Senate debates

Thursday, 13 September 2012


Environment Protection (Beverage Container Deposit and Recovery Scheme) Bill 2010; Second Reading

9:57 am

Photo of Ian MacdonaldIan Macdonald (Queensland, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Northern and Remote Australia) Share this | Hansard source

This is a debate on the Environment Protection (Beverage Container Deposit and Recovery Scheme) Bill 2010, introduced by the Greens political party. It relates to recycling and deposit schemes that have been in force in South Australia for some time. Because it is a debate, I want to take issue with some of the contributions made by the previous two speakers. Can I say in relation to the last speaker that about the only thing that I agree with her and her party on is that we will not be supporting the bill before the chamber today, for the same reasons as the Labor Party has indicated. I will come back to that later.

I could not contain my mirth when I heard the previous speaker rewrite history yet again in telling us what a great environmental party the Australian Labor Party was. Those who have observed politics and governance for a long time, as I have, clearly understand that Labor's only interest in the environment is the second preference votes they can get from the Greens political party when dealing with the issues of the environment. I still remember then Senator Graham Richardson, the environment minister, up in my neck of North Queensland, in the wet tropics, speaking to a crowd who were about to lynch him because he was destroying their jobs—another Labor government destroying the jobs of workers. He was saying, 'We're here to save these pristine rainforests.' The only problem was these 'pristine rainforests' had been logged for 110 years previously. Yet Senator Richardson was saying they were pristine. Why was he saying that? Because Richo, as we all know, master tactician of the ballot box, knew that they were coming to an election in which they desperately needed the support of the fledgling Greens political party.

Richo did not worry about the workers' jobs. Where was the AWU when you needed them? Where was the CFMEU when you needed them? The workers' jobs just went like that, and none of the great unionists raised a whimper in support of the jobs. It was the same with the Tasmanian forest industry eventually, though I have to say the F part of the CFMEU back in the 2004 days did actually join with the Liberal government to protect workers' jobs. I am always very proud of the F part of the CFMEU for the work they did in 2004 to protect the jobs of workers in Tasmania. Regrettably, the Labor Party have been less than forceful since.


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