Page 212 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 13 February 2008

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hurry us along. I would have to admit that at the time when Gary Humphries was the Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning and went to Japan and was the first Australian jurisdiction to sign up to Kyoto-type targets back in 1997, I was somewhat sceptical about this as someone who worked in his office and who principally advised him on the environment. But, as someone who has the capacity and the willingness to look at the evidence and to come to a different conclusion on the basis of all the evidence that has come before us, I think that I now have a somewhat different position from that which I had in 1996 and 1997.

It is clear, Mr Speaker, that something is going on in relation to our climate, and it is clear that as a community we must take those steps that we can to address the issue of climate change and to address the issue of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. This is not to say that we can actually sit back and say that if we do a certain raft of things everything will be okay in 50 or 100 or 200 years, because while I am prepared to sign up to the notion that we may be experiencing climate change brought about by increased gas emissions, I am yet to be convinced that the mere actions of human beings will be able to turn that around.

As I said, that does not mean to say that we should sit back and do nothing. This was the position taken with a considerable amount of foresight by Gary Humphries as the Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning in the Carnell government back in 1997, which is why they signed up to Kyoto-like targets, contrary to the erroneous assertions made by the Chief Minister. In fact, Mr Speaker, they are probably disorderly in the fact that they are so wrong and that he persistently continues to make wrong assertions about what were, in fact, budget initiatives. At the outset they were quite modest, but by 2001 there were substantial amounts of money in the budget for greenhouse gas emissions. At the time they were considered quite substantial.

Mr Stanhope was the Leader of the Opposition at the time, and the people in opposition who were looking at environment issues at the time were quite in favour of that expenditure. We know now that we needed to do more, but at the time when we were coming to the realisation that we needed to do more, what was the Stanhope government doing? In its first term it sat on its hands and did nothing. It did nothing, despite the constant warnings from the Commissioner for the Environment that something had to happen.

The Commissioner for the Environment was constantly on Jon Stanhope’s case saying, “You must do something about the greenhouse strategy.” He eventually did something—he came into the Assembly one day in 2004 and he behaved in a way which is entirely inappropriate for the leader of the government. He consistently named a public servant who had written him a document. He named that public servant because that public servant had previously been an advisor to the Greens, and he thought that he could be really smart and score points by naming public servants and attempting to shame members of this place into retracting their position on the greenhouse strategy. I take it as a general rule that members of this place should not name public servants, and that goes for all of us.

Mr Stanhope: That’s a direct attack on your deputy leader.

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