The Liberal Party has been known for causing plenty of discord in the last decade, and the events of the last six months are still notably on the minds of many Australian households. The party ousted former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over problems with energy and the climate, and it seems that these issues have still not reached any type of resolution.
Oliver Yates, Head of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), has set out to challenge the seat held by current Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in an attempt to frame the upcoming elections around which party is in the best place to do something about the environment.
The general energy policy will be one of the key deciding factors for voters ahead of the elections later this year. Both parties are looking to position themselves as being the best able to deliver on promises.
Australia is a notable environmental case in that rising weather figures year-on-year have threatened crops through droughts. An IPCC report late last year pointed out the fairly urgent need to phase out fossil fuels and transition to cleaner energy sources.
The energy debate has long been a troubling one for Australia, but as leading politicians begin to use it as a cornerstone of their election pledges, it seems set to take center stage.
Yates, who used to be a banker at the leading investment group Macquarie, which purchased the Green Investment Bank from the UK government, has said that he will run as an independent against Frydenberg despite being a member of the Liberal Party.
The seat in Kooyong will be one of the most hotly contested if Yates has his way. He is calling upon voters to seek out the leaders who will follow through with their intentions regarding the climate.
Yates told Guardian Australia upon his announcement: ‘I want, globally, to hold accountable environment ministers who have disregarded their responsibility to the environment.’ He discussed the need for average Australians to put their faith in those who will do so, adding that ‘citizens are not making any progress in this.’
As Yates is the son of a Liberal politician and an active party member, his challenge may well stoke some fires ahead of the elections in the coming months. The fact that he also leads CFEC and has a history at Macquarie may well indicate that he is as well versed in business aims as he is with Australia’s need to find a coherent strategy on the environment that can persuade investors that it is a stable country in this regard.
Part of the issue so far has been that investors tend to get scared off when politicians keep changing their minds. However, the latest figures suggest that those with capital are increasingly opting for some cleaner assets to ensure that their portfolios are sufficiently diversified amid any potential economic storms that may be on the way.
Yates said that Australia cannot ignore the issue of the environment any longer. He commented that ‘we all tried as business people’ and added that the problem ‘needs to be addressed.’ Yates said that if he wins his election, then he will have no issues serving with the winning party or simply offering his services as a climate advisor from a business perspective.