Another Plea for a Government of National Unity

parliament house Canberra

Last year after Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister I wrote a plea in this blog for a government of National Unity. I was hopeful that Turnbull – a far more acute and reasonable mind than his predecessor – might realise the impossibility of carrying with him the reactionary right wing of his own party, and that of the Nationals, on crucial matters like climate change and renewable energy.

I concluded that “it is high time that the overwhelming issue of climate change took priority over party. A government of National Unity on Climate Change will probably be the precursor to an Emergency (war-time style) government. Major changes in direction, policy, finances will be required across all levels of government where measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change become paramount” and “at the moment a government of national unity would be comprised of about half the Liberals, most of Labor, all the Greens, some Independents and even perhaps one or two Nationals. It would have an overwhelming majority in both houses. It could even be led by Malcolm Turnbull who, of the leaders of both major parties, has been most outspoken on climate change in the past.”

With the results of the July 2 Election possibly not known for some time it seems that such a government is again a possibility made more so by the likelihood of either a hung parliament or even a minority government. Furthermore a government of National Unity, which would include the greens, NXT and some of the Independents, may be the only way to achieve a workable Senate. It would inevitably mean a split in the coalition ranks with the Nationals, Hansonites, IPA idealogues and a clique of reactionary liberals going into opposition.

Such a government should legislate according to best science, start working on a ‘just transition’ away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and begin a program of basic education for the general public. It should depoliticize climate change as an issue and commence action as though we are facing worst case scenarios.