Australian climate voting guide

Let’s make this the climate election!

Here’s my guide for how to vote for climate action on 18 May (or earlier if you’re a pre-poll voter). Depending on where you live you may have a slightly different set of parties to consider, but the main parties are the same everywhere of course. This guide covers all parties running for the Victorian Senate.

I have ranked their environment policies from best to worst. I consider this the most important issue, 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 other positions. (I intend to also post about policies on Julian Assange, to conclude my ongoing series on that issue.)

The Senate ballot paper requires you to number at least 6 boxes to cast a valid vote, but bear in mind that 6 is just a minimum and you can number as many as you want. Remember that when you stop numbering, your vote stops counting. For example, if you number only 6 boxes, and those 6 options are eliminated, your vote will then have no influence over who wins a seat. I advise you to keep numbering boxes until you no longer have any preference between the remaining parties.

I hope this information will help you decide how to cast your vote.

The short version

Download (PDF, 139KB)

The long version below lists the details behind the above summary.

The long version

Urgent action policies

Australian Greens

General focus: Environmentalism.

Environment policies include:

  • “This is the climate change election”
  • “The mining, burning and exporting of coal is the world’s biggest cause of climate change – and Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of coal”
  • “UN scientists have told us we have less than 11 years to get global pollution under control or our planetary system is likely tip over into a climate breakdown”
  • Detailed plan to rapidly transform Australia’s energy system
  • No new coal, oil, or gas, such as the Adani coal mine
  • Ban all new offshore oil and gas, including in marine parks and the Great Australian Bight
  • Stop coal port expansions
  • Phase out thermal coal exports by 2030 through a schedule of coal export caps reducing each year, with permits auctioned at a floor price of $1/tonne
  • Phase out coal-fired power stations by 2030, proposing a detailed timeline for closures
  • Closed coal mines to be rehabilitated into useable land
  • National ban on fracking, “a serious threat to our climate, groundwater, agricultural land and community”
  • Commission “an independent study of the real climate impacts of gas mining”
  • Give landholders the right to say no to mining on their land
  • No new gas pipelines and infrastructure
  • End fossil fuel subsidies
  • Cut emissions 63-82% by 2030 and to net zero no later than 2040
  • Oppose the “accounting trick” of rolling over Kyoto surplus credits, “which will cut Liberal and Labor targets by up to 50 per cent”
  • Oppose international offsets to ensure climate action occurs in Australia
  • 100% of new vehicles to be electric by 2030
  • Introduce Labor’s vehicle emissions standard earlier then ramp it up
  • Require car manufacturers to sell a set percentage of electric vehicles each year
  • Tax breaks for electric cars, funded by a 17% tax on “luxury fossil fuel cars”
  • Roll out electric vehicle fast charging infrastructure
  • Restore a carbon price
  • 100% renewable energy by 2030, with an Energy Storage Target of 419GWh
  • $1 billion Clean Energy Transition Fund to ensure a just transition plan for coal workers
  • Intervene to save the Port Augusta solar thermal plant
  • Create a new public authority, Renew Australia, to lead the transition to low emissions
  • Re-establish a government-owned energy retailer, Power Australia, to “contract the next wave of renewable energy projects” and push down electricity prices by competing with the other retailers’ price-gauging
  • Create clean energy jobs primarily in regional areas
  • $1.7 billion Clean Energy Export Development Fund to build a clean energy export industry using hydrogen, ammonia, and underwater cables to Asia
  • Reinstate Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding
  • $6 billion Grid Transformation Fund to create Renewable Energy Zones
  • $1.2 billion Solar for All program susbidizing rooftop solar for apartment buildings
  • “Offer people the opportunity to buy into Solar Gardens, installed on a supermarket or community building, and get to retain ownership of their solar panel when they move”
  • Renewable energy and storage microgrids to support remote and indigenous communities
  • Support community renewable energy projects
  • $2.2 billion Household Solar Storage Scheme “providing household battery storage incentives of up to $7000 per battery” (and double that for small businesses and low-income households)
  • National Energy Efficiency Target mandating energy retailers to drive energy efficiency improvements
  • Clean Technology Program to stop gas installation in new houses and educate the public to replace gas heaters with reverse cycle air conditioners
  • Reestablish the Carbon Farming Initiative to support carbon drawdown, to be sold as offsets to the carbon market
  • Green Steel Innovation Fund
  • An extra $25 billion for rail and bus services
  • “End the toll road rort” by redirecting $6 billion in toll road funding to public transport
  • An Australia High Speed Rail Authority to build east coast high speed rail
  • $250 million for safe and accessible cycling and walking infrastructure
  • Replace current environmental approval process with new law including greenhouse gas emissions, extending the water trigger to cover all forms of gas extraction, and making it easier for communities to challenge decisions in court
  • A federal Environmental Protection Agency with “real powers to enforce the law and provide independent expert advice”
  • An Environment Commission to “identify and plan for strategic environmental interests”
  • Stop sending “recycling” overseas or to landfill
  • “Aim for zero waste”
  • Fund waste-avoidance infrastructure through Clean Energy Finance Corporation
  • Introduce waste stewardship plans for televisions, computers, phones, batteries, fluorescent lights, tyres, and mattresses
  • Phase out single-use plastics such as straws, stirrers, cutlery, utensils, plates, bowls, polystyrene containers and cups, and other plastic packaging
  • National container deposit scheme
  • Plastics Research Centre to address plastic pollution
  • Expand marine parks
  • Transition to 100% plantation-sourced timber, ending logging of native forests and broadscale land-clearing
  • Reallocate Great Barrier Reef funding and ban dumping of dredge spoil there
  • Implement the South Australian Royal Commission’s recommendations to ensure more water in the Murray Darling
  • Australia Institute modeling shows this plan can create 200,000 new jobs, double those currently employed in the fossil fuel industry
  • Ban political donations from mining companies among others

Personal thoughts: The Australian Greens are returning to their roots by placing a greater focus on the environment than in previous elections. I have placed them first ahead of ICAN because their climate policies are more detailed than any other party. However, one concern is that in the past the Greens have pushed for compromises with Labor rather than their own stated policies.

Independents for Climate Action Now

General focus: Climate activism.

Environment policies include:

  • Climate change “a threat that could annihilate most people on earth”
  • Threat of triggering runaway climate change is an emergency
  • “Fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground”
  • Seek to work with all climate-committed parliamentarians to form a “Climate Caucus” to hold the government to account on effective climate policy
  • Work with all members of government to get a National Climate Emergency Declaration and associated Act to restructure the Australian economy
  • Reinstate an independent climate science advisory body
  • Establish a Climate Emergency Response Commission to set targets and Climate Emergency Planning Implementation Authority to implement them
  • Australia to cut emissions at least 50% by 2030 and to net zero no later than 2050
  • Ban new exploration for fossil fuel resources
  • Prevent further development of new fossil fuel resources
  • End all fossil fuel subsidies
  • Phase out fossil fuels
  • Develop a clean energy export strategy which could include hydrogen exports, as well as high-voltage undersea cables to Asia
  • “Just transition of fossil fuel industry dependent workers and communities”
  • 100% renewable energy by 2030 with interim targets for each four-year period
  • Bring back an “an effective market-based price on Carbon” which will fund carbon offsets
  • Upgrade electricity transmission network for transition to renewables
  • Build Renewable Energy Zones
  • A target and program for home battery storage, as well as developing large-scale storage such as pumped hydro
  • Maintain Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme support for rooftop solar
  • Mandate solar power in all suitable new homes starting 2020, as well as energy-efficient design
  • Increase funds for Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Clean Energy Finance Corporation
  • Skills development for growing clean energy industries
  • Establish a battery manufacturing industry
  • End clearing of remnant native vegetation
  • Set sector-specific targets on regenerative agriculture and carbon farming
  • Various programs to promote carbon sequestration
  • Public and private investment in carbon drawdown R&D, recognizing that the IPCC’s best-case scenario depends on the invention of such technology
  • Comprehensive set of incentives for electric car uptake including charging infrastructure
  • Fund hydrogen fuel technology
  • Fund R&D for low-carbon aviation, shipping, and industrial processes
  • National system of energy-efficiency targets with five-year reviews
  • Introduce a National Embedded Carbon Cost Labelling Scheme for all consumer products and services
  • Pursue a National Sustainable Population Policy, while accounting for humanitarian commitment to resettle refugees
  • Fund various climate adaptation programs, including a National Emergency Response Service with “a dedicated contingent within the ADF”
  • Incorporate projected climate change into water allocation planning including in the Murray-Darling Basin
  • Expand national parks
  • Fund a National Climate Emergency Education and Messaging program advised by the Climate Council, and a climate-specific mental health program

Personal thoughts: Independents for Climate Action Now sets a standard for climate policy that other parties should be following, and they are the best at climate messaging. I’ve listed them second after the Greens because their policies are less detailed in some areas, and I’m not sure about a military response to extreme weather, and but otherwise these policies are excellent.

Animal Justice Party

General focus: Animal rights.

Environment policies include:

  • Climate change is an emergency and causing mass extinction
  • “It is an AJP priority that urgent action be taken to address global climate destabilisation”
  • Encourage a plant-based diet
  • Transition in 15-20 years to a carbon-free energy infrastructure
  • Prohibit any new fossil fuel expansion, including coal seam gas and other natural gas
  • “It makes no sense to transition to natural gas, only to have to replace it with something better in the near future”
  • Carbon tax on coal and animal agriculture industries, directing the revenue into sustainable energy and agriculture
  • Include environmental impact in selection criteria for all energy sources
  • Transition to 100% plantation forestry
  • Stop further land clearing and marine habitat destruction
  • Phase out the cattle industry, reducing methane, allowing reforestation, and reducing fertilizer runoff to coral reefs
  • Favor materials that are recyclable and have a low land use footprint
  • Want more plastic recycling and research on biodegradable products
  • Protect all marine animals from fishing, gas exploration, land-based agricultural runoff, and dredging
  • Establish a Commonwealth Environment Commission (CEC) and Commonwealth Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA) to implement and enforce ecological plans
  • Enforceable duty of care for landholders toward animals affected by land use change on their property
  • Legally recognize Rights of Nature
  • Aim to keep the national human birth rate below replacement levels and limit population growth to within existing urban boundaries

Personal thoughts: The Animal Justice Party are way more radical than me, and that is something I don’t often say. However I obviously agree we need to sustain the biosphere of which we are a part, and meat-heavy diets have an enormous climate and environmental footprint. Unsurprisingly, their climate and environmental policies are excellent.

Good climate policies

Australian Workers Party

General focus: Social democracy.

Environment policies include:

  • “Climate change is real and poses a threat to our planet”
  • Support a zero emissions target for 2030, but also support Paris Agreement targets
  • Oppose fracking
  • Oppose the Adani mine
  • Oppose dependency on fossil fuels
  • “An attainable price for carbon”
  • Remove all fossil fuel subsidies
  • No new fossil fuel or nuclear power stations
  • Replace electricity poles and wires with decentralized renewable energy generation and storage
  • Utilize pumped hydro energy storage where feasible
  • R&D for carbon drawdown, recycling, power storage, water purification, and land harm minimization
  • Reduce production and consumption of single use items and excess plastic packaging
  • Ban plastic shopping bags
  • Recycle hospital waste through sterilization
  • Promote recycling and reduce landfill
  • Ban all logging in high conservation-value forests and transition from public land logging to plantations
  • Ban all offshore dumping of dredge oil on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Implement the recommendations of the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission
  • Strategies to deal with unexpected climate events

Personal thoughts: The Australian Workers Party does not list the environment as a major priority so it is unclear whether they will actually promote these policies. That said, their stated policies are more climate-friendly than almost all other parties. They are proposing the deepest emissions reduction target of all parties, deeper even than ICAN and the Greens, though it seems contradictory that they support the Paris Agreement target which is far less than zero emissions by 2030.

Robert Whitehill & Sunny Chandra (Group Z)

General focus: Various including climate action.

Environment policies include:

  • Stop construction of motorways
  • Thousands of new buses
  • Increase bus and train frequencies
  • Expand Melbourne’s tram network to various places by 2040
  • Expand Victoria’s train network to a long list of places by 2050
  • High-speed rail from Melbourne to Brisbane
  • Safe separated bike lanes
  • Stop Adani
  • Stop oil drilling in Great Australian Bight
  • Transition away from coal and oil (and cut any subsidies for them)
  • “Promote and subsidize renewable energy”
  • “Advertising blitz” for energy conservation
  • “Advertising blitz” for family planning
  • “Address limits to growth and natural resources”
  • Tree-planting initiatives
  • Sustainable infrastructure and oconstruction

Personal thoughts: Robert Whitehill in particular has a comprehensive set of policies to address climate change, especially the transport system.

Pirate Party Australia

General focus: Digital liberties and free speech.

Environment policies include:

  • Cut emissions 50% by 2030
  • Ban fossil fuel mining around important land, water, and aquifers
  • Give landowners rights to refuse fossil fuel mining on their land
  • Impose a moratorium on coal seam gas
  • Reallocate Emissions Reduction Fund toward clean tech R&D
  • Ensure publicly funded clean tech is made freely available to poor countries
  • Extend Clean Energy Finance Corporation loans to support community power
  • Change regulations to ensure households are freer to enter energy markets as generators
  • Shift taxation from savings to carbon, restoring the 2014 carbon tax
  • Free permits for coal-fired power stations “only where grid stability is at stake”
  • Tax thermal coal exports at $2/tonne, with the revenue used to purchase carbon offsets
  • Extend the Renewable Energy Target to 70,000 GWh by 2025
  • Adopt EU 2020 vehicle efficiency standards by 2023
  • Roll out electric vehicle charging stations
  • Manage Murray-Darling at federal level
  • Various other environmental programs

Personal thoughts: The Pirate Party’s climate policy is pretty good, though not as ambitious as I remember it being in the past. The mention of free permits for coal power plants is a bit concerning.

Sustainable Australia

General focus: Eco-nationalism.

Environment policies include:

  • Describe themselves as more centrist than the Greens
  • Lower immigration from 200,000 to 70,000 per year to reduce Australian population growth
  • Remove immigration from all trade agreements
  • Limit baby bonus type payments
  • Ten times more foreign aid for female education and contraception to reduce global population growth
  • Stop Adani
  • 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
  • A moratorium on all fracking
  • A moratorium on all new export-based coal mines in Australia
  • Phase out fossil fuel subsidies (excluding diesel fuel rebate)
  • Lobby for a globally consistent carbon price that does not penalize Australian industries
  • Assess pumped hydro energy storage opportunities
  • No nuclear power
  • Promote a plant-based diet
  • Reduce waste, increase recycling, and establish “major community product repair and recycle centres”
  • 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
  • Invest in environmental education
  • Prioritize ecological design in housing
  • More biodiversity corridors
  • Increase conservation management funding and employment
  • Review Murray-Darling Basin policy, asking whether water trading makes sense considering “not all water is equal”, and also representing farming communities and traditional owners
  • Audit all nonrenewable resources and implement strategic resource depletion protocols and usage rights
  • Resource Super Profits Tax with the revenue directed to sustainability

Personal thoughts: Sustainable Australia has some good environment policies, but it is concerning that their carbon price would shield trade-exposed industries.

Secular Party of Australia

General focus: Secularism.

Environment policies include:

  • “We recognise global warming as a significant and dire threat to global civilisation”
  • Oppose the major parties’ polluter-paying and emissions-trading policies as ineffective
  • Introduce a simple carbon tax which would increase annually, use the revenue to fund alternative energy investment
  • Introduce an International Coal Tax on coal exports, starting at $5/tonne and increasing by $5/tonne annually, and use the revenue for domestic and international structural adjustment
  • Promote similar taxes internationally
  • Utilize all forms of renewable energy as well as nuclear energy
  • Do more about resource depletion, water conservation, dry land salinity, and overpopulation
  • Mining resource rent tax
  • “A full mobilisation of the world economy as if for war – a war for our survival, a war against carbon emissions”

Personal thoughts: The Secular Party’s climate policy is not bad but lacks detail. Their coal export tax is good, though I notice they don’t go as far as simply banning new fossil fuel mines.

Health Australia Party

General focus: Alternative medicine.

Environment 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
  • Ban fracking
  • 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 and preserving prime agricultural land
  • No nuclear power unless it is shown to be safe
  • “Optimal emissions targets set by objective science”
  • Prohibit logging of old-growth forests
  • Regenerative agriculture and permaculture
  • Reduce dependence on imported food by fostering local food co-operatives
  • Stricter regulation of insecticides to prevent death of bees
  • Stricter regulation of herbicides
  • Improve public transport infrastructure
  • Promote low-carbon architecture
  • Build new dams and monitor water use of landowners

Personal thoughts: Health Australia are a bit vague on their acceptance of climate change, perhaps due to a general suspicion of the scientific establishment. Still, their pro-alternative ideology has led them to rational conclusions on the environment, though it is unclear if their phaseout of fossil fuels would include exports.

Democracy-based policies

Socialist Equality Party

General focus: Trotskyist communism.

Environment policies include:

  • “For urgent action on climate change!”
  • “Supports the broadest expression of opposition to the looming environmental catastrophe”
  • Argue climate change cannot be stopped under the capitalist system “dominated by the drive for private profit”
  • Argue that big issues like environmental destruction need to be addressed globally and through “conscious economic planning”
  • Bring the biggest polluting corporations under democratic control
  • “A multi-billion-dollar public works program” to, among other things, “develop the infrastructure needed to address climate change”
  • Support the School Strike for Climate
  • Accuses Labor’s and the Greens’ climate policies of centering “cash subsidies to big business, and ‘market-based’ solutions”
  • Accuses the Australian Youth Climate Coalition of trying to censor socialist leaflets

Personal thoughts: The Socialist Equality Party have an unusually honest analysis of the world’s present precarious situation, and make a persuasive case that real climate action is difficult or impossible within the current system. On the other hand, they are light on detail about what exactly might be done about the climate after their revolution.

Climate Action! Immigration Action! Accountable Politicians!

General focus: Direct democracy.

They have no policies and will support whatever people vote for online – the current party name reflects issues raised by Australians in a recent survey. It is unclear exactly how the process would work. Unlike the other direct democracy party, they say each person will get one vote on each bill.

Based on how you interpret current opinion polls, a democratic climate policy could be either middle-of-the-road or ambitious.

VOTEFLUX.ORG Upgrade Democracy!

General focus: Direct democracy.

They have no policies and will support whatever people vote for. Unlike the other direct democracy party, they propose a clear mechanism: a smartphone app which would contact each voter on proposed bills drafted by issue-based specialists. The app would also allow trading of votes, and reward abstainers with surplus votes for later bills.

Based on how you interpret current opinion polls, a democratic climate policy could be either middle-of-the-road or ambitious.

Some good policies, but weak on fossil fuels

Australian Labor Party

General focus: Saving capitalism from its excesses.

Environment policies include:

  • “Working with industries” to “keep the economy strong while bringing down pollution to protect our future”
  • $1.5 billion to fund fracking in the Galilee and Beetaloo Basins
  • Refuses to rule out stopping the Adani coal mine and associated Galilee Basin coal mining projects
  • No plan to phase out coal
  • Continue the government’s “safeguard mechanism” (ie. a requirement for polluting companies to cut their emissions or buy offsets) with reduced pollution caps, but with baselines based on industry consultation, with tailored treatment for emission-intensive trade-exposed industries, continuing to exclude the agricultural sector though it will be used to generate offsets, and making it easier for businesses to buy international offsets to meet their obligations
  • Reintroduce an emissions target into the National Energy Guarantee, 45% below 2005 by 2030
  • Aim to cut Australian emissions 45% below 2005 by 2030 and to net zero by 2050
  • Increase renewable energy target to 50% by 2030
  • Double investment in Clean Energy Finance Corporation
  • A Neighbourhood Renewables Program and $2,000 rebates for solar batteries for 100,000 households
  • Upgrade transmission lines with links to Renewable Energy Zones
  • 50% of new car sales to be electric by 2030, and roll out charging infrastructure across the country
  • Vehicle emissions standards in line with the US
  • Build new gas pipelines
  • Fund research and deployment of hydrogen technologies, use existing gas pipelines for hydrogen, and establish a National Hydrogen Innovation Hub in Gladstone
  • Reduce gas exports to reduce domestic gas prices
  • Expand environmental approval laws to include a climate trigger, but also reduce “inefficiencies, delays and hurdles” to “give business more certainty”
  • Imply that they will use the water trigger for dams and pipelines associated with large coal mines
  • Establish a federal Environmental Protection Agency
  • Require large generators to provide at least three years notice of closure
  • Establish an independent Just Transition Authority to plan structural adjustment for future station closures
  • Upgrade rail lines
  • Develop a Low Carbon Strategy for each sector through industry consultation
  • Strategic Meat Industry Plan
  • Repair the Carbon Farming Initiative
  • Empower the federal government to intervene to stop land clearing
  • Reinstate an Australian Climate Ambassador to engage “constructively” in UN climate talks
  • Restore the advisory Climate Change Authority

Personal thoughts: The Australian Labor Party are at best divided on the climate issue. At the positive end, Labor’s former Environment Minister Peter Garrett has called on the party to launch a “war cabinet” to fight climate change. However at the negative end, the party leadership is promoting new coal mega-mines and fracking. Policy details as important as emissions target baselines remain to be determined by post-election consultation with polluting industries, and such consultation has usually sabotaged Labor’s policies in the past. Their enthusiasm for gas suggests they are still in the pocket of the gas industry. I intend to post a more detailed analysis of Labor’s policies soon.

Australian Democrats

General focus: Centrism.

Environment policies include:

  • Substantially reduce emissions
  • Ensure energy initiatives prioritize emissions reduction
  • Whole of government approach to transition to sustainable energy
  • Transition to energy that is sustainable and decentralized but cheap and reliable
  • Reduce fossil fuel dependence
  • Remove market barriers for renewable energy
  • Technology transfer and aid to help developing countries with sustainable energy
  • “Protect the energy sector from undue influence and distortion from vested interests and partisan politics”
  • Incorporate eco-design into future infrastructure
  • Extend the Renewable Energy Target
  • Keep the Clean Energy Finance Corporation
  • Environment-industry partnerships
  • Limit population but in line with international human rights obligations
  • Ensure availability and sustainable management of water

Personal thoughts: The Australian Democrats seem like their heart is in the right place on climate change, but they are very vague on detail.

Help End Marijuana Prohibition Party

General focus: Marijuana.

Environment policies include:

  • Burn cannabis for fuel because it is “a renewable resource and carbon sink”

Personal thoughts: The HEMP Party are difficult to take seriously when they claim one plant is a wonder drug for everything including climate change. I guess the sellers of illegal products advertise even more dishonestly than the sellers of legal ones.

Anti-fracking policies

The Great Australian Party

General focus: Sovereign citizen.

Environment policies include:

  • Stop fracking on Australian land
  • Irrigate Australia and remove water metres from dams

Personal thoughts: The Great Australian Party have almost no environment policy, except for opposing fracking which puts them ahead of most right-wing parties.

Christian Democratic Party

General focus: Christianity.

Environment policies include:

  • “We are called to be stewards (custodians) of the environment”
  • “Economic paradigm of maximizing exploitation of the natural resources must be balanced with a caretaking and sustainability paradigm”
  • Opposes coal seam gas fracking in all agricultural area, forests, and water catchments
  • Supports an immediate moratorium on all fracking
  • “YES to limited Coal Fired Power Stations”
  • Favors nuclear power
  • Manage immigration “on the advice of demographic experts and not growth economics”
  • Enhance drought preparedness
  • “Conduct a Scientific Enquiry into the impact of Climate Change”

Personal thoughts: The Christian Democratic Party’s environment policy could be worse, clearly opposing fracking at least, but they support coal and seem unaware that scientists have already studied climate change (and I wonder what they think of paleoclimatology). I rather hope their followers will pray rather than vote.

Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

General focus: Tough on crime, especially sexual violence.

No environment policies.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party

General focus: Right to roam and farm.

Environment policies include:

  • Use our “vast reserves of gas, coal, uranium and oil shales”, as long as it does not “permanently” affect agricultural land or water
  • No subsidies for renewables while there are cheaper energy sources available
  • Reserve gas for domestic supply
  • Rebuild “sustainable” timber industry, and oppose “ideologically driven anti-forestry activism” and “the destructive policies of the Greens”
  • Oppose any carbon taxes which would “disadvantage Australian businesses, employment or citizens for little or no benefit to our lives, economy, or environment”
  • Give farmers the right to refuse mining operations
  • Replace fossil fuels with nuclear power
  • Claim that major parties “cave in to inner city and green lobby groups over land clearing laws”
  • Northern water diversion scheme and infrastructure for water conservation
  • Review the Murray-Darling Basin Plan
  • Prevent legal challenges against environmental approvals
  • Let farmers decide which land is cleared and burned
  • Oppose any bans on recreational fishing
  • Sustainably manage resources through “serious stakeholder debate and planning”
  • Expand recreational access to public land and waters
  • Promote hunting game reserves
  • “Oppose the vilification of four-wheel driving and motoring enthusisasts”
  • “Promote shooting, hunting and fishing as appropriate school activities”
  • Shift from environmental conservation to “adaptive management”

Personal thoughts: The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party tends to see environmentalists as their enemy, which I think is extremely short-sighted of them – how do these farmers expect to grow food on a planet that is several degrees hotter among other issues? However, they are sane on coal seam gas, where farmers can see another industry is doing harm to their land.

Bad climate policies

Democratic Labour Party

General focus: Catholic distributism.

No environment policies.

Republican Party of Australia

General focus: Anti-monarchy.

Environment policies include:

  • Oppose an emissions trading scheme as “rorting”
  • Energy security

Personal thoughts: The Republican Party might have a point with their skepticism of emissions trading schemes, but they propose no alternative climate policy.

The Small Business Party

General focus: Small business.

Environment policies include:

  • Reduce energy prices rather than “appeasing either the climate change believers or the sceptics”
  • Claim to support “sustainable and practical actions that protect the planet”, but only if they protect small businesses
  • Blame “power companies who prioritize profit over our planet”

Personal thoughts: The Small Business Party are at best agnostic on climate policy. Although I’d rather have policies written by small businesses than big ones, they are clearly just as myopically focused on their own economic interests rather than what is good for humanity.

Yellow Vest Australia

General focus: A misleading rebrand of a party that existed prior to the Yellow Vests and actually represents an anti-Islam movement called the Q Society.

Environment policies include:

  • Claim to be “neither ‘believers’ nor ‘deniers’” in climate change, but emphasise that climate change and extreme weather happened before human impact
  • Phase out “uneconomical and unreliable” renewable energy subsidies, but support renewables in off-grid areas
  • Reduce dependency on oil by promoting natural gas and non-combustive engines for cars
  • Investigate thorium as a nuclear power source
  • Construct new dams for hydro power and irrigation, and abolish the Murray-Darling Basin Plan
  • Environment policies focus on toxic waste, rubbish accumulation, national container deposit scheme, and biodegradeable packaging material

Personal thoughts: Yellow Vest Australia evidently denies or downplays human-caused global warming.

Very bad climate policies

Liberal Party of Australia/National Party of Australia

General focus: Right-wing.

Environment policies include:

  • Fund Adani coal mine through Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility
  • Existing Emissions Reduction Fund to become Climate Solutions Fund which will spend only $2 billion over 15 years, to pay polluting companies to cut their emissions below business as usual
  • Continue associated “safeguard mechanism”, a requirement for polluting companies to merely buy offsets and only for emissions above business as usual
  • National Energy Guarantee to underwrite new energy generation, supposedly “technology-neutral” but will underwrite one or more new coal-fired power plants
  • Only $400,000 to develop a National Electric Vehicle Strategy
  • Expand the Snowy Hydro Scheme
  • Strategy to halve food waste by 2030
  • Help households improve energy efficiency
  • Kyoto surplus credits from previous years to be counted toward future emissions targets

Personal thoughts: The Liberal/National Coalition, as I’m sure you know unless you’ve been living in a cave, is the incumbent government and is notorious for doing nothing about climate change.

Rise Up Australia Party

General focus: Christian conservativism.

Environment policies include:

  • Believe carbon dioxide is not a pollutant
  • Use all available energy sources, including coal
  • Describe natural gas as “cleaner energy”
  • Like thorium, tidal, and geothermal, but seem more ambivalent on solar and wind
  • Reduce oil and gas exports so more is available for Australia
  • Unclear whether they support or oppose the Renewable Energy Target
  • Free water access for farmers, but investigate water-saving irrigation systems and the environmental impact of pesticides and fertilizers
  • Redirect rivers inland

Personal thoughts: Rise Up Australia’s energy policy is so badly-written it is difficult to understand, but it seems to more or less keep the status quo. And it’s funny how the only clean energy technologies they like are the ones least ready to be deployed.

Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party

General focus: White nationalism.

Environment policies include:

  • “Enthusiastic supporter of mining, including coalmine development in the Galilee Basin”
  • Supports government building new railway and ports to enable more exports
  • Build new coal-fired power stations
  • Slash regulation on the aviation industry
  • Amend the constitution to limit international treaties, which they see as an attack on Australian democratic sovereignty
  • Divert rivers inland to irrigate Queensland

Personal thoughts: Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party have a point that Australian sovereignty has eroded, but are wrong to blame that on unenforceable UN agreements giving lip service to climate action.

Citizens Electoral Council of Australia

General focus: LaRouche conspiracism and anti-banks.

Environment policies include:

  • “Stop any measures to reduce energy consumption, whether they are in the form of carbon taxes, emissions trading schemes, or government regulations”
  • Stop treating carbon dioxide as a pollutant
  • Withdraw from all international climate talks and agreements
  • “Economic development can improve the environment for man and nature”
  • Oppose “extreme green policies” for helping ruin family farms
  • Abolish the fuel excise for the agricultural sector
  • More oil and gas drilling onshore and offshore
  • Wanted to keep Hazelwood open
  • Blame renewables for blackouts and high electricity prices, but support hydrogen as a replacement for oil
  • Support nuclear fission power, but also want to develop nuclear fusion
  • Renationalize all electricity assets and energy resources
  • Transport products through high speed rail around the Australian coastline and suboceanic rail tunnels to Asia
  • Abolish environmental flows in the Murray-Darling Basin, and build various river-diverting schemes to address water shortage
  • Preference the Greens despite being anti-environmentalist, because the Greens support some of their banking policies

Personal thoughts: The Citizens Electoral Council’s extreme fear of environmentalism remains clear.

Liberal Democratic Party

General focus: “Libertarianism” (mostly investor liberties).

Environment policies include:

  • Place a low value on the natural environment, arguing only our prosperous society has the luxury of overvaluing it
  • Emphasise that climate change happened before human impact and the Medieval Warm Period was good for the Vikings
  • If they become convinced that global warming is a problem and humans can affect it, they favor market-based options
  • Claim Australia’s coal production is too small to make any difference
  • Concerned about “noise pollution from wind farms”
  • Promote nuclear power and uranium mining
  • No restrictions on logging, arguing “locking up vast areas of forest on the basis that it is ‘old growth’ is folly”
  • No subsidies for recycling, because recycling techniques might consume wasteful amounts of energy and water
  • Claim native vs exotic species are just an aesthetic preference
  • Privatize all energy and water, because “the best protection for the environment is usually achieved through ending government control over natural resources”
  • No restrictions on hunting or fishing, because “the hunting of certain native animals is one of the few means by which they can be given a commercial value that ensures their survival”
  • 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”

Personal thoughts: The Liberal Democratic Party are comically blinded by their worship of the free market, which they seem to think will magic away any negative effect of trashing the environment with impunity – except when it comes to wind farms, for some reason they suddenly become concerned about the environmental impact.

Australian Conservatives

General focus: Conservatism.

Environment policies include:

  • Describe climate change, emissions targets, and renewable energy as “ideological obsessions”
  • “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!)
  • No renewable energy targets or subsidies
  • Require all electricity supplied to the grid to be predictable in output
  • Promote nuclear energy
  • Build more dams for hydro power
  • “A one-in, two-out approach to remove the red and green tape strangling business”
  • Withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord

Personal thoughts: The Australian Conservatives are dogmatically true to their name to the point of being comical, as illustrated by some of the above quotes, so they will not act on global warming.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

General focus: Nationalism.

Environment policies include:

  • “We are the only political party to question climate science”
  • Argue at length against the scientific evidence of human-caused global warming
  • Use the Senate to question government scientific advisors on climate
  • “There is a growing concern about the evidence on which the claims of man-made global warming rests”
  • Withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which they claim commits Australia to “the deepest and most savage carbon emission cuts in the world, on a per person basis”
  • Build new “low-emission” coal-fired power stations
  • Oppose subsidizing renewable energy sources, which they claim “cannot provide the base load power we need”
  • Oppose “Labor’s crazy car cull” because of the long distances in rural Australia
  • Oppose mining or coal seam gas exploration on farmland
  • Build new dams
  • Redirect Queensland rivers inland
  • Desalination plants
  • Water entitlements to be held by states rather than corporations

Personal thoughts: Pauline Hanson’s One Nation oppose climate policies and are the party most vocally opposed to the conclusions of climate science, though on the other hand they oppose coal seam gas on farmland.

United Australia Party

General focus: Personality cult of mining magnate Clive Palmer.

Environment policies include:

  • “Strongly committed to the support and future development of the Queensland coal industry”, which they claim is “our cheapest form of power”
  • Increase mining and the processing and exporting thereof
  • Oppose electric cars because of high electricity prices
  • Use Australian uranium for nuclear power
  • Abolish Murray-Darling Basin Plan
  • Leader has accused anti-coal campaigners of being funded by foreign interests like the Rockefeller Foundation and/or CIA
  • Brags about having helped abolish carbon and mining taxes
  • Claims to have saved climate policies that they actually weakened

Personal thoughts: United Australia Party is led by mining magnate Clive Palmer, who has a history of supporting his own coal mining interests over environmental considerations, no matter what he might publicly claim to be doing. Anyone who wants climate action would be mad to vote for this conman.

2 comments

1 ping

    • Pat Carden on 16 May 2019 at 13:18
    • Reply

    Thank you. This is really helpful. I have been really worried about my Senate vote and the positions of the minor parties.

    1. Glad you found it helpful! Just in case you haven’t voted yet, I’ve revised it to include Group Z, an unnamed grouping of independents who I’d previously overlooked but turn out to be good enough to include at number 5 or so.

  1. […] Australian climate voting guide […]

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