Pre-election newsletter late-November 2014

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      Victorian Climate Action Network
    Late-November 2014

Victorian election countdown – two days to go

Great effort everyone!

Between us we have had thousands of conversations, collected thousands of pledges and tens of thousands of climate petition signatures, run dozens of forums and hundreds of street stalls, distributed hundreds of house signs and tens of thousands of scorecards, and got plenty of press coverage. This inspiring door-knock video from Geelong Sustainability and GetUp! has already had 34,000 views!

It’s been difficult, though, with Labor and Liberals sticking resolutely to their ‘small target’ strategy on climate, renewables and fossil fuels despite community support for action. Labor came through with some last minute funding for Yackandandah and Newstead, two towns which have set their own targets for a fast transition to 100% renewable energy, and announced a reduced exclusion zone around wind farms. The Greens have announced a plan to close down the dirtiest coal fired power stations. Even the Liberal Party shifted an inch or two, opening the door to possibly allowing some small community-owned wind projects to proceed.

The Labor Party’s four paragraph climate policy released in the week before election day is bold in aspiration, but short on details. They describe climate change as “one of the most critical issues facing Victoria and say they “want to restore Victoria’s status as a model for every other state”. But their $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund to encourage investment in the renewables sector is tiny, and unlikely to do much while uncertainty continues at the federal level, with new attacks on the federal Renewable Energy Target, and no sign of support for a Victorian RET from Labor. State Labor promises to “review legislation and programs to commit to an achievable carbon emissions reduction target”. An achievable target? How about one based on science.

“While Labor’s climate policy contains one sound move, the rest is symbolism and delusion,” commented ClimateSpectator’s Tristan Edis who estimated that, “if they’re lucky, the policy might just reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions by maybe less than one per cent.”

The question of a Great Forest National Park and the future of the Leadbeaters possum will be referred to a committee if Labor wins, while the Coalition has said it will not establish any new national parks.

Is it that climate campaigning in the inner city marginal Labor/Greens seat has not been sufficiently strong to produce a result? Or has Labor accepted the likelihood of some losses and stopped fighting for the inner city vote? Do they think that things have turned around given their current opposition to the East West Link? Have they not noticed the campaigns in the sandbelt and other key ALP/Coalition marginals?

Election night and the commentary afterwards will be one indication of our success or otherwise. However, regardless of the election outcome, many of us feel that the grassroots campaigning and the improved collaboration between groups is the start of something big. And Tony Abbott certainly seems to have been a help in mobilizing the willingness of ordinary people to step up and make a change!

Scorecards and ratings

Just released, is a great scorecard from Environment Victoria, which is being distributed by EV and GetUp. It links to a comprehensive analysis of the policies of the major parties at EV’s Promise Watch.

Yes 2 Renewables and Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group have produced a stylish scorecard for Macedon electorate.

Grassroots climate groups’ Vote Climate website includes evaluations of the policies of all parties large and small against a climate emergency agenda. The ratings provided the basis for scorecards distributed in Melbourne, Richmond, Northcote and Bendigo electorates.

Friends of the Earth’s MP Watch provides information on what individual members of parliament have said in state parliament on coal, gas and wind as well as party ratings.

Geelong Sustainability and GetUp! Geelong have produced a South-Western Victoria Clean Energy scorecard covering Geelong, Bellarine snf South Barwon electorates. It is based on a candidates’ questionnaire with 13 climate and clean energy questions.

In other news

Tony Abbott was ‘shirt-fronted’ on climate at the G20. And the Climate Guardian Angels got great media coverage blockading the entrance to the talks. Bill Shorten came out to talk to them, possibly signalling an increased willingness to engage on the issue of climate action.

The Queensland government offered to step in with infrastructure support in an attempt to save an Adani Galilee Basin coal project.

And Beyond Zero Emissions have launched two new reports – Land Use: Agriculture and Forestry, and A Fossil Economy in a Changing World.

What’s on in November and December?


The election – and then a bit of a break? 

Saturday 29 November – Victorian election. Will Victorians see climate as one of the decisive issues?

Sunday 7 December from 11am to 2pm in Melbourne, venue TBC, VCAN post-election celebratory lunch. Please RSVP to so we can gauge whether there is energy to go forward with this event.


Coming up in the new year


Sustainable Living Festival from 7 to 28 February 2015 in Melbourne & beyond.




About the Author:

Mik Aidt is a Danish journalist, musician and climate action campaigner based in Australia