Turnbull seeks to silence environmental critics

Reports this morning that Mr Turnbull will seek to revive Mr Abbott’s vendetta against environmental groups should be deeply worrying for anyone who cares about the environment or access to justice.

THE HON TONY BURKE MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR WATSON

 

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

TURNBULL SEEKS TO SILENCE ENVIRONMENTAL CRITICS

Reports this morning that Mr Turnbull will seek to revive Mr Abbott’s vendetta against environmental groups should be deeply worrying for anyone who cares about the environment or access to justice.

Malcolm Turnbull is now such a desperate leader that he is repeating Tony Abbott’s mistakes.

Labor does not support any changes to the Environmental Protections and Biodiversity Conservation Act that would remove Australians’ rights to challenge project approvals which could do damage to our environment.

If all Government decisions were lawful, it would not need to fear them being overturned in court.

The Turnbull Government’s assertion that only people directly affected should be able to challenge environmental law is absurd. All Australians are directly affected by the environment around them and by projects which potentially harm that environment. Even the Howard Government understood when it introduced this Act that every Australian is allowed to care about the future of the Great Barrier Reef, and every Australian is allowed to care if we are losing a native species.

For 15 years both Labor and Liberal governments have handled approvals under the current system without issue.

Labor has a proud and solid environmental record.

It was Labor who initiated the protection of the Great Barrier Reef during the Whitlam Government. It was the Hawke and Keating Governments that protected the Franklin River, the Daintree Rainforest, Antarctica and extended Kakadu National Park.

The most recent Labor government ended 30 years of conflict over Tasmania’s forests and 120 years of disagreement over the Murray Darling Basin. It also put in place the world’s largest network of marine reserves.

The Liberal Government has repeatedly shown that it has little interest in Australia’s environment and wants to silence anyone who disagrees with it on major environmental issues. That includes defunding Environmental Defenders’ Offices around the country.

This is another battle in the Liberal Government’s long running war on environmental and community groups. Labor stands with communities and groups who have held governments of all colours to account for their environmental policies for decades and whose work ensures there is an environment for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.


TUESDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2016