Two important climate-events in Geelong

[Podcast notes] Two climate-related events took place in Geelong this week

1) 24 March 2022: Climate-focused Candidates Forum held in Waurn Ponds.
We live-streamed the event on

With climate a key issue in the upcoming federal election, the Corangamite Climate Alliance hosted this climate-focused candidates forum on Thursday 24 March at 6:30pm to 8:00pm at Peter Thwaites Theatre, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, Geelong.

The Corangamite candidates were:
Libby Coker MP, Labor’s candidate
Stephanie Asher, Liberal’s candidate
Alex Marshall, Greens’ candidate
Meg Watkins, Animal Justice’s candidate

The forum was moderated by ABC journalist Tim Lamacraft.

#climateemergencyresponse #corangamitevotes #Corangamite #Geelong #ClimateEmergency #climateelection #ClimateActionNow

2) 25 March 2022: School strike for climate at Geelong City Hall:

For those who have had enough of the madness

Heatwave 40 degrees above normal at the South Pole. Flooding catastrophe in eastern Australia. Yet another bleeching event killing corals at the Great Barrier Reef. War in Ukraine. The Amazon rainforest being wiped out. Covid…

Yes it is overwhelming. 

From Canberra, we hear Scott Morrison telling us the Coalition wants Australia’s coal power stations to “run as long as they possibly can”, vowing to support the coal industry if re-elected. And so-called “minister for emissions reduction” Angus Taylor says: “We’re investing in new supply for gas and oil in places like the Beetaloo Basin, where there is enormous potential — we’ve kept our foot on the accelerator here in Australia because we know that is the right thing.” 

Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, calls out Australia and a “handful of holdouts” for failing to lay out “meaningful” near-term plans to slash emissions. “This is madness,” he says. “Addiction to fossil fuels is mutually assured destruction.” 

However, good things are happening too. People are coming together. Communities are mobilising. In the lead-up to the Federal Election a true political revolution is beginning to materialise in this country, lead by strong, independent women who have had enough of the madness and who now call on their communities to vote for their pro-climate-action, pro-integrity and pro-gender-equality agendas. 

In Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast, we hope Voices of Corangamite can be that mobiliser for our region. If you’d like to get involved and help changing the outcome of the coming election, you can support initiatives such as Climate 200 or Voices of Corangamite. For a start, you could watch this short video about it. 

Candidate climate survey

What the candidates think about climate and fossil fuels
Read the survey with six questions to the candidates for the federal election in the Corangamite electorate. And share this post on Facebook about it. 

Geelong Advertiser’s report from the Candidates Forum


Questions you could ask the Corangamite candidates

Question to both candidates for the two major parties – Libby Coker, ALP, and Stephanie Asher, Liberal:

You mostly talk about your personal view. However, should you get elected, we all know that the reality in Parliament is that your personal view doesn’t really matter when a law or a proposal to fund more fossil fuel projects come up for a vote. If your personal view goes against what your party has decided to vote and you rebel and vote against your party, that’s called “crossing the floor”, and crossing the floor could get you expelled from your party. According to the website, Libby Coker has so far never crossed the floor. Meanwhile, we also know that both major parties take millions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry, including multinational giant Woodside and Santos. (Official amounts do not include the so-called ‘dark money’ which investigative journalists have found flow under the table to offshore bank accounts.) And we have seen one new approval of fossil fuel project after another being voted through and supported by both the major parties.
In other words, regardless of your personal view, Stephanie Asher, as long as your party continues to support coal-fired power stations – which the Prime Minister recently has underlined that the Liberal party will continue to do – you will be forced to vote along this partyline. You will be voting against the green and climate-friendly views you have been expressing to us during your election campaign. So explain to us, please: Where is your credibility and why should we even be listening to what your personal views are, when they don’t make a difference in real-life party politics?

Questions to Stephanie Asher, Liberal candidate in Corangamite:

1. In order to deal with reality, we must reference the physics of the context we are in. The increase in temperatures in both the Arctic and Antarctic this week of between 28-40° degrees Celsius have skyrocketed beyond the expectations of climate scientists who are shocked at these developments in global warming, even within the already recognised context that we are in a climate emergency.
In the Candidate Survey, Stephanie Asher, you are talking about your feelings and not facts as a context – about what you feel is true, and not what the scientists have been saying for over 100 years. The consensus has been for years in the scientific community that at the very latest we must have halved our emissions by 2030 to have just a 66 per cent chance of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5° degrees. So why are you running as a candidate for a party that sets the target of a 35 per cent reduction by 2030?

2. We all know from recent events that when something is regarded as a public health emergency, governments are expected to legislate changing requirements to both the public and private sectors. Why then are you, as a Liberal candidate, “encouraging energy efficiency” and “supporting choices not mandates meaning businesses should be free to adopt renewable power, hydrogen and other technologies at their own pace” – and not, given how dire the situation is, creating legislation? Isn’t that what we have lawmakers and governments for?

3. The waste industry only accounts for around 3 per cent of our carbon emissions. So why as your Top 3 most important issues in a climate-focused survey are you focusing on the waste industry?

4. You mention 13 new joint projects with the State Government in your answer to the question, “What are the three most important issues relating to climate change/the environment and how will your party deal with them?”. What are the subjects and goals of these projects?

5. You cite “funding for Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Clean Energy Finance Corporation“. How do you define “renewables”? For instance, we have seen the Lib-Nat government expanding the definition of “renewables” to now also include black hydrogen produced by burning black coal, and even gas. Is any of this funding going to support the production of hydrogen made using the burning of fossil fuels? Also, how much funding are you devoting to each organisation?

Questions to all candidates: 

1. The freakish heatwaves this week in both the Arctic and the Antarctic has scientists flabbergasted. The North Pole is losing over 8,800 cubic metres of melting ice per second. Scientist say this is a global catastrophe in the making. If the ice on the South Pole melts completely, we are looking at a global sea level rise of 55 metres. What is your comment to this new development at the poles?

2. The two major parties continue to perpetuate the myth of “jobs versus the environment.” We hear again and again that unfortunately we must slow on our efforts to reduce emissions in order to ensure jobs and affordibility to governments and businesses. However study after study shows that the cost of cleaning up climate caused disasters like the one in Lismore (not to mention the personal and social costs) is exploding whilst there have been an equivalent amount of studies demonstrating that there is a huge number of jobs in transitioning quickly to sustainable and regenerative practices and businesses. What is the problem with telling it as it is, since several recent polls have shown that the Australian voters are ready for this? They want you to take strong action on climate, they want you to create clean and circular jobs that protect the environment. Why not listen to these polls? 

3. Why is there nothing in your responses to the survey about legislating the reduction of emissions caused by agriculture which amount to at least one third of total greenhouse gas emissions, for instance by funding alternatives well known about for instance in The Australian Landscape Science Institute and Regenerative Agriculture fields?

4. We see lots of smiling photos of politicians planting trees. However protecting the trees we already have would have a much bigger effect from a climate safety and carbon sequestration perspective. Protecting intact forests as well as letting degraded forests recover would have a greater impact on global emissions than any other land-based drawdown solution. Proforestation, as this is called, would have a 40 times greater impact between now and 2100 than newly planted forests. Why is there nothing in your responses to the survey about legislating to protect the efficient, continued sequestration of carbon by existing forests?

5. Gas is a fossil fuel. When both major parties say “gas has an important role to play in the transition from coal” and that “many other countries also have a demand for Australian fossil fuels”, do you understand that that isn’t actually responding to a climate emergency caused by decades of burning fossil fuels?

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One comment

  1. Well done to Laura and everyone re the forum last night. Fantastic. Not sure if our candidates will be able to stand up to the two party system when they are in Canberra.

    This is a major problem, as Zali Steggall stated, when on the Sustainable Hour with Mik, Tony, Colin and myself last year. Zali stated that local members of Fed Parliament speak up locally, tell us all what we want to hear and what they will do when in Canberra.

    It all sounds really great, the climate problems will be fixed shortly, and sense will prevail. But when these very members are in Canberra they toe the Party Line and sit on their hands so the agenda is set by, I feel, the fossil fuel companies and their very large donations.

    Cheers R

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