DEBATE: A proposed Imbil conservation area.
DEBATE: A proposed Imbil conservation area. Google Maps

More light and less heat needed in political debate

THE time may have come to tone down Australia's otherwise enviably vigorous public debate.

The recent experience of Allan Jones and the pseudo-tough guy comments that got him into trouble provide an example.

Politicians boast that Queensland "punches above its weight” while at the same time lecturing us that "one punch can kill”.

No wonder we get confused.

Now, the gentlest political views can be branded "loony left” or "far right” and people no longer seem able to talk to each other on serious topics.

Locally the issue of closing down some of the Imbil forestry and making it national park is a relevant case.

So is the plan to privatise Queensland's wild fish resource, under a scheme which pretends, with no apparent justification, to be conservation based.

Locking trees away from forest industries that have preserved them for generations is not necessarily a step forward, especially if it means they will be administered by tourism bureaucrats who will build roads, put up signs banning everything and lease it all out to foreign eco-tourism companies.

And stopping Queenslanders from accessing local fish does not save the environment if it simply sells them all overseas instead.

While aggro-style discussion has enlivened public debate and gained attention for many years, perhaps it is time to calm down.

We might all learn something.