An urgent call to action from our Managing Editor, Tim Andrews:
The radical extreme left environmental movement has launched an attack on Australia’s economy, seeking to scare off investment, and blackmail/harass/intimidate business into destroying jobs, and no-one in the media has said anything about this.
This is the great sleeper issue, by which the left want to take over our entire retail supply chain, and unless we take action now, they will get away with it.
Some of you may already be aware that reckless activist organisations such as Greenpeace, the WWF, and GetUp! have commenced a long-term campaign to bully and intimidate Australian businesses to succumb to their demands, in particular through programs such as ‘Markets for Change” and the demand for “voluntary” certification. This campaign of harassment centres around threatening a business that if they do not comply demands and participate in the far-left’s “voluntary” certification program, that these organisations shall engage in a concerted campaign to damage the business. If the business does not comply, then the same demands are made of retailers to boycott the business, or face similar negative consequences. As a result, these bodies are generally successful at capturing large sections of the global supply chain. And please note, this type of “greenmail” would be illegal under the Commonwealth Trade Practices Act, if it were not for the specific exemption for “environmental” organisations.
This type of unethical behaviour has already been seen on numerous occasions in New South Wales. Perhaps the most prominent of this was the “noHarveyno” campaign, which targeted the retailer Harvey Norman for sourcing furniture with wood products sourced from Australian timber, processed in China, then re-exported to Australia. These products were in full compliance with both Australian and Chinese law, however the campaign’s demand was that Harvey Norman only source products that it certified. Similarly, retailers such as Woolworths have been targeted by the campaign Wake Up Woolworths to only stock certified paper.
The most recent, and most disturbing, action taken by these groups to damage the New South Wales economy has been their unwarranted attack on Solaris, a leading paper manufacturer in Australia, which I previously wrote about. Essentially, Solaris invested $20million to build a manufacturing plant in Greystanes, creating jobs in an area the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports as having the third-highest unemployment rate in New South Wales. Solaris also expressed its desire to expand the plant in future years. This was a tremendous opportunity for the local economy, as well as for New South Wales residents overall as it supplied consumers with high quality goods at a cheaper price. All timber used is certified by independent auditors as being legal in origin, and Solaris has a biodiversity program in place that far exceeds legal standards.
However, as Solaris has refused to be intimidated into joining ‘certification’ programs, a concerted campaign has been launched to intimidate retailers not to use Solaris’ products, which, as smaller retailers are unwilling to oppose the multi-million environmental machine, has succeeded in ensuring that production at Solaris’ plant has ceased. As a result, there is a brand new manufacturing plant in Western Sydney, capable of significantly boosting the local and regional economy, laying idle.
But Solaris is not the issue here, they are just the latest example. The real issue is the overwhelming evidence of a multi-pronged, long-term strategy by radical environmentalist organisations to capture the global supply chain, with the WWF’s own documents identifying 100 companies affecting around 50% of all production globally that they wish to target. Greenpeace’s Head of Research recently made the staggering admission of the underhand tactics they shall use in colluding to greenmail businesses, saying that Greenpeace “is willing to play the role of good cop or bad cop in partnership with organisations [to] drive organisations to partner with groups that seem more middle-of-the-road in orientation”. I further note that in their internal documents, the WWF poses the question as to whether there will be a time when consumers will not have a choice between products that do and do not meet their standards admitting: ‘Absolutely ...”.
If you have not already done so, I would strongly urge you to read the stunning expose “Naked extortion? Environmental NGOs imposing [in]voluntary regulations on consumers and business” released in September by the Institute of Public Affairs, which demonstrates step-by-step the unethical intimidating and harassment campaign planned by these bodies against job-creators in Australia. This is a must read, which details step-by-step just what these radicals are trying to do, and shows what will happen if we let them get away with it.
Although all of Australia is affected by this campaign, NSW seems to be the central target at the moment, so, I ask you all to write to the NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, to ask him to take the following actions. Because if he does not, then investment in New South Wales shall be significantly limited, residents will no longer have access to low-priced products, and consumers will be denied the right to select for themselves what products they choose to buy.
Premier O’Farrell’s details are:
Mr Barry O'Farrell, MP
Level 40 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Please write to Barry O’Farrell TODAY, and ask him as a matter of urgency that:
1)That the NSW Government institute an urgent review of the actions of Greenpeace and the organisation “Markets for Change” to access their impact on:
a) Lost job opportunities at the Solaris plant in Greystanes
b)Investment in New South Wales
c)Jobs and Economic growth in New South
d)Possible breaches of any legislation due to blackmail, harassment, and intimidation
e)The affect they have on the capacity of legally-constituted businesses to trade.
2)That the NSW Government raise the issue of Greenpeace’s charitable status with the Federal Government, noting that both Canada and New Zealand recently revoked Greenpeace’s deductable-gift-recipient status on the basis that it is a political organisation, not a charity (and it would seem obvious that threats to business to cease certain sorts of trading is political, not charitable)
The current NSW Government was elected with a strong mandate to stand up to special interest groups, and bring in real change for New South Wales and reinvigorate the local economy. We need to hold them to this promise, and taking action on this matter is critical to achieving these objections.
Make no mistake: if we let the radical left get away with it in this case, then they will increase their campaign to all industries, and all of us will suffer.
It is time to draw the line in the sand
It is time to take action NOW!
Tim Andrews is the Managing Editor of Menzies House.
UPDATE: Councillor Ross Grove, from Holroyd City Council (which covers the Greystanes area where the Solaris plant is located) has put up a statement on his webpage. An extract:
Holroyd Councillor Ross Grove is calling on Greenpeace to immediately end their unreasonable vendetta against Greystanes-based paper-manufacturer Solaris after a research report from the Institute of Public Affairs exposed the organisation’s hardline approach to intimidating the corporate sector in order to make them sign up to their agenda.
Update 2: Here is a copy of my letter to Premier O'Farrell
Update 3: Please join our facebook page against Environmental Blackmail to express your opposition to these gutter tactics by the left!
Update 4: Andrew Rohan MP, Member for Smithfield, has raised this as a Notice of Motion in the NSW Parliament. Read here (at #796)
Update 5: Make sure you read the IPA's expose of the whole scam here