Australia

Gloves off over climate policy: ACF chief

The Australian Conservation Foundation wants to make the federal election all about the climate, targeting key electorates to tell voters their policy choices.

The Australian Conservation Foundation wants to speak to you about the climate.

CEO Kelly O'Shanassy will on Tuesday outline the organisation's plan to focus voters on climate policy ahead of the federal election, aiming to have one million conversations before May.

"People that we're speaking to are really worried about climate change, and this is kind of in middle Australia, it's not just the domain of the left, as our government would say," Ms O'Shanassy told ABC radio on Tuesday.

ACF will target voters in three electorates - marginal Liberal seats Chisholm and Bonner, as well as the new Victorian seat of Macnamara.

Likely independent MP for Wentworth Kerryn Phelps is backing ACF's campaign, saying inaction on climate change will become a health issue.

"We've heard the sceptics who don't believe the science," she told ABC radio on Tuesday.

"I'm science trained - I believe in the science and I believe science has the solutions.

"I don't believe the Australian population will tolerate a government going forward without a comprehensive policy on climate change."

The Victorian seat of Chisholm is held by Julia Banks, who will not stick with the Liberal Party at the federal election amid her concerns over bullying and harassment within the party.

She received 51.2 per cent of votes on a two-party preferred basis, taking the seat from the Labor party with a swing of 2.84 per cent at the 2016 federal election.

Liberal MP Ross Vasta has held the Queensland seat of Bonner since 2010, nabbing 53.4 of the vote at the last election.

Ms O'Shanassy says the organisation isn't siding with a political party, but wants the fight over the marginal seats to be about climate issues.

"We do care about the colour of the policy of those parties, not the colour of the party themselves," she said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's response to a recent climate report which said coal should be phased out by 2050 was "disappointing", she added.

"We actually need to transition to clean energy, and we need to have a plan for that," she said.

"Because if we don't, it will happen quickly and a lot of people will be out of work."

Environment Minister Melissa Price said scientists were "drawing a very long bow" to call for coal to be phased out by 2050.

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