Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan was commissioned by London’s Guardian to write on his island home’s unique conjunction of logging, influence and politics. He’s created quite a storm.
”Logging is an industry driven solely by greed. It prospers with government support and subsidies, and it is accelerating its rate of destruction, so that Tasmania is now the largest hardwood chip exporter in the world. And Gunns, the largest logging company in Australia with a monopoly in Tasmania, is making record profits selling these forests as woodchips, which are in turn made into paper and cardboard.
”But the woodchippers are destroying not only Tasmania’s natural heritage, but also its Parliament, its polity, its media and its society. The close relationship which leading Tasmanian politicians enjoy with Gunns, goes beyond sizeable donations to both major parties; it has given rise to a political culture of bullying, cronyism and threats, a culture that allowed the state’s electoral system, under a 1997 Liberal-Labour deal, to be altered to minimise Green representation.”
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