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Friday, 3 April 1987
Page: 1841

Senator NEWMAN(12.30) —I also support very strongly the views expressed by my colleagues from Tasmania. I still do not think the enormity of what this Government is doing is realised here in Canberra. It is putting people out of work by an Act of Parliament, and there is no getting around it by saying it is simply for a year. The long term effects of this legislation down the line are quite piteous for some of the people in our State. There seems to be no understanding of that here. I cannot understand how Canberra can be so divorced from the realities of the work place. As another example of the effects of this legislation, has the Government thought about what it will do with Tasrail? Every year Tasrail reports are tabled in the Parliament. We find that 40 per cent of the freight carried on Tasrail comes from logging. The forestry industries provide 40 per cent of the freight on Tasmanian railways. I am not concerned just about Tasrail; what about all the people who work for it, who get the logs on and off at each end?

Senator Coates —Are you trying to suggest that the whole forest industry is affected?

Senator NEWMAN —Of course it is to some extent, and if Senator Coates does not know that it is a clear example of how badly he has been representing his State. It is a matter of terrible concern to us as senators representing our State that the Government is continuing to display such a terrible lack of understanding of the jobs involved in this decision.

Senator Coates —Don't exaggerate.

Senator NEWMAN —Let the people of Tasmania know that Senator Coates does not think too much about the jobs of Tasmanians. It is important to have that on the record.

Senator Townley —What did the Minister say-900 jobs?

Senator NEWMAN —I would like to know what the Minister will do about Tasrail, because the Government has put up legislation to have all sorts of gambling games and things on Australian National in order to keep that organisation as viable as possible, but on the other hand it is taking away a major part of the revenue of Tasrail, a component of AN. The Government is stupid as well as lacking in understanding, and I have to suspect that it is even worse than that-it is being downright malevolent.