I had intended to write a comprehensive guide to the Victorian state election on Saturday, but time is running out. So rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll link to some great existing guides to the parties’ policies on climate and environment:
- Vote Climate Victorian election 2014 – climate policy summary (includes a guide to which parties are directing preferences in a climate-friendly direction)
- Save the Planet Party Rankings
- Environment Victoria
- Friends of the Earth MP Watch
- Also see this writeup of the recent Bendigo climate forum.
- You might also like to use ABC’s Vote Compass to determine where you fit into the political landscape, though it is not specifically focused on climate.
Here’s my very brief summary of where each of the major parties stands:
- You definitely shouldn’t vote for the incumbent Liberal government led by Denis Napthine, whose attacks on climate policy, renewable energy, and the environment are nearly as notorious as its federal counterpart’s. Environment Victoria has chronicled 25 of these attacks. The Liberals promote new coal mines, though under pressure they have imposed a moratorium on coal seam gas mining which will end shortly after the election. They favour roads over public transport and want to replace mandatory energy efficiency standards with voluntary ones.
- The Nationals are associated with the Liberals and have no separate policies.
- Palmer United is run by a coal mining billionaire. Despite promising all sorts of things at various times, Palmer’s track record shows he cannot be trusted on climate.
- Labor quietly released its climate policy this week after having deflected questions about it through most of the campaign. The policy is only four paragraphs long and consists of a few very small measures. It has no plan to transition away from coal-fired power stations, no restrictions on new coal and coal seam gas, and no mention of a Victorian renewable energy target. Labor will keep the Liberals’ anti-wind-farm laws albeit in a weaker form.
- The Greens are campaigning for stronger climate action, support a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, want a permanent ban on coal seam gas, oppose the East-West Link, advocate a Great Forest National Park, and would attempt to reinstate a Victorian Renewable Energy Target of at least 90% by 2030.
And a summary of how the minor parties line up:
- Parties actively opposed to climate action include the Democratic Labour Party, Liberal Democratic Party, Country Alliance, Shooters and Fishers Party, Family First Party, and Rise Up Australia Party.
- Parties with no clear position on climate include the Australian Christians, Basics Rock’n’Roll Party, Voluntary Euthanasia Party, Vote 1 Local Jobs, Voice of the West, and People Power Victoria – No Smart Meters.
- Parties with climate-friendly policies include Save the Planet, Socialist Alliance, Animal Justice Party, Australian Sex Party, and Australian Cyclists Party. Note that the Sex Party seems to only mention its climate policy when talking to the Save the Planet Party, its ads aimed at a general audience tend not to mention climate, and its candidates’ message at climate forums has been inconsistent and so have inconsistent rankings on MP Watch.
- Save the Planet has the strongest climate policies. Because the party is too small to be registered, their candidates are running as independents: Tiffany Harrison (Northern Metro), Dean O’Callaghan (Brunswick), Reade Smith (Frankston), Jordan Crook (Monbulk), and Bryony Edwards (Northcote).
I am also aware of a few independent candidates running on climate:
- Peter Gardner, East Gippsland. Running on a climate emergency platform including 100% renewable energy by 2030, no new coal or coal seam gas, and no fossil fuel subsidies.
- Peter Allan, Northern Metro. Running on climate as well as a range of environmental and community issues.
- Phil Piper, Gippsland South. Running on no coal or gas.
- Morgan Knoesen, Gippsland South. Running mainly on climate issues.
- There may be others – I have not had time to look up every candidate.
Remember, we won’t get another vote for four years, so cast your vote wisely!