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Forestry Bill Gagged

Kim Booth

Kim Booth  -  Thursday, 5 June 2014

Tags: Native Forest Logging, Legislation

The Hodgman Liberal government has been accused of running and hiding from proper parliamentary scrutiny following its shock decision to gag debate on their contentious Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry Bill) 2014 through the House of Assembly.

“Tasmanians be warned. The first time this Liberal majority government has to contend with concerted scrutiny over a major contentious piece of legislation, they resort to running, hiding and shutting down debate,” Mr Booth said.

“Limiting debate on a 128 page Bill to under three hours now it has got to the Committee stages is a clear move to shut down detailed scrutiny, and is a disgraceful snub to parliamentary practice.”

“The insulting limit of three hours for the remaining debate, would provide each Member of the House barely 7.5 minutes in which to discuss the detail of this 128 page bill, or attempt to move amendments, which is a basic and fundamental right of any legislator.”

“The government knows full well that the initial second reading speech stage of debate on legislation provides the opportunity for Members to place their position and queries on the record.  It is not when amendments are proposed or debated.”

“It is deliberately misleading to claim that this extraordinary piece of legislation which seeks to tear up forest protection has been debated for ‘days’, when the government knows full well that the detailed questioning and deliberation of potential amendments occurs during the Committee stage, which they have now gagged to a mere three hours.”

“Welcome to the ugly, gagged and undemocratic brave new world of Liberal majority government.”

“In Tasmania today, World Environment Day is a day of mourning, when the Parliament is denied the opportunity to properly and fully examine critical legislation which seeks to undo reserve protection of over 400, 000 hectares and turn them over to the loggers,” Mr Booth said.