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Transforming Australia from laggard to leader

Australia has a very real opportunity to benefit socially, environmentally and economically from increasing its climate ambition and becoming a clean energy superpower. Yet despite claims from the Australian Government that it is beating Paris targets, evidence shows Australia’s energy emissions are on the rise and gas and coal production increasing.

Australians from every sector of the economy and society – First Nations, finance and faith, cities and states, business big and small, agriculture, resources and energy, health and social service, unions, think tanks, civil society organisations, and higher education – are already acting on climate change, and are calling on the Australian Government to join them in rising to the challenge and opportunities that a zero emissions future presents.

This event will explore ways in which Better Futures Australia members and our partners can work with the Australian Government to drive momentum behind a plan to reduce emissions this decade. Speakers will examine the diverse climate action being taken by individuals and organisations that are lowering costs and catalysing greater ambition across society and the economy, highlighting opportunities to transform Australia from a climate laggard to a leader.


speaker headshots

Speakers include:

Richie Merzian - Director, Climate & Energy Program, The Australia Institute, and former lead negotiator for the Australian Government to the UNFCCC. Richie worked at the Department of Climate Change and the Department of Foreign Affairs and was the lead negotiator on adaptation to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change where he helped coordinate the Green Climate Fund Board during Australia’s tenure as Chair.

Dr Janine Mohamed - CEO Lowitja Institute and a proud Narrunga Kaurna woman from South Australia. Over the past 20 years, Janine has worked in nursing, management, project management, and workforce and health policy in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector. Janine was awarded an Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity Fellowship in 2019, and in January 2020, was awarded a Doctorate of Nursing honoris causa by Edith Cowan University.

Prof Jacqueline Peel - Director, Melbourne Climate Futures, University of Melbourne, and a leading, internationally-recognised expert in the field of environmental and climate change law. Her scholarship on these topics encompasses international, transnational and national dimensions, as well as interdisciplinary aspects of the law/science relationship in the environmental field and risk regulation.

Gavan McFadzean - Manager, Climate Change and Clean Energy Program, ACF. Gavan has been a climate change and nature protection activist for more than 20 years. He is an expert in Australia’s climate policy, has played a key role in old-growth forest campaigns in four states, the protection of Cape York and the Kimberley, World Heritage, marine protected areas and Australia’s remaining intact river systems. He has represented Australian environmental NGOs at international climate and nature protection negotiations, including the Madrid COP25.

Dr Virginia Marshall - UN Indigenous Delegate for the Pacific and Executive Member of the Indigenous People’s Organisation-Australia. Virginia is an expert in Indigenous water rights and Traditional Knowledge Protection, Rights of nature, legal practice in sea and freshwater rights. An Ambassador for Better Futures Australia, Virginia has also developed a report with colleagues from IPO-Australia,  ‘Heal Country, Heal Climate: Priorities for climate and environment’ to inform negotiations in Glasgow and to see Australia move forward and address climate challenges together.


Prof Don Henry AM - is based at The University of Melbourne as the Melbourne Enterprise Professor of Environmentalism for the Sustainable Society Institute and the Melbourne Business School. He provides leadership in the fields of environmental policy development and reform, climate change, and sustainability. Don is an International Board Member of The Climate Reality Project chaired by the Hon. Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States.

More details to be shared soon.

Note: this is an online event to be live-streamed from COP26 in Glasgow via the YouTube Channel here:

Please note that it will not be possible to receive any questions from the YouTube audience. Only COP26 registered delegates joining via the COP 26 virtual platform will be able to ask questions.

We are exploring means to live stream via a secondary channel to provide a space for comments and questions from unregistered participants. 

View speaker presentations below:
Ambition: Australia’s COP26 NDC, Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director, The Australia Institute

Climate change impacts on country, health and wellbeing: Indigenous sovereignty and wisdom, Dr Janine Mohamed, Lowitja Institute

Australian public calling for strong leadership on climate change, Professor Jacqueline Peel, Director, Melbourne Climate Futures, University of Melbourne

The Federal Government is lagging behind the rest of the country, Gavan McFadzean, Manager, Climate Change and Clean Energy Program, Australian Conservation Foundation

Top-line Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander priorities, Dr Virginia Marshall, Executive member of the Indigenous Peoples Organisation – Australia, the Inaugural Indigenous Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian National University and Better Futures Australia Ambassador

November 05, 2021 at 10:30pm - 11:45pm (Melbourne time)
Livestream [Link to be provided closer to the date]
Lisa Cliff · 61429998315