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VIC

Aug 1, 2013

Leaked notes show Macca's wants search and rescue cops to end protest

Leaked notes from McDonald's management show the fast food giant is liaising with police to bring in a search and rescue team to end a protest at a controversial Victorian restaurant site.

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Leaked internal notes from McDonald’s reveal the fast food peddlers are liaising with police to dispatch its elite Search and Rescue team to remove protesters from a planned restaurant site at Tecoma in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges.

As Crikey‘s deadline approached today, rumours were swirling that police would move on the site this afternoon to disperse protesters, including one perched on the roof of building set to be razed to build the controversial store. Demolition planned for yesterday was delayed on account of the roof dweller.

The notes, believed to be written by McDonald’s workplace safety manager Bob Dunger and obtained by Crikey, detail the scene at the Tecoma site on Monday. They show Dunger called Belgrave Police Senior Sergeant Doug Berglund first thing and that Berglund was negotiating with protesters. They say a police “inspector” needs to approve the deployment of the Search and Rescue team. Names of protesters and a mobile number for McDonald’s Victorian development manager Ken Pryor are listed.

They also reveal the need to make an “informed decision” on an “asbestos report”. The substance needs to be removed by contractor BR Demolition before existing buildings on the site can be cleared. It is noted BR Demolition boss Bernie Rafferty was “picketed at home” on Saturday by protesters.

Berglund, who is in charge of the police operation, confirmed to Crikey this morning the “Bob” in question, who has been spotted onsite this morning, worked for McDonald’s. A McDonald’s spokesperson later told Crikey the man was Dunger, a former NSW police officer. The spokesperson said he was present “to make sure the site is safe and secure”.

Victoria Police receive free or discounted McDonald’s from most Victorian stores.

The rare insight into the global conglomerate’s internal workings show how the company has deployed enormous corporate resources to ensure construction goes ahead, despite the vociferous backlash from community groups including No McDonald’s in the Dandenong Ranges and website Burger Off!. A PR war is also raging with Dunger making references to 3AW host Neil Mitchell’s coverage of the dispute.

Two weeks ago, Crikey revealed the wide-ranging court order temporarily outlawing the occupation and “calls to arms” on social media, along with various affidavits and writs lodged by McDonald’s. A senior lawyer for Norton Rose, Zoe Justice, had raked through every media mention of the dispute to identify protesters, with lawyers attempting to serve the so-called “Tecoma Eight” with representative writs that extend to the broader group. They show that the average McDonald’s restaurant rakes in $10,000 a day. If activists breach the order, they are liable to be arrested and charged. Last week, McDonald’s CEO Catriona Noble bizarrely claimed on Rafael Epstein’s ABC 774 radio show that she was “not aware” of the order.

The case will return to the Supreme Court next week, with law firm Maurice Blackburn preparing to lodge documents on behalf of the protesters.

The Tecoma stoush has escalated ever since a local council decision to reject the store was overturned on appeal by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last October.

A photograph of the internal notes — read the transcript of the notes

Andrew Crook —

Andrew Crook

Former Crikey Senior Journalist

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28 comments

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28 thoughts on “Leaked notes show Macca’s wants search and rescue cops to end protest

  1. Simon Mansfield

    So the busy bodies of a small community can decide who is allowed to operate a legal business – be it an abortion clinic or a MacDonalds.

    But in a larger community it’s not ok and broader definitions of democracy would apply – ie the law of the state or nation.

    So what defines a small community – 1,000 households or 10,000 households, and who decides who gets to decide – ratepayers, the full time employed, people with a degree. Or just those that agree with whatever value system the loudest are seeking to impose.

    As is so often the case – the whole meme that the community does not want it is a bogus construct. It’s a self selecting process where the self appointed green shirts force themselves into the centre of an issue and then create the false construct that they represent the community as they have the loudest input.

    This is just a typical example of Green Left politics taking over and imposing their white, middle-class values as being the morally correct value system as didn’t you know – it’s just the way it should be – ’cause we just know better.

    So what defines a small community – 1000 households or 10,000 households, and who decides who gets to decide – ratepayers, the full time employed, people with a degree. Or just those that agree with whatever value system the loudest are seeking to impose.

    As is so often the case – the whole meme that the community does not want it is a bogus construct. It’s a self selecting process where the self appointed green shirts force themselves into the centre of an issue and then create the false construct that they represent the community as they have the loudest input. This is just Green Left politics taking over and imposing their cultural values as being the morally correct value system as didn’t you know – it’s just the way it should be – ’cause we just know better.

  2. Simon Mansfield

    So Mike, on that basis – the deep south in US was well within it’s right to maintain segregation – as that was the established norm of the area. And the intervention of the US Govt was against the democratic cultural norms of the areas that were subjected to federal intervention in the 1960s.

    Gay people are not that welcome in large slabs of the outer suburbs. So shall we stop a gay community group opening a shop front to undertake community outreach.

    It’s pretty white these days across most of Australia – shall we stop black or yellow people living in such an area and opening their funny smelling food stores. I mean why should some upstart outsider come into my community and change my culturally superior ways of meat pies and beer.

    Lots of people are very concerned about food miles. So should we ban the selling of organic food stuffs and so called fair trade foodstuffs from grocery stores that one bright spark above said were such a great feature of food stores in Tecoma. This is a serious issue and we need to have limits on how far food products are transported. Or is it okay if they are organic and free range from the other side of the world – and cost 10 times the price of a mass produced item from just down the valley made using domestic sourced inputs.

    I look forward to the Tecoma 8 issuing a rule book for what is acceptable cultural and economic practices and what is against the law of the Yarra Ranges Free Republic. All hail the Green Shirts as they know best for you and me.

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