Counter to my pessimistic predictions (here and here) the Renewable Energy Party has just been registered by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). Ever since the demise of the Climate Coalition in 2008 I have been hoping that a single issue climate party would form. Efforts to do so include my own rather dismal attempts at forming the Global Warming Action Party Australia. More recently I have been a member of the Victorian based Save the Planet Party (STP) which posits itself as the only ‘climate emergency’ party in Australia. As the STP remains unregistered its influence on the political process has been minimal.
The REP by contrast has been successfully registered in a little over a year since its formation and thus is the successor to the Climate Coalition. Hopefully it will be much more successful and last a lot longer. It is based in northern NSW and is clearly a climate party as any brief perusal of their website will show. Perhaps because of their country base they have chosen a name based on the solution to the problem, rather than the problem itself. There can be no doubt that unless we can convert to 100% renewable energy in a very short space of time the ‘climate emergency’ will overwhelm us.
Hopefully the REP will be able to extend their organisation nationwide quickly if they are to have any impact on the next Federal Election – possibly by July if there is a double dissolution. The dismal, perhaps criminal, approach of the conservatives to renewable energy needs to be directly challenged. I suggest that the REP aim at the “dirty thirty” (plus the Nationals) in the Federal parliament recently identified by 350.org Australia as I have recently outlined.
The odds are heavily stacked against independent climate candidates including those from unregistered parties like the STP. Even getting 100 nominators and the $1000 deposit requires energy, contacts and resources. Without a strong media presence, a local organisation and a substantial budget the chances of getting to the level where the AEC funds your campaign – a vote of 4% – is minimal. Only outstanding candidates, mostly with conservative credentials, have any chance whatsoever. I have resigned my membership of the STP and joined the REP. Hopefully the REP will have room for some of the Climate Independents and I still have hopes that eventually a new, powerful climate coalition will emerge.