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Details of Greens’ plebiscite on Australia ratifying Kyoto Protocol; Fed Govt has under 20pc public support for its stance, says Greens leader

Posted by gmarkets on 25 September, 2007

Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown moved a number of amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Democratic Plebiscites) Bill 2007 in the Federal Senate on 17 September 2007, designed to force a plebiscite about the ratification by Australia of the ‘Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Kyoto Protocol)’ to be conducted at the next Federal election.

Compulsory Kyoto vote: Two of the amendments stated that: “To ensure that the electors of Australia have the opportunity to express their opinion a national plebiscite must be conducted by the [Electoral] Commission on whether or not Australia should ratify the Kyoto Protocol, for the purposes of paragraph 7(1)(fb),” and that “The plebiscite mentioned in subsection (1H) must be conducted in conjunction with any general election held in 2007 or 2008.”

How the plebiscite would be conducted: A further amendment detailed how arguments for and against ratification were to be put to voters, stipulating: “A plebiscite may not be conducted in accordance with paragraph 7(1)(fb) unless an argument in favour of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and an argument against ratification of the Kyoto Protocol has first been prepared and provided to all electors.” Each argument (for and against ratification) must include a statement consisting of not more than 1,000 words. The government would present the cons, and the opposition would present the pros for ratification. The Commission must send each elector a pamphlet containing the arguments for and against the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. The plebiscite wold be conducted in accordance with the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984.

Polls show Govt out of touch: Brown said that the Howard government had determined to not ratify this global treaty, which was the first step towards further global moves to protect the planet from the imminent catastrophe of climate change. He said Australian opinion polls funded by Greenpeace and other organisations showed 80 per cent of Australians want the Kyoto protocol ratified. The government had less than 20 per cent support in its refusal to take the country with the rest of the community of nations in ratifying the Kyoto protocol, although in 1997, when Senator Hill was Minister for the Environment, Australia agreed to sign the protocol in Kyoto.

Reference: Bob Brown, Senator for Tasmania, Leader of the Austrlalian Greens; Commonwealth Senate, 17 September 2007 (on the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Democratic Plebiscites) Bill 2007)

Erisk Net, 17/9/2007

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