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17 Feb 2016

The Minister For Ta Ann Falls On His Chainsaw

Harriss being feted by the Asian Timber Mafia in Sarawak
Obsessed forest destroyer and 'Asian Timber Mafia' frontman Paul Harriss has resigned as forests minister from the Hodgman Liberal Government of Tasmania.
On the same day as ex-Tasmanian Liberal President Damien Mantach pleaded guilty to defrauding $1.5 million from the Victorian Liberal Party, Harriss has quit politics for ever. 
On Friday February 12, 2016 Harriss informed the Premier he was quitting politics. Five days earlier Harriss put out a 'thought bubble' media release about using the Ta Ann site in the Huon Valley to burn trees for electricity. This was after his government had drained all the hydro electricity dams in Tasmania and the Basslink undersea electricity cable had failed. Pretty late in the day to start floating an alternative electricity plan you would think?
Also in that media release Harriss had said "The current stage of the EoI (for Southern forest residues) process concludes on 17 February, and I will have more to say after the closing date about the way forward".
So five days before announcing his retirement to the Premier, Harriss says he will be around after the 17th of February. This turned out to be the actual date he publicly retired. Harriss had considered his retirement for 5 days or less? Rather hurried you would conclude?
The Southern 'residues' conundrum.
To Paul Harriss the export of what he calls 'residues' (but everybody else calls the Worlds best carbon sinks) from Southern Tasmania was an extremely important problem. He had even wanted to export these wood chips from the centre of Hobart but people just laughed at him. He had a wharf at Triabunna without a chip mill or road access and he had a burning need to destroy forests for the Asian pulp market. He had put-out an expressions of interest proposal for getting the chips out of Southern Tasmania but what happened? Didn't he get a single proposal? He certainly had nothing to announce on the 17th February except he was now 'residue' himself.
As the 'Minister for Ta Ann' there is another lingering doubt about Paul Harriss.
The Labor-Green Tasmanian Forests Agreement was repealed 2 days after Ta Ann got their final payment under the agreement on September 1, 2014. Is this a coincidence given Harriss's free trips to Sarawak, home of the 'Asian Timber Mafia'? We suspect Harriss slowed-down the passage of the TFA repeal bill by inserting 15 pages of amendments before it went for a vote in the Upper House.
Any errata or new information on the Harriss resignation is welcome by IT. Please add to 'comments'?

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