New Australian PM pressurised to work on policies to fight climate change
Greenpeace Australia activists on Monday climbed flagpoles outside the Parliament House here to demand new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison abandon his coal-loving ways and work on policies to fight climate change.
The activists unfurled a banner with an image of Morrison holding a piece of coal and the slogan "Get your hand off it", Efe news reported.
In February, Morrison, then the Treasurer of Australia, had walked into the Parliament, waving a lump of coal and urged his colleagues and the opposition not to be afraid.
"This is a PM who waved around a piece of coal gifted to him by the Minerals Council, who boasts a former deputy CEO of the Mineral Council as his chief of staff, who made a former mineral industry lawyer his Environment Minister and whose Energy Minister is an anti-wind farm activist," said Greenpeace Australia Pacific Programme Director Dominique Rowe.
She called Morrison's appointment as Prime Minister two weeks ago as a "coal coup" and claimed that he did not have a climate policy.
"These powerful groups have now managed to topple three sitting prime ministers and stopped the Minerals Resource Rent Tax which would have seen a fair share of revenue flow to all Australians instead of lining the pockets of a few billionaires," Rowe said.
A Labour Party-led government had imposed a 30 percent tax on extraordinary profits from coal and iron exploitation during the mining boom of 2012, which was abolished by the conservative government of Tony Abbott two years later.
The Greenpeace protest also coincided with a demonstration by a group of farmers who used the opportunity of the first day of the austral spring legislative sessions to demand urgent action against climate change.
Australia has been steeped in political instability over the last decade owing to internal power struggles in the Liberal-National coalition and Labour governments.
Energy policies and climate change have been at the heart of these disputes, including the departure of Morrison's predecessor, Liberal Malcolm Turnbull, who had advocated lowering emissions of polluting gases.