Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement today that there will be a federal election on 18 May, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said:
“This election will be a referendum on climate change. Australians know that climate damage is here, now. It’s being measured in lives lost, deepening inequality and rising hunger.
“They are tired of the bickering over energy policies and want real action to drive down Australia’s carbon pollution and ensure a clean energy future for all.
“Oxfam will use this campaign to push for leadership in meeting the huge challenges of climate change, which threatens to plunge millions of people around the world further into poverty.
“Southern Africa is recovering from one of the worst extreme weather disasters ever to hit the southern hemisphere. And Australia has suffered through its hottest summer on record, with severe bushfires in every state, farmers faced with crippling drought, and northern Queensland beset by devastating floods.
“A majority of Australians support stronger action on climate change and a transition to clean, renewable energy, but politicians are lagging behind. It’s time for that to change.
“Australia’s carbon pollution is going up, not down. Our next government must step up to stop climate damage, end Australia’s climate pollution, and play our part in limiting warming to 1.5C.
“This includes stopping all new coalmines, shifting Australia to 100 per cent clean energy by 2030 and providing more support to vulnerable communities dealing with the ravages of climate change, especially in the Pacific.
“This is a matter of survival for some of our Pacific neighbours and many communities Oxfam works with around the world. Climate change threatens to displace entire communities from their land and homes, push more than a hundred million more people around the world into poverty, and leave more people hungry.
“A future government also must reduce inequality and tackle poverty through a coherent policy for delivering aid in our region, and the world.
“Oxfam is calling for the major parties to commit to a clear timetable for rebuilding the aid program to just 70 cents in every $100 of gross national income. Aid works, it saves lives, it improves lives. We know we can afford it and now it’s time for all political parties to back it.
“The next government can and should look to places other than the aid budget to find the funding for their policy promises. For four consecutive years since 2014-15, we’ve seen one in three multinationals in Australia paying zero corporate tax.
“The next government needs to fully crack down on multinational tax avoidance, including by introducing strong public transparency measures so that it is clear what companies are paying in tax in the all of countries in which they operate.”