Australia’s Labor party still immersed in gas and coal

Peter Khalil: “There is no doubt we are in a climate emergency. It is not a matter of believing it. It is a matter of knowing it because of the science. … Action is critical and the time to act is now.” …and then just a few minutes later: “Gas is a good transitional source. We’ll be guided by the best expert environmental and scientific advice (…) to make sure that they stack up environmentally.” 

The problem with Labor’s support for climate action is that it is either fake, hollow or misguided. We need to call out those politicians who think they can sign a climate emergency declaration and then spruik fossil fuels.

Peter Khalil, a federal election candidate for the Labor party in Wills, Melbourne, signed the climate emergency declaration petition in December 2016. In May 2017, he became the first Labor MP to come out publicly against Adani on environmental grounds. And now… he is supporting the development of gas in northern Australia.

Here is an article on him backtracking. His comments were made at the Wills candidates forum and were transcribed for the article. “Local residents at the Wills candidates forum on climate and sustainability were dismayed – horrified even,” wrote Andrea Bunting:

→ Climate Action Moreland – 1 May 2019:
Peter Khalil MP supports gas, backtracks on climate emergency message

A video recording of the candidates forum can be seen here. Peter Khalil’s response to a question from audience on the $1.5 billion subsidy for gas pipeline development can be found just after the 1:00:00 mark.

Labor: $1,500,000,000 to extract more fossils

“This is a climate catastrophe and we will not bow to trolls telling us to ignore it.” 

Influenced: “Dangerous and destructive policies”

Pablo Brait commented on Facebook:

“Earlier this week the Labor Party put out one of the most dangerous and destructive policies I’ve ever seen from a major party.

Shorten is proposing to use $1.5 billion of taxpayer funds to subsidise the development of gasfields all over the NT and Qld. Many, if not all of these gasfields will be shale or coal seam gas (CSG) and require fracking to extract.

Unconventional gas (shale and CSG) is one of the most polluting industries ever created. Just the gas from the NT gasfields will likely produce 4-7 times more climate-wrecking carbon emissions than the proposed Adani coal mine according to University of Melbourne research.

In the midst of a climate emergency, Labor wants to use our money to subsidise an industry that is just as polluting as coal, that will destroy water supplies and aboriginal land. All for a product that is intended for export and could be mostly replaced by renewable energy.

Hell no.

The following facts may or may not have had influence over this decision, but it is important that people know:

1. Both Origin Energy and Santos are major donors to the Labor Party. These two companies stand to gain from the proposed taxpayer subsidy.

2. Mark Butler MP, Labor’s climate and energy spokesperson’s partner is the Media Manager at Santos.

3. Bill Shorten MP’s chief of staff is married to the “Head of Sustainability” (😂) at Santos

4. Former Trade Minister under Gillard Craig Emerson is married to the Head of Government Affairs at Santos

5. Former Energy Minister under Rudd and Gillard, Martin Ferguson, now works for the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA). the peak industry lobby group for oil and gas companies.


→ Ask Labor to reverse their policy here:

→ Financial Review – 14 February 2019:
Santos set for Shorten

Fired up

Letter from Bill Shorten’s office about climate policy and gas

A week letter I then got this reply from Eloise at the Australian Labor Campaign Headquarters:
“Dear Mik
Thank you for getting in touch with Labor and raising your concerns.
Labor has announced the most comprehensive climate change policy that any party has taken to an election in Australia’s history, including specific policies to cut pollution in different sectors of the economy.
Labor’s Northern Australia Development Fund isn’t about supporting fracking. Labor will ensure any gas development environmental approvals will be guided by the best independent expert science, protect water resources, and stack up environmentally.
State and territory governments are responsible for determining whether fracking in particular areas will be permitted. The federal government is responsible for decisions concerning the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).
Labor has been clear the EPBC Act needs reform. That’s why we’ll reform Australia’s environment laws to bring them into the 21st century, including to take account of the impacts of climate change and expand the water trigger to shale gas projects.  
Labor will also establish a new, independent National Environmental Protection Authority.
A Shorten Labor Government will invest more than $1 billion in new environment programs to tackle the extinction crisis, cut single-use plastics, protect our beaches and coastlines, clean up the nation’s rivers, double the number of Indigenous Rangers caring for country, and protect the Great Barrier Reef.
As part of our climate change action plan, Labor has a plan to work with industry to find solutions to cut their pollution, including through more efficient gas use.  
Our energy plan also includes support for household batteries and other energy storage mechanisms, improvements to energy efficiency and other ways to ensure a clean and reliable energy system.  
You can read more about our climate change action plan here:
Labor’s Northern Australia Development Fund isn’t about undermining climate action. It’s about making the necessary investments in infrastructure to ensure gas developments that do stack up environmentally are able to supply those areas where gas is needed, to support manufacturing jobs and flexible power generation as we develop a greater role for renewables in our electricity system.
This election is a choice between Labor’s plan for real action on climate, and the Liberals’ proven record of inaction, rising pollution and climate change denial.
It is going to be a very close election. We can’t afford another three years of the Liberals’ inaction.
If you want real action on climate change, not more chaos – vote Labor.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to our team.  
Yours sincerely  


Australian Labor Campaign Headquarters

I replied:

“Dear Eloise
Thank you for taking time to reply, that was very kind of you. It must be hectic at your office in this period.
This thing about that “if the science stacks up”…. is honestly just empty words, because if the IPCC is what you call “the science”, and the goalposts of the Paris Agreement are taken seriously, then, (as I wrote in my first email and because the world has procrastinated on this topic for over 30 years), we are now at that point with CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere where any new oil and gas production is incompatible with the Paris climate goals
You can talk and talk and talk, but this is what it is about. The science can no longer stack up, unless you invent some sort of gas-capture-storage mechanism, which won’t happen.
I honestly think Bill and Labor ought to look towards the UK and understand how the UK Labour is moving forward at the moment.
This is much more significant than Australian politicians generally have realised yet. Because it fundamentally changes the story.

A poll published last week found that nearly 63 per cent of the British public supported the UK parliament declaring a climate emergency – and 76 per cent said they are going to vote differently to protect the planet against climate change. A Lowe poll here in Australia has just found that similar percentages of the Australian public thinks that climate change is the No 1 threat to our society.
The only reason Bill Shorten keeps talking about gas, is because of his and your party’s connections with and donations from that industry. Admit it at least, so the voters can get the impression that at least ONE of the candidates in this election has the guts to be honest about what is going on behind the scenes. Or… if that is perceived to be too embarrassing for Shorten’s image, then, hey!, embrace the change, declare a climate emergency like they’ve done in Britain, and let’s get started on protecting our kids future and defending life on this planet for real. Enough with the lies and the smokescreens, Eloise.

Read more

Satire about both Labor and the Coalition’s climate and energy policies, among other things