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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9129


Mr BRIGGS (Mayo) (16:07): I rise to speak on the amendment as well. Firstly, I will correct one thing the honourable parliamentary secretary said in his summation last Thursday, which was that I had said in my second reading speech that these bills should be tremendously amended but we would support their passage if our amendment was successful. I do not support the passage of this bill. I made that very clear in my contribution. I think this bill is a bad idea. I accept our party room's decision to allow this bill to pass after fighting for this amendment, but I think this is a bad way for us to proceed.

That is because the member for Lyons just gave away what this bill is actually all about. This bill is not about environmental policy, as they will have you believe, as the parliamentary secretary will stand and try and have you believe; this bill is about protectionism. The member for Lyons just said exactly that, very clearly, in his contribution. This bill is about protecting what he says are important manufacturing industry jobs. I understand he believes that; I understand and accept that that is his view. He says, 'Who are the people who are telling us to have this position of supporting this amendment and opposing this bill?' Well, I have not spoken to anyone in this industry. I can make that very clear on the record. But I know that the member for Lyons has, because he was quoting pretty much from the CFMEU press release. That is who is telling this bloke what to say. That is who tells all of those people over there what to say. The donations from the CFMEU to that side of parliament would make you blush, Mr Deputy Speaker. And they have the gall to suggest that we are being paid by someone to oppose this bill. Give me strength, Mr Deputy Speaker.

The member for Lyons is more honest than that. Others are not so much, but the member for Lyons is honest enough to admit that his contribution is paid for and endorsed by the CFMEU. That is who he is arguing for, and that is what this bill is all about. It is protectionism parading as environmental policy, which will do damage to trading arrangements in our area.

In my contribution last week, as I spoke to the amendment that we moved to this bad bill, I made the comment that the parliamentary secretary at the table for the Pacific Islands, or whatever else they call him these days, has actually done some reasonable work in this area. I know that is not very popular amongst some of my colleagues and I have been chastised heavily, but I know getting that endorsement will assist him in his climb up the greasy pole, but he has done some important work with what are important regional neighbours. We want those neighbours to develop. We on this side certainly want Indonesia, Papua New Guinea,—I am not sure all those on the other side do—Malaysia and other countries who have got developing economies to do better. If they do better, they will have better certification processes to ensure that this practice, which we all agree must come to an end, will come to an end in a better fashion. Domestic Australian law will not do that. Using trade policy through domestic law will not prevent illegal logging occurring, as the parliamentary secretary for forests has been suggesting in response to the member for Bradfield's very pertinent points. He actually quoted from the bill, Parliamentary Secretary, and you did not answer his question—instead you came up with some flurry like, 'If the coalition's amendment is successful we'll have three more years of illegal logging.'

I pose this question to you, Parliamentary Secretary—rise to your feet and answer it—if this bill is successful, if it passes the House and the Senate, will illegal logging stop? Of course it will not, but protection will come back. That is what the Labor Party is all about. They have chucked away the Hawke and Keating reforms, they have gone to the member for Lyons, they are quoting from the CFMEU—this is what it is all about. This is protectionism parading as environmental policy and I am ashamed of the member for Lyons because he has argued against this for years, against those Greens in Tasmania for years, for using trade policy and domestic law to pursue their environmental desires. And now the member for Lyons is wholly and solely with the Greens on this abomination of a bill. He should, I think, be ashamed of the position he is now taking because it will not assist his workers and it will not assist Australian consumers. It will cost them more, and it will not stop illegal logging. I want to hear the parliamentary secretary guarantee in this chamber, on his feet, that when this bill passes the practice of illegal logging in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and wherever else around the globe will cease. He cannot and he will not.