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  • Lisa Elliott

Monash University - ClimateWorks Australia

Updated: Oct 25, 2019

Engaging the Coalition in Climate & Renewable Energy - Conservative Environment Network Visit to Australia

Contact Name: Anna Rose, Advisor


Address: Suite 8, 50 Reservoir St, Surry Hills, NSW

Phone Number: 0401375755

Charity website:

DGR Registration Link:

ACNC Page Link:

Overview of Organisation The project is a deeply collaborative partnership led by three organisations: Environmental Leadership Australia, Coalition for Conservation, and ClimateWorks Australia. Anna Rose from Environmental Leadership Australia is currently coordinating the first phase, working closely with the other two partners. Later on, additional partners will be brought in, including the Climate Council of Australia and at least one University (but likely two - Monash and UNSW).

Overview of the lead organisations:

Environmental Leadership Australia is a small nonprofit funded by the Myer Foundation and the Purves Environmental Fund and led by Anna Rose. It works behind the scenes to lay the foundations for bipartisan support for climate action in Australia. With just two staff members, no public facing brand, and core funding guaranteed, ELA is in a unique position to facilitate strategic interventions with the potential to transform Australian politics and culture on climate change. Other projects of ELA include helping incubate new groups such as the Jewish Climate Network, Australian Parents for Climate Action, Athletes for Climate Action and Groundswell, Australia’s first climate advocacy focused giving circle.

Coalition for Conservation is Australia’s only environmentally-focused organisation with ties to the Liberal and National parties. It was created by Kristina Photios with the support of Anna Rose several years ago to provide a place for pro-climate and pro-environment members of the Coalition to organise together to influence the Liberal and National parties. Ambassadors include senior retired members of the Coalition including Robert Hill, Phillip Ruddock and Nick Greiner. C4C runs events that provide Coalition MPs a platform to discuss pro-environment policies. C4C is 100% volunteer run and the current board gets things done by leveraging their deep ties to Federal and State politicians, mostly in NSW.

ClimateWorks Australia was created by the Myer Foundation and Monash University in 2009 to be an independent, research-based, non-profit organisation committed to catalysing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. From their ‘Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation in 2050’ report, to their regional work and industry partnerships, ClimateWorks focus on the needs of business, government and investors. They work with stakeholders to drive Australia’s transition to a low carbon economy. We combine this experience with robust and innovative research to build practical analysis and solutions - solutions that can deliver lasting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the fastest and most cost-effective way. They have achieved some huge wins over the years including helping write Victoria’s climate change legislation.

Describe the project that requires funding: We are seeking funding to organise a visit from two representatives of the UK’s Conservative Environment Network to come to Australia in 2020. We will use the funding to organise a series of private one on one conversations, small group lunches and dinners, media interviews, public lectures (eg National Press Club address). We would end the visit with a Coalition climate retreat. This is a transformational, 2 night residential workshop modelled along the lines of the Heron Island insights tours that have been organised for the past three years by Anna Rose, Clare Ainsworth-Herscell and Amanda McKenzie at the Climate Council. The budget (attached) incorporates the funding required to bring the CEN representatives to Australia, hold the events, and engage the services of Coalition-aligned lobbyists PremierState/ Premier National in order to ensure we get buy-in and attendance from the right people within the Coalition at state and federal levels.

Specific Objectives

  • Identify potential allies for climate action within the Coalition

  • Accelerate the learning journeys of Coalition politicians and influencers around climate science, impacts and solutions

  • Create informal connections between pro-climate action Coalition politicians so that they can support and encourage each other going forward

  • Create relationships between pro-climate action Coalition politicians and climate scientists/ climate policy experts

  • Create a transformative experience that builds the commitment of Coalition politicians and influencers to get pro-climate action policies.


To achieve lasting Government policy to reduce emissions, we need to overcome the “one step forward, one step back” problem that has plagued the issue in Australia over the past decade. Time and time again, at both state and federal levels, Labor Governments have promised and/or passed climate change legislation, only to have it repealed by Coalition Governments. We need climate change policy to be a race to the top between the two major parties, not a race to the bottom. The LNP has been the major Parliamentary blocker to climate action. If we accept that Liberal and National political parties will still be a strong part of Australian politics in the next decade - the time we have left to get meaningful policy shifts to avoid runaway climate change – then we need serious strategies to shift Coalition politicians’s attitudes towards climate change and renewable energy.

Coalition for Conservation (C4C) is Australia’s first and only environmental group with ties to the Liberal and National parties. We propose that the first step to sparking a more productive conversation within the Coalition on climate change and renewable energy is for C4C to host a visit and series of events with the UK Conservative Environment Network to Australia in 2020. The UK Conservatives are highly respected by their Australian counterparts, making them ideal messengers to talk about the economic and environmental benefits of sensible climate policies. Working with Premier State/ Premier National

At the recent ‘philanthropy meets Parliament’ conference organised by philanthropy Australia, one of the speakers posed the following question: “People wouldn’t go to court without a lawyer, so why would they try to navigate Parliament without a lobbyist?” Critical to the success of this project is a retainer between ClimateWorks and PremierState/ Premier National. Their team is led by former NSW MP and Liberal party powerbroker Michael Photios, whose wife Kristina Photios co-founded Coalition for Conservation and is a friend of Anna Rose. The team also includes former Federal Liberal MP Fiona Scott, highly connected Liberal Party member Ian Hancock and former Nationals staffer Lachlan Crombie, who is an Al Gore-trained climate messenger and is volunteering with Anna Rose in his spare time to assist in establishing Athletes for Climate Coalition.

Premier State/ Premier National are the only Coalition-aligned lobbyists we have come across who genuinely care about climate change, and who we would trust to take on this project. Without them, there is no guarantee we would get any Coalition members attending any of the events we organise with the CEN representatives, especially the Coalition climate retreat which requires a 2 night, 3 day time commitment. Their team will identify likely prospects with the Coalition at state and federal levels, decide on the best way to approach them and frame the invitations, make the phone calls/ organise the meetings, and attend both the Coalition climate retreat and the Sydney and Melbourne dinners and lunches. Because climate change is such a controversial issue in the Coalition, we can not emphasise enough how important it is to have the invitation to these events with CEN come from people that Coalition MPs know and trust, who can reassure them that they will be organised in a way that reduces political risks.

We are negotiating a ‘low bono’ retainer of hopefully $7000 per month to allow Premier State/ Premier National to work on this with us between now and July (9 months) for a total cost of $63,000 + GST. Their corporate retainer fees are approx $40,000 per month, so a full rate retainer would be $360,000. This represents a saving of $297,000.

Please describe any collaboration you have had with other organisations in relation to this project: Core Partners:

Environmental Leadership Australia initiated the project and will play a behind-the-scenes strategic role coordinating the partner groups, raising the funds and ensuring the project stays true to its strategic objectives. ELA’s role will remain in the background for the entirety of the project - e.g. Anna Rose from ELA will likely not attend the Coalition climate retreat, in order to reduce political risk for Coalition MPs.

Coalition for Conservation will be the official host for the Conservative Environment Network events, including the Coalition Climate Retreat. This reduces the political risk for the Coalition members who participate in the events. It also raises C4C’s profile and sets it up to build on the momentum that the visit and events will generate. C4C will direct the energy and momentum from the visit into its political strategy and aim to establish a pro-climate Parliamentary caucus within the Coalition.

ClimateWorks Australia will play a key role in the success of the project. Anna Skarbek from ClimateWorks provided ELA with the initial introduction to the Conservative Environment Network and will attend the Coalition Climate Retreat and the lunch and dinner events in Sydney and Melbourne. ClimateWorks will provide follow up briefings to Coalition state & federal MPs who attend the CEN events on the policies required to transition to a low carbon economy. Because ClimateWorks has DGR status and the most robust financial management systems (being part of Monash University, they are audited and have their own accounts team), they will be the partner who takes on the fiscal management of the project. This means tax deductible donations can be made to support the project through Monash University using a special project code. ClimateWorks will use these donations to pay expenses and issue receipts to donors. The events will use ClimateWorks’ public liability insurance.

Additional Partners:

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. They provide authoritative, expert advice to the Australian public on climate change and solutions based on the most up-to-date science available. They will assist with this project by providing access to respected scientists and other experts who will attend the Coalition Climate Retreat and, in some cases, provide follow up scientific briefings to Coalition MPs to attend events or one on one meetings with the Conservative Environment Network. For example, the Climate Council can prepare up to date scientific information about the current and projected impacts of climate change on specific state and federal electorates.

The Cranlana Programme for Ethical Leadership and The Myer Foundation have agreed to be joint facilitators and co-hosts for the Coalition Climate Retreat. This adds credibility and gravitas to the retreat and reduces political risk for the Coalition, especially due to the Myer Family’s relationships with the Coalition. The Myer Foundation is one of Australia’s oldest and most respected philanthropic institutions. The Cranlana Programme is a partnership between The Myer Foundation, Monash University, and the Vincent Fairfax Foundation. It is a non-partisan, not for profit enterprise that develops and strengthens the capacity of future leaders to offer wise and courageous judgement. They run many programs for Parliamentarians across the aisle, so are experienced facilitators for similar events.

Funds requested from Pool of Dreams sub-fund: $63,000 (to cover Premier State/ Premier National retainer), however we would gratefully accept any contribution to this project.


[---------- Forwarded message --------- From: Anna Rose <> Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2019 at 10:02 Subject: Revision to funding amount for pool of dreams To: Sue Mathews <>, Belinda Gross <>

Hi Sue & Bindy,

Great news - I finished the negotiation with Premier State/ Premier National over the costs of them working with me to organise the events for the Conservative Environment Network trip, including the Coalition Climate Retreat. Premier State/ Premier National is the Coalition-aligned lobby group that is critical to this visit going ahead.

Given their corporate monthly retainers are $40,000 per month and I am asking for a 9 month retainer, I had initially thought the lowest I could get them to would be $63,000.

However, they have just agreed to do it for $58,800 for the retainer, including travel costs for their team to attend the retreat on the Reef and events in Canberra and Melbourne.

I put an application in to Pool of Dreams for $63,000 earlier this week but I actually can lower the funding sought to $58,800.

Will you be making the funding decisions on 4th November at the meeting? I am available to answer any questions that day on either this application or the FCA one.


Anna ]

Other sources of funding $70,000 from David Paradice - verbally committed by not yet confirmed

When would this project be expected to start? We will start organising the visit as soon as we have funding confirmed. We will need to get started as soon as possible this year to lock in dates - as finding 2 nights and 3 days for the Coalition Climate Retreat will be difficult.

When would you anticipate this project to be completed? We are aiming to hold the visit in July or August 2020.

Please click here to view the proposal