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The Lancet, Global Warming and Health

Speeches in Parliament
Richard Di Natale 23 Jun 2015

Senator Di Natale: In the Lancet today, which is one of the world's premier medical journals, there was a study released about the health impacts from global warming - many of which are being experienced today - it goes on to say we are reversing the health gains of the last 50 years if no action is taken.

A fairly straightforward question - does the Minister accept the information published in the Lancet that the health impacts of global warming are occurring right now here in Australia?

Senator Brandis: Well, Senator Di Natale, although I don't read the Lancet myself I am familiar with the fact that it is a prestigious medical journal. I am aware that it is one of hundreds of medical journals. And if your profession, the medical profession, Senator Di Natale, is anything like my profession - then there would be a wide variety of opinions expressed in the pages of all of those distinguished journals.

Senator Di Natale: Jeeze, wow. I hope you don't get lots of different opinions when you get a pain in your chest.

So my supplementary question is around the evidence of the very damaging effects of coal on cardiovascular and respiratory impacts - and the Lancet makes it very clear, that coal has very negative effects on those areas. Does the Government continue to state that coal is good for humanity or does it support the evidence in the Lancet? 

Senator Brandis: Well, Senator Di Natale, the government unequivocally says that it believes that coal is good for humanity and it unequivocally says that coal in particular good for Australia - because, Senator Di Natale, human flourishing depends on lots of things and one of the things it depends upon is giving poorer people the best opportunities. If we can have low energy prices and low electricity bills because we have some of the cheapest coal in the world, then that's a good thing - and in particular, that is good for people at the bottom of the income scale while your decision to impose the carbon tax was such a socially unjust decision.

[......]

Now Senator Di Natale, I'll take you at your word that some medical scientists or doctors have written an article in the Lancet that says what you say. I refuse to believe that there is a uniformity in your profession on medical issues.

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