Thursday 29 August 2013

Hansard of the Legislative Council






Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, I was not going to get up to speak because I have rewritten this speech about three times to take the volatility out of it. I was encouraged by the member for Apsley not to speak because I was thinking she was not going to speak as well. I took her advice, but when she went against her own advice and got up and spoke, I thought that I had better respond. I have taken the volatility out of it.

It is nonsense to further delay this modicum of certainty that we are looking for in the Tasmanian forest industry and that we have been asked for by people in our briefings yesterday. In briefings yesterday the government could do more than to give us access to all the people who can give us what advice we need at the time and to make them available for as long as we need them. If we needed them for an hour they are in, gone, out, bang. We kept them there from 9.30 a.m. until 5.30-6 p.m. and we had the opportunity to get the answers to the questions and queries that we might have. I am sure that if we had wanted further advice, the government would have agreed and got the people in to tell us the answers that we needed to have, to give us the full argument, the issues and answers to the questions that we needed to have.

That is why I do not see any need for a short, sharp assessment. We had it yesterday or we had the opportunity yesterday. If we did not take it up, that is on your heads. I have asked the questions that I had.

Mr Mulder - Be calm.

Mr FINCH - Thank you. That is a point that I wanted to make and I am not a government toady. I recognise we are given the opportunity to get the answers to those questions we have and to drill down. We had the people in the room. Then again, what relevance does the federal election have to an agreement between the movers of the forestry industry, the unions and the environmental groups? None. All of whom argued for certainty as soon as possible in this stanza. It is not about certainty about the whole future because we are only dealing with one point in time about it, and there are other opportunities for us to reject this or to move forward with it.

Mr Mulder - It is littered with landmines.

Mr FINCH - Littered with landmines but we can traverse that landscape as we move into the future. But this is a step along the way. The public, the forestry industry, probably the majority of the Chamber, are up to pussy's bow with this debate.

Do we want the forestry industry in Tasmania or not? The member for Elwick might have misinterpreted something I was saying this morning to suggest that I was negative about the future of the forestry industry. I am very positive. I have always been a supporter of the forestry industry even though during the pulp mill debate there would have been the suggestion that I may not have been but I have always been. I have grown up in the bush, I know the bush and I am a supporter of what occurs there, and what can occur and what the future holds. I am excited by it. No-one is excited about the process we have been through.

Mr PRESIDENT - I am excited about the question before us though.

Mr FINCH - I was wondering where you were, Mr President. We are a House of review and I fear that we are being drawn into a party political agenda, and that is what sits uneasily with me as an independent. We have heard reference to the politics being played out here and that is what makes me uncomfortable in a House of review. If we throw out this product of years of painful negotiation, we will be judged in future years as having been on the wrong side of history.

Ms Rattray - We have heard that before.

Mr FINCH - We have heard that before and the future will tell us. But I heard it today from the member for Western Tiers suggesting that in the future we could be judged as being on the wrong side of history. I disagree and when we come out of this, with this positive future and a new way of doing things in the forestry industry, that will be the right side of history. Are we to reject the view of the industry at the centre of this argument?

Mr PRESIDENT - If I might, some advice has been provided. We are strictly looking at whether the debate stand adjourned. Reasons can be put forward as to why it should or should not be adjourned but if we can restrict ourselves to those; depending upon what happens to that vote will be whether we go back to the substantive question, which is what some have already debated.

Mr FINCH - I am trusting future colleagues who come to the lectern will keep that in mind, Mr President. I will sit down now. I do not support the motion.

Question - That the debate be adjourned - put.

Mr PRESIDENT - I note we have all members present in the Chamber. Rather than waiting for four minutes we can lock the doors.

The Council divided -





Mr Dean

Dr Goodwin

Mr Hall

Mr Harriss (Teller)

Mrs Hiscutt

Mrs Armitage

Mr Farrell

Mr Finch (Teller)

Ms Forrest

Mr Gaffney

Mr Mulder

Ms Rattray

Mrs Taylor

Mr Valentine

Motion so negatived.