SOME BACKGROUND ON GUNNS LIMITED
SPRAYING CONTAMINATED DRINKING WATER...
GUNNS & MONEY... (19 June 2001)
SORRY STATE OF TASMANIA... (Melbourne Age, 15 March 2004)
BOOK OF GAYGUN...
PROFITS, MATES and the NATIONAL TRUST...
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
Gray is a current director of Gunns
UNDER THE GUNNS... (22 July 2001)
HUBRIS THAT BROUGHT AN ISLAND DYNASTY UNDONE... (Melboune Age,
August 4 2002)
Ltd, THE FIRST FINALIST TO BE KICKED OUT OF AWARDS IN 15 YEARS...
- 4 CORNERS, LORDS OF THE FORESTS...
9 TV / SUNDAY SHOW - TASMANIA FIRE SALE...
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
9 TV / SUNDAY SHOW - NAME YOUR POISON...
RAPE OF TASMANIA at the BULLETIN...
SELLING OUT OF TASMANIA at the MELBOURNE AGE...
SEARCH at ECO PORTAL... oodles of matching documents
THE BIG GUNNS IN TASMANIA - by Tom Price, Special to CorpWatch,
14 March 2005
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)...
GUNNS ENVIRONMENT - Interesting Satelite Photos
MORE SATELITE PHOTOS... "PULPING TASMANIA"
for the DESTRUCTION of TASMANIA'S FORESTS (PDF - filmmaker David
SUMMARY of Gunns history by John Collins at NewMatilda.com with feedback
| Gunns mounts [FOURTH] claim against
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......
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........
Gunns must pay greenies' legal costs
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......
Gunns drops major legal claim:
October 17, 2006
The Wilderness Society says the Tasmanian timber company Gunns
Limited has dropped one of its major legal claims against 20
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.
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,
$6.9 million in damages from the environmentalists over protests they
made against it.
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.
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
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."
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.....
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.
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....
GUNNS LATEST 221 PAGE ATTEMPT AT GETTING IT
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.......
Gunns 'incoherent' legal action chopped down
July 18, 2005
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
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."
Gunns' legal document "baffling":
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
'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.
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.
REPORT AT THE MELBOURNE AGE...
SOME NEWS STORIES SINCE WRITS SERVED 14 Dec 2004
APATHY AND HOW SOME TASMANIANS ARE BOUGHT
|Is this the end of dissent in Australia?
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
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
- Strategic Lawsuit
|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,
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.........
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
"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.
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.....
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.
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
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
might be investigated.........
EDO VICTORIA... (PDF)
||John Gay managing director Gunns
Limited is also a director of NAFI
ASIC Company Extract - National Association of Forest
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
by Shane Elson Thursday December 16, 2004
Dayna Simpson argues that ignoring social responsibilities
is a risky business for corporations
By Dayna Simpson - Tuesday, January 04, 2005
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.......
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.......
|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.
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
About Predictable Opinion from a Not Very Bright Tasmanian
.......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 "
Gunns acts on spray claims
By SIMON BEVILACQUA - 19 December 2004
A TASMANIAN man has received a threatening letter from forestry
Ltd. Gerard Castles, an international businessman who
bases himself in Hobart,
has been asked to retract a public statement he made about
"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"........
RELATED - GUNNS
SPRAYING CONTAMINATED DRINKING WATER...
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
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.......
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.......
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.......
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.......
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 Howards pre-election promises.......
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......
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
SUES GRASS ROOTS ENVIRONMENTALISTS
|Human face of writ agony
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."..........
Middle-ground views are up against battleground
April 7, 2005
Gunns risks clearfelling individual liberties by taking legal
action against environmentalists, writes Natasha Cica.
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."........
Fighting the Big Gunns in Tasmania
by Tom Price - March 14th, 2005
Along a narrow dirt road, about 90 minutes from Tasmanias
provincial capital of Hobart lies the small, residential community
of Lucaston. Its 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.....
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........
FINANCIAL REVIEW - Pulp friction silences critics /
Cost - $3.30 - 1621 words
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.........
Environmental Groups Unite Against Corporate
Assault On Free Speech
Feb 23 2005
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
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.
OF THE EARTH - UK...
Free lawyers line up to battle
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.........
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...........
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........
Styx and stones
January 31, 2005
Political protest will never be the same if a timber company
successfully sues logging protesters. Andrew Darby reports.
AGE... (SMH "Lawyers, Gunns and forests" article
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".......
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.
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
20 Gunns Salute for Tasmanian Environmentalists
16 Dec 2004
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......
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,"
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.
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
Road rage: Gunns writ sparks rally and direct action, suit sends
........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."
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
* A letter-writing campaign which saw more than 7000 people
write to Japanese woodchip customers urging them not to buy
* A media campaign urging four major banks to end their association
* A lobbying campaign to have Gunns removed as a finalist from
* 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
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."
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
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
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.
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
this week served writs in the Victorian Supreme Court on 20
people and groups, claiming their campaign against logging had
harmed its business......
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
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
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.
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"
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
chainsaws and poison destroys the Tasmanian forests and their
wildlife at the greatest rate in history......
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"
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.......