Pollies fiddle while world burns: Labor’s climate fight on two fronts

Concerns have been raised that stalling changes to climate change regulation and laws will allow business uncertainty to fester.

Jan 31, 2023, updated Jan 31, 2023
NDIS Minister Bill Shorten. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Labor is gearing up for a fight against both the opposition and the Greens on its climate policy, in particular changes to the safeguard mechanism.

The changes will lower the ceiling on carbon emissions for some large companies and allow them to trade carbon credits if they go over.

The opposition’s shadow cabinet will meet on Tuesday to stamp its position, with the Australian Financial Review reporting the objection has already been decided.

Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten chastised the opposition for ignoring action on climate change.

“Poor old coalition, they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” he told Sky News.

“They’re reheating the same head-in-the-sand attitudes that bedevilled climate policies for the last decade.”

It sets up a battle between Labor and the Greens, who hold the balance of power in the Senate.

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Greens leader Adam Bandt says the minor party could block any changes if new fossil fuel projects are ticked off.

Shorten said Labor would “steer the mature path in politics here”.

“We’ve seen this movie before, we’ve got the Liberals being recalcitrant and bloody-minded, you’ve got the Greens who are jumping up and down and demanding everything straight away,” he said.

“We’ll do it in a way which encourages new jobs and preserves jobs rather than just creating uncertainty.”

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