Candidates vying for votes in the federal electorate of Cook have taken up a community group's challenge to face the public at a forum on climate change next week.
Liberal candidate Scott Morrison will face Labor's Mark Buttigieg and The Greens' Naomi Waizer at Hazelhurst next Tuesday at 7:30pm.
Mr Buttigieg has already fired the first shot by supporting a short-term target of at least 30% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2020. He also supports the responsible phase-out of the coal industry, according to his response to the environment movement's The Big Switch online survey, where he scored 4.05 out of 5.
These policies put him way ahead of his own party, which scored just 1.8 out of 5, still ahead of the Liberals at 0.8.
However the public strongly supports his views. A Newspoll in August found 82% of NSW voters do not want a new coal-fired power station. And an Australia-wide Newspoll late last year found 91% believe the federal government should change Australia's energy system from coal to renewable energy.
"It's exciting to see a local politician openly support what the scientists tell us is necessary, which the vast majority of voters also want," said forum organiser Jonathan Doig from Sutherland Climate Action Network. "We look forward to a lively and informative debate on Tuesday night."
Mr Morrison has not yet responded to The Big Switch survey, but has agreed to attend the forum.
The Greens' Naomi Waizer scored 5 out of 5 on The Big Switch, but may send an alternate to the forum as she is due to give birth the next day.
Candidates will present their climate solutions and then face questions from the audience. The forum will be introduced by University of NSW renewable energy expert and author Dr Mark Diesendorf.
IN THE HOT SEAT - candidates for Cook federal electorate front up to climate change.
7.30PM Tuesday 30th October 2007
Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre, 782 Kingsway Gymea
Entry by donation. No bookings neeeded. Refreshments provided.
More information: Jonathan Doig 0409 049185
Websites: sutherlandcan.org.au Ÿ thebigswitch.org.au