The Australian's "Environment editor", Graham Lloyd, fresh from his recent tirades against Australian scientists' claims that The Great Barrier Reef is being damaged by climate change, has today written about that fraction of Tasmania's World Heritage value forests that has been protected. The article begins:
"UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre has been pulled into a brewing storm over whether former Greens leader Bob Brown used the Tasmanian Wilderness Area expansion as a bargaining chip to deliver minority government to Julia Gillard.
"A freedom of information request for letters between former Greens leader Bob Brown and ALP environment minister Tony Burke has been delayed to allow the Australian government to consult with the international agency. "The FOI extension was approved under provisions designed to protect international relations and national security. "High-ranking UNESCO officials have confirmed the investigation is under way ... "Andrew Denman, president of the Tasmanian Specialty Timber Alliance, has pursued a three-year campaign against the process he said was driven by political self-interest and radical green ideology."
Here are a few notes on Lloyd's article: 1. Apparently oblivious of the Australian journalists' code of ethics, Lloyd has not contacted me about the claims. 2. I have no objection to an FOI request for letters; I advocate FOI and think it should be extended to the private sector including News Corporation. Lloyd has not published his secret view on this proposal. 3. Lloyd's "brewing storm" is in his own teacup. The pity is that, in the period leading up to the establishment of government in 2010, I and the Greens failed to move the Gillard government to fulfil its obvious obligation to have Tasmania's forests nominated for the World Heritage status. 4. Apparently logging aficionado Andrew Denman, who also doesn't contact me about this issue, is alarmed that the integrity of World Heritage has been undermined by a deal to have the nomination go forward. This is the same Andrew Denman who wants those forests and their wildlife not just undermined but open to destruction. 5. The question arises: where was Denman in recent decades when millions of tonnes of specialty (rainforest) timbers were trashed and burned in the industrialised logging for eucalypt woodchips? It was the environment movement that tackled Labor and Liberal politicians about this obscene waste of the resource, which he now bemoans is missing. 6. Lloyd's most devastating revelation is that "Dr Brown and former Greens leader Christine Milne have boasted publicly about using negotiations for minority government both in Tasmania and federally to boost environmental outcomes." I must call Christine to tell her he is on to us. I hope his enquiries don't also uncover the fact that we achieved a world-leading carbon trading scheme and fund for renewable energy in conjunction with PM Gillard. 7. Unlike the agreements for government in Tasmania in 1989 and in Canberra in 2010, which we Greens insisted be made public, the current agreement between the Liberals and Nationals is one on the nation's most outrageously kept secrets. There's a document for Lloyd to gainfully pursue.