As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, and following the advice of public health authorities, we have made several changes to the way our Foundation operates, to protect the health of our staff, volunteers and the wider community.
From Monday 16th March, our Hobart office will be closed until further notice. It will reopen as soon as public health authorities advise that it is safe to do so, which is likely to be several months at least.
The Foundation can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by calling 03 6294 0620.
Our staff will continue working remotely, and thanks to modern digital communications, our campaign work will continue, turning to innovative ways to defend the natural world, while keeping people engaged, hopeful and, above all, safe.
We have cancelled our annual arts event, Tarkine in Motion, which was scheduled for the Easter weekend. Depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic develops, we will consider holding it later in the year and will advise everyone as soon as we have more news about this.
Finally, we have suspended our Forest Defenders’ Camp in takayna / Tarkine’s Sumac forest, in line with public health advice and to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers and the community.
Despite these temporary disruptions, we want to reassure all our supporters that our campaigns will continue, as strong and defiant as ever.
This is a time of great turmoil, hardship and sadness, as hundreds of millions of people struggle with this pandemic and the economic and social maelstrom swirling around it. This reality will inform every campaign decision and action we take in coming months.
Hope for the future of the natural world, of which humans are a part, has never been more important. So we will continue to take Action for Earth, with compassion for our fellow humans and care for this living planet which sustains us all.
Stay safe, with hope for the future.
As forest defenders battle to prevent the destruction of old growth rainforest and its wildlife at Que River in Tasmania’s Tarkine, Bob Brown Foundation has invited the Prime Minister and Premier Gutwein to visit the forests to see their World Heritage values for themselves.
Australia is in breach of the World Heritage Convention by sending the chainsaws in to this Gondwanan forest as it has demonstrable World Heritage values. The convention requires a full evaluation of the World Heritage values, including takayna / Tarkine’s rich Aboriginal heritage, before such damaging processes are allowed.As guardians of Australia’s natural and cultural sites of World Heritage significance, Scott Morrison and Peter Gutwein should intervene to protect the nation’s largest temperate rainforest until an honest appraisal of the 500,000 hectare Tarkine’s values is completed. This forest’s value as a carbon bank is a stand-alone reason for stopping the publicly-subsidised destruction.
Six Tarkine Defenders have been arrested after defending rainforest trees on public land from logging. Three people were charged with trespass while another three, who were chained to machines and a gate, were charged with wilfully obstructing a police officer and trespass.
If any more Australians are to be arrested in this climate and extinction emergency, it should be those behind the destruction of these takayna / Tarkine rainforests.
Sadly, ancient rainforests are now being logged in the Que River area (the forests of coupe BO102A) after two days of defiant protests and delay. But our protests will continue to defend these forests, as Tarkine Defenders stand up and say no to this logging.
More ancient rainforests will be lost unless the Australian Prime Minister and Tasmanian Premier step in and call the loggers off. With a warming climate, this rainforest is unlikely to ever recover. Logging of native forests needs to stop and needs to stop now.
Thank you to our brave takayna / Tarkine Defenders, on the frontline day after day, preventing logging of this magnificent old-growth rainforest.
Support our defenders and our blockade by donating here: bobbrown.org.au/donate
Get involved with the campaign by joining us on the frontline, email our takayna / Tarkine Campaigner, Scott, to find our more via firstname.lastname@example.org
WorkSafe ordering Bob Brown Foundation to "cease the carrying out of forest protests in the State of Tasmania"
Last Friday we were served with a 'prohibition notice' from WorkSafe Tasmania ordering Bob Brown Foundation to "cease the carrying out of forest protests in the State of Tasmania".
That notice meant that if we continued our peaceful forest protests, anywhere in Tasmania (whether in the Tarkine forests, outside Parliament House, or at a public meeting) we faced fines of up to $500,000.
But in a stunning victory, we have just returned from court where the WorkPlace safety regulator agreed to set aside the 'prohibition notice', effectively tearing it up.
This is a huge victory for the Foundation and a complete vindication of the right to peaceful protest.
We have a clear message for Tasmania's Gutwein Government.
No matter how you threaten us, we will never stop our peaceful defence of Tasmania's forests.
The logging industry and its political stooges know they cannot win the public debate about logging native forests, so they are desperately trying to shut down their critics.
They have tried before and failed, spectacularly.
In 2017, the Tasmanian Government's draconian anti-protest laws were thrown out by the High Court after being challenged by Bob Brown and Jessica Hoyt.
The Gutwein government is trying to resurrect these laws - but as they are just a rehash of those struck down by the High Court, and even more harsh in many ways, they are doomed to fail too.
This latest ham-fisted attempt by WorkSafe Tasmania, clearly directed by the Gutwein government, to stop our peaceful protection of Tasmania's forests, has now failed.
We know they will try again, so we need to be ready to take them on again.
It is vital we succeed - if we don't, other governments around Australia could follow Tasmania's lead and turn important workplace safety regulations into tools for banning peaceful protest.
The Forest Industries Association of Australia has already called for other governments to "follow Tasmania's example". Unions, human rights groups, and all other social change groups should be deeply concerned about this precedent.
Now we have emphatically won this first battle but it won't be the last.
We will need tens of thousands of dollars to cover our legal costs for this case and future battles.
This summer has been our busiest in the Sumac Camp. Hundreds of defenders and visitors have taken shifts occupying the camp, keeping the loggers at bay.
In March we hosted a visit from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre 's Cultural Camp and were able to share stories about our love for country and our actions to defend it.
And later in the month we hosted a mass of Takayna Ultra runners and volunteers who got the see how the support they generate becomes action for earth on the front lines.
Whether it's occupying treesits, taking a shift in the Sumac Cadillac, or helping feed the seemingly evergrowing team of defenders, we are thankful for all the support of these majestic -and still standing - rainforests.
– Scott Jordan, takayna / Tarkine Campaigner
2017 High Court ruling: ‘The implied freedom protects the free expression of political opinion, including peaceful protest, which is indispensable to the exercise of political sovereignty by the people of the Commonwealth.’
The Bob Brown Foundation has thrown down the gauntlet to the Tasmanian Department of Justice over its edict banning all the foundation’s forest protest activities. Acting for the foundation, Hobart solicitor Roland Browne has, this morning, asked the Magistrates’ Court to find the WorkSafe Tasmania prohibition invalid on multiple grounds (see link below).
“The government Prohibition Notice, issued on Thursday by its WHS Regulator, will be found invalid, that is, illegal,” Bob Brown said this morning in Hobart. The Gutwein government’s authority does not extend to suddenly declaring all community protest sites as workplaces or to a blanket ban our protest activity in Tasmania regardless of how safe or effective it may be.
Logically, what or who next? The Westbury prison site paddock made illegal for Westbury residents? Rosny Hill banned as a protest site until the WHS Regulator is happy? The Parliamentary lawns off limits to everyone with a grievance? The streets outside every politician’s office or town hall? Public meetings inside town halls (the edict clearly bans BBF from holding these for now)? Every union protest site? This is a Gutwein government absurdity.
The Solicitor-General must be rubbing his head in despair as he recalls the 2017 High Court judgement after the Lapoinya forest protests validating peaceful protest in Tasmania’s forests under the Australian Constitution. If the Work and Health Safety Regulator issued this ground-breaking notice without notifying both his minister and the solicitor-general, he should go. If ministers knew, and did not get legal advice, they should go.
The WorkSafe supremo would have been doing a better job had he ensured the pro-logging vigilantes had not attacked peaceful citizens driving to their Tarkine ‘workplace’ on Friday night. What action is he taking there?
We see this edict as illegal and are continuing our peaceful defence of Tasmania’s wild and scenic Tarkine,” Bob Brown said.
Bob Brown Foundation has moved to place the Gutwein government-backed edict banning ‘all forest protest activities’ on giant trees scheduled for logging throughout the Tarkine. It will follow up in the Southern Forest’s Swift Parrot habitats and other to-be-logged areas of Tasmania’s wild forests.
Under the government edict it is illegal to remove, damage or deface such notices, which must be displayed in ‘a prominent place’ and doing so ‘may incur a maximum penalty of $5,000 for an individual or $25,000 for a body corporate’. Sustainable Timber Tasmania, Ta Ann and Britton are body corporates.
‘If loggers remove, damage or display these notices on trees they are about to slaughter, they become liable to a $25,000 fine. So I presume they will have to calculate whether each tree is worth more than $25,000 to their profit line,’ Bob Brown said in Hobart today.
‘On first look, it does seem that WorkSafe Tasmania, acting with the Gutwein ministers’ collusion, has offered a tactic to bring a halt to logging in the island state’s contentious forests. And, of course, this intervention will rightly focus attention on what an unnecessarily dangerous industry old growth logging is.’
Responding to the edict today, Bob Brown said that the government edict may end up being an own goal.
’Meanwhile, this foundation was set up to defend Tasmania’s wild and scenic heritage and we will continue to do so. There are about a dozen citizens up at Sumac Ridge’s cathedral-like rainforest in the Tarkine, continuing their devoted work in protecting one of the world’s last great unprotected rainforests. Premier Gutwein should be ashamed that he is destroying rather than guaranteeing this magnificent Tasmanian asset.