Activists threaten MPs over perceived climate inaction
CENTRAL Queensland's resource sector championing politicians Michelle Landry and Matt Canavan are in the crosshairs of an activist group's brazen new plan to thwart their journeys home from Canberra.
Using tactics Ms Landry believed were designed to "bully and intimidate", the ACT division of Extinction Rebellion issued an emailed ultimatum to Coalition Government MPs.
They demanded MPs legislate towards meeting net-zero emissions by 2025, move to shut down the fossil fuel industry and support the transition for workers from fossil fuel to renewable energy.
"If you fail to do this by the last sitting day of parliament we will give you a taste of the kind of disruption that you are inflicting on ordinary people across the world by failing to take action on climate change.
"We plan to blockade your route to the airport on the 5th of December. You don't deserve a smooth trip home from work if your work is ensuring the continued destruction of the planet," Extinction Rebellion said.
Ms Landry defiantly shared a screenshot of the group's email onto social media saying "I don't take kindly to being threatened."
She said their plan to blockade routes to the airport was an "absolute disgrace" and was "not the way to get their point across".
"If they don't like coal, they should turn off their phones, their cars and live in grass huts out in the middle of nowhere," she said.
"All of the luxuries they hold dear and use to spread discord around the country were all made by coal."
Minister for Resources, Senator Canavan was already very familiar with the obstructive behaviour employed by Extinction Rebellion.
"They have unrealistic demands that would destroy the economy and our way of life, yet exude blatant hypocrisy in the way they carry themselves," Senator Canavan said.
"This is just more petulant behaviour that is more likely disrupt people going about their daily lives than inconvenience politicians."
As strong advocates for the Resource sector, both Ms Landry and Senator Canavan are prime targets for protest action with their Rockhampton offices regularly visited from Extinction Rebellion affiliated activists.
Ms Landry said many organisations already make their point and advocate peacefully and lawfully but this was lost on the Extinction Rebellion.
"Endangering themselves and others by gluing themselves on the road or locking themselves in dangerous devices is not the way to get their point across," she said.
"For a group that claims to know everything, I want them to educate themselves by coming to Central Queensland and actually witness what the coal industry does in providing jobs for regional communities."
Senator Canavan said he always encourages people to speak their mind and protest in a respectful way but Extinction Rebellion's disruptive impact on innocent people was something he wouldn't stand for.
Both LNP MPs regarded the demand for zero emissions by 2025 as "unrealistic, irresponsible and dangerous".
They found support from Labor's Shadow Resource Minister Joel Fitzgibbon (who hails from the coal mining electorate Hunter) saying it would "destroy our economy".
"Their idealism is to be commended but a dose of realism would be a good thing too," Mr Fitzgibbon said.
"We all want more meaningful action on climate change, but net zero emissions by 2025 would destroy our economy and leave us literally in the dark."
Senator Canavan said his government had clear plans in place to deliver the 328 million tonnes of abatement needed to meet the 2030 Paris target.
"We are balancing the need for emissions reduction while helping create new jobs in our world-leading resources sector that will strengthen the Central Queensland economy."
Labor's Queensland Senator Murray Watt said his party supports the right to protest, but it's better to do that in a way that helps your cause, not hurts it.
"Labor supports action on climate change, especially given the CSIRO and ex-fire chiefs tell us it will lead to more bushfires, cyclones and floods in the future. We do not support zero net emissions by 2025, and we will announce our emissions reductions policies well before the next Federal election, due in 2022," Senator Watt said.
"In the meantime, it is up to Michelle Landry and the Morrison Government to ensure that coal jobs are safe from threats such as automation and casualisation, and to take action on climate change."
Ms Landry said there were many existing programs and plans that the Liberal National Government has enacted towards addressing climate change. These include:
- • The Liberal Nationals Government has announced a new $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Plan - amongst the largest investment by Australia in emissions reduction.
• A new $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund will ensure we meet our 2030 Paris commitments by supporting practical measures such as revegetation of degraded land, reducing waste, savannah burning and improving energy efficiency.
• The $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) provides funding for practical action by Australian farmers, businesses, local and Indigenous communities to reduce emissions. The ERF has already contracted almost 200 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions reduction - the largest ever emission reduction commitment by Australian businesses and landholders - and at a cost of less than $12 per tonne.
• Over $25 billion of clean energy investment is already committed in the Australian energy sector from 2018-2020 with a record $13 billion invested in 2018.
• One in five Australian households now have solar rooftop panels, the highest per capita uptake in the world.
• Locally, we are seeing projects like the Clarke Cree Wind Farm and Adani's Rugby Run complement existing base load power in the area, helping hardworking families with their power bills.