• Brian Phillips

Election 2019 – The Climate Election(?)

Human beings alone are capable of disobeying God's laws, because they try to be wiser than God… Other creatures fulfil the commandments of God; they honour [God's] laws… But human beings rebel against those laws, defying them in word and action. And in doing so they inflict terrible cruelty on the rest of God's creation. Hildergard of Bingen 1098-1179

from the 'Just Earth' app.

Below is a list of questions for the candidates who are standing for political office in your electorate, drawn up by the Environmental Action Group. A much-simplified form of these questions will be sent to every party in SA that is fielding candidates. Each party is being asked for a response.

The complete list below is one from which you can choose according to your own sense of priorities. You are encouraged to ask each of the candidates in your electorate whichever questions you feel need addressing. They are grouped into five categories: climate change and fossil fuels; alternative energy; bio-diversity; waste; and transport.

A clear majority of Australians want action on Climate Change. A growing number of people are increasingly disturbed by extreme weather events, coral reef bleaching, and millions of freshwater fish dying of hypoxia. They turn to decision makers: “What are you doing about it? What can be done about it?” And for the most part they hear only silence!

But it's not all hopeless. In this election there are several independent candidates with clear policies on Climate Change who are running against incumbents. Is there a shift in the public mood? We thought so in 2007 when Climate Change issues were to the fore – but the hard-right of the Liberal Party brought an end to that and has left us floundering without any coherent policies ever since.

But this time it could be different. The sense that we really do have a climate emergency is gradually taking hold. When young people world-wide strike from school, a surge of hope arises among those who know it is still not too late to prevent the worst impacts and that we truly have an emergency confronting us. Those of us who are older and have heard some of these young people speaking at rallies are awestruck at their coherence, the way they make such articulate sense of the situation we are in and what needs to be done. They may still be too young to vote, but their impact on this election may be significant.

Here are some questions for your local candidates.

Questions for Candidates – Election 2019

Climate change and fossil fuels:

  • What is your position on Adani and the Galilee Basin?

  • Should additional coal-powered stations be built/developed in Australia?

  • What is your policy regarding new gas and oil exploration and production?

  • Should companies be allowed to explore and drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight?

  • How do you propose addressing climate change?

  • What emissions targets do you have in place?

  • How will you support just transitions to alternative energy sources and retraining for people moving into more environmentally sustainable industries?

  • How will you help Australia contribute to international efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change?

  • What provision will you make for people displaced by climate change?

  • Climate change is a complex area for people to engage in. How can you help inform and motivate your community for action?

Alternative energy:

  • What is your energy policy and timeline towards a carbon-free nation by 2050?

  • Do you believe that uranium mining is a future option?

  • How can Australia transition to renewable energy?

  • Over what time frame should this transition occur?

  • How will you support and invest in the transition to renewable energy?


  • How do you propose to protect biodiversity for future generations to see and enjoy?

  • What do you see as the role of national parks?

  • Should high-end accommodation be built in national parks?

  • What is needed to save the Murray Darling Basin?

  • Can the present Basin Plan deliver good environmental outcomes?

  • What policies do you have to protect Australia’s natural environment, water bodies and plant and animal life?


  • How should Australia address plastic use and waste?

  • Should Australia look after its own waste? How could this happen?

  • What is your policy on radioactive waste?

  • What is your position regarding a proposed radioactive storage site on the land of the First Peoples that is against their wishes?

  • How will you help Australians move on from a throw-away culture?


  • What policies do you propose to rapidly reduce our reliance on petrol, gas and diesel fuelled transport in order to lower both health-impacting air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions?

  • What are your long term policies for improving the quality and availability of public transport, not only in the large cities, but in regional and rural areas also?

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