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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1375


Senator SANDERS(12.07) —This debate has ranged far and wide. I just point out that I am disappointed that the Government will not support our amendment. It will be under increasing pressure to do something about the Douglas-Apsley area when the Gray Government and forestry activities proceed in that area because a number of people in Tasmania are concerned. Over and over again we hear from the troglodyte Tasmanian senators that, for example, the Federal Government is stepping on the toes of 430,000 Tasmanians. But the point is that more than half of the Tasmanians are appalled at the stand on forestry. They are appalled at what the Tasmanian Forestry Commission and the forest industry are doing to Tasmania. So there are nowhere near 430,000 people. It may be 100,000 or so, who would back the right wing push by the Opposition, but probably not much more than that.

What is the Opposition representing? Is it representing people? No, it is not. It is representing the mainland controlled logging industry in Tasmania. The Opposition is doing the industry's bidding. Those opposite are not representing the people of Tasmania; they are turning their backs on them. Frankly, I am very happy that the Federal Government exists and is willing to interfere, as it did in the case of the Franklin Dam. The troglodytes in the Opposition are very quiet about the Franklin Dam because when the Hawke Government stopped that dam it saved Tasmania a very big headache. The Hydro Electric Commission now says that we do not need the power. The dam would have been a financial disaster. It would have tied Tasmania to a financial dead horse for a great number of years. The Federal Government stopped the dam to save Tasmania-not to interfere willy-nilly in the affairs of Tasmanians, but to save them from themselves. This is the same type of legislation.

Senator Walters constantly says-or constantly brays-that the Tasmanian Government or the Tasmanian people will have to give up this area. The loggers may have to give up this area but the Tasmanian people will have this area in perpetuity, hopefully. If in future times our sons and daughters decide they need that timber, it will still be there. But if the area is logged and in the future our sons and daughters say they do not want logging, the timber has already gone. The problem is that we make decisions now for the future. If we save something now it is there and people in the future can make the decisions. If we destroy it now, that is it. It is gone forever. We must err constantly on the side of prudent conservatism in these areas. Conservatism means that we preserve as much of the existing environment as possible. Again, I urge the Government to consider favourably our amendment. It has not indicated that it will do so. I am sorry. In the future this issue will be considered by the Government and at that time I hope it takes a more positive stance.