Forestry bullies seek to fell our Aussie Bob

Australian Greens leader Senator Bob Brown may lose his seat if he doesn’t pay court costs of A$240,000 to Forestry Tasmania by the end of the month.

The costs relate to a landmark Federal Court case that Bob took in 2006 against the state owned enterprise. He alleged that Forestry Tasmania were breaching Federal threatened species legislation in logging the biodiversity rich Wielangta forest in south east Tasmania. He won that case, but in true Tasmanian style, the decision was later overturned on a technicality by the Court after the Tasmanian Government joined forces with the then Howard Government to change the law.

Having paid for the original case himself by auctioning almost all of his possessions, he has been left without the means to pay Forestry Tasmania’s court costs. Now Forestry Tasmania is threatening to bankrupt Bob if he does not pay the money by June 29. Bankruptcy would disqualify him from the Senate.

Bob is a longtime conservation crusader, and has been a tireless advocate for the Tasmanian Wilderness since playing a crucial leadership role in the battle to save the magnificent Franklin river from being drowned under a hydro dam in the early 1980s. It is hard to see this as anything other than politically-motivated attempt to intimidate and silence him. The Greens won 13.5% of the senate vote in Tasmania in 2007.

Since news of Bob’s plight broke in Australia yesterday, he had been overwhelmed by offers of financial support, including from entrepreneur Dick Smith.

We’re angered to see our friend and colleague bullied in this way. If frog readers wish to give something to someone who has done so much for conservation and Green politics, you can donate here.

E tu kahikatea.

13 thoughts on “Forestry bullies seek to fell our Aussie Bob

  1. There is more in this story than meets the eye; I’ve never seen Bankruptcy used as a weapon to remove a Politician.
    There is a constant confrontation over the ancient forests of Tasmania – certainly they are unique and enchanting geophysical places ime.

  2. This is the same state which you’d have us believe is so wise, humane and commpassionate that it has to be given complete control over all of our lives.

    LOL, only wat could say that and then accuse us of have no sense of proportion.

  3. - “the decision was later overturned on a technicality by the Court after the Tasmanian Government joined forces with the then Howard Government to change the law.”

    I don’t understand. This is the same state which you’d have us believe is so wise, humane and commpassionate that it has to be given complete control over all of our lives.

    Still, Bob Brown’s Wikipedia entry says that he “brought the case against Forestry Tasmania citing threats to endangered species like the Swift parrot and Wielangta Stag Beetle.”

    Yes, a beetle. Clearly we’re dealing with someone who has long since lost all sense of proportion.

    Apparently he also wants to ban all Australian coal exports. Perhaps he’ll be a little less keen on abolish people’s cheap fuel once he’s been bankrupted himself?

  4. wetagirl Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    > Bob successfully proved in court that an SOE was breaking the law. In order to protect that SOE and the logging industry, the Government retrospectively changed that law and the court’s decision was overturned.

    surely the courts in Australia can’t overturn a court verdict as a result of a law change after the verdict was delivered? If true, that’s completely outrageous

  5. Dick Smith has helped out a few people in his time, including legendary New Zealand yachtee David Lewis with his Antarctic research projects.

    That story sounds bizarre, retrospective legislation overturning a decision, costs awarded against the little guy who was right in the beginning…

  6. Corrupt business interfering with politics in Australia.
    Why am I not surprised.

    Good luck to Bob Brown & his support team in Canberra and around the federal states; I met him once, a good few years ago, and found him to be an interesting conversationalist, intelligent and thoughtful.

    It’s to Australia’s shame that this sequence of events have occurred.
    Kia kaha, Bob, we don’t forget your mighty stand against these raiders of the rainforest, kaua e maumahara koe.
    E tu, kia kaha, ka whaiwhai tonu nga kakariki katoa, ake ake ake.

  7. Senator Brown has more broad spectrum support than perhaps any other Politician in Australia – I expect he will be willinglt looked after in this problem by a whole host of Australians…

  8. BP I think you’re missing the point….this is a bit different to a ‘politician trying to block a windfarm development’. Bob successfully proved in court that an SOE was breaking the law. In order to protect that SOE and the logging industry, the Government retrospectively changed that law and the court’s decision was overturned.

    Now Bob owes that SOE nearly a quarter of a million dollars in costs and is being threatened with the loss of his democratically elected seat if he doesn’t pay…..if a business person such as Dick Smith thinks that is blatantly unfair and is in a position to help, then all power to him I say!!!!

  9. No doubt this is what we’d hear if a politician tried to block a windfarm development, and got helped by the same entrepreneur….

    Yea right. This is cynical even for you, and its bullsh*t anyway, as assisting someone with a legal bill is in no way “interfering in the political process”.

  10. Big business interfering in the political process? Politicians big money rich mates backing him to subvert the will of the state? :)

    No doubt this is what we’d hear if a politician tried to block a windfarm development, and got helped by the same entrepreneur….

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