Lawsuit against the Australian government

A 23-year-old law student filed a federal lawsuit against the Australian government alleging that it failed to disclose climate change-related risks to investors of government bonds. According to her lawyers, it is “the first legal action that seeks to hold the Australian Government to account over climate change risks.”

Kathleen (Katta) O’Donnell, a fifth-year law student at La Trobe University, brought the action in the Federal Court of Australia. She alleges that “Australia’s economy and the nation’s reputation in international financial markets will be significantly affected by the adequacy of the government’s response to climate change.”

In recent years Australian and global climate change activists have been increasingly alarmed by climate-induced changes to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and a surge in climate change-related bushfires, the latest round of which killed an estimated 1 billion animals and directly and indirectly took the lives of almost 500 people before they burned out in March 2020.

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