You said YES and so did I.

12 October 2011

This is an important day for Australia: the introduction of carbon price has passed the Lower House of the Australian Parliament.

Because of the actions of so many across a broad grassroots movement, Australia has taken a major step today in delivering new investment for clean energy.

Now we can begin Australia’s shift from a high risk, high polluting economy to a safe, sustainable, low carbon economy.

This is testament to the many thousands of our supporters who have long fought for government action for a clean energy future – we should all be proud that we have achieved this critical first step.

I have spent the last two days in Canberra delivering the Say Yes messages to our politicians.  In an amazing display on the protest lawns outside Parliament, one thousand supporter placards were planted spelling out “Say Yes to Clean Energy.”

Then, I was able to join with others from the Say Yes coalition to present some of our key leaders with a book that compiled many of these messages.   This book gave further evidence to the Members that despite a negative scare campaign run by the ‘no’ camp, there are many, many Australians supporting their move to a cleaner future.

One of the pictures in that book is of my older daughter, who wrote her own placard saying that she wanted the government to say yes to a price on carbon pollution because, “I care about the planet.”  Simple yet effective language from a nearly 8 year old – representing the future generation of Australia who will inherit the legacy created by this legislation.

As we handed the book around Parliament, I know we have done our best today to protect her future, and now I can go home and look her in the eye and tell her that her message, and thousands of others, made a difference.

Of course we have a way to go. The legislation is yet to pass the Senate and we will continue our campaign until that vote is secured.

We will also be campaigning for the important next steps.

The first priority is the creation a Pollution Standard on all forms of power generation so investors have clarity for long-term energy investment decisions.

And we also need see an end to the billions of dollars spent subsidising fossil fuel every year.

But today we can celebrate that we have taken a giant leap in creating a viable renewable energy industry and a cleaner, healthier future for all Australians.   Next stop, the Senate.