speaker, as you can see, clearly the government has made significant inroads in addressing climate and change, and improving our environment. Our current policies are working. We will meet our 2020 and 2030 targets. As we have heard today, the Department of the Environment has released a formal emissions update on our 2020 target, which shows that we are on track to beat out 2020 target by a whopping 28 million tonnes. That is what I call good government.”
What will it take to get these politicians to listen to the scientists and address the existential threat posed by climate change?
Or we could just vote the flat earthers out.