Media Releases | 22nd Oct, 2018

Wentworth by-election result a wake-up call for Matthew Guy

Matthew Guy must treat the Federal Liberal Party loss in Wentworth as a cautionary tale, said Environment Victoria today.

The Turnbull and Morrison Government’s failure to have any plan to tackle global warming was one of the most significant factors in them losing the seat. Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman publicly conceded on ABC that climate change was a key factor in the loss and that conservative voters expect their government to have a credible climate and energy policy.

“The Wentworth result shows conservative voters are fed up with the Coalition’s delay and inaction on global warming,” said Mark Wakeham, CEO of Environment Victoria.

“Ignoring global warming is a terrible political strategy that costs political parties votes and the ability to form government.

“Right now in Victoria, Matthew Guy’s Liberal Party has no plan to cut Victoria’s climate pollution and no plan to protect Victorians from the impacts of climate change. The Victorian Coalition doesn’t event have a Shadow Climate Change Minister.

“John Hewson recently said ‘a major party without a credible climate action plan should forfeit the right to govern.’ We agree and so do Australia’s voters.

“Matthew Guy has 34 days to try to undo 4 years of attacks on climate action. We would certainly welcome a change in direction from the Victorian Liberals on climate change and renewable energy.

“In opposition, the Victorian Liberals have voted against stronger climate laws, consistently objected to plans to increase renewable energy and vowed to keep polluting coal power stations open as long as possible.

“Mr Guy has also been following his federal colleagues attacks on renewable energy, again in the face of community support for renewables. Mr Guy has said he would scrap the Victorian Renewable Energy Target if elected, which would cost regional Victoria thousands of jobs and drive up power prices for all Victorians.

“Recent polling showed 40 percent of Wentworth voters ranked climate change as their biggest concern ahead of the election. Meanwhile recent polling in Victoria’s key sandbelt electorates found extremely high community support for Victoria’s renewable energy target – a target Mr Guy plans to scrap.

“The Victorian state election is fast approaching, and with no environment policy or climate agenda, the Liberals are set to repeat the mistake of their Federal colleagues.

“The Wentworth by-election should force a rethink in the Liberal party. The overwhelming majority of voters want strong leadership on global warming and renewable energy. It’s time for the Victorian Liberals to articulate a positive agenda to address global warming instead of continuing to pretend that it isn’t happening,” said Mr Wakeham.

For interview and further comment

Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria CEO
Mobile: 0439 700 501

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