LABOR has unveiled a 2030 emissions reduction target of 43 per cent, well ahead of the maximum of 28 per cent offered thus far by the Morrison government, and a point of difference on the pivotal subject of climate change.
Climate politics are harder for Labor than they are, by and large, for the Coalition.
Labor's bottom line is a push for change, whereas the Coalition - and especially the Nationals - retain a deep vein of climate scepticism, no matter what they say.
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Labor has both its traditional blue-collar base and the inner-city intellectual Left to mollify. Both camps are represented here in the Hunter.
However Labor has to go beyond its rusted-on support if it is going to challenge Prime Minister Scott Morrison when the election is held next year.
Labor might be well ahead in the opinion polls right now, but history shows the gap will narrow significantly once an election date is proclaimed.
Christmas is just weeks away.
After that, comes the holiday period - COVID-style - up until Australia Day.
Having jettisoned many of the policies that failed Bill Shorten at the last election, Opposition leader Anthony Albanese looks set to approach the voters with a much smaller suite of promises.
With less to "sell", a robust climate policy that at least matched what was happening at the state and territory levels would have shown the electorate - and the business community - that Labor was serious about re-establishing our international credentials in the wake of Glasgow and COP26.
Instead, there is a strong impression that the ALP is almost as reluctant as the government to tackle climate change, and that whoever wins the election will need to be prodded into the sort of action increasingly demanded on the global front.
What happened to the days when Australia was a world leader on environmental action?
When we led the world in pushing for the abolition of whaling?
When we moved early to ban fluorocarbons to combat the hole in the ozone layer?
Perhaps the cost was not so great back then, or the task so difficult.
Right now, however, a majority of the public wants action on climate change.
The Newcastle Herald has repeatedly stressed the size of this task, and the challenges involved.
We can negotiate our own path forward, or have other countries do it for us.
The choice is ours.
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