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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2058

Senator JESSOP(11.30) —I just wish to comment on the proposed amendment to the legislation on page 3 of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Amendment Bill. Clause 6 (b) (1a) states:

No operations for the recovery of minerals shall be carried on in Kakadu National Park.

Senator Durack drew attention to the fact that the area of the Kakadu National Park is about one-third of the size of Tasmania, and that within it only a small section is subject to mining leases. Indeed, I think that, from memory, less than 3 per cent of the whole area is involved with either mines that have been developed or are in prospect. It seems quite incredible that the Labor Government, by amending the legislation, is turning its back upon the traditional blue collar workers-who, over the years, have supported the Government-simply to chase the green vote. Senator Durack said that the Government was chasing the radical environmentalists vote. I do not think the Government is fully aware that the typical greenie voter is not an Australian Labor Party voter--

Senator Sanders —Ha!

Senator JESSOP —Of course, Senator Sanders is a prohibitionist, not a conservationist. He has no regard for the parlous state of the economy of Australia. He has no wish to redress the present $101 billion Australian debt.

Senator Gareth Evans —On a point of order, Mr Chairman: Are Senator Jessop's remarks directed towards any particular provision of the Bill in any remotely relevant way, or are they a re-run of his speech on the second reading?

The CHAIRMAN —The Committee is taking all the Bills together. As there are five of them, almost any remark is relevant. However, I shall listen carefully to Senator Jessop and check that he is referring to some part of some Bill.

Senator JESSOP —Thank you, Mr Chairman. I am referring to the proposal that there be no operation for recovery of minerals. That can be tied in fairly well with the question of gaining export income. I was directing attention to the fact that the Australian Democrats are not interested in redressing the economic state of this country. Obviously, they are certainly not concerned with the jobs that will be threatened if the mining and forestry operations are curtailed or, in fact, stopped in many areas.

The Australian Conservation Foundation carried out a survey of its members in 1984, and asked the question:

Should the ACF work to support a particular party or parties? If yes, which one?

Some 548 respondents said yes, and 469 said no. Of those wanting to support a political party, none wanted to support the National Party of Australia; three wanted to support the Liberal Party; 46 wanted to support the Australian Labor Party and 341 wanted to support the Nuclear Disarmament Party and the Australian Democrats. Therefore, the ALP is chasing the wrong horse in worrying about the green vote. It is obvious that the green voter is not the typical Australian voter-he would want development, in a responsible way, that would redress the very sorry state of the economy of Australia. I noted yesterday that Senator Sanders commented:

Senator Jessop seems to feel that the environmental movement is highly paid by the Government. In fact, millions of people in the environmental movement have sacrificed a great deal of their time and money to make sure that something remains of the environment for the future.

He said a few other things, and it might interest the honourable senator to learn that the ACF attracts about 90 per cent of its $1.6m income from government sources. That is fairly significant. I said yesterday that when, last year, the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) was talking about peace movements, conservationists and so on, he said that those people bite the hand that feeds them. That is quite right. The radical conservationists, the prohibitionists, such as Mr Jack Mundey, the union activist, and Professor Ted Wheelwright of Australian Consumers Association fame-and I regard them as leading prohibitionists in the ACF-are hell bent on preventing the development of our resources, even under agreed environmental safeguards. They want to destroy the Australian mining and forestry industries and cause suffering to hundreds of thousands of blue collar workers who rely on those industries for their employment. I regard that prohibitionist activity as unAustralian because it is hindering the development and productivity of our country. Therefore, I strongly oppose the Bills with which we are dealing.