Unethical Forest Protestors in Tasmania: A Note from Alan Ashbarry

IN a rare display of sympathy and understanding for forest contractors, ABC journalist Tom Tilley has put the hard word on protestors in the Upper Florentine Valley, accusing them of perhaps even being “unethical”.  

You can play the interview at the ABC Triple J website  while watching a slide show. [1]

The issue is ongoing conflict at a blockade in the Florentine Valley along a road that was constructed in the mid 1960’s. Until recently a protest camp has blocked the path of a new spur road to access forest harvesting areas.  The timber of the Florentine Valley, together with the Styx Valley, was granted to a consortium of media companies in the late 1930’s to create a newsprint pulp and paper mill and jobs at the end of the last world recession.

 The mill is still operating, and the forests are still harvested.  

Indeed so good has been the forest management that large chunks of the Styx and the Florentine were reserved in the 1997 Regional Forest Agreement and as part of negotiations resulting from the 2004 Federal Election.

Pictures of trees from these valleys are regularly flashed around the world by the environmental movement.
The green movement still want more, and are demanding that a number of coupes containing old growth forest be added to the reservation system; currently a million hectares of old growth is reserved in Tasmania.
The coupes will be harvested by small businesses on a selective harvest basis for Forestry Tasmania with high quality saw logs destined for local saw and veneer mills.  Pulp wood arising from the harvest will be sold as export woodchip.  The refurbished newsprint mill and the approved modern elemental chlorine free mill when built will not take these logs as they are designed to use plantation grown and young regrowth pulp wood, see http://www.forestrytas.com.au/topics/2009/01/upper-florentine-valley
Protesters have conducted a series of operations that has stopped work in the forest and at the export wood chip mill. 

The ABC program’s summary of the broad cast states:

 “Protestors have been slowing progress in the Upper Florentine Valley for over two years. Tension is fierce between forestry workers and the protestors.

The stakes are particularly high for the many forestry workers that run their own small businesses contracting to Gunns and Forestry Tasmania. When work is stopped, these guys don’t get paid.”


1. Stopping work in the forests, Hack, Triple J, February 26, 2009 http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/notes/s2502820.htm

The picture of the trunk of the swamp gum was taken in a Tasmanian forest by Jennifer Marohasy in May 2005.

22 Responses to Unethical Forest Protestors in Tasmania: A Note from Alan Ashbarry

  1. Ian Mott March 4, 2009 at 9:26 am #

    Of course the eco-scum acted unethically, that is the essence of scum kind, the prevailing cultural trait of scumbagian low life. They also kill and maim humans, lots of them, not to mention huge populations of wildlife, through their negligence and blind ideology. And then they need to call in the sporting shooters to put their victims out of their misery (4 weeks after the event).

    The greens, and most of the existing NRM establishment, clearly cannot be part of any on-going forest stewardship solution. It would be like giving Ratko Maladic a gig as a Bosnian rape councillor.

  2. Rick Beikoff March 4, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    Sue their arses off and then have their dole payments garnisheed when they don’t pay. It’s the only way to deal with criminals. And if that doesn’t work, play them at their own game – violence!

  3. Ian Mott March 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

    Yes Rick. From what I have seen from Rick Houlihan on other posts, he does not need to wait for any determination from the Royal Commission. He already has a documented trail of evidence that should be forwarded to the DPP. It is not the place of the Royal Commission to prejudge actual cases of criminal negligence. Those particular matters of criminality must be heard by the proper court and it is for the proper court to decide the outcome.

    The same applies to any other person who has suffered a detriment and has evidence that this detriment was foreseen, and that advice of this potential detriment was given to a relevant authority, especially if it included a request to remove potentially dangerous trees, (ie an entirely reasonable step to prevent harm) and such advice has been ignored.

    In all of these sort of cases it is not up to the victim, nor the media, nor public opinion to decide if a case should proceed. The DPP has defined responsibilities and powers which must be exercised within our definition of proper exercise of power and one of those responsibilities is to determine if there are sufficient grounds for a case to proceed.

    And even if there were to be political interference in any decision to proceed or not, it is essential that there is a public record of information being laid and a decision being made. And once the DPP has made a decision then that authority will be bound to properly explain the reasons for that decision.

    The Royal Commission is nothing more than the smoke and mirrors, it will only deliver a report. It will be the courts that can deliver some form of justice.

  4. Timber Jack March 4, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    What interesting interview by Triple J did notice how the protester recanted the propaganda almost parrot fashion about Forestry Tasmania and Gunns destroying the forests, terms such as high conservation and contentious repeated over and again.

    Yet he made no acknowledgement that over 20% of the State is in a world heritage area for its wilderness and old growth forest values. Despite two years in the state looks like the anti forestry activist still have no knowledge that almost half Tassie’s forest including a million hectares of old growth is reserved.

    Alan’s post also reminded me of the photos published by Forestry Tasmania that shows just how these activists care for the forest?

    Also the ethical issue of protest also comes into question when Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson claimed to have invented the dangerous and potentially murderous practice of tree spiking in order to “save” the forest see http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25108781-2,00.html

  5. James Mayeau March 5, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    This might ba an instance where protestors are a good thing.
    They are unethical. Not above illegal activities / vandalism. Have too much time on their hands.
    But on the plus side they are concentraited in one location. Mug shots can be taken for distribution to law enforcement easily, without resorting to arrest.
    A photo album of these types, with dossiers of their movements, could prevent arsons during the wildfire season.
    In redflag conditions a quick roundup of the usual suspects will discourage the greater gallery of rogues and match flickers, who might otherwise be out to “prove” the global warming.
    Come to think of it, a targetted area of perpetual fire risk could benefit in a simular way by “promoting” a climate change protest, such as took place in Washington on Monday.
    You could set up a stage in Melbourne, invite Wong, Flanerty to give a speech on the evils of coal power, then take some high quality pics of the human flotsam who show up for future identification.

  6. smiley March 5, 2009 at 8:16 am #

    What is shocking about this protest is that the protesters on the Gordon River Road refused the offer to protest legally and safely by FT.

    Instead of a lawful protest the professional mainland activists chose to build more tree sits and to enter the work place of the forest workers. There actions put the safety of the workers and themselves in danger, and unnecessarily tie up scarce police resources.

    In the meantime the self claimed environmentalists continue to trash our forests by dumping old car bodies and other garbage in the forest.

    This is in stark contrast to those that really save the forest.

    Recently the media have carried pictures of these real heroes, the volunteer fire fighter, grubby, exhausted, yet proud to have tackled the bush fire that destroyed all in its path.

    Would the forest have been saved if the fire fighter was blockaded from the forest?

    Surely to receive the Commonwealth dole payments the professional protesters should volunteer to be trained as fire fighters not for the protest line.

  7. Ian Mott March 5, 2009 at 9:27 am #

    I doubt it, Smiley. Who in their right mind would put their own safety in the hands of drop-kicks like these? The green movement is conspicuous in its complete lack of their own volunteer fire fighting units but that is a blessing because one simply could not, under any circumstances, entrust them with a responsible role in any sort of emergency.

    We have the dole because there is a small portion of the population that would amount to a serious liability in any work place. And while supplying money to this kind of scum is an affront to the senses it is still a better option than leaving them to mug someone’s aged mother or aunt.

    The best way to “manage” these clowns in a forest protest is to attach a bag full of ants nest to whatever they chain themselves to, especially if you spray them with honey. And if they are just hanging about then a game of “cross country footy” by the timber workers would give ample scope for some good old fashioned “ruck and maul”, with caveat spectator if the ball should go in their direction. Subjecting their camp sites to some loud Pat Boone, Perry Como and Doris Day records in the early hours of the morning might also degrade their campaigning capacity somewhat while requiring only minimal time and effort of your own.

    The best defence is offense and, as the diggers know well, maintain battlefield initiative at all times with vigorous patrolling. The enemy should never be dry, warm, comfortable or well rested. It would all make a really good topic to conduct a workshop on, don’t you think?

  8. Hickson March 6, 2009 at 5:32 am #

    Good to see the hypocrisy here. You guys are a crack up.

  9. Phantom March 6, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    This whole thread reads like a comic book


  10. WJP March 6, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    Hickson And Phantom kindly tell us what we don’t know. More infomation ……..come on.

  11. Broson March 6, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    Phantom and comic book, Hickson and hypocrisy, what is the the allergory and aliteration troll patrol?

  12. cinders March 6, 2009 at 6:29 pm #

    Comic books are of course printed on paper made from fibre from sustainably managed forests processed in a pulp mill.
    Comics are some times referred to as pulp fiction, and there has been a lot of fiction written about Tassie’s approved pulp mill and its forest management.
    The media has led the way with the ABC 7.30 report having to apologise for reporting the mill would taint fish, and the National toxic Network and the greens refusing to apologise for their outrageous claims reported by the media about ECF bleaching despite its international best practice credentials.

    More comics can be found at the ABC site http://www.abc.net.au/science/planetslayer/greena.htm that gives the adventures of Greena and the planet slayer game. From checking the mantra of the protesters as reported by JJJ this appears to be the source of the protesters knowledge of Tasmanian forestry.

    Perhaps we need a puzzle to complete on just how much forest is reserved in Tasmania. Why not challenge yourself to a jigsaw at http://www.tasmaniapulpmill.info/forest_management

    PS it’s great that JJJ presented such a program, it almost balances one of the other ABC efforts mentioned.

  13. Hickson March 7, 2009 at 7:40 am #

    Don’t worry WJP, no one would expect you guys to see how hypocitical you lot really are. It’s part of what makes reading your posts so much fun. Ignorance here comes in so many forms. I’d say most readers here have never had high expectations from the usual suspects, just that you can put a smile on our dial each day with your whacky thoughts and self-interested stories. As long as you don’t kid yourself that you are providing anything useful here, the bliss for all will continue.

  14. Ian Mott March 7, 2009 at 9:31 am #

    Notice how Hickson fails to move from his ad hom generalities towards any specifics that might substantiate his point, WJP? He seriously believes that readers of theis blog are so thick as to adopt his position merely on the basis that he stated it. He is obviously one of those sad plodders that believe that the perfection of a sneer is the first and major step towards enlightenment.

    Most of our readers come here because they like to see common sense jammed down the throats of fools, and with gusto. Its a service to the community.

  15. WJP March 7, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

    You’re a lucky vegemite Hickson. We’re not from the government, and we’re here to help you.


    Hypocrite, nah that’s not me. I’m one of the rarities. Psst! I am a carbon sequestor and don’t expect to be paid for it, and, I don’t see why anybody should.

    Is that you too Ian Mott?

    So I suppose that makes me anti-Krudd and anti-comrade Pwong, who, with any luck will render you jobless, and then you’ll have plenty of time to go oh so low carbon as you disconnect from mains electricty and live in the dark on lovely lovely inflated Krudd dollars and wonder why you didn’t help the loggers sequester carbon in the form of say timber products and paper so that a brand new tree could spring forth etc etc .

    If you find it all gives you a headache or you start asphixiating get the unbleached brown paper bag out, and do the breathing in a bag thing. The extra CO2 will clear your head, the fog will lift and you probably get the urge to acquire a Penny or Kevin voodoo doll and as you needle away, your contribution to the betterment of society will be noted.

  16. WJP March 7, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    More on hypocracy:



  17. Ian Mott March 8, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    Great cartoons WJP. But I think the term “hypocracy” must refer to a form of governance that maintains the primacy of hypocrisy. As in the governance of Victoria, NSW, Qld, WA and SA over the past decade. That is, save the environment by the systematic exclusion of the people, occupations and practices that ensure, and promote, the on-going survival of forests.

    Only Tasmania has managed to avoid the descent into “hypocracy” through its continued rejection of the scumnoscenti.

    The less said about the ACT and its criminally negligent low life governance during the 2003 fires, the better.

  18. WJP March 8, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    Thanks Ian, I made it “hypocracy’ rather than the correct “hypocrisy” to see if I could get a serve!

  19. Mick Karn March 9, 2009 at 6:03 am #

    What a pair of priceless twits Ian and WJP are. Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck could not master such banter! The asylum is buzzin’ guys. Better get some downers to stop you bouncing off the walls. Wouldn’t like to cause yourself some mischief. Sorry Ian but I think most readers come here to be entertained. Common sense simply doesn’t exist on Marohasy’s blog. Oh dear, there goes those delusions of grandeur for you. Nurse!

  20. Ian Mott March 9, 2009 at 2:59 pm #

    Gosh, this Mr Karn must be one of those planet ponces we keep hearing about. Better talk a bit slower so he can keep up. And no compound sentences mind, don’t want to stretch him now.

  21. WA Forester June 17, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    Unethical scum they indeed are!!

    In WA we put up with used tampons placed on forestry car seats and excrement placed on the intakes to forestry offices air conditioners as part of their “legitimate” protest efforts.. I find this behaviour absolutely disgusting and yet not a word in the media about this..
    Recently we had a lout chain himself to the general managers car..but the idiot forgot to take the pot out of his pocket which the police duly discovered and charged him with…and we are supposed to consult with these “stakeholders” and incoporporate their views into forest management plans..
    These people are an affront to decent, law abiding society, forest workers and their families..
    I agree with the bullant approach…I’m over consultation and rational debate with dogmatic, scientifically uneducated d!@#heads…

  22. jose March 8, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    Who is unethical? The protestors are fighting for our environment, for our future! They often DO have jobs, but they take a pay cut rather than allow the destruction of our forests. Talk to the logging contractors, find out what they think instead of bleating the usual regurgitated Labor/union garbage. The contractors blame the government and Gunns for the downturn in the industry, not the protestors.
    On the other hand, don’t bother, you are clearly so set in your own little world of blame, this site must be a great boost to your ego.

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