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Aust.: corruption of climate change policy

Independent investigation needed into corruption of climate change policy

Claims that the fossil fuel industry had unprecedented access to confidential Commonwealth government processes and the silencing of senior climate change scientists require an independent investigation, the Australian Greens said today.

The allegations point to a corruption of the process for developing government policy on the most critical environmental issue facing the nation, Greens climate change spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said.

"The claims aired last night on ABC Four Corners by reputable scientists and a former ministerial staffer will trouble every Australian who cares about accountability and the government's response to climate change," Senator Milne said in Canberra.

"Attempts by government ministers and the fossil fuel industry to dismiss the claims will not wash.

"This is not how government should operate - providing access for parties with vested interests to draft cabinet and ministerial documents in an apparent attempt to undermine policy responses to address the pollution their businesses cause.

"Is this why the government has refused to set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and to acknowledge that sea level rise in the Pacific could displace many people who will seek refuge in Australia?

"Australia's global reputation has been severely damaged by the scandal enveloping the Australian Wheat Board, private companies and the government over the sale of wheat to Iraq.

"These claims about industry involvement at the highest level of developing climate change policy further besmirch Australia's international standing and contrast with Prime Minister Howard's attempts to improve governance in our region.

"The government must appoint a suitable person with judicial experience to conduct an independent investigation, with the powers of a Royal Commission, to examine these most serious claims."

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