Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2804 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
I must say I find that extremely disappointing from a member of the Legislative Assembly.
Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I think that Ms Tucker said that I had lied, not in here but in the public arena. She did imply that I had lied. I think it is unparliamentary and it should be withdrawn.
MR SPEAKER: I didn't catch that. Ms Tucker, if you think that you have used unparliamentary language, would you withdraw it? Otherwise I will refer to the-
MS TUCKER: Yes, okay, I am happy to withdraw the fact that Mrs Dunne made untrue statements in the Canberra Times. I withdraw that if that is unparliamentary. It is a pity it is also not appropriate for such statements to appear in the newspaper.
MR SPEAKER: Thanks, Ms Tucker.
MS TUCKER: I would like to make some other general comments on the misinformation that we have seen about the Greens' position on hazard reduction burning-misinformation that has come not only from Mrs Dunne but also from some other people who seem to think it is in the interests of the community to create great division and polarise the debate. I know some people do that because they are angry and upset. Maybe that is why Mrs Dunne has acted in this way, so I will give her the benefit of the doubt. I realize that we can do things in anger that we should not do.
As people in this Assembly know, the Greens and conservationists have always been involved in discussion about hazard reduction burns, they have been part of the committee that has looked at fuel reduction burning in the ACT, and they have supported it. The Greens, including me, and conservationists that I know in the ACT and in fact in New South Wales have never said that hazard reduction burning is evil and unnatural, as I think Mrs Dunne claimed in her article in the Canberra Times.
It is really important to understand that hazard reduction burning is about asset protection. I am quite sure that even if it were possible to remove every potential ignition point-which it would not be, because that would require burning basically all of our wild areas, and we basically would not have the resources to do that-such a measure would not be supported by the general community. So the focus of hazard reduction burning is always on asset protection.
There are some very interesting arguments about widespread pre-emptive burning, and whether that is a useful thing to do. Certainly, scientists have concluded that in fact it can worsen the situation because you destroy the ecology and the balance within a forest in terms of humidity. It can actually make it worse. Logging, of course, can contribute to that as well. It is interesting that in 1994 the coroner in New South Wales also identified climate-namely, low humidity and wind temperature-as critical, and this has been identified again in this fire.
The question of climate and greenhouse warming has not come up very much in the debate. McLeod did not deal with it, although there was a brief comment at the beginning of the McLeod report on the weather conditions at the time. But I do think