National Conference - The Climate Emergency

16 December 2018

Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a multinational panel comprising the world's top climate and environmental scientists, released a report on the impacts of global warming.

The report calls for drastic action to reverse global warming. It warns of current and further damage to coral reefs and warns that there will be more extreme hot days and more extreme droughts.

The IPCC also warns of the consequences of climate related risks to our health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and, of course, economic growth.

This is a climate emergency. As Bill Shorten said, it is a disaster. 

This change will disproportionately affect people living in the developing world and the Pacific. Without strong action, it will be a national security disaster.

The IPCC is not some radical body. International bodies like the IPCC are, by their nature, more likely to be conservative because of the consensus required from a vastly diverse membership—and still the warnings are stark. The earth is already too hot, and urgent action is required now if we are going to even begin to mitigate the already devastating effects of climate change.

Here today, we must commit ourselves to the strongest and fastest action on climate change.


It must be our promise to future generation.

We have reached the point of lethal stakes and dire opportunity. The planet is burning; the sea levels are rising. We can veer towards change at the greatest speed or permit this government's alternative of inaction that is as inept and incapable as it is unconscionable.

Our plan is to act immediately. To tackle the complexities of climate change and give policy certainty to clean energy investors craving opportunities to set up in Australia.

 Only a party that can form government and appreciate complexity will be able to build a policy framework that foresees the future for vulnerable industries, with expert analysis, time lines and dedicated financial resources.

 We in this room should stand committed to the cause of hope which is made possible by climate action: hope for a just world, a fair world and a sustainable planet and in the reshaping of our economies to meet its challenges.

We will ensure that no worker is left behind. We will commit to a just transition for Australian communities that rely on polluting industries.

Let me end with the most powerful quote I have read in recent times - from the wonderful David Attenborough:

"Leaders of the world, you must lead. The continuation of our civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend is in your hands".

Delegates, I commend this motion to you.