Framing the forest debate

Dr Robert Musk, senior forest biometrician at Forestry Tasmania, writes: Re. “NBN zero or hero? Why framing matters” and “The $1 billion taxpayer-funded Tassie forestry gravy train” (yesterday). I see what you did there. Following up an article on debate framing with yet another diatribe directed at the evils of the Tasmanian forest industry is a delicious irony well enjoyed. But it is unfortunate that Crikey readers are continually subjected to such ill-informed comment on forest management.

Successive governments formulating forest policy have sought to increase the area of forest in conservation reserves (particularly tall wet forest at the expense of less photogenic types) while maintaining the yield from the remaining area through investments in plantation establishment, forest thinning, and the harvesting and processing equipment required to operate in this different resource.

We might be well served by a debate about the merits of this approach to forest policy on many levels, but the fact is that the “billions wasted” have not been. Our current sustained yield calculations point to over half our future sawlog grade timber arising from plantations established under these programs. That timber supply will sustain many livelihoods and generate wealth for the Tasmanian community in perpetuity.

Howard and the Iraq War

Deirdre Sparrius writes: Re. Howard: another old white man claiming credit for the Arab Spring(yesterday). Bernard Keane wrote: ” … the weapons of mass destruction threat from Iraq was ‘very, very small’ and far less significant than that posed by Libya. That is, Blair knowingly led the UK into an illegal war based on a lie. But until such an investigation here, Howard can be given the benefit of the doubt on that issue.”

Is there any doubt on that issue? It is interesting to hear Howard rewriting the circumstances of the Iraq War. The UN delegation investigating team continually reported that they had found no evidence of the stockpiling of “weapons of mass destruction” and urged the allies to delay their decision to attack until such evidence was found. As I recall observing from TV interviews, Howard’s demeanor was one of excitement and anticipation, as he ignored these urgings and attached himself to the back side of USA and UK. It was shameful then and more-so now, as he has obviously learnt nothing from that time.


David Hardie writes: Re. yesterday’s editorial. Ronald Reagan once contended that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”. Although she never put it as succinctly, Margaret Thatcher’s philosophy was closely aligned with this sentiment. In her time as PM, she reduced or eliminated state support for well, almost everything. Now, in her death, she is being afforded a state-funded funeral, although it is technically not a “state funeral”. Perhaps if we wanted to celebrate her legacy, perhaps getting her family to foot the bill for the funeral would be one of the most appropriate ways we could do this.

More skilled labour for WA?

Adam Duncan writes: Just on the Geraldton refugees, one would have thought that people displaying such resilience, courage and superior navigational skills would have been welcomed here in The West. After all, we’re crying out for skilled labour aren’t we ?