Browsing articles in "Interview Transcripts"
Jan 27, 2005

PM – Climate Change

PM – Climate Change

Thursday 27 January 2005

Environment Minister states that US is focused on reducing global warming; shadow minister disagrees with minister

TANYA NOLAN: The Federal Government has defended the actions of the Bush administration in tackling climate change.

British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has urged the United States to cooperate more with the rest of the world to slow the pace of global warming.

But Australia says it’s unfair to accuse the US of not being closely engaged with other nations in finding solutions to the environmental threat.

The debate’s been reignited as British researchers more than double current predictions on how far temperatures might rise.

Marie Scoutas has more.

MARIE SCOUTAS: At the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has warned if the international community’s going to succeed in tackling climate change, the United States needs to become more of a team player.

TONY BLAIR: If America wants the rest of the world to be part of the agenda it has set, it must be part of their agenda, too.

MARIE SCOUTAS: But the Federal Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, says the US is pulling its weight.

IAN CAMPBELL: I disagree with him to the extent that I think America is closely engaged. Clearly they haven’t signed up to the Kyoto Protocol and nor have Australia. We understand their reasons. I don’t think it’s fair to say the Americans are anything other than quite focused.

MARIE SCOUTAS: Senator Campbell is upbeat about global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

IAN CAMPBELL: I’m very sort of optimistic about the future. I think the technologies are there, the governments are focused and the world is working on a process of further meetings.

We’ll be having a ministerial meeting around the G8 in London in March and further meetings throughout the year, so I think the international efforts and our domestic efforts will lead to good outcomes beyond Kyoto.

MARIE SCOUTAS: The Shadow Environment Minister, Anthony Albanese, says that’s a convenient view.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  He clearly, and the Howard Government had got itself in a position where they’re isolated, along with the Bush administration, on the need to take global action on climate change.

You had Tony Blair’s speech today. Two days ago you had the release of the International Climate Change Taskforce Report that reported that the global community has less than a decade.

MARIE SCOUTAS: Further scientific evidence has been released today on just how dramatic the changes in climate might be.

A study by British researchers predicts temperatures could rise by between two and 11.5 degrees, more than doubling the range predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The study led by researchers at Oxford University drew on modelling by 95,000 computers around the world.

An Australian scientist who participated in the project, Dr Nick Hoffman from the University of Melbourne, says the findings should be taken seriously.

NICK HOFFMAN: The project is very credible because we’ve run these simulations. Now the exact model may not be perfect, but it’s shown us a wide range of outcomes. The model runs have shown us what the range of outcomes is. One of those outcomes is going to be what’s going to happen to the Earth, and most of the outcomes are not very pretty.

MARIE SCOUTAS: The British researchers say they’ll try and reduce that uncertainty by improving their computer models.

The broader issue of international political action is expected to be revisited by Mr Blair, given he’s vowed to use his leadership of the G8 group of nations and the European Union this year to push for more urgent action.

TANYA NOLAN: Marie Scoutas reporting.

 

Dec 6, 2004

AM – Kyoto Protocol

AM – Kyoto Protocol

Monday 6 December 2004

TONY EASTLEY: Pressure is building on Australia to embrace the Kyoto pollution protocols.

Parties to the Kyoto agreement are meeting in Buenos Aires, the first time that leaders have met since Russia ratified the treaty and the last before it comes into effect in 2005.

So far Australia and the United States have refused to ratify the deal.

The Federal Government says even though it won’t sign up, figures released today show that Australia is on track to meet the Kyoto greenhouse targets.

Environment Reporter Sarah Clarke.

SARAH CLARKE: Seven years after it was first discussed, the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gases is now just two months away from coming into effect.

Today, those countries who signed up will return to the table in Buenos Aires for the UN’s 10th convention on Climate change.

Crucial to this meeting will be taking the treaty to the next phase, negotiating a new round of international commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.

Australia never signed up but will attend the meeting. Representing the Federal Government is Environment Minister Ian Campbell.

IAN CAMPBELL: Kyoto was a start, it’s got the world focussed on it, but we are going to have to do a lot better if we’re to address climate change.

What we do need to do at the conference in Argentina is work out how is the world going to address the Beyond Kyoto task, and Australia will be deeply engaged in that.

SARAH CLARKE: The international campaign to cut back on emissions recently gained political momentum when Russia ratified the deal, making the treaty legally binding.

Under the deal, those countries who signed up will participate in the international carbon-trading market.

Green groups argue that Australia’s now locked out of this opportunity, but say it’s not too late to return to the negotiating table

Catherine Fitzpatrick is from Greenpeace. She too is attending the UN convention in Argentina.

CATHERINE FITZPATRICK: There’s enough evidence out there that in fact the Australian Government and Australian industry will lose out if they’re not part of Kyoto. If you’re not in the game you will have no influence over the second commitment period.

SARAH CLARKE: But Australia says while it’s not signing up, it is being a good global citizen.

New figures being released by the Government today show it’s on track to meet the targets anyway.

Environment Minister Ian Campbell.

IAN CAMPBELL: In the last accounting process that we did it showed we were on track to hit 110 per cent of our 1990 emissions within the Kyoto period, we’ve now reeled that back to 108 per cent.

SARAH CLARKE: But Labor says the Government’s missing the point – if it’s on track to meet the targets, why doesn’t it ratify the treaty and reap the financial rewards.

The Opposition’s Environment spokesman Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, this is a no brainer from the Government. They say they’re meeting the target, but in effect they’re locking themselves out of the economic opportunities that are available. It’s an absurd position that the Government’s got, it’s all about politics rather than good environmental policy and good economic policy.

TONY EASTLEY: Anthony Albanese, ending that report from Sarah Clarke.

 

Dec 6, 2004

AM – Kyoto Protocol

AM – Kyoto Protocol

Monday 6 December 2004

TONY EASTLEY: Pressure is building on Australia to embrace the Kyoto pollution protocols.

Parties to the Kyoto agreement are meeting in Buenos Aires, the first time that leaders have met since Russia ratified the treaty and the last before it comes into effect in 2005.

So far Australia and the United States have refused to ratify the deal.

The Federal Government says even though it won’t sign up, figures released today show that Australia is on track to meet the Kyoto greenhouse targets.

Environment Reporter Sarah Clarke.

SARAH CLARKE: Seven years after it was first discussed, the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gases is now just two months away from coming into effect.

Today, those countries who signed up will return to the table in Buenos Aires for the UN’s 10th convention on Climate change.

Crucial to this meeting will be taking the treaty to the next phase, negotiating a new round of international commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.

Australia never signed up but will attend the meeting. Representing the Federal Government is Environment Minister Ian Campbell.

IAN CAMPBELL: Kyoto was a start, it’s got the world focussed on it, but we are going to have to do a lot better if we’re to address climate change.

What we do need to do at the conference in Argentina is work out how is the world going to address the Beyond Kyoto task, and Australia will be deeply engaged in that.

SARAH CLARKE: The international campaign to cut back on emissions recently gained political momentum when Russia ratified the deal, making the treaty legally binding.

Under the deal, those countries who signed up will participate in the international carbon-trading market.

Green groups argue that Australia’s now locked out of this opportunity, but say it’s not too late to return to the negotiating table

Catherine Fitzpatrick is from Greenpeace. She too is attending the UN convention in Argentina.

CATHERINE FITZPATRICK: There’s enough evidence out there that in fact the Australian Government and Australian industry will lose out if they’re not part of Kyoto. If you’re not in the game you will have no influence over the second commitment period.

SARAH CLARKE: But Australia says while it’s not signing up, it is being a good global citizen.

New figures being released by the Government today show it’s on track to meet the targets anyway.

Environment Minister Ian Campbell.

IAN CAMPBELL: In the last accounting process that we did it showed we were on track to hit 110 per cent of our 1990 emissions within the Kyoto period, we’ve now reeled that back to 108 per cent.

SARAH CLARKE: But Labor says the Government’s missing the point – if it’s on track to meet the targets, why doesn’t it ratify the treaty and reap the financial rewards.

The Opposition’s Environment spokesman Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, this is a no brainer from the Government. They say they’re meeting the target, but in effect they’re locking themselves out of the economic opportunities that are available. It’s an absurd position that the Government’s got, it’s all about politics rather than good environmental policy and good economic policy.

TONY EASTLEY: Anthony Albanese, ending that report from Sarah Clarke.

 

Nov 19, 2004

PM – Albanese outlines ALP’s new principles for Tasmanian forests

PM – Albanese outlines ALP’s new principles for Tasmanian forests

Friday 19 November 2004

MARK COLVIN: There was bad blood in the lead-up to today’s Labor caucus meeting, with a Tasmanian MP calling the Environment spokesman a ‘mangy dog’.

But by the time the meeting was over, Labor was describing it as ‘constructive’ – and saying the party now had principles for a reinvigorated Tasmanian forests policy to take to the next federal election.

With accusations that the forestry policy was ‘electorally disastrous’, Labor wants to reshape its more radical aspects in favour of a platform that both protects the Tasmanian economy and the state’s rare ecosystems.

Toni Hassan reports.

TONI HASSAN: The Labor Party’s loss of two Tasmanian seats has been blamed on the party’s forests policy which involved a logging moratorium to save up to 240 thousand hectares of old-growth forests.

Labor’s newly-appointed environment spokesman Anthony Albanese says today’s caucus meeting affirmed Labor needs to convey its both pro jobs and the environment.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   What we’ve done is adopt a series of principles. Those principles go to ensuring that there’s a sustainable forestry industry plan for Tasmania, based on the use of plantation timber, selective use of native timber, value adding and downstream processing. That there’s no overall loss of jobs in the forestry industry and that they’ll be further protection of identified Tasmanian high-conservation value – old growth forests, rainforests and other eco-systems. It’s a position that has principles to benefit the Tasmanian economy. To benefit Tasmanian jobs, and to benefit the conservation outcomes for Tasmania.

TONI HASSAN: Is it an admission that the previous policy was too weighted in favour of the environment over the economy?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well I think that the previous policy certainly had in it no overall loss of jobs. It had an 800 million dollar commitment for a sustainable forestry industry plan. So those details I think though, were lost during the emotion of a federal election campaign. We’re adopting these principles. We will go out there, one of the issues that we want to campaign on, is to get away from the argument that it’s a choice between jobs or the environment. The truth is that bad forest practices of clear felling, of old growth forests and woodchipping being the driving force behind the industry rather than simply a bi-product of it, which was the original intention, mean also bad economic outcomes and bad employment outcomes.

TONI HASSAN: Now you admit that the detail was lost. Who’s fault was that, given that much of the policy was only known just days before the poll?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well I think there are things to be learnt from all of our practices and the election campaign. And part of the review and today, was doing that. We now have the principles there outlined clearly, three years before the next federal election. We look forward to holding the government accountable for its policies. It has said that it will protect 170 thousand hectares of Tasmanian forests. We await to see where those areas are exactly.

TONI HASSAN: Anthony Albanese says there was solidarity behind the leader Mark Latham, despite rumblings about his presidential campaign style and rough nut image in the electorate.

His message is that Labor is focussed on the environment with the party also agreeing today to re-affirm its commitment to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and increase flows for the Murray River.

One of loudest critics of Labor and its forest policy was its own member for Lyons, Dick Adams. Mr Adams had earlier described it as a grubby preference deal, out of touch with Tasmanians.

This evening, emerging from the discussion with party colleagues, Tasmanian Dick Adams is far more reconciliatory.

DICK ADAMS: What I was trying to do today was be positive and I spoke about where we should be and the difficulties of the Tasmanian situation, to make sure my caucus colleagues were well aware of the Tasmanian and the importance of forestry in the Tasmanian economy.

TONI HASSAN: Might you have thought they did before?

DICK ADAMS: Well, I don’t think they had that big an opportunity before. I mean, this is the first debate that we really had on a broader scale outside the committee structures on forestry, and I think it was a very good debate. It was very constructive. Everybody spoke with a sense of trying to achieve things, and that’s what it was about. And I think we did that, and we did it very well.

MARK COLVIN: The Labor Member for Lyons Dick Adams, ending Toni Hassan’s report.

 

Nov 19, 2004

PM – Albanese outlines ALP’s new principles for Tasmanian forests

PM – Albanese outlines ALP’s new principles for Tasmanian forests

Friday 19 November 2004

MARK COLVIN: There was bad blood in the lead-up to today’s Labor caucus meeting, with a Tasmanian MP calling the Environment spokesman a ‘mangy dog’.

But by the time the meeting was over, Labor was describing it as ‘constructive’ – and saying the party now had principles for a reinvigorated Tasmanian forests policy to take to the next federal election.

With accusations that the forestry policy was ‘electorally disastrous’, Labor wants to reshape its more radical aspects in favour of a platform that both protects the Tasmanian economy and the state’s rare ecosystems.

Toni Hassan reports.

TONI HASSAN: The Labor Party’s loss of two Tasmanian seats has been blamed on the party’s forests policy which involved a logging moratorium to save up to 240 thousand hectares of old-growth forests.

Labor’s newly-appointed environment spokesman Anthony Albanese says today’s caucus meeting affirmed Labor needs to convey its both pro jobs and the environment.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   What we’ve done is adopt a series of principles. Those principles go to ensuring that there’s a sustainable forestry industry plan for Tasmania, based on the use of plantation timber, selective use of native timber, value adding and downstream processing. That there’s no overall loss of jobs in the forestry industry and that they’ll be further protection of identified Tasmanian high-conservation value – old growth forests, rainforests and other eco-systems. It’s a position that has principles to benefit the Tasmanian economy. To benefit Tasmanian jobs, and to benefit the conservation outcomes for Tasmania.

TONI HASSAN: Is it an admission that the previous policy was too weighted in favour of the environment over the economy?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well I think that the previous policy certainly had in it no overall loss of jobs. It had an 800 million dollar commitment for a sustainable forestry industry plan. So those details I think though, were lost during the emotion of a federal election campaign. We’re adopting these principles. We will go out there, one of the issues that we want to campaign on, is to get away from the argument that it’s a choice between jobs or the environment. The truth is that bad forest practices of clear felling, of old growth forests and woodchipping being the driving force behind the industry rather than simply a bi-product of it, which was the original intention, mean also bad economic outcomes and bad employment outcomes.

TONI HASSAN: Now you admit that the detail was lost. Who’s fault was that, given that much of the policy was only known just days before the poll?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well I think there are things to be learnt from all of our practices and the election campaign. And part of the review and today, was doing that. We now have the principles there outlined clearly, three years before the next federal election. We look forward to holding the government accountable for its policies. It has said that it will protect 170 thousand hectares of Tasmanian forests. We await to see where those areas are exactly.

TONI HASSAN: Anthony Albanese says there was solidarity behind the leader Mark Latham, despite rumblings about his presidential campaign style and rough nut image in the electorate.

His message is that Labor is focussed on the environment with the party also agreeing today to re-affirm its commitment to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and increase flows for the Murray River.

One of loudest critics of Labor and its forest policy was its own member for Lyons, Dick Adams. Mr Adams had earlier described it as a grubby preference deal, out of touch with Tasmanians.

This evening, emerging from the discussion with party colleagues, Tasmanian Dick Adams is far more reconciliatory.

DICK ADAMS: What I was trying to do today was be positive and I spoke about where we should be and the difficulties of the Tasmanian situation, to make sure my caucus colleagues were well aware of the Tasmanian and the importance of forestry in the Tasmanian economy.

TONI HASSAN: Might you have thought they did before?

DICK ADAMS: Well, I don’t think they had that big an opportunity before. I mean, this is the first debate that we really had on a broader scale outside the committee structures on forestry, and I think it was a very good debate. It was very constructive. Everybody spoke with a sense of trying to achieve things, and that’s what it was about. And I think we did that, and we did it very well.

MARK COLVIN: The Labor Member for Lyons Dick Adams, ending Toni Hassan’s report.

 

Nov 14, 2004

Insiders Interview: Old Growth Forests

Insiders: Interview – Old Growth Forests

Sunday 14 November 2004

BARRIE CASSIDY: No campaign policy initiative excited more comment in retrospect than Labor’s move on old-growth forests.

Our guest this morning, Labor’s new environment spokesman, Anthony Albanese, visited the Styx Valley in Tasmania this week and declared afterwards that the principles underpinning Mark Latham’s policies were absolutely right.

Well, that drew an angry response from one of Labor’s remaining Tasmanian members, Dick Adams.

DICK ADAMS, MEMBER FOR LYONS, TAS (ALP) ON PM ABC RADIO: Well, I think it’s a bit like a mangy dog, you know, sneaking around, running into areas, into my electorate, and then making comments about it without talking to anybody.

I mean, I just find it extraordinary behaviour. Well, I’m serious about people who are insensitive in understanding that Labor has to be able to gain the trust of people in the outer states, and in regional areas, and without that trust, we won’t win government. And for people that don’t understand that, then probably, they need to be expelled from the party.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Well, Anthony Albanese joins me now. Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, SHADOW ENVIRONMENT MINISTER (ALP): Good morning, Barrie.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Well, Dick Adams had harsh some words to say there. You’ve walked into a minefield.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, I have no intention of engaging in a slanging match with Dick Adams or anyone else. That level of personal abuse, I think, betrays a lack of substance in the argument.

I went to Tasmania. I certainly didn’t sneak in. I met the Forestry Minister, Brian Green, I met the Environment Minister, Judy Jackson, I met the president of the party, David O’Byrne. I met the secretary of the party, I met other union officials, I met the heads of Unions Tasmania, I met conservation groups and I had a tour of the Styx Valley with the organisation Timber Workers for Forests.

So I don’t think I was sneaking around and I, certainly last time I looked, you didn’t need a visa to go to Tasmania. I was doing my job, I will continue to do my job.

But as for Dick’s expulsion motion, which he said he’ll move on Friday, well, I’ll leave that to the judgment of colleagues as to who’s been loyal to the Labor Party and who hasn’t.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Is it Dick Adams who’s looking for expulsion? Perhaps he thinks he would be better placed as independent of the Labor Party at the moment?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Look, I think the important thing here is that we get away from personalities.

What we’re talking about here, and one of the things about visiting a place like the Styx Valley, is that it is a humbling experience. As a member of Parliam ent, we’re in Parliament for a short time. These are trees that have been there, the tallest flowering trees in the world are in that valley and have been there for 400 and more years.

And what we need is good outcomes for jobs, good outcomes for the Tasmanian economy and good conservation outcomes.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But you said you went down there and you met Labor politicians, you met trade unionists. Did you meet any workers?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   I certainly did. I met artisans from Timber Workers for Forests. I met people such as Kevin Perkins. Kevin is a timber worker who has just put the pews and the timber panelling from Tasmania in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta. People like Kevin are concerned that their access to that resource will be restricted in future years and I certainly spoke to a number of timber workers while I was there and it was a first visit.

It is about opening up relationships. Certainly myself, I’ll be having a tour with Brian Green, the Forestry Minister, in December at his invitation.

Everyone I met down there was very constructive and I think it was a good first step.

BARRIE CASSIDY: You talk about a humbling experience going into the forests. It would be a humbling experience to sit down with some of these workers in their kitchens wouldn’t it, and talk about their livelihoods and the risk that a new policy confronts for them?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, that’s exactly right. What we need to do is to get the policy principles right and we need to get away from this idea that somehow it is a choice between jobs and the environment.

When you drive into Tasmania from the airport you see the logs there, on the Tasmanian wharf, intact, waiting to be shipped off to Korea. Now, that’s the exporting of Tasmania jobs. What we need to do, as a first principal that we’ve adopted, is to get away from this high volume, low-value way, that much of the industry is being conducted down there. It is unsustainable to have old-growth forests clear-felled, turned into wood chips, 70 per cent, and then just exported overseas.

What we need to do is make sure that we have value-adding, make sure we have downstream processing. The announcement by the Tasmania Government that they support the proposal for a mill, a pulp mill which would employ 1,500 people, which would only use plantation timber, which will be chlorine-free, is environmental best practice, but is an example as well that we need to move towards areas in the industry which are about genuine job creation.

What used to occur, just in 1990, there was one hectare harvested for every worker. Now, every worker, it is five hectares. Now, that means that there’s a loss of jobs. And the first principle, that value-adding, a forestry industry plan, a second principle that Labor’s adopted, is no overall loss of jobs in the industry.

But the third principle is also the protection of high-value conservation forests. I think those three principles can gain very broad support, and frankly, I think it is very difficult to disagree with any of those three principles that have been adopted by the shadow Cabinet that will go to the Caucus next Friday.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Yes, sure, but the problem is that when you say that you can save old-growth forests but there will be no net loss of jobs, nobody is going to believe that.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, what they know in Tasmania is there have been losses of jobs, have been occurring, and commonsense tells you, that if you just move in and clear-fell a natural resource, someone said to me the other day, "Oh, they grow back, these trees." Well, you’re talking about trees that are 400 and plus years-old.

When you talk about a tree like celery-top, which is used as specialty timber, used for boat building and furniture. That has to be 250-years-old before it can be used.

So, we need to make sure that we have sustainable practices that have that value-adding, that don’t simply export jobs overseas. You see, wood chips was supposed to be a by-product of the industry, not the driver of it. So if it is turned around, so value-adding, you can have good employment outcomes.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Is this the situation now then, that shadow Cabinet has taken a decision that you’ll stick with the principles but now you give Caucus a say and they have say on the detail?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   No, the principles will go to the Caucus on Friday. We lost the election, Barrie, so therefore the detail of our policy can’t be implemented. We had a plan for a scientific evaluation to report by September next year. So that isn’t going to occur.

But what we will be basing it upon, the pressure is on the Government now. The Government has said it will save 170,000 hectares. It said it would come up with the plan by December 1. Now, the Tasmanian, the Federal Government ministers were down there the week before asking to look at maps of what the areas are that should be saved. Now, they’ll have to come up with that plan by December 1.

What we need to do, though, is to campaign on the principles. I think that most Australians would find it abhorrent that we export wood chips, which return a value of $12 a tonne to the people of Tasmania, from old-growth forests. That is not a sustainable situation.

BARRIE CASSIDY: When you talk about the principles though, and the details are yet to be worked out. Does that mean that you might retreat from that position about saving 240,000 hectares, the figure you come up with into the future might be less than that?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, in three years time the situation may well be different in Tasmania. What we’re seeing is logging going on right now. There are 20,000 hectares of native forests being logged, clear-felled every year.

BARRIE CASSIDY: So that commitment no longer stands? The 240,000 figure is no longer relevant?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, with regard to the detail, certainly it is not irrelevant. It is a factor. But what we’re doing is sitting down, talking with the Tasmanian Government, talking with the unions, talking with conservation groups, in order to achieve – but around those three principles.

We don’t want to go back to the drawing board and say, "Ah, well, we lost the election we now support clear-felling." That would be absurd position.

I think those three principles of an industry plan, maintenance of jobs and a good conservation outcome, not just in the interests of Tasmania but in the interests of Australia, is what we need to move forward with.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Well, maybe in retrospect, you should’ve gone into the election campaign with principles and not the detail. You know that these regional forestry agreements take many, many months and negotiations to draw up and Labor rewrote it in the last week of an election campaign.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Look, we will certainly be going into the next election campaign with detail as well. It is very difficult to cop from the media criticism that we had too much detail out there. We put forward a proposition during the election campaign in this area and across a range of areas, but we now don’t have an obligation three weeks before the new Parliament’s even sat to come up with the detail of our proposal.

And what we want to do, and certainly there’s some legitimate criticism about the campaign, and Mark’s gone to Tasmania and spoken at the Tasmanian state conference and said that the timing could’ve been better, the consultation could’ve been better. And he’s fessed up and accepted responsibility for that. But now it is time to move forward.

It is time to move forward, though, on the basis of a principle position and that’s what Labor will be doing. Not just in this area but across a range of areas. In my portfolio, the shadow Cabinet also endorsed the principles behind our position of increasing water flows to the Murray, of protecting the Great Barrier Reef, of the buy-back in Daintree and Cape York, and, perhaps most importantly, the principle of taking action on climate change. Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Well, we may go into those topics another day when we have more time, but thanks for your time this morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Thanks Barrie, good talking to you.

 

 

Nov 14, 2004

Insiders Interview: Old Growth Forests

Insiders: Interview – Old Growth Forests

Sunday 14 November 2004

BARRIE CASSIDY: No campaign policy initiative excited more comment in retrospect than Labor’s move on old-growth forests.

Our guest this morning, Labor’s new environment spokesman, Anthony Albanese, visited the Styx Valley in Tasmania this week and declared afterwards that the principles underpinning Mark Latham’s policies were absolutely right.

Well, that drew an angry response from one of Labor’s remaining Tasmanian members, Dick Adams.

DICK ADAMS, MEMBER FOR LYONS, TAS (ALP) ON PM ABC RADIO: Well, I think it’s a bit like a mangy dog, you know, sneaking around, running into areas, into my electorate, and then making comments about it without talking to anybody.

I mean, I just find it extraordinary behaviour. Well, I’m serious about people who are insensitive in understanding that Labor has to be able to gain the trust of people in the outer states, and in regional areas, and without that trust, we won’t win government. And for people that don’t understand that, then probably, they need to be expelled from the party.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Well, Anthony Albanese joins me now. Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, SHADOW ENVIRONMENT MINISTER (ALP): Good morning, Barrie.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Well, Dick Adams had harsh some words to say there. You’ve walked into a minefield.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, I have no intention of engaging in a slanging match with Dick Adams or anyone else. That level of personal abuse, I think, betrays a lack of substance in the argument.

I went to Tasmania. I certainly didn’t sneak in. I met the Forestry Minister, Brian Green, I met the Environment Minister, Judy Jackson, I met the president of the party, David O’Byrne. I met the secretary of the party, I met other union officials, I met the heads of Unions Tasmania, I met conservation groups and I had a tour of the Styx Valley with the organisation Timber Workers for Forests.

So I don’t think I was sneaking around and I, certainly last time I looked, you didn’t need a visa to go to Tasmania. I was doing my job, I will continue to do my job.

But as for Dick’s expulsion motion, which he said he’ll move on Friday, well, I’ll leave that to the judgment of colleagues as to who’s been loyal to the Labor Party and who hasn’t.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Is it Dick Adams who’s looking for expulsion? Perhaps he thinks he would be better placed as independent of the Labor Party at the moment?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Look, I think the important thing here is that we get away from personalities.

What we’re talking about here, and one of the things about visiting a place like the Styx Valley, is that it is a humbling experience. As a member of Parliam ent, we’re in Parliament for a short time. These are trees that have been there, the tallest flowering trees in the world are in that valley and have been there for 400 and more years.

And what we need is good outcomes for jobs, good outcomes for the Tasmanian economy and good conservation outcomes.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But you said you went down there and you met Labor politicians, you met trade unionists. Did you meet any workers?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   I certainly did. I met artisans from Timber Workers for Forests. I met people such as Kevin Perkins. Kevin is a timber worker who has just put the pews and the timber panelling from Tasmania in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta. People like Kevin are concerned that their access to that resource will be restricted in future years and I certainly spoke to a number of timber workers while I was there and it was a first visit.

It is about opening up relationships. Certainly myself, I’ll be having a tour with Brian Green, the Forestry Minister, in December at his invitation.

Everyone I met down there was very constructive and I think it was a good first step.

BARRIE CASSIDY: You talk about a humbling experience going into the forests. It would be a humbling experience to sit down with some of these workers in their kitchens wouldn’t it, and talk about their livelihoods and the risk that a new policy confronts for them?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, that’s exactly right. What we need to do is to get the policy principles right and we need to get away from this idea that somehow it is a choice between jobs and the environment.

When you drive into Tasmania from the airport you see the logs there, on the Tasmanian wharf, intact, waiting to be shipped off to Korea. Now, that’s the exporting of Tasmania jobs. What we need to do, as a first principal that we’ve adopted, is to get away from this high volume, low-value way, that much of the industry is being conducted down there. It is unsustainable to have old-growth forests clear-felled, turned into wood chips, 70 per cent, and then just exported overseas.

What we need to do is make sure that we have value-adding, make sure we have downstream processing. The announcement by the Tasmania Government that they support the proposal for a mill, a pulp mill which would employ 1,500 people, which would only use plantation timber, which will be chlorine-free, is environmental best practice, but is an example as well that we need to move towards areas in the industry which are about genuine job creation.

What used to occur, just in 1990, there was one hectare harvested for every worker. Now, every worker, it is five hectares. Now, that means that there’s a loss of jobs. And the first principle, that value-adding, a forestry industry plan, a second principle that Labor’s adopted, is no overall loss of jobs in the industry.

But the third principle is also the protection of high-value conservation forests. I think those three principles can gain very broad support, and frankly, I think it is very difficult to disagree with any of those three principles that have been adopted by the shadow Cabinet that will go to the Caucus next Friday.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Yes, sure, but the problem is that when you say that you can save old-growth forests but there will be no net loss of jobs, nobody is going to believe that.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, what they know in Tasmania is there have been losses of jobs, have been occurring, and commonsense tells you, that if you just move in and clear-fell a natural resource, someone said to me the other day, "Oh, they grow back, these trees." Well, you’re talking about trees that are 400 and plus years-old.

When you talk about a tree like celery-top, which is used as specialty timber, used for boat building and furniture. That has to be 250-years-old before it can be used.

So, we need to make sure that we have sustainable practices that have that value-adding, that don’t simply export jobs overseas. You see, wood chips was supposed to be a by-product of the industry, not the driver of it. So if it is turned around, so value-adding, you can have good employment outcomes.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Is this the situation now then, that shadow Cabinet has taken a decision that you’ll stick with the principles but now you give Caucus a say and they have say on the detail?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   No, the principles will go to the Caucus on Friday. We lost the election, Barrie, so therefore the detail of our policy can’t be implemented. We had a plan for a scientific evaluation to report by September next year. So that isn’t going to occur.

But what we will be basing it upon, the pressure is on the Government now. The Government has said it will save 170,000 hectares. It said it would come up with the plan by December 1. Now, the Tasmanian, the Federal Government ministers were down there the week before asking to look at maps of what the areas are that should be saved. Now, they’ll have to come up with that plan by December 1.

What we need to do, though, is to campaign on the principles. I think that most Australians would find it abhorrent that we export wood chips, which return a value of $12 a tonne to the people of Tasmania, from old-growth forests. That is not a sustainable situation.

BARRIE CASSIDY: When you talk about the principles though, and the details are yet to be worked out. Does that mean that you might retreat from that position about saving 240,000 hectares, the figure you come up with into the future might be less than that?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, in three years time the situation may well be different in Tasmania. What we’re seeing is logging going on right now. There are 20,000 hectares of native forests being logged, clear-felled every year.

BARRIE CASSIDY: So that commitment no longer stands? The 240,000 figure is no longer relevant?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, with regard to the detail, certainly it is not irrelevant. It is a factor. But what we’re doing is sitting down, talking with the Tasmanian Government, talking with the unions, talking with conservation groups, in order to achieve – but around those three principles.

We don’t want to go back to the drawing board and say, "Ah, well, we lost the election we now support clear-felling." That would be absurd position.

I think those three principles of an industry plan, maintenance of jobs and a good conservation outcome, not just in the interests of Tasmania but in the interests of Australia, is what we need to move forward with.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Well, maybe in retrospect, you should’ve gone into the election campaign with principles and not the detail. You know that these regional forestry agreements take many, many months and negotiations to draw up and Labor rewrote it in the last week of an election campaign.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Look, we will certainly be going into the next election campaign with detail as well. It is very difficult to cop from the media criticism that we had too much detail out there. We put forward a proposition during the election campaign in this area and across a range of areas, but we now don’t have an obligation three weeks before the new Parliament’s even sat to come up with the detail of our proposal.

And what we want to do, and certainly there’s some legitimate criticism about the campaign, and Mark’s gone to Tasmania and spoken at the Tasmanian state conference and said that the timing could’ve been better, the consultation could’ve been better. And he’s fessed up and accepted responsibility for that. But now it is time to move forward.

It is time to move forward, though, on the basis of a principle position and that’s what Labor will be doing. Not just in this area but across a range of areas. In my portfolio, the shadow Cabinet also endorsed the principles behind our position of increasing water flows to the Murray, of protecting the Great Barrier Reef, of the buy-back in Daintree and Cape York, and, perhaps most importantly, the principle of taking action on climate change. Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Well, we may go into those topics another day when we have more time, but thanks for your time this morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Thanks Barrie, good talking to you.

 

 

Nov 12, 2004

AM – Albanese supports ALP policy to secure old growth forests in Tasmania

AM – Albanese supports ALP policy to secure old growth forests in Tasmania

Friday 12 November 2004

TONY EASTLEY: Labor’s new environment spokesman is adamant that he’s not in favour of tossing out Labor’s forests policy, even though it proved so unpopular in the election campaign. Anthony Albanese says his recent visit to the Styx Valley in Tasmania was an emotional one.

He says the principles underpinning Labor’s policy are not up for grabs – that’s despite critics insisting that the policy will be reviewed and Mark Latham conceding that the protest against his forest policy cost Labor two seats in Tasmania.

Mr Albanese spoke to our reporter, Alexandra Kirk, about his visit.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Clear felling of old growth forests is environmental vandalism, and I don’t think that anyone who could stand in the rainforest and then stand amongst this devastation could argue that it makes any sense for this generation, let alone for future generations.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: So did Mark Latham get it right then on forests?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   I think Mark Latham got the principles absolutely right. There’s no doubt that one of the sad things about the way that the misinformation was conducted in campaign was that some of the detail was lost.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: So, will Labor stick to its election promise of protecting as much of 240,000 hectares of Tasmania’s old growth forests?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, certainly Labor – in terms of the principles it will have – we’re committed to the sustainable development of the forests industry, we’re committed to no overall loss of jobs in the forest industry, and we’re committed to the protection of Tasmania’s high conservation value forests.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: So, do you recommend some of your Labor colleagues and some more government ministers visit the big old trees in the Styx Valley?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, if Bill Heffernan can be converted, then anything’s possible. These are some of the most precious natural resources on earth, and we simply can’t allow the sort of approach, which is clear felling, wood chipping and exporting doesn’t make economic sense either. We need to get this right.

TONY EASTLEY: Labor’s environment spokesman, Anthony Albanese, speaking there with Alexandra Kirk.

Nov 12, 2004

AM – Albanese supports ALP policy to secure old growth forests in Tasmania

AM – Albanese supports ALP policy to secure old growth forests in Tasmania

Friday 12 November 2004

TONY EASTLEY: Labor’s new environment spokesman is adamant that he’s not in favour of tossing out Labor’s forests policy, even though it proved so unpopular in the election campaign. Anthony Albanese says his recent visit to the Styx Valley in Tasmania was an emotional one.

He says the principles underpinning Labor’s policy are not up for grabs – that’s despite critics insisting that the policy will be reviewed and Mark Latham conceding that the protest against his forest policy cost Labor two seats in Tasmania.

Mr Albanese spoke to our reporter, Alexandra Kirk, about his visit.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Clear felling of old growth forests is environmental vandalism, and I don’t think that anyone who could stand in the rainforest and then stand amongst this devastation could argue that it makes any sense for this generation, let alone for future generations.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: So did Mark Latham get it right then on forests?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   I think Mark Latham got the principles absolutely right. There’s no doubt that one of the sad things about the way that the misinformation was conducted in campaign was that some of the detail was lost.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: So, will Labor stick to its election promise of protecting as much of 240,000 hectares of Tasmania’s old growth forests?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, certainly Labor – in terms of the principles it will have – we’re committed to the sustainable development of the forests industry, we’re committed to no overall loss of jobs in the forest industry, and we’re committed to the protection of Tasmania’s high conservation value forests.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: So, do you recommend some of your Labor colleagues and some more government ministers visit the big old trees in the Styx Valley?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well, if Bill Heffernan can be converted, then anything’s possible. These are some of the most precious natural resources on earth, and we simply can’t allow the sort of approach, which is clear felling, wood chipping and exporting doesn’t make economic sense either. We need to get this right.

TONY EASTLEY: Labor’s environment spokesman, Anthony Albanese, speaking there with Alexandra Kirk.

Nov 12, 2004

PM – ALP Member criticises Albanese’s comments on clear-felling of Tasmanian old

PM – ALP Member criticises Albanese’s comments on clear-felling of Tasmanian old-growth forests

Friday 12 November 2004

PETER CAVE: Federal Labor backbencher Dick Adams says the Party’s Environment Spokesman Anthony Albanese has acted like mangy dog. Yes it’s another slanging match over Labor’s controversial forestry policy in Tasmania.

The Environment Spokesman, Anthony Albanese, visited the Styx Valley in Tasmania this week, and has declared the principles underpinning Mark Latham’s policy were "absolutely right" and not up for grabs in Labor’s post election review.

But the Federal backbencher Dick Adams has taken issue with Mr Albanese’s visit and comments, calling him a "mangy dog" for sneaking in and out of Mr Adams’ home state without telling him.

And Dick Adams says he’ll be seeking to have Mr Albanese thrown out of the ALP for the way he’s conducted himself.

Alexandra Kirk reports from Canberra.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: This week Labor’s Environment Spokesman, Anthony Albanese, followed in the footsteps of the Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell, going to see the tall old trees of the Styx Valley in Tasmania.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   Well it’s a very moving experience walking amongst these giants. The Styx Valley has the world’s tallest hardwood trees on Earth, 80 metre tall eucalyptus regnans that are 15 metres and more in girth and then quite an emotional experience to see just down the road one of the coupes where clear felling has occurred.

Clear felling of old growth forests is environmental vandalism.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: That was enough to make the local Federal Labor MP Dick Adams see red.

DICK ADAMS: Well I think it’s a bit like a mangy dog, you know sneaking around, running into areas, into my electorate and then making comments about it without talking to anybody. I mean I just find it extraordinary behaviour.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Anthony Albanese has echoed the sentiment of his leader Mark Latham, saying Labor’s committed to sustainable development of the timber industry, no overall job losses, and protecting Tasmania’s high conservation value forests.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   I think Mark Latham got the principles absolutely right.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But having seen two of his colleagues lose their seats, Dick Adams wants his party to go back to the drawing board on forests.

DICK ADAMS: I think trying to hold onto the one that’s cost us so much pain, I think is really, really dumb.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Your leader, Mark Latham, when he was in Tasmania a couple of weeks ago said that it was the protest that was against the policy that cost Labor two seats, rather than the policy itself.

DICK ADAMS: Hmm.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: You don’t agree with that?

DICK ADAMS: I think somebody is still in denial with that sort of comment.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Styx Valley forest is in Dick Adams’ electorate. Dick Adams says he’s infuriated his frontbench colleague went to Tasmania without telling either the state government or him.

In fact, Anthony Albanese met two State ministers and State party officials.

In any case, Dick Adams says he thinks Anthony Albanese should be expelled and is threatening to challenge his right to remain in the party for quote "a gross departure from party solidarity at a time of review and reflection", unquote.

DICK ADAMS: His insensitivity, the words that he used as describing Tasmanians as being vandals, economically and environmentally, I think are very wrong and after we’d lost the Federal election because of the forest policy that we had and with him trying to continue to promote it, I think this shows an insensitivity towards the Tasmanian people and the Tasmanian electorate generally.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Labor’s Caucus is meeting in Canberra next Friday to have its election post mortem examination – which policies MPs think should be ditched, re-jigged or retained. And that’s when Dick Adams says he’ll move against Mr Albanese.

DICK ADAMS: Well I’m serious about people who are insensitive in understanding that Labor has to be able to gain the trust of people in the outer States and in regional areas and without that trust we won’t win government. And for people that don’t understand that then probably they need to be expelled from the party.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But Labor insiders point out Mr Albanese has done nothing more than follow Mark Latham’s lead on forests, which was endorsed by the Shadow Cabinet last week.

And the environment frontbencher says he won’t be going another round with Dick Adams.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:   I have no intention of engaging in a personal slanging match with Dick Adams. In my experience, people who engage in offensive vitriol and name-calling do so because they have no argument of substance to rely upon.

PETER CAVE: Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese.

 

Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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