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Abetz' foolish claim on Wielangta logging challenge funds

Forestry Minister Eric Abetz' claims that Bob Brown has flouted electoral laws, by accepting donations for his federal court action against logging in Tasmania, are foolish and self-defeating, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.  
The real reason for the Minister's anger is the government's exposure in the Federal Court to its appalling licensing of logging in Tasmania's Wielangta (pronounced Why-langta) forest.
The forest felling and burning is driving species on the Howard government's national endangered list towards extinction. The Federal Court has for 31 days heard evidence of destruction of habitat of Tasmania's huge Wedge-tailed Eagle, the beautiful Swift Parrot and ancient Wielangta Stag Beetle.
 
Senator Brown contends the logging breaks Australia's environmental law. After labelling the challenge 'a stunt' last year, the Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments joined the defence by Forestry Tasmania.
 
The cases will be summed up in Hobart's federal court before Justice S Marshall on 29-31 August.
 
"I am delighted by the donations from Wielangta residents and hundreds of people from all over Australia. This is one of the most important challenges on environmental law in Australian legal history," Senator Brown said.
 
"The cost has passed $300,000 and may double and, of course, I am exposed to Forestry Tasmania's costs too if I do not succeed. I have declared all donations and have asked the bank to trace and handful paid directly into the account from people responding to our Wielangta website:
www.on-trial.info ,but not giving their details."
 
"The foolishness of Senator Abetz' claim is that he used the government's majority in the Senate this week to ram through new laws allowing all donations of $10,000 or less to be given in secret."
 
"The Greens opposed the move. The difference between my case and the $10,000 donations the Liberals want to accept in secret is that the Liberals will know who is donating."
 
"I think people concerned for Australia's endangered forests and wildlife will be encouraged, not deterred, by Senator Abetz' tirade," Senator Brown said.
 
Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

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