News National ‘A matter of conscience’: Zali Steggall unveils plans for climate change act
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‘A matter of conscience’: Zali Steggall unveils plans for climate change act

Warringah MP Zali Steggall wants action on climate change without misinformation or fear-mongering. Photo: AAP
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She stole Tony Abbott’s blue-ribbon seat out from under the Liberal Party’s nose and now Zali Steggall is hoping to lure party dissidents to cross the floor and vote for climate change action.

The independent MP for Warringah will on Monday unveil details of her plan for a climate change act, arguing action is “a matter of conscience” similar to the same-sex marriage debate.

The legislation is modelled on the UK’s Climate Change Act and is designed to provide a national framework for action and mandatory annual reporting of Australia’s trajectory towards meeting reduction targets.

“We need to set out a road map for Australia to become a low-carbon economy without all the fear-mongering and misinformation,” Ms Steggall said.

“The big question all sensible Australians are asking is how? This is why we need a climate change act to set out a legislative framework.”

Ms Steggall will be calling for a conscience vote within the Liberal Party amid increasing divisions within Liberal Party ranks over the need for stronger action after the devastating bushfires and heatwaves over summer.

Several Liberal MPs have already signed on to a crossbench-led climate action committee, amid calls for the independents to take partisan politics out of the nation’s climate debate.

But there’s no confirmation yet that any of those MPs will vote for Ms Steggall’s draft legislation.

Tim Wilson, Dave Sharma, Jason Falinski, Katie Allen, Angie Bell and Trent Zimmerman are among the Liberal MPs to sign up to the Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action group, which also includes bipartisan support from Labor’s Ged Kearney and Josh Burns, the Greens’ Adam Bandt and independent Andrew Wilkie.

South Australian Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie tweeted her support for Ms Steggall’s campaign on late Sunday night.

Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles told Insiders on Sunday that Australia will look back at this period of time as a lost decade.

“They are not going to meet the Kyoto target. They are not going to meet their Paris commitments,” Mr Marles said.

“They’ve got to a point now where under their projections, they’re going to get a 0.3 per cent reduction on emissions on 2000 levels by 2020. Kyoto is a five per cent reduction.

“They’re not going to meet Kyoto. They’re not on target to meet the 26 per cent reduction.

“We have been seeking bipartisanship for a long time in relation to this.”

Asked if an Albanese government would support new coal-fired power stations, Mr Marles said it was for the market to decide.

“Well, when the energy industry itself aren’t touching this with a barge pole, why on earth would governments be in the business of subsidising it?” Mr Marles asked.

But he would not rule out a future Labor government supporting a new venture as long as it wasn’t government subsidised, arguing the normal processes should apply.

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