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Election Victory for forests welcomed in Australia

The Wilderness Society WA

Media Release Monday 12 February 2001

Victory for forests welcomed

The Wilderness Society and the Western Australian Forest Alliance today congratulated the Gallop Labor team on winning government and for having placed the protection of Western Australia's old growth forests at the centre of Labor's electoral platform.

After five months intensive work with communities in twelve key electorates and a sophisticated public information and advertising campaign, the issue of protecting Western Australia's old growth forests became one of the top three election issues and one of the distinguishing features between Labor and Liberal.

The 'Vote Forests' campaign culminated in a decision by the Wilderness Society to hand out 'Vote Forests' cards at 135 booths in 11 electorates on polling day. Unprecedented support from 800 volunteers made this possible.

The impact of the electoral phase of the forest campaign has been a significant factor iin Labor's victory, as recognised in interviews this morning by Geoff Gallop and Federal Labor leader Kim Beasley. In the city seats won by Labor, the Green and/or Liberals for Forests vote was at least double that of One Nation. The Green and Liberal for Forests vote was particularly strong in seats where the Wilderness Society handed out how to vote cards.

It is remarkable that the pundits have not yet looked closely at the implications for conservative politics of the stunning debut of Liberals for Forests which has attracted a very significant number of 'small L' liberal voters.

Nor has anyone considered that previous polling indicates that One Nation voters hold have views about the importance of protecting Western Australia's old growth forests as other members of the community. This may well have been a factor in their decision to preference Labor ahead of Liberal.

The Gallop win will give heart to everyone in Australia who cares about the fate of our country's old growth forest. Australia-wide we have only 10% of our original old growth left. With leadership from Western Australia, Australia's unprotected old growth forests could now have a chance of survival.

Contact: David Mackenzie: 0408 975 214 or Virginia Young: 0417 223 280

The Wilderness Society WA 2 Delhi St, West Perth, Western Australia, 6005, AUSTRALIA wa@wilderness.org.au Ph (08) 9420 7255 Fax (08) 9420 7256 http://www.wilderness.org.au/wa


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