I have been misrepresented – Great Barrier Reef – Parliament House Speech

I have been misrepresented – Great Barrier Reef – Parliament House Speech


Mr Speaker, I seek to make a personal explanation.
Does the Manager of Opposition Business claim to have been misrepresented?
A number of times, but I’ll start with this one.
The manager may proceed. In an interview on ABC Radio National on 6
August, the Minister for the Environment and Energy said that I, when I was environment
minister, had failed to invest in the Great Barrier Reef. The facts are these. As agriculture
minister, I was part of establishing the Reef Rescue program, worth $200 million from 2007,
which then provided a further $200 million when it was renewed. Additionally we established
the Coral Sea Marine Park and, most importantly, we were a government that acted on climate
change. Mr Speaker, I seek to make a personal explanation.
Does the Manager of Opposition Business claim to have been misrepresented?
I do. In an interview on ABC Radio National on 6 August, the minister for the environment
said, in relation to the Great Barrier Reef, that I had five dredge disposal projects.
Mr Speaker, none of these projects were mine. They were referrals made under environmental
law, and none were approved by me. Mr Speaker, I seek to make a personal explanation.
Does the Manager of Opposition Business claim to have been misrepresented?
I do. He may proceed.
In an interview on 7.30 on 2 August, the minister for the environment said that I had the Great
Barrier Reef on UNESCO’s ‘endangered watch list’. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee manages
a number of lists with respect to World Heritage sites. It has a World Heritage List and it
has an ‘in danger’ list. The reef has never been put on the ‘in danger’ list, and the
UNESCO World Heritage Committee has never had an endangered watch list. I corrected
the minister on these points in a media release on 6 August.
Mr Speaker, I seek to make a personal explanation. Does the Manager of Opposition Business claim
to have been misrepresented? I do.
You may proceed. Notwithstanding that the environment minister
had been publicly advised there is no endangered watch list, the claim that the reef was put
on such a list while I was minister for the environment was repeated by the minister for
the environment on 6 August, 7 August and 12 August, by the Leader of the House on 9
August, and by the Prime Minister on 6 August. On each of these dates, the watch list continued
to not exist, while the credibility of the minister went from endangered to extinct.

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