Image for Mark Poynter’s Devine defence breached

I see that Mark Poynter has been extremely active defending Miranda Devine against Richard Flanagan’s Drum beating: Miranda’s Gunns melodrama is just a lie (and on TT: The Devine Lie

In doing so he makes almost as big a goose of himself as Devine: Felled by an invidious green plot

In attacking Richard Flanagan’s credibility he drags in Eric ‘listen to Godwin Grech’ Abetz as a star witness, using a speech Eric Abetz made to loggers as evidence. According to Abetz, Richard Flanagan’s famous Monthly article ( On Tasmanian Times, HERE ), which had such an impact on Gunns and its mill, contained 70 errors of fact.

Yet, strangely in that speech Eric Abetz only ever listed five of these mistakes. That’s sixty five Eric never actually detailed. Never. But Mark Poynter, being a world expert on Tasmanian forestry would know that.

But it is kind of strange if Flanagan’s article is so full of errors that you can’t say what they are. Or could it be that they don’t exist? That the article was right?

And of the five supposed errors Eric Abetz did list, none held any water. ( For the Tasmanian Times debate on this: Answer this, Eric Abetz )

Just one example: Abetz said, ‘And contrary to Flanagan’s repeated assertions, old-growth forests aren’t harvested for woodchips. They’re harvested for craft wood, furniture, sawmilling and veneering. It is the residue which is chipped for paper, rather than simply being wasted.’

Being a world expert on the Tasmanian forest industry Mark Poynter would know this too is a load of cobblers, because Mark Poynter would read all the official documents such as Forestry Tasmania’s Annual Report for 2005-2006 where on page 92 it declares that out of the 2.77 million tonnes of native forest logged, 2.19 million tonnes were chipped.

That’s 79% of Tasmania’s forest chipped according to the forest industry’s own figures. The real figures are even worse because Forestry Tasmania was forced to admit in 2004 that logs marked as saw logs are often pulped and have been since the 1970s. The same figures can be found in any number of official industry reports.

That probably doesn’t worry Mark Poynter though because like Malcolm Turnbull he makes the mistake of trusting Eric Abetz.

Mark Poynter says Eric Abetz, is ‘a former Federal Government Minister with responsibilities for forests who would be expected to know just a little bit about these issues’.

Well, you’d hope so, and Mark Poynter, world expert on Tasmanian forestry believes so, but then why in the same speech did Eric Abetz say that there are ‘10,000-plus forest workers whose jobs Mr Flanagan seeks to destroy’?

Because apart from the fact that Flanagan frequently says he wants to see a job-creating forest industry rather than a job-shedding one, the most recent employment figures for the industry, given in the pro-industry Schirmer Report (2008) - which of course Mark Poynter, world expert on Tasmanian forestry, would also have read—including all softwood and plantation sectors—is 6300 people employed in the equivalent of 5870 full-time jobs. Which is 37% less than what Eric Abetz said.

All of which means Eric Abetz is about as reliable a guide to the forest industry as Miranda Devine.

But wait, there’s more ... Mark Poynter in another of his many comments on Flanagan’s article, also got stuck into those dangerous, violent greenies, citing the destruction of logging machinery as an example. For god’s sake Mark that was despatched nearly eight years ago, in this article on Tasmanian Times: HERE: Still waiting, Paul

I could go on, but that’s what Mark Poynter does so much better than most, so I won’t.