Over the last decade or so Tasmanian forestry issues have emerged as the predictable wildcard in Australian federal politics. I say predictable because the issue is always there but tends to manifests itself in unpredictable ways.
At the last federal election unionists rallied for John Howard, a Liberal Prime Minister, when Mark Latham, the Labor challenger went ‘too green’ in his forestry policies. Neither political party released its forestry policy until the last week of the campaign. Then a few days out from the election, television images of blue-collar workers cheering John Howard at a rally in Launceston stole momentum from the Labor party in the final days of the campaign.
There is another federal election likely sometime before the end of the year and it initially appeared Tasmanian forestry would not be an issue. Both parties have similar policies including on a proposed pulp mill.
But a now former prime ministerial adviser has decided to very publicly attack the environment minister for apparently supporting the pulp mill.
Geoffrey Cousins says he will campaign against Malcolm Turnbull because he is appalled the Minister has fast-tracked the approval process for the proposed $2 billion Gunns pulp mill in northern Tasmania.
As far as I can tell the pulp mill has not been fast tracked. Rather the greens have thrown as many obstacles in the way as they can over many years, and every time one is lifted out of the way, someone is accused of being undemocratic or fast tracking approvals?
And who is Mr Cousins anyway. Why is the media making such a big deal out of his bully-boy tactics?
Previous posts on this issue include:
Tasmanian Pulp Mill assessment process vindicated by the Federal court http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/002209.html
Tasmanian Pulp Mill at Crossroads: A Note from Cinders