Dutton’s climate threats nothing more than hot air, with climate laws already Dutton-proof


The Australian Greens have called Peter Dutton’s climate target comments ‘a waste of breath’, given the Liberals have zero chance of winning government at the next election and no chance of overturning a climate majority in the House and Senate.

During the passage of climate legislation in 2022 the Greens secured provisions to ‘Dutton-proof’ the law, ensuring climate targets couldn’t go backwards through any unilateral executive action of a future government. The party said they would continue to use their power in the Senate following the next election to block any weakening of that legislation.

The Greens say with no prospect of forming a majority government or holding the balance of power in the Senate, Dutton and Anthony Albanese should stop confecting a meaningless fight.

This week, Dutton suggested the Liberals would weaken Australia’s 2030 climate targets if elected, but said he wouldn’t announce what those targets were until after the election, an election the Liberals will certainly lose.

And even if against all odds the Coalition were able form a minority government, existing legislation would prevent Dutton from going below the 43 per cent target. 

Further, given likely Senate election results at the next election, there is no foreseeable pathway to change that legislation.

If the 2022 election result was replicated in 2024-25, the Greens and Labor together would have 39 votes in the Senate, a blocking and passing majority.

If the 2019 election result was replicated in 2024-25, the Greens and Labor together would have 37 votes, with at least one independent such as Lidia Thorpe and Tammy Tyrrell (who are not up for election) or David Pocock and Jacqui Lambie (should they be re-elected) likely to provide the final 38th blocking vote.

Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt, said while Dutton was wasting airtime talking about climate targets he would never have the power to change, the real fight after the next election will be about going further.

With the Greens gearing up to increase their representation in the House and likely to hold balance of power in the Senate as well, Mr Bandt said they were going to use their power to push for stronger climate action, including stopping the next government from opening new coal and gas mines.

Quotes attributable to Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt MP:

“The confected 2030 target stoush between Peter Dutton and Anthony Albanese is nothing more than hot air.

“The Liberals haven’t got a chance in hell at winning the next election, and existing climate legislation has been Dutton-proofed so he can’t weaken the targets even if he wanted to.

“Neither Labor nor Liberal targets meet the Paris Agreement climate goals, and instead of a confected debate about something Peter Dutton won’t even have the power to do, we should focus on what the science demands and stop opening new coal and gas mines.

“In a minority Parliament, the Greens will push Labor to stop opening new coal and gas mines, something Labor and Liberal are desperate to avoid talking about. 

“Neither Liberal nor Labor are committed to the Paris goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees, let alone 1.5 and both want more coal and gas mines. Every new coal and gas mine approved by Labor sets back the transition to clean, cheap renewables, while exporting dirty climate pollution across the globe.”