More Aussie astroturf

The Australian Environmental Foundation is a brand new environmental
organization. Unfortunately they have chosen a very similar name to
the long established Australian Conservation
Foundation
, so similar that the ACF has sued for trademark infringement. Probably
the best way to keep them apart is to remember that the Australian
Conservation Foundation is a grass roots organization with a goal of
preserving forests, while the Australian Environmental Foundation is
an astroturf organization with a goal of preserving logging companies.

The AEF’s spokesperson is Kersten Gentle, Victorian State Manager of
Timber Communities
Australia
,
another astroturf organization. According to the group’s
chairwoman
,
Jennifer Marohasy from the
IPA,
the group received no funding from the IPA, so I guess that means that
they were directly funded by logging and irrigation companies.

The AEF claims to support an evidence based scientific approach to the
enviroment, but their reaction to the ACF’s trademark suit belies
this. The AEF ran an on-line
poll
asking whether the AEF’s
logo of a gum tree was similar to the ACF’s logo of three gum leaves.
88% of those responding said that gum leaves were “extremely
different” from a gum tree. Now, their logo may be different enough
from the ACF’s one that it is not a trademark infringement, but I
don’t think most people would find gum leaves “extremely different”
from a gum tree, so what happened? It seems that Tim Blair rel="nofollow">linked to the poll and his anti-green readers
naturally voted against the ACF. This sort of thing is the reason why
on-line opinion polls are not scientific evidence for anything.

Comments

  1. #1 anon
    June 13, 2005

    Take a look: the two logos are completely different. ACF’s is stylized whereas the AEF’s is a literal silhouette (a pretty lame logo).

    Based on the logos the case would appear to be almost completely without
    merit.

    And the name? What exactly is the ACF trademarking in their name – using a
    prefix of “Australian” and a suffix of “Foundation”? How many organizations
    use such a moniker: “Australian XXX Foundation”. A trademark can’t be
    substantially descriptive.

    Validity of the poll or otherwise, the ACF’s suit seems to be entirely without merit.

  2. #2 John Quiggin
    June 13, 2005

    It’s more likely that AEF is directly operated by NAFI (National Association of Forest Industries). Their websites have the same IP address 61.9.208.14 and both mailing addresses are PO Boxes in Deakin West.

  3. #3 Louis Hissink
    June 14, 2005

    My My. You lefties do have problems.

  4. #4 mp
    June 15, 2005

    What is it about right wing lobby groups trying to cover up their ideological bent with misleading titles? I don’t think ACF will succeed in its legal action, but this clearly misleading choice of name gives an insight into the awareness the right have of their own moral low ground, and how unappealing it sounds if it isn’t dressed up in more civilised language.

    Why weren’t they drawn to a simple, clear, honest name like ‘Australian pro-development organisation’, ‘Logging society’, or ‘Australians against unprofitable wilderness preservation’?

  5. #5 Kenneth
    June 15, 2005

    New environment group (AEF) to protect rural communities at the expense of the truth?

    For example Louis Hissink if the AEF don’t have problems with the truth.

    Why doesn’t the AEF call themselves Australian Logging Foundation?

    Because aren’t they a front for the logging Industry?

  6. #6 Aaron Swartz
    June 15, 2005

    BROKEN LINK: The on-line poll link needs a u after the domain name name.

  7. #7 Tim Lambert
    June 15, 2005

    Link fixed. Thanks.

  8. #8 Dave Phillips
    July 29, 2005

    I can’t help wondering how thin on the ground the envirovandals really are when, despite throwing around endless cash they still need to have that ugly-natured Gentle creature fronting several of their campaigns.
    Perhaps it’s because, when Kersten is in focus there’s not enough room left for anyone else to get into the picture. Even on a billboard!….(Don’t suppose she’s related to Vanstone?….Looks and sounds like her….

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