Australia has a new left-leaning government

May 23, 2022

After nearly a decade of conservative rule, Australian voters rejected the ruling coalition, opting instead for those who advocated for stronger climate action, gender equality, and political honesty.

On Monday, Anthony Albanese, the new Labor Prime Minister, was sworn in before flying to Japan for his first meeting with allies, including US President Joe Biden.

For most of its history, Australia’s politics has been dominated by two major parties: the center-right Liberals and the center-left Labor Party. However, this election flung all the balls in the air, tossing a number of them to minor parties and independents who were fed up with the two-party system.

Australia’s coming in from the climate cold

The election results revealed a considerable preference for Independents who campaigned on environmental issues.

The candidates, many of whom were new to politics, wanted to decrease emissions by up to 60%, more than twice as much as the government conservative coalition had promised (26-28%) and more than Labor had proposed (43 percent ). Teal candidates, as they were known, campaigned in typically blue Liberal seats, but with more green-leaning ideas.

“Hundreds of thousands of Australians have made climate change a priority. Now is the time for a complete overhaul of how our magnificent country responds to the climate crisis “On Saturday’s election result, Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the climate research group the Climate Council, stated.

Australia has long been recognized as the “fortunate country,” thanks to its abundant coal and gas reserves, as well as minerals such as iron ore, which have fueled centuries of economic development.

However, it is now on the verge of a climate crisis, with the fires, floods, and droughts that have already ravaged the country anticipated to worsen as the Earth warms.

After laying forth a strategy to get to net zero by 2050 by building big new gas projects, the ruling conservative government was labeled a climate “holdout” by the UN Secretary-General.

Scott Morrison, the incumbent, has stated that he would support a shift from coal to renewable energy, but that he had no plans to halt new coal projects.

Anthony Albanese, the leader of the Labor Party, promised to put an end to the “climate wars,” a reference to the infighting that has stymied efforts to press for tougher climate action over the last decade, costing three prime ministers their careers.

Labor has vowed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, in part by tightening the mechanism used to compel firms to reduce emissions.

Labor’s goals, however, aren’t ambitious enough, according to Climate Analytics, to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as stipulated in the Paris Agreement.

According to the institution, Labor’s proposals are marginally better than the coalition’s plan for a 2 degree Celsius rise.

Labor intends to update Australia’s energy grid and deploy solar banks and community batteries to accelerate the transition to renewable energy. Despite its net-zero pledge, Labor has stated that it will authorize new coal projects if they are both environmentally and economically viable.

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