Blog | 28th Nov, 2018

Victoria voted for action on climate change. Thank you!

Together we put climate change and clean energy on the agenda in Melbourne’s south-east and across the state. And the result was a comprehensive victory for renewable energy and a big step forward for tackling global warming.

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A lot is being said and written about the extraordinary election result, but I want to share one article with you.

Across the media, Victorian federal Liberal MPs are now calling for an urgent change of direction on climate policy ahead of the federal election. Here’s an example:

Liberal MP Tim Wilson revealed when he was at polling booths, “Every second person either gave me deadly silence, a very cold, deadly silence, or there was people mentioning energy, climate…”

“If anybody thinks that there’s this great public sentiment out there, that people deep-down really hate renewables and they’re hugging something like coal, I say again: ‘get real’.” [1]

There’s more. Liberal MP Julie Bishop also called for “the Coalition to adopt a serious stance towards climate change or suffer a similar fate federally”.

We knew the Victorian election could be a turning point for Australia’s response to climate change, and that’s starting to happen. 

Watch our campaign wrap video to see what our incredible volunteers achieved!

It was an incredible effort from nearly 500 Environment Victoria volunteers. Together we made 107,816 calls and texts, handed out 82,000 scorecards and enrolled 1353 young people to vote.

Our billboard, radio, television and online advertising was seen more than 5 million times. We also worked closely with many other climate action and environment groups to amplify our collective impact.

So what does the result mean? First, it’s now very clear that ignoring climate change and undermining renewable energy is electoral poison.

The difference between the major parties was stark. For many voters, this election was a referendum on renewable energy. To quote yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald editorial: “The climate change deniers lost.”

We congratulate the Andrews government for their convincing win. They put renewable energy front and centre of their election campaign (on the side of their campaign bus, in fact). And it paid off.

In their first term, the Andrews government achieved some really positive things, with legislated climate and renewable energy targets, reforms of the EPA, increased coal mine rehabilitation bonds, and a strong transition package for the Latrobe Valley in the wake of Hazelwood’s closure.

These reforms, which the Liberal Party wanted to undo, can all be ratcheted up by the re-elected Labor government.

The election campaign saw new promises to increase the state’s renewable energy target and a new plan to put solar or solar hot water on 700,000 homes, plus 50,000 rental homes. These are great commitments. A full list of Labor’s promises is here, and a letter from the Premier to Environment Victoria outlining his environmental policy agenda, is here.

But as we stand at the crossroads of a climate and extinction catastrophe, our message for the Andrews government is clear: we need heroic action to match the scale of the problem.

We need to have the hard conversations about retiring outdated and polluting coal-burning power stations. Yallourn, now the dirtiest power station in Australia, needs to be retired in the next four years, followed by Loy Yang A and B in the next decade.

We need this government to raise its voice for nature, which was largely mute last term. Our forests and rivers desperately need a rescue plan – under business as usual they will be destroyed irrevocably in the next decade.

The election wasn’t all good news for our environment. The Greens, who have been great champions of action on climate change and protecting nature, look set to lose a number of key contests. We’ll miss those voices in the Parliament.

In the Upper House, micro-parties could win up to 10 seats, despite only polling a tiny percentage of the vote. They will replace people who have supported good environment policy, such as Reason Party MP Fiona Patten and again, Greens MPs. We will work with whoever ends up on the cross-bench to make sure strong laws to act on climate change and protect our environment get through Parliament.

Finally, there’s much, much more to be done, and we’ll be working as hard as ever for our environment over the next term of government. Thank you so much to everyone who gave their time, money, energy and enthusiasm to this campaign.