26 Aug 2007, Comments Off on There be signs and wonders

There be signs and wonders

Author: Helen

You know that scene in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar where, in the run up to a political upheaval, a bloke called Casca is seeing visions? Lions, ghastly women (well, Kath and Kim‘s back), birds in the marketplace howling and shrieking, that kind of thing.

That’s how I felt on Wednesday as I was listening to PM in the car and learned that a big corporate honcho, a man who had been criticised as yet another Howard political appointment, had grown a spine and had hit out in no uncertain terms about the disastrous proposal for a pulp mill in the Tasmanian Tamar valley, and the corrupted political process which is making sure it goes through. And he wasn’t pussyfooting around, either.

Passers-by were bemused by the middle-aged woman cheering in the Mitsubishi station wagon as tough guy Geoff Cousins growled:

GEOFF COUSINS: Here is a very serious environmental issue, the most immediate one in the country right at this moment, and the Minister for the Environment seems to be the Minister against it.


Quite frankly, the result of the Federal Election compared to polluting the environment is a trifling matter, as far as I am concerned.


And if that happens to give Malcolm Turnbull some discomfort, well, quite frankly I couldn’t care less. That’s just too bad.


And then this:

Mr Cousins said “there is no need to rush a decision just because Gunns want it to be rushed. If Mr Turnbull ducks it, it’s a joke, really it is.”

Oh, well done that man!

To add to the entertainment value, Malcolm Turnbull – a well-known machine man and headkicker of the Liberal party, as well as a wealthy and influential businessman, sooked mightily and claimed repeatedly that he was being bullied and he wasn’t going to stand for this kind of bullying.

Oh diddums.

To hear this from a member of the Liberal party, who has just tried to ram through an unpopular and inappropriate development for the benefit of Gunn’s Ltd — corporate bullies extraordinaire – just sends the irony meter into orbit. He doesn’t recognise Mr Cousins’ behaviour, because he’s not used to seeing it: it’s not bullying, Malcolm, it’s called standing up to someone or something. The Americans call it speaking truth to power. Oh, and Turnbull made noises about perhaps it’s time we looked at Cousins’ position on the Telstra board because of this. Threatening someone’s job? Who’s the bully, again?

Why is this unusual suspect coming out swinging?

The bushwalking fan said he became focused on the mill after reading an article by Tasmanian writer Richard Flanagan. He contacted Flanagan and Greens leader Bob Brown. They felt that rather than one of the “usual suspects” it needed “an unusual suspect” to fight the issue — “that’s why I came in”.
…Entrepreneur Graeme Wood also came out in support of Mr Cousins yesterday after appearing before Tasmanian upper house MPs to brief them about the mill’s potential costs. He said the mill would damage tourism and cost jobs.

Oh, the strangeness of it all. While Garrett stays silent on the Tasmanian environment, this guy comes out of… um… right field and says what Labor should have been saying all along. Malcolm Turnbull is “rattled”. The Rodent is “flummoxed”. I’m ecstatic.

Signs, wonders and miracles. On the other hand – maybe we’re just witnessing an outbreak of sanity.
Crossposted at Road to Surfdom

Comments (0)

  • […] Helen at Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony has a nice summary of this week’s brouhaha with the Minister for the Environment reacting badly to criticism from a fellow corporatocrat, Geoff Cousins, about the seemingly fast-tracked approvals process for a pulp mill in Tasmania. (GetUp has a campaign active aimed at encouraging the Minister to respond to public opinion against the pulp mill: Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull still has the power to veto the development of the pulp mill, and enough public outcry will put him under real pressure to do so. […]

  • Helen says:

    The Hoydens just reminded me I forgot to mention the GetUp campaign.

    Here’s the link.

  • shula says:

    I have to admit,

    it’s heartening.

  • Ariel says:

    Well said! It’s absolutely depressing watching politics win out over the values and desire to make a difference that got Garrett into Labor in the first place. I’m sure he is in politics for the right reasons – I’m just not sure that it will do any good. Here’s hoping that he is planning to really make a difference once he’s elected.

    It is nothing short of gobsmacking that we don’t, in the face of the evidence of global warming (among other things), put the environment before big business in politics right now. And what’s more depressing is that voters are not making it an issue they are prepared to vote on. There will be no plasma screen TVs, mortgages or second cars – no anything – if we don’t change the way we do things fast – in the next election cycle.

    Yes, this is a heartening story and sign. And it’s also heartening to see that writers and activists can actually change the way people think, or spur them to action.

  • Ann O'Dyne says:

    Out Of Right Field
    I am wandering around between the fields
    since Kevin announced his party had the same view of the pulp mill as Howard’s does.

    An Out Break Of Sanity

    The Libs will be dumping him in one of those
    outsourced to the private sector quarantine
    facilities with the sick horsies.

    Gunns have taken huge investment money from the Japs.
    The same Japs who sent us the sick horse.
    Don’t mention The War.

  • Helen says:

    I am wandering around between the fields
    since Kevin announced his party had the same view of the pulp mill as Howard’s does.

    But then I was always going to vote Green anyway. And Labor has been Liberal Lite for decades now.

  • Bruce says:

    Oooh oooh, I forgot to sign the GetUp campaign as well. I’d better soon ’cause it ends this week.

  • David says:

    Yes, all power to Geoff… having the integrity to stand for what’s right, regardless of party affiliations and without pandering to corporate croonies. We recently spent time in Tas enjoying an eco friendly stay and we want to go there again.
    Of course they want to rush this through without due process. They don’t want the public to have the chance to weigh up the environmental and social cost, detailed in the independent UniQuest report, its all government spin and profit for Gunns. Federal labour failing the lithmus test and coming up neutral.
    Thanks for the great post and lets all get onboard with Mr Cousins.

  • […] Helen on the Balcony thinks that the Geoff Cousins Affair is a sign that the conservative winter is ending. With such a possibility in mind, Jeremy Sear outlines a bold new strategy for Labor: capitulate on every front. Apathetic Gam and Sarah are similarly disillusioned with the Democrats. (They will probably vote for Mary Kostakidis if they get the chance). But perhaps they’ll change their mind when they hear about Andrew Bartlett’s scheme to harness the power of blogging to keep the bastards honest in their NT endeavours. […]

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