Friday, 9 December 2011

They're at it again: clearly, a vote in the town is worth two in the bush on the subject of grazing in Alpine National Parks

Government and corporate policies over the years have hollowed out the bush.  Both the conservative and labour sides of politics have histories of malapportionment of electorates and votes.  However, the most recent case - correct me, Networkers, if I'm wrong - was the National Party gerrymander in Queensland.

It seems to me that the way the Baillieu Government is pursuing its Japanese whaling policy equivalent of alpine national park grazing is bringing about a similar result.  There was little to no fanfare about Baillieu's policy commitment on this issue to the Mountain Cattlemen's Association of Victoria and other sections of the National Party constituency at the last Victorian state election.

I was at a meeting on the issue of alpine national park grazing at the Box Hill Town Hall earlier this year when there was standing room only and not a voice spoke out in favour of the policy.  The science is clear that alpine national park grazing has adverse environmental consequences.

The meeting against alpine national park grazing took place in the electorate of the Liberal Attorney-General Robert Clark.  My local member is the Liberal Minister for the Environment, Ryan Smith. One seldom hears from him either on portfolio or electorate matters.  He is all but publicly silent.  In between the Box Hill seat of Robert Clark - who is said to be very conservative -  and the very quiet Ryan Smith in the seat of Warrandyte, is Dee Ryall - a brand new Liberal member for the seat of Mitcham.  Dee is visible and, prior to the state election, was quite happy to demonstrate and spruik her environmental credentials.

It appears that Ted Baillieu, the Victorian Premier and Leader of the Liberal Party,  prefers his environmentally destructive National Party constituency in 'them thar hills' to the constituencies of the more populated Liberal Party electorates of the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.  As I said, it appears that the vote in the mountains is worth two, at least, of those in the city.  A malapportionment of influence if ever I saw it.

To cut a few long stories very short, the Baillieu Government is running very short on any sort of decent and positive environmental credentials.  And they certainly underestimate the love for National Parks across Victoria and the willingness of people to express their wish to protect them.

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