The United Kingdom's Climate Change Act 2008, passed with cross-party support, seems light years ahead of the debate in Australia. It sets up legally binding targets considered to be an "economically credible emissions reduction pathway" for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It also establishes a system of carbon budgeting and supportive institutional arrangements to monitor progress in achieving interim targets.

How is it that Australia has fallen so far behind a comparable government in such an important policy area, asks UNSW law academic Dr Sarah Waddell, writing online for Fairfax's National Times.

The House of Commons described the UK's Bill as "a model of how proper pre-legislative and parliamentary scrutiny can help to make a good draft bill a better, stronger and more transparent bill".

Surely, there are lessons here for our next national government, Dr Waddell writes.

To read the full opinion piece visit the National Times.