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Thursday, 27 November 2008
Page: 7478


Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (11:58 AM) —I will not delay the committee, but I will just say that if we cannot debate a matter like this and get an answer out of government on the floor of the chamber, the public is left to think that what is more important is those lobbyists who come in the stilly, stilly night, as happened last night with I think Mr Mitch Hooke and the Minerals Council of Australia, to change the whole position and outcome of legislation against the wider interests—


Senator Wong —We haven’t changed our position.


Senator BOB BROWN —Senator Wong objects and says she hasn’t changed her position. The problem is she does not have a position. When I asked specifically about ensuring that a study be done, the position was the same as the National Party’s and the Liberal Party’s. That is the problem, isn’t it?

Let me end this by saying we heard in here yesterday from the Nationals—most of whom are missing now—that Independents are not worth their salt and you have to have the numbers. Well, if ever in this parliament there was a demonstration of the value of an Independent committed to his electorate, it is the value of Mr Tony Windsor to his electorate of New England. I am a Green. I would describe Mr Windsor as a conservative, and one thing he wants to do here is conserve the farmland. We are perhaps on opposite ends of the spectrum. But he is dinkum in this, and he is standing up for his electorate. It is just a pity that that electorate has been sold out in this way in the last 24 hours.

Question put:

That the amendment (Senator Nash’s) be agreed to.