House debates

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Statements by Members

Save the Tarkine

1:52 pm

Photo of Brett WhiteleyBrett Whiteley (Braddon, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last year I stood in this place and exposed the dire financial position of Save the Tarkine and accused it of entering into expensive legal action which was doomed to fail in the full knowledge it did not have the funds to pay costs if it lost. And it did lose. This week Save the Tarkine's Scott Jordan confirmed he has received a bill from Venture Minerals for the legal costs of at least one of its failed legal actions. The cost is believed to be in the range of $100,000 and, combined with the cost to taxpayers of federal action, the total liability could as high as $300,000 to $400,000.

If a business engaged in multiple reckless and frivolous legal actions with the full knowledge that it was unable to pay costs if it lost the directors would be hauled over the coals by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Company directors would be banned from holding positions in the future. They could end up being personally responsible for the debt and even end up in jail. But, because this organisation is registered under the Tasmanian Associations Incorporations Act, little action can be taken. Scott Jordan and the directors of Save the Tarkine will go to their 2015 Christmas drinks function without a care in the world. It will not concern them that they have cost jobs, it will not concern them that they have cost a mining company wanting to invest in local projects with local workers and it will not concern them that they have cost business and the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is 'lawfare' at its absolute worst. Bob Brown should stump up the money. He encouraged them to take the action. State and federal laws should be changed.