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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 9515

STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP THE COALITION AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Photo of Keating, Paul

Keating, Paul

Period of Service: 20/12/1991 to 11/03/1996

More information about Keating, Paul on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 21/03/1995

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 9515

PRIME NINWSTER
STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP
THE COALITION AND THE ENVIRONMENT
In selecting Senator Rod Kemp as Shadow Minister for the Environment,
John Howard has made a truly shocking appointment. Not only are Senator
Kemp's views completely hostile to a proper handling of this portfolio, it has
now unbelievably been relegated from the Shadow Cabinet.
But we should not be surprised. Mr Howard has again demonstrated the
Coalition's contempt for national environmental responsibilities and policy
making. Anyone concerned about the environment and casting a vote in New South
Wales or Canberra this Saturday, should bear in mind the full significance of
John Howard's appointment of Rod Kemp to this portfolio. It demonstrates a
disregard for this immensely important area of policy, and the Coalition
should be given the message that the community will not wear it.
As an interview in today's Australian confirms, Kemp is blindly opposed to
Australia signing up to international treaties. He regards the Commonwealth's
use of the external affairs power to make and use environmental treaties to
protect our environment as an abuse of the Constitution, and particularly of
the rights of States. He wants the States to have the right to veto Australia's
accession to international treaties.
The Federal Government's ability to protect our environment depends to an
enormous degree on the external affairs power and the international treaties
we have entered into. These include the World Heritage and Climate
Change Conventions, and the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species.
If John Howard and Rod Kemp had their way, those Federal protective
powers would be knocked aside. With .! rs around with the instincts of
Richard Court and John Fahey, the erivii rnental consequences would be
as devastating as they would have been for the Franklin, the Daintree and
the Tasmanian Forests in 1987, or the Great Barrier Reef under
Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

At that time, under Howard's leadership, the Coalition's environmental
oolicies hit rock-bottom. If he had won that election, he would have abolished
the Environment Department, handed over control of Kakadu and Uluru to the
Northern Territory, let the Franklin be dammed and logging go ahead in the
Lemonthyme and Southern Forests, and only nominated the Wet Tropic
rainforests for World Heritage listing if Queensland " approved". All
environmental decisions would have been left to the States.
Obviously, nothing has chan^.-.
The Coalition, under the Howard-Ker'n oolicy regime, is still wedded to
States' rights, at the expense of the national interest and proper
environmental protection policies.
CANBERRA 21 MARCH, 1995

Transcript 9515