Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light. - GEORGE WASHINGTON
|Photo by John Mikkelsen|
Finally the truth has come out in the major metropolitan newspapers about what has been killing marine life in Gladstone harbour. To be fair the situation wasn’t helped by the Gladstone Port Corporation (GPC) withholding reports from public examination for over two years. The local newspaper, the Gladstone Observer, has finally reported the news instead of printing the version presented by the GPC without too much outside inquiry. The full page advertising by GPC at the time may have been co-incidental.
The enquiry for truth has largely been pursued in the alternative media on blog sites. The most prolific writer about the disaster besetting Gladstone harbour is John Mikkelsen or Mikko to his online friends, a semi-retired journalist living at the time at Tannum Sands who could see first-hand the fish deaths, could talk to the local fishermen and the scientists who came to investigate.
John Mikkelsen in his latest blog post, Gladstone Harbour- dredging up what went wrong, writes of the “latest of the belated reports emerging showing how environmental breaches went unreported in Gladstone Harbour;” referring to Tony Moore’s December 20th Brisbane Times newspaper article, Gladstone Harbour bund wall failures explained.
The Australian in the November 18th issue carried the article, Fish fears rise over LNG port dredging, revealing how GPC withheld reports for more than two years containing evidence contrary to the GPC claim that the problems were all caused by a flood in 2011, a scenario that as time went on became increasingly apparent to be unlikely. The author of this article in the Australian is the Environment editor, Graham Lloyd who has since followed up with two more articles, Bad build blamed for fish deaths and Gladstone port plea to stem toxic leak.
|Photo Brisbane Times|
The evidence now available supports what John Mikkelsen has been writing since September 2011. His articles were published in two of Australia’s largest blog sites, Something’s really fishy in the Gladstone waters at The Punch on October 2011 and then on the 26th at ABC’s Unleashed, Gladstone fish can't read.
But the enquiry into truth was not without cost, on October 17th 2011 Mikko who several years previously had held the position of editor of the Gladstone Observer wrote:
“”Yesterday I watched a convoy of tugs towing barges loaded with dredging spoil past Tannum Sands to the dumping grounds in open waters just outside the entrance to Gladstone Harbour, the scene of widespread controversy surrounding continuing catches of sick fish and dead marine animals.
On Wild Cattle Island, a national park just south of Tannum beach, I saw the carcass of another dead adult turtle washed up at low tide, the latest in more than 200 strandings.
In the past week, local media outlets have all run full-page advertisements from the Gladstone Ports Corporation stating “Water quality in Gladstone Harbour is OK”. Tell that to the fish.
Meanwhile, for almost five years I have been writing a weekly column, ‘What Goes Around’ in The Gladstone Observer. For the past month, I have focussed on the harbour controversy but it has now been axed because of “budget restrictions”. All online comments to articles relating to the harbour and diseased fish were removed just over a week ago and since then new articles have not allowed online comment.
All that could be coincidental and I am not suggesting otherwise, just presenting the circumstances. My last article, published in today’s Observer (October 17)”
The above quote was published at a community blog site that no longer deserves to be named. This article attracted several thousand views to the ongoing comments that kept people up to date to the unfolding situation at Gladstone harbour. Most of these views would have been from people keeping themselves informed rather than those actually commenting. Unfortunally the article also attracted a couple of people with the zealous desire to discredit the evidence being presented and although living far away from Gladstone were very persistent in harassment often using cherry picked Google searches. The article was deleted in November 2012 because of the abuse of trust that the community placed in one person to hold the site’s password; it was deleted for no other reason than this person choose at the time to disagree with it.
The original post was copied and is available at the pindanpost blog site. Many pages of updated comments, including informed scientific commentary, are lost.
It appeared that the motivation to persistently harass the events at Gladstone harbour to be reported and commented upon was that environmental groups had subsequently become active about the issue and that if the ‘greenies’ were making statements they had to be automatically wrong. While it is certainly easy to find many examples of the extreme end of the environmental movement in their ‘the end justifies the means’ approach using alarmism, misinformation and even sabotage, it is simplistic to assume that everyone interested in environmental issues are of bad character with incorrect information. Whenever in this harassment it was pointed out the greenies were involved with Gladstone harbour, Mikko would patiently reply that “even a broken clock is right twice a day.”
Social media can be and is being used for good; the enquiry into the truth about Gladstone harbour would not have proceeded without the use of blog sites. However it also provides a soap box for those that society would not have otherwise have provided for some people. It brings out the ‘haters’ from both the politically left and the right. It provides the opportunity for you to hear the viewpoint that you want to hear and to attack every view expressed by other sources that have been pigeon holed as wrong. Social media provides the opportunity for those that wish to rant, engage in absolutes and abuse just as it can provide the opportunity for enquiry, positive engagement and thoughtfulness.
|Photo sourced -
Those of us who are politically conservative and are interested in a balance of conservation with economic development and community values should stand strong against the attacks of some on the left who believe that the only legitimate comment on environmental issues is owned by them. Also those of us you are politically conservative and are interested into the enquiry into the truth of a situation should resist the weakness that requires one to retreat to known absolutes and not allow new events to challenge one’s thinking. Sometime there are circumstances where you end up on a parallel course to others that are normally in opposition; it appears that some are so insecure in their own convictions that they create an artificial world of “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”.
Congratulations Mikko for the truth belatedly being reported in the major metropolitan main stream media. You have stuck to your guns; the truth has ultimately prevailed thanks to the pains you took to bring it to light. The pursuit may have not been without pain; there are a few people that owe you an apology.
The event of November 2012 was the catalyst for the beginning of this blog site and below is the list of the posts published by John Mikkelsen about the Gladstone Harbour
|Photo sourced from,
May 9 2014
The independent report to federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt was released on and it reveals that there was an obvious determined attempt to cover up the whole devastating effects of the dredging and leaking bund wall, coinciding with the fish disease and toxic algae outbreaks..
Bad build and oversight failure at Gladstone gas hub.
Bad build and oversight failure at Gladstone gas hub.