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.
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