Things are heating up in the eastern suburbs Melbourne seat of Deakin. Sitting member Phil Baressi has in recent months been the subject of a Greenpeace leaflet which highlighted that Mr Baressi hasn’t mentioned the words climate change in Parliament in his 11 years of office. The leaflet was letterboxed in Deakin from April to July.

In late May, Mr Baressi did however rise in the parliament, making a long Adjournment speech about the Federal budget, and then at the conclusion of his speech he had a little bit to say about how the economy was so strong that we could afford to deal with climate change.

The leaflet was still being circulated in late July (we’d missed Mr Baressi’s passing reference to the issue) when we had a pretty spiky email from Mr Baressi’s office drawing our attention to the speech. We were about to ask our supporters to contact Phil and pat him on the back for finally talking about (if not actually doing a great deal about) climate change when we received a further email from Phil himself (and cc’ed to State Director of the Liberal Party Julian Sheezel ) stating “I trust the remaining leaflets not already distributed will be withdrawn. The leaflets are factually incorrect and now that you are aware of this point you may run the risk of being legally defamatory.”

Ouch! Looks like Phil’s feeling the heat in the battle for the marginals. Greenpeace has amended the brochures to highlight that Mr Baressi has now mentioned climate change in one speech in the Parliament in his 11 years in office.