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Tuesday, 10 November 2015
Page: 8150


Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (16:53): I dedicate this speech to John Davis. John tragically died in a helicopter accident in the Hunter a few days ago. John was a passionate advocate about renewable energy and having action on climate change. His website with David Sentinella is called www.energy-without-carbon.org. It has always been a valuable asset. When I looked at it today, I felt that in many ways it is a memorial to him. In time I hope it will be continued, because it is full of information: politics, science and why this issue needs to be dealt with and dealt with urgently.

John would have been so pleased with this motion. Indeed, he would have been very proud that the Greens are nailing it and that we are taking it up to Mr Turnbull, a Prime Minister who came in making out that he was here to give leadership. How fundamentally he has failed. This is something that I know worried John, like it worries a lot of people. All we are seeing from the new Prime Minister is that he is following in the footsteps of the previous Prime Minister on this issue and is failing to step up at such a critical time. John would have been so proud of Senator Larissa Waters' passionate and informative speech when she opened this debate. John was very proud of the Greens MPs, and this is something that I know would have meant a great deal to him.

What drove John was his work for future generations. He knew that we have to deal with climate change now. We have heard many people speak about what is happening in the Pacific, but he also had an eye on the future and recognised how very urgent this is. He brought so much expertise to this work. He had been a maths and science teacher, a chemical engineer and a filmmaker. He made thousands of educational videos. He had worked with the ABC. He brought so much talent to the new period in his life when he was adding his energy and commitment to this most important campaign that humanity is dealing with at this very moment. I send my condolences to his partner, Felicity, and his family and friends.

Again, I want to give emphasise in this speech to the wonderful website that really encapsulates his work: www.energy-without-carbon.org. I remember that, when I first saw it, I thought he had come up with a wonderful slogan. In the past months he had been working on a new film about renewable energy and the campaign around global warming. He interviewed many of us for that and I very much hope that it will be finished. He had a Twitter account. These days when somebody dies, there are ways to look at what they left, and you can do that quite quickly. I want to share with you one of John's Tweets. To my mind it is clever and amusing, but it also sums up what we are dealing with now. The Tweet said: 'Let the fossils rest in peace. Only dinosaurs dig fossils.' Sometimes Tweets really capture it, and in many ways the speeches in support of the important motion we are dealing with here today are summed up by that very important Tweet that John sent out to the world.

John had been a Greens candidate in the seat of Davidson in the 2011 state election, picking up 12.5 per cent of the vote. John used all of those means—making films, Tweeting, his website and speaking to people—to take up the urgent issues around climate change. When he spoke he identified the key role that government has in driving change. I remember talking to him about this. He linked the role of government with the urgency of driving the transition to a clean energy economy. Clean energy was the essence of what John spoke about time and time again. This is one quote from his website:

... business does not have any pressure to look after common property, or the long term future. Issues such as health, environment, or a society's culture need to be protected by government on behalf of society.

(Time expired)

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Whish-Wilson ): The question is that the motion put by Senator Waters be agreed to.

Question agreed to.