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Tuesday, 31 March 1987
Page: 1801


Mr HODGMAN(6.24) —The National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Amendment Bill, the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Amendment Bill (No. 2), the Environment Protection (Alligator Rivers Region) Amendment Bill, the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment Bill (No. 2) and the Lands Acquisition Amendment Bill reveal in the most glaring and spectacular manner the two-faced duplicity and the downright treachery of the Hawke socialist Government. It is only quite recently that other legislation dealing with similar matters was before the House. Both May and Pettifer say that it is appropriate, indeed proper in certain instances, in a second reading speech to compare two pieces of legislation and ask the question: Why has the Government acted this way in relation to legislation affecting Tasmania and why has it acted this way in relation to legislation affecting the Northern Territory? The best summary of this legislation is contained in the Hansard of yesterday, in the speech of the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Everingham), the former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory. I would like to read into my speech the remarks he made, which can be found on page 1734 of Hansard. Speaking in the House of Representatives, he said:

In summary, this is a package designed to shore up Labor's greenie vote, a legislative follow-up to the Prime Minister's much derided and taxpayer funded brief appearance before television cameras in Kakadu last November. The irony is, of course, that as recent polls and surveys have shown there are more votes to be won by a government that adopts a rational approach to Kakadu-one that acknowledges that a multiple land use policy is not just environmentally responsible but also the proper responsibility of a government concerned with the economic future of Australia and all Australians. More in sorrow than in anger I say to the Minister and this Government: Do your worst, and the next government, a coalition government, will try to pick up the pieces.

It is curious, is it not? There are similarities between this package of five Bills relating to the Northern Territory and the Lemonthyme and Southern Forests (Commission of Inquiry) Bill 1987, which was forced through this House just two weeks ago by the Hawke socialist Government and which is a direct attack on the sovereign State of Tasmania. But in both packages of legislation the element is identical-to quote Mr Everingham, `a package designed to shore up Labor's greenie vote'. My colleague the honourable member for Deakin (Mr Beale), the distinguished shadow Minister present in the chamber, will know that this legislation, as with the Tasmanian legislation, has nothing to do with the Northern Territory or Tasmania but has everything to do with those doubtful, metropolitan, trendy, middle-class seats in Melbourne and Sydney. The Hawke socialist Government is desperately trying to latch on to any populist theme that it can. This is greenie vote legislation and it is a con, because the intelligent conservationists see through it as a ploy, a hypocritical attempt by the Government to grab the votes of the greenie community.


Mr Beale —In the marginal seats.


Mr HODGMAN —In the marginal seats, as my colleague the shadow Minister said. We in Tasmania have had a gutful of the Hawke socialist Government trampling on Australia's tiniest State. Having only just been in the Northern Territory, I can assure you, Mr Deputy Speaker, that the people of the Northern Territory have had a gutful of the Hawke socialist Government too. They see this legislation as once again Big Brother in Canberra decreeing that there can be only one use for the land comprising Kakadu stages 1, 2 and 3.

The Government does not speak with the same voice on Kakadu stage 3. The Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment (Mr Cohen) was almost in tears when he spoke in this chamber about the importance of Kakadu stage 3, yet across Kings' Hall in the Senate the Minister for Resources and Energy (Senator Gareth Evans) described Kakadu stage 3 as `nothing more than clapped out buffalo country'. I wonder how many votes from the greenie community Senator Evans will pick up with that description of Kakadu stage 3, which this Government says must be protected. Senator Evans, perhaps the wisest of all the Hawke socialist Government senators in the other place, described Kakadu stage 3 as `nothing more than clapped out buffalo country'. Senator Evans, of course, is the man who organised the spy flights over Tasmania. Senator Evans-Biggles-is the person who thought it proper to use Commonwealth funds to send Royal Australian Air Force aircraft flying over Tasmania, spying, photographing and treating us like an alien enemy.

We are a foundation, original State of the Commonwealth. Senator Evans, of the quick tongue and the slow mind, enthusiastically supports the Lemonthyme and Southern Forests (Commission of Inquiry) Bill, which not only is an unjust attack on Tasmania but also threatens the basic, fundamental property rights of every Australian. As the shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Connolly), said so well-I will quote him after the dinner adjournment-this bullying Government is prepared to attack Tasmania and the Northern Territory, but would it lift a finger against any of the more populous States? This Government hates the Federation and believes that all wisdom and all power resides in Canberra. The Hawke socialist, centralist Government is never satisfied unless it is standing over the State of Tasmania and the Northern Territory and telling us what to do.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.


Mr HODGMAN —Before the suspension of the sitting for dinner I was exposing the duplicity and treachery of the Hawke socialist Government. I was comparing the package of legislation before the House right now with similar legislation forced through this House just two weeks ago which related to an unprecedented attack on Tasmania-namely, the Lemonthyme and Southern Forests (Commission of Inquiry) Bill 1987. I would again like to quote the remarks of the honourable member for the Northern Territory, who is a former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory. On page 1734 of Hansard the honourable member is reported as saying:

In summary, this is a package designed to shore up Labor's greenie vote . . .

This is precisely the same sort of motivation that was behind the legislation in relation to Tasmania. You see, Madam Speaker, this legislation has not been brought forward because the Government believes in a particular cause. It has not been brought forward because the Government has a commitment. The legislation has been introduced in an endeavour to pick up the greenie vote in the marginal metropolitan seats of Melbourne and Sydney. I am delighted that my colleague the honourable member for Braddon (Mr Miles) is in the chamber because he knows that exactly what the Government is doing in this legislation in relation to the Northern Territory it is doing to substantial parts of his electorate of Braddon in respect of the forest industries.

Under the Tasmanian legislation, the Hawke socialist Government is determined to close down Tasmania's forest industries with a loss of 7,000 jobs. In the legislation now before the House, it is closing down mining in all the areas-I repeat, not just the world heritage areas but the areas included in Kakadu in stage 3. I welcome back to the chamber the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr McGauran) and congratulate him on the excellent contribution he made in this debate tonight. The Government is closing down an area of land which one of the wisest senators in the Hawke socialist Government, Senator Gareth Evans, described in these terms-and I quote him verbatim: `Nothing more than clapped out buffalo country'. That is the way in which Senator Evans described stage 3 of Kakadu.

Is it not interesting that the motivation behind both pieces of legislation has been the attempt by the Government to try to capture the greenie vote in metropolitan Melbourne and Sydney seats? But the greenies can see through the Government. They are not going to be conned by it. The rational conservationist sees the Government for what it is. My colleague the honourable member for Bradfield, who is the shadow Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment and whom I am delighted to see come into the chamber to hear me speak tonight, said in this House in very striking words that in many respects this package of legislation `demonstrates the perfidity, the duplicity, of this Hawke Government'. In what I thought was a most interesting analysis, the honourable member said:

On any reasonable analysis of the legislation by anyone who wants to examine its history over the past year or so or by anyone who wants to bother reading of the Minister's activities regarding the manner in which he drew up the conservation package which was introduced into this Parliament in October last year, he would find it very difficult to conclude other than that it is the Government's intention to lock up this substantial area of land against any worthwhile minerals search in the foreseeable future.

So what the Government is doing with mining in the Northern Territory is precisely what it is doing in relation to forest industries in Tasmania. It wants to close them up. The shadow Minister also had this to say-and I refer specifically to page 1728 of Hansard-in the course of his speech:

The simple fact of the matter is that the Minister is, as usual, speaking through both sides of his mouth at the same time on this particular issue. The opportunity was there for the Government to carry out a legitimate investigation of all areas which it proposed would be included in the national parks and it ran away from it.

I pause. Why is it that the Government is having yet another investigation in Tasmania and it had no investigation in the Northern Territory? We have had seven separate investigations in relation to forestry.


Mr Miles —Nine.


Mr HODGMAN —Nine-I stand corrected. One of those investigations cost $2m. Now this Government has legislated to stop all forest activity in an area, set out in the Lemonthyme and Southern Forests (Commission of Inquiry) Bill, of 260,000 hectares or more than a quarter of a million hectares of the State of Tasmania. That area does not just include world heritage; it includes National Estate and private property.


Mr McGauran —National Estate; here we go again.


Mr HODGMAN —The honourable member for Gippsland was very right earlier tonight to point out what the Government is trying to do in relation to East Gippsland. Who will be next? The Government knocks off Tasmania first. The bully always picks on the smallest. The Hawke socialist Government has knocked off Tasmania. It has knocked off the Northern Territory. East Gippsland, be on your guard.


Mr McGauran —They have underestimated us.


Mr HODGMAN —It has underestimated the honourable member's fighting spirit. The people of East Gippsland will fight on this one. I would like to come back to what the shadow Minister said. The shadow Minister wanted to know why the Government had run away from an inquiry in the Northern Territory. It did not want an inquiry in the Northern Territory but, by heavens, it is going to have one in Tasmania. The forest industries in our State will be held up for 13 months while a commission of inquiry conducts its drawn out deliberations. Who is going to be on that commission? One of the tips that I have heard is Al Grassby.


Mr Miles —They didn't take on Queensland.


Mr HODGMAN —The honourable member for Braddon is quite right; they did not take on Queensland.


Mr McGauran —They didn't send Al up to Queensland.


Mr HODGMAN —Exactly. Madam Speaker, I come back to the very sage remarks of the shadow Minister:

Once again, it abrogated its responsibilities to the Australian people because at some stage in the future there will be enormous pressure on the governments of this country to find out what resources we have across the nation.

I interjected:

Different rules for Tasmania and the Northern Territory.


Mr Gear —Of course there are.


Mr HODGMAN —The honourable member admits it?


Mr Gear —Yes.


Mr HODGMAN —There we are-there is the admission. The Hawke socialist Government hates Tasmania. It has always hated Tasmania and it will continue to hate Tasmania. The Hawke socialist Government will not win a single House of Representatives seat in Tasmania at the next Federal election or the one after that. It will be struggling to get two Labor senators back at the next half Senate election and four Labor senators if there is a double dissolution. But it thinks it can pick up the seat of the Northern Territory and that is why this legislation in some ways is drafted so differently from the legislation which deals with Tasmania. I made the comment:

Different rules for Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

Madam Speaker, do you remember that on election night 1983 the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) said: `I will be a Prime Minister for all Australians'. Do you remember the slogan: `Bob Hawke-bringing Australia together'? He said he would be Prime Minister for all Australia. But time and time again, when the opportunity has arisen, the Government has belted Tasmania not just in relation to States rights, not just in relation to Commonwealth-State financial assistance but on every conceivable point. What did the shadow Minister say in response to my timely interjection? He said:

The point is worth taking that the Hawke Labor Government . . .

That was a minor slip from the honourable member for Bradfield. Although he was impeccable he really meant the Hawke socialist Government. He said:

The point is worth taking that the Hawke Labor Government applies environmental controls to both the Northern Territory and Tasmania which it would not have the courage to apply to Queensland or to any other State in Australia.

The bully is exposed; the fraud is exposed. The Government belts Tasmania and it belts the Northern Territory to try to pick up the greenie vote in Melbourne and Sydney. It is going to miss out because we will hold the seat of the Northern Territory. We will hold all five Tasmanian House of Representatives seats. The Government will get the thrashing of its life in Melbourne and Sydney when the election is held.


Mr Connolly —Hear, hear!


Mr HODGMAN —I thank the honourable member for his encouragement. I now want to come to the words of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment (Mr Cohen) on the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Amendment Bill 1986. The Minister said-and these words should be engraved in the minds of every single Tasmanian and many other Australians right across the Commonwealth:

The purpose of this Bill is to amend the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975 to prevent . . .

I ask honourable members to note that word. In relation to an area in which we do not know what the resources are the Minister used the word `prevent'. The Minister continued:

. . . exploration and mining for minerals, and related operations in Kakadu National Park. The Bill applies to all mineral interests including those interests which existed prior to the proclamation of the park. The Bill also provides that no compensation will be payable by the Commonwealth to any person, body politic or body corporate by reason of the enactment of the legislation.

My colleague the honourable member for Braddon will confirm that this is exactly the same position as with the Lemonthyme and Southern Forests (Commission of Inquiry) Bill. There will be no compensation to those who will go bankrupt or whose business will be ruined by the freezing of forest operations in Tasmania as a result of the decision of the Hawke socialist Government. Anybody would think we had no unemployment in this country. The plain fact of the matter is that we have rampant unemployment, particularly in Tasmania and particularly with our young people. This rotten Government is proposing to put out of work 7,000 Tasmanians and I do not know how many thousand Northern Territorians in its pandering to the greenie conservationist vote. There will be no compensation. It is legislation of which Hitler would be ashamed. Under clause 5 of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Amendment Bill no compensation is payable. It states:

Notwithstanding any law of the Commonwealth or of the Northern Territory, the Commonwealth is not liable to pay compensation to any person by reason of the enactment of this Act.

There is the provision. It cuts right across section 51 of the Constitution. Is this Canberra or is this Moscow? There will be no compensation. Yet, as the shadow Minister pointed out and as the honourable member for the Northern Territory pointed out, this legislation cuts across existing leasehold rights and privileges and people will be put out of work. People will be deprived of their livelihood. They will be bankrupted. They will be put to the wall by this non-caring, cruel and thoroughly disgraceful Government with no compensation. Let us have a look at some of the other provisions which have bobbed up. Madam Speaker, you will remember the fundamental point in relation to the Lemonthyme legislation is that it is unconstitutional and it will be held to be so by the High Court of Australia when it is challenged. But that legislation permits forcible entry on private property by any member--


Mr Slipper —Moscow.


Mr HODGMAN —Quite right, Moscow. It permits forcible entry on private property by any member of the Commission of Inquiry or by any other person authorised in writing. Could this be Jonathan West? Who will be picked? It gives the right to forcibly enter private property against the wishes of the owner where somebody says he thinks there may be forestry resources contained. This could be my father's property at Kingston or my home at 7 James Avenue, Kingston Beach. This is the sort of track we are heading down all for the sake of the greenie vote.


Mr McGauran —What about--


Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Denison can do without the help of the honourable member for Gippsland.


Mr HODGMAN —My word, Madam Speaker, one must give him credit; he is fighting for the people of East Gippsland, who are the next cab off the rank--


Madam SPEAKER —The credit I am not interested in; I am just interested in his seeking to interject.


Mr HODGMAN —He will make a very fine Deputy Prime Minister one day. I come back to the legislation. The plain fact of the matter is that this is an arbitrary government prepared to trample on individual rights, including the fundamental right to earn a living. It says there will be no compensation. Compensation-da or nyet? The answer is nyet. There will be no compensation notwithstanding any law of the Commonwealth. I brand that as unconstitutional. Section 51 of the Constitution provides that acquisition shall be on just terms. This legislation is taking in areas that are not even world heritage areas. These two properties are suddenly included. This private property in Tasmania, in the one-quarter of a million hectares, is included. Where are we going? Who will be next? What next will this Prime Minister paranoid at the prospect of defeat do to try to grab the greenie vote in the trendy, leafy metropolitan seats of Melbourne and Sydney? Is it not a crying shame that the man who said he would bring Australia together has torn it apart. The man who said he would be a Prime Minister for all Australians has betrayed Tasmania-he starts with the little ones first-and now he has betrayed the Northern Territory. Which State will be the next cab off the rank?


Mr Slipper —What about Queensland?


Mr HODGMAN —He would not touch Queensland. He is scared stiff of Queenslanders. He would not take them on but he will pick the littlies. This Government stands condemned. I congratulate the shadow Minister on a magnificent exposition. I wish we had the numbers to defeat this rotten legislation in this chamber. However, I hope the Senate will show some sanity and throw it out neck and crop because this is just the sort of legislation that Australia does not want and should not have in 1987.