Keating's hypocritical environmentalism
By Dave Wright
MELBOURNE — On August 4, Friends of the Earth condemned Paul Keating's hypocrisy for denouncing resource piracy by Japanese and Malaysian companies, while supporting Australian companies with an equally poor environmental record in South Pacific and Australia.
FOE spokesperson Damien Lawson said that it was significant that Keating made no mention of the operations of mining companies in the South Pacific, in particular, BHP's Ok Tedi copper mine in Papua New Guinea.
"BHP is on record admitting the mine is pumping about 100,000 tonnes of tailings and heavy metals into the Ok Tedi river each day, and has done so for years. Despite this issue being taken to the Australian courts by PNG traditional landowners, the Australian government refuses to regulate the activities of Australian mining operations overseas", he said.
Louise Matthiesson, FOE forest campaigner, said "Although we welcome Keating's stance in support of protection of World Heritage-nominated areas in the Solomon Islands, is it not too much to expect that he would extend the same concern to World Heritage nominated forests in Australia?"
The Keating government is currently under scrutiny by the United Nations nature conservation unit for backing logging operations in Tasmania which are degrading World Heritage areas. She said that old growth and wilderness forests are being woodchipped Australia-wide in direct contravention of Keating's national forest policy.