Responding to Climate Change Debate

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 15-9-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



Responding to Climate Change was the topic for the 2011 Big Issues Forum recently hosted by The University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA). Panellists included Senator Scott Ludlam, Federal Greens Senator for WA; Melissa Parke MP, Federal Labor Member for Fremantle; Dr Dennis Jensen MP, Federal Liberal Member for Tangney and Dr Michael O’Leary, UNDA Lecturer in the School of Arts and Sciences.

The debate, coordinated by UNDA Law student Peter Dawson and the Fremantle Oxfam Group, provided each politician with the opportunity to present their party’s views on the controversial issue of climate change.

The impact of a carbon tax; renewable energy alternatives; how climate change occurs and global strategies to combat CO2 emissions were just some of the issues discussed by panellists before an audience of more than 100.

President of Notre Dame’s Labor Club, Peter Dawson, explains that the organisers wanted to get a balanced comparison of the major political parties’ policies on climate change and, in particular, how they are responding to the scientific evidence of its occurrence.

“Overwhelmingly the opinion was that climate change may have some pretty serious consequences for Australia and the world if left untouched,” said Mr Dawson.

“All three political parties presented their policies on how they plan to reduce carbon emissions in an apolitical setting and responded well to prepared questions from the audience.”

Dr O’Leary said the forum provided an important opportunity to hear the view of the three political parties.

“I believe people would be more educated about this subject, and subsequent policies, if there were more opportunities such as this forum to explain climate change issues.

“It is wonderful that Notre Dame supports this initiative. This is what university is about; it’s having an academic debate and seeing all points of view put on the table.

“I think is a really important for the University to continue to provide a forum for debate and education, as it stimulates ideas between academics, students, members of the public and politicians.”

Continuing the discussion on climate change, Notre Dame will be hosting a public lecture by Mr John Connor CEO of the Climate Institute on Wednesday 28 September 2011, 6.00pm. Mr Connor will deliver a lecture on Risk, Rorts and Realities in the Climate Debate:Public Policy, Citizenship and Investment in the era of Post Truth Politics.

For more information or to book a place please contact the Office of University Relations & Development via national.events@nd.edu.au or phone (08) 9433 0857.

Media Contact: Leigh Dawson (+61) 8 9433 0569, Mob (+61) 0408 959 138