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"I've heard a lot of drivel"

Speeches in Parliament
Christine Milne 18 Jun 2015

I've heard a lot of drivel in a decade in the Senate and often it just is drivel to fill in time and that's precisely what's going on here tonight - anyone listening to this here tonight should know that this is a filibuster.

That's because out in the backrooms the crossbenchers are trying to stitch up an even worse deal. The government has its tail up because it's got the Labor Party to cave in to 33 GWh. They got them to cave in on forest logging because the Labor Party did not make it a condition on accepting this deal that they give rid of native forest logging.

And now we've got the anti-wind, anti-science, anti-future, pro-logging group from the crossbench negotiating with the Government to see what other disasters they can incorporate into the RET.

That’s exactly what’s going on now.

I call it drivel for this reason. Nobody who has spoken on this, clearly, has ever been to a coup in Tasmania because if they had they would know that 90% of that coup has gone to the woodchippers in the past.

Talk about logging for valuable purpose? Not on your life.

The only reason that they go ahead with the logging is because of the money they got from the woodchippers. That’s what made it economically viable for Gunns over all those years and then ultimately go broke when the bottom dropped out of the native forest market.

There is no market for the logging of native forests and so this is an attempt to create one. To make logging native forests viable.

And why is that?

When the loggers themselves worked out there was no future in native forest logging they approached the conservation movement to try and work out how they could get out of native forests.

They got out with a deal from the Commonwealth which spent hundreds of millions of dollars paying them to get out of native forests. 

Now, in comes Prime Minister Abbott. He said he’ll overturn that peace agreement in Tasmania and he’ll get the loggers back to work. Only, he didn’t know enough about it to know that there is no market for native forest woodchips – and so now he’s trying to make one.
We’ve got a government running around trying to put some value into native forest logging by giving them credits, certificates from renewable energy. But it’s not renewable energy.

It can never be renewable energy to log a native forest, put it in a forest furnace and burn it.

That is never going to work, and what is more it’s going to lead to a massive consumer-lead campaign against any retailer who tries to sell this electricity because it will be known as ‘burnt koala certificates’ because that is exactly what is going on here.

This is not about certainty.
This is about the far-right in Australian politics getting what they can out of the Labor Party, getting what they can out of the cross bench, dragging it lower and lower and lower.

The only certainty it gives them is the Liberals will pocket what they can get now and they’ll go after the rest later. 

None of this is safe under this government.  

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