Wednesday, 5th March 2014


Tony Abbott has re-affirmed his commitment to delisting 74,000 hectares of World Heritage forest in Tasmania, explaining his position in these terms: "We have quite enough national parks. We have quite enough locked up forests already. In fact, in an important respect, we have too much locked up forest."

Set the forests free, in other words, so that they may be logged.

"It's still going to leave half of Tasmania protected forever," he added. He was fudging the figures a little – the figure is closer to 45% of the state, and "forever" is a long time – but the point of his statement was to send a signal that he and his party are on the side of the timber industry (and against environmentalists).

The degree to which Tasmania's forests are adequately protected has been, of course, the source of long-running and damaging disputes, which had only just ceased with the signing of the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement. 

The Coalition's aim to contest the World Heritage listing threatens to reignite Tasmania's forest wars. Given the logging of the area in question would have no measurable impact on the viability of the timber industry as a whole, Abbott's aggressive stance on the issue may be seen as symbolic, in the context of the upcoming state election. The Liberal party wants to wipe the Greens off the map, and Tasmania's forests are fair game.

Nick Feik
Politicoz Editor

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Parliament to probe Manus Island riot

"Asylum seekers will be invited to give their witness accounts of the recent deadly violence on Manus Island to a parliamentary committee that will free public servants and contractors from confidentiality clauses in their employment contracts. Having persuaded the Labor Party to back the inquiry, Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young will push for it to conduct hearings inside the Australian-run detention centre."

AlsoManus Island document mentions 14 alleged unaccompanied minors  (Guardian)

Coalition and Qantas at war

"The federal government rejected ­Qantas Airways’ bid for direct assistance based on advice from two investment banks, the federal Treasury, the Department of Infrastructure and accounting firm PwC, sources said. The company had asked for a guarantee on all new debt or a $3 billion unsecured loan facility. The loan would have been for one year or until the ­foreign ownership and other restrictions in the Qantas Sale Act could be repealed."

AlsoPolling - Don't just abandon Qantas to the market (The Drum)

AndDoes Qantas sale spell the end for an airline Australians own and operate? (Lenore Taylor, Guardian)

Abbott tells timber industry that too many forests are 'locked up'

"The Government has formally asked the World Heritage Committee to delist 74,000 hectares - a position Mr Abbott reaffirmed last night... "We have quite enough national parks. We have quite enough locked up forests already. In fact, in an important respect, we have too much locked up forest."" 

Why the Coalition won't win on climate

"Apart from a few desultory reports in the ABC, Fairfax and the Guardian, the Climate Change Authority’s report was largely ignored by the media. Greg Hunt didn’t exactly pull out all stops either. Normally ministers like to organise media stunts for this sort of thing, perhaps getting some friendly vision of the printed report being handed over the minister’s desk. Hunt didn’t even bother to schedule a media conference."

Talk of job losses doesn't pay any attention to job gains

"I can always tell when people are getting anxious about unemployment - including their own. It's when a journalist thinks they'll be increasing the sum of human knowledge by adding up the number of redundancies announced in recent weeks... We're told about the big job losses but not the small losses and almost nothing about the job gains, big or small. "

AlsoThose scary DSP numbers aren't so scary after all (Greg Jericho, The Drum)

BREAKING: National accounts figures released (The Australian)