Climate Change Threatens Labor: Greens Warn Party Over Policy Shift

  • Date: 22/05/19
  • The Australian

The Greens have warned Labor it will face a “brutal” campaign in key inner-city seats if it shifts to the Right on climate change and the Adani mine under a new leader in an effort to reconnect with blue-collar workers.

As Labor contemplates a return to the political centre and a more pro-jobs stance on coalmining after its electoral drubbing in Queensland, Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt flagged a fresh ­attack on the ALP’s Left flank, including Anthony Albanese’s seat of Grayndler.

“If Labor lurches to the Right under new leadership and back-pedals on climate and Adani, the Greens will mount a fierce inner-city push to represent voters abandoned on the Left,” Mr Bandt said.

Mr Albanese, Labor’s likely next leader, has flagged a push to reconnect with voters in regional Australia, earning the endorsement of senior NSW Right MP Joel Fitzgibbon, who said the party was punished for “fence-sitting” on issues like the Adani coalmine.

Mr Bandt, who received a nearly 6 per cent swing towards him on Saturday in his seat of Melbourne, said inner-city voters would punish Labor if it endorsed the Adani mine and backed away from its environmental pledges, including its vow to slash carbon emissions by 50 per cent.

“In seats like Griffith (Queensland), Wills (Victoria) and Grayndler (NSW), any lurch to the Right will alienate people who want strong action on climate and inequality,” he said.

“Labor muddled through this election trying to walk both sides of the climate fence, but if Labor now comes down on the side of coal, the inner-city response will be brutal.”

The Greens vote remained relatively stable at 9.98 per cent nationally, and the party won big swings in some seats including Labor-held Griffith, in Brisbane’s inner south.

It failed to win target seats including Higgins and Kooyong.

Labor suffered a 3.76 per cent swing against it in Queensland as it sent mixed messages on the ­future of Adani under a Shorten government, with LNP MPs Michelle Landry, George Christensen and Ken O’Dowd returned in their mining seats with big swings to them on preferences.

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