A new political party focused on tackling climate change is being formed by a group of north coast residents.
The Renewable Energy Party plans to stand candidates in every state and territory at the next Federal election in 2016.
Following a meeting at the Lismore Worker’s Club this week, the political hopefuls announced they were in the process of signing up the 500 members required to form the party.
Campaign manager Jim Moylan said membership was not likely to be a problem.
‘Aussies are really passionate about climate change,’ Mr Moylan said.
‘Our Facebook page has gone-off like a skyrocket. All we did was set up a news-feed to climate change news – and a big audience appeared.’
Mr Moylan told Echonetdaily that the micro-party would act as ‘better angels’ to The Greens and other left-leaning parties.
Mr Moylan and Graham Askey, who is the registered officer of the new party, were heavily involved in the HEMP party.
‘The HEMP party has gone about as far as it will go as a federal political party,’ Mr Moylan said.
‘It would be difficult to dislodge from Nimbin to take it to the next step.’
‘The ambition was to get medical cannabis into the mainstream and that’s happened.
‘Graham Askey, who is the numbers man, and myself had been looking to work more in the mainstream and this is it.’
Party founder Peter Breen, a former independent member of the New South Wales Parliament, and a former member of both Labor and the Liberal parties, will be national coordinator of the party.
Mr Breen, a resident of Byron Bay, said the party had good prospects.
‘Of course they will take us seriously. We are well funded, well organised and mainstream,’ Mr Breen said.
‘We have advertising people, political insiders, fund-raisers, social media specialists and other professionals.
‘The Renewable Energy Party wants science and the public interest to dictate the terms of the climate debate – not coal, gas and oil companies.’
Following the Lismore meeting, the fledging party released the following statement.
‘Renewable energy needs grass roots representation. More than a million households in Australia now use solar energy and we are getting a very bad deal from the major energy companies who all own coal mines.
‘Currently, Australians are paying as much as $1,000 per year for electricity and gas connections – before we even turn on our appliances. On top of that, the major energy companies pay 6 to 8 cents for solar power exported to the grid while charging four times that amount for customers to buy it back”
‘In the UK, politicians are talking seriously about phasing out fossil fuels, but Australian politicians are talking about phasing out renewable energy. The Renewable Energy Party hopes to bring a consumer’s perspective to the debate in Australia.’
‘The Renewable Energy Party will speak on behalf of the many Australians who believe that climate change is simply the most important issue we face. We support the 97 per cent of climate scientists who say man-made climate change is real and we need to do something serious about the predicted global temperature rise.
‘According to the International Monetary Fund, Australia’s implicit subsidies to oil, coal and gas companies are worth 1.8 per cent of GDP, or about $23 billion annually. Subsidies to the renewable energy industry are small beer by comparison.
‘The Renewable Energy Party has been formed to highlight the differences between the favourable treatment given to the fossil fuel industries by government and the difficulties faced by the emerging renewable energy industry.
‘It is also a fact that renewable energy creates more jobs per unit of energy delivered than fossil or nuclear fuels. Action on climate change is our best hope for better present and a more promising future,’ the statement concluded.