McGunns
NOTICE: McGunns.com does not send outgoing emails whatsoever. Any emails that appear to be received from this domain are malicious spam forgeries that likely originate from the Forest Vandals
CALLING ON ALL PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT
A SMELLY PULP MILL IN A POPULAR
TOURIST & SCENIC REGION OF TASMANIA

SEE AN EXAMPLE OF A SMELLY PULP MILL

Want to assist in stopping the Tasmanian Pulp Mill ?
Want to punish Malcolm Turnbull for approving it ?
Want to assist in seeing him NOT re-elected ?
Read how he has lied and is defrauding his electorate in Wentworth at:
Sydney-Law.com
THEN make your complaint to ICAC at the pre-prepared complaint form, Sydney-Law.com/icac-complaint
FEDERAL POLICE COMPLAINT
against Environment minister, Malcolm Turnbull at: http://www.sydney-law.com/afp-complaint.html
NEED A LAUGH TODAY WITH SOME TASSIE CULTURE ?
A radio station impersonating the Department of Transport makes a "Crazy Call" to a Log Truck Driver complaining about engine brake noise...
PREVIEW
DOWN LOAD THE FULL HIGH QUALITY VERSION 3.2mb
CAUTION
Log Truck Language and Body Noise used profusely - MAY OFFEND!!
(FREE Apple Quicktime required)
GUNNS INVESTOR INFORMATION SERVICE
A Must for All Current and Potential Investors
McGunns.com
Billion dollar Global Warming company Gunns Limited, sues Tasmanian mums and dads.
This website has NO connection or affiliation whatsoever with the Gunns Limited vandal.

Tasmania Forest Campaign Goes Global!Trees Not Gunns
Trees Not Gunns

Global Outcry

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS NETWORK

more
RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK
Protests in USA, Canada, Japan & UK

ABOUT THE CASE
ABOUT THE TREEDOM FIGHTERS
treedomfighters
GUNNS 20 WEBSITE
Gunns20.org
COURT REPORTS
GUNNS LATEST 221 PAGE ATTEMPT AT GETTING IT RIGHT WRONG
GUNNS WRIT VERSION 3
(950k PDF)
Gunns trial to run a year
THE AUSTRALIAN
(below)
....the company was taking the action "to warn off individuals who might want to protest against Gunns."
Gunns, greenies and the law
THIRD WRIT STRUCK OUT
(below)
AUSTLII
FORUM TOPICS
NOTICE - 20/03/06
THE McGunns FORUM HAS BEEN HACKED BY FOREST VANDALS AND IS NOT OPERATIONAL AT THE MOMENT
LAWSUIT GENERAL COMMENTS:
Root causes | Bullshit | S.L.A.P.P.'s | Paranoid | The real targets | Gunns Ethical Shareholders | Why the trial in Melbourne? | Banksia Environmental Foundation | Lack of consideration for GUNNS bottom line
THE ETHICS OF ACCEPTING GUNNS MONEY. Gunns launders its image by providing money for community organisations and projects. What do you think of the ethics of accepting such money?
THE ETHICS OF ENDORSING GUNNS VANDALISM. The Tourism Council of Tasmania endorses Tasmania's forestry practices and therefore endorses the Gunns vandalism. (See more at Fair-Trading.com). What do you think of the ethics of endorsing this vandalism?
OPPRESSIVE? Is a Victorian Court the appropriate venue to sue Tasmanian mums and dads?
AUSTRALIAN APATHY. Do you think Australians should become more interested in what is happening to their national treasure in Tasmania?
Is this the end of dissent in Australia?
 
Tasmanian Wombat
The McLibel Trial is the infamous British court case which spotlighted McDonalds suing a postman & gardener from London (Helen Steel and Dave Morris). It ran for two and a half years and became the longest ever English trial. The Judge delivered his verdict in June 1997 which was devastating for McDonalds. As a result of the court case, the Anti-McDonald's campaign mushroomed, the press coverage increased exponentially and the legal controversy continues. MORE at the Melbourne Age - 17 Dec 04
Spotlight on a Corporate Forests Vandal, Election Liar & Woodchip Baron
THE FACE OF A GLOBAL WARMER
John Gay
John Gay
managing director
Gunns Limited
SorceWatch on John Gay

who was the...
also infamous for recalling Parliament in 1989 on North Broken Hill Ltd letterhead.
North's subsidiary North Forest Products (now owned by Gunns) was the forest vandal of the time.
While the Tasmanian Global Warming billion dollar Australian registered company Gunns Limited and its shareholders (including the Commonwealth Bank and AMP) bathe in record profits from woodchipping and vandalising Tasmania's native forests, poisoning its wildlife and spraying carcinogenic chemicals, it initiates legal action in Melbourne for $6.3 million in damages against ordinary Tasmanian mums and dads that dare to oppose the Gunns regime and who can't afford legal representation.
ADDENDUM
The Commonwealt Bank has since sold its Gunns shares and its investment division CommSec has declared Gunns shares financially "fraught with danger".
See Discover Tasmania
Discover Tasmania
to find out more about the Gunns regime and also the greedy land grab at Business Tasmania
Business Tasmania


THE (original) $6.3 MILLION WRIT
5.3mb PDF

Wikipedia on Gunns

SourceWatch on Gunns
.....the company accuses its 20 critics - who include a 60-year-old grandmother - of disrupting its business through grassroots action and blackening its name through "corporate vilification"..... SEE BELOW FROM THE INDEPENDENT UK (below)

"Protesting against Gunns may damage its interests, but it isn't criminal or wrong."
AN ANALYSIS OF THE WRIT by Dr. Steven Curry (below)

Dayna Simpson argues that ignoring social responsibilities is a risky business for corporations (below)

LAWYERS, GUNNS & FORESTS
Political protest will carry a high personal cost if a timber company successfully sues logging protesters. Andrew Darby reports for SYDNEY MORNING HERALD.

(below)

GUNNING FOR STRIFE IN COURT (below)

FREE LAWYERS LINE UP TO BATTLE GUNNS (below)

THE GUNNS 20 FEBRUARY BULLETIN - PDF
FROM
SENATOR BOB BROWN

Environmental Groups Unite Against Corporate Assault On Free Speech FRIENDS OF THE EARTH UK
(below)
McLibel case a signpost for Gunns action
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD...

(below)
Forest campaigners vow to fight Gunns
GREEN LEFT WEEKLY

(below)
AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW
Pulp friction silences critics
(below)
Fighting the Big Gunns in Tasmania
CORPORATE WATCH

(below)
"My support lies with the people being sued and it is to the family's shame that it is happening."
HOBART MERCURY

(below)
Middle-ground views are up against battleground tactics
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

(below)
"...Gunns managing director John Gay has an extraordinary mind, his superb intellect forever probing the minutiae of corporate governance, and always maintaining a sharp focus on the implementation his vision for the future..."
THE IRONY PARTY


Will Gunns yield and offer John Gay for re-election?
&
Has Gunns hit the wall?
CRIKEY


Human face of writ agony fronts Gunns
HOBART MERCURY


?
Is there potentially dangerous Legionella bacteria and fungal organisms in the Gunns Ltd woodchip stockpiles?
?
Do the Gunns Ltd woodchip stockpiles pose a significant health threat, especially if the dust is inhaled?
!
Burnie residents have expressed concerns relating to woodchip dust being blown over the town by
northerly winds!
!
Gunns Ltd have conducted tests, but refused to reveal the results!

British lawyers express civil liberty concerns regarding Gunns
AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW
WANTED - MORE MUGSHOTS OF GUNNS Ltd BOARD
John Gay (Managing Director, Executive Chairman) • Cornells A van der Kley (Director) • Robin Gray (Director)
Robin Holyman (Director) • David McQuestin (Director) • Christopher Newman (Director) • Wayne Chapman (Secretary)
REQUEST AN EMAIL ADDRESS TO SEND MUGSHOTS FOR DISPLAY


GUNNS WORLD
IMAGINE BEING SUED FOR CARING + AWARD WINNING A GLOBAL TREASURE, A NATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
MOVIES by Gunns writ defendant Heidi Douglas

SOME BACKGROUND ON GUNNS LIMITED

GUNNS SPRAYING CONTAMINATED DRINKING WATER...
GUNNS ELECTION LIES...
POLITICIANS GUNNS & MONEY... (19 June 2001)
THE SORRY STATE OF TASMANIA... (Melbourne Age, 15 March 2004)
THE BOOK OF GAYGUN...
GUNNS, PROFITS, MATES and the NATIONAL TRUST...
GREEN LEFT... Royal commissioner William Carter confirmed that Robin Gray, the then Liberal premier of Tasmania, had acted “deceitfully and dishonestly” and had been "misleading and deceptively evasive." Robin Gray is a current director of Gunns Ltd.)
FORESTS UNDER THE GUNNS... (22 July 2001)
THE HUBRIS THAT BROUGHT AN ISLAND DYNASTY UNDONE... (Melboune Age, August 4 2002)
GUNNS Ltd, THE FIRST FINALIST TO BE KICKED OUT OF AWARDS IN 15 YEARS...
ABC - 4 CORNERS, LORDS OF THE FORESTS...
CHANNEL 9 TV / SUNDAY SHOW - TASMANIA FIRE SALE...
CHANNEL 9 TRANSCRIPT - JOHN GAY: "Well, there's too many of them [wombats and ring-tailed possums] and we need to keep them at a reasonable level."
CHANNEL 9 TV / SUNDAY SHOW - NAME YOUR POISON...
THE RAPE OF TASMANIA at the BULLETIN...
THE SELLING OUT OF TASMANIA at the MELBOURNE AGE...
GUNNS SEARCH at ECO PORTAL... oodles of matching documents
FIGHTING THE BIG GUNNS IN TASMANIA - by Tom Price, Special to CorpWatch, 14 March 2005
GUNNS DIRECTORS & Company Announcements at the Australian Stock Exchange & SHARE PRICE DIVE...
   
 $700 million wiped off Gunns value.
Thinking of investing with the Forest Vandal or in Gunns Plantations?....... GET THE 4 PAGE LOWDOWN FROM CLAIRE MiILLER AT THE MELBOURNE AGE (Pulp Friction - 6 November 2005)...
THE GUNNS ENVIRONMENT - Interesting Satelite Photos

HERE'S MORE SATELITE PHOTOS... "PULPING TASMANIA"
BLUEPRINT for the DESTRUCTION of TASMANIA'S FORESTS (PDF - filmmaker David Warth )
USEFUL SUMMARY of Gunns history by John Collins at NewMatilda.com with feedback
THE EXAMINER FILES

NEWSPAPER CADET (at The Examiner) FIRED FOR UNFAVOURABLE GUNNS PULP MILL STORIES .......He claims he was told by his chief of staff [at The Examiner] not to write the story but later did so after a senior staff member agreed he should. On another occasion, Young claims he was directed not to write a story about the formation of a community group opposed to the controversial [Gunns Pulp] mill...... (The Australian 7 Oct 2005)
SOME PREVIOUS EMPLOYEES OF
THE LAUNCESTON EXAMINER
a co-defendant in this DEFAMATION ACTION
>
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT
ROD SCOTT - Editor
>
CHIEF OF STAFF (No. 1 Spin Doctor)
for TASMANIAN PREMIER PAUL LENNON
rod.scott@dpac.tas.gov.au
MELANIE ALCOCK - Reporter
A co-defendant in this DEFAMATION ACTION
>
HEATHER LONG - Reporter
ALLEGEDLY FABRICATING EVIDENCE for this
DEFAMATION ACTION
>
IAN PATTIE - Reporter
>
SENIOR PRIVATE SECRETARY
for TASMANIAN PREMIER PAUL LENNON
ian.pattie@dpac.tas.gov.au
MORE ON EXAMINER CULTURE FROM THE HOBART MERCURY (9 Oct 2005) "....GUNNS Ltd had become the de facto government of Tasmania and puppetmaster to the Labor Lennon Government. "
LAUNCESTON EXAMINER WINS THE ABC Media Watch 2005 BARRA AWARD - for running government ads as news

SEARCH FOR Gunns AT NEWS TASMANIA
by PICO
SEARCH FOR Gunns AT NEWS TASMANIA
by MSN
MSN Search


THE WHOLE WORLD WATCHES THE GUNNS BULLY - Hobart Rally 15 Dec 04
MORE PICS FROM MELBOURNE INDYMEDIA HERE McGunns
News Photo by Gordon Craven - CopyFREE ZOOM
COURT REPORTS
Gunns mounts [FOURTH] claim against protesters
November 17, 2006
TIMBER giant Gunns Ltd has made a fourth attempt to sue anti-logging protesters by serving them with a statement of claim late this afternoon. Details of the latest Gunns claim were not immediately available as defendants said it had been filed in hard copy only with their lawyers. It is the fourth statement of claim filed by the company since December 2004. The previous three have all been thrown out of the Victorian Supreme Court......
HOBART MERCURY ...
==================
Gunns prepared to spend on legal case
Thursday, 9 November 2006.
Mr Gay says Gunns has already spent $750,000 on the case. (File photo)ABC TV The chairman of the Tasmanian timber company Gunns Limited, John Gay, says the company is prepared to spend up to $2 million on the so-called 'Gunns 20' case. Mr Gay made the comments at the company's annual general meeting this morning. Gunns is attempting to sue a group of environmentalists on the basis that their anti-logging protests have damaged the company. The wife and son of one of the defendants attended this morning's meeting and questioned the action. Mr Gay says Gunns has already spent $750,000 on the case and expects to spend $2 million in total........
ABC TASMANIA...
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Gunns must pay greenies' legal costs [AGAIN]
October 20, 2006 - 1:59PM
A Tasmanian timber company must pay legal costs for a group of environmentalists it tried to sue for millions of dollars, a Victorian judge has ruled. Supreme Court Justice Bernard Bongiorno ruled that Gunns Ltd must pay the costs, which relate to an unsuccessful claim that 20 environmentalists took part in conspiracies against the company. Greg Ogle, the legal coordinator for the Wilderness Society, one of the defendants, said the costs would probably amount to more than $1 million. But Mr Ogle said it was unlikely the environmentalists would be given the money for a least one year, while the exact amount was decided......
THE MELBOURNE AGE...
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Gunns drops major legal claim: Wilderness Society
October 17, 2006
The Wilderness Society says the Tasmanian timber company Gunns Limited has dropped one of its major legal claims against 20 environmentalists. Gunns had claimed the defendants, known as the "Gunns 20," had run an over-arching campaign against the company, and was claiming $500,000 damages. But the Wilderness Society claims that in a letter to the Supreme Court in Victoria Gunns has said it does not expect to proceed with the cause of action. However, the letter says the company will still go ahead with six other causes of action, and are considering three further issues. Gunns has been trying to sue conservationists for two years, but has had its Statement of Claim rejected in court three times.
ABC ONLINE...
==================
Gunns, greenies and the law - THIRD STATEMENT OF CLAIM STRUCK OUT
August 29, 2006
The Tasmanian timber giant is adamant it will sue environmental protesters, despite a legal setback yesterday. Is free speech in the firing line? By Andrew Darby........ In its latest claim, thrown out yesterday, Gunns sought $6.9 million in damages from the environmentalists over protests they made against it.
THE MELBOURNE AGE...
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Gunns 20 defendants win costs
Wednesday, 9 August 2006.
Tasmanian timber company Gunns Limited has been ordered to pay preliminary legal costs to defendants in the 'Gunns 20' case. The order follows the Victorian Supreme Court's rejection last year of Gunns first statement of claim, which seeks more than $6 million from individuals and groups. The timber company is suing the Greens, the Wilderness Society and others for alleged sabotage and trespass at its logging sites. Last year Gunns was ordered to pay the costs of the defendants. Yesterday the court assessed the costs of Greens Senator Bob Brown and Tasmanian Greens leader Peg Putt to be $69,385. Another defendant, Helen Gee, was awarded $17,500. The court is yet to rule on the amount of costs for the other defendants. Senator Brown says the ruling is a win for those being sued by Gunns.
ABC ONLINE...
==================
Gunns trial to run a year

By Shelley Markham - March 09, 2006
TASMANIAN logging giant Gunns Ltd's third attempt at a multi-million dollar civil case against green groups could take more than a year, barrister Julian Burnside QC has told the Supreme Court. Opening arguments began today at the Victorian Supreme Court in Melbourne. Gunns is seeking $6.8 million in compensation from The Wilderness Society and 19 individuals for what it said is a conspiracy against the company which has caused it to suffer losses from anti-logging campaigns. Gunns has submitted to the court version three of its statement of claim against the 20 defendants arising out of the campaign to protect Tasmania's forests. In July last year, Justice Bernard Bongiorno struck out Gunns' second claim describing it as "embarrassing" and "at best ambiguous and at worst misleading." In August, Gunns was ordered to pay costs to the defendants, but at the same time launched a third attempt to sue the same defendants. Mr Burnside, who is representing the 19th defendant, Frank Nicklason – a staff specialist physician at Royal Hobart hospital – told the court that there remained "some deep structural problems" with the current claim by Gunns. "It's been tightened up, shuffled around, but about 90 per cent of it reflects the earlier claim," Mr Burnside said. "This statement of claim is the size of a novel, although it doesn't read so well," he said. "It's like 66,000 words, it's about 1800 paragraphs. "We say absolutely nothing has been added, but the complexity of the matter has been increased greatly." Mr Burnside said the trial would see individuals locked in litigation that could take more than a year. "This trial will not take less than a year. It's a big trial," Mr Burnside said. He told the court he suspected the company was taking the action "to warn off individuals who might want to protest against Gunns." Gunns counsel, Stephen Howells, today told the court that several changes had been made to the previous claim. "We've undertaken a number of steps to reduce and simplify it," Mr Howells said. Justice Bongiorno asked Mr Howells how long he thought a trial would take. "It would be a large exercise," Mr Howells said. "A year? 18 months?" Mr Bongiorno asked.....
THE AUSTRALIAN...
==================
Attempt to strike out third writ

By GAVIN LOWER - Law Reporter - 14 December 2005
AN application to throw out the latest multi-million dollar lawsuit brought by Tasmanian timber giant Gunns Ltd against 20 environmental groups and individuals will be heard in Melbourne in March [apparently the 9th 2006]. The strike-out application against Gunns' third statement of claim is to be heard in the Victorian Supreme Court. The company's second writ was thrown out by Justice Bernard Bongiorno earlier this year after defendants in the case argued the document was so unclear it was impossible to know what they had to respond to. Justice Bongiorno described parts of the writ as "unintelligible" and legally "embarrassing". Among those being sued by Gunns are Greens senator Bob Brown, The Wilderness Society, Tasmanian Greens leader Peg Putt and Doctors for Native Forests. Gunns alleges the defendants engaged in actions which damaged it financially and is seeking damages of $6.9 million. Today marks the first anniversary of the first writ being lodged against the defendants.
HOBART MERCURY...
==================
Gunns renews environmentalist suit
August 16, 2005
.....Timber company Gunns Limited yesterday renewed its legal action against the group, known as the Gunns20, filing a third statement of claim with the Victorian Supreme Court....
THE AUSTRALIAN...
==================
GUNNS LATEST 221 PAGE ATTEMPT AT GETTING IT RIGHT WRONG
GUNNS WRIT VERSION 3 - (950k PDF)
==================
Gunns ordered to pay costs
By KATE LAHEY - 18 August 2005
TASMANIAN logging giant Gunns has been ordered to pay costs to green groups as it launches its third attempt at a multi-million-dollar civil case against them. In the Victorian Supreme Court yesterday, Justice Bernard Bongiorno ordered the company to pay unspecified costs to the defendants who include Greens senator Bob Brown, The Wilderness Society and other anti-logging groups and individuals. He also accepted Gunns' third statement of claim against the groups after striking out two earlier versions -- for which the costs were awarded yesterday. Gunns is seeking up to $7 million in compensation from 20 defendants for what it says is a conspiracy against the company which has caused it to suffer losses through anti-logging campaigns. Barrister Julian Burnside, QC, representing the 19th defendant -- a staff specialist physician at the Royal Hobart Hospital -- told the court Gunns' latest claim was "like a Rubik's cube that's been twisted around a few times". "All the same bits are there, they're just in a different place," he said.......
HOBART MERCURY...
==================
Gunns 'incoherent' legal action chopped down

July 18, 2005
TO THE JUDGMENT at AUSTLII
A court has dealt a major blow to a bid by timber giant Gunns Ltd to sue environmentalists, including Australian Greens leader Bob Brown. Gunns is seeking a total of $6.3 million from 20 people and groups, saying it suffered losses as a result of anti-logging campaigns and protests they organised. But in the Supreme Court in Victoria today, Justice Bernard Bongiorno struck out the Tasmania-based logging company's 360-page statement of claim. The company's lawyers were told they must submit a third, and "radically altered", version of its claim document if the case was to go ahead. Justice Bongiorno said Gunns had failed to provide the court with a "proper, coherent and intelligible statement of its case". He also imposed an August 15 deadline for the new document. During a hearing earlier this month, lawyers for the defendants labelled the 360-page claim document baffling and incoherent - and that was after it was amended from the original 216-page version. Justice Bongiorno agreed with their concerns today, in a move hailed as a win by the defendants which include the Wilderness Society. "In this case, it would be unfair to the defendants to require them to plead to this amended statement of claim," Justice Bongiorno said. " ... vague allegations on very significant matters may conceal claims were are merely speculative." "If this be not the case, the plaintiffs must put their allegations clearly." Senator Brown attended today's hearing along with a handful of the other defendants. Outside the court, he said it had taken seven months to get to this point, and there were still without a case to answer. "This mega-company - with over a billion dollars turn-over last year and the biggest corporation out of Tasmania - has got a series of us small defenders of the forests, individuals and groups, brought before the court with an incoherent case," Senator Brown said. "Just as incoherent and unintelligible (as) what they are doing to the forests ... they should be ashamed."
- AAP
THE MELBOURNE AGE...
==================
Gunns' legal document "baffling": lawyer
July 4, 2005
A defence lawyer for environmentalists being sued for millions by Tasmanian logging giant Gunns says the company's legal document is baffling and almost beyond comprehension. Barrister Julian Burnside, QC, is one of several lawyers representing 20 defendants, who have asked Victorian Supreme Court judge, Justice Bernard Bongiorno, to reject the 360-page statementof claim. If the judge accedes to the argument, then Gunns' lawyers would have to prepare a new document. Mr Burnside said the amended statement of claim, which replaced the original one of 216 pages, was "so defective it should not be received by the court". The document, Mr Burnside said, "leaves the reader baffled. It is almost beyond comprehension". Last month, Justice Bongiorno described the case as "enormous" and said it could clog up the courts for an extraordinary amount of time. Gunns is seeking $6.3 million from the 20 defendants, including Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown and the Wilderness Society. The timber company has accused the defendants of machine sabotage, destruction of property, trespassing, blocking off access to land and obstructing police at its logging sites. A lengthy adjournment sought by Gunns was refused.
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
==================
'Embarrased' Gunns apologises over court delay

By Peter Gregory - Chief court reporter June 17, 2005
Draconian court orders could be needed to manage the "enormous" damages action bought by Tasmanian timber company Gunns against environmental campaigners, a judge said today. Gunns is seeking an estimated $6.36 million from Greens leader Bob Brown, the Wilderness Society and other activists and groups. Justice Bernard Bongiorno said the case had the potential to tie up resources in the Victorian Supreme Court for many months. "And when it comes to trial, (for) God knows how long," he said. Justice Bongiorno was responding to an apology by Mark Irving, for Gunns, who said the company had been unable to provide all of the details requested by defendants about the claim in the time allowed. Mr Irving said the company had received 539 requests for information and had given hundreds of pages of material in reply. Later he told Justice Bongiorno that significant parts giving particular details of the company's claim had not been provided. "I apologise that we haven't complied with the orders. I'm embarrassed by that," Mr Irving said. "It is something that we have been working hard on throughout ... the period to try and get material in ... in the best form we could." Justice Bongiorno said today in court that the case was an enormous one when it started, and it might be thought the company would have been prepared to the "ultimate degree". Mr Irving said some changes might need to be made to the claim. He asked for further time to send particulars to defendants. Defendants include Senator Brown's Tasmanian counterpart Peg Putt and Wilderness Society national campaigns director Alec Marr. Gunns has also taken action against the Wilderness Society, the Huon Valley Environment Centre and Doctors For Native Forests. Julian Burnside, QC, who told the court he represented a Tasmanian doctor, said the company should receive minimal concessions. He said some defendants were unemployed, and it was oppressive for them to have a well-resourced plaintiff come to court again and again to request more time. The company asserted it had been subjected to a campaign to injure it and unlawfully interfere with its business. Mr Burnside said the company had recently published material showing its turnover was $335 million in the six months to December 31 last year. Justice Bongiorno said he would rule today about whether the company would have more time, and on applications by defendants for legal costs resulting from the hearing.
MELBOURNE AGE...
==================
Gunns anti-Greens case 'muddled'

By Peter Gregory, Chief Court Reporter - April 9, 2005
Tasmanian timber company Gunns had issued an embarrassing, confused and muddled claim in its $6.36 million damages action against individuals and environment groups, a Supreme Court judge heard today. Mark Dreyfus, QC, for six of the defendants, foreshadowed applications to strike out parts of Gunns' 216-page statement of claim lodged in December. Barristers representing other defendants said they planned similar action. Mr Dreyfus said further details would be sought about the Gunns claim, which alleged the company had been subjected to a campaign to injure it and unlawfully interfere with its business. "The statement (of claim) is very long, confused, muddled, deficient in details and parts of it should be struck out," he said. ........ Justice Bongiorno made orders dealing with the defence information requests, and Gunns responses. He said a three-day hearing of "strike-out"applications was expected in late June.
FULL REPORT AT THE MELBOURNE AGE...


SOME NEWS STORIES SINCE WRITS SERVED 14 Dec 2004

AUSTRALIAN APATHY AND HOW SOME TASMANIANS ARE BOUGHT
Is this the end of dissent in Australia? FORUM TOPICS
December 16, 2004
Gunns' action in suing activists could have sinister ramifications, warns Martin Flanagan.
Earlier this year, I wrote an article in which I urged Australians to become concerned about what is going on in Tasmania's old-growth forests ("The sorry state of Tasmania", on this page on March 15). I likened the present period in the island's history to the one, only a few decades ago, when the cause of hydro-industrialisation united the interests of big business, the unions and the Labor and Liberal parties under the mantra of supplying employment, to the extent that dams were continuing to be built long after there was serious community concern about whether such dams were actually required. ........ No doubt there are people in the hierarchy of Gunns with a genuine interest in football. But, again, I cannot think of a quicker path to broad public acceptance in Tasmania than by becoming associated with bringing AFL football to the island. ........ Once again, I am urging Australians to become more interested in what is happening in Tasmania. In Shakespearean terms, Tasmania is the play within the play; it always has been. Tasmania is now a corporate state. It has a supine government and an opposition that is an opposition in name alone. Its Labor Premier, Paul Lennon, demonstrated during the recent federal election campaign that his loyalty to the logging industry outweighed his commitment to a national Labor victory. If Tasmanians opposed to Gunns are silenced, all who challenge the rich and powerful in this country are vulnerable.
MELBOURNE AGE...
SLAPP - Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation
Gunns threatens basic civil liberties
07 April 2006
We, the undersigned, are British lawyers practising, advising and writing in the fields of international, constitutional, human rights and environmental law. We are writing to express our concern at the decision of Gunns Ltd, the Australian woodchip company, to sue 20 environmental campaigners, politicians and groups who have campaigned against its role in the logging of old growth forests in Tasmania. In the law suit, Gunns Ltd seeks damages of $6.8million for what it claims are the unlawful actions of the defendants in protesting about its alleged wrongdoing. We believe that the use of legal proceedings against peaceful protesters amounts to an attack on basic civil liberties, in particular freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, which form part of the essential foundations of any democratic society. If successful, the legal action would not only financially cripple the individual defendants but would have a far-reaching and chilling impact upon the freedom of individuals to protest. We share similar concerns of our fellow public interest lawyers based in Australia. We also recommend that Gunns Ltd learn from the mistakes of another multinational corporation which sought to use litigation as a means of silencing protesters, McDonald's. Its attempt to pursue in the libel courts of London members of a small protest group became the longest and perhaps most high-profile defamation claim in English legal history, the "McLibel" case. The case was a public relations disaster for McDonald's and served simply to underline the importance of the right to free speech and protest as a fundamental human right.
Keir Starmer, QC, and 39 other lawyers, Doughty Street Chambers, London, UK.
THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW...
==================
Lawyers push for community protest protection
Monday, 3 April 2006.
There is a nationwide push to prevent big companies using legal tactics to stifle community protest. Almost 150 Australian lawyers have put their names to a statement, calling for reforms to protect a person's right to criticise governments and commercial organisations. They have sent a statement to politicians across Australia, expressing concern about law suits that aim to stifle free speech. Prominent barrister, Julian Burnside QC, says the law should not be used to discourage community debate. "If you take a hypothetical of a big organisation that sues a penniless defendant and expends hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in pursuing someone who won't be able to pay them damages anyway, you can recognise very clearly that that's a case where stifling dissent is the point, rather than recovering damages," he said.........
THE ABC...
==================
Up writ creek without a voice
Critics can sometimes be silenced through legal proceedings, writes Elisabeth Wynhausen
01 April 2006
WHEN Frank Nicklason visited Burnie in Tasmania several years ago, local residents asked him to investigate the possible health risk from fungi and dust in the compost at the bottom of the enormous woodchip piles on the town wharf. The doctor had no sooner called on Gunns, the timber company that put them there, to carry out an independent analysis than he received a letter from lawyers acting for Gunns. "They alleged that I defamed them in calling for the health-risk assessment," says Nicklason, a specialist staff physician at Royal Hobart Hospital and a founding member of Doctors for Forests Tasmania.
Gunns demanded a retraction. Nicklason refused to oblige unless he was shown a report commissioned by Gunns; the company declined and that seemed to be that. More than two years later, in December 2004, Nicklason was served with a 216-page writ. He was No.19 in a group of 20 defendants that included Australian Greens senator Bob Brown, the Wilderness Society and some of its employees, the Huon Valley Environment Centre and various activists and environmentalists. They were said to have disrupted logging operations or harmed the company's image or, like Nicklason, had the temerity to raise public health concerns. Looping them all together with the claim that they had conspired to damage its business, Gunns sued for $6.3 million.....
THE AUSTRALIAN...
==================
Waving the legal SLAPPs stick
December 19, 2004
The forestry debate has fallen victim to an old legal trick, Simon Bevilacqua discovers
WIDOW Jenny Donohoe learned to call the legal action against her a SLAPP. The New South Wales woman, who blames the death of her husband Jim on a huge writ filed against them by a developer in the 1990s, says SLAPP is an acronym for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. "The trouble with SLAPPs is they are not designed to win in court, they're designed to stop the voice, intimidate and hurt the hip pocket," Mrs Donohoe said. ........ "I can't understand why the Government hasn't stepped in to stop these writ cases." ......... They found SLAPP filers frequently used lawsuits based on ordinary civil claims such as defamation, conspiracy, malicious prosecution, nuisance, interference with contract and/or economic advantage, as a means of transforming public debate into lawsuits. In light of their research, more than 20 US states have now passed anti-SLAPP legislation. SLAPPs spread to Australia in the 1990s. .......... A NSW taskforce from the Attorney-General's office looked into defamation law reform in the 1990s. It found evidence that corporate plaintiffs were using the threat of a defamation writ, or SLAPP, to silence individuals and community groups. .......... In the 1990s the National Association of Forest Industries threatened a court injunction against BBC Hardware unless it withdrew from sale a book recommending recycled and plantation timber over forest timber. NAFI claimed selling the book would be in breach of the Trade Practices Act. ......... "NAFI's attempt to suppress information critical of forest products is indicative of a growing trend among industry interests in their battle to combat government and consumer actions that pose a threat to their industry," she wrote. "The aim of a SLAPP is not to win in court. In fact many SLAPPs have little legal merit. Rather, their aim is to harass, intimidate and distract industry opponents. ........... "Those using the SLAPP win the political battle, even when they lose the court case, if the victims and those associated with them stop speaking out against them. "Not only does a SLAPP deter those involved from participating in political debate freely afterwards, but it also deters other citizens from speaking freely and confidently about similar issues." Professor Beder, in her book Global Spin, says most SLAPPs are won by the people being sued. Most cases are dismissed, and 77 per cent that are heard are won by the defendants. "Such cases seldom win in the courts," Professor Beder said. .......... "It's a lose-lose situation," he said. "The best they can hope to achieve is a win in the courts, they'll lose dreadfully in the public relations war." ............ Gunns Ltd brand manager Sarah Dent said the company did not want to make any further comment.
SUNDAY TASMANIAN ...
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THE NAFI SAGA... Forest Friendly Timbers Book
In April 1999, Alan Gray and Anne Hall launched their book Forest Friendly Building Timbers which outlines alternatives to native forest timbers. National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI) dispatched legal threats to the authors and BBC Hardware, which was selling it. NAFI claimed the book contained false and misleading information and was in breach of the Trade Practices Act. Following the legal threat, BBC Hardware withdrew the book from sale, which pleased NAFI...... NAFI's success was short-lived. After obtaining quick legal advice, the authors went public. ....... Suddenly NAFI was on the
defensive. National media coverage focused on the possibility that NAFI might be investigated.........
COURTESY EDO VICTORIA... (PDF)
John Gay John Gay managing director Gunns Limited is also a director of NAFI

ASIC Company Extract - National Association of Forest Industries Limited
7 July 2003:

Director - John Eugene Gay,
7 Clarence Street, East Launceston Tasmania 7250
Born 12/04/1943 - Deloraine Tasmania
Appointment date 23/10/2001

SLAPPS explained
by Shane Elson Thursday December 16, 2004
MELBOURNE INDYMEDIA...
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Dayna Simpson argues that ignoring social responsibilities is a risky business for corporations
By Dayna Simpson - Tuesday, January 04, 2005
.......Gunns Limited's recent move to sue the very interests that have fought to define and bound their social responsibilities is a disturbing backward step. The move by Gunns is a strong-arm response to an image problem that affects a comparatively small proportion of their highly profitable and largely un-challenged operations. Gunns should arguably have taken a less antagonistic and more proactive approach to the problem. The Greens and interest groups have presented legitimate social responsibilities for Gunns Limited to consider. Gunns may end this battle doing more damage to its reputation and market share than the Greens and interest groups could have ever hoped for.......
ONLINE OPINION...
SO... IT'S ALL ABOUT REVENGE
One last shot at 'greens'
Wednesday, 22 December 2004
IN a parting shot at the 'green' movement, departing State Manager for Timber Communities Australia, Peter Cochran has claimed that any successful Court action by Gunns Ltd against ‘green' activists will be sweet revenge for the thousands of timber workers displaced by political action over the past 30 years.......
BOMBALA TIMES...
DEMOCRACY AT STAKE
The Gunns writ is an attack on democracy
December 27, 2004
The right to protest is under threat - in Tasmania and beyond, writes Steven Curry.
Greg Barns seeks to defend Gunns, the Tasmanian timber and woodchip conglomerate, from charges that it is stifling free speech by suing 20 environmentalists and environmental groups for $6.36 million ("Say what you will, this is not about free speech", on this page last Tuesday). He is dead wrong on all counts. ......... In some cases the writ specifies a person or people who committed the acts, which makes me wonder why these individuals are not being sued individually for the relevant damages. In many other cases the writ alleges that "one or more" of the individuals listed performed the action. If they do not know for sure, why impute responsibility to a whole group, at least some of who weren't even present? However, the most damning aspect of the suit is that some of the actions being sued for simply are not criminal acts directed against Gunns or its contractors. One claim is that defendants have engaged in "publicising grievances about the environment and the activities of (Gunns) both in Australia and with its customers and consumers overseas". This is simply a definition of protest. In several other parts of the writ, Gunns allege that signs were affixed to trees and fences on Crown land near logging coups. Entering this land and putting signs on it may be criminal (in no very terrible way), but it is not a crime against Gunns. Protesting against Gunns may damage its interests, but it isn't criminal or wrong. Connecting the protest against Gunns to alleged minor criminal acts against the Crown doesn't alter the fact that Gunns is suing people for voicing their opinions. If the criminal acts themselves give rise to damages, it is the Crown that is entitled to sue, not Gunns. Gunns is not a "victim of crime" just because the crime enabled people to protest against it. ......... Gunns is not entitled to overturn these profound principles in the civil courts.........
THE MELBOURNE AGE...
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About Predictable Opinion from a Not Very Bright Tasmanian Lawyer

.......It is not everywhere that the president of a law society would deliver a view such as Zeeman's even though he somewhat confusingly admitted that freedom of speech might be a defence for the respondents......
" FREE SPEECH DECLARED SAFE "
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Gunns acts on spray claims
By SIMON BEVILACQUA - 19 December 2004
A TASMANIAN man has received a threatening letter from forestry giant Gunns Ltd. Gerard Castles, an international businessman who bases himself in Hobart, has been asked to retract a public statement he made about Gunns. "If not, then my client reserves all of its rights," the letter from Gunns' lawyers says. The details emerged in the week Gunns issued a writ against a group of prominent Greens who had protested against the company's forest practices. The letter refers to a letter to the editor written by Mr Castles which said "a contractor working for Gunns sprayed two people with atrazine"........
SUNDAY TASMANIAN...
RELATED - GUNNS SPRAYING CONTAMINATED DRINKING WATER...
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New Tas union chief slams Gunns lawsuit
18 December 2004
Newly appointed Unions Tasmania secretary Simon Cocker has used his first media conference to attack timber company Gunns Limited for the legal action it has taken against 20 environmentalists. Gunns is seeking about $6.4 million from 20 environmentalists for damage to its reputation. Mr Cocker has described the lawsuit as an affront to free speech. "They are a big, rich, aggressive, powerful company which are using their wealth to crush dissent," he said. Mr Cocker says the Tasmanian Government should be more forthcoming with its views on the matter. ........ Meanwhile, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre has described Gunns's lawsuit as an attack on freedom of speech. The centre's state secretary, Trudy Maluga, says businesses which use their financial power to silence critics are appalling.......
ABC ONLINE...
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Forests debate turns into a test for democracy

December 17, 2004
If corporate writs can silence Australians who speak out on public issues, our democracy is in trouble.
The fate of Tasmania's old-growth forests is a matter of great public interest. A political and environmental debate is raging around Tasmanian forestry giant Gunns Ltd. The company has raised the stakes horribly by launching a $6.3 million damages claim against critics of its actions in old-growth forests, most of which are on public land. The 20 people sued include Greens senator Bob Brown and state leader Peg Putt and representatives of the Wilderness Society and Doctors for Forests. This intimidatory action, which exposes individuals to financial ruin, expands the debate far beyond forests and Tasmania.
Everyone who cares about how public issues are decided in a democracy ought to be alarmed by what has been described as a US-style SLAPP writ. "Strategic litigation against public participation" is a US term coined in the 1980s to describe the use of lawsuits to deter or punish individuals who express views on public policy that are at odds with business interests. The practice has so damaged public debate in America that some states have anti-SLAPP laws. Such lawsuits need not succeed in court to achieve their aim; more than three-quarters of US suits are lost, but their threat alone stifles public expressions of concern on issues such as environmental damage, community health and product safety.......
MELBOURNE AGE...
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Timber giant accused of intimidation tactics
There are further claims that the Tasmanian timber company Gunns Limited is trying to intimidate its critics into silence.
The claims follow the company's decision to take legal action against 20 environmentalists and groups. Earlier this year, Hobart man Gerard Castles had a letter published in a local newspaper about reports alleging that a Tasmanian couple were sprayed with herbicide by a helicopter pilot contracted by Gunns. He says that soon after, he received a letter from Gunns's solicitors denying the incident and demanding a retraction. "I do feel intimidated. I feel as if my own home, if you like, is under threat," he said.......
ABC ONLINE...
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Gunns intensifies its assault on its critics
PM - Thursday, 16 December , 2004
Reporter: Annie Guest
MARK COLVIN: There's fury among civil libertarians at the latest development in the fight between Australia's biggest forestry company and its critics. It's been revealed that Gunns Limited told a man who wrote a critical letter to a newspaper that he could face legal action if he doesn't retract his assertions....... ANNIE GUEST: When Hobart man Gerard Castles saw news stories about forestry chemicals allegedly being sprayed on a Tasmanian couple and their property, he was so upset that he wrote a letter to the local Mercury newspaper. He was shocked to receive a letter from Gunns Limited in response warning him to retract his comments.......
ABC PM...
FROM GREEN LEFT WEEKLY
Forest campaigners vow to fight Gunns
Alex Bainbridge, Hobart - March 2, 2005
Forest campaign initiatives in Tasmania are beginning to gather momentum again after a lull following the October re-election of the pro-logging federal Coalition government. The December announcement that woodchip company Gunns Limited is suing 20 environmental activists and organisations has become a major focus for campaigners. At the same time, activists are highlighting the forest destruction that is continuing unabated in the lead-up to a twice-delayed announcement by the federal government about exactly which areas are to be reserved as a result of Prime Minister John Howard’s pre-election promises.......
http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/617/617p10.htm
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Gunns 20 defy intimidation

Alex Bainbridge, Hobart - January 26, 2005
Eighteen members of the “Gunns 20", accompanied by 200 supporters, crowded onto a narrow footpath outside the William Street courthouse in Melbourne on January 14, to officially declare their intention to contest Gunns’ lawsuit......
http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/612/612p2.htm
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Gunns sues environmentalists, attacks free speech
Alex Bainbridge, Hobart - January 19, 2005
Woodchipping giant Gunns Limited issued a writ against 20 environmental activists and organisations on December 13, claiming their actions had hurt its business. Two days later, up to 700 people protested in Hobart to denounce Gunns’ suit as an attack on free speech. Protests were also held in Launceston and other cities around Australia.......
http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/611/611p2.htm
GUNNS SUES GRASS ROOTS ENVIRONMENTALISTS
Human face of writ agony fronts Gunns
By NICK CLARK - 28 October 2005
IT was expected that Gunns' plummeting share price and the proposed pulp mill would be raised at the company's annual meeting in Launceston yesterday. They were, but the appearance of the wife of one of the so-called Gunns 20 at the meeting was unexpected. Leonie Pullinger, of Burnie, told the meeting of the effect the Gunns writ has had on her husband, Peter, and their family. "The whole family (three sons and a daughter) is affected and has been brought into the stress and anxiety that a case imparts on the family," she said. "I asked the board if they were familiar with the backgrounds of the people involved, and I thought today I could put the case forward for my family and what effect it is having on our family life."..........
HOBART MERCURY...
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Middle-ground views are up against battleground tactics
April 7, 2005
Gunns risks clearfelling individual liberties by taking legal action against environmentalists, writes Natasha Cica.
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD...
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This Gunn says she's no chip off old block

By DANNY ROSE - 29 March 2005
A DIRECT descendant of the brothers who founded Gunns Ltd has slammed the company, accusing it of using fear tactics and exploiting Tasmania's forests. Sarah Gunn, great-granddaughter of Thomas Gunn, has spoken out against the $1.5 billion company which still bears her family name. ........ "My support lies with the people being sued and it is to the family's shame that it is happening."........
HOBART MERCURY...
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Fighting the Big Gunns in Tasmania

by Tom Price -  March 14th, 2005
Along a narrow dirt road, about 90 minutes from Tasmania’s provincial capital of Hobart lies the small, residential community of Lucaston. It’s an area of rugged, natural beauty that draws people looking to live a quiet life. “A couple hundred acres of bush, wet forest thick with ferns and the like. Splendid, it is,” says Lou Geraghty as she describes her homestead near the top of a slope along a rolling valley. Along with her fisherman husband, this grandmother has dreamt of setting up an eco-tourism retreat here. Ideally, this would mean little more than building a few small cabins out in the bush and allowing city folk to come traipse through the primordial old growth forests that carpet this Ireland-sized isle off the southern tip of Australia.....
CORPORATE WATCH...
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PULP FRICTION SILENCES CRITICS

Julie Macken with AAP - 02/03/2005
The controversy over the role of chemicals in Tasmania's timber industry has provoked an aggressive response, writes Julie Macken. Life in Tasmania's timber industry looks so bright investors have to wear shades. The state's biggest company, Gunns, has just announced a record half-year profit of $38.7 million and selected the site for its $1 billion pulp mill. What's more, Gunns hasn't had to worry about any pesky critics thanks to an Australian first using writs against critics who have raised concerns about the chemicals the company uses. Doctors say Gunns' tactic not only endangers their capacity to speak out in this case, but also threatens to stymie debate on a range of public health issues. While not wanting to speak directly about the current court action against Hobart physician Frank Nicklason and others, the Australian Medical Association's federal president, Bill Glasson, says: "Our Hippocratic oath demands we investigate any possible cause of disease, whatever that may be tobacco, asbestos or any other concerns. ........ And when the Nicklason case is heard in the Supreme Court in Victoria some time this year, there's likely to be evidence showing how industrial-scale clear-fell logging in Tasmania depends on the use of a host of chemicals particularly the triazine family including atrazine and simazine to hinder undergrowth. The World Health Organisation has classified these chemicals as 2B possibly carcinogenic. The US Environmental Protection Agency has recently classified them in the category of "endocrine disruptor" chemicals that can affect the hormone system........
AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW - Pulp friction silences critics / Cost - $3.30 - 1621 words
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McLibel case a signpost for Gunns action
By Richard Ackland - February 25, 2005
What an utterly hopeless decision it was 15 years ago by McDonald's in Britain and the American parent to start libel proceedings against a couple of penniless London greenies over the distribution of longwinded but rude leaflets critical of the company's delicious quarter pounders. The executives responsible were doubtless persuaded by the corporation's lawyers that it was a fabulous idea. So on they blundered. More than £10 million in costs later, it's still lingering. The European Court of Human Rights has just decided that the indigent greenies, Helen Steel and David Morris, did not get a fair trial in England and that the outcome "constituted a disproportionate interference with their right to freedom of expression". The English proceedings had violated important articles of the European convention on human rights, to which Britain is a party. The European court awarded Steel and Morris damages, costs and expenses totalling more than ?82,000 ($137,000). There is also, heaven forbid, the possibility of a retrial.........
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD...
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Environmental Groups Unite Against Corporate Assault On Free Speech

Feb 23 2005
Joint Statement:
Friends of the Earth International, Greenpeace International, the Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club unreservedly condemn the decision by the Australian woodchip company, Gunns, to sue environmentalists and politicians in Australia who have opposed its role in the logging of old growth forests in Tasmania. ......... We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Australian NGO colleagues to oppose this shameful writ and we demand that Gunns withdraws it. We believe that responsible companies who respect the role of civil society in protecting the environment will firmly oppose this law suit. We therefore call on Gunns major shareholders and Japanese customers to condemn it and make it clear that they fully support the democratic right of communities, NGO's and politicians to peacefully oppose environmentally and socially destructive activity.
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH - UK...
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Free lawyers line up to battle Gunns
By CLAIRE KONKES
6 February 2005
DOZENS of lawyers, from top silks to eager law students, are offering to fight the Gunns writ for nothing. The help -- worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars -- is being offered to the so-called Gunns 20 group, the group of activists being sued by Tasmanian timber giant Gunns Ltd. ......... The 28-year-old said she was not overwhelmed by the prospect of being sued for $175,000. "Well, I'm a university student working part-time, so at the moment Gunns getting that would be like drawing blood out of stone. "There's no way I can pay it," she said. However, Ms Morris concedes that if Gunns won its case, she would have to file for bankruptcy, which could affect her chances of starting a business or getting a loan.........
SUNDAY TASMANIAN...
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Gunning for strife in court
By CLAIRE KONKES
6 February 2005
INTEREST from parts of the legal sector in defending the Gunns 20 comes as no surprise, lawyers say. In a nutshell, the writ by timber company Gunns Ltd alleges the activities of the 20 activists named in the writ are illegal. The writ alleges moves such as direct action in logging coupes and corporate boycott campaigns are illegal and not protected under the principles of freedom of speech. The writ alleges the company has been damaged by interference with contractual operations and been vilified in campaigns aimed at customers and shareholders. As well as asking for more than $1 million for actual losses, the company wants more than $5 million in aggravated and exemplary damages -- in other words money to cover the alleged distress caused to the company and to punish the defendants. University of Melbourne Centre for Corporate Law director Ian Ramsay said there were increasing expectations in the community for companies to show social and environmental responsibility, so inevitably some companies attracted a lot of attention...........
SUNDAY TASMANIAN...
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Lawyers, Gunns and forests
January 27, 2005
Political protest will carry a high personal cost if a timber company successfully sues logging protesters. Andrew Darby reports.
........But law academics see the Gunns action as different, even a watershed in Australian environmental litigation. "Gunns is a really disturbing case because the core of it is what I would think of as ordinary political activity," says Tim Bonyhady, director of the Australian Centre for Environmental Law at the Australian National University. "There is an upsurge in this kind of litigation but, from what I can work out, there is a real imbalance in what is happening. Our legal system is just much more concerned with protecting economic interests than political expression. We are a poorer society for that."........ Bizarre though it seems now, Rouse was jailed for 18 months after he tried to buy a state Labor MP for $100,000 to take the parliamentary balance of power away from the Greens. Rouse cited the potential damage to his timber interests as one reason for his crime, and planned to use his own money on deposit at Gunns for the bribe. At a subsequent royal commission, Gunns's chief executive, John Gay, emerged unshaken from torrid scrutiny of his business........
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD...
Styx and stones
January 31, 2005
Political protest will never be the same if a timber company successfully sues logging protesters. Andrew Darby reports.

MELBOURNE AGE... (SMH "Lawyers, Gunns and forests" article with pictures)
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'Tree huggers' are sued by Tasmanian logging firm in bid to halt campaigns
By Kathy Marks in Sydney - 19 December 2004
Tasmania has long been a battleground between the logging giants that control the timber industry and environmentalists fighting to preserve the island's native hardwood forests. Now the state's biggest private logging company, Gunns, has dramatically upped the ante, serving a A$6.3m (£2.5m) damages writ on 20 conservation groups and activists. Opponents have denounced the move as bully-boy tactics designed to stifle free speech. Gunns is thought to be the first Australian company to use a "slap suit" to silence critics, although the strategy is not uncommon in the US. Some observers have drawn parallels with the "McLibel" case in London, where McDonald's spent 10 years suing two protesters who distributed leaflets attacking it. While the forestry industry in Tasmania is notoriously defensive, Gunns appears to be setting new standards. It recently threatened to sue a man who wrote a critical letter to a newspaper, and told a television station to broadcast more positive stories about logging. Three months ago, a Gunns contractor accidentally sprayed a Tasmanian couple and their farm with a potentially carcinogenic herbicide, atrazine, while dumping it on a nearby plantation by helicopter. The incident came to light after atrazine was found in their drinking water. The practices of the island's forestry industry have long aroused controversy. Logging sites are "clearfelled", with every tree chopped down, and then firebombed to clear remnants of vegetation. Poison is laid to kill native wildlife that eats the fast-growing plantation seedlings subsequently sown. Wallabies, wombats, potaroos and ring-tail possums are among the tens of thousands of animals that die agonising deaths every year. Asked recently if it was acceptable to kill all wildlife in a designated area, the chief executive of Gunns, John Gay, replied: "Yes." In the 216-page writ, lodged in the Victoria Supreme Court, the company accuses its 20 critics - who include a 60-year-old grandmother - of disrupting its business through grassroots action and blackening its name through "corporate vilification".......
THE INDEPENDENT UK...
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GUNNS 20
On December 14th 2004, a nervous young man entered Senator Brown's Hobart office and served him with a writ. This was the start of what will be a mammoth legal battle over Tasmania's ancient forests. Gunns Pty Ltd served writs on 20 individuals and organisations, including the Wilderness Society, Doctors for Forests, the Huon Valley Environment Centre, Peg Putt MHA and Senator Brown. The 219 page document alleges that these 20 conservationists have damaged Gunns's profits and repretation to the tune of $6.4 million dollars. Gunns Ltd is the biggest native-forest logging company in Australia and the biggest hardwood-chip company in the world. Gunns have logging operations throughout the state, impacting on areas such as The Tarkine, Styx Valley, Weld Valley and The Blue Tier.
SENATOR BOB BROWN...
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Scandalised Spouse takes stock of options
By Terry Lane- December 19, 2004
A conscience is not easy company for a teetotaller with Commonwealth Bank shares who wants to go shopping yet keep to the moral high ground. The Spouse is in a quandary. She is so upset by the legal action taken by Gunns, the big Tasmanian logging company, against sundry environmentalists that she will never shop at Mitre 10 again, Mitre 10 [ Gunns Retail ] being a Gunns outfit ........ "Anyway, look on the bright side. You can give Mitre 10 a miss and you'll be making an ethical protest about Tasmania and WA all in one hit. But what about your Commonwealth Bank shares? You do realise that they rise and rise because of the excellent work done by Gunns on your behalf?" ........ "You see, if you were to take to the grog, you could not buy Tamar Ridge wine. Gunns own the Tamar Ridge wine, but you can only boycott it if you first start drinking it."........
MELBOURNE AGE...
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20 Gunns Salute for Tasmanian Environmentalists
16 Dec 2004
INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTRE...
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Ugly scenes at city demo

16 December 2004
GRANT Maddock has become the face of the anti-Gunns protest after he symbolically held up a log truck in central Hobart......
HOBART MERCURY...
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600 protest over writs from Gunns

By CHRIS JOHNSON , Thursday, 16 December 2004
High-profile Tasmanians yesterday condemned the decision by Gunns Ltd this week to serve writs on 20 environmental campaigners and seek damages totalling more than $6 million. ........... Mr Flanagan said that where freedom of expression was denied, and freedom of association was punishable, freedom died. "Who gets the next writs? Who is next to have their lives destroyed because they cared enough about this beautiful island home to say something, to do something?" he asked. "This is how the rich and powerful defend their interests in numerous Third World countries, because ordinary people cannot afford to fight in court." Senator Brown earlier described the Gunns move as the biggest legal attack on the popular environment movement in Australian history. "This is an attack not just on our forests but on democracy and freedom of speech," he said.......
LAUNCESTON EXAMINER...
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Shake, rattle and rights
SEVEN hundred sets of keys jangled in anger yesterday as protesters used non-verbal means to send a message to timber giant Gunns. ........ "The right to protest peacefully is a universal right," he told the crowd. "To quote Voltaire, I may not agree with what you are saying but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Mr Flanagan said "fear was abroad in Tasmania" and the writ put the state "on the path to tyranny". "This is how the rich and powerful protect their interests in third world countries," he said. "It is a fundamental assault on our liberty." He called on those in the park to jangle their keys "so they can hear them in the Gunns boardroom in Launceston and in their barristers' chambers in Melbourne." "I've asked you to be silent for one minute for what those bastards want to do to our democracy," he said.
HOBART MERCURY...
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Team of heavies on case
16 December 2004
GUNNS Ltd has retained some of Australia most eminent industrial lawyers to prosecute its case against 20 green protesters and environmental groups......
HOBART MERCURY...
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Road rage: Gunns writ sparks rally and direct action, suit sends Gunns soaring

........He said the price of $4.56 yesterday morning was a record high for the company. Lucaston resident Lew Geraghty said she faced the prospect of losing the house she had lived in for 20 years. Mrs Geraghty took part in blockades at Lucaston, and said she had no financial means to defend herself in court. "I'm a parent and a wife, I have four children and a grandchild ," she said. "My husband works and I spend my day driving my kids to sport. "I'm just an everyday person trying to protect the area I live in."
HOBART MERCURY...
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Gunns sues
15 December 2004
TIMBER giant Gunns Ltd is suing a group of environmentalists, protesters and Green MPs for $6.3 million. The company has lodged a writ alleging a group of 20 individuals and groups damaged its business. Green MPs Bob Brown and Peg Putt and a number of members of the Wilderness Society are among those named in the writ, lodged in the Supreme Court of Victoria. The company is claiming damages for financial loss allegedly suffered as a result of protest actions.
Examples cited include:
* The Styx Valley tree-sit campaign last year.
* A protest and "lock-on" at the Triabunna woodchip mill.
* A letter-writing campaign which saw more than 7000 people write to Japanese woodchip customers urging them not to buy Gunns woodchips.
* A media campaign urging four major banks to end their association with Gunns.
* A lobbying campaign to have Gunns removed as a finalist from the Banksia Environmental Awards.
* A claim by the group Doctors for Forests that the Burnie woodchip pile could harbour legionella. .......... Premier Paul Lennon would not comment, nor would Liberal leader Rene Hidding. But Denison Labor MHR Duncan Kerr said the writ was a "grievous wound on democracy". "It is an extraordinary step in Australia for a major corporation to claim millions in damages from politicians, community groups and individuals protesting against current forestry practices," he said. "It is a very dangerous precedent." Mr Kerr said if citizens did not have the capacity to campaign against practices that were lawful but offensive to many in the community, the asbestos industry would probably still be in operation and restrictions on tobacco advertising and smoking would never have been implemented. ......... Tasmania's leading writer Richard Flanagan said the Gunns writ was "an appalling abuse of power by the most powerful in Tasmania". "If Gunns' tactic was to succeed there would effectively be no right to dissent and free speech would exist in name only," Flanagan said. "In Tasmania we have a state government that uses the political process to intimidate any who question, and we now have Gunns using the legal process to attempt the same end. "Tasmanians ought be frightened because Gunns' greed seems to know no limits: they want not only our forests, but now our very silence. "It is time decent Tasmanians stood up against this culture of fear and intimidation."
HOBART MERCURY...
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What Crikey said

1. Lawyers, Gunns and money
Political Editor Christian Kerr writes:
Readers know yours truly is no shrubhugger - but you have to ask if the chairman of tree-loppers Gunns Limited, John Gay, is as thick as the tallest tree in what Iron Mark still pathetically refers to as the "mighty Tasmanian forests". Politically, he must be about the most naive corporate chief going around.
By launching a $6.3 million Supreme Court action against the Who's Who of environmental activists he has broken one of the of major tenets of political warfare - don't give the opposition oxygen.
Gay, a corporate cowboy worth about $70 million, just doesn't get it. The Greens, politically, gain their support largely on pandering to public emotion. To be really successful they need a cause celebre around which to gather a broader vote then their hard-core supporters can provide.
Premier Paul Lennon has already served up a major issue in putting a pulp mill back on the agenda, but now John Gay has trumped that.
Gay might be right to an extent. There is not be much sympathy in Tassie for militant environmentalists - but here is also not much sympathy for corporate thugs. He has now given the Greens an opportunity to play David to Gunns' bullying Goliath.
As Crikey has repeatedly said in the past, when it comes to politics in Tasmania the Hare Clark electoral system means that a candidate only needs sixteen percent of the vote to get elected in State parliament. Over the past 20 years the Greens have only managed to get this type of support when they have had a rallying call to pull middle of the road voters over to their side; for instance, a major damn or pulp mill proposal.
Just have a look who are named in the writ here. There are 20 defendants including the Wilderness Society, its State campaign coordinator Geoff Law and national campaign director Alec Marr; Doctors for Native Forests; Huon Valley Environment Centre and 13 individual campaigners, along with state Greens leader Peg Putt and Senator Bob Brown - who has already fired off a salvo in response, as the ABC reports here.
Gay has not only given the greenies a dream campaign issue. He has also managed to unite a motley crew who often fight amongst themselves as much as anyone else. Good one! He obviously hasn't heard of divide and conquer.
And the $6.3 million? Even if Gay is successful in all of his claims - and just on reading the early press reports some look so ridiculous they should be laughed straight out of court - that sort of money might easily be raised from a nation-wide call to the faithful.
This is all about John Gay's ego and his hatred of the Greens. He wants to teach them a lesson. The irony is that he is the one who needs to learn from the history of environmental politics and to understand that he has probably given the shrubhuggers their biggest electoral leg-up in a decade.
CRIKEY...
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Mock funeral over Gunns writs
By David Crawshaw - December 15, 2004
ENVIRONMENTAL activists today mourned the death of free speech as they protested against what they said were moves by Tasmanian forestry giant Gunns Ltd to silence its critics. About 30 people held a mock funeral outside the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) in Sydney after Gunns this week served writs in the Victorian Supreme Court on 20 people and groups, claiming their campaign against logging had harmed its business......
THE AUSTRALIAN...
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Timber giant sues Brown
December 14, 2004
TASMANIAN timber industry giant Gunns is suing Australian Greens leader Bob Brown and several environmental groups over "ongoing damaging campaigns and activities" against the company. Gunns executive chairman John Gay said in a statement that writs had been served on a number of groups and individuals to protect the interests of its employees, contractors and shareholders. Mr Gay said the civil action was over allegations made about risks to health and safety of Gunns employees and contractors, unauthorised entry to private property and damage to Gunns equipment. "Gunns Limited and the majority of Tasmanians are sick and tired of the misleading information being peddled about our industry and our state," he said. Comment was being sought from Senator Brown.
THE AUSTRALIAN...
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Brown slams timber giant suit
December 14, 2004
AUSTRALIAN Greens leader Bob Brown reacted angrily today to a multi-million dollar damages action launched against him and other environmental campaigners by Tasmanian timber giant Gunns, calling it a "broadscale attack" on the right to protest. Gunns has served writs on 20 individuals and groups, including Tasmanian Greens leader Peg Putt, the Wilderness Society and Doctors for Forests, citing their "ongoing damaging campaigns and activities" against the company. The writs, which environment groups say seek a total of $6.3 million in damages, were lodged yesterday in the Victorian Supreme Court. Senator Brown said he would not be cowed by the wealth and "power of destruction" of Gunns chief executive John Gay and Robin Gray, a Gunns board member and former Tasmanian premier. "This is a broadscale attack on our Australian right to protest for the nation's heritage," he said. "It is a US-style writ to hector the strongholds of the popular environment movement into silence and submission as Gunns' chainsaws and poison destroys the Tasmanian forests and their wildlife at the greatest rate in history......
NEWS.COM.AU...
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Timber giant sues Bob Brown
December 14, 2004
Tasmanian forestry giant Gunns Ltd has launched a multi-million dollar damages claim against environmentalists including Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, arguing their protests hurt the interests of its employees and shareholders. The timber company lodged a 216-page writ in the Victorian Supreme Court yesterday seeking compensation from 20 individuals and groups it said conspired to unlawfully interfere with its business at logging sites and through "corporate vilification". The writs total $6.36 million in damages. ,The Wilderness Society and its staff face a total compensation claim of $3.5 million after being accused of organising the campaign against Gunns. Individually, Senator Brown ($305,000), Tasmanian Greens leader Peg Putt ($95,000) and Wilderness Society national campaigns director Alec Marr ($280,000) are accused of "publicly denigrating, vilifying and criticising" Gunns, and encouraging others to boycott or protest against it. ........ The writ was lodged four months after Gunns was the target of public outrage after a helicopter accidentally dousing a north-east Tasmanian farm with the potentially carcinogenic herbicide atrazine while spraying a forestry plantation.......
THE MELBOURNE AGE...

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