Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Environment

Triabunna 13 defence

Ula Majewski MR
Triabunna 13 launch defence and counter-claim against Gunns Ltd

Wednesday, 4th February 2009

TRIABUNNA 13 LAUNCH DEFENCE AND COUNTERCLAIM AGAINST GUNNS LIMITED AND CALTON FRAME.

The 13 forest activists sued over December’s climate change focused shutdown of Gunns’ Triabunna woodchip mill lodged their defence in the Launceston Supreme Court late yesterday afternoon.

The activists’ defence is based on the legal right to communicate information about government and political matters.

“The peaceful action at the Triabunna woodchip mill was conducted in direct response to the federal government’s climate change White Paper, and to the ongoing destruction of Tasmania’s ancient forests – a political issue if ever there was one,” Huon Valley Environment Centre spokesperson and Triabunna 13 defendant Warrick Jordan said.

The forest activists have also served a counterclaim on Gunns Limited and Calton Frame, which states that representations regarding the use of old growth logs in Gunns’ proposed pulp mill are misleading and deceptive. The counterclaim seeks an order that Gunns Limited and Calton Frame be permanently restrained from representing that no wood from old growth forests and no old growth logs will be used in the pulp mill.

“Gunns have consistently claimed that their proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill will not use old growth logs. Our counterclaim states that Gunns have used misleading and deceptive representations, which constitutes a breach of Section 52 of the Trade Practices Act,” Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson and Triabunna 13 defendant Ula Majewski said.

“Gunns Limited have failed to show any accountability in regards to the public, the media, political process or Tasmania’s natural environment. However, Gunns Limited and Calton Frame are certainly accountable to the courts” said Warrick Jordan.

“Much of Gunns’ efforts to raise finance for the proposed mill have relied heavily on its alleged environmental credentials as has its social license. The Tasmanian and Australian publics as well as potential investors deserve better than to be subjected to these kinds of deceptive and misleading representations” said Ula Majewski.

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 10, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    David, I am aware of certain scientific findings, but scientific findings and the speculations of some scientists are not the same thing. There are some speculations by some scientists on the matter that I have seen and don’t agree with. I do see climate change as an important environmental issue but I do not see it as the probable threat to all life on earth that you emote about in #24.

    I agree that climate change has the potential to impact negatively on humans in many ways (some of which are already apparent). Whether its net impact will be as negative as some authorities believe, I greatly doubt. However, climate is not the only thing that affects human quality of life . Another thing that impacts it is liberty, and people are not fully free if demonstrators can legally invade property and disrupt their lawful business to make political points. That’s why I oppose the Triabunna 13’s defence. You may see the difference between our society and one in which property is subordinate to the whims of anyone with a political point to make as a trivial one given (your interpretation of) the climate crisis, but I do not. How would you like it if your dwelling was blockaded by pro-Gunns protestors, and the police would do nothing because the protestors were exercising “freedom of speech”?

    You suggest a contradiction between my comparisons and my criticism of hot-headed activists. There is none; I am pointing out (provocatively but cool-headedly, with appropriate disclaimers hanging from nearby Christmas trees) that ill-considered legal interpretations set precedents, and the precedents could be of a sort you do not like.

    I do not claim that physical violence is the green (and Green) way of doing business on account of the punching incident I mentioned in #30, nor do I consider the actions of Earth First as typifying a “green answer” to forestry. Yet you portray acts by a few frustrated thugs as “forestry’s answer” as if those actions represent thatmovement. In the case of the few known cases of the burning of activists’ cars it is still not even known who was responsible and whether they had anything to do with the industry.

    I’m not sure why you are bringing up the cold in Europe. I didn’t discuss it and I won’t do an Andrew Bolt on you by arguing that it is evidence against climate change. Nonetheless #19 remains an attempt to make political capital out of the bushfires and the point I made already stands: while climate change could well be part of the story, it is not likely to be the whole story. It may not even be the major part of why so many people died. That is why I find the Bolts, Browns, Hamiltons, Tuckeys (etc) with their small politically convenient pieces of the puzzle before we know what the full answers are so irrelevant.

    This forum indeed contains “thinking and angry people”. It also contains many dunderheads. And it contains plenty, including David Leigh, who may be the first but who post like the second, because it is so easy to say silly things when you are angry. If they are stupid enough to continue directing their anger my way just because they are looking for someone to tee off at, they will only find that it backfires and that I make them all look silly.

    It will backfire even more if they completely misrepresent my views (which I notice you do not deny doing) and will not apologise for doing so, just because I am not part of their ecodoom crusade. Such a stance does nothing to convince anyone that they are right – and is hardly the way to get me (or anyone who matters) to stand with them.

    It’s precisely my disgust at the way so many greens will criticise individuals incorrectly then refuse to apologise or retract that has fuelled my public displays of contra-green sentiment over the past ten years. It’s precisely because so many still won’t learn not to do this, that even if I agreed with them on an issue, I would not join them in public activism over it.

    As for “make a difference instead of trying to work against us”, I have actually already made far more of a difference to the Tassie environment and species living in it than most of the ineffectual TT green ranters put together. However, just because I am not a climate-change denialist does not mean I have to pat people on the back when they make basic attacks on political liberty in a hackneyed attempt to prove a point that actually does an injustice to the climate change issue by oversimplifying it into yet another round of Ritual Forest Conflict.

  2. David Leigh

    February 10, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Kevin, on reading the posts within this thread I have come to the conclusion that your concerns are largely with separation of Triabunna and the Upper Florentine. You also claim to have concerns about, or at least admit the existence of climate change.
    As a scientist, you should be aware of certain findings regarding climate change, by some of the world’s leading minds on this issue. With 30% of all CO2 emissions being directly attributed to deforestation and the fact that Tasmania’s “Old Growth” forests hold 5 times more carbon than most forests on the planet, Triabunna and Florentine are the same topic. Whether the demonstration takes place on Gunns’ property or Gunns destroy public property is akin to Nero fiddling. The real issue is climate change and the effect wood chipping has on it.
    You accuse writers in this column of being hot headed activists and yet you make a statement thus: After all, if the courts allow this defence then why should they not also allow, say, an anti-green thug to burn down an unoccupied environment centre… An extreme act of violence or terrorism is not the same as making a peaceful protest.
    You have claimed there are peaceful ways of protesting and yet forestry’s answer is to burn cars and attack protestors with baseball bats. They use the law only to obtain names and addresses (illegally) so they can use their might to crush peaceful opposition.

    In #19 we see a contributor trying to make political capital out of the bushfires…
    The whole point is that deforestation causes massive carbon emissions, which heats up the atmosphere. The reason global warming was renamed climate change is because “for every action there is an equal and opposite action” and extreme cold in the Northern Hemisphere causes extreme heat in the Southern Hemisphere. Europe’s freezing is likely to be as a result of cold fresh water entering the Gulf Stream, from Greenland. What causes that? Burning fossil fuels, deforestation and to a lessor degree, automobiles.

    Kevin, you have picked an online forum of thinking and angry people, not stupid dunderheads. You will obviously incur the wrath of these people because they are sick and tired of people like you spinning shit about how wonderfully sustainable forestry and how innocent Gunns are.

    As for me apologising to you for misrepresenting your views, I make none. If you truly do have sincere concerns about climate change, then stand with us and make a difference instead of trying to work against us.

    David Leigh.

  3. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 9, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Gerry (#27) if the logging (and not even clearfelling at that) of a fifty-hectare coupe in the already long-disturbed Upper Florentine really is the “biggest issue to hit conservation in years” then that just confirms that the important battles in the movement’s history have been won and all that is left for anti-forestry activists to do is twiddle round the edges and become more extreme over nothing to stave off complete irrelevance. Is that really the best you can do?

    Luke (#26), thanks for the research. Of course many of the events you list were attacks against public institutions (such as politicians and the monarchy) and even the Church of England, being the state religion, was of dubious public/private institution status. Nonetheless you do make it clear that militant actions against private property were undertaken to a significant degree.

    Do historians really always fall into opposing camps? I’m not a historian either so I don’t know. Of course anyone can point to specific celebrated examples of particular historians disputing not just the interpretation of the facts but also the facts themselves, but is this behaviour really the norm rather than the exception? If you are aware of any empirical evidence that it is normal, please advise. Anyway I was not seeking absolute proof that attacks on private property were the crucial element in the suffragettes’ success. Strong indicative evidence would do.

    I draw no real distinction between an act in which somebody breaks the property of a business, and an act in which somebody invades a business’s property and causes that business to have to shut down some of its equipment. Both cause financial loss to that business and violate its property rights. Clearly there was more disregard for life in the suffragettes’ actions as stated, as well as some instances of direct personal violence.

    I believe that the Tasmanian green movement has in general avoided direct personal violence to an impressive degree, although there have been exceptions such as the punching of a journalist by a Greens staffer thug (not to mention violence threats). I do not believe, however, that in giving token credit to the Triabunna 13 for not killing or punching anyone, we should overlook that they invaded private property in order to forcefully obstruct a business.

  4. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 9, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Ah, yet another lazy poster accusing me of being a non-believer in climate change without bothering to check what my actual views are (#24).

    The only enormity here, David Leigh, is the enormity of your misrepresentation of my views. You have sought to label me a climate change denier without one shred of evidence that I am anything near the sort. Indeed I am not. All I have said on this thread is that trying to lay blame for a disaster on a single cause while that disaster is still unfolding and is not thoroughly investigated is pointless, whether it is Brown, Hamilton, Tuckey or Bolt doing the blaming. Typically these kinds of events have long lists of contributing factors.

    On other threads, I have made clear my view that climate change has occurred and is occurring with human activities very likely to be contributing the major share of that. Furthermore, I have never stated that logging does not contribute at all to climate change. I have, however, questioned many of the more dire ecocatastrophist projections of the impact of climate change that are going around and.

    David, I hope you will apologise for and retract your completely false statements about my views.

  5. joey

    February 9, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    of coarse you right kevin, and i have realised the value of my time.

  6. Gerry Mander

    February 9, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    ‘Of course, it may well be that the Florentine was some small part of their motivation for the protest, being one of the areas where logging they oppose is happening. But it was clearly not a *major* part, or else they would have said it was.’ — KB

    Have you ever heard such twaddle? The biggest issue to hit conservation in years ad it wasn’t a major motivation? Bullshit.

    Also. I have a cutting from a newspaer at the time and several letters from the suffragettes in my possession addressed to my grandfather. The article is headed ‘Suffragettes handed out stones.’ It is a court hearing where several of them had been arrested and accused of handing out stones and hammers to break windows in their march through London.
    Later one of them threw themselves in front of the King’s horse at Ascott and was killed. That was probably the event that finally brought about ‘Votes for Women’. The rest is history.

    What was that about legal and peaceful protests being effective?

  7. Luke Vanzino

    February 9, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Kevin, re post # 20, you wrote ” If you are aware of evidence that they invaded private property to make their case on a regular basis, and that their success depended crucially on this, please advise.”

    I have done some simple internet research regarding the Suffragettes and accessed information from ‘Encarta Encyclopaedia’ and the ‘Museum of London’ sites which indicate the following.

    “They burned down churches as the Church of England was against what they wanted; they vandalised Oxford Street, breaking all the windows in this famous street; they chained themselves to Buckingham Palace as the Royal Family were seen to be against women having the right to vote; they hired out boats, sailed up the Thames and shouted abuse through loud hailers at Parliament as it sat; others refused to pay their tax. Politicians were attacked as they went to work. Their homes were fire bombed. Golf courses were vandalised. The first decade of Britain in the C20th was proving to be violent in the extreme.”

    Also, “The Liberal governments led by Herbert Henry Asquith, notorious for his anti-suffrage stance, refused to yield and adopted tougher police responses with more arrests and longer prison sentences. With such provocation, militancy became reactive, with more aggressive forms being adopted, especially after 1912. Thus mass window-breaking, in particular of well-known shops in London’s West End, took place; empty buildings were set on fire; mail was destroyed in pillar boxes; telephone and telegraph wires cut; golf courses were burnt with acid, and paintings attacked in art galleries. In this second stage of militancy, the aim was always to damage property, not to take life.”

    There is your evidence for the invasion of public property. As to your request that that I provide evidence that “their success depended crucially on this, please advise”…well I am not a historian, historians always fall into opposing camps and your request for me to provide evidence if the invasion of private property by the suffragettes constituted their success is irrelevant and even disingenuous on your part as it can never be ascertained one way or the other.

    For me the crucial issue here is for the likes of FT, FIAT, The Lib Labs, and yourself to acknowledge that unlike the suffragettes who were violent, the Green movement in Tasmania has eschewed violence as a form of protest, has done so since the OTG/Lake Pedder days and this philosophy continues today with the Triabunna 13.

  8. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 8, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Joey (#22), you’re going in for exactly the same kind of pedantry that I am often falsely accused of here, and making a complete mess of it. The context I refer to is that this thread is specifically about the use of a “free speech” defence to justify an invasion of private property. Luke’s #6 is only specifically relevant if the protest was not conducted on private property. My #7 is written in the context of demonstrating that it was. Given that he has not so far pressed that aspect of the issue, Luke most likely simply got his wires crossed, but you are trying to reinvent his comments as a relevant and deliberate contribution.

    You can waffle about the Florentine all you like but I suggest you do it on a thread specifically about the Florentine, of which there are already far too many here. This thread is about a protest at Triabunna and the claim of the protestors that they should get off because of freedom of speech issues.

    The answer to your question “did you not read my post fully (the quote from the group) or are you deliberately being disengenious [sic]?” is that I did read your post fully and I am not being disingenuous (deliberately or otherwise). The group referred to carbon issues but they did not refer specifically to the Florentine in so doing. Had they intended the Florentine to be a major and specific focus of their action against the Triabunna mill they would have dropped the F-word about five times in each press release. They didn’t.

    Contrary to your confused reinvention of your previous post, you *did* in fact link the group’s action to their views on the Florentine, by writing “i think you you would find, if you would ask those at the centre of the particular case, that the protest is directly related to the Florentine.” My response was directly related to that comment and the obvious disconnect between it and their stated reasons for the protest, which you then went on to quote.

    Of course, it may well be that the Florentine was some small part of their motivation for the protest, being one of the areas where logging they oppose is happening. But it was clearly not a *major* part, or else they would have said it was.

  9. David Leigh

    February 8, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    #23 Kevin, the fact that you are not a Christian or a Muslim pales into insignificance when one takes in the enormity of your lack of belief in climate change. Andrew Bolt, I can understand; he does make capital out of disbelieving.

    This is not about religion, whether one believes in a faith, about being ‘green’. Nor is it about how much of your research is paid for by Forestry Tasmania, it is about the future of the human race and every other species of plant and animal.

    There is no longer time to bathe in the luxury of debate and political game playing. Scientists like Ove (Coral bleaching) have battled people like you for years, trying to convince those with a hidden agenda that the earth as we know it is changing before our eyes. Freddi was right to bring up the Queensland floods and the Victorian fires and I don’t think it is disrespectful to those who lost their lives to do so.

    EU Scientist have already discovered that the ice melt in the Arctic Circle surpassed 2050 levels last year. The oceans are acidifying faster than ever imagined, Europe has suffered record low temperatures while Queensland floods, Victoria, S, Australia and NSW burns. Yes, she is right… What we do in Tasmania to our native forests has a direct impact on mainland Australia and the rest of the world. To say otherwise is a disgrace to science.

    D.L.

  10. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 8, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    In #19 we see a contributor trying to make political capital out of the bushfires. This happens from hotheads on all sides following events like this; for every green type blaming climate change there will be a Bolt or Tuckey blaming some pro-conservation policy or other. Not sure really what this all achieves.

    It is tempting to simply lambast the tastelessness of any playing of politics with the disaster while the dead are still being counted, but instead I wish to thank Freddi for doing so, for one and only one reason: even blame-slinging over bushfire politics (which I shall pass on, thanks) has got to be better than the dumb Nazi/Holocaust analogies that have been all over this site in the last few weeks. So thank you Freddi for lifting the tone – pity it wasn’t by much.

    Unfortunately, “god’s sake” is not sufficient reason for me to go and play with my snails; the deity invoked does not exist. Even if It had the temerity to do so despite the logical impossibilities involved, I would be neither inclined to do anything for Its sake, nor see It as requiring any assistance anyway. However, Freddi, you are probably right that “the hot burns and the poisonous sprays courtesy of Gunns /forestry” will not make any snails extinct. If you are concerned about snail extinction I am happy to advise you of more serious threats you would be welcome to help do something about.

  11. joey

    February 8, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Kevin, “obvious given the context”???? what?? again to remind you, you clearly, quite literally, said that Luke’s point about the Upper Florentine being owned by the people was off mark because – “this thread is about the activists who invaded Gunns’ woodchip mill at Triabunna, not the Florentine mob”. this has begun to get silly. you write as if we need to follow your logic in order to make a point. Luke and myself cant write about the florentine because this protest happened at the triabunna woodchip plant (where logs from the florentine will end up…). this thread is very clearly about the claims and defenses of the gunns 13 who very clearly and literally state “and to the ongoing destruction of Tasmania’s ancient forests” (which includes the florentine, Kevin). Luke’s point is valid. And it should have been obvious given the context (the thread’s story involving gunns 13 giving the destruction of tassie’s ancient forests as a reason for the triabunna protest) that luke understood what the thread was about.

    further you accuse me of having bizarre logic – “I don’t see what bizarre leap of logic gets you from arguing that it was a response to the Federal position on climate change, to arguing that it was about the Florentine. ” did you not read my post fully (the quote from the group) or are you deliberately being disengenious? (I assume you mean me when you write “you” because the gunns 13 did not mention the florentine in the story). I did not make any such argument specifically linking the florentine to the federal position on climate change, I only quoted the gunns 13 to highlight to you that the gunns 13 linked the triabunna protest to the destruction of tassie’s ancient forests and that this make luke’s statement relevent because THIS THREAD IS ABOUT THE CLAIMS AND DEFENCES OF THE GUNNS 13. maybe you should start your own thread about your opinions on the gunns 13 giving the destruction of tassie’s ancient forests as a reason for the triabunna protest and then dictate to others what the thread is about, that would make sense. That aside, it aint a bizarre leap of logic to go from a whole (tassies forests) to part of that whole (Florentine). are you proposing that if this group identify tassie’s ancient forests and not the florentine specifically that they are not refering to the florentine? should they list all forests they are refering to by name? thank you for going beyond the weazel words and giving your opinion clearly in your last two paragraphs (20).

  12. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 8, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Yawn, yet *another* overexcitable poster throwing around dumb and insensitive Nazi comparisons (#18).

    Yes, Clive Stott took illegal action to publicise his case. So what? Just because he took an illegal action does not mean it was the only action available to him, nor that it had any effect on public policy (did it?)

    I have already mentioned that the issue I have with the Triabunna mob is not primarily that they insist on illegal action (although there is that too) but is primarily that they insist on the invasion of the property of others.

    To make the argument comparing protests against forests with illegal suffragette, anti-Nazi and anti-apartheid protests is to ignore the fact that the regimes protested against by the latter protestors were fundamentally illiberal (including in their attitudes to legal protest) whereas ours not only provides abundant avenues for legal protest but actively assists citizens to pursue these. It is also to assert without evidence that the case being fought for is as legitimate as those. And finally, to suggest that those who oppose illegal forest protests would have opposed protests against the illiberal regimes listed is simply ignorant and cheap slurring. Mike, if that’s the best you can come up with then I advise you for the sake of your own credibility to take at least five years off the internet and spend that time studying the concepts of freedom and liberty and their relation to property rights.

    To feel that only illegal action will be effective in the forestry debate just shows a lack of imagination and political nous.

  13. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 8, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Luke (#17) – not surprisingly, given that suffragettes were protesting directly against their governments, their actions typically occurred in public places or against public institutions. If you are aware of evidence that they invaded private property to make their case on a regular basis, and that their success depended crucially on this, please advise.

    Joey (#16) – I have previously expressed a cynical view about whether the Triabunna protest was really about climate change, or whether it was actually the use of climate change as an excuse for another stunt motivated by general anti-logging views. But whether the claimed motivation was sincere or not, I don’t see what bizarre leap of logic gets you from arguing that it was a response to the Federal position on climate change, to arguing that it was about the Florentine.

    To go back to where this point started, in #3 I referred to protestors occupying someone else’s property, which the Triabunna 13 unquestionably did. Luke then questioned this in #6 claiming that the Florentine was public property. But the Florentine was not the venue for the Triabunna 13 protest and that is specifically why I made the point I did in #3 and the response I did in #7. The venue of the protest is the critical point (although #7 was not explicit about this, it should have been obvious given the context); that there is some overlap between the two groups of protestors is irrelevant to the point about the venue. The media release at http://www.tasmedia.org/node/1814 does not even mention the Florentine explicitly once even though the same figure was prominently involved in both.

    In your final comment (where you throw about the cliche “weasel words” without apparently having much idea what it means) you suggest that my opinion would be more credible (according to your irrelevant assessment of credibility) if I was equally hopeful that some of the Gunns 20 suits would fall over as I am that the Triabunna 13 defence will collapse.

    Your argument does not follow as the two concern very different basic claims. The Triabunna 13 defence argues that the right to free speech justifies the invasion of someone else’s property. This in my view is an offensively illiberal argument showing contempt for legitimate property rights and potentially setting precedents that I find concerning for political life in general.

    The Gunns 20 lawsuits argued that the right to free speech did not justify the sullying of a company’s reputation with dubious claims calculated to make it lose income. This is a reasonable basic concept that I sympathise with, but it appears that the execution of the concept was a mess legally speaking, and that it would have been a pyrrhic victory anyway.

  14. Freddi Mazoudier

    February 8, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Oh!!!! for god’s sake Kevin, go play with your snails, that is, before they are not made extinct by the hot burns and the poisonous sprays courtesy of Gunns /forestry .

    With any luck the realisation of climate change, due to the horrific events of this last week, will sink through to the dullard minds of our government and they will decide to protect our best assets and carbon sinks provided by our wonderful and precious forests, Yeh!! I know, Pigs might too.. F.M.

  15. Mike Adams

    February 7, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    The magistrate in the Clive Stott smoke inhalation case also chose to tell him that there were legal avenues for redress. With Forestry Tasmania effectively above the law, and being declared a separate entity from government by the then acting premier, with Labor and Liberal parties in lock step, and driven by frustration that there was no interest shown by any MP other than the Greens, this eminently law abiding citizen chose to publicise his case and that of other smoke sufferers by an act that was found to be illegal.
    Those commentators to TT who sit firmly on the side of righteous indignation that anyone should feel so completely frustrated as to do likewise join the many in the past who not only condemned the suffragettes but also endorsed Nazi policies in Germany and Occupied Europe and apartheid measures in South Africa.
    I look forward to Mr Harris dobbing this Comment in to Tas Police.

  16. Luke Vanzino

    February 7, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Kevin,in post # 3 you wrote:

    “There are many legal ways that activists can communicate information to the public without having to occupy someone else’s property to do so”

    If this be so, could you please explain how the suffragettes would have made their case for woman to be granted the right to vote?

    Luke Vanzino
    Consulting Geologist
    Woodbridge 7162

  17. joey

    February 7, 2009 at 1:04 am

    No Kevin, you stated – “This thread is about the activists who invaded Gunns’ woodchip mill at Triabunna, not the Florentine mob”. i informed you that some if not all are part of the “Florentine mob”. however putting aside your change of position from individuals to event, i think you you would find, if you would ask those at the centre of the particular case, that the protest is directly related to the Florentine. it is their claim and defence that this thread is about, remember! they state:

    “The peaceful action at the Triabunna woodchip mill was conducted in direct response to the federal government’s climate change White Paper, and to the ongoing destruction of Tasmania’s ancient forests – a political issue if ever there was one,”.

    whether or not the courts are sympathetic is another story, personally i dont think they will gain much traction. however that is assuming something other is not their motive, such as shedding some light on what they believe to be unjust.

    Further, i note the weasel words about gunns and SLAPPs. were you as hopeful that SLAPPs against some of the gunns 20 would fall in a ‘screamin heap” as you are about the claims here? that may improve the credibility of your opinion.

  18. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 6, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Pete, thanks for your concern but I don’t think you know very much about incitement law. Obviously I am not encouraging the act in question (and indeed I oppose acts of disrespect for private property by extremists on both sides of the debate) but merely discussing it as a hypothetical for the purposes of condemning a position taken by green activists. Indeed, my concern with the line of defence taken in this case is that, if successful, it screws with understanding of what constitutes “free speech” to such a degree that it opens the door to protest actions of a *clearly* terrorist nature across a wide range of issues.

  19. Pete Godfrey

    February 6, 2009 at 9:33 am

    The court case could also have added another giant lie that Gunns have been foisting upon us and that is.
    “We are no longer converting native forest to eucalpyt plantations”
    They have told us, the Japanese Paper companies and also business people that they are sending propaganda letters to every fortnight just this.
    It is a blatant lie and I have ample evidence of logging coupes that have been logged,and converted to plantation after the supposed cut off date of 1/6/07.
    It would be a very easy case to prove, as well as the others such as.
    “No extra trees will be cut down for the pulp mill”
    “we will only be using woodchip that would otherwise be exported”
    “The effluent will be almost as clean as tap water”
    Oh and by the way Dr Kev I believe that you may have put yourself into a very compromised postiion, if some so called ‘Anti Green Thug” were to burn down an unoccupied environment centre you may be accused of inciting.
    Better keep the comments on the right side of the law there.
    I wouldn’t want to see you charged with sedition.
    Or Terrorism.
    It does seem that these days BIG BROTHER has gone off the rails and what were once just random thoughts are now terrorist acts or grounds for SLAPP cases

  20. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 6, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Joey (#10), while some of them are indeed no doubt serial suspects who were also in the Florentine, this particular case concerns their invasion of the Triabunna pulp mill.

    Misuse of court time is not the argument I was making against the Triabunna 13. Rather, what I am saying is that I hope their argument fails (how much court time it takes in failing doesn’t concern me overmuch since I assume (or at least hope) that the costs will be on them should they lose.)

    My view of SLAPPs depends on the merit of the SLAPP in question and the behaviour of those being SLAPPed. That said, most SLAPPs are notorious for having no legal merit. While there are some in the original Gunns 20 who I had no sympathy for since they certainly deserved to be sued by *someone*, I do not think Gunns did themselves any PR favours by pursuing that action in the specific way that they did.

    As for #12, I make no apologies for the comparison I made, and hopefully the forthrightness of it might shock some people out of the kinds of lame excuses they are making for green extremists who occupy property. Both the invasion of the Gunns mill and the hypothetical frizzling of an unoccupied environment centre are illiberal acts that show a wanton disregard for the property of an organisation. Neither should be passed off with the excuse of political speech. People should consider the kind of precedent they are setting before they make such ridiculous arguments about what is or is not a legitimate method of free speech. And if breaking the law for a cause is so heroic, the activists should just admit they were doing so and cop their punishment (which in similar recent cases has generally been completely token anyway) instead of having the gall to try to get out of it.

    Mander is in stereotypical gibberish mode again (#11). First paragraph was an unsubstantiated and empirically false description of attitudes to nature within the industry; I lost interest in the rest.

  21. Charles and Claire Gilmour

    February 5, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    (3) “Burn down an unoccupied environment centre”? We’d thought better of you Kevin, who is going over the top now? The only people burning down anything are Foresty, Gunns and the government. But welcome to our world of hopes and dreams and push the envelope to push your case! We hope and … let’s consult the oracle… yep … your backing the wrong horse Kevin!

  22. Gerry Mander

    February 5, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    “Please Daddy, what is a forest?”

    From the forestry’s point of view, if you are inside looking out, the view is very different from those who are outside looking in. From inside forestry, they see timber, money and jobs. If they are outside, they see things of wonder and amazement. They see ancient trees that are whole ecosystems in themselves. They see wildlife and their habitats. They see the results of thousands of years of untouched beauty and the interaction of Nature with her creations. They see our heritage and our future. The insiders only see this as a nuisance standing between them and their objectives of tuning it into cash.

    Each side believes that they own these forests and see the other side as the enemy. The insiders think that by owning it, they can destroy it, while the outsiders see it as something to be preserved forever.

    In Tasmania the outsiders outnumber the insiders by a factor of 35 to 1, but despite this, they have little or no influence over what happens to these forests. They are powerless to stop the plunder and burning, and all under the commercial myth that what they are doing is ‘good for Tasmania’.

    We are told that there are varying amounts held in reserves ‘that will never be logged’, but even there one wonders. Officially there are 197 000 hectares, and this amount as a total of the remaining old growth varies between 12% to 47%, depending on who is doing the calculation and what it is being compared with and the semantics of the definition.

    Tasmania is the smallest state in Australia and these cool temperate rainforests, with trees reaching as high as ninety metres are unique in the WORLD. Tasmania holds it all, yet we continue to erode and destroy it, exporting it as low-value wood chips. The figures quoted in reserves pale into insignificance if you consider it in the context of the rest of Australia. The protected area is only a fraction of 1% when compared to the land mass of the whole country. But why leave it there? Much of what is destined to be destroyed has been classified as being of ‘world heritage class’, yet the Tasmanian and federal government resists the call to declare it as such. Note that word, ‘heritage’. It is not applicable to the resulting newsprint and the ashes!

    One huge, monopolistic timber giant wants it all, and a complicit government ignores the majority voice to fall in line with their commercial demands. They want it for a short-term profit, and are prepared to destroy everything for that end. But these forests do not just belong to the people of Tasmania, nor indeed the people of greater Australia, but to some extent, they belong to the entire world. They are a privilege and are irreplaceable. Once gone, they are gone forever and the world will be the poorer for their loss.

    The defence of these magnificent forests is left in the hands of a few valiant protestors and Angels, who risk physical assault, arrest, vilification, heavy fines and even jail. Some things are worth more than money and these are the lone voices of the outsiders who see the beauty and value of these timeless woodlands and are prepared to put their own bodies and future on line to protect them from the march of the chainsaw.

    They are looking to our future and our children’s future, so that someday soon, no child will have to ask, “Please Daddy, what is a forest?”

    Barnaby Drake

  23. joey

    February 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Kevin, a five minute google search identifies at least some, (if not all) of the 13 as members of the “Florentine mob”. further do you have the same level of dislike for companies that misuse the court to occupy peoples time by pursuing SLAPPs? afetr all time is money.

  24. Dave Foreman

    February 5, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Where is Flanagan?

  25. francis

    February 5, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Oh please what evidence are they going to present that the claims by Gunns are deceptive and misleading. The pulp mill hasn’t even been built YET. Diversions from the real tresspassing issue may work with some in the public, but won’t in the courts. Also I note that their *fear*less leader is abandoning the remaining 12 to face the music for their actions on their own. That is truely making a stand….

  26. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 5, 2009 at 3:29 am

    Luke (#6), I think you’re getting your campaigns confused. This thread is about the activists who invaded Gunns’ woodchip mill at Triabunna, not the Florentine mob.

  27. Luke Vanzino

    February 5, 2009 at 1:38 am

    Re: Post #3.

    ‘without having to occupy someone else’s property to do so.’

    Kevin, the last time I looked, the forest in the Upper Florentine was owned by the people!

    Luke Vanzino
    Consulting Geologist
    Woodbridge 7162

  28. Bryan

    February 4, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    As usual…. desperate people, desperate actions.

    At least they got a second use for their suits… I doubt they’ve been washed since their last wear.

  29. lilia

    February 4, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    if you’d like to contribute towards the defense fund for the Triabunna 13, you can donate online at http://www.huon.org, on the front page.

  30. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 3, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    I do hope this defence being used by the protestors goes down in a screaming heap. There are many legal ways that activists can communicate information to the public without having to occupy someone else’s property to do so. After all, if the courts allow this defence then why should they not also allow, say, an anti-green thug to burn down an unoccupied environment centre, then front up and say “errr, sorry yer honour, I was just communicating information and exercising my right to make a political point”?

    I shall, however, follow their counterclaim with interest – just a shame that there is not much prospect of restraining non-trading conservation groups from spreading pseudoscience in the same manner.

  31. Gerry Mander

    February 3, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Is it not both wonderful and woeful that it takes 13 activists to do what the State Government, FIAT, Forestry Tasmania, ICAC, the Stock Exchange, the Minister for the Environment and the Federal Government have failed to do, which is to highlight and sue Gunns for their perpetual lies and misleading of the public. There is a long, long history to this and Gunns believes that they are immune and not accountable to anyone. This belief, I hope, will come crashing down round their ears.

    Maybe for once their SLAPP action to shut these dedicated people up has backfire on them. I hope it puts the one final nail in their coffin if they are forced to reveal all their murky secrets. It could possibly be as good as a Royal Commission.

    But they are going to need support in this, and I hope the readers will rally round. I have previously sent funds to the original Gunns 20 as a contribution to their fighting fund. I shall do the same here if I can find an address and I hope others will follow suit.

    Barnaby Drake

  32. john hawkins

    February 3, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    The shares of Gunns Ltd have now dropped 25.2% in 4 days as the market deserts them.Gunns will soon be in the hands of the Liquidator who will not pursue you, have faith.

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