Image for Rene (and other MPs) in the Lion’s Den. Burke must table Kelty report, says Senate

Beaconsfield Public Meeting. Four Politicians ‘Hear Your Concerns and Questions On Gunns Proposed Pulp Mill’. March 31st 2011

Mediator John Day, the ‘invisible man’ from Rowella is a little more visible these days, as he kicks off the meeting 10 minutes late.

About 250 people turned out to hear from Kerry Finch, Christine Milne, Kim Booth and Rene Hidding. Kim Booth has been smiling a lot lately, Kerry Finch is always good natured and civilised, Rene Hidding didn’t have much to be happy about, and Christine Milne seems to be carrying the environmental problems of the world like a saint carries redemption.

The elephant in this room was the Tasmanian Labor Party and their no show.

Mr Hidding had to defend both Labor and Liberal by virtue of him voting for the Pulp Mill Assessment Act. In theory the Greens are closer to Labor than Hidding, in practice they are still a minority. No wonder the community has been divided.

The questions came thick and fast from an enthusiastic and passionate audience.

This audience are experts in the mill and its negative impacts and they know it.

Chris Landon-Lane asked them all what is their economic strategy for Tasmania without a pulp mill? Kerry Finch saw the further development of tourism.

Milne and Booth saw a whole suit of innovation and quality products.

Rene Hidding only saw ‘4,500 jobs in the mill’. At this point all I could hear was shouting and derision that persisted for most of the meeting.

From there the meeting rode the wild bronco of politics, corruption, hypocrisy, lies, deception, betrayal and what amounts to the abuse and criminal negligence of human beings. I really can’t put it any other way.

Kerry Finch sleeps with a clear conscience. He supported the Hampshire option, but that’s history now. He voted against the PMAA.

Booth and Milne are already environmental heroes in Tasmania, but poor Mr Hidding? His answers became so confused and contradictory that he eventually threw in the towel.

You can’t convert people that you have harmed so deeply. He stopped answering questions when the derision reached a crescendo that overpowered the microphones. I know I have left out many well thought out questions to concentrate on the dynamics.

Afterwards some people caught Hidding before he could get to the door.

At least you showed up, they said.

He was given advice on how to win a ‘NSW style landslide’.

For some reason he didn’t seem interested.

Cartoon: Karl, HERE

Pictures by Garry Stannus ...

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Richard Colbeck:

Tony Burke must table Kelty report

Coalition Forestry spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck reminds Federal Forestry Minster Tony Burke that Bill Kelty’s Interim report into the Tasmanian Forest Industry negotiations must be tabled within 24 hours of delivery.  The report was handed to both State and Federal government’s yesterday.

The Senate passed a motion on 24 March 2011 requiring:

That there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (Senator Conroy) by 6 pm on Thursday, 24 March 2011, a copy of the interim report on the Tasmanian Forestry Negotiations prepared by Mr Bill Kelty, or if the Minister has not yet received the report, within 24 hours of receipt of the report from Mr Kelty.

“I call on Minister Burke to respect the interest of stakeholders and ensure that the interim report be tabled today

“It is only fair that Tasmanian have access to the content of a report that will influence the future direction to the Tasmanian forest industry and ultimately the Tasmanian economy” Said Senator Colbeck.