July 04, 2011 | Graham

Still waiting Gerry

Gerry Harvey is taking a battering from the Internet. First from online competitors to his bricks and mortar retailing operation, now from online vigilantes who are organising a boycott of his stores because he is selling furniture made from legally (yes, you did read that right) harvested Australian timber.

I’m still happy to talk to him, even more so for his second problem.

When we set up On Line Opinion one of our major concerns was the potential for the Internet to break into ghettoes and descend into mob behaviour. That was 12 years ago, and that behaviour is now upon us, and I’m no longer sure that the OLO solution is the one that is going to work. Unfortunately, I think you are going to have to fight fire with fire.

This campaign against Harvey Norman is completely unfair. HN’s use of the timber is completely legal, and completely ethical, even by the standards that conservationists apply. The fact that it is sent to China to be processed is a xenophobic red-herring and only has bearing on trade policy.

If these “environmentalists” were really concerned about preserving native forests they would be campaigning about the tonnes of furniture sold in Australia every year made from illegally logged timber in places like Niu Guini, Indonesia and Fiji, instead of timber legally and sustainably logged in Australia.

The bodies running the campaign at this stage are Markets for Change and GetUp.

I used to think of them as panhandling for social goods, but that is too benign a view. They’re really freelancing stand-over merchants who get their fee not from the victim, but from the vigilantes who pay to be part of the experience. It’s an online business model a bit like big game hunting.

I’d really like to talk to you Gerry.

Posted by Graham at 1:36 pm | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Thank you for exposing the bullying tactics of the lobby group Get Up and the secretly funded self claimed environment group Markets for Change on their advertisement attacking Harvey Norman and furniture sourced from Australian Native forests to be put to air during Wednesday night’s State of Origin match.

    As a member of the community that depends on Australia’s forest sector I find the advertisement both offensive and misleading.

    All timber from our native forests for furniture manufacture either in Australia or over seas is sourced sustainably from forests managed in accordance with the Government’s Regional Forest Agreements, National Forest Policy Statement and the EPBC (Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation) Act that ensure forests are not destroyed and that rare and threatened species are “protected”.

    Recent articles that exposes the Market for Change lobby group, the first shows how the green group’s campaign is threatening Australian jobs at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/green-group-campaign-threatening-timber-jobs/story-fn59niix-1226067486396

    The second is an article by an expert forester at online opinion that exposes the flawed argument of this group: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=12068

    This article correctly points out that “The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (formerly the Trade Practices Act) normally protects retailers from campaigns to incite consumer boycotts designed to unfairly restrict trade. However, the 2010 Act allows an exemption for consumer boycotts which ‘relate to environmental protection’ thereby denying targeted companies their right to complain to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

    Comment by cinders — July 4, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

  2. Thanks for this Graham,
    The publicity that this group are generating from their campaign – based oon the absurd proposition that “it is wrong to use timber from any Australian native forest” is tearing me up.
    Australian hardwood are unique and beautiful.
    Australian forests are well managed & timber harvesting is highly regulated.
    We use wood products as a society, as such we should be morally obliged to source them from our own forests & lands…. and do this proudly and sustainably.
    Their line about the “being enough plantations” is a falsehood.
    This campaign, if successfull would serve only to send more production off shore.
    Enough said.


    Comment by deank — July 4, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

  3. Hardly Normal and it’s owner!

    Years ago they seemed to be OK but they slowly went downhill until they are now the sort of place you wouldn’t even consider. They sell a lot of rubbish, warranties are a joke and their prices are not that good these days.

    A week or so ago Gerry and two other has beens in advertising (Singo was one) were in the media criticising Gillard, Gerry in particular was very vocal, anti carbon tax loony I suspect. Or just a died in the wool right wing freak.

    The ABC got him on air to ask him why he was saying what he did. All he could do is waffle. Say things like “Everyone I talk to doesn’t like her, even those I play golf with”. Much more like that, gossip basically.

    That’s no surprise Hardly Normal! The people you hang out with are just like you, think the same things as you do and agree with you. That’s why you hang out with him you silly man.

    That interview exposed him as a complete airhead and Singo would be the same. Full of wind and beer and dumb opinions based on nothing.

    Comment by Paul Davis — July 9, 2011 @ 3:33 am

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