HANDS up all those in favour of illegal logging. I can’t see any hands. Oh, there is a hand at the back of the room. “How do you define illegal logging? How would I know whether or not timber comes from illegal logging?”
These are good questions, but ones that don’t seem to concern the government, keen to press on with the Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2011, at the bidding of the Greens.
In its pursuit of the (unattainable) goal of eliminating illegal logging worldwide, the government risks the following:
• Our diplomatic relations with Indonesia, including our trading arrangements with that country.
• Alienating the local industry by making trade in illegal logging a crime, even though regulations are at least six months away.
• Violating the World Trade Organisation rules.
• Negating its commitment to lower “green tape”, hurting the Australian industry and increasing the price of locally produced timber.
And this abominable legislation is being overseen by a Trade Minister who ostensibly is committed to free trade. It is also ironic that the bill is being considered at the same time as senior Labor figures, including Paul Howes, are urging the Gillard government to cut its ties with the Greens.