Gunns action threatens free speech

December 20, 2004

Friends of the Earth Australia has joined with environmental groups and people around the country to denounce the lawsuit commenced by Gunns against environmentalists and politicians over the logging of forests in Tasmania.

The lawsuit represents a backwards step on many fronts: it will fuel community tensions about the ongoing debate on native forests, and will possibly intimidate people who are concerned about the fate of the remaining unprotected old growth forests in Tasmania and elsewhere.

The lawsuit will not resolve the underlying problems related to unsustainable logging of Tasmania's old growth forests nor will it benefit people employed in the industry.

All Australians with an interest in public debate, robust democracy and protection of the environment should be concerned about this case. We urge all fair minded people to write to Gunns to express their concerns about this action.

It must be remembered that Australia has a long tradition of public debate, protest and community campaigns. This has brought many benefits to broader society as well as ensured the protection of many significant areas in Australia, including much of the wet Tropics forests, Fraser Island, the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and the Franklin River. If Gunns continue with this case, it will be remembered in history as having both gone against this tradition as well as public opinion, which is overwhelmingly in favour of protecting old growth forests.

FoE Australia also encourages people to support the fund that has been established to fight this case:

You can donate to The Gunns 20 Fund via The Wilderness Society or the Greens.

Send cheques / money orders made out to The Wilderness Society to GPO Box 1562, Hobart, Tas, 7001, or at your closest Wilderness Society Shop or Campaign centre. For more info call 1800 030 641.

Or to donate to Gunns 20 Fund via Bob Brown- Cheques/money orders can be made out to Bob Brown (Gunns 20) - please include all contact details in order to be receipted and post to GPO Box 1132 Hobart 7000 or in person at the Greens Shop 230 Liverpool St Hobart. For more info call 03 62 341 633.
See: www.greens.org.au for updates.