Senator Brown’s attempt to take on Forestry Tasmania in the courts
using the EPBC Act is admirable and so is his funding it himself
(though I have no doubt there’ll be plenty who’ll reach deep to help).
But isn’t that the same Environment Protection & Biodiversity
Conservation (EPBC) Act Senator Brown, back in 1999, claimed was –
among other things “a death warrant for the forests”?
I distinctly remember Senator Brown ferociously abusing the Democrats
in the Senate at the time when they passed the EPBC Act. So if the
Democrats were as Senator Brown said “in the cockpit of the
bulldozers and with their hands on the chainsaws” and “giving authority
for the pulverising of forests” when they negotiated hundreds of
amendments before passing the legislation through the Senate, how is it
he can now use that same “stamp of approval for the destruction of
forests” (all from Senate Hansard June 1999) to launch his “daring bid“
and “go out on a limb” in such a brave way to fight his court battle?
Back then Senator Brown accused the Democrats of “the most disgusting
sell-out of the Australian environment and laws to protect the
Australian environment that this Senate chamber has ever seen” (Hansard
again) despite the fact that the Act – complete with the hundreds of
Democrats amendments – significantly strengthened the nation’s
existing environment laws – laws which previously clearly gave no
scope to legally challenge logging under an RFA.
The fact is that if the Democrats had allowed themselves to be bullied
by Senator Brown’s over the top rhetoric and name calling back then
(it’s all in the Senate Hansard), he wouldn’t be able to undertake his
court case today.
I hope Senator Brown – that true champion for
honesty and integrity, who would never put the chance for short-term
political point scoring ahead of protecting the environment – is
successful in his court bid to save the Tassie forests. And I’m very
glad the EPBC Act is there giving him the opportunity to try.