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What on earth was the PM thinking?

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24 January 2006

What on earth was the PM thinking?

The news that Hon Sen Eric Abetz is to become the minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation will be greeted with shaking heads in Tasmania and on the mainland.

The only thing that keeps the appointment in perspective is that precious holders of that office have included Wilson Tuckey and the forgettable sacked minister who was Senator Abetz’s immediate predecessor.

It seems this is a position the Prime Minister reserves for the odd balls and those going nowhere.

But the appointment is worrying about what is says about the low priority of these important areas of public policy in the eyes of the Howard government.

I wish I could congratulate Senator Abetz but the best I can do is to wish him well and to express the hope that, unlike those who preceded him in this job, he will surprise us all by turning his undoubted talents to the challenges Australia faces in resource management and conservation.

By contrast I wholeheartedly welcome Senator Richard Colbeck’s appointment as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration.

Duncan Kerr