Tasmanian Times


Gunns: Out of Control

Tasmanian Times has been inundated with requests to republish Richard Flanagan’s eviscerating essay Paradise Razed, published two weeks ago in the UK Telegraph. It is not available on the Net.

But today The Monthly magazine publishes the updated Richard Flanagan essay.

“Tasmania’s remoteness, its wildness, its unique natural world — all seemed to offer the possibility of a prosperous and good future to a state that had for a century been the poorest in the Australian Commonwealth. Instead, over the past three decades Tasmania has mortgaged its future to the woodchipping industry, which is today dominated by one company: Gunns Ltd.”

In “Out of Control”, award-winning Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan delves into the murky relationship between the timber giant Gunns and state and federal politics. He shows how a private company has been handed control of Tasmania’s most precious resource — its unique old-growth forests, of world importance — and how that company’s profits from clearfelling are being returned not to the state’s people, not even to forestry workers, but instead to a small group of wealthy shareholders. This is the defining statement on the tragedy of Tasmania’s forests and the debasement of contemporary politics in relation to the environment.

“Gunns’ shares were languishing at $1.40 when Jim Bacon’s Labor government came to power. The company’s subsequent growth was dizzying. Within four years, it had recorded an increase of 199% in profits. With the acquisition of two rival companies, Gunns took control of more than 85% of logging in Tasmania. Five years after Bacon won government Gunns was worth more than $1 billion, with shares trading in excess of $12.”

The Monthly is in newsagents today.

Read more here

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. tragedy

    May 20, 2007 at 2:06 pm


    My source of information for my information you quote in #44 is:
    Jenkin, BM & Tomkins, T (2006) “Pesticides in plantations: the use of chemical pesticides by the Australian plantation forest industry – summary report” Published by Forest & Wood Products Research & Development Corporation (FWPRDC).

    I have a copy but you should still be able to access it via their web site at http://www.fwprdc.org.au /index.asp

    I should have added that those figures refer to the national chemical pesticide expenditure for 2003-04.

  2. Brenda Rosser

    May 19, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Travesty, I agree with you that chemical-intensive crop farming would outweigh the use of chemicals in an EQUIVALENT area of tree plantations.

    As for your assertion that “Plantation forestry is a minor contributor to Australian chemical use, with annual expenditure accounting for only 0.7% of the $2.4 billion annual national total and less than 20% of that spent on household insecticides.”

    Please provide the source of this information. (publication, date, author..)

  3. tragedy

    May 19, 2007 at 2:35 am

    So Brenda dear, what are my “endless garden path of LIES”. Destroy my points with a credible intelligent argument, instead of waffle.

    Unlike you I actually present some facts which are indisputable, yet you on the otherhand totally ignore the point I made about beauty is in the eye of the beholder and continue to say look at the photos as if it is some proof of environmental destruction. You obviuosly have a lot of time on your hands to write so much, but it is a waste of time unless you start backing up what you say with more credible evidence, rather than rhetoric.

  4. Brenda Rosser

    May 18, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Part 3 (rest of my sub)

    “The majority of pulpwood will be sourced from forests managed in accordance with the Australian Forestry Standard which is endorsed under the international forest certification system PEFC (Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes)…”

    But Gunns Ltd does it’s own assessment under the Australian Forestry Standard and there is, within this document, no definition of ecologically-sustainable forest management. It’s all very flexible.

    In relation to climate change well, after all,the Governments acknowledge the need, identified in the National Greenhouse Response Strategy, to manage forests so as to maintain or increase their ‘carbon sink’ capacity and to minimise the emission of greenhouse gases from forest activities. (National Forest Policy Statement, 1992). Yet what has the department of environment done whilst many hundreds of thousands of hectares of native forest has been clearfelled, most of the biomass including hundreds of years of stored carbon in the forest floor humus has been released to the air by piling up and burning the debri. The more carbon released from soil that is roasted then tilled to plant a single species. And the process repeats after 10-20 year tree plantation rotations. Why are you there? What is your responsbility?

    Currently the population of bees in the US, Canada and parts of Europe is being decimated by something called Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. Apiarists are finding that bees are either vanishing from their hives or just dying in them. No one know why at this point. Threatened North American pollinators now include 115 species and subspecies of 57 butterflies, 2 moths, and 55 bees. Bees don’t just produce honey. Around 1/3 of food comes from the pollination that bees perform. That is most fruit, vegetables and even the alfalfa that cows need.

    The agro-industrial practice of planting huge monocultures has been implicated in this frighteningly recent and unheralded development. So has the use of insecticides. GM crops have been developed that implant a gene for BT that kills insects. So scientists are wondering if this might also be partially behind the deaths.

    I’m no Einstein but I also figured out that ” “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

    I know that you guys may figure that you’re eminently practical. That blind eyes need to be turned so that any means whatsover can be employed. It’s necessary, you say, that business can carry on making a profit. It’s just that I have this hangup. I want to live and I want my children and grandchildren to live also. If it means that we need to change the way we live and live with less (in the way of material wealth) then we are happy to do this. Maybe we could hold a referendum on this issue. Ask the public whether they would choose material wealth over life itself.

    At least give us a choice.


  5. Brenda Rosser

    May 18, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Part Two:

    “SUBMISSION RE REFERRAL NOTICE Ref No. 2007/3385 I am writing in response to the invitation for public comment on the referral of Gunns proposed Bell Bay Pulp Mill project as a potential controlled action under the EPBC Act.”

    The Pulp Mill project is a controlled action. The controlling provisions are:

    * Breach of the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement
    * Threatened species or threatened ecological communities,
    * Commonwealth marine waters,
    * Protected Areas
    * World Heritage
    * Commonwealth Land
    * Rivers and Lakes
    * Ramsar Wetlands
    * Towns
    *Australian Heritage

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I have sent a submission on the proposed Gunns Ltd pulp mill before to the EPBC Referrals unit. Only to have it completely ignored. This was despite the fact that my assertion that “the proposed mill will feed off monoculture tree plantations and native forest in Tasmania which are not managed on a sustainable footing. Their management consistently breaches the RFA and a multitude of other Acts, regulations, guidelines, agreements and provisions to do with protection of the environment and human health.” was factually and legally correct at the time, and still is.

    “Meaning of ‘protect’ – Wielangta Ruling, December 2006

    240 An agreement to ‘protect’ means exactly what it says. It is not an agreement to attempt to protect, or to consider the possibility of protecting, a threatened species. It is a word found in a document which provides an alternative method of delivering the objects of the EPBC Act in a forestry context. ..241 The method for achieving that protection is through the CAR Reserve System or by applying relevant management prescriptions. Does that mean the State’s obligations are satisfied if, in fact, the CAR Reserve System or relevant management prescriptions do not protect the relevant species? I do not think so…”

    Logging Turned Legal

    The Wielangta Ruling of December 2006

    Again, the public find that there is insufficient time to present their submissions. I am writing two days to go before submissions close.

    Apparently, the EPBC Act and the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement have been changed since the time of the above Wielangta ruling to accommodate the continuation of an industry that has polluted our families drinking water with a residual and toxic chemical (and appears to be continuing to do so) and chokes my lungs with heavy plumes of toxic smoke for months each year in Autumn and Spring.

    Could you please incorporate the entire contents of my website (at: http://www.geocities.com/rosserbj) as part of this submission and the contents of my previous submission to your office on the same topic (proposed Gunns Ltd pulpmill) as both documents details our family’s personal experiences as well as their provision of an outline of the systematic abuse to public and environmental health in Tasmania generally.

    At this stage I’m absolutely stumped! What can a member of the public actually say to this referral that would actually result in REAL ‘protection’ in the true sense of the word? After all the referall document states:

    “This referral does not include the impact of forestry operations undertaken for the supply of pulpwood to the pulp mill. . .”

    AND (see part 3)

  6. Brenda Rosser

    May 18, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Part One:

    Clearly ‘Travesty’ hasn’t been reading the many many postings on the Tasmanian Times that provide reams of evidence – including photographic – of the abuses by Forestry Tasmania, Gunns Ltd and other so-called ‘forestry’ companies. (In actuality the processes they carry out on the land would truthfully be described as ‘anti-forest’).

    Here’s a copy of my sub on the proposed Gunns pulp mill. (See part Two). It’s the second submission on the same issue to the same people and the second time the Federal Environment Minister ignored the evidence I presented. While ‘Travesty’ leads us down the endless garden path of LIES here’s today’s headline from The Independent: ” Earth’s natural defences against climate change ‘beginning to fail'”

    For an interesting analysis of the Regional Forest Disagreements in Australia see:

    One of the key criticisms of the RFA process has been the underlying assumption of the National Forest Policy Statement that Australia could and should sustain an ‘internationally competitive native timber industry’.[164] To start from this premise without a detailed economic and ecological analysis of the viability and profitability of this use of the forest resource was to place the policy cart firmly before the deliberative horse. From the outset, alternative forest uses were subject to less detailed analysis, even though much less was known about their economic value. The examination of environmental values and conservation needs has provided an excellent platform upon which to build with additional research. But it hardly represents a level of scientific certainty high enough to justify a guaranteed right to exploit remaining forests for the next two decades. A proper application of the precautionary principle would have resulted in the inclusion of provisions that allowed for variation of agreements where subsequent research demonstrated an ecological need for more stringent conservation measures…”

  7. Tragedy

    May 17, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Observer (#32) – I am not making the fatuous claims such as “‘Forestry Tasmania’ is an institutional structure that works to the overall detriment of individuals and our economy. It is responsible for the degradation of huge areas of Tasmania’s land and the health of our biodiversity” – So what argument am I supposed to put up about a non-existent claims on my part?

    All I am in interested in, is the facts man, not the dribble. Brenda Rosser makes accusations but she needs to prove her case – I wait with interest.

    It is easy to be so morally righteous and claim bad things. But if it is simply because you don’t agree with someone just say so. Just because you people disagree with what the majority of Tasmanians support doesn’t mean it is wrong. I am happy to be corrected but you need to provide solid evidence not rhetoric.

    Brenda thinks Forestry Tasmania acts unethically. Ethics is a very subjective field. What is acceptable to one person may be offensive to others. Obviously forestry practices don’t sit well with Brenda. But that doesn’t make what they do wrong or illegal or even corrupt. Remember as kids we were told not to judge a book by its cover but we are easily fooled into thinking that if we don’t like the look of something then it is automatically bad. A logging operation, particularly a clear-fell operation in native forest looks awful, terrible. However, perceived beauty and environmental health are not always synonymous.

    For example imagine the beautiful pastoral scene anywhere in Tasmania with green rolling pastures with grazing cows – it is considered OK and certainly not seen as a terrible sight by anyone. But we are talking about a highly regulated environment that has permanently removed trees and has large chemical inputs to exotic grasses to support single, highly bred domestic animals to the detriment of native animals. Where native animals compete with these domestic intruders, they are killed by 1080 on an annual basis. Where farmers replace this grass with annual crops, chemical inputs far outweigh the use in eucalypt plantations. For example, potatoe farmers use nearly 7 times the total Nitrogen added in tonnes per hectare ai over a 10 year period than used in forestry plantations. Dairying uses 15 times. Potatoes use 10 times the total herbicide added as tonnes/ha ai over a 10 year period than forestry and 6 times the fungicides than forestry.

    Yet everyone wants to focus on chemical use in forestry as if it is some form of armageddon against the moral crusaders. Plantation forestry is a minor contributor to Australian chemical use, with annual expenditure accounting for only 0.7% of the $2.4 billion annual national total and less than 20% of that spent on household insecticides.

    But for some reason the world is going to end in Tasmania because of an activity people don’t like the look of. Go figure.

  8. don davey

    May 17, 2007 at 3:33 am

    nice post Alex, i agree with the content and sentiments entirely !

  9. Gerry Mander

    May 16, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    How to eat a tree.

    This recipe has been recommended in place of normal farm produced food, because there isn’t any.

    Take one ripe e.nitens.
    Chop into very small pieces.
    Boil in a mixture of noxious chemicals for several hours.
    Do not save the juice.
    Heat resulting pulp gently with a mixture of chlorine in a well ventilated chimney until the mixture is white.
    Roll out thin and serve.

    Serves:- All the shareholders of Gunns.

    Caution, this mixture is very rich and can badly affect those allergic to MIS and other substances. Do not try if you are even slightly Green.

  10. Alex Wadsley

    May 16, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Me thinks they doth protest too much..

    I am always bemused by the way the Establishment, and their pseudo-representatives such as Tomas shriek hysterically when comparisons to Nazism and Fascism are made.

    Yes the holocaust was unprecedented for its combination of technology and bureaucracy with crazed religious and conservative moral values which led to a scope of human misery beyond comprehension.

    However if we are to truly say “never again”, rather than marching up and down the square in military uniforms on Anzac day, we need to consider what the Nazis (and other fascists) represented and why they where successful.

    Was it the appeal to a stereotyped ideal for common man’s value at the expense of some ‘intellectual elite’.

    Was it close cohabitation between business and government at the expense of transparency and good governance.

    Was it the recruitment of senior personnel on the basis of loyalty to the ideology rather than competence.

    Was it the glorification of strength and sport, appeals to fear and insecurity, the alienation of minorities, and the use of spin to control public debate.

    It was all these things.

    These are also the tools of government today.

    The Nazi took a dispirited and economically broken Germany and returned it to strength, then turned that strength in homicidally bizarre directions. Parallels could be drawn with the success story of the first half for Tasmania, and perhaps for similar reasons. It is unlikely that we will approach anywhere near the extremes of the second half, but the bizarre behaviour that is the weakness of totalitarianism is none the less evident (though clearly not directed towards genocide).

    These weaknesses were equally apparent in Communism, France before the first world war and many more neo-totalitarian regimes. We should be willing to discuss them, knowing that we are a pale grey compared to the pitch black of auschwitz, but playing with fire none the less.

  11. silvergirl

    May 16, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    I didn’t expect this thread to be Godwinned. The article is very depressing. This cancer has a stranglehold on Tasmania.

  12. Ellen Smith

    May 11, 2007 at 2:04 am

    Richard, your article is brilliant – thank goodness for a voice of reason in a state gone mad. I feel a great sense of urgency to do something to stop this tragedy happening around us, but feel so powerless. Your words have great strength & I hope will be a force for change.

  13. Lifeasart

    May 7, 2007 at 12:56 pm


    The mind-set of people that claim exceptionalism for the crimes against the Jews of Europe in the period 1933 – 1944 are actually part of the reason such atrocities occur . . . and recur . . . and recur.

    The lessons to be learned from Nazi Germany and its enduring legacy are very relevant to all that we see unfolding in the world, of which Tasmania is a microcosm.

    Camillus O’Byrne

  14. Observer

    May 7, 2007 at 12:52 am

    carping sycophants … And hollow arguments with no evidence, we’re all just waiting for yours, dont disappoint us.

  15. Brenda Rosser

    May 7, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Ben Spindoctor said: “all you have to do is convince the majority..”

    Not necessarily so. In the American revolution “thirty-three percent of the colonists supported independence, thirty-three percent supported Britain, and thirty-three percent supported neither side. ”

    It only takes sufficient anger out there for an interesting ball to start rolling.

  16. ben spinoza

    May 6, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    From the Sacrifice zone says that “unfortunately” democracy is about majority rules….that is very revealing.

    However, I think he got the analogy with the Nazi’s only part right. With just a modicum of education, I also recall that the Nazi Party stormed used muscle and violence to take over the German parliament, where they had just a minority of seats.

    If the minority is so right – and you’re all so clever – all you have to do is convince the majority. If you can’t take the majority with you, you can’t win.


  17. Tragedy

    May 6, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    What a lot of carping sycophants. Yat tah Yah tah…same old boring claims same old hollow arguments that have no shred of evidence attached to it. All just a pile of steaming crap really. It is amazing as an outsider to see that these people who oppose anything congregate to this site and deliver their bile. BORING BORING BORING. Just emotional claptrap!!!

  18. From the Sacrifice Zone

    May 6, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Oh, so mentioning the holocaust is a no-no (but maybe other horrors perpetrated on innocent people are fair game??), is it Tomas? Even for the reason of illumination? You might have personal reasons for not wanting it mentioned or referred to, but unfortunately, no-one knows you, so we don’t know what will upset your delicate sensibilities and what will not. Also, there are others who have personal reasons as valid as your own for bringing it up. I don’t think this is your personal space and referring to historical precedence is not ‘mendacious’ or in ‘poor taste’. Sorry to have upset you so much, though. Maybe you should stay off this site if you are so easily upset.

  19. Gerry Mander

    May 6, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Tomas – This is not a racist comment – it is merely an illustration of the depth of human depravity when they are given or assume uncontrolled power.

    That was just one major example, but is definitely not the last.

    It is a mentality and there are signs of megalomania in some of our own leaders and captains of industry, which is what I believe was being pointed out. If their power was greater, where would we be?

  20. Tomas

    May 6, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Mander – As a state-controlled program of the eradication of a specific group of people, the Holocaust was unparalled in human history. I have very personal reasons for being aware of its scale.

    Stalin, Pot obviously had a go at eliminating their enemies but the millions who died under these regimes were mostly from bad, if not evil, management.

    In any case, I have no intention of making the Holocaust a debating point with you or anyone else. I find it being raised as a point of relevant or relative argument on TT (or on any issue related to Tasmania) mendacious and in incredibly poor taste.

  21. Gerry Mander

    May 6, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    Thomas, the Holocaust was not mankind’s greatest crime — it was the most recent and most publicised.

    There are many others. Here are just a few. Stalin murdered twenty million of his own countrymen during the purges and after the Second World War – Pol Pot murdered half the population of his own country – In Roman times, they crucified two thousand slaves along the Appian way – Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) impaled two thousand Turks and then had a meal with his wife among the screaming victims.

    World history is full of holocausts. I’m surprised that someone with all your knowledge and degrees doesn’t know this.

  22. Brenda Rosser

    May 6, 2007 at 2:20 am

    Tomas said: “…but this is not the work of national socialists committed to the eradication of millions…”

    I’m sure Tomas, like many people around the world abhorred socialism because it represented the attenuation and ultimate abolition of private property rights.

    However, if you think about what actually happened in Russia and other Communist countries you will understand that it’s failure was that it led to the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few. This plutocracy worked against the interest of the public and the environment till a crisis caused a tipping point that resulted in the breakup of the Soviet Union after the Chernobyl disaster.

    No care was taken as to the form of technology used in industry. Ordinary people had no real say over the direction in which the country was headed and most people were denied adequate land tenure.

    Doesn’t that sound like Tasmania today? The one party (tweedle dee/tweedle dum), the centralised economic system, the inefficiency, the apathy in the bureaucracy, the economic and ecological decline.

    Land monopoly by a Government or a corporation. What the diff? Even a conservative like Winston Churchill could teach a thing or two about the dangers of land grabs.

  23. From the Sacrifice Zone

    May 6, 2007 at 1:15 am

    Open you eyes, Tomas – we are having a great evil perpetrated upon us, and we must act against it. Only you and a couple of others seem to think otherwise. I won’t retract the comparison – you will note that there was a qualification at the end of my posting.

    While we are not being put in concentration camps, we have effectively had our voices silenced by the despicable behaviour of this government………..yes, I know they have a ‘mandate’ blah, blah, blah, but that was NOT for what is now being proposed by this awful company in cahoots with the Uber Bogan.

    And anyway Tomas, try to understand, I was simply using the clearest example I know of to illustrate what can happen when the Nuremburg Principle is ignored – if you read my post carefully, you will note that nowhere have I stated that Tasmania is like Nazi Germany was……………………Although….

  24. Tomas

    May 6, 2007 at 12:26 am

    I find it terribly offensive when any parallel is drawn between the current Forestry/Gunns Mill debate and that of nazism and the holocaust.

    To dream that there is any similarity just beggars belief and, at some level, a sense of decency relative to makind’s greatest crime.

    I will accept that there are reasons why people are opposed to native trees being cut down, and of course having a pulp mill in your neighbourhood, but this is not the work of national socialists committed to the eradication of millions.

    I would suggest that the author of #21 consider removing this offensive comparison.


  25. From the Sacrifice Zone

    May 5, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    ‘Ben Spinoza’ Yes, unfortunately, the majority DOES rule in a ‘democracy’ such as ours, but that does NOT mean that it is always right. You will recall the meaning of the Nuremburg Principle, presuming you have a modicum of education, which states that when citizens stand by and do nothing when they perceive that a ‘wrong’ has been perpetrated, those citizens are complicit in that wrong. It is the DUTY (not ‘right’ or ‘privilege’ of every citizen to act when they see a wrong being perpetrated) If the citizens of Nazi Germany had acted in this way, then maybe a large part of the holocaust against the Jews might have been avoided.

    I do know what I am talking about, because one of my parents was German and lived through this time – many people KNEW what was going on; they KNEW it was wrong, but they were too cowed to speak out, with the disastrous consequences that were visited upon the Jews of Europe.

    While the situation may not be as dire here in Tasmania, the resonances are strong.

  26. Brenda Rosser

    May 5, 2007 at 12:36 am

    Ben Spinoza said:
    “that little sign which many Greens carry around on their cars which converts Foresty Tasmania’s logo to the word “corrupt” is a good case in point. It is an attack on the integrity of everyone who works there. For God’s sake, they’re just public servants..”

    ‘Forestry Tasmania’ is a State Government business enterprise. It’s a corporation, not a person.

    ‘Forestry Tasmania’ is an institutional structure that works to the overall detriment of individuals and our economy. It is responsible for the degradation of huge areas of Tasmania’s land and the health of our biodiversity (see the Wielangta Federal Court ruling). Its incredibly culpable burnoff, clearfell and chemical practices damage the health of tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people.

    However, it is unfortunate that I cannot distinguish between the behaviour or a Tasmanian ‘forest’ corporation and that of the State and Federal Governments when it comes to their role in land management, in particular. Perhaps other readers could assist here?

    Another question: What are the mechanisms that cause people working in institutions to forgo the public interest and behave in unethical ways?

    Or would Mr Ben Spinoza care to deny the people role in the trashing of creeks, the existence of pesticides in our air, water soil, the choking smoke, the lies,…?

  27. Ben Spinoza

    May 4, 2007 at 10:45 am

    After listening to the speeches I kind of agree with Tomas. It does sound all a bit elitist and perhaps a touch patronising. What concerns me more is the very high level of personal attack that comes from this group of people on anyone who disagrees with them. Wasn’t it Peg Putt who, on election night last year, railed against the use of personal attacks etc? Yet the worst offenders are those who identify with the conservation movement. Ironically, it verges on the bullying that Flanagan writes about. Maybe Flanagan is right. Bullying is so endemic in Tasmania that it is practised even by those who decry it. That little sign which many Greens carry around on their cars which converts Foresty Tasmania’s logo to the word “corrupt” is a good case in point. It is an attack on the integrity of everyone who works there. For God’s sake, they’re just public servants. If the Greens honestly believe what Peg said on election night they would tell all their supporters to remove and tear up those stickers and to steer away from personal abuse.
    The other thing I don’t get is the position espoused by Cassy O’Connor that a vote or laws enacted by Parliament are not democratic while the voices of protest action groups are. I believe in minority rights, but majority rules. Whether you like it (or them) or not, the people elected to Parliament represent the majority.



  28. Neil Smith

    May 3, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    Yep, you’ll hear the word “regeneration” bandied around when talking about Forestry Tasmania’s burns. Yes, fire can help regenerate certain types of Eucalypt forest after it’s cut down, if that’s what Forestry’s intention is. Sometimes it is. Usually, as Brenda has pointed out, it’s not. It used to happen more often than it does now. Even when they “regenerate” they have in the back of their minds a desire to come back again in 60 to 80 years and fell the young forest that has replaced the old.

    “Regeneration” is a nice word. It suggests goodness, just like “renewable” and “sustainable” and “managed for multiple uses”. Forestry Tasmania uses nice words as often as it can. It is a useful technique which helps stop some people scrutinising their activities too closely. They also establish airwalks and things to get people on side. They publish glossy brochures, which sometimes show a nice man in a clean white coat smiling at a little baby tree in the lab.

    Neil Smith
    Greens candidate for Legislative Council division of Pembroke
    South Hobart.

  29. Brenda Rosser

    May 3, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Ben Spinoza said: “I have never seen pine plantations spring up from regeneration burns of eucalypt forests. On the other hand, when you look at regenerated areas in the southern forests they look like insurpassable jungles – the trees aren’t laid out in neat rows like plantations…”

    Clearly, Ben, you don’t know what current industrial forestry practice is in Tasmania.

    The firebombing has nothing whatever to do with ‘regeneration’. The firebombing is to enable the burning of the still green (wet) timber from a native forest or E Nitens plantation clearfell.

    This biomass is piled up, usually with a lot of dirt, napalmed from a helicopter and burnt.

    See the images on the web for all to see:

    For starters.

    After that E Nitens or Pinus Radiata trees are hand planted mostly where biodiverse rainforest and other native forest used to exist. Burning the ground after a rainforest clearfell, I understand, is an effective way to prevent future regeneration of rainforest species.

  30. Snowy

    May 3, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    You confuse fiction with fantasy. Fiction – good fiction – illuminates the truth of the human condition.
    Flanagan is a bloody good illuminator.

  31. ben spinoza

    May 3, 2007 at 1:53 am

    It reads really well but is it factually correct?

    For example, Flanagan talks about clear-felled “forests” being fire-bombed and then converted to mono-cultured eucalypt or pine plantations. Think about it – that is illogical.

    Regeneration burns are for clear-felled coupes – not whole forests. They regenerate from seed and imitate wild fire. I have never seen pine plantations spring up from regeneration burns of eucalypt forests. On the other hand, when you look at regenerated areas in the southern forests they look like insurpassable jungles – the trees aren’t laid out in neat rows like plantations.

    Flanagan also perpetuates the Greens’ victim mentality. He says that prior to changes to the size of parliament they had one seventh of the seats (5 out of 35) but were decimated by the changes. On my calculation they now have just under one sixth of the seats (4 out of 25) – I’m not good at maths, but that is an increase, isn’t it?

    As far as I know Flanagan is not a journalist – he’s a fiction writer and writes a bloody good yarn.

    Perhaps the article should carry the usual cavaet you find in book of fiction: “This story is inspired by actual events but any similarity to real characters or actual occurences is entirely accidental (or coincidental)….”

    Still, I have to agree with him about Rouse – but who ever called him Eddie?



  32. Pilko

    May 3, 2007 at 1:40 am

    Simon. I think that it is a great idea and I would be happy to throw in a few hundred as well even if it only reached a limited amount of households. Perhaps households in Braddon and Bass?

  33. Craig Woodfall

    May 2, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    Great big picture stuff regarding the joke that is tasmanian politics and Gunns Ltd and Federal Hotels. The decline in Forestry Tasmania profits to the non existent and its correlation with Gunns’ joyride should be an embarrassment, but sadly it goes unanswered. Federal Hotels and their ability to put gaming machines in low socio economic areas is a major disgrace also and I wouldnt consciously step foot inside anything they owned.

    A great read …thanks Richard.

  34. Gerry Mander

    May 2, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    After seeing Flanagan’s marvelous article, I have decided Evolution is completely wrong.

    My belief is restored.

    I would definitely prefer my fate to be in the hands of the angels rather than the monkeys.

  35. Simon Parsons

    May 2, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Let’s send a copy of the article (with permission of the magazines and author) to all Tasmanian households. I will pledge $500 to achieve this. Lindsay – how about taking on this task?

  36. Jason Lovell

    May 2, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Hey, just got a look at a copy of The Monthly (god I love my colleagues sometimes!).

    Really glad to see Flanagan (and the publisher’s of The Monthly) also recognised the power of the Weld Angel [http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php/weblog/comments/the-weld-angel/]

    She’s the big feature picture for this article.

    I truly believe that the combination of art and protest represents a way forward for Tasmania’s forests. And possibly a last throw of the dice.

    Jason Lovell

  37. Neil Smith

    May 2, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    I have managed to read both articles, in the Telegraph and in The Monthly. They are almost identical, a few small changes which don’t amount to much even in terms of tailoring the piece for a different audience.

    It’s a devastating piece in either version.

    Go Richard!

    Neil Smith
    Candidate for Legislative Council division of Pembroke.

  38. don davey

    May 2, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    Anna !
    you are indeed correct, for a given acreage, industrial hemp! produces 4 times the amount of pulp also reaches maturity in 7 months, not 20 years, no log trucks needed either ! etc,etc,etc, Queensland are seriously looking at it
    as well, everyone should !


    The papers won,t print it !

    Tasmanian Politicians !
    >>Except for a minority group, you guy’s! have shown remarkable
    >>ignorance of those you chose to represent and lack of vision with
    >>your decision to ignore the majority of Tasmanian voters, regarding
    >>this “stinking” pulp mill and assuming that you intend to be career
    >>Pollies then, you may as well start looking NOW ! for alternative
    >>employment come next election ! as many of us have collated exactly
    >>”who you are” and will be actively reminding the electorate of
    >>sellout ! come next election , so enjoy your brief visit guys !
    >>you won’t be back !
    >>” Big Red ” has sold you a lennon, sorry ! (a lemon)
    >>and secure in the knowledge his good buddy “John Gay” will look
    >>after him , perhaps a seat on the board (if he’s lucky) he won’t
    >>concerning himself with your dilemma , come
    >>next election.
    >>Don Davey
    >>32 eardley st

  39. Anna

    May 2, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    Re: Post number 2 ’Oh sweet irony’

    How does Flanagan’s use of paper undermine the value of his arguments? The real questions here are about corruption and mismanagement in the forestry industry in Tasmania. It does not necessarily follow that paper can never be made from sustainably managed sources, even in Tasmania!

  40. Luke Vanzino

    May 2, 2007 at 3:37 am

    Re: Post number 2’Oh sweet irony’

    Despite Voltaire’s dictum, I find that puerile sarcasm like this, highlights the intellectual and moral morass of this author whereby they cannot mount a serious challenge to the issues raised by Richard Flanagan.

    Oscar Wilde remarked that “Violence is the repartee of the illiterate” perhaps this notion needs to be extended to encompass those who are unable to display emotional maturity and intellectual capacity but instead rely on ignorance!

  41. Mc Censor

    May 2, 2007 at 2:29 am

    I recall when Mr. Flanagan published a similar article jusr before the last federal election (in the Bulletin). It made some rather pointed (and truthful) comments about some “leading” Launceston residents.

    I went to the newsagent the morning the Bulletin was released and was told that “someone” had purchased every copy early that morning. I went to three other newsagencies in Launceston where I was greeted with the same response.

    It seems that when it comes to the media outside Tasmania, if they cant control it in the same way they do for the Exxagerator, they just destroy the evidence.

  42. kate

    May 1, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    Meant to add:
    Thank you Richard Flanagan! You bloody beauty!

  43. kate

    May 1, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Went and got myself a copy of this today. Great cover! But I would hurry if you want one.
    The newsagent said he was surprised that the people from Gunns hadn’t been around yet. Apparently they send people out to buy up all the issues and then they shred them. This happened a few years back with The Bulletin.

  44. Oh sweet irony

    May 1, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    Oh sweet irony – article not available on-line for free – but printed (on paper) in the UK, printed (on paper) in The Monthly, by an author who makes his fortune in books (you guessed it, printed on paper). Now, on the subject of a pulp mill…….. where does all that paper come from?

  45. typingisnotactivism

    May 1, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    It was a midnight mission but managed to grab a copy of this before it had even hit the shelf – and it was thoroughly worth the effort. If Flanagan’s jawdropping essay doesn’t bring some ‘powerful people’ in Australia closer to acting legitimately in Tasmania’s genuine interests by launching the kind of investigations that go far beyond flawed FOI, that will almost be as strong a statement about the state of this country’s corrupted environmental disgrace as Flanagan’s piece is about the unelected, all-powerful, deceitful Gunnerment.

    Since his meeting with Mr. Rudd, Lennon has finally made some bleating complaints to media about the Federal government during the last week. Let’s see who’s going to be the first to jeopardise this ‘positive development’. Paradise Razed has the potential to get everybody justifiably pissed off with Gunns – greens, loggers, residents, politicians and judges. Absolutely essential reading.

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