One of the few victories the left had at last weekend’s federal election was the unseating of former Prime Minister and climate change realist Tony Abbott in Warringah.
Independent Zali Steggal ran on a campaign of climate action and was assisting by a devoted local following as well as outside help from activist group GetUp.
The seat of Warringah is located in Sydney’s lower Northern Beaches and one of the wealthiest electorates in Australia. When it comes to views on climate change and action, it is always the wealthiest electorates and those closest to the city that demand we make the greatest economic sacrifice.
Meanwhile it is those living in mortgage belt seats who bear the brunt of the increases in electricity prices that renewable energy and other forms of climate action bring. Those in the regions often have to deal with the impositions and health effects that wind turbines create.
Another thing to note about inner-city dwellers is that they are the most vocal NIMBYs – Not in My Backyard. They oppose local developments of apartment towers and other major works, both for aesthetic reasons and also because it could impact the real estate value of their own properties.
It is for these reason that the satirical Wind Farms for Warringah petition has been launched to demand that ‘Zali Steggall and the people of Warringah need to show leadership on immediate climate change’ with the solution being ‘wind turbines are to be placed along the foreshore, taking advantage of the sea breezes. Let’s lead the way by example, for everyone who voted against climate action’.
For a petition that is meant purely as satire it has gained over 15,000 signatures on change.org. Zali Steggall has already confessed she doesn’t have solar panels on her roof or drive a hybrid car.
So it is unlikely she will be swayed by this petition to put wind turbines in her backyard, but it would be interesting to see how she would weasel her way out of it, or she might simply ignore this petition.
But the overall message in this election is that while the inner cities voted for drastic action on climate change, the next government will be formed by the parties that promised to prioritise energy affordability and reliability.
If the people of Warringah and other inner-city seats want to take action they are more than welcome to walk the talk and do it in their backyard.