Tasmanian forestry industry:

Michael James Rowland writes: I’m a newbie to the native forest politics of Tasmania (just bought some land down there) so I enthusiastically got stuck into Bruce Montgomery’s article.

I was expecting Crikey to deliver a fresh and insightful perspective but got let down by Bruce right off the bat with the line “Lara Giddings is a committed and competent politician” (for god’s sake I grew up in Don Dunstan’s South Australia. Get a perspective).

Bruce wanted to talk about the economy but from what I can see the old-growth logging game isn’t an industry, it’s a government charity. Why even discuss it as though it’s an important primary industry? Only in the corridor that runs from Forestry Tasmania to Parliament is the answer to every question “native logging” ( … that or “What will sh-t Bob Brown off?”).

The nexus between the forestry lobby and government down there is something to behold. There are whole suburbs resembling Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s Queensland (cue a young, fit Chris Masters). The asymmetry between vested interests and protesters is such that I can’t help but admire the environmentalist who go up against these big hitters. They burnout 20 to the dozen but have real balls.

The great tragedy for Tasmania is it’s held hostage to a crisis of imagination. A crisis that trails into Bruce’s work too. People need to be asking what would life look like sans guys in fluoro polar-fleece cutting/burning down hillsides? No really, what’s Plan B?

Because if Plan A is an unprofitable wood industry …

Wayne Swan:

John Richardson writes: Re. “Wayne versus the lizard people: the secret history of illegitimate power” (yesterday, item 1). Thanks Bernard Keane for highlighting the elegant charade that is our “democracy”.

A democracy where our political spin meisters pose their straw men in positions of left versus right, good versus evil, competent versus incompetent, haves versus have nots, Liberal versus Labor, heads versus tails, elitist versus egalitarian, fascist versus socialist, rich versus poor, fair versus unfair, yin versus yang, glass half full versus glass half empty, deserving versus undeserving and all hope versus no hope.

When, in reality, it’s simply about the fact that a select few are on the inside and the vast majority are on the outside …. trying to get in.

Glen Frost writes: I wrote last year that Mr Abbott approached politics like a boxer; his (incredibly effective) strategy is to find the weak spot and keep hitting it.

I suggested the way forward, in a “moving forward with victory in mind” kind of way, was for the PM, or one of her ministers, to get on with boxing back. Looks like Swanny has finally figured it out.

As my friends at the British tabloids would say; “He’s found his bollocks!”

Where are the tabloid headline writers of Australia?

Peter Fray

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