Tasmanian Times

Economy

Gunns drawn amid immense hostility

One of the most succinct analyses of the Gunns Ltd implosion was penned at the weekend by former Labor Leader Mark Latham, writing in the Australian Financial Review. Courtesy of AFR Subscriber – fast-fingered reader Dick – here it is …

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Picture: Matt Newton: http://www.matthewnewton.com.au/Commercial/People/1/

In politics, hatred is not uncommon. It often sustains factional fights within parties and personal animosities across the parliamentary chamber. Democracy deals with this through public debate, allowing its elected representatives to vent their feelings and frustrations via partisan rhetoric. If quarantined to intra-party and personality clashes, hatred is not necessarily a debilitating emotion. It need not compromise the quality of public policy. Sometimes it is even seen as a virtue, a sign of passion and fire in a politician’s belly.

The story of Gunns is devoid of any such virtue. It involves the worst kind of political hatred: that which spills over into government decision-making. I saw this emotion – raw, venomous and unrelenting – when I visited Tasmania in March 2004 as leader of the opposition, hoping to examine the claims and counter-claims about forestry conservation.

As I recorded in my diaries, discussions with pro-Gunns representatives were “a hate session on the Greens”. When I announced my intention to tour the Styx forest with Bob Brown and listen to his side of the debate, one of the leading industry claquers, the Labor Member for Lyons, Dick Adams, threatened to blockade my visit. This was the type of extremism one normally associates with totalitarian regimes: a bid to restrict the free movement of a political leader by closing the road in front of his vehicle.

Far from quarantining their dislike of conservationists to personality differences, the state’s Labor leadership, union officials and industry advocates were determined to destroy the environmental movement through the manipulation of public policy. Whatever Gunns asked for, whether by way of forestry access, development approvals and industry welfare, they were determined to deliver the necessary concessions. At one level, this was a corporatist model, when capital, labour and the state lose sight of their distinctive roles and responsibilities and blend into a single unit favouring business interests.

In fact, the pro-Gunns sentiment was so strong it went beyond corporatism. It was more like a cult. I left Tasmania convinced that the people I had met rivalled L Ron Hubbard and the Scientology movement in their fanaticism. It was impossible to get them to consider alternative points of view and reach a rational compromise with the conservationists.

Like all cults, the pro-Gunns clique was blind to the facts. It had no understanding of the realities of economic change and market forces. Gunns’ plant machinery was archaic, a step back into the Industrial Revolution. Its customer base was dwindling, as a result of weaker export markets and consumer resistance to old-growth wood. Like many extractive industries, it had failed to develop value-adding strategies and production. The only thing sustaining the company was corporatist support and a cult-like faith in its future.

In effect, the Gunns workers were being dudded. They had no job security, no sustainable financial prospects, just a series of delusional promises from the industry’s supporters. The responsible policy action was to help them adjust to economic decline with a generous restructuring and retraining package. Having rejected Labor’s offer in the 2004 election campaign, these workers have now lost everything. Even some workers’ severance entitlements from the company are in doubt.

The only positive to arise from the fall of Gunns is the hope it brings for ending Tasmania’s 30-year forestry war, for ending the perversion of forestry policy. The state’s economic strategy must return to an even-handed stance, promoting skills development and market-based competitive advantages.

The lessons for Labor are timeless. Corporatism never works. Picking winners never works. Corporate welfare never works. Hateful policymaking never works. When industries decline, the Labor movement’s responsibility is to restructure and retrain, not to sell short the workers by engaging in the chimera of economic cultism.

Mark Latham was federal Labor leader from December 2003 to January 2005.

• Colin Benjamin, The Power Index: Where the Gunns board went wrong

Investors in failed Tassie timber company Gunns who are holding their breath until the middle of October should make an appointment with their favourite shrink to have their head examined on October 16.

That is when investors will learn the fate of the funds that were handed over to Gunns before the appointment of an administrator, who is trying to flog a couple of used sawmills to investors from China.

That is also the day when it will become obvious that there is no way that the pulp mill can avoid throwing a few hundred workers on to the wood pile.

Gunns issued $120 million worth of hybrids back in 2005 with a face value of $100, which paid floating interest at the bank swap rate plus a margin of 2.5% — a similar arrangement to many of the current hybrid issues. In October 2008, these were to be redeemed for cash, converted into ordinary shares or the margin would “step-up” to 5%, which is what actually happened.

By early 2009, as the global financial crisis hit, the hybrid share price had halved, which meant that the effective interest rate that investors received soared to about 18% per annum. The company apparently had assets that more than covered all its debts, so there was a possibility of a 100% capital gain if and when the hybrid was redeemed. See more …

and read the full article here

• Nick Clark, Mercury: Gunns loss to hit taxpayers

TAXPAYERS will take a $239,008 hit after the collapse of Gunns.

The State Government will not seek repayment from Gunns of $239,008 in costs it incurred on behalf of the timber company for roadworks under the Batman Highway in 2008.

The Government paid for the under- road crossing designed to contain a pulp mill water pipeline after Gunns said it was under “extreme financial pressure”.

The Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources officials feared a three-month delay in Gunns agreeing to pay for the culvert would delay work on the $70 million East Tamar Highway upgrade in 2008.

A department spokeswoman said yesterday the money for the culvert had not been paid by Gunns.

Read the rest, Mercury here

• Ex-Chairman Gay opts not to front court. Court hears Gay sold shares after meeting doctor

Former Gunns boss John Gay has not attended a preliminary hearing of insider trading charges laid against him

John Eugene Gay has pleaded not guilty to two counts of insider training when he was the executive chairman of Gunns

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) alleges Gay sold 3.4 million Gunns shares in December 2009, two months before the company’s share value dropped by 20 cents.

Gay has not attended court for the proceedings.

His lawyer Philip Priest told the court it was not in his client’s best interests to attend and it was unnecessary for him to be in court for the pre-trial hearing.

There was no objection from the prosecution.

The rest, ABC Online here

Greg L’Estrange and the Gunns nightmare, Andrew Darby, The Age, here

• TFGA takes the lead in Gunns’ aftermath

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association is taking a leadership role in the wake of the Gunns’ collapse, organising information sessions for those who leased their land to the company for it to grow plantations.

TFGA CEO Jan Davis met recently with both the Gunns’ administrator (PPB Advisory) and the receiver (KordaMentha).

“With their assistance, we’re pulling together some information for affected farmers about the process and what happens from now on,” Ms Davis said.

“Other industry players, including SFM Forest Products and Forestry Tasmania, are assisting us in this process.

“What is clear is that people are confused,” she said. “It is proving complex to work out exactly how many farm foresters had leased their land to Gunns, how many own the trees and how many trees Gunns owns. There are many permutations: there may be as many as 600 leases and 250 lessors. There’s also the complication of the managed investment schemes for which Gunns is the responsible entity.”

Ms Davis said this was a traumatic time for all involved.

“We believe that the more people know and the better informed they are, the better they’ll be able to deal with these difficult circumstances and the hard decisions they may face in coming months.

“So we’re organising some information sessions for affected farmers where they will get an update on the Gunns’ processes and also be able to speak to legal and accounting specialists. Dates are yet to be confirmed, but this will hopefully be next week,” Ms Davis said.

She said if landowners want to make sure the TFGA has their contact details for these sessions and other related material, they should send an email or call on 6332 1800.
“This offer is open to any affected farmer, whether or not they are a TFGA member,” Ms Davis said.

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53 Comments

53 Comments

  1. TGC

    October 10, 2012 at 12:30 am

    #53 “I have always supported a pulp mill…”
    I bet you did!

  2. Clarence Point

    October 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Re .51 The C.E.F.M.E.U sold out its members as Mark Latham has stated they were dudded.

    I have always supported a pulp mill but by the proper process , when both houses of parliament supported section 11 of the pulp mill act.

    The intelligence of the electorate was insulted and the R.P.D.C negated.

    The Legislative Council should have thrown it out and sent the reviewing of the pulp mill process back to the R.P.D.C.

    Had both parties gone to a referendum instead of playing politics ,the people would have decided and many families would not be suffering the stress put on them by the ,unions , Gunns , and both houses of parliament

  3. TGC

    October 8, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    #50 Olive trees! If planted as extensively as #50 suggests this proposal would eventually do much more ‘damage’ to the land than E.Nitens would ever do.

  4. bazzabee

    October 8, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    #45 I wonder would it be rude of me to ask Claire Gilmour to provide TT readers with the names of these “union thugs” and perhaps some examples of what I assume she deemed to have been acts of union inspired, planned, or directed thuggery? If she can’t then she is no better than Senator Eric Abetz and his mates on the far political right who also indulge themselves from time to time with equally pejorative and unsubstantiated statements and fallacious comments.

  5. Oil from the Soil

    October 8, 2012 at 4:13 am

    Time to rip out all the E. Nitens and put in olive trees.

    Ditch the pulp mill plan and replace it with a biodiesel plant.

    Once the current recession ends liquid fuel prices are going only one way.

    Problem solved, and I didn’t charge a cent.

  6. phill Parsons

    October 7, 2012 at 9:25 am

    #30. Godwin’s ‘Law’ describes the likelihood of a phenomenon. It does not make a commeny on a blog ‘íllegal’.

    It is up to us to decide if we understand the comment [functional literacy].

    I certainly ‘get it’ without believing that Tas Inc are all Nazi’s. Scapegoating is not uncommon.

    What Lara and Will should consider is how long they can hang their hat on a peg that’s not there.

    Eventually voters work out they are being sold a valueless packet of hot air wrapped in golden words.

  7. Peter Bright

    October 7, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Nicole Anderson at #28 refers to “51% functional illiteracy” and Leonard Colquhoun at #40 asks what “functional illiteracy” actually means.

    I’ve learned to my amazement that Google understands a question put to it as if it is human, so I entered [i]What does “functionally illiterate” mean?[/i] into its search box whereupon many responses appeared.

    Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_illiteracy says:

    [i]”Functional illiteracy is imprecisely defined, with different criteria from nation to nation, and study to study. However, a useful distinction can be made between pure illiteracy and functional illiteracy. Purely illiterate persons cannot read or write in any capacity, for all practical purposes. In contrast, functionally illiterate persons can read and possibly write simple sentences with a limited vocabulary, but cannot read or write well enough to deal with the everyday requirements of life in their own society. For example, an illiterate person may not understand the written words cat or dog, may not recognize the letters of the alphabet, and may be unable to write their own name. In contrast, a functionally illiterate person may well understand these words and more, but might be incapable of reading and comprehending job advertisements, past-due notices, newspaper articles, banking paperwork, complex signs and posters, and so on.”[/i]

    At http://www.abc.net.au/local/videos/2012/09/07/3585457.htm Jan Richards states [i]”Forty-seven per cent of the Australian population are functionally illiterate. That means they can’t read the instructions on a medicine bottle, they can’t read a map, they can’t read a recipe.”[/i] Jan adds [i]”It’s a hidden statistic that so many people don’t realise. A lot of people who have issues with literacy are very clever at being able to hide it.”[/i]

  8. Clarence Point

    October 6, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Re. 41 and 44 High profile L.C.C. Identity you have narrowed the field was it a former junior from Batman , or hospitality owner , a former minister would be not there at that time.

  9. Helen

    October 3, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Gunns was a great company- it over reached itself, and it’s lack of expertise in handling such a grand project has been telling, along with it’s lack of due diligence across the board, THIS , has been its downfall. Whoever has backed them? The company that builds, and supplies the components for the mill- I wonder why that was?- and who else that mattered has backed them to progress it forward?? We now hear from Greg L’Estrange today ……enough said!!!, we think we’ve heard it all, and they’re busy outdoing each other for incompetence?

  10. Claire Gilmour

    October 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    In relation to (comment 40/28)would like to hear more… How do you educate kids against con artists? When you can’t even educate adults? There is indoctrination and then there is free will and thinking, how do educate kids/people to do that?

    Education is not just about ABC in the ‘normal’ sense of the word/suggestion … It brings into question common sense and life experiences. I recall in a past life having an IT business and hiring just out of uni programmers. The code was great, the ability to apply the code in practical common sense situations was severely lacking. So who had the ABC there ….?

    I recall the governments forestry arm when I was at school as a 16 yo – they pushed hard with talks, videos saying we had to embrace the plantation strategy, it was our only hope they pushed. With no experience, realistic gauge to measure it against, it sounded good at the time. Little did we know back then it was all about pushing a couple of little men’s dreams. 30 years on and look what has happened! There is a fine line between education and indoctrination. Perhaps teaching independent thinking ?… but whilst Tassie is considered as factory state, trying to be the ARM to the middle/upper class of countries like China who NEED compliant governments like Tasmania’s’ to feed their inability to feed themselves, and we still have people living on the streets because our state and local governments selfish planning schemes won’t allow the private sector to think for themselves, we’ll just stay as a pawn in the scheme of things.

    If the councils are so pro-development, then perhaps they could start by streamlining planning schemes and turn off the ridiculous notion that plantations have more rights on marginal land than a landowners rights to develop, grow their own business and sub-divide certain areas.

    Then there’s “Give it Back” – Give what back?

    More public forests to crash and burn … all set-up to materialise financial gains for few but the forestry clique? More government funds for a continued public failure; a pulp mill that never existed – was never going to exist, more PAL style legislation to help few but pulpwood plantation growers, more good farms to turn into weed infested, toxic, water sucking pulpwood plantations, more MIS style rorts? … Give us back the corruption, the ability to bow and acquiesce to those in a position to manipulate?

    What exactly does “give it back” want? The cream to go on top of a publicly funded cake? For years those involved in the woodchip/pulpwood industry have had their hand held by so many politicians, union thugs, selfish industry juggernauts … to even suggest many politicians haven’t listened, indeed fostered the forestry side is just plain silly. Indeed it’s so unfair to everyone else who has publicly paid in so many ways but have not been given anything near the same consideration. Perhaps that’s what happens when the greed machine continually bottle feeds … those on the receiving end don’t know how to wean themselves off.

    Lots of people all around Australia are doing it tough at the moment. Those in Tasmania blaming the downturn in forestry are obviously too blind to see that … and the plotitical parties are using it to their best advantage … no doubt about that!

    http://junkmilesdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/2570.jpg?w=300&h=300

  11. alan

    October 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    #41. I had much the same experience with a very high-profile LCC identity ( possibly the same person ). When I suggested that Gunns claims regarding the environmental impacts of the proposed pulp mill should be scrutinized thoroughly particularly so because certain Gunns directors were closely associated to the infamous Rouse case he became visibly angry. He retorted; ” Gunns and its directors are wonderful corporate citizens and benefactors of Tasmania.” He promptly ended the conversation and I was dismissed from his presence.

  12. hugoagogo

    October 3, 2012 at 3:56 am

    #42. I took #36’s hint and made a guess.

    A snake might manage the feat.

  13. jack lumber

    October 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    re 35 LOL But to avoid any doubt . My head is not in sand ( a metaphor ) and if your head is not in sand ( a metaphor ) , where is yours ( a rhetorical question ). But you post does provide a hint for all to guess .

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor

    re 38 Dear friend william – your observation re strange comments noted . I respectfully ask you to reflect on same . Have some knowledge of WTE but not all legends, eagles and i do have trouble programming my VCR so who am i to comment on the technology you describe . I will leave it to others to comment of the vainted prowess of those you identified

    re 39 never would have guessed you are a fan of Looney Tunes . Some days ARE golden.

    kind regards
    Jack

  14. Anthony John

    October 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Mark Latham’s comment that “like all cults, the pro-Gunns clique was blind to the facts” resonated with me: some years ago, in the office of a (very) high-profile LCC identity,and, having given an experienced businessman’s judgement that the pulp mill proposal was seriously flawed, I sought his reasons for giving it unconditional support. His response :”If John Gay says a pulp mill is good for Tasmania, you can take it to the bank”.

    I was gobsmacked! That was it? I found that exchange quite disturbing, indicative of a cult leader-follower mentality: mindless, unthinking, unquestioning . Frightening really. But it did provide a valuable insight into the inner workings of TasInc.

    A question that might challenge future historians : what was it about Mr Gay that he could command such blind, unswerving support from prominent members of the community? Institutions too.

  15. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 2, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Does anyone now know WTF “functional illiteracy” actually means (Comment 28)?

    “Literacy” once had the main meaning, the utterly basic meaning, of ‘being able to read’, which, in turn, for cultures with alphabetical scripts (such as the Latin, Cyrillic, Arabic, and Devanagari alphabets^), entailed the teaching and learning of the alphabetic code, that is, the correlation between the mouth-noises people make & hear and the squiggles they see & make on paper & on screen.

    Essentially, it was a foundation skill which had almost nothing to do with the level of ability of understanding what was being read. For example, I can “read” Greek because I can make noises which have some relation to what I am “reading” – but 90% of the time I have no clue about the content. At best, I could claim to be able to “read” that alphabet.

    Recently, “literacy” has broadened its meaning – as words often do over time – to take in the understanding & appreciation of the subject matter. Further broadening has coined expressions such as “functional literacy”, “cultural literacy”, “financial literacy” and “scientific literacy”, and their opposites, such as “functional illiteracy”.

    Nothing wrong with this – it’s what words do, and what we do to them.

    The problem occurs when expressions like “deep literacy”, meaning a broad and deep ability to understand, analyse and critique reading matter (often with a religio-ideological bias, as in a ‘Marxist / Islamic / Christian reading of ‘) are abused to downgrade, even sneer at, the basic meaning of “literacy”, and even to justify simply not bothering with teaching the abc code as ‘infra-dig’, or ‘unnatural’, or likely to “destroy children’s creativity”.

    So – to get to the main point – what does Comment 28’s “51% functional illiteracy” mean? That over half of us can’t do our abc’s? Surely a matter of embarrassment, shame and guilt for everyone working in primary “education”?

    Or that only 49% of us have a broad and deep ability to understand, analyse and critique reading matter? Which, surely, is what one would expect, and even be delighted at such a high percentage for such a demanding task.

    For further information on the various scriptic trees in the world’s forest of alphabets –

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_alphabets

  16. John Powell

    October 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Some days are just golden!!!!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumber_Jack-Rabbit

    Lumber Jack-Rabbit is a 1953 3D Looney Tunes animated comedy short film directed by Chuck Jones and featuring Bugs Bunny.

  17. William Boeder

    October 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Strange comments you submit to this forum jack,
    your are running at a 2% credibility at present, even though there are still a number of your myopic mates still banging their tambourines and calling out hallelujah to those still engaged as Old Growth Forest destroyers?
    Yon Pilko has a vast amount of credibility in comparison to you and your mates views.
    My estimation of his credibility scores a little higher than I have acknowledged to your team jack, 98% in fact.
    Another person who is often close to the mark is yon Karl Stevens, another long term forum attendee with eyes like an Eagle and is also possessed of a cutting edge highly sophisticated apparatus that combines both radar and air-wave scanning properties, (the envy of many.)
    Might I add the the highly credible, well recognized, personal observant sighting powers of of Mr Peter Godfrey, a legend of knowledge to ward this State’s dismal failing harvesting techniques?
    So jack maybe you need to purchase of few more of them Occam’s razors to slice your way out of the heaped misinformation landed upon you by your quasi-reputable colleagues?
    Also are you by chance aware of that which has been lumbered upon Tasmania’s de-throned and discarded former King of this State’s enormous the wood-chip castle?
    Now there’s a bloke who knows a bit about the inside dealings of your preferred industry jack.

    Cheers,

    Your Friend William.

  18. Ron

    October 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    John Gay not attending court – you cant expect such a man to be seen in the company of the great unwashed who are also appearing in court at the same time this morning. Crims with such offences as drive while unlicensed, assault a cop, and stealing.

    How appalling for the great man.

  19. Russell

    October 2, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Re #35
    “For us to continue discussions can you please confirm location of yours . regards Jack”

    I’ll take that as a threat and pass it on to the police.

  20. jack lumber

    October 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Re 32 Dear Pilko after you spent your “8 cents worth with the ABC , there may be some other reasons why …. and in making these observations i would like to accknowlwdge Occam’s Razor

    1 they have exercised their own editorial discretion ie there where other more important stories at the time
    2 . It was not deemed newsworthy
    3 . The ABC had already given a fair bit of air time on Friday 730 report re Gunns and the Mill

    I dont know why they didnt follow it up but i absolutle sure it not part of any “spooky ” cabal controlling the ABC LOL.

    re 33 No heads in sand here . For us to continue discussions can you please confirm location of yours . regards Jack

  21. Karl Stevens

    October 2, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Latham’s vision didn’t include an extended gravy train like the Forestry IGA. The current effort could well go higher than Latham’s $800 million. By the time everybody has been appeased, compensated, retooled and rebooted the taxpayer will have been slugged a massive amount. They have even managed to make it open-ended and include compensation for the enviros as well. This is a very impressive performance and you can see why Big Dick has opted to stay in the party even though he probably now votes Liberal.

  22. Russell

    October 2, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Re #29
    “the reference to forestry cult etc” is the absolute truth and continues demonstrated by the head-in-sand attitudes still being expressed and pushed at every available opportunity by the likes of Tas Inc, despite the blatant and overwhelming evidence.

  23. Pilko

    October 2, 2012 at 3:57 am

    #27 Fat chance. No media outlet in Tasmania will follow up on the Mark Latham AFR story. I emailed the ABC statewide mornings prog. today & suggested they should get Latham on & see if they could tease out some more on his comments.

    The ABC in particular will not touch anyone whose presence or comments will invite trouble from the mates & silver bodgies. As useful as Raverty could be in shining a light on what is wrong with the pulp mill, local media wont touch him.

    They would rather write stories about who will build the pulp mill now Gunns is dead. Local journos have been phoning around for the last week looking for financial analysts & other talking heads who might give them a line on whose gunna build the mill.

    Over at the Examiner Alison Andrews writes sentimental mumbo jumbo about Gunns empty workplace at Lindsay street.

    http://www.examiner.com.au/story/371131/eerie-feeling-in-empty-workshops-and-yards/?cs=97

    I could almost feel Alison’s pain as i read. Alison finishes her tribute to Gunns HQ by parroting the Premier’s threat of last week…..”So to those celebrating the demise of Gunns – be careful what you wish for”.

    Its great isnt it. The ugliness of Tasmanias polity & certains sections of the media has been more apparent than ever since Gunns demise. Threatening to git’ us cause the big Tasmanian logging company went belly up.

    What with the anguish thats poured out of that newspaper since Gunns died you’d be forgiven for thinking the Examiner were Gunns employees too.

  24. russell

    October 2, 2012 at 3:23 am

    What and or how much would a ‘letter of comfort’ be worth? Signed by a conflicted Premier? In dollar terms, how much could the loc be argued to be worth?
    On top of the permits?

  25. jack lumber

    October 2, 2012 at 1:53 am

    PS I respect the right on all on TT to post but # 22 has crossed that great line summed up by Godwins Law .

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

  26. jack lumber

    October 2, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Dear All – I have voted Labour since the time i was able to . And believe me i still despite the efforts of all politicians consider it a honour to do so . My family also has and continues to have involvement with the Labour party in a small way ;the fire still burns in the old mans eyes i can assure you .

    My views on ML are based on his performance then and now or lack there off and that like many i felt he would make a poor leader for our nation . It is funny that many of you have chosen to in fact assume my comments on ML are on the basis that I am as passionate about Forests and the contribution they can make for all of us . I just have a different view about how that it is achieved .AND therefore have been judged to be apparently a fan of JH ( BTW gun control , tax reform and Work Choices are by many including ardent Labour followers are seen as a great legacy ) My remarks where particularly acidic in so much . as i suspected many are now holding ML up as the answer or had insight when he was wrong in so many other areas and specifically ML comments in the AFR article are and where directed against Gunns at the time and I know this as i have discussed it with many there at the time and at that time .ML offers of $$$$ was unfunded and was as real as the $276M today , that is a mixture of BS and RDA money rebadged . (NB The funny thing is the push for dairy land has in fact enabled natural forest conversion to recommence . ) The people of Tas , actually Australia seemed to also agree that ML was not for us ( File note avoid firm handshakes and respect personal space ) and he lost the election .

    2 ML then and now , like many made the mistake of confusing forest management as aka Gunns

    In summary the article and comments by ML on gunns are correct , the reference to forestry cult etc is just crap .I am being consistent in my distain for ML and it enhanced by his attempted to now jump on the bandwagon in the collapse of Gunns ( again not forestry ) and his attempt at revisionism to make him feel relevant when he wasn’t then and is not now .

    ” Mihi cura futruri ”

    . kind regards Jack

  27. Nicole Anderson

    October 2, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Well said #5 Penelope. With 51% functional illiteracy it is not hard to imagine the higher order thinking deficit which I presume would generate opinions based on slogans, cliches and prejudice. Perhaps there is some hope for the kids fortunate enough to have a good education, teaching virtue, manners and cognitive skills beyond the basics, and who have parents/friends supporting this important development. However I cannot help but feel some despair for the adults currently who remain incapable of changing their minds over issues in the face of such compelling evidence due to plain and simple hatred of greenies, or even anything possibly connected to them! It is irrational. And saddening to see as these people are clearly suffering in the reality of their fears and the politicians are adding delusional fuel to this destructive fire in order to garnish support! I find this highly immoral: to perpetuate fear and loathing for the purposes of winning a vote. The downstream effect is depression and other mental and physical health problems, in addition to the social impacts of incapacitation these create.

  28. Claire Gilmour

    October 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    I want to hear what Paul Lennon has to say in response to it all (Latham, Gunns). Surely there must be a Paul Lennon puff piece coming in the Examiner? Don’t tell me he’s gone all shy all of a sudden. Perhaps he’s gone to ground or off fishing with Bryan Green? Taking some respite, stock, getting houses in order … before the real big proverbial hits the fan !! Hmmm … shhh, can’t you hear it … it’s so silent … there’s so much paper shuffling, shredding and footy socks being buried, it’s deafening …

  29. moo

    October 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    A chilling reminder of the depths of corruption gripping this state. Those in power see no difference between their personal, political or business interests and consider The Law their plaything, the mindset being, Tasmania is ours to do with whatever we need to further our interests.

    Tasmanians labour under a redneck LibLab dictatorship. If a LOTO on an official visit can be threatened to be physically prevented from meeting with those seen to be in opposition to their interests how much more do everyday people have to endure? Those trying to bring about positive change live everyday with poisonous ill will. “Raw, venomous and unrelenting” is as good a description as any.

    Bring on the banjo’s

  30. Garry Stannus

    October 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Shirley (#2) hits the nail on the head, referring to the Latham article as an exemplar of what is known widely as ‘Tas Inc’. I agree with you Shirley, we’ll fight whomsoever it might be who steps up to the plate to try and force on us a Tamar mill that we don’t want.

  31. tom de kadt

    October 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    #3 – play the ball, not the man, Lumber. Or have you been outplayed, leaving you no option…?

  32. Trevor K

    October 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    The forestry industry, state Labor, and more to the point the forestry workers went overboard in their cheering Mr Howard back then.

    Mr Latham offered a structured and dignified withdrawal. The industry and the workers refused.

    I recall the unedifying sight of unionists cheering for Mr Howard – he of Patricks Corporation and Work Choices. At the time Mr Howard claimed of his forest policy: “guaranteed yesterday that his policy would not cause any job losses”

    So proving you can fool some of the people all of the time in Tasmania.

  33. john hayward

    October 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Latham shouldn’t knock scapegoating, even of the most implausible sorts.

    The Nazis had a great run blaming the Jews for Germany’s loss in WW1. Tas Inc is trying to get similar use from the greenies.

    With control of the mainstream media in the nation’s most illiterate electorate, they just might put it over on us.

    John Hayward

  34. Sue DeNim

    October 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Well Well Jack Lumber. Playing the man and not the ball there AGAIN I see. Nice work.

    Well said everyone else. I agree totally with Penelope. The biggest problem with our education system other than funding, is we are teaching children ‘what’ to think to fit in with the status quo and ‘get along’, which to some extent is fine. We are not however teaching them ‘how’ to think, rationally, logically and empathetically to recognise clear BS, to see the point of view of others and to think innovatively.

    In a discussion with peers recently, someone rightly claimed it is insanity to cut funding to education and health, period. But this is what governments from either side of the centre have systematically done for years, while backing industry and the resources boom to the hilt. SO, what we will end up with is a no resources and a dumb population to boot. Could this be the master plan?

    Employees need to hold their employers and unions to account alot more as well. As we have seen with the GFC and the economic downturn, jobs are beginning to be shed. This is clear indication that beside all the rhetoric about ‘caring for our workers’, and ‘our biggest asset is our people’ BS, when it comes to the crunch the execs with their bonuses and the bean counters stay and the ‘expendables’ get the shove. The definition of the ‘people’ component of triple bottom line or sustainability is not “yes we can continue exploiting our workers future for decades into the future” so therefore we are economically sustainable. It instead means that the company is run first and foremost with the long term interest of its actual on the ground staff and their appropriate benefits in mind so that they can look forward to continued employment and appropriate super benefits when they retire. Not dividends for shareholders who don’t even work there or depend on the continuance of the company for their livelihood.

  35. William Boeder

    October 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    #3. jack lumber are you yet aware of the hardships your favoured hero logging-industry has financially imposed upon the non-forestry inclined people of Tasmania?
    You continue to engage on this forum in a manner that is unbecoming of a sound principled person, can’t you realize that you are ever seeking to thrust and regale your pro-logging industry failures into the midst of every household in Tasmania?

    Some retrospection by you is essential for you to see just how the shortcomings and failures of your industry have continually emanated from the top ranks of your destructive industry, even today Forestry Tasmania has freshly signed contracts to continue to supply the Ta Ann Holdings gold-diggers with a product that is returning less than its harvesting and handling costs, back into our State revenues.

    Please understand that it is via the aegis of the very directors sitting on the executive board of Forestry Tasmania today, (that if I choose to, I can openly name in my comment here, as this is public information available everywhere, and if I so elect I can include the upper-tier worshipped Miles Hampton, “formerly the newly annointed Chairman of this taxpayer fund-guzzling GBE?)

    In fact his resignation was based upon the newly studied and calculated false economy of feeding the Forestry Tasmania reliances upon the continual rivers of taxpayer funds they so predictably called for?
    (Quite possibly just to uphold the unwarranted and ill-affordable super expensive status held by each and all of those directors and cohorts nestling so comfortably in their highly-remunerated sinecures.)

    Twere these very board directors who held an enormous sway over the lives of all Tasmanians at that very time when they ruthlessly determined to continue along with their profitless pursuits and to further extend the then “non-essential extension of wood-supply contracts to Ta Ann Holdings and to whoever else,” by which they had just recently signed their psuedo prestigious names thereto?

    So jack if you could stay closer aligned to the facts of what your upper-level industry heavies had knocked back from Mark Latham, at the time of his super generous offer to the pro-logging push, think again before you again try to usurp the intellect of those people called upon to keep the bread of life upon your logging families kitchen table?

    Thank You.

    William Boeder.

  36. john hawkins

    October 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Jack Lumber,mjf,TGC and Woodworker,

    One can only bury one’s poor old head in the woodchip pile for a certain length of time.

    Come up before it is to late, you may be gasping for clear air but there is life after Gunns and it will only get better.

    Be part of how to fix this massive problem rather than just carping so as not to lose face.

  37. salamander

    October 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    How can we “return to an even-handed stance” when I am not sure Tasmania has ever been there? We certainly lack a leader who can take us there now – neither Lara nor Will are interested in balance, they are determined to keep us tottering on the edge of a financial abyss with their narrow and short sighted policies.

  38. Ian

    October 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    jack lumber, ad hominem attacks and irrelevancies don’t really add to the debate, but the’re unfortunately very common when people have no argument to make. What are your thoughts on Mark Latham’s piece? Do you agree with his conclusions? He’s made some very good, and obvious, points which many did see at the time.

  39. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    “In effect, the Gunns workers were being dudded” – along with just about everyone in this decades-long schemozzle:

    ~ scores of Gunns directors and CEOs, for “putting their trust in princes”, and ignoring Psalm 146’s 2400-year-old warning not to;

    ~ dozens of mainstream MPs, in & out of government, for their arrogance in presuming that they could run a business so complex and vast (actually, make that “any” business);

    ~ We the People, or some of us, for assuming that our MPs were really representative of our life & work experience, our common sense, and our general decency;

    ~ the media, or some of it, for failure to do the basics of What, When, Where & When, and then getting stuck into the much harder How & Why – so many journalists, so few reporters;

    ~ The Greens, being the ideological simpletons that they are (as are all ideologues and religionists), for believing that slogans such as “Clean & Green” equal detailed policy – such as, exactly which of their green tourism schemes will provide ‘000s of full-time jobs for their fellow Tasmanians, and will draw ‘0,000s of mainland & foreign travellers to Tasmania.

    “In effect, the Gunns workers were being dudded” into thinking that they, their families and their communities had any worth in the value systems of the New Elite of the Clever & Credentialled in academia & the commentariat – is there anyone more sneering of the working class than safe & cosy keyboard socialists pontificating about real people they’d run a mile to avoid?

  40. Bob Kendra

    October 1, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Today’s Examiner, and yesterday’s, and the day’s before that, and that…. rams home this cultism with accolades for the social conscience of Gunns and with hate sessions on the Greens – in “articles”, editorials and selective letters from readers… day after day after day after day…

    The collapse of Gunns has presented the local paper with an opportunity to exploit the cult that it has developed and refined – to the hilt.

    This is about the sum total of community education in the northern Tasmanian mill and plantation sacrifice zone.

  41. William Boeder

    October 1, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    #3. Well what a glaring example of how you today jack lumber, are exhuding the exact same elements of the then blatant pig-headed-ness inherent in the minds of the pro-logging destructive deviants, these same clowns also voted for Johnny (fibber) Howard to further destructive intents. (The worst Prime Minister that Australia has had the misfortune of having to abide by, and more likely will ever have?

    What most of the feral Tasmanian bushmen and their expensively clothed high-level placed owners and trainers couldn’t handle, was that this bloke had the same sort of charm and personality that they alone thought were the singular owner thereto.
    Oddly enough I would still like to see this bloke somewhere in our political circus to readily offer those nothing-burger ministers such as “Christopher (the Liberal attack Rottweiler) Payne,” their well deserved slosh in the chops when e’er they shoot their puny accusations across the members of the Parliament of Australia.
    Currently Abbott and his whining cross-breds, (most all of whom are possessed of and regularly display the practice of driving the dagger into the innocent man’s back- albeit it in fine imitation of their failing Abetzian influentiator.

  42. David Obendorf

    October 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    You’ll find that the current problem we see before us is a product of weak negotiation, appeasement and almost complete capitulation by the three unelected ENGO groups. They are still allowing themselves to be played with behind closed doors.

    When will the ENGOs realise how walked over and unprincipled they have become with their never-ending obsessive Plan A/Our Common Ground ambit to deliver forest protection?

    The ENGOs have accepted Ta Ann as the big forestry corporate now that Gunns is dead.

    What is driving the strategic thinking of ENGO individuals like Vica Bayley, Phil Pullinger, Lyndon Schneiders and Don Henry?

    Are the ENGOs in complete denial of how this war of attrition over the last 30 months [2010-2012] has been waged by the forestry industry interests?

    The ENGOs now talk as if they are better protagonists – green-washers – for the forestry industry than the forestry industry spin-doctors in Ta Ann, FT or Gunns could [i]ever[/i] be!

    It’s about time some ET Inc. affiliate-members pulled out of this wearing-down capitulation process. Those members need to demand some new voices to argue a better resolution.

    No-one is talking about the consequences of a 30-year war and that is the post-trauma stress and psychological dysfunctionality on both sides of this battle!

    This molestation of the ENGOs behind closed doors – followed by their public denials – needs to stop.

  43. Pilko

    October 1, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I wonder how many tasmanian news outlets approached Mark Latham to explore this issue further…

  44. John Biggs

    October 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    #3, please can we have some argument instead of silly sarcasm and name calling.

    This is a brilliant article. Latham did show leadership: his package if accepted would have brought in a Labor Govt and peace in our time. Instead we had the bizarre spectacle of Howard, fully backed by Lennon and 2,000 baying unionists, buying more of the same and now look where we are.

    The only thing Latham could have mentioned, apart from the workers who were dudded by Gunns, are the farmers who were also dudded. As 7.30 Tas showed, many were tricked into leasing their land for plantations that weren’t maintained as promised and all that good land wrecked. All for nothing.

    And now Giddings with unbelievable lack of reality, is trying to get the Chinese to buy up those corrupted permits to build. While the Chinese show some environemtal concerns in their own country — all those wind farms — we were shown recently on SBS what they do to the environment where they have bought in: witness the mines in Uganda that have left a moon surface for the locals to tidy up.

    This really worries me. Those permits are corrupted. Sure they can’t be sold on as they are. If the Chinese buy I sincerely hope it will involve a brand new assessment process with Warwick Raverty on the panel.

  45. Rob Walls

    October 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    We are all green these days. Saw a very confused and conflicted tradesman with the slogan, “How to wreck a state. Give it to a Green!” on one side of his ute. On the other; “Say NO to the super-trawler!”

  46. Russell

    October 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Re #3
    And you chose Howard’s “WorkChoices,” employer contracts, unemployment and a bankrupt state over the $800,000,000.00 Latham offered.

    Serves you right.

  47. Bob McMahon

    October 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    #5
    Well stated Penelope.

    This has been coming down the line for years and for all the reasons that Latham states. In addition it cannot be stated forcefully enough that Gunns, aided and abetted by the political class and the cosied up narrow minded business organizations, monopolized the forest industry in Tasmania, to the huge detriment of that industry. In so doing it leveraged itself into the stratosphere. The end of the line came last week when the runaway train hit the barriers. The line of credit ran out and those who had been much favoured and on the public teat for so long started hurling blame at the Greens and whoever else was seen as opposing the Gunns business model and its bastard child, the pulp mill.

    I had one abusive call accusing me of having ruined the caller’s future. No, you did it all yourself – all I and thousands of others did was point out , year after year, where all this was heading.

  48. Karl Stevens

    October 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Have a look at who continues this cult? Lara Giddings and Will Hodgman, who may as well be on the same side of politics. I disagree with Latham on one minor point. I would liken the Gunns Cult to the ‘Jonestown Massacre’ or even the ‘Waco Siege’.
    Google them for a reminder of how insane human being can become.

  49. Penelope Marshall

    October 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    The workers would regret not listening to Mr Latham now. Anyone with even the slightest education could see this coming twenty years ago. Its very easy to dump blame on the Greens but someone comes in and offers them a way out from their own camp and they don’t take it? Fools. Just think how much better off the workers would be now if they were not so deluded by the pro-Gunns cult. Now this is why Tasmanian kids need a good education. They need to be able to think rationally and independently, to be able to see outside the square and understand what market forces and economic change means for their future. Back to the drawing board Mr McKim. The future lies in the education of our kids. Make sure this never happens to workers again they truly have been dudded.

  50. Pete Godfrey

    October 1, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Mark Latham may have faults but telling it like it is is not one of them.
    It is such a shame that the pro woodchip cargo cultists did not accept his offer in 2004. This state and the industry would be in much better shape now.
    Well said Mr Latham.

  51. jack lumber

    October 1, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Come everyone, lets all now bow to the wisdom of ML . I am sure deep down we have all had a special spot for same Mine is in the bottom of my garden with the fairies . And of course he was” right ” in 2004 …. the same people who protested against the trawler in 2012 also rejected ML by an electoral process in 2004 . Hard to pick winners in politics ……those aussie battles are so fickle .

    The funny thing is most remember ML as an egocentric writer of drone like boring dairies and no policy or means to fund what he purported as policy . The only cult that most in Tas are aware of is that of St Bob of Liffey . So i ask TT posters to profess their love for ML !!!!!

  52. Shirley Glen

    October 1, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Wow!! Tas Inc methods exposed for what they have done to Tasmania. Dick Adams threatening his Federal leader of the time with protest action akin to that used by the “greenies” he detests! I hope Lara gets to read this, “Hateful policymaking never works. When industries decline, the Labor movement’s responsibility is to restructure and retrain, not to sell short the workers by engaging in the chimera of economic cultism.” But there she is, our fearless leader, still trying to thrust a pulp mill on the long suffering people of the Tamar Valley. And trying to get the communists to build it now that the local Tas Inc guys have failed! We’ll fight them too Lara.

  53. phill Parsons

    October 1, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Perhaps i am mathmatically challenged but the Woodchip Laughs at You all the way the the Bank campaign began in 1973 and prior to that campaigns against woodchipping had run locallly, Good grief they only started the plunder a couple of years before that.

    Having rejected outright Lathams offer the timber industry arrogantly set a course to decline and fail.

    Six years later it did.

    Now it remains locked into the same hubris, unable to negotiate a package believing that the tasmanian taxpayer will prop them up against the global winds of change, their dated outlook and failed business model suppposed to find a place at the bottom of the market, woodchips to China.

    They believe they can escape the challenge of the market there, China having no culture of responsible consumption.

    China will be surprised how quickly that comes, first externally and then internally, affecting more than just paper products, if they are so foolish to ignore global trends.

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