<Back to Article

  1. The excerpts from Bevilacqua’s article as presented above could create an inaccurate picture of the research and expert speculation discussed in Bevilacqua’s article.

    The paragraphs from “Which chemical…” to the end of the excerpts deal with the impact of chemicals on cancers and lymphoma in humans.

    This means that the “latest theories” suggesting “that chemical cocktails operate to first suppress the immune system and then introduce the cancer” are theories relating to human beings and their diseases, not yet to devils. 

    Any attempt to show chemicals to be the cause of the devil disease must explain why devils are dying in non-poisoned areas (eg deep within national parks) and why they are only starting to be affected now, when 1080 poisoning has been happening for decades and is now in decline.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  01/02/05  at  09:40 AM
  2. Kevin Bonham asks why the Tassie devils are dying in non-poisoned areas and why they are starting to be affected now.

    Perhaps the following information will help:
    (i)  Devils roam considerable distances. This week a TV show on the subject of the devil mentioned the animal can roam about 30-50 kilometres in one night. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    (ii)  The land converted to plantations in Tasmania has increased 4 fold over the last 10 years.

    (iii)  There has been a massive increase in pesticide use in Australia (and especially Tasmania) over the last 7-8 years.  See references to this in the ‘Pesticide Use in Australia’ report by the Australian Technological Scientists and Engineers (ATSE) group. This same reports states contamination of water is widespread in this State.

    (iv) There’s been no attempt by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment to carry out a risk assessment in relation to the above.  And the APVMA draft document on spray drift (July 2003) indicates that the current regime of pesticide use in Tassie = uncontrolled drift.  From my reading this means pesticides may often - most time, perhaps - be travelling 20, 50 or 100 kilometres from point of origin. 

    (v)  Yesterday the APVMA’s principal scientist (Dr David Loschke ) said on the Tas Country Hour “the possible synergies between different chemicals is still being studied.”  Perhaps this is a euphemistic way of saying that the results of studies done so far are ‘ringing alarm bells’.

    More in my sub on the proposed Gunns Mill under the ‘forestry’ link at

    Posted by Brenda Rosser  on  02/02/05  at  02:57 AM
  3. I should have written “Any attempt to show 1080 to be the cause of the devil disease ...” not “Any attempt to show chemicals ...”. 

    From the start of the debate I have been fascinated by the fanatical enthusiasm with which anti-forestry advocates have fingered 1080 as the culprit, when whatever else can be said against it, it seems such an unlikely suspect.  Its long established use is declining, it is administered on the ground rather than aerially, it is not a cumulative toxin and it biodegrades rapidly.  Furthermore, despite what is known about devil travelling distances, how often would a devil living deep within Freycinet National Park (where DFTD is rampant) eat a 1080-contaminated carcass?  If chemicals are contributing to the spread of DFTD in any way then there would be any number of more plausible suspects.

    I have not been able to find a transcript of Dr Loschke’s recent comments so I cannot comment on whether they were in the context of DFTD.  If so, the results of studies done so far on DFTD and chemicals could hardly already ring alarm bells, because at the time of the DFTD report of January 2005, such work was still at the proposal stage and there were no such studies. Unsubstantiated conspiracy-theory type arguments will not contribute anything useful to the debate.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  04/02/05  at  04:58 PM
  4. I have now found Dr Loschke’s comments in context.  The report stated: “The state branch of the Australian Medical Association has released a report documenting a significant increase in cancer in North East Tasmania. According to president Michael Aizen, doctors in St Helens are noticing the incidents of digestive tract cancer have increased over the past five years, and says there also been a six-fold increase in endocrine cancer since 1995. [..] Dr Loschke was involved with the review of atrazine, undertaken last year which cleared the herbicide of any link to cancer and other health concerns. He says the possible synergies between different chemicals is still being studied.”  Brenda Rosser has simply misapplied comments about human health research to the devil disease issue, without indicating that these comments related to human health.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  04/02/05  at  05:04 PM
  5. A Hypothetical
    If I had the misfortune to be ‘on the other side’, and I was looking at embarassing studies that pointed to a correlation between plantation industry activity and the incidence of ‘Devil’s Disease’, I might go so far as to arrange for some seriously ‘infected’ devils to be dropped of into National Parks. Or even worse just take them there, then have them driven out again and claim they had been found them in the park.
    With a bit of luck, that might create a red herring that would discredit the reports.

    Posted by Paul de Burgh-Day  on  05/02/05  at  03:47 AM
  6. Paul, is this meant to be some kind of indirect insight into the kinds of unscrupulous tactics that “your side” considers to be an acceptable way of doing politics on scientific issues?

    Firstly there is no formal study finding any potentially causative correlation between industry activity and DFTD, or indeed between DFTD and anything else.

    Secondly the evidence of diseased devils in national parks has been building for several years through monitoring projects and other observations that have nothing to do with the forest industry.  Or does Paul think “the other side” is everyone who is not a diehard green?

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  05/02/05  at  02:47 PM
  7. Now where have I seen your scribing before Kevin?
    You should look at the definition of the word hypothetical.
    My hypothetical deals with an action that I would consider to be despicable.  But casting my eyes around this planet of ours, I have come to realise that there are some people who would have no difficulty in executing this type of action. Even here in Tasmania.
    Meanwhile, for those with an inquiring mind, I recommend reading a book titled “The Shocking History of Phosphorus” by John Emsley [ISBN 0 330 39005 8]. Within its fascinating and chilling pages, one can read a 19th century medical description of phossyjaw, a very nasty affliction suffered by workers in match factories. A description of the process happens to bear a remarkable resemblance to the affliction being suffered by Tassie Devils.
    It is significant that most contemporary herbicides, pesticides and fungicides are derived from WWII organophosphates. As the name implies, they are derived from phosphorus.
    Now of course there is not a proven connection at this time. But in my more generous moments, I imagine the forest industry is keen to investigate this possibility, so that if there is a connection, steps can be taken to solve the Devil’s problem.

    Posted by Paul de Burgh-Day  on  06/02/05  at  04:46 AM
  8. Paul, I know exactly what “hypothetical” means.  In the context of debates like this, it means “an unfounded accusation dressed up as ‘fiction’ for the purpose of slurring the character of the opposing forces without having to even pay lip service to the processes of normal debate.”

    Furthermore, a woolly analogy between two diseases having some kind of similarity in symptoms but apparently completely different means of propagation is not a study pointing to a corellation between anything and anything else.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  07/02/05  at  10:01 AM
  9. Steering well clear of hypotheticals we have a number of simple facts to contend with:

    1 There is a serious disease killing Tasmanian Devils at an alarming rate.
    2. Devils are carnivorous scavengers that inevitably eat poisoned carcasses that contain relatively elevated amounts of of 1080 poison.
    3.Other carnivores (such as cats and dogs) are highly susceptible to the effects of this poison.
    4.The immune system is relatively little understood but there is incontrovertible evidence that various chemicals interfere with its functioning.
    5.Proving the link between long-term chemical ingestion and illness is notoriously difficult.

    It would seem more than reasonable to suspect that there may be a link between 1080 ingestion and DFTD but there is considerable reluctance to investigate this for what would appear to be political reasons.
    It is fairly obvious that the Forest Industry would be severely impacted - both on a practical level and in terms of PR - if 1080 poisoning were proven to be contributing to the spread of the disease.

    Irrespective of whether it is the direct cause of the spread of DFTD, 1080 use should be banned simply on humane grounds. The Forest Industry should be obliged to use non-lethal methods of control on browsing wildlife despite the fact that it would cost them more. Fencing is currently the most humane option and fairly effective though somewhat expensive. Gunn’s annual profits indicate that these costs could be easily absorbed and would not be prohibitive. This would certainly create employment which is the continual mantra of both the industry and Government.

    In the meantime we are expected to wait for “scientific proof” before acting to curtail the widespread use of a dangerous chemical that cruelly kills thousands of native animals annually. Insisting on waiting for scientific proof and muddying the waters with fallacious argument has been a favourite delaying tactic used by tobacco companies, asbestos producers and other polluters and their apologists (both paid and unpaid)over the years.

    Pat Synge

    Posted by pat synge  on  07/02/05  at  11:36 PM
  10. Yes Kevin, you are right, it is not a study .. but any correlations/analogies DESERVE a study don’t you think? .. before debunking.
    Pat Hess

    Posted by pat hess  on  08/02/05  at  01:24 AM
  11. I notice that Pat Synge refers to “muddying the waters with fallacious argument” but provides no examples of fallacious arguments that have been used in the DFTD case, let alone any evidence that they have been used to muddy the waters.  Point 2 is simply false because there are many Tasmanian devils living in areas (for instance deep within the WHA) where they would be unlikely to ever eat a 1080-contaminated carcass; should the disease spread into these areas then the 1080 hypothesis will be more or less refuted.  (Should it fail to do so this would not be a conclusive point in favour of the 1080 hypothesis because devil genetics vary across the state). Point 3 is misleading because there is enormous variation in susceptibility (through lethal dose) to 1080 between different mammal species, and dogs in particular are very prone to rapid death from consumption of small doses of the toxin, which devils, at least generally, are not.  If 1080 ingestion had any impact on devils relevant to DFTD then the mechanism would be different.

    Pat Synge’s comments on humane issues associated with 1080 are simply a matter for individuals to agree or disagree on depending on their own values, animal ethics beliefs or lack thereof. Despite that, it surprises me that anti-1080 campaigners do not simply make more of the cruelty side of the argument instead of weakening their case with hopelessly poor or difficult-to-prove arguments about the conservation value of the fauna killed or supposed links to DFTD and other disorders. Even basing a case on the fact that 1080 kills animals (as Synge does) is fairly pointless because relatively few people think that the killing of common animals alone is a conclusive argument against a practice.  More may oppose a practice if it can be shown that animals are being killed in a way that involves suffering.  The RSPCA has been calling for 1080 to be banned for decades on such cruelty grounds and it amazes me that more is not made of this in the 1080 debate.

    Both Pats should note that my intention here is not to completely rule out 1080 (or any of dozens of other hypotheses) as a suspect at this stage, but simply to indicate that the confidence with which some have claimed 1080 as either the definite culprit or clearly the lead suspect is misplaced. Much the same applies to those who insist that the disease is almost certainly human-caused, a silly position to take when devil numbers had been booming for decades and the species appears to have experienced population crashes (for as-yet-unknown reasons) before.  As Pat Synge points out “Proving the link between long-term chemical ingestion and illness is notoriously difficult.”  All the more reason for people not to act as if that link is already, in their minds, proven.

    I am also amused by the way in which Pat Synge implies that my motive is to obstruct any action against 1080.  I have no objection to 1080 being banned at all if this is done through a process of sound public policy rather than an unsound process.  An example of sound public policy would be a demonstration that majority views on animal cruelty support the banning of 1080 for humane reasons despite the economic costs of doing so. An example of unsound public policy is kowtowing to any poorly substantiated beatup.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  08/02/05  at  08:30 AM
  12. It may surprise Kevin to know that my posting was not solely a response to him but a more general contribution to the debate.

    He does however bolster my point about “muddying the waters” in his first paragraph by pointing out (correctly) that Devils deep within WHA areas may not eat 1080 poisoned carcasses and by then going on to point out that even if the disease doesn’t run rampant in these areas (as it appears not to be doing) this would not be CONCLUSIVE proof that there is a link between 1080 and DFTD. Of course this is true but fairly irrelevant. Muddying the waters.

    I have never claimed that there is a link but it seems entirely reasonable to suspect that there may be. That there is reluctance to seriously investigate the possibility was clearly demonstrated to me when I first asked DPIWE what research they were doing in this area two years ago. I received a 4 page dismissive and condescending reply full of information on viruses and assuring me that there was no possibility of a link. Research has moved on since then but I firmly believe that there is a deep seated reluctance to investigate the potential link.

    The effects of long term exposure to even minute doses of chemicals of varying degrees of toxicity is virtually impossible to prove but there is more and more convincing evidence indicating that the widespread use of herbicides and pesticides in agriculture is having a detrimental effect on health of both humans and animals. The widespread use of a substance that is highly toxic to many mammals (1080) should certainly ring alarm bells when an animal which ingests quantities of this toxin develops a mystery fatal disease.

    The “if it’s not directly and immediately lethal it’s safe” argument is not scientific and certainly does not constitute “conclusive proof” of anything.

    Pat Synge

    Posted by pat synge  on  08/02/05  at  11:24 PM
  13. Over the past few years’ talkback radio on 7ZR has revealed a new name, “Wally” from Richmond.  During his many and varied calls, Wally has:

    - encouraged physical attacks on environmentalists to the (female) ABC compere’s apparent delight);
    - stated that the swift parrot is not threatened as he sees them all the time “up Interlaken”;
    - asserted that Tasmanian Devils hunt lambs and farmers have always needed to cull Devils as a result; and,
    - repeatedly alleged that the Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) has always been present in the state and is nothing new.

    As anyone can see, he seems a bit confused about certain things.  Following his assertion that devils hunt lambs so farmers have to cull them, a REAL farmer rang to say he has been culling possums on his property every fortnight for 30 years but had never needed to take a Devil.  The farmer revealed that in the last few years the possum carcasses have built up around his land as the Devil population declined and that he had never known Devils to hunt live lambs, not ever.  Both he and a second farmer who rang 7ZR that day asserted that Wally himself was very well named - he truly was a “real wally”.

    Interestingly, Wally’s theory about the DFTD is the only public reference to the possible previous existence of this disease that I know of.  Call me stoopid if you like but I have not seen or heard any other reference to this allegation and to the best of my knowledge there is actually no evidence, scientific or otherwise, to support such a claim.
    So it was very interesting to see that paragon of evidential virtue, Dr Kev, bringing up this claim in what appeared to be an attempt to query David Obendorf on this site:

    “if the hypothesis that this sort of thing may have happened to Tasmanian devils several times before has been debunked in the last fifteen minutes, it would be very useful to hear of it.”

    I say “interesting” because the same person also says (on this site):

    (i) “I know exactly what ‘hypothetical’ means.  In the context of debates like this, it means ‘an unfounded accusation dressed up as ‘fiction’ for the purpose of slurring the character of the opposing forces without having to even pay lip service to the processes of normal debate”

    (ii) “Furthermore, a woolly analogy between two diseases having some kind of similarity in symptoms ... is not a study pointing to a corellation between anything and anything else.”

    (iii) “I notice that Pat Synge refers to ‘muddying the waters with fallacious argument’ but provides no examples of fallacious arguments that have been used in the DFTD case, let alone any evidence that they have been used to muddy the waters.”

    In his own words, no less.

    Posted by Jason Lovell  on  09/02/05  at  02:08 AM
  14. Pat Synge originally referred to “muddying the waters with fallacious arguments” and now claims that this point is proven by me supposedly muddying the waters with “true but fairly irrelevant” arguments.  Not only is this logically absurd (how can a use of a true statement prove anything about the use of false statements?), but I also totally disagree with her unsubstantiated claim that my comment in brackets was “fairly irrelevant”.  Furthermore, if my comment is really a case of “muddying the waters” that proves her original point, then she is effectively accusing me of using a “delaying tactic”, which is also unsubstantiated nonsense. 

    As for the DPIWE letter Pat refers to, it is impossible to comment on such letters when one is only relying on a brief second-hand summary of their contents.  It is therefore impossible for me to tell from what she says whether “if it’s not directly and immediately lethal it’s safe” type arguments have really been used in this debate.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  09/02/05  at  04:06 AM
  15. There is a very interesting paper which teases out the possible causes for “disease” in different species, humans included.

    It talks about atrazine, dioxin and endocrine disruptors amongst others. The implications of this research suggest that causes of endocrine related cancers or susceptibility to a cancer may be a result of developmental exposures. Cancer and Developmental Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors - Birnbaum and Fenton.

    Cumulative health risk assessments are the way to go; in catchments the risks to humans (and the environment) rarely present as single entities. Water testing must be such that the public are confident that any substances potentially dangerous to health are not present in their drinking water and I hope the new guidelines - from the catchment to the tap - will do just that.

    Crude tests, such as for individual pesticides in the drinking water, could be seen as outdated. I believe the science of the last 20 years should be embraced and used to ensure the provision of clean and wholesome drinking water.

    Posted by alison bleaney  on  09/02/05  at  01:13 PM
  16. Having crossed swords with Kevin on another forum in the past, his debating style is familiar to me.

    I’ve sometimes wondered if he is on a retainer from somewhere.

    I’m trying to recall if I have ever read him agreeing with anything or anyone.

    It is all too easy to be lured into a ‘debate’ that burns up time and energy that would be far better invested in dealing with the real issues that confront us.

    Posted by Paul de Burgh-Day  on  09/02/05  at  02:41 PM
  17. Jason Lovell is blustering around, firing off at me in his usual condescending way without having made anything like the necessary effort to follow the debate he is weighing into.  Nothing new here at all, folks, this man simply does not learn. 

    Had Jason bothered to read Simon Bevilacqua’s article in the Sunday Tasmanian of 30 Jan,5936,12091482%5E3462,00.html
    (only a week and a half ago, Jason, is that too long for your attention span or is anything debatably above talkback radio level just too difficult for you?) he would have seen the following:

    “There is also a theory the devil disease may have hit before, prior to human chemical use.

    Devil expert Eric Guiler first raised the issue of a series of population crashes for devils.

    Dr Guiler theorised there had been at least three population crashes over the past 200 years.

    The Devil Disease Project has scoured museum collections worldwide for material which could be tested for signs of the cancer.

    A jawbone found does show signs of lesions similar to those left on devils dying of the disease in recent years.”

    I would add to that that Dr Guiler is one of the foremost authorities on the likely extinction of the thylacine, and that anyone even lightly familiar with the vast literature surrounding said animal would know that around the time the thylacine population crashed, devils were also considered very scarce, and this has been widely thought (though not, so far as I know, proven) to be as a result of a disease.

    I await Jason’s gracious retraction and acknowledgement of his own ignorance with amusement.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  09/02/05  at  02:56 PM
  18. I found these discourses quite bizarre .. considering Forestry/Gunns actively and knowingly, put down poisons to kill, and maybe in a roundabout way, the creatures that also are affected are the creatures that eat the poisoned creatures ... maybe yes, maybe no.

    Nevertheless, creatures are poisoned.
    Is it going to take proof that the Devils cancers are the result of such poisoning?
    Is it not enough that wilful poisoning of wildlife is against the law (of our humanness)

    And if Yes ... who’s going to stop Forestry/Gunns? Are they still poisoning?  Yes. Are they still decimating the leatherwoods (even tho’ ‘dialogue’ is going down, yeah right) ... Yes.

    Yes Kevin,  you may be ‘fascinated’ at the ‘fanatical enthusiasm’,  that the greens are clutching at any possiblity that this poison,  could be ground breaking information,  that may cause your State to look at the reality of your forestry practises.

    Any possibility ... anxiousness, worry, fear and a sense of futility, CAN cause a few to feel fanatical ... can you blame them??

    Why don’t you use your obvious everything, and all close ranks ... instead of sparring at intellectual verbalism.

    For all the animals sake ... not just the Devils.

    Unity and Integrity are the tools.

    Pat Hess

    Posted by Pat Hess  on  09/02/05  at  03:39 PM
  19. No, Paul, I am not on a retainer from anywhere to write this stuff, more’s the pity in a way for I could certainly do with the money.  There are many people I agree with on all kinds of things, but posting “me too” type posts on bulletin boards contributes nothing to debate and is the sort of thing I would rather leave to the Flanagan sycophants and their ilk.

    Pat Hess writes “Isn’t it enough that wilful poisoning of wildlife is against the law (of our humanness)?”  Well, no, it isn’t, because it simply isn’t true;  if “humanness” is construed as typical human behaviour then dominating and manipulating nature has been business as usual for at least 10,000 years.

    Certainly Pat is right that the greens are clutching for anything, true or false, that they could possibly use as public ammunition against forestry.  Look at the reality of our forest practices?  That is exactly what I have been saying we should be doing all along - in a sober and scientific fashion with sensationalism and political biases left at the door.  Others, it seems, prefer to invent, distort, fabricate and exaggerate that reality for political purposes.  When they stop doing that, then it might be time to close ranks.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  10/02/05  at  07:06 AM
  20. Bonham asks us to
    “Look at the reality of our forest practices?”
    O.K, let’s do that
    Let’s refer to an insider, Former Auditor of the Forest Practices Board, Mr Bill Manning , speaking to a Senate Committee Inquiry:

    “Since the introduction of the regional forest agreement and 2020 vision, and particularly in the last five years, I have witnessed the most appalling deterioration in management of Tasmania’s forests, especially state owned forests. This has been driven by the forest industry’s professional foresters through their total dominance of representation on the Forest Practices Board and the Forest Practices Advisory Council.

    “This domination of the regulatory bodies has led to the Forest Practices Board being simply a rubber stamp to be used by industry and government and for it to be doubly abused as the mouthpiece for defending the most appalling forest practices. Particularly over the last five years, the forest industry has become so woefully negligent in its practices that it has been forced to be exempted from all other state environmental, planning and land management legislation for the simple reason that were it to be judged by the legislation that other Tasmanians have to abide by, it would be found to be comprehensively in breach of Tasmanian law.

    “From my extensive experience in the forestry industry, I believe that the implementation of the regional forest agreement and 2020 vision have led, first, to the weakening of the Forest Practices Code by making a lie of the claim that it is world’s best practice; secondly, to corruption of forest management in Tasmania such that there is no enforcement of this weakened code of forest practice and no silvicultural outcome other than the clear felling of native forest for plantation establishment of exotic introduced plantation species; thirdly, to the RFA and 2020 vision manipulating the development of an internal auditing system which has led to the misleading of the Tasmanian parliament; fourthly, to the decimation of habitat for endangered species in Tasmania, in particular the giant freshwater crayfish and other engaeus species of burrowing crayfish, not to mention many other rare examples of Tasmanian flora and fauna; and, finally, to a culture within the Tasmanian forestry industry of bullying, cronyism, secrecy and lies.”

    When concerned Tasmanians hear and see a satisfactory response from industry and govt. to this damning testimony then they might close ranks ‘ol mate!

    Of course Mr. Bonham will tell us that Mr. Manning is not a doctor, professor and therefore not a scientist and therefore unqualified to know anything on the subject.

    Posted by Rick pilkington  on  11/02/05  at  11:12 AM
  21. For Rick Pilkington to presume to know the way in which Dr Bonham will respond to his post only highlights his own ignorance, lack of imagination and/or willingness to cheaply and incorrectly stereotype an opponent.

    I am not qualified to add much to a full debate about the Manning claims, which are more or less totally irrelevant to this thread anyway, but I would add that even within the three paragraphs quoted by Pilkington there are some errors.  For instance the suggestion that the industry has become “exempted from all other state environmental, planning and land management legislation” solely to protect it from potential prosecution is melodramatic nonsense disprovable by a single counterexample - the amendments to the Threatened Species Protection Act in the case of forestry were actually made to protect the bureaucracy administering said Act from drowning in a sea of industry-generated permit applications. 

    Manning’s reference to “the decimation of habitat for endangered species in Tasmania, in particular [...] other engaeus species of burrowing crayfish” is also something of an exaggeration to those familiar with the documented ability of the most contentious such species, the Mount Arthur Burrowing Crayfish, to withstand extreme disturbance.

    Without necessarily endorsing the comments in question, having not yet read them in full, I refer Mr Pilkington to Paul Lennon’s reply to the Manning accusations from the Hansard of 29 Oct 2003:

    Perhaps Mr Pilkington might care to start another thread to discuss in full whether Mr Lennon’s lengthy reply was or was not “satisfactory”.  Or is the only response satisfactory to Mr Pilkington one that accords with his preconceived notions, based on limited information, about where the debate should go?

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  11/02/05  at  12:39 PM
  22. Bill Manning was until recently a former auditor on the Forest Practices Board who came under pressure by the Board when he attempted to act on the incessant breaches of the forest practices code (FPC).

    The supposed aim of the FPC is to help protect our wildlife (apart from other things, including prevention of threats to human health) by ensuring industry practices are adequate in this respect.

    So the Manning claims are NOT ‘totally irrelevant’ to this thread, as Kevin Bonham claims.  Manning talks about widespread practices that threaten human and animal life throughout Tasmania.

    Manning says:

    “In the early nineties, following scientific research, we in the industry were informed that the minimum streamside reserve for any stream should be set at 30 metres. This riparian strip is especially important not only for rare and threatened species but also for the maintenance of water quality et cetera. The problem was that the industry was operating with lesser reserves. For instance, class 3 streams were 20 metres either side and class 4 streams were 10 metres either side. The evidence was ignored and the industry continued to operate with the lesser reserves in place, which led to the degradation of waterways and the destruction of habitat of rare and endangered flora and fauna, especially in classes 3 and 4 streams”.

    “In 2000 the latest Forest Practices Code was released. Streamside reserves were again reduced on plantation sites for economic reasons. For class 4 streams the reserves were reduced from 10 to two metres.

    “At the time of the Forest Practices Code review in April 1999, I pointed out in correspondence to the forest practices adviser to the code review that there was no scientific basis for the reduction in streamside reserves—in fact, quite the reverse. .. This advice was ignored. The code retained the unjustifiably inadequate reserves and, worse, Forestry Tasmania clear-felled and planted through these streams with plantation species. There is no scientific evidence to justify these practices—in fact, they fly in the face of contemporary attitudes to biodiversity and water management. The current system is not world’s best practice, and any such claim is hollow. The community may well ask how it is that streamside reserves, as inadequate as they are under the 2000 code, are often cleared and planted through. The answer is that contractors are often directed to do this or allowed to do so in the full knowledge that there will be no repercussions.”

    Paul Lennon’s reply to Manning’s testimony failed to address the very large documentary and photographic evidence that this forest auditor produced.  And we can clearly see his lack of response to the ongoing water contamination crisis in Tasmania.

    Posted by Brenda Rosser  on  13/02/05  at  03:12 AM
  23. The reason I said Bill Manning’s claims are “more or less totally irrelevant” (please note the “more or less”, Brenda) to this thread is that the main body of debate on this thread has concerned whether chemicals should be implicated in devil facial tumour disease, a topic which the Manning claims shed no light on whatsoever.  A secondary topic has been whether chemicals should be implicated in human health issues, ditto.  The FPC has numerous aims and different parts of it contribute to different objectives.  It is not enough to claim that any supposed breach is automatically a threat to any specific objective without further evidence, which seems to be the line Brenda Rosser is running. 

    As for Brenda’s claim that the Lennon reply failed to address the evidence provided in the Manning testimony, perhaps Brenda could provide some specific examples of claims in said testimony that were not addressed.  Otherwise such a claim is useless.  Certainly the Lennon reply addresses many specific claims in the Manning testimony in very considerable detail - whether correctly or not I do not claim to know.  It also provides a rather more lengthy discussion of Mr Manning’s employment situation.

    I have noticed that the link I gave to the Lennon reply Manning testimony is a .tmp query link and therefore doesn’t work.  To access the reply go to

    and check the “2003” box, type “Manning” in the “Find all documents that contain” bar and click “Search”.  Then click on the first document listed.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  14/02/05  at  06:22 AM





Remember my personal information

Before you submit your comment, please make sure that it complies with Tasmanian Times Code of Conduct.