CANBERRA, AAP – Hanging in the office of the Greens leader is a picture of a coal-fired power station.
The framed photo of the LaTrobe valley power station was given to Adam Bandt by its workers, which he says signifies the party’s support for coal and gas workers.
“I have assured these communities that coal and gas workers are not the enemy. We are all in this together,” Mr Bandt told the National Press Club on Wednesday.
“Our enemy is the climate crisis. The enemy is fuelled by coal and gas. Mining and burning coal and gas are killing people.”
Mr Bandt used the speech to outline the minor party’s pro-climate, pro-social welfare policies, confident the Greens would hold the balance of power after the federal election.
“No more coal, no more gas. When we are in the balance of power after the election in the Senate and the House and have kicked the Liberals out, this will be our key demand,” Mr Bandt said.
“(Predictions) put us on track to be the biggest third party in the Senate ever, to be the biggest ever Greens party room and to be the most powerful third party in the parliament.”
The Greens are confident of picking up three new Senate seats, targeting Queensland, NSW and South Australia.
More than half a dozen lower house seats are also considered realistic targets, with both Liberal and Labor held electorates in Brisbane, Melbourne and the far north NSW coast in the Greens’ sights.
Mr Bandt said so-called “teal independents” were also drawing attention to the climate inaction of Labor and the Liberals.
He said he wouldn’t send Australians back to the polls if a Labor minority government opposed key Greens policies.
“If the Australian people deliver a parliament where multiple voices are represented – and I think that that is the case – we have got no interest in sending people back to a second election,” Mr Bandt said.
But the party’s priorities lie with stopping coal and gas mines, getting dental and mental health into Medicare, fixing the housing affordability crisis and wiping student debt.
Mr Bandt urged a journalist to “Google it, mate” when asked to name the current wage price index.
The Greens will include more than $77 billion worth of dental care in Medicare over 10 years, or around $8 billion a year, covering basic care and orthodontic treatment, as well as oral surgeries, periodontics and prosthodontics.
“The Greens will make Clive Palmer pay more tax so you can fix your teeth,” Mr Bandt said.