By Sarah Hanson-Young
Senator for South Australia and Manager of Greens business in the Senate
There is no hiding from the fact we are amid a global extinction and climate crisis. Halting extinction means the Government must do everything in their power to stop destruction of critical habitat of our Endangered species. We cannot save wildlife like the Koala, or the Greater Glider, or the Southern Emu Wren while we continue to destroy their homes.
Sadly, the Albanese Government has done nothing so far to protect what remains of our native forests, but the Greens are willing to work with them to fix this. We must end all native forest logging.
New environment laws are long overdue
Since the Albanese Government came to power 18 months ago, we have been waiting for them to introduce new environment laws. If these new laws don’t stop native forest logging and the projects that make climate pollution worse, they won’t be worth the paper they are printed on.
Recently, the Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek approved her 5th coal mine for the year. If we want to address the climate crisis, we cannot open any new coal mines or gas plants. Environment laws that don’t force the Environment Minister to consider the climate impacts of a project before approving it just aren’t good enough.
I have introduced a bill for a climate trigger to be inserted in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act. This would compel the Minister to consider the climate impacts of a project before giving it approval.
Fighting for our precious River Murray
Years of rorts, water theft and delays under the Liberal-Nationals has left the River Murray in a precarious position. The Albanese Government promised to deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan on time and in full. It has been a broken promise from both sides of politics for well over a decade. We know that corporate greed, cotton and climate change is killing the Murray-Darling.
As we head into what is predicted to be a long, hot summer we know that the climate crisis is making things worse and that the health of the River is at stake. The Murray Darling is the lifeblood of this country. It provides drinking water and food for millions of Australians. If we don’t protect the River now, we risk it running dry.
A welcome step forward for the arts
The Greens welcomed the Government’s National Cultural Policy. After a decade of political attacks and funding cuts to the arts, it is a welcome change to see a Government that actually wants to talk about the arts. While this is a positive step forward, we need to make sure that the Government puts their money where their mouths are and commit to the funding a support necessary, particularly as the creative sector is still trying to recover from the damage of the covid pandemic.
While it’s great to see the Government backing some Aussie artists, we are still waiting to see them take real action to support our screen sector and ensure that we get home grown Australian stories on our screens by introducing a local content quota for online streamers like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Uncovering Murdoch media’s control
Across the country, pressure is continuing to build to hold the Murdoch media to account for the role they have played in the polarisation of politics and their rampant spreading of misinformation. Now it is time to build the pressure for a Royal Commission in the Parliament. I have introduced a bill to the parliament which would establish it. It's time for politicians to stop being afraid of the Murdoch machine and to stand up for our democracy. In the coming months we will be debating this bill. I am calling on my parliamentary colleagues from all sides of politics to put the public interest first and back this bill.