The Four that crossed the floor. Transcript of radio interviews after the event.

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RADIO NEWS TRANSCRIPT

Morning:  Wednesday 28 November, 2018

Leon B

Leon Byner:  5AA;    9.15 am

 

(Byner: The Premier has a party room. There are those who say it’s in chaos after four Liberal MPs crossed the floor to delay a vote on mining reforms until next year. So you’ve got Nick McBride, Fraser Ellis, Steve Murray and Dan Krieg who voted with Labor to put off a vote on the Mining Act arguing it doesn’t strike a fair balance between miners and farmers. There are some very odd things about all this but … Haydon Manning … how significant is it of this crossed floor by four members?) It’s very rare of course that either of the major parties see their members decide to desert the camp and cross the floor. For Labor if you do that, well you’re in trouble, you lose your preselection … you’re on the outer. The Liberals have a different ethos; they … say they respect the conscience of all Liberal Party MPs to vote on their conscience accordingly. But it’s still pretty rare. So, you must know that something is resonating and clearly in this instance a number of Liberal MPs representing farming communities have simply said, Minister you’ve not delivered on a core promise we put to the people when we were running our campaign back in March … to consult with our electorate over mining companies, particularly here we’re talking about explorers and their capacity to simply from the farmers’ perspective put barbs through the front gate, the side gate, wherever, and go and start drilling. That’s the nub of it. The Labor Party in the dying days of its government had a bill before the Parliament that upset many farmers across the state and the Liberal Party for not being sufficiently consultative. So it’s a bit odd to find Liberal MPs in the last few weeks signal they’d cross the floor and then yesterday they did on the basis of something that they were critical of Labor for not consulting. So the Minister has got a bit of a problem. I suspect in coming weeks and over the summer before this bill returns to the Parliament some pretty thorough consultation will start because it really has to otherwise this bill is destined to fail (Byner: … what is it they’re likely to be drilling for? Are we talking here fracking?) Not on Yorke Peninsula, it’s mainly copper and … BHP had one of the most remarkable copper finds anywhere in the world. So the net result is if you’re a small explorer company and you’ve got the right to tenement to explore across the state including Yorke Peninsula, you’ll be spurred on even more by those finds that BHP delivered because we are a copper-rich state. It’s mainly in the realm of copper. It’s about explorers. Just as a quick aside – if we were in the United States … the farmers own not only the land they grow and graze on … they own what’s underneath. Big difference in Australia; farmers don’t own what’s underneath. So … the Commonwealth owns what’s underneath, so farmers have to relinquish the right, they have not right, to allow explorers to go onto their land. But there were really serious questions about how the explorers go about that and often you read they’re rude, they’re discourteous and then they leave a lot of muck they’ve drilled out … they don’t tidy up what they’ve done. So it’s a pretty hot issue. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the Minister copes around the consultation because I can’t see … this bill passing the Parliament without that. But of course on the other hand Labor did support a bill very similar; so maybe in the end Labor may join with the Liberal Party with the exception of these few Liberals who aren’t prepared to support it (Byner: Alright. As an environmental lecturer … if you’re an agriculturalist and you’re growing crops … if somebody comes in and says we want to mine for ores … what danger is there to what you’re doing?) Obviously it’s going to disrupt if it’s copper on Yorke Peninsula you’re capacity to grow crops. In the whole scheme of things it’s not huge, if you look at all of the hectares for cropping on Yorkes compared to what is proposed by one company, Rex Minerals, if the mine will go ahead. It’s not a huge imposition on say the barley crop of this state. And farmers get much greater compensation when they actually find their land … relinquished for mining as against exploring, which is drilling to try to find the mineral. And there usually … are more amicable outcomes because farmers are paid for handing over their land for mining. Other parts of the state, much hotter issue is of course fracking down in the South-East and there the Marshall Government has said no, there’ll be no fracking. A different story when it comes to fracking (Byner: So … if the mining companies went to a farmer in the South-East it wouldn’t be for fracking because they can’t do it?) No … that’s right (Byner:… so you’re saying it’s ores, minerals) Copper mainly on Yorkes. There are other associated.. gold often bobs up alongside copper and … in Roxby so did uranium. But mainly it’s copper on Yorke Peninsula (Byner: Are there are a heap of royalties that sit there that would make a government and its treasury water at the mouth?) Of course … when I said before … the Commonwealth own what’s underneath and that means we can charge royalties. The mining company makes profits but also must pay royalties … on the amount of mineral they mine. So that’s of benefit to all of us. And this is … part of the problem the individual irate farmer has in saying I don’t want anyone coming on my land. Well, all of us actually sort of benefit not only from the royalties that may eventuate from successful mining but also the number of people who are employed. And that’s another crucial point in rural communities; if you want to keep sons and daughters in those … rural communities … this is a way in which mining offers vitality to rural and regional communities. But … the essence of it is – farmers it would appear to me … have a legitimate claim on a much more robust round of consultation at the very least because the Liberal Party promised it. So these MPs who crossed the floor, no easy feat for any of them to do, are basically saying to their party … I was out there campaigning, saying to voters – vote for me, we will listen to you. Well, they’re saying that hasn’t happened and that’s the Minister’s problem at the moment (Byner:  Alright, stay on the line)

 

Eldon Oster, Maitland Farmer   (5AA 9.18-9.19)   Liberal MPs cross the floor on mining reforms

 

(Byner: I’ve got Eldon Oster … your concern on this?) … there’s a couple of issues here I want to know what your questioning is about – is it about what happened yesterday in Parliament, is it actually about the bill, or is it about the proposal that could happen if this bill is passed and it’s not dealt with properly for farmers? (Byner:  Well it’s both really. They’re both interconnected) Okay. Well, yesterday I was in the gallery and I was very proud of our local member, Fraser, as I was of Daniel, Steve and Nick McBride as well. They have stood up for their electorate. They have listened to their local people who voted them in and they have honoured the electorate by doing what they said. They’ve stood up for their local people. Now that is something we’re not seeing in Parliament very often. Yesterday was a ground-breaking day. The thing I struggle with is … that Labor crossed the floor on this issue on ultimately the bill that they set up before the Liberals got voted in (Byner:  Yeah, Eldon thank you)

 

John Kennett, Kadina Farmer   (5AA 9.19-9.21)   Liberal MPs cross the floor on mining reforms

 

(Byner: … John Kennett … your view on this?) … the biggest problem is we’ve got … 4.5% of our state is under agriculture and when you look at situations like interstate at the moment where there’s desperate need for food for livestock and so forth – we’re providing that. We do that on a pretty regular basis … there’s drought quite often in those states … we were promised consultation, we weren’t given it and I think it’s refreshing to think that there’s four politicians yesterday that did the right thing. I’d like to think that the rest of the Liberal Party will consider what happened yesterday and do something constructive about getting this balance right (Byner:  So … what is it you as a farmer are looking for?) … we feel we’re being ignored. We’ve met with Dan van Holst Pellekaan on three occasions. One was on Father’s Day when he came over.. (Byner: Is he sympathetic to what you’ve said?) Look he’s very sympathetic but at the end of the meeting he’ll say not all people will be happy with the outcome. We’ve had a meeting with the Agriculture Minister, and I would’ve thought the Agriculture Minister yesterday would’ve supported these four guys because he does represent agriculture, and at least delay it until such time as the consultation as were promised by David Ridgway back before the election would happen (Byner: … thank you …)

 

Fraser Ellis, Liberal Member for Narungga   (5AA 9.25-9.30)   Liberal MPs cross the floor on mining reforms

 

(Byner: … Fraser Ellis … tell us why you crossed the floor) … I and my colleagues crossed the floor to delay further debate on the bill until late February because in our estimation the community that I represent were promised that they would be engaged in thorough and meaningful consultation prior to this bill being introduced and we didn’t believe that that had necessarily taken place to a satisfactory degree. So we’ve agreed to what is effectively a harvest moratorium to allow for further consultation and further negotiations or a more palatable mining bill (Byner:  What does this bill do? What would it mean? And it includes a lot of horticulture and viticulture as well as I understand it) … the main gripe I have with this mining bill is not necessarily what it’s doing but what it doesn’t do … it doesn’t necessarily improve the land access issue which is the key issue in my community as much as I would like it to or as much as my community would like it to. So … in the absence of any improvements on that key issue I found it difficult to support the passage of the bill and I felt that this adjournment would allow for further consultation and hopefully further improvement on that key issue (Byner: What is driving the intransigence of the Government that they forced you to a position where you have to make them keep the promise that was made during the election campaign; what’s driving this, is it money for Treasury – what is it?) To be completely fair the Minister, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, has been tremendous. He’s visited by electorate twice; on the second occasion fronted a rather hostile crowd of over 300 farmers which was a difficult thing to do I imagine. And has been conciliatory and always willing to chat and discuss ways we can improve the bill. And the Premier, prior to my entering this place and now since I’ve been here, has always encouraged me to stand up for my community whenever I can. So they’ve been tremendous. We just felt that we hadn’t reached a … suitable place and that further time would be of benefit to the Government. And we supported that adjournment to make that happen (Byner:  Why do they want this … why does the Government want this? Why do they want what you’re crossing the floor for … they are obviously pushing a position that is contrary to what you’ve done; they are of the view … there’s been sufficient consultation, they want to take this to the next level, and they obviously don’t think that the community you’re representing have a case otherwise they’d capitulate …) To Minister Van Holst Pellekaan’s credit he has indicated that his desire is to lock in the minor improvements this bill contains and then move onto a phase two … of consultation and improvement of the bill to make sure we address some of the issues I’m raising now. In my estimation we promised consultation prior to the election and I felt that should be provided prior to any bill being introduced and I’m hoping this extension of time will facilitate further consultation (Byner: So when is the next discussion on this matter going to happen?) The next debate in Parliament will be on February 26 next year … it’s essentially a harvest moratorium that will allow the farmers to get their crops off and feed the nation and enjoy Christmas and then turn their mind to this issue in the new year (Byner: So … have you been able to suss out what is the disagreement that put you in a position you’re now in? What’s it about? What’s driving the Government to do what you’re not liking?) The key issue is land access … we have a difficult task of trying to balance the interests of mining and agriculture and the Minister for Mining, as he perhaps should, is standing up and trying to get that balance right. I’m arguing it’s not necessarily right and that is essentially where the disagreement lies. We can’t find a common ground at this stage … that is agreeable to both parties and hopefully with further consultation time we’ve now brought upon we can find that common ground (Byner: … thanks for joining us … we will take this matter further. Really, it’s the story behind the story that I think is the nub here and we’ll find it)

 

 

ABC NORTH & WEST  12.07 pm

Hough

Fraser Ellis, Liberal MP for Narungga   (ABC NORTH & WEST 12.07-12.13)   Liberal MPs cross the floor during debate over the State Government’s reforms to the Mining Act

 

(Hough: Last night four Liberal MPs crossed the floor in Parliament last night to postpone voting on the State Government’s reforms to the Mining Act … it had been debated in the Lower House but the government says that it will drive legislation, update legislation and drive investment, but opponents say that not enough was done to protect land holder rights … one of those politicians was … Fraser Ellis … what was it that pushed you and the three others to cross the floor last night?) We’ve been very thankful that the Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan and the Premier Steven Marshall have been both conciliatory and open in negotiating with us to try and reach an agreement so that land holder rights are reinforced, ultimately we felt … that point hadn’t been reached and that adjourning debate for … six or eight weeks would be a good move so that we had more time to continue to flesh out what we could possibly do to make sure that all sides are happy. (Hough: This has been going on though since 2017, what do you think you’re going to achieve in the next three months that you haven’t in the last two years?) Well it’s a new government for one so there’s quite a few more members that are actually in government that represent regional communities and we’ve had a number of honest and earnest debates within the party room that have been cordial and respectful but there are a number of different points of view and we’re … committed to finding one solution that works for everyone but at the moment we haven’t got there so we’re making sure that we’ve got enough time and … imposing a harvest moratorium so those out there on the headers harvesting their crops trying to feed the nation have got time to do that and they can enjoy that, enjoy their Christmas and turn their minds to it in the new year. (Hough: You had some pretty intense debate with your own party behind closed doors before this vote, what was it that you wanted?) … We had intense debate but very respectful and conciliatory and I’m extremely thankful that … I’m part of the party that allows for people to express their point of views freely and without fear of reprimand but all I want … is just improvement in the land access area, there needs to be some way that land owners can be reassured that they will be able to continue to operate their small family farming businesses with some degree of certainty. (Hough: So does that mean giving the power of veto effectively?) Well it can mean anything and I’ve taken a number of different proposals, there are other jurisdictions around the country that do things differently whether it be as part of planning law or part of the Mining Bill but … it’s just got to be improved in some way and there’s a number of different models worth looking at I think and that’s what this extra couple of months will give us, the opportunity to look at them. (Hough: … The mining industry has put forward the idea of doing an independent comparative analysis, do you see that happening now?) These are all things that we’ll have to discuss with the Minister over the next few weeks but this is the whole idea, there are opportunities in other jurisdictions that we can investigate and this will give us time to do it and perhaps the best way to investigate that will be with a third party or perhaps … to flesh it out in Parliament but we have more time to do that now and hopefully we can come to a better agreement for all parties involved. (Hough: What sort of response have you had from the people of Narungga?) … Thankful that … predominantly that this Bill wasn’t being fully debated during harvest which is … obviously a lot of people are quite busy in what has been a pretty tough year with dry conditions earlier, now … wet and stormy conditions await so … a lot of Narungga constituents are quite happy that it’s been put off and looking forward to having honest and earnest submissions to the government for improvements come February 26. (Hough: … We have had some comments … the South Australian Minister for Agriculture doesn’t appear to have said much on this topic, have you had much discussion with the Minister … on this?) I’ve been lobbying everyone … in the government to try and get a better solution and I’ve had discussions with just about every member of our party … there’s been long and lengthy, respectful, cordial debates in the party room and contributions from a wide range of people and its ongoing now, we have the opportunity to continue to negotiate and try and find a better solution.  (Hough: What’s next then …) … I’ll be making sure I get around my community and talk to as many farmers as I can to ensure that we’re all on the same page and we’re working towards something that we all think is most attainable and of benefit to those land owners so I’ll be making sure I get out and talk to people … I’ll present them with a number of different models from a number of different jurisdictions and we can discuss what they want me to represent for them in the Parliament. (Hough: Do you think it’s easier as a first time MP only in Parliament for a couple of months to cross the floor than it is for someone who’s been around for a long time or do you feel the heat now?) It wasn’t easy at all … I don’t oppose the Liberal Party easily … I’ve been a long-time supporter and advocate for this party … ultimately I’m a local member first and a party member second so I had to stand up for what my constituents wanted and I thought that they wanted more time and a better result … (Hough: Despite perhaps opening the Liberal Party to concerns about division?) I don’t think there are any concerns about division … the Minister and the Premier have both been very supportive, indeed the Premier both prior to me getting here and while I’ve been in here has always said that the primary responsibility is to your electorate, you should always stand up for what those people that vote for you want so I don’t think there’s any worry … I think it’s a great sign of strength that a party like ours can have their members stand up for their community without any fear of reprimand or reprisal.      

 

Joy Wundersitz, Chair, Yorke Peninsula Landowners Group   (ABC NORTH & WEST 12.14-12.17)   Liberal MPs cross the floor during debate over the State Government’s reforms to the Mining Act

 

(Hough: Obviously Grain Producers SA has been front and centre with this debate, they have been working behind the scenes as well as being quite openly opposed to what was put up … GPSA welcomes this decision to adjourn the debate on the Mining Bill … they want more certainty for primary producers through improved land access arrangements that are backed by regulation … Joe Wundersitz … who were well represented in the gallery in Parliament House yesterday, Mrs Wundersitz is pleased with the result as it would lead to more opportunity for consultation.) It was extremely significant and it was very unexpected, what they did yesterday took a lot of courage and two of those, Fraser is one of them, is a newly elected member, he’s only been in Parliament for … since March, what he did and what the other three did was extremely courageous of them and we had anticipated the Bill would actually get through the Lower House either yesterday or today and then be referred to the Upper House so it was quite a surprise and I think it sounds like it’s quite unprecedented … it now gives us the opportunity to hopefully have those consultations with the … government that they promised before the last election and to try to convince them to make the one significant change to this Bill that we are desperate to get … that is to amend Section 9AA which allows mining and exploration companies to take a farmer to court if that farmer refuses to waive the exemption over their land. (Hough: This exemption though would be largely unparalleled across Australia though?) Not entirely, there are variants in different jurisdictions, in WA … their Mining Act states that a miner cannot mine within the top 30m of the surface without the land owners approval, they can mine below … that means underground mining is much more prominent, then there is also various policies and legislation in both Queensland and NSW which sits outside the Mining Act and it focuses on the land that has strategic value for agriculture and particularly cropping. (Hough: So what’s next for farmers …) We haven’t really had time to sit down and strategise in terms of the next couple of months but the first aspect of course would be to get harvest out of the way … try to get the Liberal Government to agree to a very in-depth and preferably independent review of what’s gone on so far, an independent consultation.

 

Rebecca Knol, SA Chamber of Mines & Energy   (ABC NORTH & WEST 12.18-12.22)   Liberal MPs cross the floor during debate over the State Government’s reforms to the Mining Act

 

(Hough: … This delay also affects the mining industry and SA’s mining lobby is again calling for an independent comparative review of the mining legislation from across Australia and the world to see where SA’s … proposed legislation sits.) This outcome is not unexpected … we are dealing with a piece of legislation that is 47 years old, it is out of date … it’s well overdue for modernisation. This process of modernisation started back in early 2017, there has been a lot of work done in the last two years to address it but our industry and the ag industry have repeatedly supported a different approach to modernisation of the Act and one that we suspect would not have led to the outcome that we had last night … it is a difficult piece of legislation and it’s one that we need to get right for the benefit of all South Australians so the adjournment … is obviously one we’ll now work with until the 26th of February but there is many options … that the government can take to actually start moving this forward. (Hough: Are you surprised that Labor sided with the rebel Liberal MPs to vote to adjourn …) No … it’s their legislation effectively but there’s been a lot of conversations and a lot of movement over the last 12 months … what’s being put on the table here is right to veto is actually causing conflict between two key pillars of the state’s economy, so it is important that we get it right … that we have the dialogue … Labor obviously made the decision that they have made but they obviously thought it was important that there was some time that the pause button was hit and if that’s seen as siding with some rebel Liberal MPs then … that’s a conversation that needs to take place with them but … what they’ve essentially done is hit a pause button and maybe that’s a good thing. (Hough: Do you see that as having any ramifications though for the mining industry?) Another two to three months is not the issue here … the issue is getting it right … having ongoing conversations with the agricultural sector, we have called for … an independent comparative review of relevant mining Acts to inform this process, that has not occurred, that would be a logical next step, it is a step that we understand that the ag sector are also calling for … we have been talking about that for two years and perhaps that’s now the step that we’re now at … there is differences of opinion which are healthy but … an independent comparative review of mining legislation both nationally and internationally would be a really good starting point.  

 

Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Energy and Mining Minister   (ABC NORTH & WEST 12.22-12.32)   Liberal MPs cross the floor during debate over the State Government’s reforms to the Mining Act

 

(Hough: … Dan van Holst Pellekaan … it was quite an eventful night last night, do you think some of this division and criticism that you’ve faced today could have been alleviated if some of the points that were put forward by the four politicians who crossed the floor were dealt with behind closed doors?) Well we’ve been dealing with this for a very long time, we’ve got 25 Lower House MPs in government and four of them are dissatisfied with exactly where we are in the Bill, 21 of them support it and we’ve been working respectfully internally for a very long time and it’s in our culture to allow people to express their views. (Hough: These are the members though who are actually in the seat with some of your constituents who are the most effected from a land owner point of view though …) Yeah, and good on them for choosing to represent them the way they have, there are other MPs, country MPs as well and some of them are land owning, farm owning MPs as well and they support the Bill so that illustrates to me that there is a very wide range of views on this … I understand why farmers would like the additional protections … and if I was a farmer I would want the same … but I’m the Minister and I need to try and balance what’s best for all of the people in SA including the land holders and the farmers who own their land and that works in almost all cases incredibly hard to get it and also all of the taxpayers … owns the mineral rights below that free hold land, so it’s not an easy thing to just say we’ll shift a set of rights one way or the other, I really do understand why people would like that extra protection but I’ve got to try and find something that’s right for everybody involved. The Bill that’s on the table has improvements in it for land holders and … (Hough: They’re said to be quite minimal though … around things like the amount of money that you can be compensated for legal and things like that but the main thing … is this power of veto, other states approach it in a slightly different way and haven’t faced … dissention from other politicians and the … Chamber of Mines and Energy is wanting to see an independent comparative analysis, now that there is this delay will that happen?) … There are benefits for land holders in this Bill and there are more to come, I accept that they want more but we need to basically take this in bite sized chunks so that we can get through it … we’ll consider all of the options, we have a very respectful team of MPs in our government, we’ll look at all of the options, we’ll make a decision collectively about where we go … 21 out of 25 … are comfortable with where we are at the moment and we respect that the other four … are uncomfortable with where we are … and we’ll work that through together, we will come up with an outcome that is good for farmers … miners … and good for everybody else in the state who is neither a farmer nor a miner. (Hough: Well it seems to farmers that you’re not at that point yet, do you see something like an independent comparative review aiding that process?) Certainly that’s a possibility … if we throw every single possibility onto the table and try and consider them all at once. (Hough: It’s not really all at once though, this has been debated for a couple of years now.) … If we throw every possibility onto the table and try and consider them all at once there’s years and years and years of work ahead, or we could accept what we have at the moment, understanding that there are benefits for everybody but not as many as they want, get this small step forward and then start working on the next step, you clear that out then you start working on the next step, I think that’s a much more productive way … it improves the chances of getting where we need to be at the end and … it starts to share some of the benefits whether they’re enough or not it starts to share some of the benefits with people who deserve them as quickly as possible. (Hough:  Do you see this therefore being delayed more than three months?) Well, put it this way [laughs] if there’s going to be an independent review of all states and international legislation as well, that will take much much longer than that to do so that’s why we’ve got to think through all of those options, there are a lot of other things that need to be considered as well. One of the biggest issues … is that the mining industry reputation suffers enormously and understandably from a small section of the industry typically in the exploration side rather than production side which does the wrong thing. I’d say with great certainty that one of the things we need to do is improve on the compliance and the conviction and the penalty rate of that small section of the mining industry which does the wrong thing, we need to get them out of the industry, take them right out of the picture so that good farmers and good miners have a chance to work together and I’ve been approached by people – farmers – who’ve said they’ve just had terrible terrible experiences with a company, it was nightmarish and then they had a very good experience with a different company, you know so even just sorting out a lot of that will be a big improvement for everybody involved. (Hough: The horse has bolted though for a lot of people who have been burned by that situation. We have had a question in on the textline… asking if you could outline how you think farmers are better off because they believe that the minor changes that have been made go nowhere near anything that farmers have asked for.) OK, very important to consider that question properly, what has been improved and do they go far enough and I’ve tried to very clearly separate those two things. I acknowledge that farmers want more than they’ve got but farmers haven’t really been able to identify much about this bill that’s bad for them, it’s just not enough so understanding that they would like more, the amount of money that’s provided would have to be provided by a mining company to a farmer for legal advice, has gone up – (Hough: But only to about $5000 or something.) But it has gone up so should it be more, happy to consider that. Is it bad, is it negative, is it going backwards? No, certainly not. That’s why it’s important to separate the issue of it’s an improvement vs. is it a good enough improvement or not so I accept that farmers would like more. The distance from exempt land that you have [unclear] exploration – which is essentially moving dirt and drilling holes – has been extended from 400m in exchange for a negotiation for the distance for non invasive so really just aerial and surface, not allowed to move any dirt, has decreased. The length of time for a miner to give notice of the desire to enter has gone from three weeks to six weeks so that’s a very significant change for people, that giving the Small Business Commissioner the authority to help resolve disputes and accepting that that’s after it has already happened but to support small businesses, typically family farms, has changed there. We’ve improved the transparency and the access to information enormously and I really do think that just an understanding of exactly what’s available and how things work goes a long way to helping farmers a lot. We’ve given a right to compensation protection, where essentially the Government underwrites the compensation in certain circumstances that landholders are entitled to receive so there’s a significant number of improvements here for people. (Hough: But it’s all sort of tinkering around the edges if you don’t want a miner on your farm, whether you’ve got three or six weeks is largely irrelevant or if you need to take a miner to court, whether you’ve got $2500 or $5000 that’s still going to fall well short so it sounds like it’s not even really touching what could happen.) Yeah Cassie and I’m not trying to get away from that point, that’s a very valid point. There are small benefits for the miners as well and do you know what, they’d like a lot more also so what we’re trying to do is find benefits for both that we can all agree on are benefits, lock them in so that people get those benefits and then once they’re locked in, then move on to the next things on the list that people would like to have. This is not about saying ‘This is what you get and that’s all you get’, it’s about saying ‘Let’s accept that there are small benefits, take them, lock them away, start to benefit from them and move on to the next phase of consultation for the next list of – the next chunk of bigger and more important things’ but if we don’t do it one step after another we just won’t get anywhere. (Hough:   …Thank you… Some texts… an anonymous one saying “$5000 for legal advice, do you know what lawyers cost?”… I do think that possibly there would be a wide range of money that you would need depending on what sort of action you were to take with lawyers and also Colin has said that “This mining act on cultivated land is a no brainer to the majority of people, you need to preserve cultivated land to feed the world.”)

 

 

 

Bevan

David Bevan (ABC Radio Adelaide)  9.07  am.

 

Fraser Ellis, Liberal MP for Narungga [& callers]   (ABC RADIO ADELAIDE 9.07-9.21)   Liberal MPs cross the floor on mining reforms

 

(Bevan:  Last few days we’ve been talking about mining, that’s farmers versus miners … we said there was serious trouble within the Liberal Party over the Mining Act and that some members of the party were threatening to cross the floor if they didn’t get some sort of satisfaction.  Now indeed that is exactly what happened last night in the State Parliament.  Four Liberal MPs went against their government and crossed the floor siding with the Opposition to adjourn the Mining Act Bill.  They said … we’re not happy with where our own government is taking us on this so we’re going to side with the Opposition and push it off.  Now we’ve been discussing the issue for a couple of days now and we’ll go back into the substance of the issue in just a moment but we’ll also talk to Peter Malinauskas, we’ll talk to the Minister who’s meant to be sorting this issue out, Dan van Holst Pellekaan … but let’s begin with Fraser Ellis… Liberal MP for Narungga … the seat which takes in Yorke Peninsula, which is really ground zero when it comes to this debate – so many farmers on Yorke Peninsula have had a belly-full of miners; they just don’t want the people walking on to their land and that’s what Fraser Ellis is trying to address. He joins us right now … well why have you betrayed your party?) Well I think that’s an unfair characterisation.  The Minister has actually been tremendous and visited my electorate a couple of times, on the second occasion fronted a rather hostile crowd of over 300 farmers … listened to them have their say … in my estimations David I crossed the floor yesterday to adjourn debate until late February because I felt that I made a commitment to my community that there be a thorough, meaningful consultation and I thought we needed further opportunity to make that happen.  So while harvest is ongoing and Christmas is upcoming I thought that we should put the bill off until late February so that we could have a further opportunity to consult with landowners who are aggrieved with the current situation.  (Bevan:  And if your government was in touch with those very farmers it wouldn’t have needed you to side with the Opposition to adjourn this debate, the Government would have adjourned the debate.  The Government wanted to press this bill through against your wishes and against the good people of Yorke Peninsula.) Oh we’ve had some quite strong debate but it’s always been respectful and cordial David and the Minister in all sincerity has been consolatory and willing to work, I just felt that we hadn’t reached a.. (Bevan:  No, he wanted to wrap it up this week.) Perhaps I should say the four of us felt we hadn’t reached a point where we could support the bill, so this is an opportunity for the Government to further consult and more time for us to negotiate with the Minister, continue to negotiate because he has been exceedingly conciliatory and by late February we should have hopefully have a better solution and if not then at least there won’t be harvest and we can debate the bill in earnest without having to worry about landowners not being able to have their voice heard because they’re busy reaping crops to feed the nation.  (Bevan: Are you saying the Premier is happy with you and three other Liberal MPs making a fool of him and Dan van Holst Pellekaan in the Parliament yesterday?) Well I absolutely reject that we made a fool of anyone.  Tremendous line of strength that a party’s strong enough to have their Members represent their communities to the best of their ability and Premier Marshall prior to my entering Parliament and while … I’ve been in here … has always encouraged us to support our communities and represent our electorates to the fullest of our ability and this is just an extension of that … I don’t think it’s made anyone look silly David, it’s a great sign of strength that the Liberal Party’s willing to have local Members that represent their communities.  (Bevan:  All right, now in a minute we’ll come back to you ask you to explain what exactly it is that you’re trying to achieve for farmers here in South Australia. We’ll also talk to Nick McBride, who’s the Liberal Member for MacKillop … he sided with you and Dan Cregan and Steve Murray, two other Liberal MPs.  We’ll come back and ask what is it you’re exactly trying to achieve here.)

 

Peter Malinauskas, Opposition Leader   (ABC RADIO ADELAIDE 9.11-9.31)   Liberal MPs cross the floor on mining reforms

 

(Bevan: Peter Malinauskas … what do you say was achieved yesterday?) Well yesterday David we saw an extraordinary sequence of events where for the first time in living memory, in fact I’ve been asking around in Parliament this morning and there is literally no-one who can recall the last time that the Government lost a vote in the House of Government within the Parliament … it didn’t just happen once it happened three times … everyone was rather shocked yesterday … a lot of South Australians were starting to develop the view that there wasn’t division within the Liberal Party in South Australia anymore yet yesterday we had on show a swathe of Liberal MPs voting against their own Premier, Steven Marshall … it’s not really surprising.  We know there’s been a lot of discontent within the Liberal Party over recent months in the way that there’s been a lack of consultation within the Government with regional MPs and their concerns being heard … we understand from the Liberal Party room the other evening there was a big debate about whether or not the bill should be forced through the Parliament or whether or not there should be more consultation and Fraser Ellis and his colleagues were overruled by the Premier and then in turn they voted against the Premier … it was the most extraordinary display of open division in the Parliament from a Government that really we’ve ever seen … it happened three times.  (Bevan:  You actually support the gist of the Government Bill though, don’t you?  You don’t agree with what these four MPs want.) Well we support the bill in terms of the basic principles that it contains with it.  We think there is a need to bring the Mining Act you know into the 21st Century.  It hasn’t been reviewed for some time; there are a range of improvements for landowners within the bill and that was one of the reasons why it was developed, in fact … the general genesis of this bill was developed by Labor in Government when Tom Koutsantonis was the Mining Minister … so we support the basic principles within the bill and we were a united party on it.  I mean the thing that I feel very lucky about David is that I’m not just Leader of the Labor Party but I’m the Leader of probably the most unified branch of any political party anywhere in the nation and I think that’s something that bodes well for stability and also bodes well for thorough and thoughtful policy making.  (Bevan:  But you don’t want to give farmers the right of veto … the right to stop mining on their land, you don’t want to give them that.) No we don’t … but what we do want is to make sure that we can improve the bill to give farmers some clarity about what their rights are and some certainty over the way they can do their work … my team is united in that view.  If there are ways that the bill can be improved to hear the legitimate concerns that regional communities have we’re open-minded to that, but the Government has been all over the shop on this and at the end of the day everybody in politics knows David that if you can’t govern yourself you can’t govern the state … yesterday we saw a classic example of people actively undermining their own Premier and it’s in stark contrast to what everyone expected from this new Government.  I mean they said they weren’t going to cut health and now … they’re swinging the axe around the place with corporate liquidators in health.  They said they were going to try and reduce debt but they’ve now got debt going out and handing out $42 million to private hotels.  (Bevan:  Okay, but regarding this Mining Bill you could have said ‘look we’re just going to give the four rebel MPs what they want, we’re going to vote it down’, but you would be effectively voting down a bill that you had supported when you were in Government, so that would be rank hypocrisy, so instead what you did – and you know you could be applauded for this – instead of voting down something, which would have just been playing politics, you’ve adjourned it giving the four MPs an opportunity to show their displeasure with their government without actually voting down the bill.) I think David that in politics or in Parliaments wherever there is division it’s ultimately going to surface; you can’t keep pouring water on it and it’s clear … from yesterday that there is deep division within the Liberal Party.  Yes we voted to adjourn the bill.  The Government also had flagged overnight in the lead up to yesterday that there were amendments they wanted to put forward, so we needed time to consider those amendments ourselves so adjourning it made sense for us to be able to think through the issues that the Government put on the table carefully, but also we were aware of the fact that there was extraordinary discontent within the Liberal Party regarding a lack of consultation so providing an opportunity for those MPs to conduct consultation while we also consider our position on the Government’s last minute amendments made perfect sense … then it just so happened that that division that exists within the Liberal Party was exposed very publicly. (Bevan:  All right.)

 

Back to Fraser Ellis

 

(Bevan: Well let’s go back to Fraser Ellis … Fraser Ellis, the issue here is that farmers want the right to turn away miners on their land, is that it in a nutshell?) In a nutshell farmers want a better deal; they want stronger land rights.  The actual substance of what that will look like is still up for debate.  There are a number of jurisdictions around Australia and internationally that have stronger legislative frameworks than what we’ve got here in South Australia.  So all I’m saying is that the current bill on the table does not go far enough on the key issue of land access.  (Bevan:  Would you like to see farmers have the right of veto?) All I want is stronger rights for farmers.  (Bevan: Yeah but what does that mean?  Come on, come on, come on what does that mean? ‘I want stronger rights’ that can mean anything … yes or no, do you want farmers to have the right of veto on their land?) Well I want freehold landowners to be able to determine the destiny of their own land, to determine the destiny of their own business … whether that’s a right to veto or some other legislative framework that enables them to have some degree of autonomy over their land is up for debate, but currently it is predetermined that there will have their land taken over by mining companies if it reaches the ERD Court and I don’t think that’s an acceptable situation. (Bevan: Well you put a batch of amendments to your party room meeting on Monday night and they were all rejected, would the effect of some of those amendments have been to give farmers the right of veto?) David I’ve taken a number of different proposals to the party room, a number of different idea to strengthen farmer rights and some of them mirror—some of them have the effect of ensuring that exempt land retain that definition of exemption and it couldn’t be waived and others were around planning legislation that isolated certain valuable agricultural districts for priority of farming and agriculture, but.. (Bevan: So the effect..) I’ve taken a number of different proposals.. (Bevan: So the effect of at least some of your amendments would have been to give in some circumstances the right of veto.) One of my proposals was the effect of giving full autonomy of the freehold landowner’s land back to the freehold landowner, yeah.  (Bevan: Right, so that’s veto.) Semantics, so we can call it whatever we want, but it’s currently the land’s defined as exempt and my proposal would have reinforced that definition.  (Bevan:  Okay, let’s go to David, he’s called from Port Clinton on Yorke Peninsula …) (Caller David: … this is about mining.  I’d like to indicate my support for the four Liberal Backbenchers who crossed the floor of Parliament and voted with the Opposition and got the Mining Bill adjourned.  Also support for the Yorke Peninsula Landowners’ Group and other farming communities affected by mining. Mining on Yorke Peninsula and you know other good land is somewhat similar to the encroachment of metropolitan Adelaide across good horticultural land, which will probably, you know with existing technology, be lost forever to food production.  Every time I drive to Adelaide it seems to be getting further north … also large companies can raise substantial sums of money for legal fees as opposed to small family farming enterprises which cannot really match these amounts.) (Bevan: Okay David thank you … let’s go to Peter from the Mallee …) (Caller Peter: … I’ve had 15 years’ experience with a mining company and I had nothing but trouble.  I went to court and the court set the conversation.  The mining company didn’t follow the contract, they wouldn’t pay the compensation and in the end they went broke and then I was left with 2km of open mine and the Government wasn’t holding enough bond and this went on for many years … the only thing that saved … a lot of red faces was that another company took over the mining and they rehabilitated the country and then paid the compensation that was due.) (Bevan:  Right, so it sounded like it dragged on Peter.) (Caller Peter: Oh it dragged on for—well I was working with them for 15 years. They’re finished now … there’s no complaints once the rehabilitation was done, but I support these MPs that have crossed the floor and I would send a message to the Yorke Peninsula farmers to fight the whole way to protect their land.) (Bevan: Peter thank you for your call from the Mallee.)

 

Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Minister for Energy and Mining   (ABC RADIO ADELAIDE 9.21-9.33)   Liberal MPs cross the floor on mining reforms

 

(Bevan: Let’s go to the Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan … well you lost control didn’t you?) No [laughs], that’s—that’s your assessment.  The reality is.. (Bevan: Hang on, hang on..) The reality is.. (Bevan: You lost the vote, you lost the vote three times and you lost the vote three times because four of your own MPs sided with the Opposition.) No, you’re just trying to sensationalise it.  It’s not unusual at all for bills to be adjourned; it’s a technicality of Parliament that there needed to be three votes to do the one thing, so that’s an exaggeration.  The bill was adjourned.  The bill’s still there.  (Bevan:  You wanted the bill dealt with this week.) Well I don’t see any benefit in waiting.  I can tell you exactly why.  The bill has significant and clear improvements for landholders and also for the mining industry and as soon as this bill gets through Parliament we move on very quickly to develop more improvements for you know landholders and the industry.  We are determined to do both of those things in sensible steps.  There are some people who want to do everything now but the reality is that’s not a practical approach.  (Bevan:  Minister..) What’s most important.. (Bevan: Minister, if those four Liberal MPs believed you they wouldn’t have adjourned the debate.) No, no look we had a very straightforward, respectful discussion.  This has been going on for a long time.  If you actually listened to or read all of the speeches from those four MPs they said exactly that in their speeches as well.  In the Liberal Party we support people speaking as they see fit.  (Bevan:  Well, if you thought it was such a good idea why didn’t you vote for the adjournment?) We support people to do that.  Now I can tell you what the mischief here is David is the Labor Party just trying to play politics.  They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves to say to everybody that they’re going to support this bill and then to let down landholders and let down the mining industry by trying to thwart the process; they should be ashamed of themselves … for just playing politics.  (Bevan:  If you thought it was such a good idea to adjourn the debate why didn’t you vote with them?) I’m quite comfortable that it was adjourned. There’s no problem.  The bill’s still there.  Bills get adjourned all the time.  I’m not uncomfortable with it being adjourned.  The reality is that we do need to move on.  We need to deal with this bill as quickly as we can so that we can get to the next tranche of benefits that we’re trying to develop for landholders and for miners.  (Bevan:  Dan van Holst Pellekaan, in the Parliament you never, never lose control.  You lost control.  Now the next day you’re saying ‘oh I’m okay for it being adjourned’; if you thought it was a good idea for it to be adjourned you would have supported it and saved face but you didn’t.) No. (Bevan: This is embarrassing.) No David you’re just trying to sensationalise it again.  What I said was I think that it’s in the best interest of all the stakeholders to deal with this now.  What I also said was if it’s adjourned it’s adjourned, I’m comfortable with that, it happens all the time … there’s nothing unusual about that whatsoever. (Bevan:  Do you think farmers should be given under any circumstances the power of veto?) No, that’s not my personal view at all and in fact an interesting side of this situation that you haven’t mentioned is that four out of twenty-five Liberal MPs chose to vote the way they did; twenty-one Liberal MPs chose to vote the other way.  I am determined to get benefits for landholders, for an improvement of this bill, as well as the mining sector … very interestingly David your last caller, Peter, made it very clear.  He said he had a terrible experience with a bad mining company and he had a very, very good experience with a good mining company.  It’s actually that is one of the key issues we have to resolve … we need to get rid of the poor performers and only have the good performers for everybody’s benefit.  (Bevan: If you gave Fraser Ellis and Steve Murray, Dan Cregan and Nick McBride what they want would you fundamentally change the law in South Australia regarding farmers and their powers?) Well look I’m not going to go into the detail of what each of them wants because to be quite open with you, as open as I can be, there are some different things that each of them want, so it’s not as simply is I give them what they want, but they do want some different things.  But to try and answer your question as openly as I can, to give a right of veto to landholders yes that would fundamentally change things, but the reality is landholders own the surface of their land … I respect that enormously.  All South Australian taxpayers own the royalties below … sorry, own the minerals below.  It’s not the mining companies that own those minerals; it’s not about mining companies versus landholders, it’s about the landholders who have freehold land versus the rights of all other South Australian taxpayers who actually own the rights to the minerals below the land.

 

Nick McBride, Liberal MP for MacKillop   (ABC RADIO ADELAIDE 9.27-9.30)   Liberal MPs cross the floor on mining reforms

 

(Bevan:  Let’s go to Nick McBride … voted against the Government with the Opposition yesterday to adjourn this bill. Nick McBride, is Dan van Holst Pellekaan giving you what you wanted.) … look Dan and the Ministry look are going through a bill with amendment and changes and a couple of things that’s been missed here David … this bill was constructed by a previous government that the regional areas have no confidence of.  They were left high and dry by the previous government.  They went out and said they consulted on this Mining Bill and our Minister has picked up this bill and in fairness he’s trying to move it through because there’s probably a lot of good qualities about the bill that could bring some good changes, however.. (Bevan:  Yeah but your constit..) However David.. (Bevan:  Your constituents thought they were going to get a different bill and you’ve ended up with effectively the same bill, the Labor proposal, is that right?  That’s why you’re cranky.) Well no hang on, hang on David.  David, on the same token as this we also, before coming into Government, promised a consultation process with a key region, and that’d be the Yorke Peninsula, with the proposed copper mine and developments there and this has not happened.  So when the Minister puts the papers on the party room table on a Monday afternoon without any consultation to … Fraser Ellis and doesn’t have the consultation process that he thought he was due then that’s when I said ‘oh dear this is not how it’s meant to work here; this is not how this process is meant to work at all’ … so then we tried to work through a negotiation of processes and it hasn’t happened.  So in summing up what happened yesterday is all that we’ve done is actually I believe saved the Government from complete turmoil amongst our own key constituents and Liberals from our regions, and particularly the Yorke Peninsula, where they can be heard, can be negotiated with and brought on board with the changes on this bill … I’d say to you David … if we’re going to … change this bill and make it for the best bill possible – and this government is going to do it and be responsible for it – then why shouldn’t it be our bill?  Why are we trying to run with something that was constructed by a government that none of this new government has any respect for or time for at all and we know all the damage they’ve done over the last 16 years, I have no confidence any of those changes that they’ve put in place and that is why.. (Bevan:  So why..) That is why I supported.. (Bevan: Why would Pellekaan reproduce Labor’s bill?) Look I can’t even answer that and it doesn’t matter, the point is I want our Minister to bat for our party, I want him to make the best decisions possible, I want.. (Bevan:  Well is he doing that?) Well hang on, so then I would say to you, he hasn’t gone through the process of actually bringing our core constituents on board to make sure they’re part of this process. This process is opening a door for amendments and changes to a Mining Bill.  Why not bring them all on and get it right in the first place?  And that’s all we’ve done by delaying it and allowing this process to go through the right channels so that we do have our constituents on board.  Bevan: … we’re going to have to wrap this up in a moment.)

 

Back to Peter Malinauskas

 

(Bevan:  But we’ll come back to Peter Malinauskas, Leader of the Opposition.) Wow David, have you ever heard live radio like it where Liberal MPs are getting stuck into their own Minister and their own Premier only eight months into a brand new Government?  This is extraordinary, but here’s another important fact that came to light last night David is that a Cabinet Minister, arguably a senior Cabinet Minister in Stephan Knoll, last night when all this unfolded abstained on the key vote.  (Bevan: Ah now I have had a text conversation with him this morning and Stephan Knoll says he did not abstain. He says, “I was in a meeting with Connie Bonaros from Centre Alliance about wind farms.  I missed the bells by ten seconds.  I was there for the second and third votes.  I definitely did not abstain.”) Well David there’s a reason why the bells ring so loud and so long in the Parliament and it’s so that no-one ever misses a division.  Missing a division, particularly when you’re a Cabinet Minister on a contentious issue, is simply unheard of and we know that Stephan Knoll is part of the same faction as these other country conservative MPs.  So there’s a lot going on; there are a lot of moving parts here David and the fact that we’ve got MPs actively defying a Minister in the Parliament and then coming on your program and arguing with each other is rather embarrassing for Steven Marshall’s authority and again I say: If you can’t govern yourself then you can’t govern the state and the one thing I’m very grateful for, and I think has stood up well for the Labor Party in terms of good policy development for many years in South Australia, is that we always are a united party, we debate our concerns and consideration, form an opinion … then we stick with the policy principles … that principle, that objective, stability will always be maintained in the Labor Party and clearly the divisions are very deep in the Liberal Party.  (Bevan: Thank you very much Peter Malinauskas.)

 

Back to Dan van Holst Pellekaan

 

(Bevan: Let’s come back to Dan van Holst Pellekaan … look can you admit that if you’d handled this better we wouldn’t even be having this conversation because Nick McBride says you’ve effectively offered up the Labor Bill and he’s effectively saving you from yourself because if you don’t deliver to farmers around this state … its key constituency you are going to be in enormous trouble.) Well David the Liberal Party’s key constituency is in the country and also in the city.  We are supported across the length and breadth of this state – we are the only party that can say that.  We’re in Government and we will govern for the entire state.  We will find benefits in the Mining Bill for both country landholders and mining companies and South Australians in the city and in the country … that’s what we’re obliged to do, that’s what we will do, it’s what we want to do. We as a Government will look after the entire state not just parts of it, but we’ll make sure all parts get benefits.  (Bevan: Minister, thank you for your time.) Thanks David.  (Bevan: Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Minister for Energy and Mining.)

 

Steve Lodge, Yorke Peninsula Landowners’ Group [& callers]   (ABC RADIO ADELAIDE 9.33-9.39)   Liberal MPs cross the floor on mining reforms

 

(Bevan: Now listening to all of this unfold is Steve Lodge, he’s a Yorke Peninsula farmer … well, what do you think of Dan van Holst Pellekaan and the way he’s managed this?) Well I’ve met with Dan.  He listens, he listens very well but he’s not actually taking down… what the farmers are actually wanting.  The Mining Bill as it stands at the moment is heavily balanced towards the exploration and mining companies.  What the new bill is proposing is even more balanced towards the mining and exploration companies.  It’s not actually giving the farmers any benefits; it’s actually encroaching on more of their rights.  (Bevan:  So is Pellekaan serving up, in your opinion, what Labor was going to give you?) It’s exactly what Labor was going to give us.  It’s basically from the Department of Energy and Mines, they’re pushing it through.  They tried to get the Labor Party to push it through and basically the Liberal Party before the election stopped it. They’ve continued on after the election and basically pulled out the same document and put it on the table and tried to push it through.  (Bevan:  So in order to satisfy yourself, the people you represent, in order to satisfy these, well, effectively rebel MPs is..) I stand by these, these MPs are outstanding … they’ve performed exactly … what our politicians are supposed to do; they are supposed to be standing up for the people and they did it very well yesterday.  (Bevan:  And in order to satisfy you all is the Government going to have to give farmers, at least in some circumstances, the power of veto?) Yes.  (Bevan:  That’s what it comes down to.) Yes, we have got valuable farming land that we need to look after.  They don’t make it anymore and we’re losing enough of it through urban sprawl, so we’ve got to look after it … this year, and being a drought for most of Australia, if you come over to Yorke Peninsula, parts of Eyre Peninsula they are actually reaping crops, they are putting food on the table, supplying fodder for eastern states that are in the midst of a drought, so we need it, we need farming land.  (Bevan: Okay Steve Lodge thank you for your time, Yorke Peninsula farmer.  Lots of texts coming in on this, some people questioning the effect of what the farmers are asking for, other people are very happy to see a group of MPs standing up for their constituency even if it means causing tremendous heartache for the current government, their own government.  Damien’s called from Kapunda … what are you thinking?) (Caller Damien: Look … my comment is not directly relating to the issue of mining and veto it’s relating to this current distrust of politicians … all the politicians who have spoken today have been muffling around the subject … haven’t directly answered your questions … that’s why a lot of people distrust politicians.) (Bevan: Damien thank you for your call … let’s go to Bruce in Greenwith … what are you thinking?) (Caller Bruce: … I’ve been sitting on the phone … listening … this is what politicians are supposed to do.  You’ve got the Liberal Party that are putting up a bill and some of their members don’t like it and they want to change it.  Well so be it and they’ve done that and that’s great.  One thing I will say is Peter Mala- I can’t even say his last name, the Peter guy from the Labor Party, hey, how about doing your job properly when you were in power for sixteen years.  Look at the hospital, look at all the other, the aged pension place on Oakden, that wasn’t even run properly.)  (Bevan: Bruce, a lot of people want to talk but I get the message, thank you for your call … Bill has called from Yorke Peninsula … you were actually in Parliament yesterday?)  (Caller Bill:  I was, but amongst 75-80 people and the Gallery was chockablock which was an excellent turnout to support Fraser and the other three brave politicians who, you’d have to say, were very brave and witness democracy in action … )  (Bevan: … they’re going to have to deliver aren’t they, in terms of the veto because they’re raised expectations on Yorke Peninsula and around the country.  If they don’t deliver that, they’re going to be in trouble?)  (Caller Bill:  Well the thing is, the … arable land always has been protected … up until recently when this bill was being presented because our forefathers saw the value in protecting arable land … the thing that needs to be really put forward is … farmers aren’t anti mining, farmers think mining’s great.  But it’s just where it’s done and it was … ironic that yesterday BHP announcing that they’ve found another what could be potentially, another Roxby Downs quite close to where they are now and that’s what farmers are cranky about … why would you be destroying good, arable land when there’s plenty of these minerals available somewhere else?)  (Bevan: Bill, thank you for your call … we will continue to look at this.  It’s going to play out next year … eventually the Labor Party’s going to come around and Dan van Holst Pellekaan knows that eventually when it’s put to a vote, the Labor Party will side with the Government bill in some form or another.  The question is whether he’ll do that with a rump of four MPs again crossing the floor, embarrassing him but eventually he’ll get what he wants but at what price?  It’s going to fester out there in regional South Australia if he’s not careful.)

 

 

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