One hundred people filled Rowella Hall on Friday 25 February to hear from their politicians.
Like all Tasmanians, Rowella is represented by nineteen state and federal representatives.
The gravy train is long and the trough is deep and wide. Twelve senators, five members for Lyons, one upper house rep and one federal member for Lyons. They had all been invited.
Of the nineteen only Tim Morris showed-up.
Kerry Finch had a prior engagement, but the fact is, nobody from Liberal or Labor has ever appeared in Rowella. No Dick Adams or Michael Polley, or his sister, or Rene Hidding.
Remember Rene Hidding? Still riding that train.
The meeting was facilitated by local hero John Day. In lieu of their faceless reps, this community has developed its own leaders. They work for free as well.
John opened proceedings and reminded us the meeting was called last year in an attempt to question the politicians over the pulp mill. Two people from the audience had stuff to get off their chests.
Things like pulp mill odor and due process.
Tim Morris was then given the floor. One of the stories he heard was from a local woman whose house had been on the market for five years. Hundreds of people had tramped through it in that time, but when told the property was 1.7 kms from the pulp mill site they all turned around and walked away. This has caused great strain for her family.
This is not what people like Dick Adams want to hear. Its not the Labor dream. It’s a totalitarian nightmare. And keeping the nightmare alive are the Liberals and to some extent the Greens.
This is where many questions were going.
Tim gave an overview of the situation. Gunns nearly broke, federal permit imminent, state permits expire next August. Lara will probably renew them, but Greens are not ‘holding a gun at Lara’s head’.
That’s funny because Lara and her party are holding a gun at Rowella’s head.
Tim explained the Greens difficulty here. They can only act in response to ‘gross corruption’ which is also ‘business as usual’ in Tasmania. He invoked the terrifying specter of a Liberal Government, but I think even Tim could see that Rowella could be better off. They would tear-up Bill Kelty’s little exercise in forestry window dressing and start again. They seem less likely to give Gunns the last million dollars in the treasury as well.
At this point a motion was proposed and the meeting voted unanimously to ‘refuse Gunns a social license to build a pulp mill’. Labor talks a lot about ‘community input’ and ‘consultation’ but I bet they will all be studiously avoiding this voice of democracy.
That’s why the ‘Egyptian solution’ has become a catch-cry in the Tamar Valley.
If they refuse to listen to us then we will force them to listen.
For the record Tim said the Greens would definitely be ‘manning the barricades’.