Otway Ranges Environment Network



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In 2002, Liberals spoke out to in support of Otway logging ban during State election

Liberal resigns in disgust to vote for Labor's Otway policy

This article in the Geelong Advertiser demonstrates that many Liberal voters would have been shocked to here that the official Liberal Party policy during the 2002 Victorian state election was to support clearfell logging for woodchips the Otways under rules determined by the Regional Forest Agreement.

Young Libs chief quits to vote ALP
Geelong Advertiser
29 November 2002

PRESIDENT of Geelong's Young Liberals Adrain Schonfelder has quit in protest at the Opposition's "arrogance" and failures over environment policy.

Mr Schonfelder, a Liberal Party member for 10 years, said yesterday he could not remain silent over the Opposition's failure to commit to ending logging in Otways native forests.

"I've wrestled with resigning for some time," Mr Schonfelder said.

"The Labor Party is more sympathetic to the environment and that's why I will be voting Labor on Saturday."

Liberal Party figures yesterday shrugged off the resignation timed to inflict maximum hard to the Liberal Party.

Geelong Young Liberals vice- president Michelle Challis said she was "gobsmacked".

"Within the branch, we're very good friends, we socialise outside meetings and although we've invited Adrain to things, he never came," Miss Challis said.

South Barwon MP Alister Paterson said he was not surprised by Mr Schonfelder's step.
"Most Young Liberals have in effect formed another branch in Geelong so they do not have to put up with his presidency and longer," Mr Paterson said.

If only Alister Paterson had listened. Mr Paterson lost his seat of South Barwon to the ALP a few days later. See Case Study: Liberals lose Bellarine and South Barwon in 2002.

Geelong Liberal candidate points finger at ALP Otway policy

After the Liberal Party was annihilated in the 2002 Victorian State election, some Geelong Liberal Party candidates began to point the finger for their demise at the popularity of ALP Otways policy to end clearfell logging in the Otways and create a new expanded Otway National Park.

Voters conned, says Stretch
Geelong Advertiser
2nd December 2002

DEFEATED Geelong Liberal candidate Stretch Kontelj says the Bracks factor and Labor's promise to end logging in the Otways were election trump cards.

The Geelong city councillor yesterday barely contained his bitterness about losing to sitting MP Ian Trezise but said there was nothing more he could have done.


Mr Kontelj has publicly supported an end to logging in the Otways as a Liberal Geelong City councillor.


National Party accuse Liberals of supporting National Parks.

During the 2002 Victorian state election campaign there were rumours that some top Liberals wanted to publicly support an end to clearfell logging in the Otways. The National Party seized on this gossip and began to publicly attack the Liberal Party.

Logging support shaky: Nationals
Colac Herald
27 November 2002

A candidate for Polwarth electorate in this weekend's state election believes Liberal Party support for logging in the Otways is on shaky ground.

National Party candidate Dough Chant of Warrion said city-based Liberals were supporting a call to ban logging, and up to 1500 jobs in Colac district were in jeopardy.

"Sitting Liberal members now admit logging is a contentious issue in the Liberal Party room, with the dominate city based members in favor of supporting the Greens call for a ban on logging," Mr Chant said.

"The Liberals lukewarm support for logging is not likely to be continued," Mr Chant said.

Premier Steve Bracks announced earlier this month that his Labor government would phase out logging in the Otways within six years, prompting the Liberal Party to announce its support for logging.

But Mr Chant said the Liberals were prone to caving in on environmental issues.

"They have already caved in to pressure from Greens and sided with the ALP to vote for a ban on logging in the box ironbark forest and a ban on fishing in the marine national parks," he said.

"If the Greens and the ALP get their way in the Otways and logging is banned it is likely to cause a total loss of 1500 jobs and many millions of dollars tot eh Colac region."
"This is of course of little concern to the city centric Liberal and Labor parties," Mr Chant said.

He said the National Party was the only party with a real commitment to keeping forests open to responsible logging.

Mulder in row with Chant
Geelong Advertiser
27 November 2002

LIBERAL and National Party candidates in the seat of Polwarth have accused each other of selling out country people.

Members for Polwarth Terry Mulder yesterday issued a statement accusing National Party Candidate Doug Chant of selling out farmers over farm dams legislation.

Mr Mulders attack was in response to an earlier statement from Mr Chant that the Liberals had supported the Governments legislation on marine and box ironbark national parks and in doing so also put the Otways timber industry under threat.

Mr Mulder yesterday said Mr Chant was in fairly land.

"While the National Party was scratching its head working out what to do to protect the timber industry, the Liberal Party introduced legislation to protect the timber resource and keep protestors out of the forests," he said.


Mr Chant said Liberal Party support for the box ironbark and marine national parks has shown the party was dominated by city-based people.

"City people are determining how we live," he said. "If they (Liberals) gave in on those issues they could do the same on timber in the Otways. "

Mr Mulder said the Liberal Party's stand on logging was clear.

"The Liberal Party supports the science of sustainable timber harvesting," he said.


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