Goldstein MP Zoe Daniel on the natural disaster that put climate change on her radar

“I’ve been through floods in northern New South Wales, Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia; seen the melting permafrost in the Arctic and the animals and people struggling to survive as the environment changes beneath their feet; reported on the aftermath of cyclones in the Pacific, hurricanes in the United States, bushfires in Australia and California,” she told parliament.

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Her new job, she said, would be to hold the government accountable for “significantly improved climate policy and targets”, saying the proposed target of cutting emissions by 43% by 2030 must be enshrined in the law as a “floor, not a ceiling”. .

“We need to have clear mechanisms in place to hold all of us – each one of us – accountable to achieving net zero by 2050, if not before. 2040 is not a moment too soon,” she said.

Wearing the colors of purple and white suffragettes, Daniel drew inspiration from the example of Vida Goldstein – one of the first women in the Western world to run for parliament when she contested the 1903 federal election – and after whom the electorate bears the name.

“Vida was a peace advocate, activist, politician and, as owner and editor of female spheree, journalist, like me,” she said.

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Like her, Daniel said, Goldstein had also rejected party politics, telling voters of the last century “I’m asking you to vote for me because I’m not a member of a political party” and describing party government as “a totally outdated system”. ”.

Goldstein failed in her ambition to enter parliament, making five failed attempts, but more than a century later a record number of women will sit in the House of Representatives.

“In this 47th legislature, women represent approximately 40%, the highest proportion ever recorded. This includes 19 MPs for the first time. I am one, as a new member of Goldstein, on behalf of Vida,” Daniel said.