Liberals hopelessly divided over forest policy Sun 10 June 2012 Bryan Green Deputy Premier The Tasmanian Liberals are again at odds with Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, this time over forestry. The Deputy Premier Bryan Green today called on Will Hodgman to reject calls by Mr Abbott for Tasmania to move away from current native forest logging practices. "Mr Abbott is advocating selective logging as the answer to challenges currently facing the industry," Mr Green said. "This would have serious consequences for the forest sector and shows Mr Abbott has little or no understanding of Tasmania's forest industry. Mr Green said the Liberals were now hopelessly split on forest policy following Mr Abbott's comments reported in the Weekly Times last week. "Mr Gutwein was threatened with the sack when he last broke ranks with the Tasmanian Liberals over forestry policy and has changed his mind. The same message he got then needs to go to Mr Abbott now. Former Liberal Leader Rene Hidding's public reprimand of Mr Gutwein included: "Peter (Gutwein), when he has done his homework, will find that selective logging, given its death toll over the years, is unlikely to ever live up to current work safety standards and therefore can be seen as a euphemism for an anti-logging stance." (Rene Hidding, Tasmanian Opposition Leader, December 13, 2002) "Mr Hodgman needs to face off with his Federal Leader again like he did when Mr Abbott threatened to rip GST revenue off Tasmania. "And while he's at it, Mr Hodgman should put a stop to Mr Abbott's ridiculous notion of draining Lake Pedder. Mr Abbott told a public meeting this week in Casey south east of Melbourne that he was more interested in conservation than former Greens leader Bob Brown. "Mr Hodgman has a serious credibility problem over forestry because of the mixed messages coming from the Liberals. "Mr Abbott wants to ban existing forestry practices and it's up to Mr Hodgman to convince him that he is wrong. Mr Green said Mr Hodgman political strategy over forestry was in tatters after last week conceding market changes and not the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement are the causes of the industry downturn. "This contradicts everything the Liberals have been saying about the challenges facing Tasmania's forest sector and now they should support the industry, unions and environmental groups who are working towards a solution through the TFIA. Mr Green said he welcomed a debate over forestry with Mr Hodgman. "I am the forests Minister and if Mr Hodgman is too frightened to debate me then he should send Mr Guitwein along instead," Mr Green said.