While everyone was focussed on the politics of the same sex marriage fiasco .. An economic disaster has occurred in Tasmania. Forrestry giant, Gunns Limited, has collapsed after the bankers pulled the pin. It has gone into administration with debts of $500 million. The Premier, Lara Giddings, hopes that an investor will take over the company, thereby starving off more bad news for her government and indeed, all of Tasmania. Word has it that investors have been warned to “hold off” and see what eventuates. Greens Senator and Leader, Christine Milne, is of course elated and has said that the Premier is “wrong to try to suggest that it (Gunns) will get back on the rails”. She is of course very well paid in her position and has expressed little, indeed none at all, concern for the many workers who are directly employed by Gunns and the spin-off contractors, who will loose their employment or have it substantially cut back. Possibly 600 jobs are under threat.
Much of the woes started back in 2004 when Gunns proposed the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill. The pulp mill was not a popular concept and yours truly must admit I had my reservations. Certainly the Tamar Valley residents were dead against it, having it in their own back yard. The Greens of course jumped on the band wagon with Greens forestry spokesman Kim Booth leading the charge. Mr Booth, who looks like an Old Testament prophet appearing supernaturally out of the bush, blamed the pulp mill planning for its unacceptability.
The Liberals have stated it is all the result of the minority government in Tasmania, with Premier Giddings sharing power with the help of the Greens. Lara got in bed with the devil, so now it has come down to bite her on the bum.
But it is more than just the pulp mill. Gunns Limited has a plantation estate of world wide standards. The Union representing Gunns employers are naturally concerned about the entitlements that their members are to receive. The Tamar Valley Pulp Mill was to be located in the municipality of George Town. Its mayor, Roger Broomhill, is concerned about the employment situation for the district. Lara is hoping (and in my opinion, hoping against hope) that all is not lost and that a white knight will appear and take over, but let’s face it she has been a major part of the problem. She has bent over backwards to appease the Greens on many issues, especially with her Forestry Accord which has effectively down –graded the industry to no end.
To highlight this Labour/Green arrangement, as I write, a crucial vote will be made in the Upper House (Legislative Council) today on whether to legalise homosexual marriages. This is of course against Federal law and the Australian Constitution, but have the Greens ever been worried about obeying traditions and constitution law? Word has it that it will not pass the Upper House and the author of this piece will let readers know the result in his next report. Guy Barnett (ex Liberal Senator) who is a spokesman for Save Marriage Coalition, has stated that “marriage between a man and woman is a pro-child bedrock institution worth protecting” – among other worthy things. Rodney Croome, of the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Groups, states, that the existing law “discriminates against us and re-enforces old stereotypes” – the same old clap trap that the trendy lefties always repeat like a cracked-record.
If on the other hand the Upper House does make it legal there will be a High Court challenge particularly if action is instigated by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Your Tasmanian Correspondent