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Tuesday, 29 August 1989
Page: 466


Senator BROWNHILL —My question is directed to the Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories. The Minister would be aware that three members of the south-east alliance group are continuing to camp in trees in Nulliga State Forest. However, is the Minister aware that the trees these protesters are living in are part of the wildlife habitat corridor and their continuing presence is detrimental to the wildlife in the region? Is the Minister further aware that yesterday these protesters threw human faeces at the acting district forester, Mr Mick Petitt, at a logger and at a logging contractor and that today other protesters let down tyres on a fuel tanker and spread a mixture of honey and human faeces on the seat of this vehicle? Given that this group has told the forestry and logging contractor that trees have been spiked and that the protesters will not identify them, can the Minister advise whether he supports this type of action? Given that many of the logging contractors have mortgages on their homes to cover the purchase of expensive logging equipment and given the extreme danger such irresponsible action as spiking causes, does the Minister not agree that the environmentalists' cause is severely damaged by such action?


Senator RICHARDSON —Following an outrageous attack on a member of my staff in this place some time back by Senator Puplick I took the trouble to say what I thought of the practice of spiking. I said it was an appalling practice-one that I, or this Government, would never support. I repeat that now. Quite clearly, if people have taken this action in the forests I am appalled and I condemn them for it. If it is true that they are not identifying the spiked trees, and therefore placing anyone's life or limb in jeopardy, again I condemn them for that action.

I am not aware whether the protesters put a mixture of honey and human faeces in one of the trucks or whether they threw faeces at somebody. I have not been informed of any such incidents. It is difficult, given the number of people who are protesting in the forests at the moment, to know what the activities of each protester will be. But I am aware of Senator Brownhill's colleague Mr Causley and his extraordinary statement that, irrespective of the studies being conducted under the deal which he negotiated with Senator Cook, he will continue to log the forests. That is what I am aware of: National Party ignorance and arrogance on every occasion when it comes to the environment.