Saturday 10th October, 2015 Australia/Sydney

Australian Conservative

Nationals’ Truss says “fly-in/fly-out” Greens not real friends of rural Australia

New Greens’ leader Christine Milne is looking to cultivate more support for her party in rural Australia. Nationals’ leader Warren Truss says that while the Nationals take all of their competitors seriously, the Greens have a history of “just being around when there’s something to protest about”.

The fact that the Greens are the authors of “the world’s biggest carbon tax” which is being imposed upon regional communities “will well and truly assure everyone who lives out of the capital cities that the Greens are not going to be their long-term friends,” Mr Truss said today.

The idea that rural communities can trust the Greens is “mind blowing”, he told ABC Radio National.

There is a view that the Greens have been winning country friends by actively opposing the coal seam gas industry’s operations in rural Australia.

“What regional communities want, though, is not somebody who can just be there to yell and scream when there’s an issue. They want somebody who’s going to be there and back them when they need support and not be sort of just a fair weather friend and somebody who turns on you the moment they leave town,” Mr Truss said.

“The Greens have got a history of just being around when there’s something to protest about. They’re the classic fly-in/fly-out political party. The next time regional communities hear from them, it’s because they want to close down their local fishery, or their local saw mill, or ban routine farm practices. They have a record of being no friends of regional communities when they actually need them,” Mr Truss said.

Mr Truss said Liberal-National coalition state governments are starting to take action “to make sure that the [coal seam gas] industry is properly supervised, to make sure that any new development is safe, that the environment is always protected, and that there can be effective coexistence between a vibrant agricultural industry and the coal seam gas [industry] where it’s considered to be an appropriate development”.

Rescinding the carbon tax

When asked if a future Coalition government would consider a double-dissolution election if the Greens in the Senate blocked attempts to rescind the carbon tax, Mr Truss said:

“Well that’s not our preferred position. We’d obviously want, on election to government, the political parties to recognise that we have a mandate to make that change and to allow us and to respect that change.

“Now, for instance, if we are to have a result like what happened in Queensland, well, then, what the views of other political parties have on that matter would not necessarily be important.

“The reality is that this is just another example of why regional Australians cannot trust the Greens. They can’t come into regional communities and say that they’re seriously interested in country communities, and then impose upon Australians in regional areas the world’s biggest carbon tax – a tax that hurts regional communities much more than it hurts the cities. And yet the Greens don’t seem to have even recognised that fact or be prepared to acknowledge it.”

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