Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the increasing concern of the impact
climate change on vulnerable nations, the creation of environmental refugees and the notion
of government accountability towards addressing issues associated with supporting
Design/methodology/approach: The study is based on the Second Reading, in the
Australian Federal Parliament, of the proposed Migration (Climate Refugees) Amendment
Bill 2007 and the associated replies by the various political actors within the senate. The
main method used to review this material is discourse analysis.
Findings: The key finding from this initial review is that while all actors within the senate
agree the Australian government does have a responsibility to contributing to addressing the
issues around environmental refugees their views on the level of accountability varies. This
indicates any mechanism developed to contribute to the discharge of this accountability will
be shaped by differing views and foci of the participating actors.
Originality/value: This paper contributes to the limited literature on environmental refugees
and the associated level of government accountability.