Anote Tong & Dr Monique Ryan MP

Wed, Mar 13, 2024 6:30pm AEDT Melbourne Town Hall

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The Australian Government has acknowledged that “Climate change is an existential national security risk to our Pacific partners and presents unprecedented challenges for our region.” Why then are we approving new gas and coal mines to expand Australia’s fossil fuel exports to the world?

FREE, but registration essential

This special event will see former President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, independent MP for Kooyong, Dr Monique Ryan, and The Australia Institute’s Climate and Energy Program Director, Polly Hemming, joined in conversation with editor-in-chief of The Politics, Rachel Withers.

Despite Australia’s pledge to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, our country's ongoing approval of new coal, oil, and gas extraction projects raises concerns about its commitment to meaningful climate action. As the world grapples with the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Australia finds itself at a critical crossroads, facing mounting pressure both domestically and from across our region to halt the expansion of fossil fuel industries.

Is Australia on the brink of transforming its international standing from a climate laggard to a climate leader, or are we planning on playing a double game and hoping that our neighbours in the Pacific do not catch on?

Anote Tong is speaking in Australia as a guest of the Australia Institute as part of its 30-year anniversary celebrations in 2024.

Anote Tong -

Anote Tong was the President of the Republic of Kiribati from 2003 to 2016. He is a member and current chair of the Pacific Elders Voice group, comprised of former national, academic and diplomatic leaders from the Pacific region. Throughout his terms in office, he highlighted the human dimensions of the climate change challenge with a special focus on the existential threat it poses for Pacific island and other communities on the front line of the impacts of climate change. Whilst in office he was a Board Member of Conservation International (CI) and upon leaving office in 2016 was appointed as a Distinguished Fellow of CI. In 2015 he was awarded the SunHak Peace Prize and has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, was awarded the Edmund Hilary Award, the Peter Benchley Ocean Award as well as other awards for his work on climate change and ocean conservation.

Dr Monique Ryan MP

Monique Ryan is the Independent member for the Federal electorate of Kooyong. She stepped away from her former role as Director of Neurology at the Royal Children’s Hospital and won her seat in the 2022 election with messaging for urgent action on climate change, pushing for a transition to renewables and calling for a need for integrity in politics.

She takes pride in representing her Kooyong community values in Canberra.

Polly Hemming

Polly Hemming is Director of the Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy program. She has extensive experience working in policy, marketing and engagement roles in both not-for-profit and public sectors. Her current work focuses on carbon and environmental markets, climate integrity and greenwashing. Having previously led the development of a government eco-label recognising voluntary climate action by the private sector, she maintains a strong interest in non-state climate ambition and the policies and regulation that interact with this. Polly’s previous roles have included academic publishing, remote Indigenous education, refugee advocacy and science communication, bringing a range of perspectives and experiences to her work.

Rachel Withers

Rachel Withers is the editor-in-chief of The Politics, a new independent media outlet offering commentary and criticism on Australian politics. She was previously a contributing editor at The Monthly, where she helmed the daily auspol newsletter, as well as writing essays for print. She has a Master’s degree in Cultural Reporting and Criticism from NYU and has freelanced for Slate, Vox, Crikey, and The Saturday Paper.

About the Australia Institute: Celebrating 30 years of Big Ideas

In 2024 the Australia Institute is celebrating its 30th anniversary as Australia's leading independent think tank.

For 30 years the Australia Institute's independent, non-partisan research has led the national policy debate. From our groundbreaking research showing Australia is the third largest exporter of fossil fuels behind Russia and Saudi Arabia, to our work exposing the tens of billions of dollars in public subsidies provided to the fossil fuel industry by Australian governments, to the role our research played in persuading the Senate to protect the Renewable Energy Target, Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Australian Renewable Energy Agency from abolition—the Australia Institute plays a critical role in challenging the powerful fossil fuel industry and making sure Australia's climate policies have integrity.

FREE, but registration is essential as places are limited.


Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at 6:30pm - 7:30pm AEDT


Melbourne Town Hall
90-130 Swanston St
Melbourne , VIC 3000
Google map and directions

Sorry, this event is fully booked.

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