World’s first climate changed election? Climate Institute releases final party score card Media Release

Nov 23, 2007 - 3:40am

As climate impacts grow around the world, Australia’s 2007 election may prove to be amongst the first of many climate changed elections according to The Climate Institute which today released its final assessment of climate policies.

“As a hotspot of contestation, confusion and differentiation, climate change has arrived as a top tier political issue,” said Climate Institute Chief Executive John Connor.  “And as climate impacts grow, its political impact will continue to grow.”

The independent Climate Institute assessed parties’ climate policies* against criteria of clean energy, international leadership and reversing greenhouse pollution within five years, giving the ALP a score of 60%, compared with around 30% for the Coalition.  The Climate Institute also assessed minor parties with parliamentary representation giving the Greens and Democrats 90% and Family First 57%.

 “Our research has highlighted a mismatch between public hunger for leadership and the parties’ responses to climate change. Climate change grew through the campaign as an influence on votes to the point that mid campaign, 73% of marginal seats voters said it would have a strong or very strong influence on their vote,” said Mr Connor.

“While both major parties moved significantly over recent months, they missed key opportunities to lead on this issue and failed to set much needed short term targets, however amongst the major parties, the ALP has come out ahead overall.”

“There is a clear difference between the two major parties and although this can’t be described as an overwhelming victory for Labor, they are doing better – largely because of their commitment to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and a stronger commitment to clean and renewable energy.”

The Climate Institute’s innovative campaign to inform those concerned about climate change culminates with oversized ice cubes, free ice creams and the distribution of around 100,000 report cards in selected marginal seats on election day. The Institute will also have half page ads appearing in tomorrow’s Sydney Daily Telegraph, Brisbane Courier Mail, Adelaide Advertiser, the West Australian and The Australian displaying the report card and calling on people to choose climate policies that work on Saturday.

 “Climate change is now not just on the radar for the Australian public as a political issue it is right outside the window. Regardless of who is elected on Saturday, Australians will be looking for greater leadership on the most critical issue challenging their future and that of their kids,” concluded Mr Connor.

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*as at 9am Tuesday 20th November

TCI Polling and Activities Briefing Note 

POLLING

Marginal seats polling conducted between Nov 3 and 5 (week 3 of the election) in Bennelong, Parramatta, Lindsay, Wakefield, Makin, Kingston, Petrie, Bowman and Bonner.

Compared with polling in the same electorates on August 11 and 12:

• Climate change as a strong influence (combining strong and very strong) on voting intentions increasing from 62% to 73%

• Better major party to deal with climate change has gone from ALP: Coalition 42%:20% to 35%:15% amongst all voters and 19%:13% to 21%:13% amongst undecided voters.

Voters in these seats favour decisive policies on climate change and international leadership:

• A majority indicated they would be more likely to vote for a political party that will: set energy efficiency targets (72%); ensure all new electricity generation comes from clean energy (70%); set greenhouse pollution reduction targets within five years (71%); and ratify the Kyoto Protocol (54%), with only 18% opposing it.

• More than half of voters in these marginal seats believe that Australia should sign an international climate change treaty regardless of whether or not it is signed by India and China. Just 22% believe that Australia should not sign an international treaty until it is signed by India and China.

• 75% of marginal voters thought Australia should set greenhouse pollution reduction targets to set an example, rather than wait until developing countries also commit to reduce emissions (16%)

Voters gave great importance to climate change in their choice of Prime Minister and rate Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett more highly on their seriousness in tackling climate change.

• Seven out of 10 voters (69%) in nine selected marginal seats believe climate change will have either a ‘very important’ or ‘important’ influence on their choice of Prime Minister. This includes one quarter (27%) who rated it as ‘very important’ and a further 42% who saw it as ‘important’

• 43% said Mr Garrett was ‘very serious’ about taking action to address climate change compared to 28% for Mr Rudd, 11% for Mr Howard, 7% for Mr Turnbull and 6% for Mr Costello.

CLIMATE INSTITUTE REPORT CARD AND ICE CREAM VAN ACTIVITY

The Climate Institute has funded a $2.5m public education campaign including TV, Print and Radio advertising and on the ground activities in marginal seats (Wakefield, Makin, Sturt, Bonner, Bowman, Petrie, Lindsay, Bennelong, Wentworth and Eden-Monaro).

Throughout the campaign nine year old mock politician, Jack Simmons has highlighted that grown ups will be using their vote to determine his, and other children’s future.

In keeping with this theme, The Climate Institute Ice Cream vans distribute free ice creams and report cards on the performance of the parties.

They have distributed more than 20,000 report cards and ice creams and will distribute more than 100,000 report cards at election booths on Saturday.

As well, giant blocks of ice will feature at 60 polling booths in marginal seats. They contain messages about climate change which will become visible as the ice blocks melt during the day.

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