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Decision by Federal Environment Minister, Graham Richardson, to nominate Shark Bay, WA, for World Heritage listing results in strong criticism by the Federal Labor member for the area, Graeme Campbell.

ANDREW OLLE: Environment Minister, Graham Richardson, and the Labor Government may have been given the nod by the environmentalists. They are now facing serious unrest, though, from within their own party over their environmental policy. Only two days after the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Wilderness Society issued their how-to-vote cards for the Federal election, the Labor MP for Kalgoorlie, Graeme Campbell, has launched a stinging attack on Senator Richardson and his approach to the environment. The focus of the attack is Senator Richardson's move to include Shark Bay, near Carnarvon, in the World Heritage listing. No arguments about the environmental or heritage value of the area; it's one of the last strongholds of the dugong, as you just heard on A.M., and, of course, includes that area at Monkey Mia, where the dolphins can be hand fed; and is the home of some of the most ancient plant forms.

But Mr Campbell has accused the Hawke Government of a blatant attempt to buy the votes of greenies in the eastern States by moving for the Heritage listing. And Graeme Campbell's on the line from Kalgoorlie, his home, this morning. Good morning, Graeme Campbell.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: Good morning, Andrew.

ANDREW OLLE: Thanks very much for joining us in what is obviously the wee hours over there, but I guess you're sounding a little more like a Liberal Party election campaign slogan than a colleague of Senator Richardson ....

GRAEME CAMPBELL: Why would you say that?

ANDREW OLLE: Well, by attacking the Government's move on Shark Bay.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: Look, I'm attacking Senator Richardson's move. And let's get it clear - it's basically Senator Richardson. This hasn't been discussed in the Caucus; in my view it will have to go to the Caucus. I shall oppose it in the Caucus and I shall vote against it. It has nothing to do with the environment whatsoever; it has everything to do with Senator Richardson's warped belief that you can buy a few environmental votes in the eastern States and it's quite okay, quite acceptable to sacrifice the wishes of people in the local community.

ANDREW OLLE: Well, when you say, I could challenge you on a couple of points there - one, the buying of the votes. I mean, your party has won the support of the green movement effectively, in the last few days, so that's probably been effective as a political tactic. But more importantly, on the environmental question, I mean, you've just heard on A.M. I'm sure, Graeme, that it's been rated very highly.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: Look, I'd probably know a lot more about Shark Bay than you do, Andrew, and I'd probably know a lot more than your journalists do. Now, to start with, the Labor Party deserves the environmental support because the Labor Party has got the best environmental policies. The Labor Party's done more real work for the environment than any other party has ever done, and you have to ask yourself where are these people going to vote.

There is a problem, however, that now we've got these emotional-based arguments developing which have nothing to do with the environment whatsoever. Now, let me just explain that to you.

ANDREW OLLE: Yes, it needs a little explanation. As I said, we've just heard what a fabulous place it is. You're disputing that?

GRAEME CAMPBELL: Well, I'm not disputing that at all. It is a fabulous place, and I'd suggest to you that in such a fabulous place the last thing you want is great hordes of people stomping over it while there's limited development there. Now, when you consider the environmental value, you have to consider this: the State Government has a management plan which has been well thought out, and it's been done in conjunction with all the people in the area, all interests are concerned, and is recognised as a very good plan.

Now, we had an undertaking from Senator Richardson that he would not seek to list it without the support of the State Government, and the State Government would not seek to list it without the support of the community.

Senator Richardson has unilaterally overridden that, for the reasons I've just explained. To try and buy off the State Government, he has said he will use the State Government's management plan, therefore there is nothing is going to happen to the environment that is better than is going to happen anyway that is already in place.

Now, the area is being looked after very well by the State. And Senator Richardson has also said that he will not take the pasture properties in hand; he will not include those in the World Heritage listing, which is a step back from his original position. Now, some of those pastoral properties do need some work in terms of pasture regeneration, work which is being undertaken now basically by the pastoralists, with the advice of the West Australian Department of Agriculture, ... and Management Section, which is the best expertise available in the world - certainly in Australia.

ANDREW OLLE: You say everything is being looked after very well out there at the moment. I seem to remember seeing something on the 7.30 Report late last year, or the Summer Edition or something, showing that just the local facilities there were pumping raw sewage into the area and causing problems for the fish, for the dolphins I should say.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: Firstly, let me suggest to you, Andrew, that you don't take the 7.30 Report as gospel. The 7.30 Report is a very, very flawed program in many ways.

ANDREW OLLE: Oh, come on. I mean ....

GRAEME CAMPBELL: Look, I go there; it's part of my electorate. I've never been consulted by Senator Richardson at any stage, and I know what's happening in that area. Now, raw sewage in that area is simply not a problem; it's absurd to say it is. You're talking about a very, very small number of people. Now, what World Heritage listing is talking about, what they're talking about here, is increasing the size of Monkey Mia. Now, I'd suggest to you that that is not, environmentally, a good thing to do; that if you're going to increase the size, the facilities near it, it should be increased at Denham, which is a township some 18 miles from Monkey Mia.

Now look, the fact is that neither you or the great bulk of people, know or understand the issue, and really don't care. What's all important is this emotional ploy, this emotional tug at the heart strings, oh, this pristine area - which it isn't - it's the home of pearling in Australia. It's where pearling first took place in Australia. It's been used, and abused, over a long time. It is now being looked after well indeed.

ANDREW OLLE: You're saying that the Government, and Senator Richardson in particular, are simply putting on a gimmick here.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: Look, Senator Richardson's whole approach to the environment is gimmicky. And, in many cases, there is no problems in the environment until Senator Richardson intervenes. Now, in my view, Senator Richardson wouldn't know a regrowth forest if he saw one, and all he's interested in doing is harvesting that great mass of ill-informed environmental votes, people who think that nature's wonderful and want to go out and commune with it occasionally. They don't understand, they don't appreciate what happens, they don't appreciate the harsh reality of nature at times.

ANDREW OLLE: Is it possible that you're the one who's out of step in the sense of community sentiment about the environment? I mean, even the Liberal Party has got a slogan at the moment, pushing the line that we've borrowed the environment from future generations.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: You don't understand. It's living in the outskirts of Australia, as you do, right over there on the east coast. What you don't understand is that it is very easy to generate this emotion. Everyone loves trees, everyone loves the environment.

ANDREW OLLE: That's what I'm saying.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: But it's on an ill-informed basis. Now, if you can generate this feeling in the community on an ill-informed basis, that doesn't necessarily make it right. And I can also tell you this: there is no future for Australia if you go down that road. Now, the fact is that the greatest environmental problem facing Australia has been soil degradation. That's not new; that's been there for many, many years - 20 years ago I was advocating this; 20 years ago you didn't hear a peep out of the environmentalists. It's now the flavour of the month. The Labor Party took the initiative there, after my prompting. There are lots of people in the Caucus that will confirm that it was my pushing that got this raised as an issue.

The Government, the Labor Government has now handed it over to the conservationists, people who didn't care about it 10 years ago. Now, for people like me who've spent most of my life in the bush, most of my life in the remote areas of Australia, it is particularly galling to have this ill-informed abuse hurled at us by city-based people who simply don't know what's going on.

ANDREW OLLE: I imagine, though, that it will be particularly galling for Senator Richardson, and other members of the Government, to hear you describing the policy of your party on the environment as all gimmicky.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: I am not describing that at all. That's your journalistic ....

ANDREW OLLE: No it's not, it's what you said.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: .... is this: that Senator Richardson's concern is not for the environment, it's for votes. Now, quite frankly, if Senator Richardson thought there were votes in World War III, he'd be calling for it tomorrow. That is not the Labor Party. What we're having, is we are having a situation where we are at the moment being rubber-stamped by Senator Richardson.

ANDREW OLLE: Hang on, it's not the Labor Party, you're being rubber-stamped by Richardson.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: Let me rephrase that. Senator Richardson is forcing his views, his assessment of where the votes are, on us. Now, these issues were not discussed in Caucus and we did have an undertaking from Richardson himself that he would not world list, Heritage List it without the support of the West Australian Government. We had a Cabinet assurance from the West Australian Government that they would not do it without the support of the local people. They have been hammered by Richardson, who has said he'll act unilaterally. Now, it's got nothing to do with the environment, I can tell you that.

ANDREW OLLE: No. You're objecting to the fact that he's not playing as a team member.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: I am, apart from that, I mean, my views on Senator Richardson are very well documented. But what I am objecting to is what is happening. Now, I can tell you the great danger. The great danger is, in fact, to the environment, because what is going to happen if we keep going down this road, we are going to trivialise the environment. We are going to get to the stage where all your people in the city, all that emotional base, is going to say: ho hum, we've heard it all before. And you're going to trivialise the environment, and that is a great danger.

ANDREW OLLE: Whatever the rights and wrongs of your argument, though, Graeme Campbell, as I said, you are complaining essentially that this has all been done unilaterally, without consultation to Caucus and so on. How do you think your Caucus colleagues will feel about you coming out and pulling the rug from under the Labor Party's environmental platform in the middle of an election campaign?

GRAEME CAMPBELL: Don't be so absurd. I'm not pulling the rug from under the Labor Party platform. I believe the Labor Party has got a good record on the environment. It is this particular issue. You have to look at things issue by issue. On this particular issue Senator Richardson is wrong.

ANDREW OLLE: I'm sorry, I did accurately quote you before as saying that the whole approach is gimmicky.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: I said Senator Richardson's approach is gimmicky.

ANDREW OLLE: Well, he is the Minister for the Environment.

GRAEME CAMPBELL: Yes, that's right, but he hasn't been the Minister for the Environment all the time. We've had some very good ministers for the environment, and the Labor Party has put in place some very good policies on the environment. Now, they're not all good; I've been critical of some of their policies because some of the policies are actually ill informed. Now, the problem is that both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party in this country are tending to listen to pressure groups. We've developed a government by pressure group. So you hear the Liberal Party bleating heart-on-sleeve stuff about the environment in this campaign. It's, in my view, quite obscene.

ANDREW OLLE: Okay. Well, as I said, you obviously feel very strongly about it because when we rang you this morning to talk about the dual citizenship issue, which is an interesting one as well, I think, this is the one you wanted to speak about. So you're really pushing it out there in the marketplace, and ....

GRAEME CAMPBELL: That's right, Andrew. This is a much more important issue than the one you wanted to talk to me about. But just recollect that you people hadn't even heard about it then.

ANDREW OLLE: Hadn't even heard about what?


ANDREW OLLE: Oh indeed, indeed. Okay, thank you. Graeme Campbell on the line there, the member for Kalgoorlie. As I said, we really wanted to speak to him about dual citizenship, but he's led us down a different track. We're happy to go with him, if that's what he wants to do. The dual citizenship issue, I should briefly explain, for those who aren't across it, is that the Constitution forbids people from holding a Federal parliamentary, or a place in Federal Parliament, Upper or Lower House, if they have dual citizenship or perhaps, more intriguingly, if they are entitled to hold dual citizenship.

Graeme Campbell, and a number of others, do hold dual citizenship. Graeme Campbell has a British passport as well. Because of legal advice, or a legal threat of a challenge to their place in Parliament straight after the election, a number of members of Parliament have decided that they will renounce their second citizenships. Graeme Campbell's decided to hang on to his, very firmly. As you can see, he's a man of very strong views, so he's going to stick in there as a British citizen as well as an Australian citizen and, come hell or high water, I suppose, face that challenge should it come.