MEMBER for Barker Tony Pasin defended his stance on climate change at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) conference on Wednesday after a “cheap shot” from a public observer.
Former Mount Gambier mayoral candidate Mark Jones questioned Mr Pasin’s sincerity on the issue during an open discussion period about the divisive topic, highlighting his membership to a parliamentary group which has shown support for new fossil fuel projects.
“Tony Pasin mentioned he believes in climate change and yet he is a member of a public group called the Monash Forum which promotes the mining of coal and the building of coal fired power stations,” Mr Jones said.
“So there is a discord there – I think Tony Pasin needs to reassess where he really stands on climate change.”
Mr Pasin confirmed he was a member of the Monash Forum – established last year primarily by Liberal backbenchers – but expanded on his environmental views.
“It is simplistic to say you cannot be someone who respects the role – particularly in short to medium term – that coal has in our energy market and indeed in developing the world,” he said.
“And at the same time you cannot hold a view that we need to reduce carbon emissions.
“I hold that view, I am also a member of a government that is investing $3.5b in carbon reduction.
“Without coal we do not have steel, without steel we cannot take third world countries, particularly India, out of that situation.
“It is a very nuanced position and it is one I think we are holding globally at the moment – I think there is not a decision-maker in Canberra who does not understand the role of carbon reduction.
“I think farmers in this room have a massive role to play in terms of carbon sequestration in their soil.
“But Mark, it was a cheap shot mate.”