Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has dismissed a colleague’s concern that the Liberal Party needs to do more about climate change to gain support from younger Australians.
WA Liberal senator Dean Smith says the party’s diminishing appeal to young voters is the “elephant in the party room” and is being ignored at the government’s peril, The Australian reports.
“We are dealing with climate change,” Senator Cormann told the ABC on Tuesday.
“But in a way that doesn’t undermine the opportunity for young people in particular to get a job, to build a career in Australia into the future.
“My view and our view is that we have to continue to take strong and effective action in relation to climate change but in a way that is economically responsible.”
Senator Smith’s concerns were reportedly fuelled after a Newspoll analysis showed 27 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds would hand their primary vote to the coalition, compared with 46 per cent who would support Labor.
Population and climate change policies were critical to the coalition’s future success, he added.
Greens senator Larissa Waters says the federal government wouldn’t know a climate policy “if it hit them in the face”.
“Young people can spot bullshit artists a mile off, so it’s no wonder that young people don’t buy the nonsense this prime minister is coming out with on climate,” she told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
“The tragedy is, it’s actually better for the economy to transition to clean energy.”
A new report on climate change shows it has fuelled the drought, with changing rainfall patterns increasing the risk of water shortages for agricultural and urban uses.
The Climate Council report released on Tuesday found the flow of water in the Murray-Darling Basin has declined by 41 per cent during the past 20 years, with fears it will continue to decrease.
The catchment produces more than a third of Australia’s food.
With no federal climate policy and rising emissions every quarter since March 2015, Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world on climate action, the Climate Council’s Lesley Hughes told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
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