Voters want leadership on climate change

A new survey shows voters want political leadership on climate change with many seeing little difference between the two main parties.

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Auspoll asked 1,500 Australians about climate change and the next federal election, says the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).

When asked who of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her opposition counterpart Tony Abbott they trusted more to deliver on the issues of pollution and climate change, 43 per cent of respondents thought there was no difference between them.

That figure increased to 58 per cent of undecided voters.

Forty-five per cent of this group also said they would be more likely to vote Labor if Ms Gillard promised to negotiate and deliver a pollution reduction scheme in the next year.

ACF chief executive Don Henry, who commissioned the survey, said the results proved that tackling climate change was still important to many Australians, even if politicians had abandoned the issue.

“The public is crying out for leadership and the issue is there for the politicians to pick up,” he told AAP.

“Whether it’s the Greens, Labor or the coalition, whoever comes forward with fair dinkum action on the climate is going to be clearly rewarded in the polls.”

Mr Henry said voters were disappointed that Labor, which campaigned hard on the issue ahead of the 2007 election, had now mothballed plans for an emissions trading scheme (ETS).

“There’s no doubt that this poll, and other polls over the last month, show that there’s a lot of frustration with Labor for not taking strong action on climate change,” he said.

“Frustration they haven’t delivered on their promises and the coalition doesn’t have a strong suite of policies either.”

But Mr Henry said resurrecting the ETS wasn’t necessarily the best policy approach to take now.

“We think there is three crucial things that in fact both major parties should be supporting,” he said.

“One is a strong boost to renewables like solar, secondly really helping cut energy waste in our businesses and homes and the third thing is yes, we do need a price on pollution.

“In our view that should be brought in next year.”