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Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Page: 2296

Senator JOYCE (QueenslandLeader of The Nationals in the Senate) (15:39): First of all I would like to set the record straight. The National Party did not vote against that; we abstained from that vote and were not present for it. Secondly, I would like to clearly state for the record what is currently on the Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee website:

The committee—

which is currently afoot—

will examine:

The economic, social and environmental impacts of mining coal seam gas on:

the sustainability of water aquifers and future water licensing arrangements;

the property rights and values of landholders;

the sustainability of prime agricultural land and Australia’s food task;

the social and economic benefits or otherwise for regional towns and the effective management of relationships between mining and other interests; and

other related matters including health impacts.

We currently have an inquiry afoot into precisely this issue and we cannot see the point of having two inquiries into the same thing except to give this man beside me a wedge. That is what that was about—to create a wedge.

I would suggest to you, Senator Brown, that before you get your facts wrong saying who voted for something and who did not vote to something, before you get the facts wrong about whether there is actually an inquiry there, you should check. If you had checked the website you would have seen that we are right at the forefront of trying to get into this issue and make sure we protect the interests and the property rights of landholders throughout the basin to make sure that they get a fair deal. So I ask you, Senator Brown, to retract your statement that you just made that the National Party voted against that.

Senator Bob Brown: I stand by my statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! You have got to seek leave to make a statement, Senator Brown. You are aware of that.

Senator Ludwig: I seek leave to make a short statement—as unwise as this may be.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for two minutes.