Greenpeace's flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, has moored in Sydney to launch a campaign against oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight.
The environmental organisation's ship was opened to the public in Circular Quay on Sunday as Greenpeace ramped up opposition to proposed drilling in the region.
Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan has warned against locking oil companies out of the region, arguing that drilling in the Bight could make Australia self-sufficient in oil production.
New oil projects in the region could generate billions in tax revenue for the federal and South Australian governments and create up to 1500 jobs a year over 40 years, some modelling has suggested.
But Greenpeace chief executive David Ritter said drilling in the region was "insanity" that risked the ecology and human settlements along Australia's southern coastline.
"The commonwealth government is pursuing a reckless and ideologically driven attitude to the insanity of deepwater oil drilling in the Great Australian Bite," he told AAP on Sunday.
"BP's own modelling showed that an oil spill from deepwater drilling in the Great Australian Bight could be twice as bad as the disaster that occurred with Deepwater Horizon (in the Gulf of Mexico)."
He called for a permanent ban on oil exploration and extraction in the region.
Mr Ritter said there was a disconnect between Australia's politicians and the public on energy policy - particularly when it came to the use of fossil fuels like oil and coal.
"Renewables are now clean, safe, affordable and reliable and a prime minister who says the opposite is doing so for narrow, ideological and political reasons," he said.
"It's time for the Australian prime minister to show he's 'fair-dinkum' - to use his favourite phrase - about getting on with clean energy and doing something serious about global warming."
The Rainbow Warrior will leave Sydney and head south to Melbourne tomorrow to continue raising awareness for its campaign.