In the lead-up to the Wentworth by-election, GetUp! has put another set of very focussed questions to us. This round of interrogation was about the environment and our ABC. All questions gave the option of answering "Yes", "No", or "Uncommitted and gave space to elaborate.
Andrea Leong, the Science Party's candidate for Wentworth, answered these questions on 1st October 2018.
1. Will you rule out any direct or indirect public subsidies to Adani?
The Science Party has a policy of ending subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Adani has ongoing solar farm projects, and should be able to apply on equal footing for any subsidies that may be open to solar projects.
2. Will you stop the Adani coal mine and the exploitation of the Galilee coal basin, as a first step in a moratorium on new coal mines and expansions?
Adani's Carmichael coal mine appears pretty indefensible. All new thermal coal mines should receive the same level of scrutiny.
Stop Climate Damage
3. Will you implement policies in line with the Paris Agreement to limit dangerous global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees?
We should probably be more ambitious than the Paris target of "26 to 28" per cent emissions reduction, or at the very least commit to a single number instead of a range.
4. Will you reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40-60% on 2000 levels by 2030?
In reporting on this reductions target, The Climate Institute states: "The independent Climate Change Authority has previously recommended that Australia reduce emissions by 40-60 per cent below 2000 levels in 2030, which suggests 30-40 per cent reductions in 2025."
The Science Party has a target of net zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2030. Electricity typically accounts for a third of Australia's carbon emissions, so this target will satisfy the requirements of the question. We certainly don't intend for this target to be a limit, and expect to simultaneously reduce emissions from other sectors.
5. Do you accept that carbon pollution must be reduced faster in the electricity sector than in other sectors of the economy?
As electricity is the largest contributor to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, it would of course be most effective to reduce emissions from this sector. This is why the Science Party has a target of net zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2030.
Phase out coal fired power
6. Will you oppose public subsidies to new or existing coal-burning power plants?
The Science Party has a policy of ending all subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.
7. Will you implement a national plan to phase out all coal-burning power stations by 2030, making sure that affected workers and communities are supported in the transition?
This particular initiative is not part of our platform, but it would seem necessary to do so, to achieve our target of net zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2030. We support protecting people from the brunt of industrial upheaval, not the protection of specific jobs.
100% clean energy for all
8. Will you unleash investment and jobs in renewable energy by protecting ARENA, ensuring that the renewable boom continues to accelerate, supporting the development of a clean energy exports industry, and helping businesses seize the benefits of low-cost renewables and energy savings?
ARENA does great work, but it represents piecemeal investment. Stable legislation is a more important factor in renewables expansion and affordable electricity.
9. Will you ensure that all households, especially low-income households, renters and indigenous communities, can access the benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency?
Make our air safe to breathe
10. Will you establish a new national Environmental Protection Agency and pass a new generation of environment laws that includes binding National Standards on Air Pollution (including from vehicles and coal-burning power plants) to protect the health of all Australians, make polluters pay for the health impacts of their pollution and create strong and transparent reporting, compliance and enforcement mechanisms with sufficient penalties to ensure that requirements are met?
Protecting ABC from attacks
11. Will you stand against privatisation of the ABC?
The Science Party has no explicit policies on the ABC. I strongly support an independent and robust public broadcaster.
12. Do you support full funding by reversing all ABC budget cuts from 2014 budget onwards?
The ABC must have sufficient funding to ensure independence and to carry out its vital broadcasting functions, including rural programming and ABC Australia (broadcast to the Asia-Pacific region).
Reduce the role of big money, especially corporate money, in our politics
13. Do you support caps on political donations?
The Science Party made a submission to the Inquiry into the 2016 Federal Election in support of real-time reporting of donations. We believe that this reform to ensure transparency is more urgent than capping donations. On a personal level, I don't appreciate the idea of being restricted from spending my money on promoting ideals that I believe in.
14. Do you support caps on political campaign expenditure?
I find the idea of limiting an organisation's spending a bit nonsensical.
15. Do you support calls from medical professionals for all children seeking safety and their families currently detained on Nauru to be evacuated to Australia?
16. Do you support the evacuation of all refugees and people seeking asylum held on Manus Island and Nauru?
Australia should permanently close all of its offshore immigration detention facilities. This is not an immigration issue but a human rights issue.
17. Are you concerned by and will you take action to combat the rising racism, including Islamophobia, in Australian society?
18. Will you stand up for multicultural and Aboriginal communities who are under attack on the grounds of so-called 'cultural compatibility' with 'Australian values'?
19. Do you agree that Newstart is too low and must be raised?
20. Will you commit to raise Newstart by $75 a week?
Sure, but only because a recent independent report suggested that this amount would boost jobs, not just because this survey threw that number out there without explanation.
21. Are you committed to full employment?
I am committed to a genuine safety net and educational opportunities for people looking for work, and the creation of new industries.
22. Do you support a trial of a guaranteed job provided by the Federal Government at proper pay for all that ask for one?
The Science Party generally supports sensible policy trials as long as they are ethical and supported by expert advice if not evidence from other jurisdictions.