October 05, 2004


Latham will save the forests, screams the Sydney Morning Herald. About Tasmanian forests further than 1,000 kilometres from Sydney. Tasmanian Forestry Industry Association boss Terry Edwards is right:

It's quite obvious to us that they are prepared to sell out Tasmanian jobs to get a few votes in CBD Melbourne and Sydney.

Jobs? Who cares about jobs? The SMHís Louise Dobson is aghast that trees are subject to debate:

Is nothing sacred in this election?

Tasmania's forests, beloved of conservationists around the world, have become the latest political football tossed between the Coalition and Labor.

Isnít it awful? Of course, Latham previously held anti-Green positions. Dodson prefers not to remember them. Instead ...

Remember the scare campaign by the Liberal Party's federal director, Brian Loughnane, about how close Labor was getting to the Greens ... ?

Didnít turn out to be much of a scare campaign, did it? More of a reality campaign. (Incidentally, only a couple of weeks ago Latham vowed to "oppose any Coalition plan to spend hundreds of millions of the federal budget surplus to phase out old-growth logging in Tasmania's forests." Now he wants to spend hundreds of millions to ... well, you know.)

Letís leave weeping Louise ("the Coalition is just warming up for a huge campaign against Labor on interest rates, taxes, industrial relations and now it seems, even conservation") and consider the views of angry Tasmanian Labor politicians:

Tasmanian Labor Premier Paul Lennon accused Mr Latham of a stunt to attract environment votes.

"Why? Because it's been determined that marginal seats in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and in South Australia demand it," Mr Lennon said. "So Tasmanian workers and their families and their livelihoods are today at risk for preferences in marginal seats across some states in mainland Australia."

Labor MP Dick Adams, who holds the Tasmanian seat of Lyons by a normally comfortable margin of 8.2per cent, warned that Mr Latham's policy could put local seats at risk.

He said the leader's commitment was "over-the-top" and played to marginal mainland electorates without considering the impact on workers who could not be compensated for the end of logging activity.

"I'm devastated," he said. "It sells us out down here."

Latham is a sell out. He's sold out on tariffs, he's sold out on trade, he's sold out on jobs. The danger he runs now is that in trying to appease Green voters for a first-up election victory, he risks destroying subsequent campaigns.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 5, 2004 05:41 AM

Don't you just love it when the greens start to educate a particular political party on why human activity is the scourge of the planet?

Posted by: JEM at October 5, 2004 at 07:14 AM

I dunno....30,000 clothing and footwear manufacturing jobs were deliberately flushed down the gurgler (with the assurance that they could retrain in IT) so you can buy Indian shirts that won't stay buttoned. Four hundred direct jobs in the old growth timber industry shouldn't raise a sweat for politicians used to such carnage.
There are more votes in forests than old growth logging ......get over it.

Posted by: TT at October 5, 2004 at 09:25 AM

Yeah, don't it suck when pollies sell out their constituents? Spare a thought too, for we small government, low tax, free market classical liberals in this election. Who the hell represents us? Howard is in many ways no better than Latham.

Posted by: fidens at October 5, 2004 at 09:33 AM

It is VERY interesting that the ANF (Australian Nurses Federation)which always uses its members fees to support the ALP, without recourse to members views and approval, and who are loud in their condemnation of the the Liberal Goverment almost without exception, are deafeningly SILENT on Marks Magic Medical Manifesto - something that has an enormous impact on the workloads of the nursing staff and work loads-Hmmmmmmmmmm!
A silenced member

Posted by: Rose at October 5, 2004 at 10:09 AM

Those filthy blue collar workers and their snotty kids. Why dont they just shut up and join the dole queue?

Posted by: Niobe at October 5, 2004 at 10:13 AM

Tasmania's forests, beloved of conservationists around the world, have become the latest political football tossed between the Coalition and Labor.

Technical question, isn't political football American, as least if you're going to toss it? Not to mention the spelling Labor .

The point of tossing a political football is lost on me here, as well. It seems more like a hot potato's area.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at October 5, 2004 at 10:29 AM

I live in Tasmania. I regularly enjoy recreation in both old and regrowth forests.

40% of the total land area of this state is already in reserves. That's the equivalent of locking up all of NSW west of Wagga. We agreed to do that after consulting with green groups and the Commonwealth in 1997.

And now Latham wants more. We are furious - and justifiably so.

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at October 5, 2004 at 11:14 AM

Mogadon Mark is a dead-set clone of Kerry.Sell out on jobs,the environment , trade unions.Welcome to the corporate state.What is needed is a re-invigoration of grassroots democracy.

Posted by: nels at October 5, 2004 at 12:13 PM

This signals that the Labor vote is in free collapse.
Latham's policy is meant to appease Labor/left wing voters that are drifting to the Greens and this is meant to stop the heamerroging, in the mean time Labor loses 5 seats in Tasmania, whilst the Coalition holds strongs and surges.
Latham is collapsing.
Labor will lose seats in Queensland, WA and Vic.
The Coalition will hold strong in NSW and not lose any.

Posted by: joe schmoe at October 5, 2004 at 12:15 PM

Correction to previous post Labor and Latham are in free fall collapse.

Posted by: klein at October 5, 2004 at 01:33 PM

Howard's answer when asked last night on Four Corners to sum up his opponentin one word: "inexperienced", says it all about Latham.

Posted by: Freddyboy at October 5, 2004 at 02:26 PM

Pig Head Sucker,
what's the feeling in the general public down there after Mr Latham's stealth visit? Has it changed many peoples minds on who they are going to vote for?

Posted by: Lofty at October 5, 2004 at 02:42 PM

I hope the Tasmanians have learned a sound lesson after they have settled Richard Butlers drink bill' and the bills he is reputed to have reneged on in some of Europes classiest hotels.
Labor for the workers was always a con and even more so now.
It is the smartest capitalist group in town.
You pays your union dues and they pays themselves humungous salaries - stay in the best hotels as thay travel round the world and country having talk fests at your expense.
Even the nursing union secretary gets paid the same salary as the Director of any of the biggest teaching hospitlas and they have not the skills for that job. When it come to needing them they are always too busy unless its going to be of a politcal advantage to their ideology and of course the higher the wages the greater the payment for virtually enforced membership- been there for 40 years and I would have been better of investing the money in the CBA -what I have contributed would not be worth about $1,000000 and I wouldn't need a job and injured back.

Posted by: Rose at October 5, 2004 at 03:20 PM