Trish Caswell has had been well briefed since she joined the Victorian Association of Forest Industries in April. In an interview on ABC radio (30th July) she parroted the exact same industry rhetoric we’ve heard for decades: the need for ‘sustainability’, no job losses, that it’s better to log our forests than poorer countries’ forests, we all use paper so we have no option, the need to value add, and so on.
The old ‘compromise’ line was dressed up in new words: “Industrial systems need to work alongside natural systems and social systems”. She wants government money to get all players together and work out a solution that everyone is happy with (golly – that’s something never before tried).
However, a few extras were thrown in about which I had to call her to ask for clarification. Like how to log old growth and still maintain its values. Her answer to that was that she didn’t know if it could be done but is something we need to ‘work through’.
Caving in to immorality
When I asked how she could do such a turn-around on woodchipping in the eight years since she was arrested at the Tarkine she said we can’t keep saying ‘no’ to everything. As a well-known Earth Garden editor put it – “I thought this was called ‘holding a line’ when it was against something immoral, unjustifiable and horribly destructive, like slavery, child abuse, racism, domestic violence, old growth logging. But it seems that somewhere along the line of “keeping on saying NO” we’re supposed to say, “Oh, alright then”. She makes it sound virtuous and creative to cave in to immorality. And anyway, we’ve never “just kept saying no”. Dr Judy Clark has had the solution sitting on the table since 1995. In fact we’re all sick to death of talking about ‘existing plantations’, but it seems Trish has never heard of them”.
Trish Caswell’s only new media line tries to appeal to people’s softer side – she wanted the industry to ‘have credibility’ and ‘be loved’.