If you care about the heart of this great country on election day do not vote for any candidate of any party that supports the pulp mill. How many politicians’ mansions have to be exposed as having been renovated by a Gunns company? How many CFMEU officials have to be discovered driving cars purchased from Gunns? How many Timber Communities Australia spokespeople have to be revealed as having their wages paid for by the forest industry before it is publicly acknowledged these people do not speak for Tasmania; that they do not speak for Tasmanians; they answer only to the greed of the woodchippers.

How can it be that you can be sacked by Kevin Rudd from the Labor Party for having a cappuccino with disgraced West Australian premier Brian Burke but if you have your home renovated by Gunns you get given $60 million—as the Tasmanian government was three weeks ago in a promise by Martin Ferguson as part of the ALP’s transport package—as another subsidy to Gunns pulp mill. How can Kevin Rudd claim to be fair dinkum about climate change when he is promising more money to support a pulp mill that will burn half a million tonnes of forest a year in the monstrosity of its electricity generator?

How can it be that that the forest John Howard promised to save in 2004 is being logged today? How can it be that the forestry jobs John Howard promised to save were sacrificed by Gunns when it slashed its contracts in 2005 and no-one held Howard accountable? It can be this way because both Labor and Liberal leadership dance to the donor—and Tasmania pays the cost with the highest unemployment rates and the greatest levels of poverty in the nation. I know it is hard for loyal Labor and Liberal supporters to not vote for their parties, but only that will drive home to the cynical powerbrokers of the Labor and Liberal Parties that they must respond to the wishes of the people rather than dictates of corporate greed.

Because we do not accept that Gunns is our government and that their profit line is to be our future. And if the clearly expressed view of the majority of Tasmanians does not persuade our new government, we will take the fight to Gunns investors. We will take the fight to their AGMS, and to their board meetings. We will take the fight to the courts and to their international chip and prospective paper buyers. We will take the fight to Australia and we will take the fight to the world.

And if, in the end we have all other avenues denied us, if we are left with no other alternative, if it takes standing on the road to the pulp mill site and placing our bodies between their machines and our home, we will stand there, in peace and with pride, united against hate and greed, joined in our love for our island. And if we are arrested and thrown in jail, then we will go to jail in our tens, we will go to jail in our hundreds, we will go to jail in our thousands, and Paul Lennon will have to build seven new prisons to house all the people who will come and who will keep on coming before they even attempt to pour the foundations of one new pulp mill.

If it must be, I will stand on that road to the pulp mill. Raise your hand if you will stand there with me, raise your hands so Kevin Rudd can see he was wrong, raise your hand so Peter Garrett can see that people care, raise your hand so John Howard can see this matters, raise your hand so that ANZ, Perpetual, AMP and the Commonwealth Bank can see that will have to deal with the fallout of the biggest civil disobedience campaign in Australian history since the Franklin River blockade if they do not take action now.

Now is the time for turning, now is the season for our change, now must come that moment when we no longer are cowed, when we cease to be silent, when we speak the truth to power and say no to this pulp mill and yes to a future in which we are governed in the spirit in which we live: with goodness, with the interests of others in our heart and not the leash of greed tearing at our throat. Now is that hour, now is our future. The journey is long, the road is dark and frightening, but together we can reach our destination: the Tasmania of which we all dream, where all are welcome and all prosper, made no longer of lies but truth, built not of rich men’s hate but our love for our island and for each other. Our love. Our Tasmania. Let’s take it back.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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