federal election 2013

Friends of the Earth (FoE) does not endorse ‘people, Parties or products’. However, we are mindful of the fact that state and federal elections pose both an opportunity and a threat when it comes to environmental policy and agendas.

How people vote can have huge implications for the level of environmental protection afforded by federal governments.

A range of organisations have carried out comprehensive assessments of the main political parties across a range of issues. We have attached summaries and links to some of these below.


Our priorities

Climate science tells us that Australia must:

·    Transition as rapidly as possible to reliance on renewable energy to meet our energy needs
·    Immediately end current plans for a massive expansion of the coal and gas sectors, for both domestic use and export
·    Plan for the reality of forced climate-change-related displacement
·    This must include active engagement in the development of new global legal and policy frameworks to address such displacement. 

Australia should adopt a global temperature target of limiting warming well below 1.5C and to do so should adopt its fair-share of a global emissions budget. 


Where the parties stand on specific issues

The following is a summary of some of the various assessments carried out by a range of environmental organisations, including one by FoE.


Coal and gas

An analysis by Lock The Gate Alliance ("our mission is to protect Australia’s natural, environmental, cultural and agricultural resources from inappropriate mining") of eight political parties’ policies and actions concludes that “Labor, Liberals and the Nationals have failed in their duty to protect Australians from the risks involved with rapid expansion of coal and gas mining, with leadership coming from the minor parties”.

The report, titled 'The Country is Calling: How Are Our Federal Politicians Responding?', provides a comparison of party platforms and voting records against Lock The Gate Alliance’s national law reform agenda on coal and gas mining

The assessment concludes that:

“The parties most likely to form government after this election - the Liberals, Nationals and Labor - have the worst policies and track records on coal and gas mining”

“Of greatest concern is the poor scoring of the National Party on matters that are crucially important to country people. They do not seem prepared to place any limits on coal and unconventional gas mining in rural Australia”.

“We were very pleased to see that the Australian Greens, Katter's Australia Party, the Socialist Alliance and the Stop CSG Party, and the Democratic Labor Party to a somewhat lesser extent, had many policies that addressed our key concerns”.

Full assessment available here.

Rating by Lock the Gate


Number of Policies in Each Rating Class


Poor to moderate



  Liberal Party





  Australian Labor Party





  National Party





  Australian Greens





  Katter's Australia Party





  Stop CSG Party





  Democratic Labor Party





  Socialist Alliance







A number of assessments have been carried out on the pivotal issue of climate change.


Vote Climate, which describes itself as a grouping of “local climate action groups, groups opposing new coal and gas developments, groups protecting forests, and groups working for a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy”, clearly shows substantial diversity in how well the parties are responding to the issue.

Vote Climate rates the three main parties as having ‘good’, ‘weak’ or ‘bad’ climate policies, with The Greens being rated as having the most ‘good’ policies and the Coalition having the most ‘bad’ ones.

Their assessment of the parties is available here.


The Climate and Health Alliance (“a coalition of health care stakeholders who wish to see the threat to human health from climate change and ecological degradation addressed through prompt policy action”) have released the following assessment of the positions of key parties.

Full details here.


where does your MP stand on solar power?


100% Renewable (“a community initiated campaign working to build community and political support for renewable energy. We are non-partisan and not affiliated with any political party”) has produced a scorecard on where individual MPs stand in terms of supporting solar power.

Each candidate has a profile complete with scores on 7 key criteria. To see where your candidate or MP stands on solar and renewables, check here.

The party assessment is available here.


where do the Parties stand on wind energy?

The following is from the Vic Wind Alliance, and so only relates to Party positions in that state.


FoE has collaborated with a number of other groups to assess the parties on their positions on nuclear power and uranium mining. See below for the assessment.

Full assessment available here.

Minor parties and nuclear power

We note that a number of the small parties have pro nuclear aspects to their policy:

  • The Liberal Democrats support nuclear power generation
  • The Secular Party says it supports "new generation nuclear. Given Australia’s prominence in the world supply of uranium, the Secular Party considers that it is Australia’s responsibility, and to our advantage, to participate in all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle, including power generation and waste disposal."

Major parties missing in action on nano regulation

Whilst the Australian Greens have pledged their support for a mandatory register of all nanomaterials in commercial use in the lead up to the Federal Election, the other major parties appear to be missing in action when it comes to regulating the risks associated with nanotechnology.

Government progress towards regulating nano forms of existing chemicals appears to have stalled. Meanwhile, despite their past emphasis on building public trust in nanotechnology oversight, the Coalition failed to answer Friends of the Earth’s Federal Election policy questionnaire.

Check here for the full assessment and response by ALP and Australian Greens.


The following assessment comes from the Gene Ethics Network.

Other resources and links

MP Watch

Check here for updates on what federal MPs and candidates are saying about renewable energy and climate change on the campaign trail.


Authorised by Cam Walker, 312 Smith Street, Collingwood, 3066