Climate policy 2016: Has Labor got it right this time around?

Australia now has a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020 and we need to get on track to meet that target. The policies that are presented in the current federal election campaign have areas in common and of difference. In this public policy forum, presented by Grattan Institute, Melbourne Energy Institute and Carbon Market Institute, the Shadow Minister, Mark Butler, outlined Labor’s policies to address the challenge of climate change.


Tony Wood has been Energy Program Director at Grattan since 2011 after 14 years working at Origin Energy in senior executive roles. From 2009 to 2014 he was also Program Director of Clean Energy Projects at the Clinton Foundation, advising governments in the Asia-Pacific region on effective deployment of large-scale, low-emission energy technologies. In 2008, he was seconded to provide an industry perspective to the first Garnaut climate change review.


Mark Butler has been the Labor Member for Port Adelaide in the federal parliament since 2007 and served as Minister for Ageing in the Gillard government. He has also held the ministries of Mental Health, Housing, Homelessness, Social Inclusion, Climate Change, Water and the Environment.  Mark is currently the Labor Shadow Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water and National President of the Australian Labor Party. Before entering Parliament, Mark worked for 15 years in the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) including 11 years as State Secretary and was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003 for services to trade unionism.  In 1997, Mark was elected President of the ALP in South Australia, and has been a Member of the ALP National Executive and National Executive Committee since 2000.

Sara Bice is Director, Research Translation at the Melbourne School of Government. With a decade of experience assisting private firms, non-profits and government agencies to plan and advance their sustainable development agendas, Sara’s research explores social responsibility and sustainability in light of community, corporate and government interactions, with a strong focus on mining and extractives industries. Sara is committed to creating shared value for communities and companies through evidence-based decision-making, risk management and strong stakeholder engagement.

Peter Castellas leads Carbon Market Institute in its important role in catalysing and driving the growth of the Australian carbon market. Prior to joining CMI, Peter headed up the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu team that provided specialist advice in the areas of carbon advisory, sustainability and clean technology to national and international clients and government agencies. Peter also ran Cleantech Australasia for five years and designed and ran successful clean technology finance and investment initiatives in Australia, India and China. Peter has held prior roles as the Fund Manager of the Sustainable Melbourne Fund, Sustainability Advisor for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Head of International Business Development for Melbourne University Private, School of Energy and Environment.

Elisa de Wit is a partner in the Melbourne office of law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright Australia and heads the firm’s climate change practice.  Elisa has over 25 years of legal experience and has practised in three Australian jurisdictions and the United Kingdom. Elisa is an acknowledged climate change legal expert and advises clients on policy, regulation and compliance issues.  She has been listed in Best Lawyers since2012 for climate change and was named Best Lawyers 2014-2015 Melbourne Climate Change Law “Lawyer of the Year”.  She is a board member of the Carbon Market Institute.

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