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Thursday, 7 November 1985
Page: 1762

Senator ROBERT RAY(5.10) —I did not intend to enter this debate but I must say that I think the Liberal Party is trying to have its cake and eat it too. One section of the Liberal Party is saying that the Government has not been diligent enough in the protection of rain forests while another section says that we go too far. What the Liberal Party is trying to do is to get the conservationists' vote on the one side and the red-neck vote on the other. I see Senator Collard looking at me. It is interesting to note that the National Party of Australia remains ominously silent today.

Senator Puplick —Senator Collard has already spoken, that is why.

Senator ROBERT RAY —He can, of course, speak again. In Senator Puplick's absence, we amended the Standing Orders. Honourable senators can speak more than once on papers. He can take the opportunity to do so again during the consideration of General Business. I would have thought that on such an important issue Senator Collard may have stood up to correct both Senator Puplick and Senator Missen; or does he agree with both those honourable senators? Is the Opposition just having two bob each way, like it always does? I agree with something Senator Missen said when he pointed out what a tourist attraction rain forests are. I was not a supporter of the building of the Daintree road. I have been up there and I believe that, if anything, a proper road should have been put down because one cannot hire a four wheel drive vehicle within 100 miles of the Daintree. Every conservationist and forest lover around-there are many of them-has hired them. They are all using that road, incidentally, although I would not accuse them of being hypocritical because it is one of the few ways to see the forest. The Daintree Rainforest is a major tourist attraction.

People such as Senator Archer come into this chamber and start saying that one has to think about the social, economic and all the other consequences. The rain forest is an asset that will bring hundreds of thousands of people to Australia over the next decade and centuries to see these sorts of unique areas. It is no good wiping them off. Senator Missen asks us: `Why are you not more enthusiastic?' Every time this Government or any Federal Labor government takes on a State government, all the Liberals opposite, bar one I admit, say: `No, States' rights are more important than rainforests or anything else'. They all jump out from under their rocks and start pushing the States rights' barrel so we can do nothing. So we are a little more cautious in our approach these days. We do not jump in like we used to because we find--

Senator Crichton-Browne —Hear, hear!

Senator ROBERT RAY —We do not jump in like we used to because we find that one can never trust what Senator Crichton-Browne's Party says. One moment it is supporting a constitutional amendment because it is in power. The next moment, the moment it is in opposition, it is opposing it. It has no consistency at all. That is because it is a pack of individuals without principle who just go on personality.

I rose to make the point that the Liberal Party speaks with a forked tongue, that it is split on this issue and is trying to get the best of all worlds. Senator Archer and others are taking the gung ho, private enterprise, chop it down at all costs approach. Senator Puplick, Senator Missen and others are taking the approach that the Government has not done enough. I invite Senator Collard to tell us what the National Party's attitude is. It is the National Party State Government that is chopping down every tree it can find in Queensland. I would have thought that such a pragmatic person as Senator Collard would realise that in the end there is more money in tourism than there is in wood chipping.

Senator Collard —Mr Acting Deputy President, I hope that you are as generous with the Standing Orders as Senator Robert Ray is.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Elstob) —Order! Senator Collard, is it your intention to speak on the same paper?

Senator Collard —It sure is, Mr Acting Deputy President.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT — Under Standing Orders you are debarred from speaking twice on the same paper.

Senator Collard —Mr Acting Deputy President, you are not as generous as Senator Ray.

Senator Robert Ray —Seek leave to make a statement.