Canberra Liberals ‘won’t play politics with climate change’, will write to PM calling for action

Lottie Twyford 12 November 2021 33
Elizabeth Lee

The Canberra Liberals, under the leadership of Elizabeth Lee MLA, have forged a very different path from their federal counterparts on climate action. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

With party leader Elizabeth Lee in Glasgow in attendance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the Canberra Liberals have spoken in support of a motion that highlighted the importance of phasing out gas in the Territory by 2045, and they’ve committed to writing to their federal counterparts to call for faster national emissions cuts.

Yesterday, the Liberals supported a motion moved by Greens MLA Jo Clay which endorsed the Territory’s agreed-upon emissions reductions targets and required each ACT party leader to write to their federal party leader.

Ms Lee will have to write to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to advocate for stronger emissions-reduction targets at a national level.

Ms Lee last week told a GLOBE forum at COP26 that she believed everyone wanted action on climate change.

“In my home city of Canberra, it is always a top-five issue when it comes to what people want from their political leaders,” she said.

“But nobody wants their electricity bills to go up, their lights to go out or for their jobs to be at risk.”

Elizabeth Lee

Canberra Liberals Leader Elizabeth Lee addressed a forum in Glasgow. Photo: Screenshot.

Ms Lee said while technology may have the answers to achieving a decarbonised economy that did not deny people opportunities, including those in developing economies, getting there would require “leadership and political will”.

Ms Lee also told the forum she believed legislators in sub-national jurisdictions had a responsibility to leverage policy elements under their control, such as housing, transport, heating, lighting and urban infrastructure development.

When her trip to Glasgow was first announced, Chief Minister Andrew Barr had said Ms Lee should use her trip to lobby Mr Morrison for a set of more ambitious climate targets.

Ms Lee shied away from Mr Barr’s suggestion at the time.


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Opposition spokesperson for emissions reduction Leanne Castley, who spoke in support of the motion yesterday, said the Canberra Liberals are “fed-up with climate change being a political issue”.

Ms Castley quoted Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, saying it was time to show young local environmentalists that politicians are not all “blah, blah, blah”.

She said the government needed to have stronger plans in place to reduce emissions.

“The Canberra Liberals want to see accountability and transparency with clearly defined measures to achieve our targets,” she said.

“Why can’t we show [young people] that we not only have tripartisan support for ambitious emissions reductions targets but a tripartisan agreed-upon plan on how we will get there?”


READ ALSO: Canberra clean-tech company takes out global startup competition at COP26


Presenting her motion to the Assembly, ACT Greens MLA Ms Clay invoked elements of the summer of 2019/20 in which Canberra was first engulfed by heat and smoke from bushfires and then hammered by a hail storm, saying this was a taste of what’s to come if immediate climate action is not taken.

Ms Clay said while she was proud of the response to climate change at a Territory-level, faster national action than was committed to by the Federal Government is also required.

“ACT climate policy has been based on science and action for a decade. We’ve cut 60 per cent [of our emissions] over the last nine years.

“Meanwhile, the Federal Government has made no cuts, none,” Ms Clay told the Assembly.

She said she no longer trusted the Federal Government to take any action unless they were pushed into it, but believed the ACT Legislative Assembly was well-placed to do so.

“We can turn this around,” Ms Clay said. “We will only manage it if we have a commitment from every level of government.”


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33 Responses to Canberra Liberals ‘won’t play politics with climate change’, will write to PM calling for action
Neenie Baines Neenie Baines 6:42 pm 15 Nov 21

That’s great news. But Morrison won’t take anything on board. He doesn’t care. He’s waiting for the rapture.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:36 pm 14 Nov 21

After an entirely predictable outcome (for all but the fantasists and realpolitik denialists) at Glasgow, if the ACT Liberals bother writing to anyone on this subject, it should be the Chinese Embassy and the Indian High Commission.

Mitigation is now a far more pressing issue for sub-national jurisdictions than tokenism and posturing – particularly vegetation management, and that includes taking a very hard look at ACT laws which pretend that trees on leased land magically become less of a fire risk when they reach arbitrary size criteria.

Jack D. Jack D. 4:14 pm 13 Nov 21

Elizabeth Lee + Free trip = Climate Change epiphany!!

Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 3:55 pm 13 Nov 21

Sure and Scomo will listen to you ... good luck with that because Scomo listens to noone but Scomo

Gregory Mark Gregory Mark 9:52 am 13 Nov 21

I expect to see a ‘Canberra Liberals’ liveried EV if they are going walk the talk .

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 4:00 pm 13 Nov 21

    Gregory Mark I expect to see them all riding their bikes to work every morning.

    Gregory Mark Gregory Mark 5:51 pm 13 Nov 21

    Linda Stapleton Giulia jones is pro-cycling

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 10:44 am 14 Nov 21

    Gregory Mark but does she ride her bike to work every day

    Gregory Mark Gregory Mark 11:03 am 14 Nov 21

    Linda Stapleton i will have to ask . I don’t think you have to be all in on something to make a difference .

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 11:06 am 14 Nov 21

    Gregory Mark you do that 🙂

Tim Green Tim Green 9:25 am 13 Nov 21

Do the local Liberals really believe the PM cares what they think?

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 3:59 pm 13 Nov 21

    Tim Green it would appear that now she has traveled overseas, she thinks so lol

gooterz gooterz 8:02 am 13 Nov 21

Not happy at how things went at the last election the libs are trying to go left. However we already have two of those.

Libs don’t have a tram plan…

Looking forward to the v8 returning to Canberra.

Futureproof Futureproof 7:37 am 13 Nov 21

Canberra Liberals – you can’t out-left the ALP and Greens. Another four years in opposition for you, where the main pastime is remembering the failed leaders names of which, their number exceeds the players on an AFL team. You need to do better. Rates, Rents, Roads. There’s a start.

    Jack D. Jack D. 5:50 pm 13 Nov 21

    I’m sorry Futureproof, rates, rents and roads and that bloody Tax truck at every ACT election driven by a bunch of entitled and snotty Young Liberals will keep these Canberra Libs out for years! Oh and not to forget the party being dominated by Conservative, Religious intolerants (look at the deputy leader), as well as Zed, Josh and the Young Libs on the sidelines, this mob will never get into government in the ACT!!

Mica Mahani Mica Mahani 6:57 am 13 Nov 21

Yeh great. 20 years late.

Craig Rogerson Craig Rogerson 6:15 am 13 Nov 21

I think Elizabeth ought to join the party she belongs to . The Greens.

Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 12:07 am 13 Nov 21

Still not above a little sniping though-

"Opposition spokesperson for emissions reduction Leanne Castley ... said the government needed to have stronger plans in place to reduce emissions."

I seem to remember years of Liberal complaints that the ACT government was daring to pursue emissions reduction at all. They supposedly should have concentrated on cutting the grass and left this to the big folk in the Federal Government.

Chris Goodrum Chris Goodrum 11:43 pm 12 Nov 21

I wish both sides of politics could be trusted to do the right thing but sorry Elizabeth your leader won’t! My Opinion.

Jonathan Luke Jonathan Luke 10:30 pm 12 Nov 21

On ya Liz.

Calvin Chan Calvin Chan 9:28 pm 12 Nov 21

Obviously someone forgot to send the memo to Zed.

phydeaux phydeaux 9:08 pm 12 Nov 21

It seems some people in newer suburbs I have seen have taken the view that if there is no room for gigantic trees then why even try?
Some put down turf then after a year realise a bowling green on their verge is not maintainable in Canberra’s usual hot Summer so they throw up their hands and choose green furry plastic or else a stony desert. None of that does anything for heat islands (or wildlife) either, and it costs more than sensible things too.
There are such things as (native) bushes, small to medium trees, hardy grasses, which will help reduce heat island effects, capture water run-off, support everything from tiny insects to avian dinosaur-descendants; and even look good with only a modicum of planning and quite modest maintenance.

Paul Kitson Paul Kitson 8:37 pm 12 Nov 21

Good stuff.

Maddie Ten Maddie Ten 8:27 pm 12 Nov 21

Climate change is politics

    Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 12:08 am 13 Nov 21

    Maddie Ten Only because the Right politicised it.

Jonny Williams Jonny Williams 8:21 pm 12 Nov 21

ask andrew, it will be cheaper

John Meyer Patricia Branford John Meyer Patricia Branford 8:18 pm 12 Nov 21

Better check with Zed first….

kenbehrens kenbehrens 7:09 pm 12 Nov 21

There was an interesting article out of Melbourne in the last couple of days that talked about how the locals were concerned about how the removal of the tree canopy had caused an increase in their summer daytime temperatures.
The irony of the article was that the absence of tree canopy was put down to the reduction in house block sizes and urban infill.
It sends an Interesting message. If you want trees, you need bigger blocks and maybe less infill.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:59 am 13 Nov 21

    Surely that’s only comment from climate change deniers. The science is settled remember, it’s only man made carbon dioxide that is increasing the temperature.

    I am a Rabbit™ I am a Rabbit™ 11:33 am 13 Nov 21

    A few token trees and critters don’t do much for the environment – it’s been proven in several studies that higher density urban infill is far more environmentally friendly that building endless huge blocks of suburbia, even if they have a few mature large trees on them.

    jwinston jwinston 2:00 pm 14 Nov 21

    Aahhhh….that’s probably why the grass isn’t being cut – (1) it’s absorbing all that terrible man-made CO2 and (2) the governments solar powered mowers don’t work on cloudy days

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