Mel Barnes

The annual student environment conference, Students of Sustainability (SOS), was held at Monash University from July 6 -10, attracting 450 participants to workshops on climate change, activism, Aboriginal rights, uranium mining, and other social justice and environmental issues.
Greens Senator Bob Brown announced on June 8 that Forestry Tasmania was demanding he pay $240,000 owed to them in legal costs before June 29 or else they would start bankruptcy proceedings against him.
Sixty police raided a blockade camp in Tasmania’s Florentine Valley on May 3. They removed road blockades so controversial logging of the area can begin.
On February 3, the first sitting day of federal parliament in 2009, thousands of climate protesters will encircle Parliament House, peacefully demanding the government take real action on climate change to ensure a safe climate future.
Whatever happened to Brenda Hean?
Directed by Scott Millwood
Written by Scott Millwood & Mira Robertson
Distributed by Gill Scrine & Little Films Whatever happened to Brenda Hean?
By Scott Millwood
Allen & Unwin, 2008
256 pages, $26.95 (pb)
A student at a Hobart High School was suspended two weeks ago for dying his hair a bright colour.
Tasmania Greens leader Peg Putt announced her resignation on July 7 after 15 years in parliament, with Nick McKim replacing her as leader.
Tasmanian Labor Premier Paul Lennon resigned suddenly on May 26, after an opinion poll revealed his popularity had dived to just 17%, and 39% of voters would have preferred Liberal leader Will Hodgman as premier.
Six hundred students from more than a dozen high schools and colleges walked out of school and gathered at Parliament House lawns in Hobart on November 1 to protest against Gunns’ pulp mill. The mill, planned for the Tamar Valley near Launceston, would be the biggest of its kind in the world and has been approved by both state and federal governments.
This year, Walk against Warming rallies are happening two weeks before the federal election. The rallies will be an important way for thousands of people across Australia to send a direct message to governments about the massive changes we need to avoid dangerous climate change. But more than that it will also give young people a voice and inspire them beyond the federal election to get active in grassroots campaigns to stop climate change.
On August 31, after booking a flight with Jetstar Airways, Duncan Meerding, a legally blind 20-year-old Hobart resident, phoned the airline’s service centre to request assistance in navigating on and off the plane, in navigating the Sydney Airport Terminus and with baggage recovery.
On August 30, the Tasmanian parliament approved an operating permit for Gunns Ltd’s proposed $2 billion Tamar Valley pulp mill. The independents-dominated upper house voted by 10 votes to four to allow the mill to go ahead.
The fight over Gunns Ltd’s proposed pulp mill, which has now moved to the national stage, is so contentious because it will determine the future of Tasmania. If this mill is allowed to be built, the logging of native forests in Tasmania will be massively expanded and an investment of this size would lock Tasmania into the logging industry for decades to come.
US President George Bush and PM John Howard are the world’s biggest climate criminals. The United States emits 25% of the world’s carbon emissions, and Australia is the largest carbon polluter per person in the world. Both countries are the only two developed nations that haven’t signed on to the Kyoto Protocol. For their entire political lives Bush and Howard denied climate change was even happening, but when people all around the world started to see the climate chaos taking place and put pressure on them, they grudgingly acknowledged that it is a reality.
Tasmanians from all walks of life are up in arms about Gunns’ proposal to build one of the largest pulp mills in the world in the Tamar Valley, near Launceston.
May 31 marked the first day of a court challenge launched by the Wilderness Society (TWS) against the federal government, which TWS claims has broken its own environmental laws. According to TWS, federal environment minister Malcolm Turnbull acted illegally by allowing a proposed billion-dollar Gunns Ltd pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley to escape proper assessment by the independent Resource Planning and Development Commission.


Subscribe to Mel Barnes