31 Oct 2011
Australia is now closer than ever to a clean energy future, with the bills to put a price on carbon and invest in clean, renewable energy being debated in the Senate.
These bills, which wouldn't have happened without the Greens, are a vital first step to tackle the climate crisis and transform our economy. From now on, the biggest polluters will have to pay for their impact on the climate, meaning investors will be more likely to put their money into cleaner alternatives like highly efficient plant and buildings and baseload solar power stations. The funds from the price on pollution will be invested in rolling out clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency, protecting our forests and the carbon in our soils, and helping householders and businesses meet rising costs.
Senator Milne today welcomed to parliament representatives from communities across the country who are saying yes to the carbon price. You can hear audio of the press conference here.
You can read Christine's Second Reading speech on the bills here.
31 Oct 2011
Senator MILNE (Tasmania-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (11:44): I rise today on what is an historic day in the Australian parliament in the Senate. This is the day when the Senate will begin to consider the clean energy package and will start delivering on real action on climate change in Australia as these bills pass. It is an historic day in Australia and globally because it is the day on which the seven-billionth is expected to join us on the planet. We live on a finite planet and the non-renewable resources of the earth are under huge pressure. Equally, the earth's atmosphere, oceans and rivers do not have an unlimited capacity to absorb waste. That is why we are suffering the consequences of global warming already. Global warming is accelerating. In 2011, at the end of the first decade of this century, it poses the greatest threat to human civilisation and to the ongoing health and wellbeing of our fellow species and ecosystems with whom we share this beautiful planet.
31 Oct 2011
Press conference with Senator Milne, Mr Oakeshott, Mr Windsor, the Australian Conservation Foundation and Environment Victoria, as well as representatives from communities around Australia, supporting the introduction of a price on carbon, as the bills enter the Senate.
26 Oct 2011
The Gillard government's "rethink" on free trade is long overdue and the focus needs to shift in the short term to the government's headlong rush into the US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, Australian Greens Deputy Leader Christine Milne said today.
"Australia should not trade away its health care, nor should it trade away its food security, local media content rules or Australian government procurement rules just because US companies want the right to sue Australian governments for damages on the grounds that environmental or other public interest laws could harm their investments," Senator Milne said in Hobart.
"The process and the text of the proposed agreement should be opened up to public scrutiny and evidence of benefits needs to be clearly established before these agreements are signed up to - as was not the case with the US FTA.
"Fair trade, not just free trade, needs to be the focus. There needs to be transparency and consistency on labour rights and environmental laws as well as an unreserved support for developing and least developed countries.
"A long-standing concern of the Greens has been the increasing difficulties faced by food producers when trying to compete against products produced with lax environmental standards and low wages. Free trade agreements which take no account of environmental laws or wage differences make it near impossible for farmers to compete with foreign-grown products no matter how efficient Australian farmers are.
"A Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA would also bring with it Monsanto's pressure regarding genetically engineered crops and their push to end labelling of GE foods, pressure from US corporates on Australia's pharmaceutical benefits scheme, and a push back on the plain packaging of tobacco.
"Just yesterday the Public Health Association of Australia warned that documents leaked from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement talks outline US proposals for provisions that would raise the cost of medicines, extend the monopoly rights of drug companies and place new restrictions on Australia's pharmaceutical benefits scheme.
"The world needs a new trade regime that maximises food production where it can be grown best and which guarantees fair trade in food and equitable access for all.
"Instead of recycling old ways of thinking we should think about this century's challenges of sustainability in the face of huge population growth, including climate change, the growing gap between rich and poor, and the competition between China and the US for influence across the Pacific and beyond."
21 Oct 2011
Andrew Robb has now explicitly accused the Government and Greens of corrupting the independent Clean Energy Finance Corporation even before the highly respected Jillian Broadbent has begun her work to determine its investment mandate.
"Mr Robb needs to put up or shut up. There is no evidence to support his claim and he must withdraw and come clean that all he is doing is throwing mud and debasing the process.
"The whole point about creating a statutory authority, as the Greens were determined to do, is to ensure that this kind of interference cannot occur.
"Once again, Tony Abbott and his front bench are showing that they will say and do anything to get their hands on power."
Mr Robb's accusation is contained in his press release here:
21 Oct 2011
Senator Milne held a press conference today speaking about Andrew Robb's latest extreme attack against the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
21 Oct 2011
The credibility of Tony Abbott's front bench on finance has collapsed even further with Shadow Finance Minister, Andrew Robb's latest extreme attack on the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Greens said today.
This attack comes as the UK Government's Foresight Group released a report entitled Migration and Global Environmental Change, saying that the world is facing decades of unprecedented hardship as a result of climate change.
"This extraordinary attack by the Shadow Finance Minister on a governor of the Reserve Bank and some of the most respected members of Australia's investment community shows that Tony Abbott's Opposition will say anything to get their hands on power," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"Australia's business and investment community must be alarmed about what might happen if these self-serving politicians do get their hands on Treasury and other economic levers."
19 Oct 2011
Christine Milne speaks to ABC RN Brekky about Tony Abbott's blood oath to repeal the Clean Energy Future legislation getting messier.
19 Oct 2011
Tony Abbott's blood oath to repeal the Clean Energy Future package gets messier each time he or his Ministers attempt to clarify it, the Australian Greens said today.
Greg Hunt's ‘clarification' on the future of the carbon farming permits which will bring investment and jobs to rural and regional Australia has left more questions than answers.
"However he tries to dress it up, Tony Abbott has taken a bulldozer to job and investment opportunities in regional Australia, as well as the rest of the country, with his blood oath," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"Mr Abbott is trying to pretend he is somehow insulating farmers from his all out attack on confidence and investment, but he is in fact digging a bigger and bigger hole for himself and the economy.
18 Oct 2011
Tony Abbott's determination to make his great big new lie stick has extended to an attack on investor confidence and certainty that threatens Australia's renewable energy industry, generation infrastructure, Australian jobs and the price paid by everyday Australians for their energy needs, Deputy Greens Leader Christine Milne said today.
"Mr Abbott is increasingly desperate. He knows that he can't, and won't, repeal the carbon package legislation as his economically irresponsible political gamble would be devastating to Australian industry and Australian jobs," Senator Milne said in Canberra.
"But he also knows that his leadership and bid for The Lodge depends upon it.
"Mr Abbott is so keen to get into The Lodge that he is prepared to say and do anything to junk investment in energy generation and send householders' power bills sky-high while he is in Opposition, knowing full well that he will not abolish the scheme if he ever got into government.
"Certainty is essential for investment in desperately needed energy infrastructure but it is clear that Mr Abbott wants a capital strike.
"Mr Hockey and Mr Robb, acting as if they are part of a government-in-waiting although an election is two years away, say the Coalition would abolish the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
"Far from being a slush fund the clean energy fund is a statutory authority designed to prevent political fingers undermining its effectiveness. It is a cornerstone of the economy's transition to a clean energy future," Senator Milne said.
"The Coalition is directly attacking expansion of renewable energy which the community wants to support and wants people to believe that it has an alternative climate change policy.
"Wrong. They have no policy, they have a white paper process.
"Whilst Mr Abbott said (on 14/10/2011), 'an incoming Coalition government's first instruction to the public service would be to prepare legislation to rescind the tax. It would be our first order of parliamentary business'," Senator Milne said.
"But yesterday his climate change spokesperson explained (AFR, 17/10/2011) that the Coalition might not be so hasty, proposing a white paper process."
"Today Hockey said, 'one of the things we will be repealing' which begs the question, which ones will you not be?"
"Perhaps the Coalition is realising the absurdity of backing a 'direct action plan' that would cost the taxpayer more than $100 billion. Perhaps they are weighing it up against the package the Greens agreed with the Government that will make big polluters pay, assist householders and provide for the future energy options on which so much of the rest of business depends," Senator Milne said.