October 07, 2004


Another reason to vote for Howard:

The giant Tasmanian trees visited by Opposition Leader Mark Latham would be destroyed within months under Prime Minister John Howard's forestry plan, Greens leader Bob Brown said today.

"The 83m-high Gandalph's Staff in the Tolkien Forest, along with the Cave Tree which can accommodate 30 people in its hollow, will be a pile of woodchips," Senator Brown said.

"These 500-year-old trees which were given nationwide publicity when the Opposition Leader visited the Styx Valley, north-west of Hobart, are due to be cut down this financial year and will be if John Howard wins on Saturday."

Yes, that famous visit. The awesome Cave Tree so overwhelmed Latham that he movingly described it as "a big tree with a hole in it".

UPDATE. John Howard:

"Genuine deep Green voters are never going to be satisfied with anything I say or do," Mr Howard said.

"Sensible people will see this as a good compromise which takes the environment forward but which doesn't disrupt the lives of local communities and they are the sort of people I want to appeal to."

Posted by Tim Blair at October 7, 2004 02:06 PM

Come on Tim, after his 'stop me before I spend again' cash bonanza, John Howard isn't really in a position to be talking about 'sensible' people, now is he?

Posted by: Anonymous at October 7, 2004 at 02:34 PM

Whoa; wait on. 'Gandalph's staff in Tolkien's Forest'--?! We now have spelling-impaired hobbits dancing around a phallic symbol down the bottom of the garden?

Posted by: on spec at October 7, 2004 at 02:35 PM

The 83m-high Gandalph's Staff in the Tolkien Forest, along with the Cave Tree

If it were a parody it would be funny enough. I cant wait for the new directors cut of LOTR aimed at the growing green demographic starring John Howard as Sauron.

Posted by: nic at October 7, 2004 at 02:41 PM

Dear Tim,

Damn right. To be a real tree-hugger, firstly we need trees on a more human scale. How can you hug a tree with a girth of 200 feet? Saplings! That's what we need - more saplings. OK so they'll grow to big trees (with or without holes) but Mr H has a policy for that.

Next, kill all the seals.

As Cheech and Chong so eruditely observed "they eat all the @#$%^ fish"

Ah Wilderness - great movie, crappy policy.

But wait - there's more. How about we round up all the poofs in Tassie, put'em in the wilderness, get the petrol....

Ah Tim, it just keeps getting better.

Posted by: Offenbark at October 7, 2004 at 02:58 PM

Can't happen soon enough- if left to their own devices, those goddam elves mutate and turn into orcs. It's happening already- just look in the public bar of any Tasmanian pub on friday night.

Posted by: Habib at October 7, 2004 at 03:15 PM

Here's a good idea Offenbark, let's ban all logging in Australia and import all wood and paper products from overseas. You know how environmentally concious those Indonesian timber producers are and all...

What is an "old growth" forest that we hear a lot about? Why are previusly logged and regrown forests (typically logged more than 50 years ago) considered "old growth"? Can greenies tell the difference between land clearing and logging for that matter. Land clearing has been banned in most states already and forests do grow back.

Better start wing your arse with your hand Offenbark, ya goose.

Posted by: Antipodean at October 7, 2004 at 03:17 PM

you don't need to got to Tassie to see mutants. Just go out to Ipswich! There's more there per head (sorry, I mean two-heads)of population than anywhere else in the country.

Next time Mr Latham goes to Tassie for a stealth visit, I would suggest that he dresses up as an orc....he's sooo scary!

Posted by: Lofty at October 7, 2004 at 03:50 PM

The way Bob Brown is talking, Saturday's election will be a rerun of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with John Howard starring as ole' leatherface.

Posted by: George at October 7, 2004 at 04:08 PM

'Old Growth Forests' - Tasmanias swinging grey vote.

Posted by: Will S at October 7, 2004 at 04:11 PM

The Ispwich ones are more like dwarves and trolls- I think they got loose when the coal mines were opened out there.

Posted by: Habib at October 7, 2004 at 04:11 PM

It wouldn't be so bad if they used world class, world famous timber for useful things.

But, instead they turn it into woodchips. Not real smart. If turned into high quality, furniture standard wood it would probably be worth more, and be a more sustainable resource.

Use plantation timber for woodships. Not old growth forests. Simple really.

Posted by: Andy at October 7, 2004 at 04:50 PM

Here's a question, a serious one.

Given that something like 70%+ of Greens preferences eventually return to the ALP, why is Latham bending over backwards for Mr Brown?

Can someone explain this to me?

Posted by: Quentin George at October 7, 2004 at 05:25 PM

No-one else will play with him- he pulls their hair, and he chased one of the girls with his own poo.

Posted by: Habib at October 7, 2004 at 05:44 PM

Quentin I think that the ALP is trying to prevent their inner-city seats being lost to the greens.

Don't know why this is such a big deal to the ALP seeing as the in practice the greens would effectively be a branch of the ALP (in the House, anyway); maybe the ALP doesn't want a rot to set in where further seats are progressively eroded by the greens.

Posted by: Anon at October 7, 2004 at 08:06 PM

True, Anon, but doesn't Labor see possible Tasmanian losses to the Liberals as more damaging than a Green taking Cunningham? After all, if it ended with a hung parliament, Greens would support the ALP far more enthusiastically than the Liberal party.

Posted by: Quentin George at October 7, 2004 at 08:19 PM

why do orcs hate forests? Trees might have bigger brains.

Posted by: tug at October 7, 2004 at 09:14 PM

I've got a great idea. If inner city people love the forest so much why don't they close down where they work and close it up for wilderness? No? They don't want to loose their jobs? How selfish of them. Many a logger's family and friends would love to visit an old growth forest where they weren't sacrificed for its existence.

Posted by: Youngy at October 7, 2004 at 09:48 PM

Orcs love the forest, tug. Under the command of the mighty wizard Saruman we lovingly and tenderly pulled them down to fuel the furnaces of our mighty war machines.

That's how much we love trees.

*dabs eye with hanky*

Posted by: Quentin George at October 7, 2004 at 09:51 PM

What's the assorted parties policy regarding old growth forests in hippie's underwear and armpits?

Posted by: Habib at October 7, 2004 at 10:37 PM

Plantation forests are really good, but you gotta clear the old buggers first to provide planting space.

Posted by: DaveACT at October 7, 2004 at 11:56 PM

Gandalf's staff? Tolkien forest? But ah ha here is the cave tree. Let me guess - you walk in there and you get to face Darth Vader yet when you cut his head off it is really your head? How sneaky is that to incorporate Tolkien and George Lucas in the same forest? Talk about marketing savvy. Those Tasmanians really put their heads together to come up with this one.

Posted by: Rob at October 8, 2004 at 12:08 AM

Mr Howard should simply outbid Labour on the green vote. If he offered MORE protection for forests than Mr Latham it would cost the government comparitively little money and gain far more votes than it would lose. I'm a conservative and I believe in conservation, there's no contradiction there.

This would force labour to start bidding for lumberjack votes again, tie them in knots and upset the greens. It makes sense politically as well as environmentally. If you want to defeat your enemy, then sing your enemies song. Just a thought.

Posted by: Nick Mallory at October 8, 2004 at 04:22 AM