Speech to the National Civic Council Dinner, Perth

The ideology imbedded in the Australian Greens is the very antithesis of the force that has made our country and the West so dominant in world affairs - the envy of the world.

That force is a force for good.

It is the force that has given us our personal freedoms, our economic freedoms, our standard of living, our schools and our hospitals. It has given us our fundamental values system that every individual counts on.

The force of which I speak is the Judeo Christian heritage that has directed us to where we are today. It has been threatened by fascism. It has been threatened by communism. We have seen them off the field.

Today, a new ideology is posing the same threat – it is the Green ideology. It is extreme. It is dictatorial. It is absolute. It is not to be questioned or contradicted.

That is why the National Civic Council (and congratulations on its 70th anniversary last month) is such a vital organisation for the well being of our society. We need warriors. We need people with conviction.  We need people with courage. We need people to call it as it is. We need to expose falsehoods. We need to expose the fads that sound so seductive, but are so destructive.

We need international leaders like Pope Paul II, Baroness Thatcher and Ronald Regan.

Similarly, we need national, State and local leaders as well. Leaders like Frank Lindsay (thanks for hosting me tonight), Barry and Margaret Court, the member for Southern River, Peter Abetz , MLA, the Hon Jim Chown, MLC and the Hon Nick Goiran, MLC and all of you here tonight willing to help in the cause of maintaining a free, democratic and prosperous society.

In mentioning the Courts I am reminded of the words of the late great Sir Charles Court, former Premier of this State.

I remember as a young Liberal student hearing Sir Charles address us at a Parliamentary reception in which he said ‘if you want to win you have to dare to lose’. Our problem is that there are not enough people who are willing to enter the fray with a willingness to potentially lose.

We do need more people with courage. We do need more leaders with courage. Leaders like my Parliamentary colleague, Senator John Madigan who recently moved a motion which read in part that the Senate should acknowledge other cultural heritages besides just the indigenous.

Suffice to say, the motion was voted down courtesy of the Green ALP alliance.

So the indigenous cultural heritage is now deemed more worthy than my heritage, your heritage, or the Catholic Irish heritage.

In the House of Representatives, they acknowledge the indigenous communities before God. Some churches do the same. Go figure!

Friends don’t under-estimate the pervasive, corrosive and deceptive influence the Green ideology is having on our society.

But also don’t doubt we can and will see this ideology off the field as well.

Tonight, I’ve been asked to consider the Green threat to matters economic.

It matters virtually not what area of economics one looks at, one can see the Green mantra of “the end justifying the means”. You can see their policies as being wholly destructive and corrosive of our social fabric.

In the area of workplace relations they believe that workers should be able to strike over any issue they deem fit. So, in this restaurant tonight (with its good food) the workers could go on strike on an issue over which the boss has absolutely no control whatsoever, example, Japanese whaling.

You turn to the area of taxation and you see that the Greens want to increase marginal rates, they want to increase company tax, and they want to re-introduce death duties.

On the carbon tax front, they of course championed the cause. The carbon tax’s destructive nature is best shown by the announcement by Coogee Chemicals last week that they would no longer develop their proposed methanol plant in Australia.  Coogee Chemicals was going to develop the biggest methanol plant anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere.

It was to be a $1 billion investment providing 150 ongoing jobs and providing $14 billion worth of export earnings for our country.

Coogee Chemicals has now decided to build their plant in China. In China the plant will have four times the carbon dioxide emissions than it would have had in a pre-carbon tax Australia.

That is why the Coalition says the carbon tax is destructive of jobs, destructive of investment, destructive of export earnings and our standard of living and perversely destructive of the environment as the Australian carbon tax will see an increase in carbon dioxide emissions elsewhere in the world.

The Coogee Chemical example should not surprise as this is simply repeating the history of Europe where because of their carbon price, which is a lot more modest than that which will exist in Australia, has seen their aluminium smelting industry go.

And the aluminium smelting industry in Europe did not go solar or wind. It went. It went to Africa. Does anybody really believe that the environmental controls on aluminium smelting are better in Africa than they were in Europe.

We can turn to the Greens attitude in relation to what they describe as the evil of “big tobacco”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t support tobacco smoking and I think it is a highly ill-advised past time to engage in. However, how is it that the Greens can condemn big tobacco and tobacco smoking whilst at the same time promoting the legalisation of cannabis?

There are documented cases of people simply smoking one joint of cannabis and being effected with schizophrenia for the rest of their life.  I have never known a person who simply smoked one tobacco cigarette to be adversely affected for the rest of their life.  Make no mistake, these type of policies will have huge future economic consequences.

Let me turn to the issue of forestry which is close to my heart and of course vital to the State of Tasmania.

The Greens, in association with the Australian Labor Party, both State and Federal are seeking the demise of the native forest industry. There is no doubt that native forestry is the best way to harness our natural resources. Forestry is genuinely a renewable resource, the product is recyclable, and at the end of the day, bio-degradable.

Tasmanian native forestry is done that well that the arm chair academics in assessing the so-called high conservation value forests of Tasmania are unable to differentiate between those areas that have previously been logged and those that haven’t.

The perverse result of course is that whilst we still need timber products, we have now seen a 50 per cent increase in timber products being imported into our country from places like Indonesia and the Solomon Islands. Does anybody honestly believe that forestry is undertaken in a more sustainable manner in South-East Asia?

Further, if we don’t use forest products we use substitutes such as polystyrene, plastics and aluminium all from non-renewable resources which leave considerable carbon dioxide emissions behind.

Or we can turn our attention to the welfare system where the Greens adopt an entitlement mentality. Or we go to the refugee policy area where they claim that we should open our borders, yet they say that our population is too great for the ecology of our continent.

And whilst talking about refugees, have you ever noticed how the old unreconstructed communists after the collapse of the Communist Party of Australia and the Iron Curtain took refuge in the Australian Greens.

One of the real dangers with the Australian Greens is their attitude. It is their code of conduct whereby anything is justified whereby the end always justifies the means. The other day I learned the word ‘pecksniff’ – I don’t know how many of you know what it means.

It describes the following types of behaviour –

  1. Behaviour that condemns corporate donations to political parties because they corrupt. Yet the same people accept the largest corporate donation in political history, in fact $1.6 million worth and the Parliamentary Leader personally negotiates it, something no other political party would allow.
  2. A Party that condemns the Opposition for having a Senator missing a vote which required the vote to be recommitted in the Senate. It was derided as indicating the Coalition being unable to run itself and being a rabble. When the Leader of this particular party then accidentally missed a vote, it was all perfectly understandable and reasonable because it was he himself that had missed the vote.
  3. Or a Party that condemns bad behaviour in the Parliament and says everybody else ought to be up to their standard yet have their own leader kicked out of the Senate in circumstances where it is very difficult to be so removed from the Senate.
  4. A Party that condemns Senators for using questions provided by a potential witness as “tawdry” and worthy of a detailed Privileges Committee enquiry.  Yet when the same Party engages in this behaviour afterwards it was appropriate to “ventilate the issues”.
  5. Or a Party that claims we need an Integrity Commissioner and a Code of Conduct for MP’s ,yet goes about personally raising money claiming that bankruptcy awaits him and expulsion from the Senate because of an order for costs against him to the tune of about $200,000. A public appeal is made and over $1 million is raised because he didn’t tell the public that he had reached his target. He personally banks the funds into an account bearing his name to which he is the sole signatory.
  6. A Party that says that wood and wood waste should not be used for fuel and energy creation, yet uses it for atmosphere in an open fireplace in his own home.
  7. The guillotining of legislation through the Senate is to be condemned. That is if the Howard Government did it. Yet joining with the Labor Party to guillotine 40 bills through the Senate is described as time management.

All these behaviours are indicative of a pecksniffian attitude, all these examples are indicative of the Australian Greens.

Now for those of you who are still wondering, Pecksniff was a Charles Dickens character. Pecksniff means an unctuous hypocrite. I think that is a fair description for that behaviour.

The danger with the Australian Greens is that not only do they have dangerous and corrosive policies, but they also have no compunction to abide by the rules that you and I would understand. That hypocrisy is to be shunned.  But the Greens are more than willing to contort themselves in any manner required to pursue and implement their agenda. That is why they are so extreme and dangerous.  And that is why it is so important that organisations like the National Civic Council and Senator John Madigan, and even Protestants like myself, continue to keep playing the important role of exposing the Australian Greens for what they really are.

I wish the National Civic Council on-going success.

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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