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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 5447

Senator BOSWELL (5:22 PM) —The figures that I have given you, Senator Wong, are not my figures at all; they are taken from the Catholic Health Australia submission on the ETS and from submissions to you. I do not like the suggestion that we just throw figures up in the air and hope they come down somewhere. These are figures provided by Catholic Health Australia from their aged-care homes and from the hospitals. So do not accuse me of just throwing figures around, because I am not. They are very precise figures, but if you want to deny them that is up to you. I know this is very uncomfortable for you, Senator Wong, but I would like to take you to your statement on food processing. I listened very closely to that, and it seemed to me that if a food processor wanted to become part of a program that would give him some sort of compensation and he did not meet the criterion of electricity or—

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Sen-ator Moore)—Order! Senator Boswell, I draw to your attention the fact that we are actually debating the Greens amendments. If you can bring your question into line with those amendments, that is what we need in the chamber.

Senator BOSWELL —It is a very difficult area. Before you were in the chair, Madam Temporary Chair, Senator Milne sought leave to move amendments. I then asked the Clerk and was told that we could speak generally on Senator Milne’s amendments. If I was to be told otherwise, I would have refused leave to Senator Milne. I did not because I think Senator Milne is a very nice person—a little misguided but a nice person—so I did not like to refuse her leave. But I do claim the right that was given to me before to debate these issues.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —Senator Boswell, my understanding of the amendments is that they are to do with solar hot water, solar heaters and energy. If the questions you are asking are around those issues, that meets the need to be relevant to these amendments. So, if you can move your questioning in that direction, general questions about that issue would be appropriate.

Senator BOSWELL —On your ruling, Madam Temporary Chair: Senator Wong got up 10 or 20 minutes ago and read out a list of amendments and a list of agreements that the coalition and the Labor Party agreed to. I believe I have a right to ask questions about that statement read by Senator Wong.

Senator Hanson-Young —Maybe you should ask your shadow minister.

Senator BOSWELL —I do not need any help from you.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —Senator Boswell, if the list was in the debate, go ahead with the question. However, your proposed amendment and schedule 2, item 8 both refer specifically to the food-processing industry. It may well be that questions around that would be better placed at that stage, but if you want to continue bringing into relevance the solar aspects, please continue.

Senator BOSWELL —In that case, you force me to make comment on Senator Brown’s statement about wood by-products. I do not know how you get rid of them. The only way you do not get wood by-products is by not having a timber industry—not having thousands of jobs that are in the timber industry in Tasmania. You have to understand that if you process wood you are left with a by-product. What do you do with that by-product? We have heard Senator Brown say that we should not be burning this wood and making power from it. The only other suggestion I can think of is that it be buried. I actually saw that happen in a little mill in Allies Creek. I have mentioned this before, but I think it is worth mentioning again to Senator Brown because he was not in the chamber at the time. This mill, which was closed down by some activists, potentially had thousands and thousands of tonnes of wood waste and before they could get their compensation they were told that they had to bury it. They responded: ‘Why should we have to bury it? The electricity generators want this wood—they want it, they are prepared to pay for it and they are prepared to cart it away.’ They were told, ‘No, you are not going to use that wood.’

Do you know what replaced that wood, Senator Brown? Black coal. That is what went into the generator that could have been running on a renewable by-product, and that was because people of your ilk, the Greens, stopped it. So, instead of using a by-product of wood, they used black coal. That is where your statement ends: we have got to bury, remove or dump into the sea or the river the by-products of the timber industry. Alternatively, you can put it in a furnace and create power.

Senator Brown, you stand up here and pontificate about the timber industry, and we all know that you do not want a timber industry. You would be perfectly happy if there was no timber industry in Tasmania. In fact, you would rejoice if there was no timber industry in Tasmania. But you would not have a hobby horse to flog. You have flogged the timber industry all around Australia. You have just flogged it and flogged it and flogged it. Yes, you have got your little nine or 10 per cent, but you have alienated the other 90 per cent.

Senator Milne —What did the Nats get?

Senator BOSWELL —The Nats get a lot more than you and they get them in seats in the House of Representatives. You have never been able to achieve—

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —Senator Boswell, I remind you to go through the chair.

Senator BOSWELL —Sorry, but I am being provoked.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —Work through it, Senator Boswell.

Senator BOSWELL —I might have to review my assessment of Senator Milne. When Senator Bob Brown gets up and makes statements like that, he ought to be brought to court. He is making his statements, as he always does, in prime time and when we are being broadcast. I think the absolute hypocrisy of Senator Brown should be pointed out. Senator Brown, as I have pointed out to you before, you are a doctor. If the worst comes to the worst and you get thrown out of this place, you can hang up your shingle and you can earn $100,000 or more, probably $200,000. Just think about the guys that drive the trucks, the guys that cut the trees down, the guys that take the trees out of the forests and the whole economy of Tasmania. They do not have your option of moving out and starting another job. You deny them every time you stand up in this place, and you should not do it. It is hypocrisy at its worst. It comes from an educated person who should know better, from a person who has been to university. But you exploit these people time and time again. I ask you to think about what you say before you say it and to think about the other people who have not had the advantages that you had when you went through university.