Green reamed for possum paper claim

Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region Samantha Dunn has defended comments she made in a social media post. file photograph

Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region Samantha Dunn has defended comments she made in a social media post. file photograph

A Greens MP who claimed five Leadbeater's possums died for every ream of A4 paper in parliamentary offices has defended her comments as "hyperbole" after receiving a slew of criticism following the social media post last week.

Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region Samantha Dunn published a photo of a ream of A4 white office paper last Wednesday and claimed "Australian by name, Japanese owned, 5 dead Leadbeater's Possums in every pack".

The Greens forests spokeswoman, went on to say the respective reams were "stocked in every new office of the Victorian parliament, except The Greens, we sent ours back".

Her post drew criticism from far and wide, including from Member for Morwell Russell Northe, Member for Gippsland Darren Chester and a range of Latrobe Valley residents and Australian Paper Maryvale mill workers who all voiced their concerns about the post.

Mr Northe said in a comment: "I have no words ... [The Greens] have rejoiced at the closure of Hazelwood Power Station so not surprising they don't give a stuff about jobs in the Valley".

"I'm sure they would prefer to import paper (don't worry about environmental travel miles) from places that don't have some forestry standards and regulations we have here," he said.

Mr Chester took a more tactical approach and said "don't get angry, get even. Tell your friends to put the Greens last every time they vote if they want to have jobs for their families in Gippsland and Latrobe Valley".

Other top-ranking comments included Leah Bell's post which said "good on this MP for supporting German jobs. It's outrageous that Australian Paper support 1000's of Gippsland jobs and the community surrounding it".

In another post, David Anderson did the maths and said "6000 reems [sic] per day x 5 possums = 30,000 possums per day being killed. They must be in plague proportions".

However, Ms Dunn defended her comments and told The Express her post had been successful in terms of raising the awareness that the state's native forests were being used to make paper.

"I think I made it pretty clear that it was a cheeky comment, but it's not acceptable that any Leadbeater's possums die because of logging native forests, when they're critically endangered," she said.

"I can understand why people directly connected with the Valley and the mill were concerned, and in fact I've been in contact with the mill about going out to visit.

"But I think in terms of Victoria, there's a lot of people who don't know we log our native forests to make paper ... the reality is that Facebook reaches a certain amount of people but it doesn't reach everyone. In terms of social media, yes it's been successful."

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