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Forest Carbon Emissions

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Tags: Forests, Native Forest Logging, Climate Change, Carbon Storage

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Ellis, I have said it before and I will say it again, you are an absolute fraud.  You did not listen to a single word Dr Woodruff read out - a climate scientist and epidemiologist.  You did not listen to a word.  You still believe in superheroes.  We heard that earlier.  And that confected, performative rubbish, Mr Speaker, really said so much about Mr Ellis.  His obsession with the Greens, with deriding us, he spends more time on his feet in here talking about the Greens than he does his own electorate of Braddon or any other subject.

Mr Ellis - You are trying to shut down jobs in my electorate.  I will not apologise for backing those jobs.

Ms O'CONNOR - The climate and the science could not care less about little Felix Ellis's performances in the Tasmanian parliament.  Facts are facts, science is science. 

Dr Woodruff read out an analysis of the science.  Dr Jen Sanger has laid out the methodology for an extremely robust examination of the facts around our native forest logging sector.  The fact is that it is the biggest emitter in Tasmania.  Yet we have this child, Mr Ellis, who until a short time ago was a plumber, who worked then in an electorate office and got elected by accident, lecturing a climate scientist. 

I do not have a degree so I am not pontificating about qualifications but the gall of Mr Ellis to come in here and pretend he knows more about the science of forests than Dr Jen Sanger or more about the climate than Dr Rosalie Woodruff, as well as 99 per cent of the world's climate scientists, is embarrassing for him.  I feel embarrassed for him, the arrogance, watching this performative, childish, unscientific behaviour, his posturing. 

Young people who understand the science, who want an end to native forest logging, would be watching a performance like that in despair.  This is the level of debate around climate issues when you have a scientist in this place lay out some facts, some evidence, and get that hysterical performance from Mr Ellis.  I am not saying it was hysterical because it was funny. 

I do not want to waste too much of my time responding to Mr Ellis because usually I find it best for my equanimity to just leave the Chamber when the verbal diarrhoea starts really flowing, but I could not let that arrogant childishness go unchallenged.

Just on where the future of the industry is, I might go back to a conversation that Mr Barnett and I had at the table about where the value is in forestry in this state.  Plantations, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, ABARES - not sure if this is an organisation that Mr Ellis has heard of - shows that in 2019 the value of hardwood plantation products in Tasmania massively outstripped the value of hardwood native products.  Hardwood plantation products, $229 million, compared to $66 million for products from native forests, remembering that every cent of that is heavily publicly subsidised. 

Anyone sensible about the future of forestry, including all those markets that ask for Forest Stewardship Certification on the timber products they buy, knows that the future of the industry is in plantations.  It is in a part of the forestry industry where companies like Forico, for example, are leading the way and being responsible climate citizens. 

We now have a paper that has been detailed in this House that lays bare that native forest logging, propped up by public subsidies, on this island is a climate -the biggest risk to the climate, on this island.  Then you have that puerile, sanctimonious, performative rubbish from the child in this room.  I just hope when he grows up he has the capacity to turn around and have a look at himself, and have a look at the children he was elected to represent, and do better by them. 

Do not diss science and scientists because you are trying to impress the Premier or anyone else in here because you want to be a minister, when you do not have the maturity to be a minister.  Science is science.  Dr Woodruff is a scientist.  At the very least, Mr Ellis might learn something if he just stopped to listen and stopped being such a complete idiot on matters of forestry.

Mr SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor, I will ask you to withdraw that comment.  It is unparliamentary.

Ms O'CONNOR - It's true; and I withdraw it.