Parliamentary Friends groups are bipartisan groups established and joined by MPs based on the concerns and interests of a member’s local constituents, or in some cases personal interests. They play no role in formal policy development processes and Labor MP membership in such groups is up to individual members and does not alter any official Labor Party policy regarding specific issues that overlap with Parliamentary groups.

 Parliamentary Friendship groups allow for all Members and Senators to develop a greater understanding of the issues relating to the group, however, Labor MPs being members of the Parliamentary Friends of Coal Exports does not detract from Labor’s commitment to effective and credible climate change policy in line with our international commitments under the Paris Agreement. After the disappointing result of the 2019 election, it is natural and necessary that Labor review specific policies taken to the 2019 election, including in the area of climate change, but this review will not change the values that motivate and underpin our commitment to real climate action.

Labor’s approach to climate change policy will continue to be guided by the Paris Agreement and the best science available, and be underpinned by Labor values of equity and fairness. Our approach will focus on the development of policies that will not only cut pollution, but ensure we maximise the jobs and economic opportunities of modernising our economy.

The Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC framework which underpins it makes it clear that countries are responsible for the emissions generated in their jurisdictions. As it stands, Australia’s emissions are rising and are projected to keep rising all the way to 2030, due to a lack of effective climate change policies. In order to avoid catastrophic climate change, countries need to meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement through domestic climate policies that address their emissions, as well as supporting international partners where possible and appropriate. Labor is committed to bringing Australia’s emissions under control, in line with what is necessary to achieve the goals of the Paris agreement.

 As a party that represents working people, Labor also recognises that those who live and work in coal-mining communities have a legitimate desire to have their interests and concerns represented in Parliament by their local MPs. Such representation is not contrary to Australia implementing real climate change policies or meeting our obligations under the Paris Agreement.