'Greenslide' In Australia: Greens Record Best Ever Electoral Performance, Demand Halt To All New Coal And Gas Projects

by India Infrahub - May 23, 2022 10:26 PM +05:30 IST
'Greenslide' In Australia:  Greens Record Best Ever Electoral Performance,  Demand Halt To All New Coal And Gas ProjectsAustralian Greens
Snapshot
  • The Australian Greens, who are potentially in a position to block or approve legislative agenda of the new Labour-led government, have called for a halt to all new coal and gas projects in the country.

    In what is being described as a "greenslide" by political commentators, a big chunk of voters abandoned the Liberal-National Coalition government, which was seen as pro-fossil fuels, favouring candidates that support more decisive action on climate change.

The Australian Greens, who are potentially in a position to block or approve the legislative agenda of the new Labour-led government, have called for a halt to all new coal and gas projects in the country.

As climate change emerged as a key electoral issue, the ruling conservative coalition headed by incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison faced a humiliating rout.

In what is being described as a "greenslide" by political commentators, a big chunk of voters abandoned the Liberal-National Coalition government, which was seen as pro-fossil fuels, favouring candidates that support more decisive action on climate change.

With over 70% of votes counted, the Labour party was inching close to securing a majority mark of 76 seats in the 150-member lower house. Earlier today, Labour leader Anthony Albanese was sworn in as the new Prime Minister.

In case Labour fails to secure a majority of its own (seven seats in the lower house are yet to be called), the new government may have to depend on the support of the Green Party or independents to pursue its legislative agenda.

While Labour has announced in its manifesto that it will roll out more solar and battery infrastructure, update the electricity grid so that it can handle more renewable energy, make electric vehicles cheaper and invest in green hydrogen and steel, it has maintained that market forces will determine the future of fossil fuels. However, Greens, who claim that the climate crisis is caused by mining and burning coal, oil and gas, have pledged to phase out fossil fuels by 2030 and promised a shift to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. The party advocates removing fossil fuel production from the domestic economy and phasing out coal and gas exports.

The country has the third-largest reserves of coal and still relies on fossil fuels to generate 91 per cent of its electricity. It also earns about A$100 billion a year from exporting coal.


'Greenslide'

Greens recorded their best electoral performance winning at least three seats in the lower house. The party added at least two lower house seats in Brisbane to the one they already held in Melbourne. The Greens also gained three additional seats in Senate, which would take their representation to 12 in the 76-strong upper house.

With Liberal coalition suffering Senate losses across States and Territories, Greens could hold the balance of power in the country's upper house.

Greens leader, Adam Bandt, who was reelected from his Melbourne seat, described the election verdict as "a Greenslide"

"This election has delivered a climate mandate for the [Greens] party and independents to push for a plan to deal with coal and gas, [because they] saw their votes go up," Bandt said. "Liberal and Labor backed more coal and gas and their votes went down."

"New coal and gas projects do not stack up environmentally or economically," he said. "We are in a climate crisis. You can't put the fire out while pouring petrol on it.

"A record number of people have voted for the Greens and we will be in the balance of power in the Senate and possibly the house. The Greens are the most powerful third party in the Parliament." he added.

"Voters have made it clear they want the Greens to push the Albanese Government to go further and faster on climate change and inequality." Bandt further said.

"We want to work with Anthony Albanese to deliver the stable, effective, progressive government that Australians have voted for, but he will need to work constructively with the Greens and the rest of the crossbench."

Another nine House of Representatives seats has been won by independent candidates. Dubbed the "teal independents" because of their shared climate focus, they ran on a strong climate platform in formerly safe Liberal bastions. They inflicted defeat on at least two Liberal coalition stalwarts.

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