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Voters want principle based policies

46121096101_9134a3dd42_o.jpgIf there’s a single lesson for politicians from last week’s Victorian election it is that voters want political parties to develop rational policies and stand by them. Despite a major scare campaign around law and order, the ALP leader, Daniel Andrews, stuck to his reasoned platform and was rewarded with a hugely increased majority. He displayed leadership and authority over his party, maintaining a steady course all the way to polling day. With a federal election looming there must be more than a few MPs and candidates contemplating their future in the light of the Victorian result.

Of all the big issues facing Australia, none is more threatening to our security than climate change. Out west for the past two decades graziers have suffered drought more often than not. This week new record high temperatures were set across north and central Queensland and bushfires raged all over the state. This is all before summer has officially begun. In spite of the threat that climate change presents to our food and water security, neither of the major political parties have put forward policies that adequately address the issue.

When coal, gas or oil is burned, carbon-dioxide is produced and added to the atmosphere. It acts like a blanket, trapping heat that would normally be reflected safely from the earth’s surface back into space. Scientists tell us that in order to maintain a stable and liveable climate we must keep the concentration of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere below 350 parts per million. We passed that threshold long ago.

Australians understand that we must act urgently to prevent further deterioration in the climate, otherwise we will be passing on a dangerous legacy to our grandchildren. We need strong and reasoned leadership on climate policy rather than appeasement. Malcolm Turnbull tried reasoning with climate deniers in his own party and was humiliated. Bill Shorten should learn from the Victorian premier and put forward a clear plan that moves Australia away from coal and gas mining.

Currently Bill Shorten is trying to play both sides of the fence, promising solar panels to some householders and increased coal and gas exports to the resources industry. To protect our security Mr Shorten must commit to a moratorium on new coal mines, 100% renewable electricity production and a just transition for mine workers.

It’s time for Mr Shorten to show real leadership rather than fence sitting.

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