All but the climate denial laggards agree we need climate action.

It is obvious to all but “Blind Freddy” that we are now living through the consequences of serious climate change. Even Murdoch is now demanding decarbonisation by 2050.

Unless you live in a parallel universe of fake news, you cannot deny what is unfolding before our eyes. In the space of a few years, we’ve seen record bleaching of the Barrier Reef, catastrophic bushfires which, according to Professor John Quiggin, cost Australia $100 billion or 5 per cent our GDP; 40 per cent decline in water inflows to Murray Darling Basin; the dramatic shift in weather patterns for Southern Gippsland and the emergence of serious erosion along the coastline.

The cost of climate disasters is growing exponentially, according to the World Insurance Council. Professor Will Steffen concludes in the recent Climate Council report that Australia faces a $100b annual bill for climate-fuelled damage. Continued inaction will cost us all dearly.

In this context, the Australian Conservation Foundation with “Together” conducted the biggest and most in-depth poll of climate change opinion in Australia. They polled 15,000 Australians and all 151 federal electorates.

As the ACF report concludes: “The poll results reveal a groundswell of voters flagging climate change as a key election issue and continuing widespread support for clean energy solutions. A majority in every federal electorate in the country wants our national government to do more to combat climate change. It shatters the myth there’s one view in the bush about climate change and a different one in the city.”

It found increasingly people are going to vote on climate change as their most important issue: “One-in-three voters in inner metro electorates and one-in-four voters in rural electorates say climate change is the most important issue for them at the next election. The poll shows Australians firmly reject the government’s so-called gas-led recovery. The poll didn’t find a single electorate where there was majority support for new gas and coal-fired power.”

The information below summarises the result for our federal electorate and Australia (in order of federal Monash electorate, Australia and the question).
• 77 per cent; 78 per cent; Of voters believe greater climate action will help nature and wildlife survive extreme weather.
• 73 per cent; 71 per cent; Of voters do not believe that new coal or gas power stations should be a priority for the federal government.
• 63 per cent; 67 per cent; Of voters believe the federal government need to be doing more to address climate change.
• 64 per cent; 67 per cent; Of voters say Labor and Coalition plans for climate action will influence their vote.

We are well past a tipping point. There might be a vociferous minority who don’t believe the science and see mythical conspiracy in their “post truth” world. By far the majority have signalled their intention to vote to address the changing climate.

This has implications for all levels of government and for South Gippsland Council elections. The administrators in their wisdom ignored a petition of 2037 people wanting council to declare a climate emergency and take action. Already 42 per cent of Victorian councils have declared a climate emergency. It’s high time council acted to protect our coastline, and capitalise on the major opportunities in regenerative farming, soil carbon sequestration, bio-fertilisers production, renewable offshore energy, and green hydrogen.

Andrew McEwen, Candidate for Strzelecki Ward.