Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (Abolition of Alpine Grazing) Bill 2011: Second Reading
I, too, rise to speak against this motion by the member for Melbourne. I would like to draw an analogy, following the speech by the member for Wills. What do his speech and alpine cattle have in common: a huge amount of methane-infused male bovine excreta—and that is to put it as politely as I can.
Very rarely do we get to deal with levels of such great hypocrisy as we do today in this motion for the second reading of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (Abolition of Alpine Grazing) Bill 2011. It is interesting to note the speakers in this debate. We have the member for Melbourne, inner Melbourne; the member for Wills, inner Melbourne; and the member for Parramatta. There are great areas of environmentally pristine alps and grazing in those electorates! And apart from the environmental debate and the common-sense debate, this is about states’ rights. We have heard Bob Brown trying to trample over the Commonwealth, saying that we should listen to the territories about gay marriage and euthanasia. But when a state government goes to an election, gets a clear mandate—the Green party is completely wiped out—and implements what they clearly went with to the election as a promise, we now have the Greens, from the confines of Canberra, trying to trample all over states’ rights.
It is interesting: do we ever hear from the Greens and their followers on the other side, the blind acolytes of the Greens, an environmental proposal that affects one of their electorates? It is always someone else making a change to ease their conscience. And the only benefit from this motion will be to the margin of the member for Melbourne at the next election, as his latte-sipping supporters down there get a warm glow about some part of Australia they have supposedly cured. If we are serious and if the member for Melbourne is serious about protecting the environment, why don’t we restore the Yarra to the condition it was in when John Batman went there? We would only have to remove 40 per cent of the population. We could retrain them in tourism. They could go to TAFE and get other qualifications. That is the language we hear from the Greens and the Labor Party about what we are going to do with regional Australia.
The member for Parramatta talked about the wonderful national parks and was taking great credit for them. It was not the Greens; we did it first. But what about in my electorate? Bob Carr locked up 360,000 hectares in the Brigalow Belt South Bioregion. Two years later, guess what happened? It burnt—koalas barbecued, kangaroos wiped out. The biodiversity was wiped out. Not that it was the first time there had been a fire—it was the first time there had been a fire of that intensity.
The member for Parramatta talked about fire. We are not talking about not having fires in national parks; that is a part of the cycle of life. The parks can get struck by lightning; all sorts of things can start a fire. But it is the intensity of the fire. After what happened in Victoria on Black Saturday after the Green influence on local government planning and state government planning, and after the loss of life and devastation that happened, I am surprised that the Greens could even come in here and show their faces and start talking about legislation that is supposed to give some environmental benefit.
If we were serious about protecting the alpine regions of Victoria, we would be banning skiing. We do not see cows churning straight up a hill, cutting a track 30 centimetres deep in their four-wheel-drives. When was the last time we saw a cow doing that to destroy the environment? But we saw the environment minister do that two weeks ago. His little sightseeing trip to the alpine regions would have done more damage to the environment than the 400 cows would do in a hundred years.
Yes, a photo opportunity! This is gross hypocrisy. When are we going to see some fair dinkum environmental policies from the other side and from those behind? When are they actually going to do something about the environment and not just shore up their margins in inner urban areas? The closer that people live to the environment the less they vote for Labor and the Greens. This is about shoring up support in concreted bitumen jungles. The only time they ever think about the environment is when they tick the box on election day to vote Green. They get a warm glow, go and have a latte and think what a great job they have done. But someone in regional Australia always pays the price. And it is not just the people in regional Australia who pay the price but the environment which pays the price. (Time expired)