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No Rick (# 14), no one from the Tasmanian media contacted me for comment about the e-mails. I guess you are not really surprised – after all the glory days of real investigative journalists like Michael Stedman, Simon Bevilacqua and Sue Neales are over, as you point out.

In defence of the indefensible, Les Baker trots out the hoary (or is it whorey?) old chestnut about Hampshire being ‘on the edge’ of the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. “The conservationists would have gone troppo about that – you would have been able to see the stacks from the national park.” This piece of blatant misinformation is typical of what Gunns have been feeding the people of Tasmania (and the ASX) for the last seven years.

Anyone with a computer can measure the precise distance between Gunns now mothballed Hampshire wood chip mill and Cradle Mountain peak – it is precisely 47.6 kilometres as the currawong flies. Now in a pulp mill built in a remote location with a good air flow, like Hampshire, there would be no need to build a 130 metre high single stack to ‘punch a hole through the inversion layer’, because there is no inversion layer.

You would save money by building three shorter stacks, one for the recovery boiler at around 80 metres high, another one for the power boiler at around the same height and one for the lime kiln at probably 40 metres high. Let us assume, for the sake of the exercise, that the top 40 metres of the two taller stacks are visible above the tree line from some distance. The critical question is what angle would a 40 metre object subtend at a distance of 47.6 kilometres to a tourist standing on the summit of Cradle Mountain of one of those rare days in Tasmania when the visibility is not reduced by FT regeneration burns (or rain) and objects up to 50 km distant are visible.

It is a simple trigonometric calculation – the tangent of the angle is 0.04 divided by 47.6. If those of you who have a scientific calculator, or possess an old book of ‘trig tables’ (even more ancient history) and look up the tan-1 of 0.00084 you will see that the height of the stack above the trees will subtend an angle of just under 0.05 (one twentieth) of a degree, or 3 arcminutes. One arc minute is the angle subtended by an object one inch in length at a distance of 100 yards.

So if our tourist had 20/20 vision he, or she might just be able to make out the two stacks as tiny specks through the blue haze on the horizon. Would the view be spoiled for our tourist? With the magnificence of Lake Dove below them and the panorama of the National Park extending 360 degrees all around I doubt whether one tourist in a thousand would even notice the stacks. They certainly would not be as offended by these two specks as by the devastating vistas of clear-felling they see going too and from the National Park!

But the matter is now academic, or soon will be. I point it out as yet one more example of the distortions in which Mr Baker engages to cover his former lust for the handsome dividends he imagined would come from pulping the native forests of the East and South of the State. And what of his assertions that “The North-West didn’t have anywhere near the amount of wood required, which meant that you would have to take from the North-East wood catchment.” Hello-ooo??

Log trucks were going to come from as far afield as the Huon Valley and Bruny Island to feed Long Reach – what exactly was the difference? The difference other than the fact that Gunns probably planned to continue exporting 1 million tonnes of plantation woodchips from Hampshire while they pulp a further 4.5 million at Long Reach. If Mr Baker had half as much intelligence as he had bluster he would have been able to see in 2005 what Greg L’Estrange now sees too late in the piece – that importing plantation wood chips across Bass Strait would have provided a much better environmental and social outcome.

Had he listened to me at Canberra Airport in September 2007 instead of swearing at me he might now be the proud General Manager of the fourth largest pulp mill in the world at Hampshire. Some people are their own worst enemies!

First published as comment on the article below, Ancient History

Yesterday on Tasmanian Times: Gunns:  No way to establish emails’ veracity. Les Baker: I wrote some; they are ancient history ...

• TAP Into A Better Tasmania: TAP to black flag Gunns‟ temporary head office in Lindsay St today beginning at 10 am.

“We are declaring Gunns’ head office a crime scene and Gunns a criminal organization in receipt of stolen goods,” stated TAP spokesperson, Bob McMahon.

Members of the Legislative Council will be going there today for a brief-ing from Gunns. Tony Fletcher, ex MLC and Gunns enforcer, has said that Gunns “will not be pulling any punches”.

“The MLC‟s will be instructed to endorse the IG Forest Agreement so that Gunns can quickly get its hands on the $23 million of public money and push ahead with more illegal work at the Longreach pulp mill site.

“The more money they spend on site, the better position they are in to de-mand further compensation from the public should any future legal action go against them or should other contingent circumstances propel them into a further round of compensation claims on the public purse.

“All this comes at a time when so many essential services in Tasmania have been slashed. Gunns would seem to be Tasmania‟s only real „essential service‟, the only deserving recipient of scarce public money.

“Bad luck for young nurses looking for a job. Or for teachers just finish-ing their training. If any young person fancied a career in policing you can forget about it.

The company and its interests are much more important than education or health or police and advancing the Tamar Valley pulp mill has always been the main game for state and federal Labor. As it has for the state and federal Liberals.

“Now is certainly not the time for the Tasmanian Greens to be aiding Gunns in this. Now is certainly not the time for Greens ministers McKim and O‟Connor to be working to cut public funds from health and education while supporting this disgusting package for Gunns, or what-ever they may choose to call it.

“The state Liberals are beginning to break from their crazed support of all thing Gunns, but nothing they can say or do can lessen their responsibility for aiding and abetting, with Labor, the transference of vast public re-sources of forests, water, land and public money into the company‟s mo-nopolistic clutches in the first place.”

• Code Green: Protesters block entrance to Gunns Ltd’s Lindsay St office

Twelve representatives of the Launceston direct action group Code Green have this morning blocked the entrance to Gunns’ head office in Lindsay Street. The protestors linked arms, displayed a banner reading ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’ and prevented state politicians from meeting with the troubled company. Code Green are dismayed that more money has been offered to Gunns by the Government.

We are shocked that this private company has been financially supported by our Government for so long. Tax payers money has been spent over and over again to support Gunns, the community would like to see this money spent on our hospitals or schools which have been threatened to close. said Joanna Pinkiewicz, a Code Green spokes person.

We have no real leadership in this state. We have been seeing corruption and dishonesty in our Governments actions relating to Gunns permits and approvals for their Mill over and over again. We are now seeing tax payers money given to them on the plate to help them resume trading. Ms Pinkiewicz said.

Our opposition to the mill will continue. We are determined to support the community in their efforts to stop the mill from being built. We urge people to display their dissatisfaction with the current labour government by speaking out and not supporting them in the next election.

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• UPDATE:

Code Green
Thursday the 15th of September 2011

40 Protestors today staged a peaceful protest at Gunns Ltds Lindsay st office. The conservationists entered the gates and displaying banners reading ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, NO FINANCE, NO PERMITS, NO BRAINS and WHY AM I PAYING GUNNS DEBT?. The protestors are outraged more money has been offered to Gunns by the Government.

We are shocked that this private company has been financially supported by our Government for so long. Tax payers money has been spent over and over again to support Gunns, the community would like to see this money spent on our hospitals or schools which have been threatened to close. said Joanna Pinkiewicz, a Code Green spokes person.

Our opposition to the mill will continue. We are determined to support the community in their efforts to stop the mill from being built. We urge people to display their dissatisfaction with the current labour government by speaking out and not supporting them in the next election.

The protestors left Gunns property when warned by a Gunns representative they would be arrested if they remained on site. The protestors then continued to display the banners outside the gate. One protestor remained seated inside the compound after the others had left.