Zali Steggall unveils climate change act & will push for a conscience vote

Zali Steggall unveils climate change act & will push for a conscience vote

Zali Steggall
Independent MP Zali Steggall plans to introduce a national framework for long-term climate action to parliament in March and hopes to receive bi-partisan support for the legislation.

The legislation is based on the UK’s Climate Change Act and will provide a national, long-term framework for climate change mitigation and adaption.

The multi-faceted framework includes a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, which will be reviewed every 5 years by a new independent climate change commission, taking into account the best available science.

The climate act will leave national climate action in the hands of the government, but it mandates a process of accountability for national targets, actions and reporting. Similar models have been introduced successfully in Germany, New Zealand and the UK.

“It’s time to put a line in the sand and say enough with the climate wars and party politics that have really gotten in the way,” Steggall told Radio National on Monday morning.

“We need to think of the long-term safety of Australia and what we need to do, by locking in a long-term, net zero plan by 2050.

“It means we can give business and the private sector that long-term policy stability and certainty that they are calling out for.”

Steggall will be calling for the Liberal party to allow a conscience vote on the legislation. She has said that taking action on climate change is now “a matter of principle” and it is time for individual MPs to leave party politics behind and speak for their communities.

A public campaign for a conscience vote, named Climate Act Now, has already begun online, with Steggall urging members of the public to email their local MP in support of a free vote.

Last month, Steggall told the Guardian that moderate Liberals who campaigned on the issue of climate action during the last election needed to be mindful of their electorates’ wishes.

“I think they have to be mindful of their electorates feeling disenfranchised if they aren’t voting in accordance with their majority wishes,” she said.

“The Liberal Party is the party of the free vote – I am not asking them to do something they have never done before, and I think crossing the floor to vote for a climate act is something they need to do to represent their constituents.”

Tim Wilson, Jason Falinski, Trent Zimmerman, Katie Allen, Dave Sharma and Angie Bell are among the Liberal MPs who have already signed on to the cross-bench led Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action group.

Steggall’s legislation is already supported by crossbenchers Rebekha Sharkie, Helen Haines and Andrew Wilkie.

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