Libs seek McKim's sacking over protest backing

The Premier has backed Education Minister Nick McKim despite his support for forest protests which she has labelled appalling.

The Opposition wants the Greens leader sacked from Cabinet for justifying continuing anti-forestry protests.

Mr McKim has compared anti-forestry protesters to heroic freedom fighters, including Nelson Mandela.

Five people were charged yesterday with trespass after chaining themselves to property at Ta Ann's timber mill at Judbury in the state's south.

It was the second protest action against the company this week.

The Premier Lara Giddings condemned the protests as disgraceful.

But Mr McKim has told ABC Local Radio he understood the frustrations of activists in the wake of the forest peace deal collapse.

"You look at people like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi and Rosa Parks," he said.

"For many decades through human history they have all done that, in part, by protests that were actually categorised as illegal at the time.

"Now those people are treated as heroes and rightly so.

"The people who are protesting now around forests are frustrated and I share in their frustrations in that, despite all of the talk, all of the dollars flowing to various parts of the forest industry, not one single hectare of forest has been protected yet through the IGA process." In Parliament, Opposition leader Will Hodgman said it was sackable offence.

"Premier, you tried to talk yesterday, you tried to do it again today but your words are hollow if you do not condemn those comments," he said.

"Do you endorse your minister's comments, which is it? "Who do you support; Ta Ann, and the people who work there, or are you again going to put first keeping the Greens happy? "Stand up to this economic saboteur and kick him out of your Cabinet!" Ms Giddings backed her Minister.

"I disagree with his view but that's not a sackable offence." Mr McKim said it was ridiculous that he would be sacked for expressing a view.

He accused Mr Hodgman of turning the Parliament into a kangaroo court.

"He's already convicted activists that were arrested just yesterday," he said.

"He has stood up in here and significantly damaged their opportunities of receiving a fair trial because he has tried and convicted them in this Parliament." He considers being described an economic saboteur a badge of honour.

Mr McKim says it likens him to legendary civil rights leaders.

"Mahatma Ghandi was accused of being an economic saboteur over his sea salt protests, Nelson Mandela was labelled as an economic saboteur for his call for sanctions against apartheid." Deputy Premier Bryan Green said he knew Mr McKim did not share the view of fringe environmental groups to end all native forest logging.

"I think what Mr McKim is doing...is respecting people's right to protest." Mr Green agreed fringe activists were undermining the bid to end Tasmania's forest wars.

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