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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14440

Mr WILKIE (Denison) (13:42): In 2017, the Treasurer, now Prime Minister, held up a black lump and said:

This is coal. Do not be afraid … It will not hurt you.

But, today, I met two bushfire survivors from the Huon Valley in Tasmania. And, believe me, they were afraid, and the shocking recent Tasmanian fires did hurt them. There was Cassy, who has a business in Geeveston, who told me of the effect of the fires on tourism as visitor numbers dwindle and accommodation bookings are cancelled. And there was Lauren, who told me there've been dozens of job losses as local businesses struggle from reduced demand and fire damage. Both women explained how what were previously once-in-a-generation extreme weather events are now happening year after year, with dramatic consequences right around Australia; how, by putting filthy coal before the health and safety of Australians, politicians are failing to protect us from harm; and how the Prime Minister especially is fuelling climate change.

So today, hopefully in the presence of Cassy and Lauren, I'm calling on the PM to take responsibility and to reach out to the bushfire survivors who are demanding he apologise directly for his climate inaction—because, if those on the government benches are not doing everything they can to fight climate change, they're just fuelling the fire.