Senator John Madigan Questions Greens Party – 9 July, 2014

Senator John Madigan asks some pointed questions about the Greens party and its links to the wind industry and Green entrepreneur Graeme Wood.


Senator MADIGAN (Victoria) (19:24): These well- known words have been attributed to Shakespeare: Oh, what a tangled web we weave When first we practise to deceive!

Why is it when we look at the Greens, at green associated industries and green lobby groups that we find a tangled web? And why is it when so many of us in this place look on the Greens party— our self-righteous, moral-high-ground colleagues with their selective moral outrage—that we are filled with suspicion and distrust? In the next few minutes I would like to ask some questions in the hope that, by doing so, I can shine light into dark corners.

Why is it that the Greens amendment on funding for ARENA, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, has almost the exact same wording as the one received from the Motoring Enthusiast Party? Does a senior MEP adviser, Ben Oquist—a former staffer to Christine Milne and Bob Brown, now working for the Australia Institute—have anything to do with this? Why is the Motoring Enthusiast Party so enthusiastic about ARENA all of a sudden? What’s going on here?

And why did an adviser to Senator Muir, Glenn Druery, tell one of my staff that ARENA has no links to the wind industry when information I have since received suggests the opposite? Data given to me by the office of Minister Macfarlane contradicts this. In fact, in ARENA’S history it has invested in research projects that definitely enable the wind industry, including more than $6 million to Hydro Tasmania for its King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project. I have been working for three years now for independent and multidisciplinary research into the alleged health impact on residents living near wind farms. Why would Mr Druery mislead us on the issue of ARENA? It does not bode well for someone so new to the Senate, does it?

But the Greens’ tangled web does not stop there. When the Gunns pulp mill was proposed it threw the green movement into a frenzy of opposition. In 2009, lawyer Vanessa Bleyer—the same Vanessa Bleyer who threatened me with defamation proceedings over comments I made about pro-wind poster boy Professor Simon Chapman—provided Senator Milne with legal advice re the Gunns mill in northern Tasmania. Shortly after that, Wotif entrepreneur Graeme Wood gave a pre-election donation to the Greens—the largest political donation that has ever been given to an Australian political party. Mr Wood said his support was for ‘environmental reasons’. Incessant protesting saw Gunns eventually go into receivership. Mr Wood, lo and behold, then became one of the purchasers of the Gunns site in 2011 and he announced a proposal to build a wind farm.

Let’s join the dots: the Greens’ militant opposition to the Gunns pulp mill leads to an anti-deforestation green movement protest, which leads to Senator Milne taking legal advice from Vanessa Bleyer representing the Friends of Tamar Valley. Will Mr Wood’s proposed wind farm provide an excellent return on his political investment? Presumably. Does it all make sense?

All I have done is ask the questions about the Greens’ attacks on the Waubra Foundation, the rapidly diminishing social licence for wind farms, the growing number of coalition parliamentarians willing to speak out on job losses and the increase in electricity prices, and the antiwind activists gaining greater credibility and countering the Greens’ agenda sponsored by Mr Wood. Is Mr Wood set to make another enormous profit? The Danish turbine manufacturer has publicly stated it is funding environmental groups and other organisations. Was this the same organisation that poured large amounts of money into Senator Hanson- Young’s last election campaign? The Greens have spoken loudly about political funding, but my late father always told me to follow the money.

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