Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says he has no regrets after being booted out of Parliament for accusing the Prime Minister of hating timber workers. Source: Timberbiz
In a heated Question Time clash on Thursday, Mr Chester challenged Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to provide any examples of where his government had actually supported the hardwood timber industry, in the wake of the Victorian’s Government’s decision to ban the logging of native trees in just six months.
“I gave the Prime Minister a chance to prove he was different to the Premier and he knocked it back,” Mr Chester said.
“They are as bad as each other and Albanese’s answer demonstrated a complete lack of compassion for timber workers and their families. His Ministerial colleagues just laughed as I raised a point of order, so I asked a new question: Why do you hate timber workers so much?”
Mr Chester was ordered out of the chamber for an hour and said he would do the same again if the Labor Party continued to show no respect for timber communities.
“I make no apologies for standing up to these bullies and fighting for regional jobs. In 20 years of involvement in state and federal politics I’ve never seen a more gutless group of Victorian Labor MPs,” he said.
“We have to stick together now and fight for the future of our regional communities against a government that doesn’t even pretend to care about us.
“They are too timid to stand up to Dan Andrews and so desperate for Greens preferences that they are happy to sell out blue collar workers. Old Labor MPs would be disgusted with new Labor’s approach to working class families and the way the Premier has divided our state.
“The contempt and complete lack of respect shown to my communities with this announcement will not be forgotten and I’m expecting they won’t go down without a fight. We are sick of being told what jobs we can’t have anymore, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this galvanised public protest action against Dan Andrews.
“Other regional industries are on high alert, particularly the intensive agricultural sector and recreational hunting, because we are afraid they could be next on the Labor-Greens hit list. We need to fight for regional jobs and our rural lifestyles.
“If this timber ban goes ahead, it will devastate the social and economic life of small towns in my community. The flow on impacts are hard to predict but as working age people leave the district, things like footy and netball clubs will cease to exist and schools become unviable.
“No-one wants a bloody handout from Dan Andrews, they want to have the decency of a job to provide for the financial security of their families in the towns they love. Why should families have to move interstate to get a job just because Melbourne Labor MPs are too gutless or stand up to the Greens?”