Saturday, July 3, 2010

Premier in the mood to chat. But was he really listening?

Last night about 10 residents of Launceston & the Tamar Valley braved the cold to take their message to the Inveresk tram sheds where the Premier was opening an exciting new exhibition of computer games through the ages. Local media guru Garry Stannus captured the moments where the Premier stopped to talk to protesters on his way home. Garry brilliantly photographed the moment and took some audio which he has transcribed for TPOS.
The exchange between Premier and the northern residents was clearly polite and good natured which is an absolute credit to these people who have been emotionally hit from pillar to post by Government and Gunns for four years of Pulp lies and injustices.
Why did the Premier stop to talk?
Why did he ask the questions he did?
What will he do with information he gleaned.
Does Mr Bartlett really expect us to trust him after his line in the sand backflip?


VARIOUS: Mr Bartlett, Mr Bartlett

MR BARTLETT: Yeh, I’ll come and have a chat with you
U/K: Good, that’s lovely
MR BARTLETT: Please don’t take a photo of [his son].
GARRY: Okay.
MR BARTLETT: Thanks. Hello how are you, [I’m] David
SUSIE: I’m Labor person, through and through, but I just want you to listen to us.
MR BARTLETT: Sure. Well, I’m here to listen. How are you?
U/K: Good for you. [polite, not ironic]
MR BARTLETT: You’re doing well ... cold out on a cold night
U/K: yes we are [friendly]
MR BARTLETT: and you’ve waited quite a while as well
SUSIE: we’ve waited because
FAIRLEY: it shows the passion of our purpose
SUSIE: you know me, I’ve been in the Labor Party for forty years,
SUSIE: and I love Tasmania
SUSIE: and we want you to do the right thing for Tasmania, and the pulp mill is not good here
FAIRLEY: we want a simple...
MR BARTLETT: Is there any, can I ask you a question, is there any circumstances under which a pulp mill, you know, if you think about it, if it was totally, um, chlorine free, if it was closed loop, if it was in another place, I’m just saying, I’m trying to ask you, is there a scenario and it was obviously all plantation fed and accredited by FSC, is there a circumstance under which you would say “No, that’s a reasonable project” ? Would you object or not? I just, I’m interested in
FAIRLEY: Well personally, I would say no
MR BARTLETT: Right, okay
FAIRLEY: for other reasons as well
FAIRLEY: Um, I don’t think it’s appropriate that we should have a pulp of that, of any size, if one was built, it could be the beginning of a lot more being, um, like that could just be the catalyst for further pulp mill and I don’t think that, I think Tasmania’s a small, it is a small place that is much more suited to small industry
SUSIE: Niche, niche industry
FAIRLEY: and – niche industry – and if – the thing about, when you have a big industry like a pulp mill and it’s not actually in the long run going to employ a lot of people it will only in the ... would, it would , not it will, it would in the construction, but the thing is that if ever, when the market goes down and it, and it gets um becomes a, a ‘no-no’, it’s not wor..., it’s not operating, you’ve got to find places for those people, we’ve found in many of the other industries have got to find work, now while Tasmania sticks to small industry, niche industry and, and export our...
MR BARTLETT: Look, look can I say, I’ll always want to find common ground and can I say I don’t disagree with you on small ... so I’ve created a portfolio of Innovation, Science and Technology myself
U/K: Yeh, yeh [polite]
MR BARTLETT: and I do believe that Tasmania’s future’s about an investment in innovation, and in science and research, technology based industry, I agree with all of that
MR BARTLETT: Is there anyone else here, like would ... that there are circumstances under which a pulp mill would be a reasonable thing?
LEE?: Sure [inaudible] set of circumstances [inaudible] I could see a possibility, perhaps it would be possible to have a pulp mill
GARRY: but the Tamar valley
LEE?: the Tamar Valley [general hubbub]
MR BARTLETT: so obviously, the place is very important?
LEE?: Critical.
CHRIS: Oh, it’s critical.
SUSIE: and with the MIS schemes there has been a vast amount of good arable land taken over by plantations
MR BARTLETT: Yeh. In lots of ways I don’t disagree and I’ve got to tell ya this
SUSIE: Clearfelling of ...
MR BARTLETT: in my first day as Premier I introduced the Prime Agricultural Land new state policy that ruled out, that ruled out tree plantations on
FAIRLEY: We don’t need any more plantations
MR BARTLETT: grades four, five and six land
U/K: yeh
U/K: One, two and three
MR BARTLETT: 1,2 and 3 lands, sorry what’d I say? ah, so I have made some moves in that direction
ESTELLE: that clearfelling of ... specially the Launceston catchment is very important, that’s where
MR BARTLETT: Well look, can I also say there’s some, there, obviously you are people who watch politics closely and there’s some really interesting times in politics, there’s new times and I’m very excited about it. It’s some interesting times where I think there’s some opportunities to think differently about it
FAIRLEA: Yeh, yeh.
MR BARTLETT: and there’s a group, there is some good groups of people and some good conversations about thinking differently about trees, about forestry
U/K: [inaudible]
MR BARTLETT: I agree with you totally
U/K: Not just like, ahm, combatitive like Kim and them, but
MR BARTLETT: Agree totally
SUSIE: but [inaudible] people [inaudible] together because all of us [inaudible] Tasmania
LEE? Are you going to talk to the community as opposed to vested interest, who call themselves the community?
MR BARTLETT: Yes, I understand what you’re saying there and I know
LEE?: This is the community of the Tamar Valley
MR BARTLETT: Yeh, I know and I do understand what you’re saying there. One of my, you gotta understand, one of my challenges always will be that as Premier you almost have to deal with peak bodies, or repre..., constituent bodies, very difficult to talk to every in, every one of five hundred thousand individuals, and ah, and I know when I look at what we’re doing at the moment and I think, in terms of the government and cabinet it’s working very well. I know Nick has his challenges, on his side, to convince people he’s doing the right thing and I have my challenges on my side [inaudible] doing the right thing.\
SUSIE: I want you to do something really good.
MR BARTLETT: Yeh, and, and when it comes to the conversation about trees, I, you know, I read Tasmanian Times and I read other bits and pieces and I see that I’m, that actually I could, um if you like, if you, if you, you know, take a whole view of it, sides, and I don’t think there necessarily is, but on the one, the timber side, I think there’s a lotta more united voice at the moment about wanting to move forward, wanting to change things, wanting to involve the environmental NGOs and I, I do actually see, when I see the politics which I don’t understand [inaudible] my side of politics but anyway I see there’s a fair few scoops opening up and I think that’s a dangerous thing because, if, if we’re ever to resolve this debate, there will be compromises, there won’t there won’t be a perfect world, it won’t be that no trees are ever chopped down in Tasmania
FAIRLEY: Nobody has ever asked that that should be the case
MR BARTLETT: Well, well, I have heard, I don’t, I’m not accusing any of you, no,
FAIRLEY: No, we’ve got to be realistic
MR BARTLETT: I have heard people say that and that’s a you know, we need to find a middle ground that is a sensible middle ground that also, um, sets us up for the future and gives people lives and gives people economic opportunity as well.
FAIRLEY: But there’s, there’re not the jobs in, ah, forestry as there used to be
MR BARTLETT: No you’re dead right about that
FAIRLEY: And that’s, so that when
MR BARTLETT: You’re dead right about that
FAIRLEY: Exactly, so
MR BARTLETT: And I don’t think there ever will be again
FAIRLEY: No, no.
MR BARTLETT: What there will be though, is opportunity to have a ... I don’t think broad-scale plantations, but I think on farms, small-scale eucalypts or native-forest based, but, not that, but plantation grown, and I also think, you know I get very disturbed when I hear people in the environmental movement saying that we should never cut down any specialty timbers again, because what’s gonna feed close to five...
FAIRLEY: [undecipherable hubbub]
MR BARTLETT: I know your people as well
MR BARTLETT: What I, all I’m saying to you is that this is a very um challenging debate with many many views and what I’m
FAIRLEY: And it’s gotta be better controlled
MR BARTLETT: endeavouring to do at the moment is create a environment in which people can come together and have a conversation about it,
FAIRLEY: Yes, good
MR BARTLETT: Share views, well we are doing that. We are doing that. Most definitely.
ESTELLE: You need that, not just the two, like the environmentalists and the loggers, you need the in-betweens
MR BARTLETT: the community,
CHRIS: you need the rest of the people
ESTELLE: and then it’s not adversarial, if you’ve got three people it’s not adversarial. It’s not as bad, is it? If you think about it. It’s not
ESTELLE: it’s not us and them, it’s sort of we
MR BARTLETT: anyway, I’ve gotta go and see my mum, she lives up in [...] She’s cooked me a beautiful stew, so I’m going home
FAIRLEY: Can we come along too? [pleasant joke, general laughter]
CHRIS: Have a very pleasant evening
FAIRLEY: and thank you for stoppiing
MR BARTLETT: [inaudible] out of the cold now
FAIRLEY: thank you very much
U/K: Whose is the camera?
U/K: That’s Garry’s
U/K: Garry’s.


  1. Well done to those who stayed. Sometimes patience is rewarded. This exchange is hopeful, but rather than being bailed up at opening nights such as the museum gig, Mr B needs to demonstrate a genuine willingness to have these kind of conversations with Tamar residents, and initiate a few of them himself. If he does, then I for one would be more inclined to believe he does want to listen, and it's not yet another political ploy to keep the punters happy and off his back. On the plus side it just shows what a few folk with tshirts, a banner, a camera, mic and plenty of determination can achieve. Looking forward to the federal election campaign folks. . . . !

  2. Pilko, you are becoming a very fine journo. Keep up the excellent work.

    Tom Ellison

  3. Thanks Tom. I'm just a hack with a passion.
    Hope you are enjoying le tour.
    Thanks to you Anne. Agree with your comments.

  4. Good job, Pilko - did you transcribe this from recorded audio? Makes interesting reading, but I wonder how much of it is sincere? (On Bartlett's part, that is - I don't doubt the sincerity of the protesters)