Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2701 ..

MS HORODNY (continuing):

and the eight other activists -

that it is to go ahead with a new natural gas project there is the case that proves the point.

My amendment also calls on the Minister for Urban Services to make available alternative fuelling arrangements for ACT Fleet vehicles, and Mr De Domenico has just said that he is quite happy to do that.

The Greens have been working on this issue for some time now, and I have consulted with a variety of community groups, including Amnesty International, Community Aid Abroad, the United Nations Association, the Trades and Labour Council, Greenpeace and the Young Christian Workers, as well as the Tasmanian and Western Australian Greens. This process has revealed very strong local and national community outrage over the flagrant abuse of human rights. It is vital for this Government, on behalf of what I hope will be a unanimous Assembly, to convey to both the Nigerian High Commission and directly to the Nigerian military Government the ACT's abhorrence at Nigeria's gross breach of human rights.

Like other politicians around the country, I presume, I received my propaganda kit from Shell. In this literature, Shell says a lot about what they have done for Nigeria and the Ogoni people in particular, but they never disclose how much money they have reaped from Nigeria in the several decades they have been in that country, except to say that at one time over 108,000 barrels of oil were being produced each day; nor does Shell talk about how they deal with oil spills, which have amounted to over 3,000 in the last couple of decades. The predominant reason for these spills has been a lack of investment in adequate infrastructure, and this amounts to no less than environmental vandalism. The best Shell can do in its information booklets is to place most of the blame for this environmental disaster on political unrest, in which the company claims to play no part.

Mr Speaker, multinational companies are not accountable to any government or world bodies at this stage. They are not guided by ethics or morals or social or environmental considerations. The only way to dent their largely invincible armour is to put a hole in their pockets. This is the only language they know and understand, and that is why I am proposing this amendment to make Ms Follett's motion much stronger. When it comes to boycotting companies, there are some who might argue that it is hard to find a clean dollar anywhere, and indeed it is hard. The economic web means that it can be extremely difficult to track down the origins of a company and where its money is further invested. Multinational companies are a law unto themselves. However, as consumers we can make some difference. Our role as consumers is really the only way to make a difference. I believe that the contract DASFleet has in Australia is worth something like $13m annually and our share of that is something like $3m, so it is not a small figure.

In my briefing last week with Mr De Domenico and Mr Bryson of ACT Fleet, I asked whether users of ACT Fleet vehicles could purchase petrol for their vehicles from alternative sources. I was told that this was possible - Mr De Domenico has just reinforced that - and that ACT Fleet would reimburse these costs. Ms Tucker and I have decided to exercise this option and to avoid Shell, and we hope this option will be

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .