Two weeks after apologising to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Tasmanian Liberal Senator and Assistant Federal Minister for Forestry Jonathon Duniam has now withdrawn and apologised for false and defamatory statements he made about the Bob Brown Foundation in a Sky News interview and on his website.
Senator Duniam falsely claimed (amongst other things) that the Foundation supports
the activities of ‘dangerous activists causing harm’ by engaging in unlawful activity and that the Foundation is not an organisation formed for the purpose of lawfully pursuing environmental causes.
In his published apology the Senator states that ‘the statements I made in relation to the Foundation’s charitable status and involvement in illegal activities were false and defamatory of the Foundation. I withdraw those statements and I apologise to the Foundation for any harm that may have been caused.’ He has also agreed to pay the Foundation’s legal costs.
Former Greens leader and Foundation patron Bob Brown said:
“The Liberals’ top senator and minister from Tasmania got his facts wrong. We do not engage in criminal activity such as tree spiking. We are very active but peaceful defenders of Tasmania’s native forests and wildlife habitats, including the Tarkine. ”
“The Foundation supports the crucial work of environmentalists in an age of environmental crisis. It is deeply disappointing that a Minister would resort to making false and defamatory statements about the Foundation’s work in a nationally televised broadcast. The Foundation swiftly exercised its legal rights to correct the record. It will not hesitate to do so again.”
Meanwhile Tasmania Police has not found who was responsible for alleged incidents in tree spiking in central Tasmania last year. The investigation is now closed.
The Senator’s apology will be published on his website for at least 14 days.
Senator Duniam had previously apologised to Senator Hanson-Young for comments made during the same programme. See below:
APOLOGY TO SENATOR SARAH HANSON-YOUNG
On 20 April 2021, I participated in an interview on Sky News with Rita Panahi concerning an anti-logging protest.
During that interview I made some allegations about Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. I accept that the claims made about Senator Hanson-Young during that interview were
false and defamatory.
I unconditionally withdraw those claims and unreservedly apologise to Sarah Hanson-Young for the hurt and offense caused to her by reason of my conduct.