The view from Parliament House, Canberra

11 October 2011 – Former prime minister Bob Hawke has thrown his weight behind the “Say Yes Australia” campaign that today will present thousands of messages to the Australian Government to urge it to approve the carbon pricing legislation.

Mr Hawke said: “Today I say yes to a carbon price because my experience as prime minister tells me that, quite often, what seem like tough decisions must be made if we are properly to discharge our responsibilities to future generations.”

He was among other former politicians John Hewson and Bob Carr to join the campaign that  has collected messages from a large cross section of life and will today “plant” the messages on the Parliament House lawn. The messages will also be compiled into books to be presented to Members of Parliament in Canberra today.

Australian Youth Climate Coalition national director Ellen Sandell said: “The messages on these placards represent the voices of many more thousands in the community, young and old, calling for urgent action on climate change and reminding our leaders why it is so important.”

WWF-Australia’s head of climate change Kellie Caught said: “Tomorrow our leaders will vote on one of the most important pieces of legislation ever tabled in Australia, for our economic prosperity, our precious species and places, and the future for our children.

Acting chief executive of Greenpeace Australia Pacific Dae Levine said: “We are urging all politicians to vote ‘yes’ to this important first step to help deliver new investment in clean energy, help take up to a billion tonnes of pollution out of our skies and begin to tackle climate change.

Alongside voices from the community, there will be messages on the lawns of Parliament from prominent Australians, including former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who have joined with Say Yes Australia to remind leaders why the carbon price is an important reform for all Australians.

Former Leader of the Liberal Party John Hewson also added his voice: “I say yes because this is the most important thing we can do for our nation this century.”

Former NSW Premier Bob Carr said: “I say yes because life on this planet is going to be comprehensively degraded if humanity doesn’t curb the excessive use of carbon which is altering the way nature functions.

“We are perilously close to the two degrees warming that will cause dire consequences for human beings and their environment.”