Gunns – the 1.5 billion company which boasts one of the most phenomenal and controversial rises seen in recent Australian business history – has plenty of money to throw around these days. Enough to hire as many silks as it needs to sustain a long and expensive SLAPP suit, and of course more than enough left over to fund a very slick and expensive new brand of television advertisements.

One of the most recent I have seen on Tas. primetime TV is a rosy little ad, clearly funded by Gunns where sincere folks give Gunns the big thumbs up for making a difference in the delivery of care to diabetics.

Cynical? You betcha!

Do we really need to hear Gunns blowing smoke up its own arse because it has thrown a few dollars at diabetes? No not really.

The reality is there already exists in our community many good folks who daily deliver quality health care (sometimes for free) to diabetics and other chronic disease sufferers, often in difficult circumstances, and in a world far removed from the world of suits, slick advertising execs and the ‘ideas men’ down at Gunns.

And what’s more they do it without the incentive of a public pat on the back (and probably not even a private pat on the back).

Get over your good benevolent self Mr John Gay. Continue to give money to diabetes and Tsunami victims and every other charity you can think of. But do it quietly and privately. You have operated well this way in the past.

As a health care professional who spends his days caring directly for diabetic children, I find it hard not to be cynical about a Tasmanian company who deliberately poisons Tasmanian animals and has for many years continued to engage in ‘clear fell forestry’ and ‘aerial pesticide spraying’ near private property and waterways often against the wishes of local Tasmanian residents and communities.

I am not sure that Gunns Ltd has quite earned the right to represent itself publicly as a saviour of our health.

Rick Pilkington is a health professional who lives in Launceston.