I should preface this by stating that I am a Young Liberal of the Australian and Victorian Liberal Party and have been for more than a year now. My involvement has been limited to assisting with my local State and Federal member in their campaigns, either through canvassing or on the phones.
Yet despite this, I am more of a moderate Liberal, to a degree I would fit happily between the Liberal Party and the Labor party, identifying with the Liberal’s views of more open markets and Liberalism, while espousing some of the more socially progressive views of the Labor party. This puts me in a tight spot, neither fitting in with either party. However, the Liberal Party’s expansion into the ideological right is forcing me to consider my involvement within the party.
For myself, issues such as Climate Change, LGBTIQ rights and Refugees are areas of major concern. Now, I understand to some that I sound a bit like a Greens person and to a degree, their social progressivism is enticing (however their economic policy is much less so).
Climate Change is my main area of concern at the moment, and frankly, the removal of Malcolm Turnbull, the renunciation of the IPCC report by the environment minister, and the complete fear of the party to instigate any policy on this front (as seen by the death of the NEG) are making me consider voting against my own party this coming election.
For one, the party has adopted a view of ideology over science and practicality. If there’s one thing I’m willing to allow shift my views, it’s scientific reports and peer-reviewed studies. Why stare at the face of evidence and call it false merely because you don’t agree with it? The job of a politician is to improve the living standards of all citizens, and if they’re given an answer, they should be willing to accept it.
This IPCC report is the most recent example of the extensive and growing scientific literature revealing the damage that Climate Change WILL do and how we as humans have been causing this shift in the global climate.
Yet, the party offers no solutions to allow for a transition away from coal by 2050 – a key demand of the report. The party provides no solution for investing in storage technology, whether that be through a centralised system such as that recently installed by the South Australian government, or a decentralised system of home battery units. There are no solutions for upgrading our transmission cables to handle the growing use of home solar-systems nor meters that can be nationally installed to update and monitor the grid on an individual basis.
Rather, we deny the outcomes of a report, we promise to continue digging and burning coal, we cut foreign aid to our Pacific Island partners, reducing their ability to prepare for more natural disasters and rising sea levels and we hide for months reports on how our emissions levels are growing not improving.
As a party, we should be recognising that we have a role as stewards of the environment, preserving the natural landscape and the beauty of this great land for generations to come.
We should recognise that the damage of climate change in the long-term will be far greater than the cost to stop the losses now. Farmers are seeing it currently with one of the worst droughts in Australian history, the tourism industry is seeing it with the death of the Great Barrier Reef, and soon our cities will see it too as water scarcity becomes a threat to Melbourne and Sydney.
There will be damages in the form of greater natural disasters such as wild-fires and more extensive droughts, hurricanes and cyclones more frequently coming upon our shores.
The health burden will be greater in our hospitals with higher rates of Asthma and other breathing related illnesses costing the government more in funding as well as on individual and household budgets.
Until we begin to form solid policy on this front, we will continue to lose moderate seats like Wentworth as well as the support of moderate Liberals and the general public. We will become more of the science-denying loonies that we are made out to be and will be on the wrong side of history when the effects of climate change undeniably appear.
But, I have hope in the younger generation of Australians and the younger generation of Young Liberals. While I have only encountered a small sect of the party, and one that is moderate by any point of relativity, they all believe that climate change is a looming issue, they all believe that we deserve solutions.
That is why, as a Young Liberal, an Australian and a concerned High School student, I ask the Liberal Party to get their shit together. I will be pushing for more action within the party and voting against them at this next federal election so that they realise that they can’t keep doing what they’re doing (nothing) and get away with it.