Canberra was the focus of action today over climate change and the Government's proposed carbon tax, with an action for climate change petition presented, youth climate activists in town to meet politicians, and the No Tax on Carbon rally attended by climate deniers and conservatives and actively promoted on shock-jock talk back radio.
Ged Kearney from the ACTU and Kellie Caught from the WWF-Australia delivered a petition with 12,500 names supporting action on climate change to Greg Combet, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, at Parliament house in the morning.
"The people who have signed this petition are the silent majority of Australians who care about the nation's future and are not fooled by Tony Abbott's scare campaign," said ACTU President Ged Kearney.
"It's evident that people understand that immediate action is imperative to a sustainable economy and environment. As Professor Ross Garnaut pointed out last week, delaying action will only mean more costs in the future, costs in terms of jobs and real growth in our economy."
"Action on climate change will help unlock jobs through investments in renewable technologies that would otherwise be economically uncompetitive. Unions will advocate on behalf of workers to protect their jobs and communities. We want to ensure that there is a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy. " said Ged Kearney.
A recent Galaxy research telephone poll found that 58% of respondents were in favour of a tax on big carbon polluters and only 17% favoured the coalition policy of subsidies to polluters to reduce emissions.
"We know that putting a price on pollution is not just about protecting the environment and our wildlife, it is about creating jobs, it's about technological progress, it's about Australia remaining competitive as we move to a low-polluting world." said Kellie Caught, Head of Climate Change at WWF-Australia.
In response Greg Combet, Minister for Climate Change, said "It is important that we confront scare campaigns that are being run by Tony Abbott and a number of others in support of him but we have got to understand some basic and simple things. A carbon price is nothing to be feared. It's simply a price tag on every tonne of pollution that is produced by the large polluters in our economy."
"And what that creates that price tag is the incentive to cut pollution levels and it creates the incentive to drive investment in low emissions technology, to improve energy efficiency and to invest in renewable energy: clean energy sources like solar and wind power. Now these are good things this is a good public policy objective and as people come to understand the issues more and more in the community I'm very confident that they will support those goals."
"Finally, just to make clear once more the government has made it very clear that the revenue collected from the payment of the price on pollution by the large polluters in the economy will be used to help people, help households, particularly low and middle income households meet any price impacts. It will be used to support jobs in the most effected industries and it will be used to support other climate change programs in particular with an emphasis on support for clean energy technology." said Greg Combet.
The petition is still open for signing.
* ACTU media release - Australian workers say yes to action on climate change for our future
* Transcript of Doorstop interview