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Greens leader Christine Milne says Kevin Rudd “seems to have amnesia” for saying at the weekend that Labor did not have a mandate to introduce a carbon tax.
Calling the Prime Minister a “flip flopper” on environmental matters, Senator Milne said Mr Rudd must have forgotten the mandate Labor received from the public to introduce a price on carbon.
Senator Milne also rejected suggestions that an Abbott government, if elected, would have a mandate to repeal the emissions trading scheme.
“We are living in a climate emergency,” Senator Milne said during an Election Hangout question-and-answer session, broadcast live on Fairfax websites.
The Greens leader was confident that if her party held the balance of power in the Senate after the election it could “shame Labor in opposition into holding the line” against Tony Abbott’s attempts to repeal the ETS.
Monday’s Newspoll survey shows the Greens primary vote is 9 per cent – down nearly three percentage points since the 2010 election.
Despite these disappointing polling numbers, Senator Milne insisted her party would not only hold all its seats this election, but would pick up a senate seat in Victoria with candidate Janet Rice.
Senator Milne said she had been out in the community and sensed “real excitement” about her party’s policies, particularly in Melbourne where she had spent time with a group of artists.
Senator Milne was criticised during the Hangout for demanding Australia cut its greenhouse gas emissions to zero, yet ruling out nuclear power, one of the few credible methods of reaching this target.
“We don’t need nuclear,” Senator Milne said. “It’s too slow, too expensive, too dangerous”.
“We can go to 100 per cent renewable … I am persuaded we can do this in Australia without nuclear”.
Senator Milne was also asked whether she believed Australia needed to do anything to restrict the flow of asylum-seeker boats, given her party’s policies did nothing to deter people smugglers.
“You have to accept that deterrence does not work,” Senator Milne said.
“Let’s accept that we can never be as cruel as the countries from which [the asylum seekers] are running”.
There was no “solution” to stop the boats, she added.
“This is not something that’s going to end in the short term; it’s going to be with us for the whole century”.
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