Original story by Sara Phillips, ABC Environment
With climate change still rating as an important issue for Australian voters, which party has the most environment-friendly policies? The environment groups are unanimous in their assessment.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL an issue that motivates voters, if you believe the results of the ABC’s Vote Compass results released last week. A majority of 61 per cent of Australians believe the government should do more to tackle climate change. Even the vexed question of whether to put a price on carbon dioxide has support from half the population, with a minority 32 per cent of voters against such a measure.
Support for action on climate change was strongest amongst Greens voters, with Labor voters also showing clear support. But even Liberal voters, who were the least supportive of action on climate change, tipped the scales in favour of climate change policies with 68 per cent believing the government should do the same as they are now or more on climate change.
It’s a result that is not reflected in the campaigning from our leaders. As I have blogged previously it’s been a quiet campaign for the environment.
However environment groups have been active in analysing the environment policies from the parties running in the 2013 election. Universally, the green groups have rated the Greens as having the most environment-friendly policies. Labor comes in second with the Coalition or the Liberals rated third.
According to Vote Compass, this broadly reflects the level of interest voters for those parties show in the issues. For example, Lock the Gate is a loose collection of environment groups concerned with the impacts of coal seam gas exploration on prime agricultural land. It found that the Liberal party was the least prepared to regulate coal seam gas development. Likewise Vote Compass found that Liberal voters were the least likely to support regulation of coal seam gas development.
On the troublesome carbon tax/ETS question, most green groups marked down the Coalition for its stated intention to abolish the price on carbon. But again, Coalition voters would prefer to see the carbon price removed, with Vote Compass showing that 58 per cent of Coalition voters oppose a price on carbon.
Where the voters and the policies diverge is on the general question of tackling climate change. Regardless of the party voters are intending to vote for, a majority agree that tackling climate change is important. But if you believe the assessments of the green groups, only the Greens are doing enough on this score. It’s a discrepancy that either calls into question the policy analysis of the environment groups, or the commitment Australian voters have to effective climate change action.
Links to the environment groups’ analysis are below.
University of Melbourne “Election Watch”
Climate Institute “Pollute-o meter”
100% Renewable “Solar Scorecard”
Environment Victoria “Enviro-tracker”