AEF Still Spells FAKE

The Australian Environment Foundation is a fake conservation front representing the forestry, grazing and agriculture industries, like the NSW Farmers Federation. Don Burke was their former figurehead president.

Don Burke is a well known Australian celebrity who blends public relations with gardening. He’s made his name through commercial gardening shows selling product. Since the demise of Burke’s Backyard TV show, Burke’s started selling ideas, encouraging us to destroy our last native forests so the rich can get richer.

“I think Gunns are desperate for some kind of friendly publicity, so it’s natural that they’ll attract someone to use who’s sympathetic to the mill”, says Peter Cundall, a Tamar Valley conservationist.

Burke has previously sent a message of support to a pro-pulp mill rally held in Tasmania. Now he reckons “If Gunns came to me and wanted to build it next door I’d have it,”

Last week dust covered Brisbane’s cars, and spoiled our recently dusted television screen. This dust, also known as soil, had been wind stripped from impoverished land. Land dying of thirst and starved of organic matter. Hot, barren land, stripped of its protective, rainfall enhancing, soil conserving, climate cooling, living forest cover.

Tasmania: shaved then flushed by its political leaders. Is this the time to build a pulp mill in the Tamar? Pulp mills eat indigenous landscapes, vomit dioxins and other poisons into the environment – air and water – and spit out toilet paper. It’s quite hard writing a letter of protest to the Premier of Tasmania on toilet paper.

South Australia is regulating the use of weedkillers – like glyphosate – that contaminate ground water where that water is destined for human consumption. Drought has finally lowered Adelaide’s water storage to the point that contamination can no longer be diluted or ignored. Something had to be done about the relative volumes of water to weedkiller.

It must take a lot of convincing, not to mention bamboozling, to get Tasmania, at a time that it should be actively reducing its greenhouse emissions, to risk intensifying them.

Remember the Australian Environment Foundation? A fake formerly fronted by a face – Mr Burke was their second fig-leaf president. The AEF likes to promote itself as a ‘science’ and ‘evidence-based’ environmental movement, and Burke claims he wants people to ‘keep an open mind’, but these are weasel words. The evidence is to be found in who set up the AEF. Jennifer Marohasy ex-sugar industry spin doctor, GMO propagandist and now chief Global Warming denialist for freemarket ‘think-tank’ the Institute for Public Affairs, was its founder. She drew together representatives of agribusiness – organisations like Auscott Ltd, Forest Industries Association of Tasmania and the NSW Farmers Federation with the backing of multinationals like Monsanto.

Sadly for the AEF, Australian journalists realised that this was not a real environment group but a front for interests vested in the global exploitation and destruction of our environment. Jennifer Marohasy soon moved aside for Burke, a better-known and less tainted former tv presenter.

The AEF, hiding behind fig-leaf president Burke, awarded an ‘environmental prize’ to Gunns. As reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The AEF is a smokescreen with one purpose: to confuse the non-expert into thinking that they care about the environment. Their methodology is the same as the tobacco industry which set up various fake ‘institutes’ and ‘research foundations’ to create confusion about the links between smoking and lung cancer.

Do not to mix up the AEF with the ACF – the Australian Conservation Foundation. This similarity is, of course, entirely intentional.

Jerry Coleby-Williams
10th October 2008