Tasmanian Times

Democracy Tasmania

Our Common Ground launches new hard hitting ad calling for a restoration of democratic process

Our Common Ground will today launch a hard-hitting new television advertisement highlighting abuses of democratic processes to please old-style logging interests.

The ad calls for the interests of ordinary Tasmanians to be put ahead of large timber companies.

The advert features pulp and paper mill expert Warwick Raverty — a former member of the Resource, Planning and Development Commission (RPDC) assessing the Gunns Tamar Valley Pulp Mill development.

Mr Raverty was responsible for assessing the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill, and resigned due to ‘undue political influence’ in the process. He said that the way Labor and Liberal politicians changed the process corrupted Tasmanians’ faith in their democracy.

Our Common Ground said recent comments by the Premier and Gunns about moving towards sustainable forest certification shows the message is finally getting through.

“Tasmanians and world markets have been very clear what they want,” said Ahmet Bektas of Our Common Ground. “Finally, politicians and companies are paying attention. But Tasmanians expect to be heard after elections, too, which will require clear commitments from all parties that abuses of democracy will end.”

In the ad, Raverty refers to both major parties ramming through legislation that prevented ordinary Tasmanians from appealing any decision – “even in cases where the process was corrupt”.

“The way in which the Liberals and Labor rushed the Legislation through, with the extraordinary concessions provided to Gunns ignored the advice provided about the negative impacts on the environment and the community,” he said.

Our Common Ground said it’s a message that will get louder. ” While Gunns had a role, politicians’ failure to follow democratic processes is the key problem.

And if politicians think abuses of democracy will be forgotten in election years, they’re wrong.

Tasmanians and world markets expect better,” said Mr. Bektas.

Our Common Ground is a non partisan, cross-section of groups and individuals determined to end old fights that are keeping Tasmania divided. The OCG TV ad campaign is being supported by private donations, the national progressive, non-partisan group Getup and by the Wilderness Society, a member of Our Common Ground.

The launch will feature former ABC gardening host Peter Cundall.

Press Opportunity: 11am, Grand Chancellor Hotel, Launceston
Ahmet Bektas, Our Common Ground

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

14 Comments

  1. Charles Gilmour

    January 28, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    (8) Barnaby said “… Translated I am sure this means they are lobbying FSC hard and putting pressure on them to certify operations that fall outside their normal parameters of good forestry stewardship. …”

    Apparently you couldn’t be more right.

    Quoted from:
    http://www.fscaustralia.org/index.php?id=63

    “FSC Australia has been informed that one Tasmanian forest product company has sought to redefine ‘regrowth forests’ as ‘seeded plantations’. Given this definition has no currency in Australian forestry we do not include regrowth forestry or ‘seeded plantations’ in this definition of plantations.”

    But obviously the pressure is on. And as you say “…one can only hope that FSC does not bend to this pressure.”

    For a start who was the company?

    Secondly, it is indicative of the true nature of many of our so-called newly created ‘regrowth’ forests … that they infact ARE little more than seeded plantations, because many do not contain a variety of native species as were there before.

    These so-called regrowth forests – suggesting they have been responsibly and sustainably re-planted/sown back into mixed native species – shouldn’t be so one species orientated, but they are. (And obviously this ‘one company’, whoever they are, know that all too well.) Add them into the ‘plantation’ equation, and we start to get a more honest view of just how much native forest, indeed how many eco-systems, water catchments have been targeted and consequently negatively affected.

  2. Garry Stannus

    January 28, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Rita Skeeter (#11) doesn’t even have all the facts.

    It’s not forthright to write “A bill that was only passed after open and transparent debate in both houses of Parliament” and neglect to mention those sections of the Bill which had debate curtailed.

    It was a process like the good ol hangin days:

    “we’re gonna give you a fair trial and then take you out and hang you”

    was turned into:

    “we’re gonna pretend to debate the issue on its merits and then pass the Pulp Mill Assessment Bill”

    Jim Wilkinson couldn’t agree to the complete bastardry that the original Section 11 proposed, so moved to give the people some rights to sue. Ivan Dean supported him, while making it clear that ultimately he would be voting for the Bill – minds were made up. How free was the debate when Terry Martin wished to argue against the Bill?

    I’ve looked at the State Policies and Projects Act in the past. Rita Skeeter throws no new light on anything. What Rita Skeeter does is to join the queue of unprincipled persons who from the shelter of anonymity attempt to besmirch the character of a man who has been upfront.

    Rita Skeeter the anonymous mud slinger. Who do you work for? DPAC? Don Davey tends to call people such as yourself gutless. I would find it difficult to disagree with him.

  3. Tony Saddington

    January 28, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Rita(11),
    You are presenting facts, but the basis is formed on falsity.

    Raverty’s expertise lies in pulp mill odour – it is what he specialised in during his career.

    When on the panel to establish guidelines for Kraft mill emissions, the panel was given the brief on the understanding that any pulp mill would be constructed in a remote area. Not an area that could affect up to 100,000 people.

    Raverty and the board expected the guidelines to apply to an area like Hampshire or similar.
    This is on public record. He has said this repeatedly.

    We will never know the outcome of the RPDC assessment as Gunns pulled the plug and pushed it through parliament with Lennon’s complicity.

    The RPDC was being too thorough for Gunns – doing what it was supposed to do. Gunns were never going to make it across the line.

  4. Russell

    January 28, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Re #11
    Isn’t it lovely how mary and rita always pop up at the same time, writing in the same manner, with the same references.

    Just another example of where some of your tax payer dollars are being wasted with the Backdoor Bartlett’s Tasmanian Labor Government’s pulp mill and fox task farce multi-million dollar spin teams. Meanwhile, the things needed most (hospital beds, doctors, nurses, teachers, police, public transport, manufacturing industries, farmers, jobs for all the forestry workers laid off) or most profitable (Department of Tourism) have been totally unsupported and under-funded in order to supply Forestry Tasmania and Gunns with whatever they needed to ram this unwanted, unprofitable, unsustainable, non-compliant dinosaur project through.

    The first and deepest cuts to the ranks of the public service should be from the overpaid, immoral, unethical, lying, lower-than-the-belly-of-a-snake, gutter dwelling spin teams.

    “Environmental Guidelines that any proposal for a mill needed to meet. Guidelines that Premier Lennon and his government accepted without amendment…”

    Guidelines which Gunns and Lennon then chose to completely bypass when the mill was found to be critically non-compliant. Guidelines which were replaced by legislation which removed the rights of the public to have any say whatsoever.

  5. Rita Skeeter

    January 27, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Budding award winning journos need to do their research before praising Dr Raverty too highly.
    Prior to being challenged by the Greens on his fitness to sit in assessment of the Gunns Pulp mill project, Dr Raverty had been a member of the 2003 panel that actually recommended the Environmental Guidelines that any proposal for a mill needed to meet. Guidelines that Premier Lennon and his government accepted without amendment.
    These guidelines are still available http://www.planning.tas.gov.au/bekm/final_report and make interesting reading.
    Dr Raverty and his fellow panel members formulated the guidelines on the basis of a review of state-of-the art kraft mill technologies and management practices aimed at minimising the environmental impact of pollutants released from the production process of any new bleached eucalypt market kraft pulp mill employing either the elemental chlorine free (ECF) or the totally chlorine free (TCF) bleaching process and whose treated liquid effluent is discharged into the marine environment.

    The guideline clearly required the mill to be located close to the coast to provide for the marine discharge of the treated effluent and no restrictions were placed on its location. However the panel clearly expected the mill to be within a populated area when the guideline for odour is considered:

    “Test methods for odour will rely on the establishment of a panel of at least 10 local residents, to be agreed by the Tasmanian regulatory authority, and supported by the spot monitoring program.” Section D.1.8

    Budding journos also should look at the appeal rights of ordinary Tasmanians under the assessment that Dr Raverty now claims as his preferred process:
    State Policies and Projects Act 1993 (No. 65 of 1993)
    28.Limitation on rights of appeal and other rights
    (1) Subject to section 27 and notwithstanding the provisions of any other Act–
    (a) a person is not entitled to appeal to a body or other person, court or tribunal; or
    (b) no other action or proceeding may be brought; or
    (c) no order of review may be made under the Judicial Review Act 2000; or
    (d) no declaratory judgment may be given–
    in respect of any matter or thing arising out of or relating to the conditions specified in an order made under section 26(6), 26(8), 26A or 26B.

    Compare that the Pulp Mill Assessment Act Section 11 as amended by the Legislative Council.

    A bill that was only passed after open and transparent debate in both houses of Parliament ubder intense media scrutiny and with the public galleries and the lawns of Parliament packed with lobbyists both for and against the mill. A bill that was first debated in the House of Assembly on 22 March 2007, and by the Legislative council a week later, before the amendments were accepted by the lower house on 17 April 2007.

    Yet Dr Raverty, who was there to brief the Legislative council and to brief the media on the action of the Independent Legislative council, see a “frightening” report from the awarding winning journo at AM “ http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2007/s1883423.htm , now describes month long debate as “Labor and Liberal then rammed through laws which removed the rights of ordinary people to appeal”.

    love Rita.

  6. Russell

    January 27, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Re #6
    What planet are you living on?

    You think that changing the model of the proposed pulp mill from closed-loop chlorine-free to one that openly pollutes our waters with incredibly toxic dioxins, guzzles our forests, water and power is acceptable?

    You think bypassing an approvals process put in place specifically to protect Tasmanians is okie dokie?

    You think that there is nothing wrong with passing laws that forbid the public to have a say in what happens in this state, with our money?

    You think that a vast percentage of our taxes go to propping up one dinosaur of a private company and one red-necked Government Department to the detriment of all others is money well spent?

    You and your masters make me and Tasmania sick, Mary.

  7. Pete Godfrey

    January 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Nice work, once again thankyou to Warwick for standing up and saying what we all knew.
    The problem with us knowing that the process was and still is corrupt is that we are not listened to. Having an ex member of the RPDC and also a Pulp Mill expert say it carries a lot of weight.
    Good on him.

  8. Gerry Mander

    January 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    ‘Our Common Ground said recent comments by the Premier and Gunns about moving towards sustainable forest certification shows the message is finally getting through.’

    I doubt it!

    The reason ‘the message is getting through’ is purely because thay can’t sell either the pulp mill or their woodchips to the Japanese and other paper makers who are concerned about the environment. This is certainly not a change of heart on either the part of Gunns or the Government, it is simply a commercial necessity dressed up as environmental consciousness. The spin doctors are hard at work with this one.

    Bartlett and others are talking about FSC certification and making comments like, ‘I am sure we are not far off getting their approval’. Translated I am sure this means they are lobbying FSC hard and putting pressure on them to certify operations that fall outside their normal parameters of good forestry stewardship. These statements on the part of Bartlett I believe, are a spin for what is normally considered corruption, and one can only hope that FSC does not bend to this pressure.

    The practises themselves are horrific, and when one considers that most plantations in Tasmania were only a short time ago old growth forest and these practice continues unabated with Forestry publicly announcing ‘joint ventures’ with several Japanese firms to convert ‘more of the land OWNED by forestry to plantations and with Llewellyn, Gordon and Gay over in Japan visiting these companies, how can FSC possibly certify these actions? Furthermore, they are lying about ceasing to convert native forest to plantations since 2007, and this is still their preferred mode of operation, as detailed by myself on another thread.

    I am hoping, like the Mill approvals, they just don’t succeed in bulldozing their way through this one as well. I can assure you, it won’t be for lack of trying. Leopards and spots!

  9. mary

    January 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Within weeks the supposed “common ground” has disintegrated and it is now abundantly clear that they are another ENGO pushing the same old agenda. This statement is particularly laughable – “Our Common Ground is a non partisan, cross-section of groups and individuals determined to end old fights that are keeping Tasmania divided.” BUT then goes on to state that they are the front group of the same old organisations “The OCG TV ad campaign is being supported by private donations, the national progressive, non-partisan group Getup and by the Wilderness Society, a member of Our Common Ground.”

    Absolutely ridiculous, rename yourselves you are a joke!

    As for Raverty anyone who thinks he has remaining credibility is kidding themselves. Reasonable people noticed that he went off on all sorts of tangents, well beyond his apparent expertise. He made claims which he could not substantiate (Anonymous unable to be confirmed assertion deleted)

  10. Tony Saddington

    January 27, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I just saw the ad on WIN (9.10am). Well done Dr. Raverty.In one short ad I heard the following;

    1) That he was a senior authority on the pulp mill assessment (RPDC).

    2) Gunns had the Lib/Labs ram through corrupted legislation to approve the pulp mill.

    3) Legal appeal under the legislation is denied to ordinary people.

    Hard hitting. Thank you Warwick.

  11. Simon Warriner

    January 27, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Just watched it, this is what they should have concentrated on from the getgo. Dont even mention the bloody trees. Too late now, however, and they have tied themselves forever more to the forestry issue, not corruption, incompetence and a culture of placing business wants ahead of community health, safety, and integrity. It matters not how much money they have to spend on advertising because with the first ad they set the die, saying they are a forestry issue group. A great great shame, really.

  12. pilko

    January 26, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    The ad begins airing to night.
    Its an excellent ad and praise be Dr. Warwick Raverty who has once again truly stuck his neck out for Tasmania. Warwick has nothing to gain and everything to lose by butting heads with Tas inc. Raverty has ten times the ticker than that which labours in the timid chests of the fat bellied parliamentarians who sold him and Tasmania out for Gunns in 2007.
    Congratulations to all the people at Get-Up, OCG and TWS and others who helped get this ad-up.

  13. Sam

    January 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Where’s the common ground ??

  14. Russell

    January 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    What time/s and where will the ad be broadcast?

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