According to Caroline Overington from The Australian, political aspirant Geoffrey Cousins’ inspiration is attributed to The Monthly’s Out of Control – The tragedy of Tasmania’s forests, by Richard Flanagan.
It is certainly a powerful lot of words that draw heavily on reader-environmentalism. Reference to Tasmania mortgaging its future to the woodchipping industry, reminded me of a contrary allegation from the Prime Minister in 2005, who described his offence to the idea that the extreme greens have a mortgage on concern and compassion for the forests or for the environment of this country.
No doubt there is as much cynicism from both sides of the debate, but in this mounting electoral issue: of national conservation significance versus state economic opportunity, Australia will be further divided unless political integrity prevails.
In matters such as these there is no doubt that corruption represents the greatest obstacle to the achievement of political propriety. Whether the iconic forests of Tasmania are quarantined from logging or their availability for woodchipping is secured, federal and state intervention is vulnerable to corruption without:
• the effective integration of economic and environmental considerations;
• maintaining or enhancing the productivity of environmental assets, as well as their health and diversity,
• ensuring that environmental actions are cost-effective and not disproportionate to the significance of identified problems, and
• ensuring that consumer pricing is consistent with the full life cycle costs of providing environmental goods and services.