Voting for renewable energy

This election has broken records for the number of candidates in the House and the Senate. After spending several hours researching parties policies for below the line voting - we’ve created a brief guide to where Australian parties stand on renewable energy targets and climate environmental policy, and provided some resources on making election day voting easier.

The major parties' attitudes to renewable energy & climate change

Labor’s attitude to renewable energy

Kevin Rudd claimed that climate change was the “the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time,” and was off to a good start in his first term by promoting insulation, lifting the nation's renewable energy target from 2% new renewables to 20% renewables.but didn’t come through with a carbon pricing option which he spent so much time promoting..

Labor has since introduced the Carbon Tax, but now Rudd is promoting expediting its removal and replacing it with a lower priced ETS linked to the European scheme.  Problem this outsources action on climate change, in leading economies complimentary measures bring action back within our countries borders.  So where he is falling short is on announcing new complimentary measures such as mandatory energy efficiency targets and increased ambitions with the renewable energy target including a seperate scheme for storage technologies both chemical electrical for storage at all sizes, large solar thermal with storage power plants and pumped hydro storage with sea or fresh water.

In addition leading the nation on banning halogen down lights and increasing commercial and domestic building efficiency standards is a must.  And finally the elephant in the room is to stop issuing anymore fossil fuel exploration licences and start reigning in the exploration and extraction that is already happening out there.

Labor’s website claims they wish to cut at least 150 million tonnes of pollution in 2020 and see at least 20 per cent of energy come from a renewable source, though much of that reduction will happen in another economy meaning we do not restructure domestically.

The Coalition’s attitude to renewable energy

Comprehensive environmental policy seems to be decidedly absent on the Liberal website, with the only mentions being the planting of trees, erecting fences and creating boardwalks.

Although Climate change spokesmen Greg Hunt claims that the Coalition “accepts science,” the party is surrounded by climate change deniers  and the party leader himself is quoted as saying ‘Climate change is absolute crap,’ and giving the invisible nod to climate change deniers, which leads us to question exactly what science does the Coalition follow?   In addition Tony Abbott's so called support for a 5% reduction by 2020 is now a non core promise.

The Greens attitude to renewable energy

The Greens website shows they support a plan for a 100% renewable Australia as quickly as it can be achieved, and have a clean energy roadmap with a minimum 90% renewable target by 2030.

Questions to ask on renewable energy policy

Renewable energy target (RET)

Does a party have a set renewable energy target? How ambitious is it and are there any mention of timelines? What is the make-up of their renewable energy policy? What types of energy sources do they consider part of a renewable energy policy?

Emissions reduction target

Has the party set an emissions reduction target? How soon are they looking to begin the transition? Have they broken down their target or picked magic numbers and dates?

Fossil fuel production & subsidy

Does the party support fossil fuel production? Do they subsidise fossil fuel? Are they supporting the licensing of new exploration for fossil fuels? What is their plan for transition?

Carbon pricing

What is the party’s attitude to carbon pricing? Do they support taxation, trading schemes, business as usual or an expansion in fossil fuel use?

The minor parties’ position on renewable energy

As there are so many candidates this year we’ve had to divide the ones we’ve researched into three categories based on the above criteria.

While some parties made a small mention of energy policy, as individuals looking to preference parties with renewable energy we didn’t feel some of the minor parties went into enough detail.

The one caveat is that this is based on renewable energy policy, and doesn’t include other policies as part of the criteria, as well as parties who have a singular purpose:

Minor Parties with positive renewable energy policy

  • Pirate Party
  • Secular party of Australia
  • Stop CSG party
  • Wikileaks
  • The Australian Democrats

Minor Parties against positive renewable energy policy

  • Palmer United Australia
  • Outdoor recreation party (No Carbon Tax Climate Skeptics)
  • Citizens electoral council
  • Family First
  • One Nation
  • Rise up Australia
  • Country Alliance

Minor Parties without a clear renewable energy policy

  • Australian Republican party
  • Smokers rights party
  • Fishing and lifestyle party
  • Shooters and fishers party
  • Australian Voice party
  • Senator online
  • The HEMP party
  • Bank Reform party
  • Stable Population party
  • Australian independents
  • Australian motoring enthusiasts party
  • Bullet train party
  • Animal justice party
  • Australian sex party
  • Drug law reform party
  • Australian Christian party
  • Liberal democratic party
  • Democratic labour party
  • Socialist equality party

Renewable energy voting resources

We’ve collected a number of resources to help you save time & have a more informed decision at the polling booth.

Save time voting below the line

This election, there are 97 candidates below the line - how can you be sure who you’re voting for? Here is a list of online resources that will help you pre-fill your preferences out and give you the opportunity to research the lesser known parties’ policies.

Below the line

Be informed about above the line preferences

Anthony Green of the ABC has created a guide for understanding where your preferences will go when you vote above the line.

Further reading from around the internet

Environmental policy Federal election 2013
Comparing the parties climate change and renewables policies
Australian election 2013 climate change
Where do the major parties stand on clean energy and climate

Good Luck and Regards, Chris