Gillard defends climate change ‘gobfest’
Julia Gillard has defended her plans for a new climate change “citizens’ assembly” amid claims it is nothing but a “community gobfest” designed to pave the way for the introduction of a carbon tax.
Ms Gillard has been roundly attacked by both sides of politics and by environmental groups after unveiling Labor’s climate change plan in front of rowdy protesters in Brisbane today.
Her speech was also disrupted by protesters, one of whom was led away by police after he came within metres of Ms Gillard while she was talking.
Ms Gillard had announced that a Labor Government would form a “citizens’ assembly” of up to 200 people who would seek community views about putting a price on carbon.
She also committed Labor to putting higher environmental standards on new power stations and pledged $1 billion to help connect the electricity grid to cleaner energy sources.
The Opposition, Greens and environmental groups have attacked the plan but Ms Gillard says Labor is acting on climate change.
“The political consensus that emerged to support the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme was wrecked by Tony Abbott,” she said.
“We need more than a fragile political consensus to deal with such a transformation to the way we live and work.
“The approach I’m going to take is a steady one, a methodical one, that takes people with me.”
Greens Senator Christine Milne has slammed the plan, saying both sides of politics are failing to deal with climate change by not putting a price on carbon.
“What they’re both trying to do is not introduce anything through the parliament and just have a community gobfest around all of their discussions and initiatives,” she said.
The Greens are likely to win the balance of power in the Senate in the next election and Senator Milne says Ms Gillard is trying to come up with an excuse not to put a price on carbon when she would be able to do so with the support of the Greens.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says Labor will bring in a carbon tax no matter what the “citizens’ assembly” finds.
Sooner or later even a Government as decision-challenged as this one will actually get something done – what that something will be is a carbon tax,” he said. “I am against it.”
The Climate Institute says the policy is far short of a credible plan.
“They have delivered only small steps forward toward a credible pollution and climate policy, when large strides are needed,” Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said.
“A credible plan needs to have a limit and price tag on pollution, needs to make polluters take responsibility for pollution, and have investments and incentives to make clean energy cheaper.”