Australian PM scraps proposal for climate assembly

19:10, October 07, 2010      

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday officially scraped her proposal for a citizens ' assembly on climate change.

Gillard proposed the 150-member assembly during the election campaign as a way to form community consensus about ways to tackle climate change.

Instead, the Government has set up a climate change committee made up of Labor Party, Greens and independent MPs, which met for the first time on Thursday.

Speaking at a media conference after the first meeting of a new multi-party climate change committee, the prime minister said the citizens' assembly would not go ahead.

"The committee concluded that in view of the creation of this committee and its intended outreach work, that the proposal for a citizens' assembly should not be implemented, but there would be other ways of harnessing public dialogue," Gillard told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

The committee meeting was attended by Gillard, Greens leader Bob Brown, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and independent Members of Parliament (MP) Tony Windsor.

Four expert advisers - Ross Garnaut, Will Steffen, Rod Sims and Patricia Faulkner - also attended.

According to Gillard, the committee has decided to set up a panel of climate scientists to help educate the community.

"The climate change commission would be staffed by experts who would be available to speak to people on the science,"

"Many people hear very confusing claims about the science and they want to understand them at a level of detail."



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