In our current world, it’s not every day that you see a politician employ courage to break party ranks and speak about an important issue. Yet, this week it happened, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean represents Hornsby for the Liberal Party in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. His party, the Liberals, have been inexcusably passive and relaxed in their approach towards climate change over the last decade. We have heard many words but have seen minimal action.
This week, instead of taking the safe approach and siding with his party, Mr Kean broke away from the conservative party position and campaigned for increased action. He used his speech at the Better Futures Forum to urge Australians not to accept inaction over addressing climate change. Within the speech, he also called out leaders of developed nations to stop complaining but start working to find a solution. He did not explicitly call out the Prime Minister, but the message was clear.
He understands that for the Liberal Party to remain in politics, they must transform their policy on climate change. He understands that breaking away from his party, and arguably calling out the Prime Minister could risk his own position, but is for the benefit of seeing real change occur. Matt Kean, I applaud you for your excellent work and courage.
Unfortunately, the pandemic hasn’t had any impact on slowing down climate change. While it has created a distraction for world leaders, the environmental situation globally is still deteriorating. It will be a rude awakening in 2022 when the pandemic starts to become under control, and leaders will have to start the climate debate again. But, with politicians like Matt Kean who are willing to stand out, speak passionately, and push for real change, progress can be made.
I hope Mr Kean can be a role model for other politicians not only in Australia but around the world. Cowardice may keep you in politics for a few more years, but courage can allow you to fulfil your role and grow in your position.
For those interested in hearing more about Matt Kean, my friend Jack Pittman recorded a podcast with him earlier this year: