Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has marked her return to Parliament with a fiery speech against the government’s renewables push.
The opposition Indigenous affairs spokeswoman was welcomed at the farmers’ rally by a cheering crowd outside of Parliament House on Tuesday.
“You are the custodians of our land. You know better than anybody the importance of taking care of our country,” she told the farmers.
“We should be listening to you. But where is our prime minister and where is Mr (Climate and Energy minister Chris) Bowen? They should have been here. They should have consulted you.”
Senator Price told the roaring crowd, who were protesting against the government’s renewables target of 82 per cent by 2030, she had heard concerns from regional citizens during a road trip with her husband over Christmas.
“I drove to Broken Hill and through to Coober Pedy and nothing angered me more than the sight of wind turbines. Especially after hearing from regional Australians about what it means to clear their land, what it means to have to dispose of these horrible eyesores” Senator Price said.
“The fact that they don’t produce reliable energy. They only produce energy .. slightly .. when the wind blows.
“But the wind’s not blowing now and the sun’s not out now, is it?”
More than 500 people attended Tuesday’s rally, with many calling for a suspension of wind and solar farms and an inquiry into Australia’s clean energy rollout.
Some farmers expressed their frustrations over plans to build hydro power plants across agricultural and rainforest territory.
Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce, who attended with his former staffer and wife Vikki Campion told the rally that the new construction of wind and solar farms would risk killing off protected wildlife.
“How can that possibly be of environment benefit? To kill wildlife? But on top of that .. it’s a swindle. It’s a massive multinational swindle underpinned by your taxpayer dollars,” he said.
Former MP Craig Kelly declared Labor’s renewables policy as a “betrayal for our nation.”
“We have men like blackout [Chris] Bowen that wants to close down the remaining 21 gigawatts we have while China is building six times more,” Mr Kelly said.
“We must get rid of net zero.”
Among furious protestors was left-leaning activist group Get-Up, who staged a drive-by featuring mobile billboards promoting counter messages against the rally.
Natasha Abhayawicriama from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition said the protest was “disappointing” and called on Labor to do more to address climate change.
“There’s been numerous coal and gas approvals and we know that’s not the solution. We need to transition now to renewable energy and it’s frustrating to see the government put personal interests and agenda over the benefit of people,” she said.
Other leaders expected to speak at Tuesday’s rally include One Nation’s Pauline Hanson, Nationals Senator Matt Canavan and independent Senator Bob Katter.