The opposition is slated to have another go at bringing on a vote in the lower House of Representatives next week, after Australian Greens MP Adam Bandt’s attempt yesterday failed.
AAP Newsagency reports the conservative Liberal-National government shot down the proposal 72 votes to 65, with Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor labelling it a “grand symbolic gesture”.
Mr Bandt attempted to bring on the vote in federal parliament, supported by Labor’s climate spokesman Mark Butler.
However, the Australian Greens are optimistic about those numbers, saying only three government MPs needed to cross the floor in order for a climate emergency to be declared.
We’ll keep coming back until parliament tells the truth,” Mr Bandt tweeted.
Climate protest group Extinction Rebellion, which has attracted scathing comments from senior government figures for blocking roads, thanked Labor and the Greens.
“We will continue to escalate our disruption of business as usual until governments tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency,” the group said.
AAP reports it was a bold move for Labor, which had previously faced an internal rift over the issue.
Mr Butler told colleagues he would lodge the push in a party room meeting, which follows similar moves in the United Kingdom, Canada and France to recognise the threat posed by global warming.
“The threat posed by climate change on the future prosperity and security of Australia and the globe constitutes a climate change emergency,” the defeated motion read.
It noted a warning over Australia’s rising emissions in recent years.
“Based on the latest scientific advice, the world is currently on track for warming of above three degrees and efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions need to be strengthened.”
AAP reports Labor’s push comes as the opposition grapples with internal debate over the party’s carbon emissions reduction policies.
Labor shadow Energy Minister Joel Fitzgibbon last week said the opposition should support the government’s 26 per cent emissions reduction target.
His idea has been shut down by the party, with Labor shadow climate change minister Mark Butler announcing Labor would seek to declare a climate emergency.
“The window is closing on our generation’s ability, our unique ability, to meet our responsibility to future generations,” he told the parliament before the failed bid.
Mr Butler wants the parliament to acknowledge its commitment to the United Nations sponsored Paris Agreement targets of a 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction target on 2005 levels by 2030.
His motion, which is separate from that of the Australian Greens’, said that failing to meet that goal would have “unprecedented and devastating environmental, economic, societal and health impacts for Australia”.
Labor is still reviewing the swathe of policies its took to the general election in May, which included a 45 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030.
Meanwhile, a record number of Australians, more than 350,000, have signed an e-petition to parliament asking it to declare a climate emergency.
The petition closes today.