Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Real Trespassers

Today 23 protesters were arrested outside Parliament House in Hobart Tasmania. They were objecting to fast-track legislation that allows for an assessment and approval of a proposed giant pulp mill to be insulated from any form of legal public objection. The wording of this new 'Pulp Mill Assessment and Approvals Act' (PMAA) is dangerouly ambiguous.

Earlier this year three distressed Tasmanian landowners, concerned about their legal position if the existence and operations of this pulp mill destroyed their businesses, launched a Supreme Court action. They sought to ask the Tasmanian government for the reasons why they granted a permit for the pulp mill to be built in the Tamar Valley. "In July this year Justice Peter Evans dismissed their action, on the grounds that Section 11 of the PMAA prevented those questions from being answered. In response to the decision Tasmanian UTAS law academic, Tom Baxter, said that it removed the rights of any citizen to obtain information about provisions placed on the mill." [1]

This latest judgement follows a consistent pattern of state oppression that has played out here for decades now. Tasmanians are increasingly being treated as 'aliens' at the State Government's 'pleasure'. We can live here as long as we don't express any demands such as a requirement for a safe and habitable environment. Peaceful protest is met with police demands to 'move on' and a refusal to follow such unreasonable demands is met with instant arrest. Or, as Richard Flanagan noted a few years ago "to [merely] question or to comment is to invite the possibility of ostracism and unemployment." [2]

On the other hand, when strong evidence was presented that a Tasmanian Premier had broken the law two years ago "the matter was never investigated" due to the lack of an independent anti-corruption or ethics body in in the state.[3]

Amidst the backdrop, described by Richard Flanagan, of unique temperate rainforests being clearfelled and then burnt with napalm. "Forests of the tallest hardwood trees in the world, eucalyptus regnans being reduced to mud and ash" to be replaced with monocultural tree plantations. Our wildlife poisoned with 1080 lest they graze on plantation seedlings; disent against a giant pulp mill that promises to further sustain this paradigm should be regarded as the highest form of loyalty.

"Ingenuous comrades, there are bad men on the Earth. If you want to be an ecologist, you have to stop being a dummy...if nothing happens even though we're entering an ecological crisis of historic gravity, it's because those who have power in the world want it to be this way."

From Hervé Kempf's 'How the Rich Are Destroying the Planet'

[1] Section 11 Once More
PETER HENNING. 21st August 2009
Subsequent to: Tasmanian political rot: the PMAA revisited

[2] Paradise lost - with napalm,,1197159,00.html

[3] Pulping the truth
Matthew Denholm | November 20, 2008
Article from: The Australian,25197,24677393-5006788,00.html

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