THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE HON MARK BUTLER MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER
MEMBER FOR PORT ADELAIDE
ABBOTT GOVERNMENT EMBARRASSES AUSTRALIA ON THE WORLD STAGE, AGAIN
FRIDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2014
In an extraordinary attack on our close friend and ally, the United States, the Abbott Government says it has “an issue” with a plea from President Obama to protect our beautiful Great Barrier Reef.
In a speech at University of Queensland during the G20 last weekend, President Obama pointed to the impact of climate change on the reef saying:
”I have not had time ... to go to the Great Barrier Reef and I want to come back and I want my daughters to be able to come back and I want them to be able to bring their daughters or sons to visit. And I want that there 50 years from now.”
The Abbott Government has criticised President Obama’s remarks, despite the fact they are consistent with the views of the World Heritage Committee.
Just this year, the World Heritage Committee “noted with concern” the Abbott Government’s lack of action to protect the Great Barrier Reef, and went on to recommend the reef for consideration on the list of “world heritage in danger” sites in 2015.
It seems it’s only the Abbott Government that fails to accept that climate change is going to take a significant toll on our Great Barrier Reef, unless we act now. It is embarrassing.
The Abbott Government’s criticism of President Obama follows a similar attack from Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman.
Everyone knows Campbell Newman is no diplomat, but Australians expect better from their national government, especially the Foreign Minister.
World leaders, including Australia's largest trading partners, are taking action against climate change, but Tony Abbott would rather pay polluters to pollute.
While the rest of the world looks to a clean energy future, an economic advantage that could present jobs and investment for Australia, the Abbott Government continues to drag its feet on taking serious climate action.
Labor recently announced that, if re-elected, it would ban capital dredge spoil being dumped in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
We did this because we want to protect this vital heritage area from further degradation.