For years Australians have diligently sorted recycling into the yellow-lid bin. This has stopped millions of tonnes of waste from going to landfill and helped build an industry that employs 50,000 people across the country. But thanks to government neglect and lobbying by the packaging industry Australia’s recycling industry is in crisis and plastic pollution is rapidly choking our oceans.
In 2012 Pete was the first senator to raise the scourge of plastic pollution choking our oceans in the Australian Parliament. He has since led the charge in parliament by establishing two landmark Senate inquiries into the recycling crisis and marine plastic pollution. Through this work in the Senate, and through his on-the-ground campaigning, Pete has helped focus attention on the need for industry to be held to account for these twin problems.
Assisted community campaigners to get container deposit schemes established or promised in every state (only SA and the NT had this in place in 2012.
The Federal Government adopted Greens’ policy to use the Clean Energy Finance Corporation as a vehicle to fund additional investment in recycling.
Legislate mandatory product stewardship schemes for all e-waste, tyres, mattresses and other problematic waste streams.
Get federal funding for a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) based in Hobart to research and tackle the problem of marine plastics in our oceans, as well as to innovate for a future beyond plastics.
A Fair Economy
Healthy Oceans Champion
Pete has spent years inquiring into, raising awareness of and campaigning against the catastrophic impacts of global warming on marine ecosystems around Australia, indeed the globe.
Pete recently delivered an impassioned speech in the Senate regarding the death of our oceans. The speech went viral and was reported on by a number of international news agencies.
Pete has been outspoken in demanding that UNESCO must consider climate change impacts when assessing the status of the world’s coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef.
He has been especially active in talking to Tasmanian communities about the loss of their giant kelp forests, the decline of commercial and recreational fisheries from warming oceans and the impact of invasive long-spined sea urchins (Centrostephanus rodgersii) off Tasmania’s reefs.
Pete has led the charge in parliament to scrutinise and ban all new seismic testing in our oceans, has campaigned actively in the Fight for the Bight push to strop drilling in the Great Australian Bight, and has pushed for fisheries reform. He continues to fight for a proper set of marine parks based on science that will actually protect our oceans for future generations.
He was the first MP in the Australian Parliament to oppose the introduction of industrial ‘super trawlers’ and led the parliamentary campaign to have them banned from Australian waters. Pete continues to scrutinise the Tasmanian salmon industry and its appalling track record in damaging Tasmania’s marine environment and coastal communities.
The Senate inquiry Pete chaired travelled the country to gain a better understanding of shark protection and mitigation measures and what needs to be done to protect both human and marine life. Sharks are critical to healthy oceans. Many species are endangered and they must be protected.
Pete has fought hard to protect the jobs and research capacity we have in Tasmania and Australia in climate science and Southern Ocean science. He headed the Select Committee inquiry into job cuts at CSIRO and is campaigning now for continuity in climate funding which will give certainty to Tasmania’s world-renowned science community and position as Australia’s Antarctic gateway.
Led the federal parliamentary campaign to successfully ban industrial super trawlers from plundering our oceans and ecosystems.
Successfully worked with Labor as chair of the Senate Select Committee to have CSIRO climate science job cuts reversed.
An end to all shark nets and lethal drum lines around Australia, which are indiscriminate killers of marine life.
Reform of Australian fisheries management to include more ecosystem-based science and a precautionary approach to fisheries management.
A moratorium on all new salmon farm expansion in Tasmania.
A ban on all new seismic testing in our oceans.
Long term continuity in climate, Southern Ocean and Antarctic science funding.