Since the advent of Abbott leadership in the Liberal Party in 2009 the conservative parties have been under the control of climate deniers. With the replacement of Abbott by Turnbull as PM – a man previously dedicated to common sense on climate – this has become glaringly obvious. Abbott and his followers remain in control of the agenda. Therefore a strategy is required to get a bipartisan and serious approach to climate and to reduce the influence of the climate deniers in parliaments. The former is most unlikely at the moment therefore we should direct our energy towards achieving the latter. A range of options and possibilities are available.
The most desirable way to achieve this would be for the Liberal Party to split into 2 parties leaving a centrist party concerned about climate and hopefully isolating the denialist rump. This is most unlikely despite the current shenanigans of Senator Bernardi. Another more likely option is for sympathetic party members to challenge the deniers in party pre-selections. This is possibly already happening in some states. A single-issue climate party that appeals across the political spectrum (not just to the left) and even a Conservative Climate Party are other possibilities. The latter does not exist and the only registered climate party in Australia – the Renewable Energy Party of which I am currently a member – has failed to make any impression so far. The primary goals of any serious single issue party should be to publicise, to set the agenda, and to draw sufficient votes off the major parties to make them change their policies.
Perhaps the best way to attack the climate deniers is at the ballot box and in individual electorates. To do this climate must be made a major issue and credible alternative conservative candidates must be available. Both the climate deniers and conversely their conservative alternatives must be clearly identified. The issues should be canvassed as widely as possible and in lieu of credible conservative alternative climate candidates independents should be promoted. Conservative How to Vote Cards (HTVCs) should be issued for each state and in the Senate the conservatives numbered from lesser to greater evils. In South Australia for instance Bernardi should receive the last number or none at all. Likewise with Abetz in Tassie!
There are plenty of options but except for the continuing publicity on climate change and renewable energy nothing much is happening so far. What is needed now are some plans for targeting each and every single one of the climate deniers and for someone to organise and issue conservative HTVCs. And we should remember that climate change affects us all regardless of political persuasion.