It’s not over, Scott. The Liberal National Coalition may have won yesterday’s federal election, but more people voted for Labor and the Greens across Australia. That’s more votes for climate action than for fossil fools, I mean fuels.
The fact that a scare-mongering campaign of job losses worked is nothing to be proud of. If there had been a similar campaign about the imminent and life-threatening consequences of climate change, we would have been smashed for trying to scare people and yet, our campaign would have been factual and true, in sharp contrast to the Liberal/National/Palmer ‘there’ll be no jobs if we don’t have coal, gas, and oil’ rhetoric.
It’s clear that many Australians, especially Queenslanders, have been tricked into thinking that they don’t care at all about farmers, fishers, or tourism operators, or for the natural wonders they’re happy to flaunt in national and international ad campaigns showing our unique landscapes and wonderful, clean, green cuisine. Nor do they especially care for the jobs in healthcare and other support services on which so many ordinary Australians rely, not to mention jobs in the ABC and SBS (remember Radio National, and Playschool and Landline?), all of which the Liberal National Coalition has always cut and will doubtless continue to do.
These sectors employ far more people than the fossil fuel sector ever will. And yet, yesterday’s federal election vote will foreseeably endanger the jobs of everyone in farming, fisheries, hospitality and tourism in Queensland and in other parts of Australia where fracking and oil exploration are happening, planned, or expanding.
As for healthcare workers, surely it’s common knowledge that these services are overstretched already and have been subjected to so many cuts by successive governments that we are compromising the health and welfare of every Australian by voting back in another short-sighted ‘me-first’ Liberal government.
But my message to the Liberal National Coalition is, don’t get too comfortable. The Australians who voted for Labor and the Greens outnumber those who voted for you in the House of Representatives.[i] And the Senate count[ii] is looking very good for a Senate that will stand up to your community-killing, environment-destroying policies.
We’re not going away. We’re not going quiet. We’re not going to stop calling for a just and rapid transition to a fossil free future. We’re not going to stop protesting Adani and oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight, or fracking or dumping nuclear waste in the outback. We will never stop because the evidence is behind us. We have truth on our side. We have science on our side. We know that there are no jobs in a broken environment.
And, unlike out-going MP Tony Abbot said in his concession speech last night, we do not only have a moral imperative on our side, we also have an economic imperative on our side.
We know that fossil fuel prices are dropping and more and more uptake of renewable energy is happening across the globe, including in markets that he and his fossil fuel associates sell to. We know that jobs will be lost to the expansion of the fossil fuel industry, an industry that has stated it will continue to automate it’s processes more and more meaning fewer jobs in mining, and whose operations threaten the jobs of some many people working in other sectors in this country.
So, no Tony, no Scott, we are not just fighting for what we know to be right in a moral sense, we are fighting for what makes economic sense too.
You are the radicals. We are the pragmatists. You are wrong. And we are right. We will not stop fighting policies that are killing the Great Barrier Reef; policies that have killed the kelp forests off Tasmania and Ningaloo. We will not stop fighting policies that threaten farming land – that threaten our food supply and their jobs. We will not stop fighting policies that drop bats from the sky and kill camels in the desert and threaten 1 million species across the globe. We will not stop fighting policies that are killing the Murray and burning our land and flooding our homes and drowning our livestock and killing our future. We will not stop fighting.
[i] At time of writing, 49.08% went to Labor, 50.92% to Liberal/National Coalition on two party preferred. But in first preferences, Labor has greater than 6% more votes than the Liberals, plus the Greens have another 10%. https://tallyroom.aec.gov.au/HouseStateFirstPrefsByParty-24310-NAT.htm
[ii] https://tallyroom.aec.gov.au/SenateStateFirstPrefsByGroup-24310-SA.htm and more generally see all the results here: https://www.aec.gov.au/
© Palitja Moore, text and image, 2019