Independent candidates put climate first

The Sustainable Hour no 377

In The Tunnel on 25 August 2021, our first guest is the independent Member of Parliament for the federal seat of Warringah, Zali Steggall.

Zali, who calls herself a voice for the middle, replaced Tony Abbott in a once Liberal stronghold in Sydney at the last election. She did this with a very carefully carried out community organised election campaign. Today in The Sustainable Hour, we learn about this campaign, which she is urging other electorates to try, in an attempt to stifle power from the major parties whose policies of voting along party lines are holding us back as a nation and making us a mockery on the world stage, particularly when it comes to our lack of action on climate.

The opening statement on Zali’s website gives insight into her values: “My team and I are passionate about finding solutions through innovation and collaboration. We are focused on being champions for integrity in government and being an independent voice for Warringah”.

To address the climate emergency, Zali has introduced a Climate Bill into Federal Parliament. It failed at the first attempt. She intends to keep putting it up till the weight of evidence means that it becomes an election issue. And so that during the election period, campaigners will be able to hold each candidate accountable for how they voted on Zali’s Climate Bill.

You can find out more about Zali’s Climate Change Bill at and about Zali’s political and personal initiatives

Local resident Robert Patterson has taken up a very keen interest in Zali’s bill. We learn what he’s been doing to support her bill over the last 12 months and why he has decided to ramp that up in September with a mass mailout to federal politicians.

You can find out more about Robert’s letter campaign here: We urge all our listeners to support Robert in this! Send a letter to Canberra before 30th of September.   

Colin Mockett‘s Global Outlook this week starts with Australian scientists challenging the IPCC global warming report, but not in the expected Aussie way. They’re saying the UN-backed report underestimated the likelihood of major weather events in the Pacific. Their paper says figures indicate the frequency of El Nino events with extreme rainfall impacts will double from one event per 20 years to one every decade. 

In light of last week’s topic on Geelong’s proposal to burn waste for energy, we then zoom to London where the UK Government announced that eight companies have been shortlisted to receive a share of £20 million to develop a process that will turn waste into jet fuel. They would  convert waste alcohol, carbon from the atmosphere, sewage and household waste into jet fuel on a commercial scale. If successful, this would deal with two huge problems we currently face: emissions from jet fuel and carbon in our atmosphere. 

At the weekend Greenland saw rain at the highest point of its ice sheet for the first time, ever. Usually the place is below-zero year round, it only snows. This, and the wildfires on the French Riviera – rated the worst in centuries – show that climate change is impacting now. 

Finally, back in the United Kingdom, with less than 100 days to COP 26, the UK has unveiled its new hydrogen strategy aimed at producing 30 per cent of the country’s energy consumption by 2050. As part of this impetus, British Airways announced it had invested $24.3 million US dollars in a company called  ZeroAvia to develop a large hydrogen-electric engine, capable of flying further and using larger aircraft as soon as 2026. 

Until next Wednesday when we return, we hope that we have given you all much to think about – in fact expanding your thinking to what’s the best way for you to become a political and election-focused climate revolutionary. Take care and may the difference be with you.

“My call would be for people who want to run as independent: The worst thing that can happen is you have ten independents running, and then no one gets up. So it is really important for people to work together within communities that you find your best candidate, and everyone gets behind the best candidate, rather than, you know, everyone cannibalising each other, because that is what the major parties rely on. So you have to be united. Climate is an issue which should be beyond whatever small differences there are, and everyone has to be united around one candidate. And then you will absolutely give the major parties a run for their money.”
~ Zali Steggall, independent member of Parliament, in The Sustainable Hour no 377

In this short video, Zali Steggall MP and Robert Patterson from ADAC explain what it is the Climate Change Bills and the Mass Mailout For Climate campaign aim to achieve. Share on Facebook

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We at The Sustainable Hour would like to pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land on which we are broadcasting, the Wathaurong People, and pay our respect to their elders, past, present and future.

The traditional owners lived in harmony with the land. They nurtured it and thrived in often harsh conditions for millenia before they were invaded. Their land was then stolen from them – it wasn’t ceeded. It is becoming more and more obvious that, if we are to survive the climate emergency we are facing, we have much to learn from their land management practices.

Our battle for climate justice won’t be won until our First Nations brothers and sisters have their true justice. When we talk about the future, it means extending our respect to those children not yet born, the generations of the future – remembering the old saying that…

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.”

The decisions currently being made around Australia to ignore the climate emergency are being made by those who won’t be around by the time the worst effects hit home. How disrespectful and unfair is that?

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“We are either entering a period of profound and rapid transformation, or brutal collapse.”
~ Paul Gilding, Australian author and former Greenpeace leader

Independents and the Greens lead the pack on climate

The independents in Parliament rank high on Rob Eisenberg’s Climate Action Score card.

“Force our politicians to act on climate change by becoming a Climate Voter with Vote Earth Now. Which leaders are really doing something about climate change? See the Climate Action Score…”
~ Professor Rob Eisenberg, founder of Vote Earth Now

Click to go to the home page Vote Earth Now
When you ‘climate vote’, an email is sent to your local member of parliament, saying:

“To the Honourable …xxx…,
I am a voter in your electorate. I am fearful for the future and sad and ashamed that Australia is last in the world for action on climate change. I have just pledged to be a Climate Voter on pledging my vote to the politician with the best track record of action against climate change (according to the Climate Action Score). The sooner you act the better your chance of helping to save the future and winning my vote. Yours Sincerely ……”

“Each of our votes is both precious and powerful. Realise how much power we have together to force politicians to face climate change. We are a community and a movement and the more you spread the faster we will succeed!”

Find Vote Earth Now on FacebookTwitterLinkedinInstagram

“If a good man isn’t willing to rule, the greatest part of the penalty for that is that he will then be ruled by a more wicked man.”
~ Plato, ancient philosopher who lived 2,500 years ago in Athens, Greece. Quote from ‘Republic’, 347c1-5.

Zali Steggall MP

It is time to unify

Zali Steggall’s advice to climate election campaigners: “You must seek to unify independent voices behind the best candidate.”

If you are planning to engage with mobilising climate-conscious voters in the coming election, you’ve got to hear what Steggall explained to us in The Sustainable Hour on 25 August 2021.

“Unfortunately in the last 10-20 years, we have gone into politics where a vast number of politicians are career politicians. They are in it for power and ambition. They are not in it to represent community. In fact it is very common that both Coalition and Labor will take someone into a seat – they are not even from that region – and they will then run as a candidate for that area. They have no connection to that area, but they get put in that seat and they run. Now, they are not running for the benefit of that electorate. They are running for their personal ambition and for their desire for power and promotion,” Zali Steggall told The Sustainable Hour’s listeners. She not only pointed out what is the root cause of the shocking climate inaction in Australian politics, but also pointed towards a realistic way the problem can be fixed.

“At the moment our politics are held to ransom by our donation laws, which favour major parties. Our media laws favour major parties as well. To develop your platform has traditionally been incredibly difficult. But I do think for the last two election cycles, with the growth of social media, the fact that essentially as a candidate your shop front is your website, and you have an ability to communicate with people through social media channels, it kind of has liberated independents to be able to run a successful campaign without needing all the traditional kind of pillars that were needed to be successful. So, I do think this is a growing movement. We need to make sure it grows fast enough to deliver the results we need for a number of policy issues and we need to keep going with that.”

“We know from the last few elections that the primary vote for major parties keeps dropping, so people are not identifying with major parties. The next level that we need to do is unify all the independent voices behind their best candidate.”

“So my call would be for people who want to run as independent: The worst thing that can happen is you have ten independents running, and then no one gets up. So it is really important for people to work together within communities that you find your best candidate, and everyone gets behind the best candidate, rather than, you know, everyone cannibalising each other, because that is what the major parties rely on. So you have to be united. Climate is an issue which should be beyond whatever small differences there are, and everyone has to be united around one candidate. And then you will absolutely give the major parties a run for their money,” said Ms Steggall.

What is wrong with the Morrison government?

The fossil fuel companies have the money it takes to buy our politicians. Both Coalition and Labor are shamefully entangled in a web of industry lobbying. Which is why Australia has   

· No credible climate policy

· No national energy policy

· No electric vehicle policy

· Worst of all: No national Net Zero target

The Morrison government is still playing around with those same pathetic emissions reduction targets since 2015. And at the same time, it is handing out billions of taxpayer-dollars to the polluting, climate-wrecking industries.

The Morrison government has adopted a suite of pro-coal, anti-renewables policies including:

· An annual $7 billion CoalKeeper subsidy that will allow unprofitable, ageing, polluting coal-fired stations to operate well beyond their lifespan;

· A new solar tax that penalises Australian families to export their solar power to the energy grid;

· A new SolarStopper tax on solar farms (also known as the Congestion Management Model); and

· Legislative changes to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act that force the national renewable energy agency to fund fossil fuel projects, and which may be illegal.

“These are the worst possible policies for the biggest challenge of our times. The world is literally burning and by expanding fossil fuels at this time the Morrison Government is fuelling the fire.”
~ John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Smart Energy Council

Investigation of government’s personal relationship with fossil fuel executives

Empire Energy’s “close financial and personal relationships” with the Liberal party warrant an investigation into the government’s decision to award it $21m in federal gas exploration grants, a Senate inquiry has found.

→ The Guardian – 25 August 2021:
Senate committee wants Beetaloo gas grants investigated as Labor refers matter to auditor general
“Almost half the funding from the fracking program awarded to Empire Energy, which shares connections with the Liberal party, inquiry finds”

→ The Sydney Morning Herald – 2 May 2019:
Only independents can force action on climate
Letters to the Editor

→ Central Western Daily – 16 May 2019:
Two party system dying: Father Rod Bower
“The Anglican priest best known for his politically-charged billboards on the NSW Central Coast is running for the Senate for Independents for Climate Action Now or ICAN. The collective say they will work together to push the government towards delivering 100 per cent renewable energy.”

“We must forget about net zero… We need real zero.” Following on from last week’s release of the latest IPCC report, Greta Thunberg’s powerful words at Davos 2020 ring ever true. All eyes are on companies and their work to achieve their ambitious climate and carbon goals. Discerning judgement from consumers, shareholders and employees means that there is zero tolerance for greenwashing or carbon offsetting shortcuts.”
~ Alexia Croft, Project Director, Sustainable Business, Reuters Events

“Net zero by 2050 is a tough target. It will require an unprecedented pace of asset replacement and renewal, starting now.”
~ Grattan Institute report, ‘Towards net zero: practical policies to reduce industrial emissions’

“The European Union has just presented some of the world’s most ambitious climate policies to confront climate change and make the ‘European Green Deal’ a reality – transforming the 27-country bloc to a climate neutral continent by 2050 while fostering prosperity and nurturing the natural world. Back home, the Australian Government is persevering with its ‘gas-fired recovery’, heavily investing in the fossil fuel industry, increasing emissions domestically and overseas, and increasingly alienating itself from trading partners and key allies.”
~ Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director, The Australia Institute

A bolder vision of climate leadership

1. Cut emissions towards zero, not “net zero.”
2. View carbon removal only as a last resort (for unavoidable emissions).
3. Pay the “Social Cost of Carbon” for ongoing pollution.
4. Address historic emissions, too.
5. Carefully weigh issues of climate justice every step of the way.

Project Drawdown Executive Director Jonathan Foley offering a new way forward for corporate climate leadership. 

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The tale of climate chaos

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Events we have talked about in The Sustainable Hour

Events in Victoria

The following is a collation of Victorian climate change events, activities, seminars, exhibitions, meetings and protests. Most are free, many ask for RSVP (which lets the organising group know how many to expect), some ask for donations to cover expenses, and a few require registration and fees. This calendar is provided as a free service by volunteers of the Victorian Climate Action Network. Information is as accurate as possible, but changes may occur.



List of running petitions where we encourage you to add your name

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Live-streaming: on pause


The Sustainable Hour is normally streamed live on the Internet every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm (Melbourne time), but due to the corona lockdown, the radio station has been closed. The program is instead in rotation and is aired on FM at different times, often several times a week.

» To listen to The Pulse on your computer or phone, click here – or go to where you then click on ‘Listen Live’ on the right.

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