By contrast, in his oral opening statement, Peter Spencer started with the Magna Carta and traced the evolution of freehold title in Australia back to the foundation of Government in 1840 .
Spencer then went through the history of international, national and state government agreements and legislation linking environmental issues and native vegetation. Spencer traced a line of continuity from the First International Conference on Environmental Issues in 1950 and its Native Vegetation Advisory Workshop through to 2003. Important steps along the way included the 1972 International Conference Declaration of the UN on Human Environment, the 1992 Rio Earth Summit (the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change) where Australia signed the treaty, the resulting 1992 National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (signed by PM Hawke) and the 1992 National Greenhouse Strategy which was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).
In effect, the intention to take the benefit arising from the sequestration of carbon, through the native vegetation legislation of 2003 as the primary mechanism for meeting Australia’s greenhouse gas commitments, was the logical outcome of the 1992 strategy.
So, the three opening statements have been completed – GAME ON.
Tomorrow morning the Judge will decide which documents from both sides are in or out. The afternoon will be taken up with the expert witness evidence of Dr David Evans for Spencer and by Mr Sturgess, a senior bureaucrat for the Commonwealth.