On Thursday, May 19 at 19:30GMT:
More than 17.2 million Australians are set to vote during this week’s elections – and for the first time, climate change could shape the outcome in a major way.
Massive deadly bushfires in 2019 and destructive flooding in 2021 have changed many Australians’ outlook on climate action. Polls show an increasing number of citizens believe that global warming “is a serious and pressing problem” and that “we should begin taking steps now, even if this involves significant costs.”
Despite this growing support for stronger climate policy, neither major party has pledged ambitious reform. Both Liberal Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese support a net zero carbons emissions policy by 2050, which analysts say isn’t bold enough. And though 29 percent of Australians cite climate change as their most important issue, most candidates are not talking about it, for fear of alienating voters in coal mining towns.
That’s one big reason why so-called “teal independent” candidates are gaining traction around the nation. This group of nearly two dozen, mostly female candidates are running on an anti-corruption, pro-climate action platform. Political experts say that if a major party fails to secure a majority in Parliament, these independents could tip the balance of power after negotiating more climate-friendly policy outcomes.
Other issues at stake in this year’s elections include the soaring cost of living, government corruption and tackling gender and racial inequality.
In this episode of The Stream, we’ll talk about the major issues sending Australians to the polls, and what it could mean for the country’s climate policy. Join the conversation.
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Kishor Napier-Raman, @kishor_nr
Federal Politics Reporter, Crikey
Intifar Chowdhury, @intifar2210
Associate Lecturer & Youth Researcher, Australia National University (ANU)
Kate Crowley, @Kate__Crowley
Associate Professor, University of Tasmania