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Friday analysis: STT no to fundraiser in the forest for Bob Brown Foundation

Bob Brown Foundation protestors at the Artec woodchip mill in Tasmania

It can be a bit hard to read the Bob Brown Foundation sometimes. At its best, the foundation is a masterful public relations manipulator. There is no doubt at about that. However, the latest “outrage” to come out of the organisation reaches new heights of audacity. Source: Bruce Mitchell

A little background first.

Last week the Federal Court ruled 3-0 against the Bob Brown Foundation’s argument that the state’s Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) contradicted federal laws and was therefore invalid, and that Tasmania’s RFA did not protect endangered species, particularly the swift parrot.

The action had been brought against the Commonwealth, the State of Tasmania and, in terms of this latest “outrage”, Sustainable Timber Tasmania

A special leave application to the High Court is being prepared by the foundation.

Skip forward to this week.

The foundation decided to test the patience of STT again.

The foundation made an application to Sustainable Timber Tasmania for permission to hold an ultra-marathon though STT managed forests.

The application, it seems, was made without any sense of irony.

The race – in its third year – seeks to raise money to support the Bob Brown Foundation campaign to have the Takayna/Tarkine protected as a World Heritage listed National Park and returned to Aboriginal ownership.

It will come as little surprise to anyone with any sense (apart from the Bob Brown Foundation apparently) that STT said no.

STT was determinedly gracious.

An STT spokesman said the decision was made because the foundation was “currently conducting and has a history of conducting unsafe and unauthorised activity on Permanent Timber Production Zone land”.

“The publicly advertised primary purpose for this event is to raise money to support activities hindering the management of Permanent Timber Production Zone land and therefore is not supported by Sustainable Timber Tasmania.”

Cue outrage from the foundation.

“The event denial appears to be bloody minded revenge for the Foundation’s call for an end to native forest logging,” Bob Brown Foundation event manager Jo Edwards said.

She even went as far to suggest the refusal was politically motivated.

And Tassie Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor has reportedly questioned if the government body was refusing the event “because the Bob Brown Foundation was organising it”.

What makes the application from the foundation even more audacious is that it came as protestors on Wednesday halted old growth forest logging in Wentworth Hills.

The foundation has been carrying out a relentless campaign in the area, calling for an end to native forest logging.

“Two forest defenders have immobilised logging machines … preventing them from intensive destruction of an ancient eucalyptus forest,” Bob Brown Campaign Manager, Jenny Weber said.

And this morning 20 protestors shut down the Artec woodchip mill in Tasmania’s north to protest the “company’s ongoing woodchipping of Tasmania’s old growth and native forests”.

(The foundation claims that logging contractors have slashed protestors’ car tyres.)

And still the foundation wonders why STT said no to its fun run application.

Much use has made of the phrase “read the room” in recent times. It seems the foundation has an inability to carry out that basic subtle action.

It’s probably a symptom of being terminally myopic.