By rights Flanagan, an acclaimed, award-winning novelist, should be one of the Apple Isle’s most recognised ambassadors. His books, such as Death of a River Guide and Gould’s Book of Fish, have shone an internatinal spotlight on Tasmania’s history and charms.
But Flanagan says he’s in the bad books, blacklisted by Tourism Tasmania for his vocal opposition to the Tasmanian government’s forestry policies.
“I’ve been aware that has been the case for some years,” Flanagan told the Bulletin, following an email last wek from an overseas journalist who tracked him down via his agent after the tourism authority resfused to help.
“I’ve been told by people that work for Tourism Tasmania. One person told me that they were told they would lose their job if they made any introductions of a journalist to me. Another raised the issue as to why Tourism Tasmania didn’t allow visiting journalists to speak to me and they were told I didn’t toe the line. It is remarkable that simply because of a difference of opinion on policy that you would blacklist anybody.
“It is completely incomprehensible anywhere else in Australia … you can’t imagine the West Asutralian tourism board saying journalists aren’t allowed to speak to Tim Winton because of a difference of opinion on the Ningaloo Reef.”
Tourism Tasmania did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
Flanagan says it’s “a small illustration of a much larger culture of intimidation … now writ all over Tasmania.”
“I’m lucky because although I live here, I don’t draw my income from here,” he says.
Flanagan spoke at a rally of more than 10,000 people in Hobart last week opposing the planned Gunns pulp mill.
Katherine Fleming Bulletin,Nov 27: Tasmania’s best-known author says he has been blacklisted in his own state
RICHARD Flanagan is Tasmania’s “best-known literary star”, according to the state’s tourism body. Just don’t ask to speak to him.