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Ben Quin demonstrates no room in old parties for candidates with a conscience

Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne today welcomed the decision by former Liberal candidate for Lyons, Ben Quin, to quit his party over the decision to give Gunns' pulp mill the go ahead.

Senator Milne said "There are too few people in the old parties who are prepared to stand up for what they believe in. Mr Quin's actions today are in direct contrast to those of Peter Garrett and even Malcolm Turnbull.

"Mr Turnbull lectured the rest of the world at APEC about the greenhouse gas ramifications of deforestation and was proudly touting the Sydney Declaration in Washington only a matter of days ago. Now he has given the go ahead, with Mr Garrett's blessing, to the logging of primary forests in Australia and a massive injection of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

"The pulp mill campaign will continue as momentum builds against the mill in the lead up to the federal poll, and a decision by Mr Quin to contest the election as an independent would only increase the pressure.

"The increased pressure on financial institutions such as the ANZ, and the increased level of interest from the investment community, should shine a spotlight on the financial viability of the mill, and especially the wood supply agreement, which must be made public.

"Even more Australians will be outraged when they learn that Gunns can access native forests to feed the pulp mill at bargain basement prices because the Lennon Government has tied royalties to the price of pulp. If the price of chemical pulp falls on the global market, the Government will reduce the royalties they charge accordingly. This shifts all the cost and risk to the Tasmanian community, the taxpayer, and the environment, while guaranteeing Gunns' profits.

"Which other company in Australia has such a sweetheart deal with government that discounts the input price whenever the market price falls? Tasmanians will end up paying Gunns to take away their forests. It is a scandal.

"Ben Quin has demonstrated that there is no place in the old parties for those willing to stand by their principles, and the Liberal and Labor parties will increasingly find it difficult to attract candidates. Perhaps they should consider the Greens' policy to give representatives a conscience vote on all issues, a decision which would improve the quality of our democracy tremendously."

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