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Australia should lead by example in environmental and human rights protection.

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Senator Meg Lees

Leader of the Australian Democrats





Australia should lead by example in environmental and human rights protection


The outcomes from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting should be taken as a signal that Au stralia has a long way to go to improving our record on environmental and human rights protection, according to the Australian Democrats.


“The Commonwealth leaders, who represent a spectrum of developing and industrialised countries, agreed that human rights and the environment were important. Unfortunately, they did not link trade liberalisation to protection of the environment or human rights.” said Senator Meg Lees, Leader of the Australian Democrats.


“I am disappointed that the Prime Minister did not push harder to protect the environment or human rights.


“It is not the developing countries who are the big contributors to greenhouses emissions, it is the industrialised countries, and I am ashamed to say that Australia is leading the charge. We must immediately take steps to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.


According to the Australia Institute, we emit the world’s highest per capita level of greenhouse gases. Australia emits nearly 27 tonnes of greenhouse gases per capita every year, 25 per cent more than in the US and double that of other affluent nations.


The Federal Government has accepted that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are high in comparison to other western nations, and has found that its 1990 emissions from land clearing are substantially more than expected. The commitments made by Australia under the Kyoto protocol in which industrial nations agreed to cap and reduce carbon emission levels to help combat global warming have not been kept.


“The Democrats call on the Prime Minister to reverse this trend.


Senator Lees went on to say: “Mr Howard must also work much harder on reconciliation, if Australia is to show any leadership within the Commonwealth. While the Prime Minister has shown some commitment to reconciliation, he must do much more to invigorate the process.



For further information: John Schumann on 0419 867 876




mm  1999-11-17  14:35