One-time Australian Greens leader, Bob Brown, has recently protested against a windfarm in Tasmania saying:

the Tasmanian public, including the people of the North-West of the island, has not been properly informed of the private deals, or public impacts or cost-benefit analyses (economic, social, cultural and environmental) of this, one of the biggest wind farm projects on Earth.


The transmission lines are planned to cut through wild and scenic Tasmania, including the northeast Tarkine forests and (until local outrage led to a sudden change) the Leven Canyon, en route to Sheffield and then the new export cable beneath Bass Strait. Why not use the more direct, much less environmentally destructive route aligning the Bass Highway?

He has been accused of hypocrisy and puzzlement that the ABC and so on did not report this

Bob Brown is human so he should be allowed to be inconsistent. That happens

However, it has never been Greens’ policy, as far as I am aware, that wind farms should be imposed on people. I think those claiming hypocrisy are thinking of the kinds of policies espoused by the right, in which people should joyfully embrace the coal mines, gas fields, highways and so on, which are imposed on top of them or expanded into them – and that farmland and water supplies should be permanently destroyed for temporary private profit, no matter what local people think.

However, Brown’s actions were not unreasonable, it was not about an impact on him in particular; he was responding to worried calls from people who contacted him, which shows he can listen to the public. This is unusual, but not hypocritical.

Again, who has said there should be no controls on Renewable Energy? Why should protected forest be destroyed for windfarms? Why should there be no debate or community consultation? Why should we assume that all renewables are without problem? Again, as this is not a coal mine, a motorway, or a casino in which everything has been agreed beforehand, we can attempt to make this process hospitable to locals….

Renewable energy has to fit in with the community, its views and values, if we value a free society. This may be too slow a way to proceed, but it is an ethical way.

Bob Brown is simply supporting democracy ahead of a development he might approve of in general, and this is so unusual that it looks weird and some people do not know how to respond.