ABC - Tasmania ditches defamation law changes after public backlash

ABC Online 5 Feb 2015

The Tasmanian Government has dumped plans to change the law to allow corporations to sue for defamation in the face of public opposition and a lack of support from other states.

The Government had planned to break away from national defamation laws to give corporations with more than 10 employees the right to sue groups or individuals who made false or misleading claims about their products.

It was an election promise designed to protect the forest industry from damaging market campaigns by environmental groups.

But the move prompted a backlash from the legal sector which feared "forum shopping" where corporations from elsewhere would file suits in Tasmania.

Read the full story on the ABC website.

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Talking Point: Abundance of room for culture in ‘wilderness’

Article by Bob Brown in The Mercury. 29 January 2015.

Franklands - Dan Broun
Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Photo: Dan Broun

Tasmania's Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities alike have a diversity of views on nature versus development. So Emma Lee's opinion (24 January) and criticism of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society and me and our role in protecting the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) is welcome in the arena of public debate and invites a reply.

Our campaigns, and crucial Aboriginal campaigning, did save the Franklin River from damming, Precipitous Bluff from mining for cement, and the Alma River forest from clearfelling.

However Emma wrote no criticism of the Hodgman government's intention, powered by Simon Currant's Tourism Council, to open the door to future logging, mining and monopoly tourism in the TWWHA through removing the wilderness status and other protections won so long ago.

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Companies suing critics. That's the real enemy of free speech

Article by in The Guardian Jan 2015

The Guardian
Photo: AAP/

"Tasmania wants to break ranks with uniform defamation laws to allow companies to take action against individuals. Where’s Tim Wilson when we need him?"

"To further restrict the ability of public interest campaigners to press their case, as the Tasmanian government proposes, is to make Australia’s free speech landscape deeply depressing."

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Big Coal Destroys Great Barrier Reef and Caley Wetlands

Reese Halter
Paul, Reese and Bob

Earth Dr Reese Halter has released a new YouTube video on the effects of the worldwide use of coal on the oceans, and of coal industry port expansions on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

The Abbot Point dredge dumping proposal will harm the Caley Wetlands, an important area protecting the Great Barrier Reef and home for numerous birds.

Further information:


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It’s time to stop lighting fires

Bob McDonald, Naturalist. Article in Jan 14, 2015

Time to stop lighting fires

Bill Gammage’s popular book ‘The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia’ contains many fundamental flaws and represents ‘blind advocacy’ for repeated burning’ because ‘Aboriginal people did it’. 

Like Keith Windshuttle’s ‘Fabrication of Aboriginal History’, Bill Gammage only pursued references - and interpretation of references - that supported his ‘hypothesis’. For Gammage that hypothesis is that all Aboriginal people farmed all of Australia using fire. This proposition was first published by Rhys Jones in an article in Australian Natural History in 1969 ‘Firestick Farming’ - and the references Jones used have as little merit as Gammage’s.

Jones used a painting of Lesueur from 1802 to show landscape burning by Tasmanian Aboriginal people when the painting is clearly of smoke signals.  He quoted Peron observing the Derwent River ‘ablaze’ while Peron stated that ‘Tasmanians’ lit the fire to see them off. Bill Gammage now travels the country advocating frequent burning. He is not in any way qualified to do so and often does not look at the bush in these places before he advocates burning. He quotes no Aboriginal people or stories and ignores scientific evidence that cast doubt on his theories.

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Greens win seat of Prahran in Victorian Parliament

Sam Hibbins
Photo: Ben Oquist

The Greens candidate Sam Hibbins has won the seat of Prahran in the Victorian Parliament.

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Bob Barker departs for Operation Icefish

Bob Brown and Peter Hammarstedt
Bob Brown and Peter Hammarstedt. Photo: Simon Ager

The Sea Shepherd ship, the Bob Barker, departed Hobart for the commencement of the organisation’s 11th Southern Ocean Defence Campaign, Operation Icefish.

After successfully championing the suspension of Japan’s illegal whaling program in the Southern Ocean, Sea Shepherd will this year focus its efforts to directly intervene against the illegal fishing of Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish.

Bob was at the Hobart wharves for the press conference and sendoff.

For the full Sea Shepherd Operation Icefish story click here.

Bob Brown and Peter Hammarstedt. Photo: Simon Ager
Bob Brown and Peter Hammarstedt. Photo: Simon Ager
Bob Brown and Peter Hammarstedt. Photo: Simon Ager
Bob Brown and Peter Hammarstedt. Photo: Simon Ager
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2014 Young Environmentalist of the Year presentation at last

Peter Hammarstedt
Bob Brown, Peter Hammarstedt, Peter Whish-Wilson, Christine Milne. Thomas Moore Photographer

Bob finally caught up with Peter Hammarstedt on the Hobart wharves to present him with his 2014 Young Environmentalist of the Year award.

The award page has been updated with a photo of the presentation.

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Wolves circling in the wilderness

An article by Bob Brown in The Mercury 13 Nov 2014.

I AM not surprised a powerful minority in the tourism industry wants to remove the word “wilderness” from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The authenticity of that word gives Tasmania world renown but it is a stumbling block for exploiters.

Recherche Bay
Recherche Bay is just outside the World Heritage Area. Picture: Bob Brown
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Our best friend is a killer.

A dog goes for a run on the beach. Fun for him, not for shorebirds.

Pied Oystercatcher
Pied Oystercatcher, Photo: Kevin Kucks
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