In a display of weak-kneed distancing, Premier Will Hodgman has ducked announcing new laws against environmental protests in Tasmania.
Instead, on this Australia Day holiday, a junior minister will make the announcement, overseen by the big end of town.
Former Senator and Leader of the Greens, Bob Brown, with Jessica Hoyt, took a successful challenge to the High Court against Hodgman and the Tasmanian parliament’s earlier, illegal, attempt to prohibit peaceful environmental protest.
“This is the big end of town, with Premier Hodgman as puppet, having a second go even though Tasmania is having its most protest-free period in decades. The Premier putting a junior minister in charge on a holiday shows he does not have his heart in it. There are adequate laws in Tasmania to stop untoward protests but the big resource extraction industries want more than our democracy or public opinion will allow. They are losing arguments for destroying more wild and scenic places like the Tarkine and for blighting the jobs that go with Tasmania’s environmental and Indigenous heritage,” Brown said today.
A five months-long protest continuing in the Tarkine forest, supported by the Bob Brown Foundation, has successfully protected the Sumac rainforests and wildlife all this summer with no need for intervention.
“For every job in logging there is more than a dozen in tourism and hospitality in modern Tasmania, and that imbalance is growing. The big end of town sheds crocodile tears about jobs but really wants more publicly-subsidised profiteering at the expense of Tasmania’s wilderness and natural beauty. It is time we had a premier who stood up for modern Tasmania rather than this coterie of self-interested job-shedding exploiters. Hodgman’s absence today is pathetic,” Brown said.