Labor's Jim Pearce may refuse to vote on land-clearing

LABOR'S land clearing bill may already be defeated with Mirani MP Jim Pearce considering abstaining from the vote.

Due to Queensland's hung parliament the government needs all its members as well as crossbench support to pass legislation.

Mr Pearce told the Courier-Mail he is "not sure" if he will vote for the bill or abstain.

He said he would not cross the floor and vote against the bill.

"I've got issues with it but I'm not going to cross the floor," he said.

"I don't know yet. I'm just not happy with it and I've had discussions but I'm just not happy with the Bill, because I have a big rural electorate."

ARM Newsdesk has contacted Mr Pearce.

The opposition and Katter's Australia Party have both vowed to vote against the bill. 


EARLIER: Land clearing laws debated through the night, more to come

A LATE night sitting of Queensland Parliament has brought the state no closer to knowing if a controversial land clearing bill will become law.

At 10pm last night Deputy Premier Jackie Trad introduced the Vegetation Management Bill into parliament to be debated and voted on.

Ms Trad said she believed restricting land clearing was a "moral obligation".

"When it comes to vegetation management, Labor will not hide from this issue because it is difficult or because it is hard," she said.

"It is the Labor way to champion reform that is based on science, that is based on evidence, that is based on fact."

Ms Trad said the government would not be supporting the Agriculture Committee's only bipartisan decision to remove the reverse onus of proof on suspected land clearers.

The decision may cost them the Speaker Peter Wellington's support. The Nicklin MP was outspoken about his opposition to making people prove their innocence in relation to the former LNP government's anti-bikie laws.

With the LNP and Katter's Australian Party to vote against the bill it needs support from the three independents to pass.
Shadow natural resources minister Andrew Cripps said the bill itself was "calculated political retribution".

"In the five months since its introduction, Labor and the greens have mounted a concerted campaign of scaremongering, contrived misinformation and outright untruths," he said.

Mr Cripps said Labor had "vilified" farmers in trying to sell the bill.

"I believe deeply that there is a strong level of commitment to the land by people who purchase property with the intention of pursuing a farm business," he said.

"Logically, the land is the principal asset in that farm business and it is clearly in the best interests of the landowner to look after that asset."

But when Mr Cripps' speech finished at 11.30 the motion was adjourned.

The bill will continue to be debated in parliament on Thursday. - ARM NEWSDESK