The government is now assured it will secure its legislation to enshrine its 43% 2030 emissions reduction target, after Greens leader Adam Bandt pledged his party would support it in both houses.
The government has the numbers on its own in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, it only needs one more vote, apart from the Greens. It expects the vote of ACT crossbencher David Pocock. The bill will be voted on in the lower house this week and will go to the Senate next month.
Bandt’s announcement follows long negotiations with the government which, however, refused to budge on the minor party’s demand for a ban on new coal and gas mines.
The Greens’ decision came after it took two party room meetings to reach their position. Bandt said it was a “consensus” decision.
The government doesn’t require legislation to implement its policy, but has been anxious to put the target into law to send a strong signal including to prospective investors.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said after Bandt’s announcement that while the legislation wasn’t necessary, it “locks in” progress.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the announcement “is in Australia’s national interest and will provide certainty for business”.
The opposition formally decided this week to vote against the legislation.
Bandt told the National Press Club that Labor’s refusal to stop new mines was “ultimately untenable”.
He said Labor might not get a United Nations climate summit, which it will be seeking, if it was willing to allow new projects.
“We will pull every lever at our disposal,” to make a ban happen, he said.
“Labor is set to undo parliament’s work by opening new coal and gas projects, unless we stop them,” Bandt said.
“Over the next six to 12 months the battle will be fought on a number of fronts. We will comb the entire budget for any public money, any subsidies, hand outs or concessions going to coal and gas corporations and amend the budget to remove them.
"We will push to ensure the safeguard mechanism safeguards our future by stopping new coal and gas projects. We will push for a climate trigger in our environment laws.
"We will continue to fight individual projects around the country, like Beetaloo, Scarborough and Barossa. I call on all Australians to join this battle. This battle to save our country, our communities and indeed our whole civilisation from the climate and environment crisis.”
Meanwhile, one of the Liberal moderates, Warren Entsch, has given strong support to the Coalition decision to inquire into nuclear power as a potential policy. Entsch told Sky that as coal went out of the system, we had to have “something to back up” renewable alternatives.
Territories legislation sails through lower house
Legislation to allow the ACT and the Northern Territory to make laws on voluntary assisted dying has passed the House of Representatives by 99 to 37.
MPs on both sides had a conscience vote. Leader of the House Tony Burke was among several Labor members to vote against the bill, which overturns a 1997 ban on the territories legislating for euthanasia. Liberal leader Peter Dutton and Nationals leader David Littleproud were both yes votes.
The bill will go to the Senate next month, where it is expected to pass.
UPDATE on climate bill – Liberal to cross floor
Tasmanian Liberal Bridget Archer told parliament late Wednesday that she will cross the floor and vote for Labor’s climate bill.
“At the end of the day, it’s important to me that when I am back in my own community, I am able to sincerely say that I used the opportunity afforded to me with the power of my vote, to stand up for what they want and need and to move on from this debate.”
She said she had had constructive discussions with Peter Dutton “about my views and that of the party on this issue.
"While there is much we do agree on, he understands why I have made this decision.
"I have respect for him and he has my support as our party formulates our own plan to combat climate change while supporting the Australian economy.
"However, while that happens, it is important that we do move forward and act now and not delay until the eve of the next election.”