On February 16th I asked the Minister for Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, about Labor's plans to keep opening new coal and gas mines. I attempted to make a point of order on relevance during her answer.
Mr CHANDLER-MATHER : My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Water. The Greens have offered to pass your government's climate legislation in full with one amendment—no new coal and gas mines. There's no ultimatum, just an offer to pass Labor's bill this afternoon if you stop opening coal and gas mines. But this morning you said on Sky TV that of course you would approve new coalmines. Are you seriously willing to dump your whole climate plan because Labor wants to open new coal and gas mines?
Honourable members interjecting—
The SPEAKER: There's far too much noise on my right and left.
Ms PLIBERSEK (Sydney—Minister for the Environment and Water): I really want to thank the member for his question. I can tell you that I am so very delighted to have a question from the Greens about practical action on climate change and the environment. We are the only government that has a plan to bring down emissions in Australia—an emissions reduction target of 43 per cent by 2030 with a clear path to net zero by 2050 enshrined in law. I'd like to see you back that because when you lined up with the Liberals last time to block the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme—
Government membe rs interjecting—
The SPEAKER: Members on my right, I can barely hear a word the minister is saying. She has the call.
Ms PLIBERSEK: What we saw was more emissions for longer because you voted with them. I'm proud of what we on this side are doing to bring down carbon pollution. It's not just the safeguard mechanism; it's the $20 billion for Rewiring the Nation so that we can get more renewables into our electricity grid, it's the legislation I took through this parliament on reducing ozone-depleting gases, it's the methane pledge, it's the $3 billion in the National Reconstruction Fund—
Mr Chandler-Mather: Mr Speaker—
The SPEAKER: The minister will pause. The minister is being directly relevant. The same rules will apply to everyone in this House if it's a frivolous point of order. The minister's being relevant to the question. She is referring to the issues that you raised in the question, so this point of order cannot be on relevance, but I'll hear from the member for Griffith.
Mr Chandler-Mather: Mr Speaker, I understand that reasoning, but on relevance—
The SPEAKER: Resume your seat. I want to be clear with everyone. My rulings and respect for standing orders apply to everyone, no matter where you sit in this chamber. I specifically told the member for Griffith that the minister was being relevant. He has abused the standing orders and he will leave the chamber under 94(a).
The member for Griffith then left the chamber.
Ms PLIBERSEK: I'd like to say to the Greens that the best thing they can do to see emissions reductions in this country is to back the safeguard mechanism. This is a legislated path that sees us reducing emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 on a credible path to net zero.
But I would add that what I'd also like to see from the Greens political party is their support for our environmental law reform when it comes before this parliament, because those environmental laws will see faster, clearer decision-making for business and much stronger protections for our environment—because we know we have to protect our environment. We have to do better at protecting what's precious, we have to do better at repairing what's damaged and we have to do better at managing our natural environment for the future. So back us on the safeguard mechanism, back us on the National Reconstruction Fund, back us on housing affordability and back us on our environmental law reform.