Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lost In the Woods


IT IS QUITE a few years since a copy of the Age was delivered on a daily basis to the Billabong, so it is no more than an assumption that Harvey Norman still buys the odd page of advertising space in Melbourne’s broadsheet. If the retailer does indeed continue to support that newspaper and its Silly sister, perhaps senior managers should find a moment to reflect on what they are getting for their money. They may think they are paying to reach a well-heeled demographic, people who will visit HN stores and spend big on furniture and wotnot, but the more obvious result of their advertising dollars would seem to be a deluge of slurs and abuse in the paper’s news columns. There is more of it today, with a story by Silly consumer  affairs correspondent Alexandra Smith alleging  a murderous assault on Boamabee State Forest koalas by timber-getters whose harvest of forest products eventually finds its way into HN showrooms:
"Harvey Norman claims its Naturally Australian flooring products are sourced from 'sustainable and renewable natural resources' when instead they are contributing to the destruction of Australia's native forests and destroying vital koala habitat,'' the group's report, to be released today, says.
Markets for Change calls on Harvey Norman to phase out selling products made from native forests … [and] to give their customers clear and accurate information about the source of their wood products."

The story doesn’t really stand up. The trees are being logged legally by a Boral subsidiary and processed at a Boral sawmill, with Harvey Norman’s involvement limited to re-selling the processed goods. If that logic holds, then the same eco activists who have caught reporterette Smith’s ear also should be up in arms about Global Mail benefactor and Greens mega-donor Graeme Wood, whose online travel agency encourages holidaymakers to burn the world’s petroleum reserves and torment polar bears.

But mention of hypocrisy is not the most curious omission from Smith’s story, which fails to mention Markets for Change’s campaign against Harvey Norman as one more example of the way in which the party of Rudd and Gillard has allowed green activists to shape its agenda and pervert the intent of the nation’s laws. The carbon tax is, of course, the classic case study, but little sops and green favours inserted here and then in legislation are just as much the product of the corruption that has characterised Canberra since late in 2007.

Briefly, in 2010 the Rudd-Gillard crew re-vamped the Trade Practices Act, which was re-christened the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and announced by Shirley Strachan impersonator Craig Emerson as a great tool for keeping wicked business interests on the straight and narrow. What Emerson did not mention at the time were the Act’s sanctions against organisers of boycotts – well most boycotts, anyway.

The notable exception, spelled out in Section 45DD – which, as far as is known, was not given that tag in honour of Emerson’s top-heavy former squeeze – permits boycotts if “the dominant purpose for which the conduct is engaged in is substantially related to environmental protection or consumer protection”.

And there you have it. A boycott that would be illegal for any other purpose can proceed without restraint because Labor licensed its green allies to harass companies and organisations they do not like. And the thing about the boycott’s organisers is that they do not like much of anything to do with commerce, which is perhaps to be expected from a crew led by a posse of World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and Australian Greens notables.

Oh, there is another curiosity about Smith’s story: there is little that is new about it. Markets for Change has been pumping out the anti-Harvey Norman propaganda for well over a year, re-cycling scares to keep its campaign in the headlines.  There are, however, stories it might have been interesting to see explored – potential lines of inquiry noted in May last year by professional forester Mark Poynter at Online Opinion.
 
But that would require a little more effort than the simple act of re-writing without question a well-funded lobby group’s latest press release.
                     




  

19 comments:

  1. How about we note those who advertise in the Age and invent sound “environmental or consumer protection grounds” to boycott them (and ring the advertiser to tell them that we don’t like the colour of the political cheer-squad they are funding)?

    The Irish Lion

    ReplyDelete
  2. A friend of mine used to run a joinery specialising in non-standard windows and doors. A few years ago he had some clients who were obviously the advance party for the greens now infesting the inner suburbs. It was all going beautifully until these clients insisted that my friend not use any rain-forest timber in their windows, source a specified softwood from a sustainable source and provide evidence of his goodness and niceness in a certificate.
    “No problems” my friend replied “I will attach the certificate in the contract in the same place where the warranty would normally be found”.
    Clients aghast!!!
    My friend explained that the timber they were specifying had very poor rot and pest resistance, so the normal ten year warranty would be reduced to six months.
    Greenies threatened to take my friend to VCAT, ACCC, the High Court, the World Environment Court etc, wanting their specified timber AND the full warranty.
    They finally returned, tail twixt legs, when they got the same response from every joiner in town.

    And this typifies the Greenie response – “I have high standards, which you must pay for.”

    To paraphrase G. Gordon Liddy “A liberal (read Greenie) is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.”

    The Irish Lion

    ReplyDelete
  3. Craig Emerson's ex-wife (CEEW) has double-d's? Surely you couldn't be referring to the yabby? There isn't enough eye-bleach in Australia to wipe that image out!

    Interestingly, it appears CEEW has gone down the memory hole - try finding a reference to her name anywhere today - much less an image!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 45DD is decidely not a reference to the Revered Head Yabby.
      To employ an Olympic metaphor, most of yabby's ballast is outside the scoring zones for boxing and fencing.

      The Irish Lion

      Delete
  4. Alexandra is another example of 'quality' journalism. It is far easier to simply reprint a green groups media release than it is to actual investigate a story and ask some hard questions about funding and benefits that Mark Poynter has raised.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.July 3, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Whoa. She's a 45DD, Prof? This mere 34-36C (depending on how French the lingerie) is a bit impressed. Guess she's used to dealing with weighty matters.

    Tony Abbott is going to have to deal with the substantive matter of 45DD though. It must be repealed, immediately. What a blatant free kick it is, hidden away there. Filthy Greens can bring down good companies by destroying their sources and markets, and laugh doing it. Good sleuthing, Prof.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Another Fairfax lefty stenographer. Alexandra joins Ben Cubby Environment & Adam L Morton. I have thought that they will not act as scrutinising journalists. I now think they cannot. They are literally incapable of it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good idea, Irish Lion.

    I would also like to see some sort of disclaimer appearing with the rubbish these 'quality' journalists are publishing, along the lines of 'I proudly support the UN and Agenda 21.'

    The above should also apply to 'their' ABC types.

    JMH

    ReplyDelete
  8. Never heard of "sanctions against boycotters" before and find it quite a shocking imposition. You'd think - again, see Bolt - that existing damages laws would take care of it i.e. if you say something untrue about a company they can sue you. If it is true then there's no problem airing it.

    What about that Jewish coffee chain who've been subject to store front protests? I take it there's no "anti-Israel" exception to the law? Though Melbourne city council might prefer otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually because there isn't a carve-out for political boycotts in the legislation the owners of the coffee shop were able to take action against the protesters.

      Harry Lime

      Delete
  9. I love the timber industry because they are hated even more than the mining industry I work in. How dare we produce stuff!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Timber can play the carbon sequestration (capture) card, ads on TV now are calling timber a green alternative. It's renewable too because you can just grow a new tree.

      Hyroelectrity is in the same boat too, remember when dams were so evil. Now they're a no-emission electricity alternative.

      Delete
  10. .. and so the Greens open up the hostile front on the state forests, which exist for one purpose.. sustainable logging!

    Boambee has been logged since 1900, according to the NSW DPI

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hope this isn't too off color (he's ok!). Someone with a comedic inclination has been updating Wikipedia regarding the Simon Sheikh incident. Keeps getting reverted of course but you can see the full page here,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Simon_Sheikh&oldid=500455925

    It started within minutes of his collapse.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Morton and Cubby are little more than megaphones for the greens.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The ABC TV news made some sort of effort to appear to be covering both sides of this story tonight. One is tempted to report to the police a possible hostage situation at the studios. Surely they'd only do this if there was an actual gun trained on them?

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's cold in the central highlands this time of year, so I ensure I have a "Carbon Liberation Ceremony" every day (formerly known as a "fire").
    Lovely to watch the deceased gum trees going up the chimney and try as I might the occassional juvenile koala gets tossed in by accident ... they roast up very nicely.

    Irish Lion

    ReplyDelete
  15. It is a well developed plan in action, based on a cocktail glass. The suppliers stem is the narrowest therefore most easy to 'influence' vis the consumers (the drink) and the producers, (the base). Read all about it here in Tim Andrews' most edifying research

    http://www.ipa.org.au/publications/1955/an-unsustainable-economic-transformation and here

    http://www.ipa.org.au/publications/1918/naked-extortion-environmental-ngos-imposing-involuntary-regulations-on-consumers-and-business

    ReplyDelete
  16. Aaaargh, sorry, that was Tim Wilson, not Andrews, please forgive or edit, or both.

    ReplyDelete