A new Australian political party has been formed with the aim of lobbying on behalf of the Australian renewable energy sector and the wider public interest in renewables.
The new Renewable Energy Party has been founded by Peter Breen, a former independent member of the New South Wales Parliament who now acts as its secretary. The party was formed at a meeting held at Lismore Workers Club in New South Wales and describes itself as a community-based organisation with no links to industry. It consists of concerned citizens and voters who are alarmed at the way the Australian government has handled climate change and renewable energy policy in the country.
“Membership is not likely to be a problem” said the party’s campaign manager Jim Moylan. “Aussies are really passionate about climate change. Our Facebook page has gone-off like a skyrocket. All we did was set up a news-feed to climate change news – and a big audience appeared.”
Mr Breen added that the party is well-funded, well organised and mainstream. It has a variety of professionals in its membership and wants science and the public interest to dictate the terms of the climate debate – not coal, gas and oil companies.
According to the party’s launch statement, renewable energy in Australia needs grass roots representation given that more than a million households in the country now use solar energy. The country is currently getting a very bad deal from the major energy companies, all of which own coal mines, it added. The party additionally points out that while the UK is talking about phasing out fossil fuels, Australia is talking about phasing out renewable energy.
Two objectives included in the party’s constitution are aimed at the promotion of renewable energy in Australia and the review of government subsidies paid to oil, gas and coal companies in the country to determine whether these funds could be better directed. It also hopes to assess the regulatory changes, incentives, bonuses and subsidies that may be needed in order to enable Australia to become 100 percent renewable by 2050.
The party is currently seeking federal registration under Australian law and is also engaged in a social media campaign to attract new members, some of whom it hopes will run for office in each state during the next federal election in 2016. It recently expressed its approval for an even-handed and rational investigation into claims in the Fairfax press that imported Chinese RE components may pose an unacceptable risk of failure. The party felt that such claims had been made in a sensationalist and alarmist manner, possibly in an attempt to denigrate the entire Australian renewable energy sector as part of a wider attack on the Renewable Energy Target (RET). It further argues that Australians have been turning to cheaper Chinese renewable energy systems because Australia has, for the last two decades, been exporting scientific breakthroughs in solar technology to China and other countries.