Nov 21 2018

Victorian state election 2018

On Saturday 24th November, Victorians will go to the polls. Personally I find it hard to get excited about another election when none of the previous ones have brought real solutions for global warming, but who knows, maybe this one will be different! So I have compiled every political party’s policies on climate change and the environment, and ranked them from best to worst in the following list. I hope this information will help you decide how to cast your vote.

Notes:

  • I strongly advise that you distribute your own preferences by voting “below the line” on the ballot paper, rather than voting “above the line” for some backroom deal – otherwise you might be surprised to find your vote ending up with a party you don’t like.
  • This list covers only climate and environment policies (and some tangentially related economic issues like trade agreements), which I consider the most important because if we don’t save the planet that sustains us then none of the other issues will matter. However, you can follow the links to each party’s website if you want to look at their positions on other issues.
  • I found it difficult to incorporate coal seam gas policies into my rankings, because parties whose general environment policies are across the spectrum can have good policies on coal seam gas, or at least claim to.
  • I have not gone into as much detail for the major parties as the minor ones, and have been partly informed by Environment Victoria’s scorecard: https://environmentvictoria.org.au/election-2018-parties-stand/

The short version

Strong policies, climate is a priority:

  1. Australian Greens
  2. Victorian Socialists
  3. Animal Justice Party

Strong policies, but climate is not a priority:

  1. Sustainable Australia
  2. Health Australia

Some positive policies, but weak on coal and gas:

  1. Fiona Patten’s Reason Party
  2. Australian Labor Party

No climate policies, but may support action on climate:

  1. Vote 1 Local Jobs
  2. Transport Matters Party
  3. Hudson for Northern Victoria
  4. Voluntary Euthanasia Party
  5. Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Poor climate policies:

  1. Australian Country Party
  2. Democratic Labour Party
  3. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

Very poor climate policies:

  1. Australian Liberty Alliance
  2. Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party
  3. Liberal Party of Australia/National Party of Australia
  4. Liberal Democratic Party
  5. Australian Conservatives

Hidden policies:

  1. Aussie Battlers Party

The long version

Strong policies, climate is a priority

The Australian Greens. General focus: Environmentalism. Environment-related policies include:

  • “Human induced climate change poses the one of greatest threats to our world in human history and requires urgent local, national and global action”
  • Phase out coal-fired power plants by 2030
  • 100% renewable energy by 2030
  • Oppose AGL’s proposed gas import terminal
  • Planned transition to make Latrobe Valley a battery storage testbed of the world, with $200 million for pumped hydro storage
  • Support new offshhore wind power
  • New solar across Victoria
  • Install solar panels and batteries in all Victorian public schools
  • Increase Victoria’s energy efficiency target to 10% by 2030
  • More energy-efficient housing including requiring roofs to be either green or solar panels
  • Detailed plans for new and improved railways and bike lanes/paths
  • Oppose new freeways
  • Oppose logging
  • Create a Great Forest National Park
  • Ban some plastics, and reduce and recycle others
  • Create a new Invasive Species Management Authority
  • Strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Enshrine environmental water flows in legislation
  • Employ a Climate Commissioner

Victorian Socialists. General focus: Socialism. Environment-related policies include:

  • “The planet is in crisis from climate change and habitat destruction, a direct product of a world economy based on capitalism, nationalism, and profit-directed growth. Nothing makes the case for socialism clearer than the fate of our natural world: wasteful production, output and carbon emissions must be dramatically reduced and the best way of doing this is by bringing energy into democratically controlled public hands.”
  • A radical lift in targets for emissions reduction and renewable energy
  • Develop a renewable energy manufacturing industry
  • Raise Victoria’s renewable energy target to 60% by 2025
  • Support the ban on unconventional gas exploration and mining, which major parties want to lift
  • Replace the Latrobe Valley’s ageing coal power plants with a publicly owned global hub for renewable energy “not in 30 years, but in 15 or 10”
  • Transition from old-growth logging to plantation timbers
  • A new publicly owned recycling hub in Melbourne’s north
  • Regulations to discourage plastic bags and unnecessary packaging
  • A free expanded public transport system
  • Public ownership of the power and public transport companies
  • More parks and green space in new housing development areas
  • A better bike path network
  • More electric rail for regional Victoria
  • Experiment with more sustainable methods of agriculture
  • Water restrictions, especially for mining and agribusiness and heavy industry, based on scientific assessment of rivers, wetlands, and water tables
  • A publicly owned water supply
  • More water tanks
  • Shut down corporations that pollute water
  • Subsidize irrigation efficiency technology
  • Preferences the Greens

Animal Justice Party. General focus: Animal rights. Environment-related policies include:

  • Climate change is an emergency and causing mass extinction, requiring urgent action
  • Encourage a plant-based diet
  • Ban further land clearing
  • Phase out the cattle industry
  • Desubsidize intensive animal agriculture
  • Rapidly transform to a carbon-free energy infrastructure
  • Rapidly reduce grazing, allowing reforestation
  • Prohibit any fossil fuel expansion, including coal seam gas and other natural gas
  • Carbon tax on coal and animal agriculture industries, directing the revenue into sustainable energy and agriculture
  • Favor materials that are recyclable and have a low land use footprint
  • Transition to 100% plantation forestry
  • Aim to keep the national human birth rate low and limit population growth to within existing urban boundaries

Strong policies, but climate is not a priority

Sustainable Australia. General focus: Anti-population-growth. Environment-related policies include:

  • Lower immigration from 200,000 to 70,000 per year to reduce Australian population growth
  • Maintain refugee intake, but address the poverty and war that drives refugee migration
  • Increase foreign aid for female education and contraception to reduce global population growth
  • Lower Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% below 2000 by 2025, 40-60% by 2030, and 80-100% by 2050
  • Renewable energy target of at least 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050
  • Fund clean energy R&D
  • Impose a moratorium on all new export-based coal mines in Australia
  • Phase out fossil fuel subsidies
  • Lobby for a globally consistent carbon price that does not penalize Australian industries
  • A moratorium on all fracking
  • No nuclear power
  • Assess pumped hydro energy storage opportunities
  • Promote a plant-based diet
  • Reduce waste and increase recycling
  • Prioritize public transport funding over new tollways
  • End broadscale land clearing and rehabitate degraded lands
  • Minimize native forest logging and end old-growth forest logging
  • Widespread habitat protection and wildlife corridors
  • Audit all nonrenewable resources and implement strategic resource depletion protocols and usage rights
  • Resource Super Profits Tax with the revenue directed to sustainability
  • Invest in environmental education
  • Citizen juries to decide local planning
  • Review and renegotiate all trade agreements
  • Require more timely disclosure of political donations

Health Australia Party. General focus: Alternative medicine. Environment-related policies include:

  • Vague on acceptance of climate change science (perhaps due to a general distrust of the scientific establishment) but support strong action on it
  • Retire fossil fuel generators over at maximum 15 years
  • Shift fossil fuel subsidies to renewables
  • Mining companies should not have access to land without permission
  • Invest in clean energy R&D
  • “Optimal emissions targets set by objective science”
  • Prohibit logging of old-growth forests
  • Regenerative agriculture and permaculture
  • Reduce dependence on imported food by fostering food co-operatives
  • Stricter regulation of pesticides
  • Improve public transport infrastructure
  • Promote low-carbon architecture
  • Build new dams and monitor water use of landowners
  • Research funded publically rather than by industry

Some positive policies, but weak on coal and gas

Fiona Patten’s Reason Party. General focus: Individual liberty. Environment-related policies include:

  • Plan for the achievement of Paris Agreement targets
  • Extend Victoria’s Renewable Energy Action Plan beyond 2040
  • Feasibility study on potential pumped-hydro sites
  • Green roofs
  • Invest in walking and cycling paths
  • Increase public transport including frequency of trains to Melbourne’s north
  • Ban retiring MPs from becoming lobbyists for a fixed term
  • Build an outer metropolitan ring road

Australian Labor Party. General focus: Public services. Environment-related policies include:

  • Has extended coal mining licenses in the Latrobe Valley
  • Has no plan to close Victoria’s coal-fired power plants
  • Support North-West Link and Westgate Tunnel
  • Support AGL’s proposed gas import terminal at Crib Point
  • Expanding offshore gas drilling
  • Have imposed a moratorium on new onshore gas projects
  • Have banned fracking and unconventional gas extraction
  • Victorian Renewable Energy Target of 40% by 2025 and 50% by 2030
  • Install solar panels on 650,000 homes over the next decade
  • Pay homes with rooftop solar a fairer price for electricity they provide to the grid
  • Has a good suite of energy efficiency policies
  • A $300 million Green Bond
  • Upgrade metropolitan rail
  • Zero net emissions by 2050

No climate policies, but may support action on climate

Vote 1 Local Jobs. General focus: Regional employment. Environment-related policies include:

  • No mention of climate
  • Say no to coal seam gas and free trade agreements to protect agriculture
  • Encourage people to buy local
  • Camping and fishing in public reserves

Transport Matters Party. General focus: Pro-taxi-drivers. Environment-related policies include:

  • No mention of climate
  • Upgrade the entire public transport system, particularly taxis
  • Like electric cars
  • Support East-West Link and North-East Link

Hudson for Northern Victoria. General focus: Unclear. Environment-related policies include:

  • No policy detail, merely: “This party has been set up by like-minded Northern Victorians who want greater grassroots advocacy, focusing on local issues such as our industry and economy, small business, our water, health/mental health, education, roads, rail, sporting and recreation facilities, our CFA and our diverse agricultural and horticultural industries.”
  • No mention of climate or environment
  • Preferences are inconsistent but more often go to left-wing parties

Voluntary Euthanasia Party. General focus: Euthanasia. Environment-related policies include:

  • No policy beyond protecting the recent legalization of voluntary euthanasia.
  • Will consider issues on a case-by-case basis

Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party. General focus: Tough on crime. Environment-related policies include:

  • No mention of climate or environment
  • Has an animal rights policy
  • Preferences the Greens last

Poor climate policies

Australian Country Party. General focus: Regional interests. Environment-related policies include:

  • No mention of climate
  • “An inquiry to determine the cheapest and most reliable for of electricity without any requirement of subsidies”
  • Container Deposit Scheme to reduce littering
  • Preference environmentalist parties last

Democratic Labour Party. General focus: Catholic distibutism. Environment-related policies include:

  • No mention of climate or environment in policy documents
  • Invest in “high-efficency low-emissions” coal-fired power stations
  • End “the ridiculous amount of tax-payer funded subsidies propping up renewable energy”
  • “A net reduction of red and green tape”
  • Stop the Murray-Darling Basin Plan
  • Increase immigration to increase population growth
  • Oppose free trade agreements
  • Preferences the Greens last

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. General focus: Nationalism. Environment-related policies include:

  • Website does not list any Victorian policies – the following are mostly federal policies
  • No mention of climate change, but the Queensland branch says “Commit to ‘red and green tape’ reduction”
  • Build new “low-emission” coal-fired power stations
  • Build new dams
  • Oppose mining or coal seam gas exploration on farmland
  • Lower immigration from 200,000 to 70,000 per year to reduce Australian population growth
  • Review trade agreements

Very poor climate policies

Australian Liberty Alliance. General focus: Anti-Islam. Environment-related policies include:

  • Claim not to deny climate change and human impact on the environment, but emphasise that climate change and extreme weather happened before human impact
  • Environment policies focus on toxic waste, rubbish accumulation, national container deposit scheme, and biodegradeable packaging material
  • Reduce renewable energy subsidies
  • Reduce dependency on oil by promoting natural gas and non-combustive engines for cars
  • Construct new dams for hydro power and irrigation, and abolish the Murray-Darling Basin Plan
  • Investigate thorium as a nuclear power source
  • Renegotiate trade agreements that disadvantage Australian interests
  • Preferences the Greens last

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. General focus: Right-to-roam. Environment-related policies include:

  • Website does not list any Victorian policies – however their website says things like the following
  • No subsidies for renewables that are not commercially viable
  • Use our “vast reserves of gas, coal, uranium and oil shales”
  • Oppose a carbon tax that would disadvantage Australian businesses
  • Let farmers decide which land is cleared and burned
  • Prevent legal challenges against environmental approvals
  • “We assert the right to farm free from oppressive green and red tape”
  • “Fishers have increasingly become the victims of green bureaucracy gone mad”
  • “Access to public lands and waters for all recreational users”
  • “Oppose the vilification of four-wheel driving and motoring enthusisasts”
  • “Promote shooting, hunting and fishing as appropriate school activities”
  • “Strike the appropriate balance between responsible usage and preservation”

Liberal Party of Australia/National Party of Australia. General focus: Right-wing. Environment-related policies include:

  • Build a new fossil-fuel-fired power station
  • Keep ageing coal power plants open
  • Accelerate onshore gas extraction
  • Claim to support the ban on fracking and coal seam gas
  • Abolish the Victorian Renewable Energy Target
  • Put a 75% local content requirement on all large-scale renewable energy projects
  • Opposes the Green Bond
  • Opposes any new National Parks
  • Reallocate environmental water flows to farmers
  • Support East-West Link and North-East Link
  • Upgrade regional rail
  • Fund solar at 700 public schools
  • Research “clean coal”

Liberal Democratic Party. General focus: “Libertarianism” (by which they mean mostly capitalist liberties). Environment-related policies include:

  • Emphasise that climate change happened before human impact and the Medieval Warm Period was good for the Vikings
  • Place a low value on the natural environment, arguing only our prosperous society has the luxury of overvaluing it
  • If they become convinced that global warming is a problem and humans can affect it, they favor market-based options
  • Generally supports free markets and free trade
  • Concerned about noise pollution from wind farms
  • Like nuclear power
  • Privatize all energy companies
  • No restrictions on logging
  • Allow hunters access to national parks
  • Conservation should be done only by allowing environmental groups the “freedom they are now denied, to buy the relevant natural resources and devote them to conservation purposes”
  • No subsidies for recycling
  • Preferences the Greens last

Australian Conservatives. General focus: Conservatism. Environment-related policies include:

  • Describe climate change, emissions targets, and renewable energy as “ideological obsessions”
  • Withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord
  • “Legislative certainty for the ongoing use of fossil fuels”
  • “We will support landholders’ rights to allow gas production on their properties” (notice the sneaky wording!)
  • “Remove the red and green tape strangling business”
  • No renewable energy targets
  • Electricity supplied to the grid must be predictable in output
  • Promote nuclear energy
  • Build more dams for hydro power
  • Revisit all trade agreements every ten years
  • Reduce immigration, reducing Australian population growth
  • Restrict political donations to individuals with a capped annual amount

Hidden policies

Aussie Battler Party. General focus: Unclear. Category: N/A. This party has deleted and rewritten all their policies several times! So I am not going to bother analyzing their policies, I instead conclude they are so dishonest that nobody should vote for them.

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