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Climate change heating up Australia’s federal election

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Australians are heading to the polls in less than 24 hours to decide their next Prime Minister, with environmental concerns expected to be a decisive issue, the incumbent Liberal party is facing significant swings in historically safe seats

As the campaign nears its final hours the candidates have made their final pitches to Australian voters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to change his leadership style, while opposition leader Anthony Albanese has offered his vision for a Labor led government, including the future of the economy and child and aged care services.

Issues such as the economy, cost of living, housing affordability and corruption have been dominating election discussion. But Richie Merzian, a political and environmental expert at the Australian Institute, has told Ticker NEWS he expects global warming to be a decisive issue when voters hit the polls.

He says a big point of difference is how the two parties will “address the climate crisis”, with the Labor Party (ALP) proposing stronger action and greater international engagement on climate change.

Australia votes on climate change

“Polls done in Australia show that climate is one of the top priorities,” Merzian says.

The current Liberal-National government (LNP) under Morrison has received criticism from environmental bodies for its lack of action on climate change.

And Merzian says the government has little ambition to change these targets.

“It’s the same target they’ve had for seven years.” He says.

In 2017, Morrison brought a lump of coal to parliament to demonstrate his support for the fossil fuel industry. PHOTO: Courier Mail

According to Merzian, if all countries set similar targets to Australia, the world would be facing three to four degrees of global warming.

An increase which would be catastrophic for the planet. The goal of the Paris Climate agreement is to limit global warming to below two degrees compared to pre-industrial levels.

Instead of increasing emission targets, the LNP is proposing more investment in technology to help combat the climate crisis.

In contrast the opposition “has a stronger target more in line with the U.S and Canada and Japan,” says Merzian.

“They want to see a serious transition in the electricity sector, they want to have over 80% renewable energy, higher EV uptake, and also they want to see Australia host a U.N climate conference.”

Richie Merzian, Australia Institute

Rise of independents and the battle for Kooyong

The current government is locked in a bitter battle to reclaim power in traditionally safe Liberal seats.

Merzian says safe seats the government “has taken for granted” are suddenly being challenged by centrist independents who want greater action on climate change and anti-corruption.

This challenge has been typified by treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s dwindling popularity in the seat of Kooyong.

Historically a LNP stronghold, Kooyong has been held by a member of the Liberal party for the entirety of its 121 year existence, barring a four year interval in the 1920’s. And has been the electorate for significant party figures such as former PM Sir Robert Menzies.

Dr. Monique Ryan is challenging Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in the seat of Kooyong

But this year, independent candidate Dr. Monique Ryan has emerged as a genuine contender for the seat.

“That’s the real novel part of this election.” Merzian says.

“If they win, you could see the federal government lose seats that I don’t think it’s ever lost, including its own treasurer and deputy of the Liberal Party.”

Richie Merzian, Australia Institute

And while Merzian concedes the election is still too close to call, he believes it will be “very hard” for Morrison’s LNP to win the 76 seats it needs to form a majority government.

“It’s far more likely that the Labor Party will get closer to their mark and you will probably have Anthony Albanese as prime minister on Monday.” He says

Polls suggest this may be the case. But the outlook was similar in 2019 when Morrison defied expectations to win the election.

Bryan Hoadley contributed to this post.

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It takes a village: coordinated financial teams prove paramount to maximising wealth

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The pursuit of wealth is often faced by significant challenges including debt, lifestyle costs, and burnout – so what methods can help overcome these challenges?

Maximising financial opportunities involves a suite of tasks, from leveraging favourable loan rates, strategic tax planning, and coordinated financial advising.

Mark Wyld from MW Wealth joins to discuss more. #featured

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Microsoft recalls ‘Recall AI’ feature over security fears

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Microsoft has announced a postponement in the release of its new Recall AI feature, citing significant security concerns raised during internal testing.

Pope Francis took charge of discussions on the implications of artificial intelligence for global ethics and governance, Reuters reports.

The pope said AI represented an “epochal transformation” for mankind, but stressed the need for close oversight of the ever-developing technology to preserve human life and dignity.

“No machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being,” he said, adding that people should not let superpowerful algorithms decide their destiny.
“We would condemn humanity to a future without hope if we took away people’s ability to make decisions about themselves and their lives, by dooming them to depend on the choices of machines,” he warned.

#featured #trending

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