THERE’Snot much to be gained by praising a politician.
Thisis best expressed by voters at the ballot box.
However,on occasions, it is worth handing out the
WhileI’m reluctant to single out any one MP, there’s an MLC that continues toimpress by being genuinely independent and making the right call at critical andduring controversial times.
Sheis not frightened to make a decision knowing it might not have majority supportin her electoral division.
MurchisonMLC Ruth Forrest showed again last week during a forestry debate why she isn’tone of the ‘‘dinosaurs’’ of the Legislative Council.
Butfirst I want to rewind the clock four or five years to the bitter Gunns pulp millfast-track legislation, to highlight her ability.
Atthe time, pressure was on MLCs to support proposed legislation to fast-trackthe project approval through Parliament after it was ripped out of the independentResource Planning and Development Commission.
Therewas a rotten stench about the whole affair, with senior public servants being ‘‘lenton’’, amid political nterference tofast-track the mill.
Then-Gunnsboss John Gay was saying every day the project was delayed it was costing hiscompany $1 million.
Thelegislation was passed but Ms Forrest, who is a strong supporter of the forestindustry, spoke out strongly about unresolvedissues with the project.
Shedid this knowing it risked accusations of her being anti-development in herpro-forestry electorate.
Butit was the fair and just thing to do.
Finally,Ms Forrest, during the crucial vote over the forest peace deal, was again lastweek among a minority of MLCs who made the right call when it counted, albeitbeing defeated by the majority.
MsForrest pleaded with MLCs to make a final decision on the legislation beforeChristmas instead of referring it to a select committee for a further three-monthreview.
Thedelay could threaten hundreds of millions of federal dollars flowing to Tasmania.
Thetime for more talk fests is over.
Again,Ms Forrest gets my vote.
Pip’s point of view
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