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Christian PM should have a heart for climate

  • 30 August 2018


Australia has always been a land of bushfires, but usually not in winter. This past month, however, the NSW Rural Fire Service was faced with over 80 significant bushfires. Scientists were reportedly shocked by the scale of the fires and environmental change academics have, unsurprisingly, blamed global warming.

And what did our government do in response to these fires (and related widespread drought)? It decided to continue to play Survivor: The Musical Chairs Edition and knock off another leader — on the basis of his desire to introduce emissions reductions, no less. Good times.

As others have noted, climate change policy has played a key role in the political instability of Australian politics over the last decade. And it has mostly been due to the recalcitrance of our political class in resisting any action that might jeopardise its cosy relationship with the fossil fuel industry.

The only comfort we can take from the bin fire that is Australian politics right now is that Dutton's camp failed so impressively, and the party elected a 'moderate' in the form of the Honourable Scott Morrison.

But what do we know about our former Treasurer, other than the fact that he presided over Australia's offshore gulags for several years as Minister for Immigration? Well, for one thing, we know that he is a devout Christian of the Pentecostal variety. Born and raised in the Uniting Church, Morrison now attends Horizon Church.

Last weekend, the executive pastor of Horizon responded positively to Morrison's elevation to Prime Minister by stating, 'I think that people of faith around the nation are very much filled with hope that someone of Christian faith and principle is holding such a role in public life. I think there is a great hope that decision making will be influenced by godly principles.'

Wouldn't it be great if this were true? Not only would a prime minister who was truly committed to Christian principles immediately close our offshore detention centres and legislate for a just and compassionate policy towards asylum seekers, but such a prime minister would also take immediate, decisive action to mitigate climate change.


"Addressing climate change is thus both an ecological and social justice imperative, which is why it ought to be a priority for our new Christian Prime Minister."


In his 2015 encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si', Pope Francis describes climate change as 'one of the principal challenges facing humanity' and argues that 'living our vocation to be protectors