More than 200 people rallied outside the State ALP conference at the Country Club Casino in Launceston on August 6. Health workers, teachers, child protection workers and police protested against public service budget cuts. TAP into a better Tasmania protested against the pulp mill while Code Green called for the protection of native forests. The premier and other Labor ministers came out to talk to the crowd but did not back away from their plan to make drastic cuts to essential services.
Dressed mainly in black, with black flags and banners to show the death of democracy in Tasmania, 6000 people took to Launceston’s streets on May 14 to oppose Gunns’ proposed $2.3 billion pulp mill, to be built on the banks of the Tamar River. The rally was told that democracy died when the state parliament passed the Pulp Mill Assessment Act in March 2007, which, in the words of Tasmanian Greens MP Kim Booth, had “imposed a ... monster on your valley”.
“We have been betrayed by our members of parliament,” ABC television personality Peter Cundell told a rally of more than 1500 people protesting against the proposed Gunns Ltd pulp mill on March 20. “They have betrayed the very people they are supposed to represent. This is only the beginning ... We are going to defeat this mill, make no mistake about it.”
Award-winning novelist and environmentalist Richard Flanagan gave the speech below at a March 19 rally north of Launceston against the forest giant Gunns’ proposal to build a pulp mill in the nearby Tamar valley. * * * Seven long years ago [then Tasmanian Premier] Paul Lennon and [former Gunns chairperson] John Gay decided they would build their pulp mill. The people did not agree. They tried to silence us, to intimidate us, to threaten us, to break us and destroy us. Lately they’ve even tried to flatter us and to divide us.