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Climate Emergency

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (17:52): I rise today in support of the Hon. Mark Parnell's motion calling for a climate emergency. On 3 July this year I spoke about how I had been converted from a climate sceptic to a person who believed in climate change. Whilst I had been presented with information on climate change over the years, the impetus to my new outlook was watching a panel of scientific experts on a Q&A special on the ABC. In recent times I have had even more exposure to this subject, perhaps due to the world's media focusing more of their attention on the matter.

Last Friday we had the second school strike for climate in Adelaide, where we saw thousands of people converge on Victoria Square and Parliament House to protest about the lack of action being taken by governments all over on climate change. The real difference in the strikes is that they were organised by children, who were furious that the world we have brought them into may forever be ruined if we do not take action now.

Some of this passion was demonstrated yesterday by young climate activist GretaThunberg, who took world leaders to task over inaction on climate change. Greta spoke passionately and angrily about the matter at the United Nations Climate Summit, where she was invited to appear as a panellist. The response to Greta's speech was alarming. The President of the United States of America decided to respond with sarcasm by calling her, 'a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.' I see this essentially as arguably the most powerful person in the world bullying a child, and it is not behaviour that I condone.

Also concerning is our Prime Minister's warning against imposing 'needless anxiety' on our children. This statement indicates the Prime Minister does not understand the issue or the urgency in which it needs to be tackled. For an issue to mobilise hundreds of thousands of people around the world to protest about it, this clearly demonstrates this a matter that people feel very strongly about. The fact that this action is led by children speaks volumes as to how important they believe this matter to be, and I am heartened by their actions.

It is up to us as elected members of our community to take action and to listen to what people are saying. Expert scientists and the evidence provided on climate change cannot be wrong. Hundreds of thousands of people completely disillusioned with their leaders cannot be wrong. I want to send a strong message to say that I have heard what the people and our children have been saying. As such, I support the motion.