Tasmanians Write in Chinese About Pulp Mill Issues to Prime Minister


MEDIA RELEASE June 24th 2008

As a last resort Tasmanians have written to Prime Minister Rudd in Chinese.

“We apparently have a Prime Minister who doesn’t understand English”, asserted TAP spokesperson, Bob McMahon. “Therefore we have written to him in Mandarin, a language in which he is reputedly fluent.”

“No matter how often we write to him or his ministers in English, concerning the socio-economic, legal and environmental impacts of the proposed pulp mill, we are sent bizarre forest industry propaganda and information sourced from the pulp mill proponent, by way of reply. Does Kevin Rudd have any idea how insulted the people of Tasmania are at this behaviour of Federal Labor?” continued McMahon.

“There is a chance that Rudd’s advisers and ministers are blocking our correspondence to the Prime Minister in their effort to run an unseemly and ill-informed pro-pulp mill line. We are trying to inform the Prime Minister that he has been led astray. That is why we have written to him in Chinese.”

The letter was sent Priority Post on June 2nd 2008. As yet there has been no reply.

“There has never been a full assessment of the Gunns pulp mill proposal. The disenfranchised people of Tasmania are, in this letter, demanding that one be undertaken,” said McMahon.

Many independent groups and individuals have expressed severe reservations about the risks, potential hazards, location, costs and supposed economic benefits of the mill. They include CSIRO, ANZ Bank, RPDC, former member of RPDC pulp mill panel Dr Warwick Raverty, National Toxics Network, Beca Amec and 128 independent scientists.

None of the serious concerns raised by these groups and individuals have been assessed, nor have any steps been taken to protect the public from the identified hazards.

“There can be no way forward in Tasmania unless Federal Labor and State Labor understand that the huge risks the Tasmanian communities have been exposed to represents a massive breach of faith between our paid representatives and the taxpayers who pay them,” said McMahon.

“We want equal treatment with Gunns and the forest industry. For too long they have had many favours supplied at taxpayers’ expense, from legal, resource and cost exemptions to huge and unaffordable subsidies.”

“As long as one group is treated differently under the law and provided with preferential access to the ear of government, there can be neither fairness nor equity in Tasmanian society. Remedy this situation, Mr Rudd, or lose Tasmania,” concluded McMahon.

CONTACT: Bob McMahon  0448 547290
Email   bob@orielstudio.com.au



Text of letter to Prime Minister Mr Rudd, written in Mandarin language.

To Prime Minister Kevin Rudd: 


“Incompetent aides shielding a good king are like clouds overcasting the sun and the moon”

In the past, Bi Gan cut open his heart to show his loyalty; Qu Yuan committed suicide to warn the king of corruption. 

These days, we people in Tasmania have to write the Prime Minister a letter in a foreign language as a last ditch attempt to get your attention.  We have written numerous times to Canberra about the Tasmanian pulp mill and were stonewalled.

We represent a broad community in Tasmania who are deeply concerned about the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of Tasmania.  We are in grief that our voices and concerns have been ignored by the Tasmanian Premier and the Minster for Environment, Heritage and Art.  As a group who supports the Prime Minister and its new government and directions, we understand our concerns may not have been brought to your attention as you are inundated with various issues.

After consulting various stakeholders in Tasmania and conducting extensive internet research on similar pulp mills around the world, we opine that:

In calculating the economic benefits the pulp mill may bring to Tasmania, other social costs should also be considered, such as expenditures on building new roads, maintenance of roads, supplying water at a low price, health issues arising from environmental pollution and the subsequent costs of health care.  If these costs, estimated to be over $250 million per year, are excluded from the calculation, it is the community who will eventually have to bear these costs.  This will be a form of subsidy to a private company at the expense of the general public in defiance of the spirit of democracy.

The socio-economic risks of the pulp mill are extremely high.  Official assessment covered only 15% of the total impacts that we gathered from consultation and research.  The official assessment was incomplete.

Ignoring public voices and proceeding regardless is like “plugging one's ears while stealing a bell”. The people’s voices will get louder and louder and the government will eventually suffer in consequence.

We urge the Federal Government to conduct a detailed and independent review of the pulp mill proposal before it is built.  The Government should fully consider the interests of all Tasmanians and its industries, including impacts on tourism, operating and production environment, quality of life as well as property values. If the Government only listens to one party by getting information and data from the logging industry alone, how can you fairly govern your people?  How can you convince your people of the correctness of your policy?

We look forward to meeting the Federal Government and offer a briefing on the political, social, economic and health costs and risks that have been ignored so far.

 “The Great Learning teaches the display of illustrious virtue, the caring for the people, and repose in the highest good.”  The Prime Minister should care for the people by listening to us directly and seek a satisfactory solution to the issue.

 “Wretched flies turn black to white. Blandishing opinions distance one from one’s closest allies.”  In a democracy, your closest allies are the voters and we appeal to the Prime Minister to keep this in mind.

Signed on behalf of the disenfranchised people of Tasmania

Robert McMahon
26 May 2008

Robert McMahon
0448 547 290