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Libs defy Howard on pulp mill

Media Release
Bob Brown 17 Sep 2007

The Senate Liberals, led by Tasmanian Minister for Forests, Eric Abetz, have crossed the floor to join Labor and vote down a Greens motion backing Prime Minister Howard's written commitment on Gunns pulp mill.
Mr Howard, on September 1, issued this press release:
Tasmanian Pulp Mill
Some news reports today have suggested that I support, unconditionally, the construction of a pulp mill in Tasmania.
I made it very clear in comments yesterday that although I hoped it would be possible to build the pulp mill, the final decision to go ahead with the project would be subject to all environmental considerations being fully satisfied.
The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources has established a proper procedure for assessing this proposed development and that procedure will be followed meticulously.
The Senate motion, flagged by Greens Leader Bob Brown last week, reads:
Leader of the Australian Greens (Senator Bob Brown): To move-
That the Senate calls for approval of the pulp mill proposed by Gunns Limited to be subject to all environmental considerations being fully satisfied.
The motion was lost when Senator Abetz led the Coalition members across the floor to vote with Labor. On the back benches Senator Bill Heffernan demanded to know why the government had voted against the Prime Minister's considered position.
Senator Abetz made an explanation to the Senate without mentioning Mr Howard. Senator Brown told the Senate that the government now had a serious split on the issue and that Senator Abetz should consult with the Prime Minister and 'do his homework' on the mill issue.
Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

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