10 Years on, Greens-Labor Agreement a formula for progressive change
Greens Leader Adam Bandt will celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the power sharing Parliament and the agreement between Labor and the Greens during the Gillard minority government during an address to the Greens National Conference this weekend.
Mr Bandt said the agreement, which stemmed from his election to the seat of Melbourne and Greens holding the balance of power in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, saw important progressive reforms, including world leading climate action with a price on carbon, kids’ dental brought into Medicare and democratic reforms such as the establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Office.
With the Parliament so finely balanced and another minority Parliament looming, Mr Bandt will say that the history of 2010 was poised to repeat at the next election.
Bandt told the membership that the Greens were well placed to build on the 2019 election result where the party had strong showings in a number of lower house seats and won a Senate seat in every state. "We could be heading to the polls in 12 months’ time, and with such a finely balanced Parliament, it could be a rerun of the 2010 election. This is a big chance for action. Shared power and transformative change is possible.”
“We will hammer a very straightforward message between now and the next election. The only way to get real change is to vote for it and give the Greens shared power.”
“Many look longingly to New Zealand, where Jacinda Ardern leads a progressive multi-party government with Greens support, and wonder if it could happen here. Well, it already did. Julia Gillard was Australia’s first Jacinda Ardern and Anthony Albanese could be the next. We could have a NZ-style Parliament in Australia once again,” Bandt said.
Seat redistributions announced by the Australian Electoral Commission in Western Australia, Victoria and NT mean the government will go into the next election without its current one seat majority and even a small swing to Labor will mean a minority Parliament is almost certain.
With the prospect of gaining up to 3 additional Senators, the Greens are also in a strong position to hold the balance of power or shared balance of power in the Senate after the election.
Quotes from Adam Bandt's Speech to National Conference
“When the Greens and Labor shared power, we achieved great things. In recent Australian history, there is one indisputable fact. The only time that climate pollution meaningfully dropped is when the Greens shared power,” Bandt will say.
“When the Greens, Labor and independents worked cooperatively and shared power like we did in 2010, we got a lot done. As Liberal and Labor rush once more to give tax cuts to millionaires while embracing coal and gas, it is clear that Greens sharing power is the pathway to change. The Coalition are climate criminals and must be booted out, but today’s Labor will only act if the Greens are there to keep them on track.
“We are facing three crises in this country: an inequality crisis, the climate crisis and now a COVID-induced economic crisis. The path to progress is to kick the conservatives out, put Greens into shared power and make the changes we need to tackle these crises.
“The price on carbon worked. It was well-designed, learning from the shortcomings in other carbon trading and pricing schemes, and it reduced pollution in a major way for the first time in Australian industrial era history.
“We have crunched the numbers and we can calculate just how much pollution would have been cut if the Liberals hadn’t repealed the carbon price.
“The carbon price was operating so successfully, that had it remained in place and kept cutting pollution at the same rate it did, Australia’s pollution would be at 465.5 million tonnes per annum in 2020, a full 12.5% lower than under the Liberals.
“In other words, pollution is 12.5% higher now than it would have been if the Liberals hadn’t repealed the carbon price.
“Between 2014 and 2020, this would have meant a total of 279 million tonnes less of carbon pollution than we’ve had under the Liberal government.
“By repealing the carbon price, the Liberals have fast-tracked the climate catastrophe to the tune of an extra 279 million tonnes of pollution.
“And had the carbon price stayed in place, the benefits wouldn’t have just been for the climate. Farmers would have earned $1.4b between 2015 and 2020 and a whopping $11b over the next decade under the Carbon Farming Initiative before Tony Abbott stole that future from them.”
“And for those interested in the science-fantasy novels written by those so keen to discredit Julia Gillard, the 465.5m we were on track for under the Gillard/Greens carbon price compares with the whopping 585 million tonnes of pollution that Rudd’s own figures had us on track for in 2020 under the CPRS.
“In other words, pollution in 2020 would have been higher under Rudd’s CPRS than under the Liberals now, and the Greens/Labor carbon price had us on track to be a full 20% lower in 2020 than had Rudd’s woeful scheme become law.
“12.5% more pollution cut than under the Liberals and 20% more than under Labor alone. That’s what having Greens in shared power delivered.
“And if our national ambition under the Gillard/Greens scheme had been lifted to a 15-25% cut by 2020, as Australia had agreed to in our conditional targets at Doha, and if the carbon price was extended to include heavy transport, as it had planned to do, even further cuts to pollution would have taken place.
“In terms of numbers: Denticare delivered 2.7 million dentist visits for kids, saving their parents $1.5 billion, the PBO has modelled over 12 thousand policy proposals and on climate the Agreement saw $27 billion invested in renewables a 3% drop in emissions from energy.”