Larissa Waters
Larissa Waters Queensland Greens

Waters in important Senate win

THE Mary Valley will have at least one more friend in a high place with the election of Queensland’s first Greens senator, environmental lawyer Larissa Waters.

Ms Waters was a strong supporter of the campaign against the Traveston Crossing dam, along with another well-known name in the anti-dam struggle, Western Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert.

Sen Siewert was an important part of the Senate Inquiry into the dam, which held hearings in Gympie and forced the State Government to reveal previously secret documents on the dam.

Ms Waters expects to join her in the Senate as Queensland’s sixth senator, following Saturday’s Federal election.

She claimed victory early in the week and said with the majority of votes counted, the Australian Greens had polled 12.82 per cent of the vote and were likely to take the sixth spot on the Senate ticket.

“Queensland has voted for a Greens voice to speak for them in the Senate,” Ms Waters said.

“There has been a record high vote of around 12 per cent for the Greens across the nation.

“We attribute this swing to support for the Greens’ positive policies and dissatisfaction with the major parties’ lack of long-term vision.

“The Australian Greens were the only party to run a positive campaign based on our long-term vision for Australia and this has been reflected in the vote.

“This election has consolidated the Australian Greens as the third force in politics.

“Voters were looking for something the major parties are not providing.

“Voters supported the Greens’ positive policies on climate change, compassion for asylum seekers, public education and public health and green jobs.”

Ms Waters’ election may be less popular at the Cooloola Coast, where a current review of fishing rights off the coastline was an important issue.

However, Greens candidate for Wide Bay Jim McDonald said his party’s policies had been misrepresented by Coalition candidates.

Mr McDonald denied the party was all about closures or that it had plans to lock fishers out of a huge area of ocean, some hundreds of kilometres off the coast between Double Island Point and about three-quarters of the way up Fraser Island.

His claims were supported by another Mary Valley defender, Roger Currie, who blasted the Nationals over what he called a “massive fear-based ‘no take zones’ campaign”.

Mr Currie said the election result had “vasectomised” the Nationals’ campaign.

“The prospect of an ALP and Greens/Independents lower House and a Greens controlled Senate has rendered the Nationals in the seats of Wide Bay and Hinkler sterile,” he said.

“The federal Marine Protected Areas program is to become a reality, community derived ‘no take zones’ will be created by community consultation, without political manipulation.”

Mr Currie said the election result meant Australians had told the Nationals that “Australia’s fisheries are not yours to politically manipulate – they are the people’s to protect for future generations.”

The Australian Greens website-published policy on Marine and Coastal Areas says: “Fisheries must be managed as a part of a broader ecosystem which meets the needs of natural predators as well as humans...the health of Australia’s estuarine, coastal and marine environment is dependent on land management that recognises the interconnectedness of terrestrial and marine environments...the health of Australia’s fishing industries is dependent on adequate conservation and sustainable management measures that ensure the replenishment of fishing stocks.”

The policy calls for “a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of marine reserves ... a reduction in fishery by-catch and habitat damage from both commercial and recreational fishing and other marine activities ... the conservation of key target species (and) implementation by all levels of government of the National Framework for Integrated Coastal Zone Management”.

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