The National Party’s Disconnect

In undertaking a little bit of research into the position each sitting member of our federal parliament has on climate change, I quickly came to the conclusion that the National Party (Nats) couldn’t care less or completely reject the science. For example, here is a graph of the sitting coalition members showing how many accept the science of climate change and how many don’t.

Position on the science of climate change by Coalition Members of the House of Representatives by political party affiliation n=59

Position on the science of climate change by Coalition Members of the House of Representatives by political party affiliation n=59

As you can see, most of the National Party members don’t accept the science. I have recently taken to highlighting some of the individuals from the coalition who reject the science. These have included the National Party members Mark Coulton and John Forrest.  I also highlighted individual statements like this one from National Party member, Darren Chester.

“We are after all only talking about models and forecasts. Just as an aside, when the weather bureau cannot reliably tell me what the weather is going to be like tomorrow and then tells me that in 100 years there are going to be sea level rises of a metre as a result of climate change, I think I am entitled to exercise a level of caution in deciding whether to accept everything that is put to me about weather, climate and long-term trends.” Darren Chester

Here is where the disconnect comes in. With 8 out of the 12 lower house members (Senate info coming soon) outrightly rejecting the science, 3 accepting and 1 unknown (Paul Neville is listed as retiring in my election 2013 post but appears to accept climate change science), it makes me wonder if any of them have actually read up on what the Nats allegedly stand for? It might be fairer to ask if the people who preselected them actually know what the Nat’s allegedly stand for? I decided to go to the party’s website and see exactly what they are about. Here are some key statements about climate change from their policy platform document and more generally from their website.

urgent priority effective programs Nats stand for nats priorities nats mission

If they are so concerned about the environment, sustainability, food security, land and water management, and recognise climate change as an “urgent environmental priority” why is the party full of deniers? What’s going on? They might be all about respecting differences of opinion and lauding our proud democratic traditions, but these are policy statements and core party values aren’t they? Perhaps whoever writes their stuff is engaging in some feel good greenwashing? Perhaps the party has been hijacked by extremists? Anything is possible, but I suspect, they use words and terms without a complete understanding of what those words, and more importantly the implications of those words, truly mean. What is a “sustainable environment” to a National Party member? The World Commission on Environment and Development defines environmental sustainability thus…

Sustainability is to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

If ever you were going to talk about something happening now that will compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, it is climate change. All the best science available points to a fairly difficult future should nothing be done to combat it. The National Party’s website and policy words do not match its actions or the words and actions of most of its parliamentarians. The saddest part is that the farmers, whom the Nats claim to represent, are those who will be amongst the first to suffer. They are at the frontline. It’s about time they woke up and realised that the people they keep electing are not, either through ignorance or ideology, representing their best interests or the interests of future generations.

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14 responses to “The National Party’s Disconnect

  1. Skeptikal

    The saddest part is that the farmers, whom the Nats claim to represent, are those who will be amongst the first to suffer.

    So, do farmers want to suffer under the carbon tax NOW or suffer in 100 years time IF the prophets of doom are actually right?… hmm, tough choice.

    • Warning about off-topic comments Skep. At no point in this post did I mention the carbon tax as it is completely irrelevant in this context. This post is about the disconnect within the National Party between what they say on paper and what their parliamentarians do and say. Whether you like it or not, human induced climate change is happening now but that too is not up for debate in this thread. Feel free to discuss what could be done to educate farmers about what’s really happening so they can vote for people who will look out for their best interests or feel free to discuss if their actually is or isn’t a disconnect although I’m pretty sure I’ve welland truly demonstrated that there is. If you want to raise those other things I have an open thread here.

  2. Sou

    Most if not all of the industry organisations are running climate change research and education programs for farmers. For example, there has been research on adapting pastures in different locations to hotter, drier climates – eg moving to deeper rooted species. There are also education and awareness programs.

    And by industry organisations I mean organisations run by and for farmers.

    So the nat MPs are quite out of step with what the farmer organisations are doing.

    Now there’ll be lots of farmers still who might say it’s all a load of hooey. That’s a feature of being older, male and conservative. Not an excuse or a reason though. There are also a fair number of farmers who are being innovative and who are very aware of climate change.

    One way to get ideas that are difficult to permeate the farmer group is to get more women involved. Has worked well in the past on a number of issues.

    • Thanks for that Sou. You’ve prompted me to look up at least one tonight before I go to bed. I found this 2007 media realease from the National Farmers Federation and also their more up to date policy document. I’m sure the others like Elders and GF and whatnot will be similar. So the disconnect must really be between the Nat’s parliamentarians, branch members and everyone else. The mind boggles if that’s the case as to whe farmers keep voting in deniers?

      • john byatt

        I agree that most farmers accept the science, they live the reality,their view is distorted by such sites as justgrounds comments, The farmers on that site are all cattle producers,

  3. john byatt

    I would go for greenwashing, in QLD the 850 members at the national conference (LNP) voted to remove climate science from the school curriculum , passed by an overwhelming majority.

    • john byatt

      No, it is the same statement that we read from deniers all the time, “we accept that the climate is changing”, nowhere is that change attributed to humans on that site, it is a con, most people would think that they are endorsing AGW, sadly they are not

  4. john byatt

    This why we have seen an all out media attack on the greens, they are the only political party that get it.

  5. john byatt

    Anyone who googles National party climate change will see this post on the first page .

  6. Pingback: Election 2013: Australian House of Reps and Climate Change | Tyson Adams