The Nationals, Gippsland and Climate Politics

Following on from my last blog on the pathetic statement of National Party leader Michael McCormack I had intended to make a brief summary of some of the many climate actions farmers can take to move towards zero emissions. I queried the performance of our local member and asked which way Darren Chester would jump on this issue. This was overtaken by the 24 hour news cycle with a statement by Chester on Sky News, which has been reported in detail in an article by Katharine Murphy and Daniel Hurst in the Guardian.

Darren is reported as saying: “It’s important we take our time to listen to what people are saying to us, and even in the agricultural sector there are very different views… I have farmers in my electorate who are very interested to know whether this technology approach around sequestering more carbon in soils provides a real opportunity for them. They are open to the conversation…My job is to reflect the views of the community. I would just simply say we’ve got to be part of the solution as a National party – we don’t want to sideline ourselves from big debates.”

Darren Chester MHR has been aware of global warming for many years. In 2013 I stood in Gippsland as a Climate Independent with a policy of ‘fee and dividend’* to replace the carbon tax and again in 2016 as a candidate for the Renewable Energy Party. During that campaign I spoke at a community election forum at which Darren also spoke. I assume he was listening. Recently he has met deputations from East Gippsland Climate Action Network (including the new East Gippsland Shire Mayor Mendy Urie) and local Farmers for Climate Action members. As well there was the joint climate group/ XR demonstration (image above, see here for blog) outside Darren’s office during the brief interlude between the bushfires and the coronavirus.

Darren is to be congratulated for speaking out (however mildly and belatedly**) against the coal troglodytes in his own party. These Nationals and a few liberals are the tail wagging the LNP dog and have been delaying or denying action for the whole of Australia for many years – an action that is criminal. As many commentators (including ex PM Turnbull) have stated the LNP is a split waiting to happen. Perhaps that ‘split’ is fast approaching. Will Darren’s next move then be to join a part of the Libs using science based policy?

*policy advocated by US climate scientist James Hansen for many years.

**My blog on Darren five years ago was far more critical.