LEAN (Labor Environment Action Network) is a national Labor movement with state branches mobilising ALP members to help influence the implication of climate change.
What’s your involvement in LEAN and what makes you think LEAN will succeed?
A: I am LEAN National Operations Manager and a member of LEAN Victoria Steering Committee (of course all in a volunteer capacity). It is not a matter of if I think LEAN will succeed; more so how powerful have our successes been so far. Well, when you have senior leaders of the party such as Mark Butler (shadow minister for climate change) and Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten referring to LEAN’s 50/50 campaign as the most successful internal grass roots campaign they’ve seen in the last 30 years, I think that speaks strongly about the success.
What current (or future) impact has LEAN had over environmental policy so far?
A: In the 8 months leading up to the ALP national conference this year (only held every 3 years) in Melbourne, we were able to achieve what many had told us was pretty much impossible. In particular the union movement, that being to influence Climate Change Policy to such a degree where the rank and file membership, being over 350 branches across the country demanded the party adopt serious Renewable Energy Targets (RET). These targets being a 50% increase in renewable energy across the country by 2030, based on advice from the leading climate change authorities of Australia. Also, when government is gained, once again to have the ministries of energy and climate change combined under one ministry. There was also an array of other minor environmental policy adopted at conference that was propelled by the LEAN team, membership and rank and file.
What’s your stance, from a policy perspective on the reduction of the emission Target?
A. You mean the coalition’s lack of interest in reduction of emissions, and the games they have played to undermine their global responsibilities? Personally if you are referring to Abbott and Hunts warfare against the renewable energy industry? Well I think it is deplorable, I have spoken to many Victorians who have lost their jobs from the destruction of this industry by this ideologically driven government. It is beyond comprehension that any state would actively work to destroy a vital fledgling industry and destroy jobs as the Abbott/Turnbull government have.
What would you personally like to see our emission target set to?
A: Australians risk much from damage to the global climate system. It is necessary to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. I grew up in some of the driest, hottest parts of Australia and a warmer Australia would be disastrous. The human and economic costs are not worth inaction.
The ALP provides the only meaningful hope to end the devastation that climate scientists predicted through Coalition inaction. The ALP takes the issue seriously; our national policy is a binding 50% renewable energy target by 2030. Labor government leads on climate action with ACT Labor is committed to a 100% renewable energy by 2025. Transforming our economy to create jobs and protect our lifestyles, and environment, is a core Labor principle. It is worth acknowledging that unlike some protest parties, the ALP has binding national targets and is accountable to its binding platform as a party of government.