The Clash at Tas

 
Published: Thursday 15 April 2004

Launceston, Tasmania, Australia: the battle over logging Tasmania's old growth trees continues. Even as Labour leader Mark Latham -- also the leader of opposition in the Australian parliament -- decided to visit Tasmania, on March 16, 2004, Launceston witnessed a pro-logging rally, attended by Forestry Tasmania workers and workers at Gunns, the major company involved in felling in the region. Forestry Tasmania's general manager of operations, Kim Creak, said that employees who attend would not have their pay docked. The rally called on the Federal Opposition to stand by Tasmania's timber industry and the Regional Forest Agreement. A resolution the rally passed said the Greens do not speak for Tasmanians.

But members of the Greens and the Wilderness Society said disgruntled Forestry Tasmania workers contacted them because they did not want to attend the rally.

They also claimed Gunns employees had been directed to attend. Greens Senator Bob Brown said taxpayers' money was used to bolster the rally's numbers. The leader of the Tasmanian Greens, Peg Putt, said the rally was being stacked. "We've got basically press-ganging of forestry employees up to this rally," Putt said.

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