Blog | 11th Oct, 2011

One girl’s story of a carbon price campaign - Congratulations Australia!

I remember clearly the first time I learnt about emission trading schemes – although I didn’t know that’s what it was called at the time. It was the mid 90’s, John Hewson was still a member of the Liberal Party, and my family was spending the night in Parkes on our way to a family holiday in Queensland.

The 7.30 report was on the television and my Dad was engrossed with the conversation, agreeing vocally with what was being discussed. I asked what was going on.

“He’s absolutely right. Spot on. If you want to cut greenhouse gas emissions, you’ve got to put a price on it. You want companies to pay attention and make changes, make it visible in their bottom-line. They’ll change. End of debate”.

While the quote might not be exactly word perfect, the gist of the conversation is true enough. But sadly, it wasn’t the end of the debate. And for almost twenty years since, Australia has continued to debate the merits and costs of putting a price on our greenhouse pollution, with talk continuing to delay action.

But today, finally, Australia took a major step forward towards putting a price on carbon pollution, and taking the serious action on climate change that we need.

Just after 9.00am, the price on pollution legislation was put to the Lower House of our Federal Parliament, and our federal politicians voted yes.

The legislation will now have to go to the Senate in November where it will almost undoubtedly pass – the last step towards making carbon pricing the law in Australia.

While this has been a hard and at times aggressive campaign this last 12 months, it’s important to remember that this is a campaign that we’ve been fighting for over a decade in Australia. Throughout this period the Liberal Party, the ALP and the Greens have all supported emissions trading schemes at various points. Finally, we have a parliament that has been able to act.

This great success would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of thousands of campaigners and volunteers, and millions of Australians who have put their hands up for climate action during this time. Thank you, for all that you have done towards making this policy a reality at this very difficult political time.

The campaign for the strong action we need is far from over, and we’ll continue to campaign for the price on pollution until it is finally passed through our Senate, and no doubt for some time afterward to ensure the policy isn’t rolled back by any new government. We have many more fights on our hands – to replace our dirtiest power stations, stop development of new coal, roll our renewable energy and drive energy efficiency across our community above and beyond what the carbon price will deliver.

But today, I encourage you all to recognise this fantastic win for climate action, pat yourself on the back for your efforts to make this day a reality, be grateful for the hard work of those around you, and be glad that we’ve finally done it!


P.S. I called my Dad this morning to tell him the good news, and to thank him for being the first to teach me about climate change and emissions trading schemes. He was pretty happy to get that call.

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