So the environment minister in WA resigns the day after the premier
calls it quits. Coincidence? I think not. Dr Judy Edwards was a
relatively weak and ineffective minister whose prime responsibility was
to keep the green movement under control. In this task, she’s been
quite effective, handing them two high profile wins: an end to logging
of old growth forests and a ban on the clearing of native vegetation
(unless authorised under planning laws).
However, her failures are significant: little improvement in the
state’s salinity problem; the Swan River continues to turn algal green
every summer; funding for most agencies under her control fell in most
years (except for increased funding for tourism ventures within the
national parks that were created out of the old growth forests that
were protected from logging); little action on Perth’s air quality
plan; and the list goes on.
Has she resigned to spend more time with her family? Plausible but not
true. She’s left the ministry because, as the weakest minister
currently in cabinet, her sole supporter – ex-premier Geoff Gallop –
is no longer there to insist upon her retention in cabinet. In truth,
therefore, she resigned before she was dumped.