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9am With David And Kim -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) for hours on end looking straight

ahead. More on those stories in the morning

morning newsal 11, plus a full wrap

in Ten News at five. A full panel

of international experts have gone,

so the state government gave approval. Various industries are

yelling blue Mr Derbgs and now the

latte sipping left is yelling blue

murder. How close to the election

can this blue go? Not since the

mighty Franklin dam controversy of

the 80s have Tasmania's environmental concerns attractd

such debate. Back then, the newly

elected government stepped in and

stopped the Franklin dam going

ahead. Now, a $2 billion pulp mill

is one step from being built in the

Tamar Valley near Launceston and

the final decision rests with environment Minister Malcolm

Turnbull. Thanks for joining us. Is

Kim correct in saying that this

approval is just one tick away? I

don't know about ticks. What I have

done is set up a very diligent,

thorough process to look at this.

We have been through a number of

periods of public consultation. I

think every opinion that could be

expressed on this development to

the federal government has now been

expressed. There has certainly been

menive opportunity to do so. I have

refer the scientific issues which

are really at the core of the

controversy to the chief scientist

of the Commonwealth, Dr Jim peacock,

who has assembled his own expert

panel to advise him. Their scientific advice will be critical

or crucial in making a decision. Is

that why you have extend he the

period by six weeks? That is the

only reason I have extended the

period. The point is that the

Minister for the environment can

extend these periods for many

reasons. The critical thing is to

get the decision right. We set

timetables in the legislation to

encourage timely decision making

but it's more important to get the

decision right than to meet a

timetable. The chief scenivity has

said he will come back to us with

his report in the third week of

September, so we have allowed from

time after that to consider it,

hence the extension. Is the

extension legal? Of course it is.

Is it open to legal challenge? No.

There has been an assertion by the

Tasmanian Premier, Mr Lennon, ha

has created this problem himself.

If you go back earlier this year,

there was a body called the

resource department and planning

commission, which was an environmental inquiry, it had

experts, it had a distinguished

conducting an investigation, lawyer chairing it, and it was

looking at the state and

environmental issues and the

federal environmental issues, a

bilateral process. Gunns were

unhappy with that, Lennon decided unhappy with that, Lennon decided

to abandon that process, and

instead ram the Tasmanian approval

through the state Parliament. That

lack of due process has undermined

in particular the Tasmanian people, the trust of the Australian people,

in this whole approval process.

Where does that leave the Federal

Government? I am not going to

sacrifice due process or integrity

just because Paul Lennon is

prepared to do so. I have I have

done is proceed to assess the

federal environmental issues which

are a subset of the total under our

legislation, very thoroughly and

transparently. Peter Garratt and

Kevin Rudd say they don't know what

the fact are. They are all on the

web site. 32,000 people have made submissions in the last two weeks.

They could have regard toe those

documents. Kevin Rudd and Peter

Garratt have turned a blind eye to

them, they are not interested. Lots

of other Australians are. We get

the feedback, everyone has had

their say, then the critical

scientific issues are referred to

the chief scientist for his

independent and expert assessment S

Everybody involved in the process, including some of the harshest

critics of the mill have critics of the mill have said they

support the process - Bob Brown,

the three scientists who published

a report yesterday said that I have

acted with complete integrity. Jeff

cousins, who was critical of the

mill, has accepted that what I am

doing is acting with integrity,

with due process, and it will give

us an outcome that people can accept. That's what people need. I'm prying that.

I'm prying that. I'm sorry I can't

make good all of Paul Lennon's

failing. He was the one who failing. He was the one who

abandoned due proper z he wasn't

criticised by Garratt or Rudd for doing so. Federal government has

gone along with the government of

Tasmania in this. It is only the

federal coalition government that

is standing up for due process. is standing up for due process.

Several scientists has said in the

press this morning that six weeks

is not enough for the chief

scientist to make an adequate digs.

That is what they have said. No

doubt their papers have gone to the

chief scientist. Really, it is up

to the chief scientist to decide

whether he needs more time or

whatever. We are stepping into the

area of very complex area of very complex scientific

issues relating to the fait and the

performance of effluent in the

waters of Bass Strait. It raises complex issues of hydrodynamics,

eCo. Toxicology, Jim Peacock will

assess that. Those scientists said

process I am in their press statement that the

process I am conducting is being

run with complete integrity. That's

criteria kafplt the Australian

people need to know that the

Environment Minister takes the

environment very seriously and

deals with these issues without

fear or favour and with complete integrity. You have mentioned the

word integrity a couple of times.

Was the Lennon's approval process

corrupt, by by passing the RPDC? I corrupt, by by passing the RPDC? I

wouldn't use that word and go quite

that far but I would say it

abandoned due process. When you have a complex environmental issue

like this - and there are many of

them - you will get people with

differing views. You get people for

it, people against it, people say it, people against it, people say

worried about the environment, but we want jobs, they are not so

we want to make sure the

environment is looked after. A whole range

whole range of opinions. What you

need - this has always been the

federal government's approach - you federal government's approach - you

need to make sure that any

development meets all the environmental requirements. How is

that to be assessed? The RPDC was

the ideal medium or mechanism to do

it because it was a public process,

it was transparent, it had expert

input. Now, Lennon abandoned that. I was

I was very critical of him at the

time. Federal Labor said nothing,

Garratt and Rudd said nothing, they

were complicit in Lennon's

abandonment of the RPDC. That left abandonment of the RPDC. That left

through a principal process. I know me to deal with the federal issues

I'm being criticised for taking a

longer period to assess the issues,

but frankly that's a measure of how

seriously I regard them. Have you

brought unnecessary heat to the

government this close to an

election? Could you not have sat

there and allowed the Tasmanian

government to approve the mill and

avoid the heat? I couldn't avoid

making a decision. People have said

I should have given this a quick

approval some time ago. I wasn't

prepared to do that. I don't make decisions based decisions based on political

convenience, I make them based on

science, on the facts and the

evidence. It is my view that the

additional period of public

consultation has been very valuable,

and I thank all the people who

contacted me about t and I think

the input from the chief scientist

will be enormously valuable. You

see, we will then have a scientific

opinion from someone whose expertise

expertise is unquestioned, whose

integrity is unquestioned, whose

independence is unquestioned, and

then people can say, okay, the

chief scientist has said this -

that looks reasonable to me. I

don't know what he will say. It's

up to him. Lennon and Gunns, to be

fair, both of them, wanted to abandon

abandon the RPDC. They had the

opportunity of this going through a

very considered process, which

would have got to a conclusion and

people would have felt there had

been a fair hearing. Lennon

abandoned that, federal Labor was

complicit in that, they obviously

decided to go along with Lennon for political reasons. Even now, their

criticism of the Tasmanian process criticism of the Tasmanian process

is muted. Basically, this was the

laipt cutting corners, failing to

undertake due process, and it

exposes what empty frauds they are

when it comes to protecting the

environment. The person standing up

for the environment and due process

is me, the federal Environment

Minister, and - so I'm doing my job, what Rudd and

what Rudd and Garratt are doing is

trying to slip into the slipstream

of Paul Lennon. I don't think that

is a worthy place to be. You have

brought a lot of heat on the

government and you have certainly

brought a lot of heat on yourself.

In your seat of Wentworth, there's

been a prolonged attack by Jeffrey

cousins, who is a former Howard

government advicer. As the Environment Minister, how do you

weigh up what's good for the

country and what's good for your

political longevity? The decision I take under the federal environment

Act has to be based on the science

and the environmental evidence, and those considerations. What's good

or bad for me in the seat of

Wentworth is not relevant. As far

as Jeff cousins is concerned, he

proceeded under a misunderstanding. I don't think I don't think he understood what I

was doing. He has now been positive

and complimentary about the process

I have undertaken. He and some

other people - Has he? Absolutely. He misunderstood the fact that we

were going to take this matter to

the chief scientist for an

independent apractiseal, and that's

exactly what we are doing. That is something that

something that Cousins has been

complimentary about, Bob Brown has

been complimentary about, and even

Gunns has said they will not pull

the pin on the project, they will

await this process. We now have for

the first time a proceeding or a

process, at least for the federal

issues, that all sides are, to a

greater or lesser extent,

comfortable with, and everybody

recognises that we are getting recognises that we are getting a

process that has integrity, it's

transparent and it has independence,

and that's vital. Given you as the environment Minister have to

consider such things, the critical

issues would seem to be the effect

on marine life, wildlife, chemical

residue and stench and the poorly

circulating Tamar Valley. Do you have a

have a gut feeling? There are so

many issues, so many concerns, do

you have a gut feeling what your

decision might be? If I did, I

don't think it would be appropriate

for me to express it. I have to

complete the process I have set out.

We will get the advice from the

chief scientist. That is the next

critical piece of input. It seems

that the environmental that the environmental issues are

stacked up. I'm really not going to

be drawn on that. What I have to do

is discharge my duty diligently and

thoroughly, and taking regard -

having regard to the expert advice.

What we will get from the chief

scientist is an independent expert

view on these key scientific issues.

You have to bairm, there are

differences of opinion.

differences of opinion. There are

scientists asserting one thing,

scientists asserting another, so we

need to get that independent view

and we will get that from Dr

Peacock and that's what one of the

jobs of the chief scientist is, to provide independent scientific advice to the Commonwealth. Given

that the Franklin dam project in

the 1980s was widely thought to have influenced

have influenced the elections, to

the point where the sitting Liberal

government was tipped out, does

that add extra pressure, knowing

that these environmental issues in

Tasmania have money up before? They

have blown up before. But I think

it is vital to proceed, as federal Environment Minister, with

integrity, dilg especially,

thoroughly, thoroughly, and that's what I'm

doing. The criticism, when people

say, quite frankly, when people say

I should have signed on off on this

a month ago or two months ago, they

are saying I should have abandoned

due process and just made a crass

political decision. Now, I do not believe that the environment

Minister should be making decisions

about the environment of about the environment of Australia,

particularly very sensitive parts -

or any parts of the environment,

let's be frank - on political

grounds. I have a duty to make decisions based on the relevant considerations to the case, and that includes the scientific

evidence, the submissions made and

of course independent advice. Will

that decision be made before we go that decision be made before we go

into election mode? It depends. I

don't know when - when

don't know when - when you say go

into ilex-mode - Before we go into

a caretakerr government, when the

opposition has to be invited into

the discussions. I don't know the

answer to that, because I don't

know when the Prime Minister will

call the election. That was our

next question. Joo that would be a

scoop, if I could announce that.

But I don't know. You'll have to speak speak to hill. As far as the Cleve scientist's report is concerned, he

said he expects to have a report by

the third week of September. We

will then have to consider that and

give the relevant parties an

opportunity to comment on it.

Whether that enables me to make a

decision before the election is

called depends when the election is called. It

called. It may well run into the

caretakerr period, I just don't

know. Again, are people seriously

suggesting that I should Russia

decision of this kind, cancel the

work of the chief scientist, say to

him, I'm not interested in what you

say, I'm going to rush out a

decision, regardless of your

advice? That's ridiculous. I have

to do this job thoroughly and diligently and that's what diligently and that's what I'm

doing. If an election is called,

the care take conventions apply. I

would have thought you would do

anything to get the latte sipping

lefties off your shoulders. I think

people in Wentworth understand a

couple of things about me. First, I

am a independently minded person -

And you prefer

And you prefer cap cleano. I will

not knowledge pushed one way or

another, I will do my job

independently and dillantly and

thoroughly and the Australian

people know I have made a fully

informed decision. Great to talk to

you, Malcolm.