Senate debates

Monday, 10 September 2012


Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development) Bill 2012; In Committee

7:30 pm

Photo of Richard ColbeckRichard Colbeck (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry) Share this | Hansard source

It clearly was not a point of order. I think we all understood the inferences Senator Waters was making. I sat in silence listening to Senator Waters and it would be nice if she might do the rest of the chamber the same courtesy. I would like to know from the minister about, for example, a scientist who had been working for one of the more unreliable of the environmental groups that oppose coal seam gas because they oppose coal seam gas, someone like Greenpeace, who I note were fined $280,000 just last week for illegal invasion of a CSIRO crop trial, so clear lawbreakers with little respect for the law. Would the same rules have to apply to someone who was currently doing science for an organisation such as Greenpeace as might apply to industry? You cannot have it both ways. If you are saying that somebody who is doing science on behalf of industry is tainted in their work because they are on the payroll of industry, surely for somebody who is on the payroll of an environmental group which is fundamentally opposed to this anyway regardless of the outcome their science is similarly tainted. We have seen some pretty sad examples of this in recent times. In fact, we have even seen environmental groups trotting out scientists who do not have qualifications even in a related field attacking scientists who do to try and besmirch their image. It is a well-worn path for the Greens and environmental groups to undertake these practices. I ask the minister: if it is an issue that someone who is doing science for industry should be disqualified, what about the other side of the equation?


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