The annual Alfred Deakin lectures series kicked off on Sunday night with Professor Tim Flannery, fresh from publicly stating last month that he’s unlikely to vote for Labor again after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s ”profound betrayal of trust” on climate change.

Flannery is curator of this year’s series ‘A Brave New World? The challenge of climate change’, and his speech was tinged with a surprising note of optimism. He urged the crowd to push past the pessimism, to become “re-energised” on the issue of climate change and, above all, to become politically active, because politics will only fill the vacuum.

Let’s check the program to see who’s filling that particular vacuum for the panel entitled ‘The Politics of Climate Change’ on Saturday:

For the Coalition:


The guy who used to make the Coalition look like they cared.

And for the government:


Dreyfus might be a bright back-bencher, but according to his website his latest press releases concern ‘New computers and internet for seniors in Keysborough’, ‘Over 800 jobs gained from Dandenong Jobs Expo’, and ‘Carrum Downs schools receive $11.5 million’.

Dandenong is coming up trumps but there’s not so much on climate change. But hey, at least it’s not Penny Wong — Dreyfus may actually stray off script.

Looks like when it comes to the two major parties, the political vacuum on climate change is wide open. Let’s see who jumps in…

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.