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48hrs after arrest Bob Brown in forest protest again

Retired organic gardener turned protestor Kevin Vaughan.

Forest and Wood Communities Australia has condemned attention-seeking corporate activist Bob Brown who was arrested twice this week for invading a lawful timber harvesting operation logging in Tasmania’s North Eastern Tiers. Source: Timberbiz

Dr Brown was arrested for the second time in 48 hours after returning to protest against logging in what he calls habitat of the critically endangered of swift parrot.

Dr Brown and two others were arrested and charged on Wednesday morning during protests at a forestry site in Tasmania’s Eastern Tiers.

Police said that a 75-year-old man from Cygnet and a 42-year-old woman from Blackmans Bay were charged with trespass. A 72-year-old man from Crabtree was charged with trespass and Wilfully Obstructing Police.

They were bailed to the Hobart Magistrates Court on 31 March next year.

The Bob Brown Foundation identified the trio as Dr Brown, the Foundation’s campaign manager Jenny Weber and retired organic gardener Kevin Vaughan.

Premier Peter Gutwein late Wednesday expressed surprise Dr Brown had been arrested again.

“You would have thought at his age he would have been smart enough to learn from what occurred yesterday,” he said.

Mr Gutwein said the government has set aside 10,000 hectare of swift parrot habitat from logging.

“Right down the East Coast we have more forests that are protected than are available for logging,” he said.

FWCA Director Kelly Wilton said Dr Brown was wasting valuable police resources and sucking the media into free publicity to promote a pro-activism film.

“It’s no coincidence that Dr Brown has used his public profile to help boost ticket sales to a film showing that evening which glorifies his organisation and its illegal activities,” Ms Wilton said.

The film, Wild Things, is a feature length documentary that follows environmental activists chaining themselves to coal trains, sitting high in the canopy of rainforests or locking onto bulldozers.

The documentary features prominent activists including Dr Lisa Searle, known for staging logging protests in Tasmania, and Harriet O’Shea, a 16-year-old Victorian student protester who was involved in this week’s North Eastern Tiers protest.

It screened in Hobart at the State Cinema on Wednesday night.

“The Bob Brown Foundation is a corporate activist organisation which exploits its charity status and catastrophises our sustainable, world-certified timber industry to meet its budget projections,” Ms Wilton said.

“We can see no other reason for this sort of unlawful behaviour when activists have already been given so much at the expense so many hard-working Tasmanians’ livelihoods.

“All he is doing is taking up valuable police time, making a mockery of the Australian Charities and Non-for-Profits Commission and putting lives at risk.”

Ms Wilton said she was shocked that Dr Brown had also exploited a minor for the sake of his publicity stunt by risking the safety of a young girl who was put in direct danger. Miss O’Shea was given a warning by police.

Dr Brown, Lucy Landon Lane and Alexandra Chernov were charged with trespassing and released Tuesday afternoon.

Dr Brown and others returned to the site of his arrest less than 24 hours later.

“Any organisation that would involve a child in a dangerous and illegal activity is devoid of all moral and ethical fortitude,” Ms Wilton said.

“But the BBF has done this so they can market a film. And let’s not forget the need for the BBF to raise $750,000 to employ its staff and pay its rent each year. By last year’s financial figures, that’s three quarters of the money donated to them by the public.”

Ms Wilton said it was no surprise to see The Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson and Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O’Connor get in on the act during Tuesday’s workplace invasion.

“Like the Bob Brown Foundation, The Greens are losing relevance and that cannot be more obviously demonstrated than to see desperate attention-seeking Greens Senators climbing over unsecured log piles,” she said.

“That is a category 1 breach of the Work Health and Safety Act and we hope that the regulators will recognise that they are thumbing their nose at them.”

Ms Wilton said the forest protests were self-serving and had gone beyond reasonable environmental outcomes.

“The Tasmanian timber industry is strictly monitored and operates under the most stringent environmental standards, which have been recognised with international certification.

“It also employs thousands of people and supports communities while supplying high-quality timber and fibre products,” she said.

“It’s time corporate activists stopped using it to prop up their bloated budgets while wasting valuable police resources and putting lives at risk.”

Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett said the Greens will do whatever it takes to start a fresh wave of forestry wars for their own political ends, with jobs and families in our regional areas to suffer as a result.

“It’s simply not good enough for the Greens and their allies to actively try to destroy Tasmanian jobs, especially given these protests are taking place on Permanent Timber Production Zone land specifically set aside by both Houses of State Parliament and agreed to by the Greens,” he said.

“It’s also not good enough for Labor to stand silently on the sidelines, especially after they voted against our workplace protection laws specifically designed to protect workplaces from this kind of activity.”