Matters of Public Importance - Environment

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (17:11): I join this debate and echo the words of Senator Fierravanti-Wells. I express my concern and sorrow to those who have been affected by disasters recently and across time immemorial. I'm disappointed that the Greens would use these human tragedies to try to make some cheap political points, as they continue to do.

It's interesting to observe these debates. I don't always agree with Senator Roberts. His view is his own view, but is, it appears to me, a more scientific view than that of anyone else who speaks in these particular discussions. But what I'm interested in is this. When someone like Senator Roberts has a different view from Senator Rice, Senator Hanson-Young and Senator Whish-Wilson, they're treated with disdain and giggling fits and the putting-down of anyone who doesn't happen to follow their ideology. Senator Roberts made some valid points. He quotes the facts of cyclones. I saw this years ago. He has actually said when the cyclones hit, and yet the Greens would tell you that this is a new phenomenon. I remember when Yasi hit the Greens said, 'This is the worst cyclone to hit Australia since 1917.' Now Senator Rice says, 'These are the worst floods to hit South-East Asia for a long time'—40 years. What happened before those 40 years? There were floods of that magnitude and there have been at all occasions. Certainly, with the media and social media the way it is, we're more aware of these disasters when they happen. Senator Roberts gives the facts. The Greens will never dispute those because they can't. They just try to belittle the deliverer of the message.

I never enter into the debate of whether human activity is causing climate change. The climate is, of course, changing. There's no doubt about that; no-one can deny that. I never enter that debate because I don't have that scientific knowledge, but neither does anyone else in this room, and neither does everyone else at the UBC—the Ultimo Broadcasting Corporation, which used to be called the ABC. They don't have the facts either; they don't have the scientific knowledge. They just mouth the platitudes of others who have a particular agenda, and the Greens are amongst them. The Greens could not tell you about the science themselves; they just mouth the platitudes that someone has told them. I continue to ask them and they never answer me.

Australia is doing its bit. We're reducing our emissions and we help with disaster resilience—not climate resilience; disaster resilience—particularly in the Pacific. Australia emits less than 1.2 per cent of the world's emissions of carbon. If the world's emission of carbon is what's causing climate change—which it is, according to the Greens—then I ask the Greens: why are you so determined to destroy Australia's industry and our standard of living by even further reducing the emissions of carbon?

Senator Rice interjecting

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Sterle ): Order, Senator Rice!

 Senator IAN MACDONALD: I've asked them time and time to tell me scientifically what impact Australia's emission of carbon has on the changing climate of the world. They never answer that question, because they can't. So I asked the Chief Scientist, Dr Finkel, what would happen if Australia reduced its emissions by 1.2 per cent, which is the total of Australia's emissions.

Senator Rice interjecting

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Rice, I have let you get away with a little bit but it's gone on for a while now and I ask you to cease, please.

 Senator IAN MACDONALD: Thank you for the protection, Mr Acting Deputy President, but I don't need protection from the likes of Senator Rice. This is the typical Greens' thing. If you don't agree with them, they will deride you, giggle like schoolgirls and try to shout you down.

I keep raising the point that they won't tell me what impact 1.2 per cent will have on the changing climate of the world—but Dr Finkel did. I asked Dr Finkel: if we shut Australia down, if we reduce Australia's emissions by 1.2 per cent, what impact would that have on the changing climate of the world? Dr Finkel said—and it's on Hansard—'virtually none'. The Greens are in here every day saying, 'Cut Australia's jobs; do away with manufacturing; do away with motor vehicles; do away with everything that has a carbon emission because it's going to kill the Barrier Reef,' yet Dr Finkel says that it will have virtually no impact on the changing climate of the world. The Greens bring lie, after lie, after lie to this debate—as they do with everything. We just heard a Greens' senator say that the Barrier Reef is dead. That is a direct and outright lie. The Barrier Reef is not dead; it is brilliant. There are parts of it in some condition, but the Barrier Reef continues.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: A point of order, Senator Whish-Wilson.

 Senator Whish-Wilson: Senator Macdonald is misleading the chamber. No Greens' senator said that the Barrier Reef is dead. I ask you to reflect on Hansard and call Senator Macdonald up for lying.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Whish-Wilson, that is a debating point; there is no point of order.

 Senator IAN MACDONALD: Senator Rice clearly said in her presentation—and Hansard will show this—'That's why the Barrier Reef is dead.' It is not dead, but the Greens would have you believe that and so would the UBC—what used to be the ABC—all the GetUp! people and all the left-wing groups of that type.

This debate needs a reality check. Unfortunately, you will never get it from the Greens. They can't tell you anything about the science, because they simply don't know. They just mouth the platitudes and the particular thing they heard from some left-wing group at some time in the past. It needs a reality check. Start answering those questions that Senator Roberts puts to you. I don't know whether he has the knowledge, but he has the facts on the cyclones and the floods. They're not new; they've happened all the time through the world's evolution, and they will continue to happen. They are a natural impact. Even if you are a believer in man's inducement of climate change, what Australia emits will have virtually no impact. (Time expired)

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