The Australian Greens are urging the Senate to block the Abbott Government's bill to gut public enforcement of environment law now being debated in the Lower House.
Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and environment and climate change spokesperson, said:
"Tony Abbott and George Brandis want to put big mining companies above the law and stop Australians who care about the environment and climate from upholding the law.
"No matter where you live, all Australians especially farming communities, should have the right to hold big mining companies to the law, especially when the Government has ignored those laws.
"As even Alan Jones has said, it doesn't matter where you live, you can ‘sure as hell' be concerned about the protection of places like the Great Barrier Reef and the Liverpool Plains.
"Coastal communities, farming communities, lawyers, scientists and Australians everywhere agree - public enforcement of environment law is an essential public right and tenet of democracy.
"Tony Abbott wants to stop communities from upholding the law so there's nothing to hold him back from breaking the rules for his big mining mates at the expense of our environment and clean energy future.
"We have amazing clean energy alternatives that don't pollute the climate, the Great Barrier Reef or destroy precious farmland," Senator Waters said.
Greens Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt MP, said:
"Tony Abbott says no-one should have the right to enforce environment protection laws unless they're ‘directly affected'. So does he expect plants, animals and the Great Barrier Reef to hire lawyers themselves?"
"Desperate for a distraction from their own internal woes, the Abbott government has whipped up these laws that, if passed, will make it easier for their big mining mates to wreak havoc on our environment."
"Instead of re-writing the law for the dying coal industry, Tony Abbott and his government should be investing in the job-rich clean industries of tomorrow, like renewable energy, IT and science."