Graeme Wood – who gave the Greens political party the largest donation ever made in Australian political history with a $1.6 million sling at the last federal election – has got all that back and more as a result of pressure applied by the Greens on the mill sale process.
Greens politicians and party members have pressured financiers – including the big four banks – into not supporting a bid that competed with Wood’s bid.
The enviro-radical Wood and his investment partner Jan Cameron (both worth hundreds of millions of dollars) reportedly plan to axe the mill, causing massive job losses in the area.
The local mayor has pleaded with the state government not to let his community become a “ghost town.”
Gunns management – no friend of the Greens party – have clearly succumbed to pressure and have accepted a low-ball offer from the mainland multi-millionaires because the rival bid from an operator intending to continue to operate the mill was struggling to conclude finance because of pressure applied by Greens party associates. The Greens party backed multi-millionaires had the money sitting in the bank, it seems.
Many thought Graeme Wood had been eccentrically generous by slapping so much cash down on the Greens vegan feasting table. The shrewd investor has already got a massive return on his $1.6 million political investment, paying $10 million for a $16 million asset.
The timber industry identity Ron O’Connor – whose higher offer was rejected – told the Mercury:
“If Gunns only wanted $10 million, I could have put that on the table tomorrow…”
Liberal Senator Abetz who is leading the fight against the Greens party in Tasmania said yesterday:
“(Greens Leader) Senator Brown said he would be forever grateful for Mr Graeme Wood’s $1.6 million donation to the Greens, which he personally negotiated at the last election and Mr Wood said this was probably a good return on investment.”
“Senator Brown needs to explain why the Greens have been shamelessly advocating the commercial interests of their financial backer Mr Wood in the Senate, in the Tasmanian Parliament and in press releases and speeches in the lead-up to today’s announcement.”
Keep in mind this is a private investment made by the Greens party donor Graeme Wood. It’s not a charitable pursuit, he has no plans to donate the property back to the people, or koalas or government. He’s in it for a quid. And we don’t object to that per se. We object to him getting a special deal because he was able to bring political pressure on both the vendor of the asset, rival bidders, regulators.
Let’s imagine the bidder had have been patriot Chris Brown, the very successful company director and champion of the tourism industry, NSW Labor Right identity, son of famous Tourism minister John Brown and all-round nice-bloke. Imagine he’d been the bidder, having given $1.6 million to the ALP and he planned on shutting the mill and putting some tourism asset or another and got it on the cheap because all the other bidders were pressured, including their banks, to pull out and the vendor was being badgered as well.
It would have been a monumental scandal. With at least an ICAC hearing and a widespread assumption of guilt.
It would never have happened, of course, because Brown would never have dared.
On the Tory side, Ron Walker was always slagged for being up to some insider deal or another but he wouldn’t have gone near something as dodgy as this with a barge pole.
But the Greens try it on, make a massive donor even richer, and it’s OK? Not around here it aint.
The Greens party have repeatedly condemned large political donations (despite taking the largest ever) and attacked developers for making any donations. Graeme Wood and his partner apparently plan to shut the mill and develop a tourism business on the site. All that’s pretty rich in the circumstances but deploying one’s political assets to attack rival bidders – even attacking their source of finance – is a form of corruption that we have rarely seen in politics, even in the former convict colony of New South Wales.
It seems to us that the Greens party have become everything they ever piously criticised and worse. Their punishment at the ballot box is coming, very soon indeed.