We’re gagging to tell you something truthful

a-jerry-1What’s the deal with gag orders? I don’t get it. It’s an order to throw up, is that it? Here’s your contract to host some wind turbines on your land. Now look at clause 64E. The gag clause. You gotta vomit once a week, or once a day.

You know what? I haven’t vomited in 13 years. Not since June 29, 1980.

Elaine: You remember the date?

JERRY: Yes, because my previous vomit was also June 29th … 1972. That’s why during the ‘80 vomit, I was yelling to George: “Can you believe it? I’m vomiting on June 29th again.”

So do gag clauses in wind turbine host contracts exist, or not?

Well the answer is yes … and no. They do, but they’re not really gag clauses.

Russell Marsh, policy director of the Clean Energy Stasi, we mean Council, said in some cases the wind farm companies entered into confidentiality agreements with farmers wishing to host wind turbines on their properties. But they’re not gag clauses.

“These are similar to arrangements that exist in many other industries,” Mr Marsh said. “They generally cover commercial details, including the amount paid for hosting the turbines and other infrastructure associated with a wind farm.”

Mr Marsh said nothing in the agreements would stop a turbine host from making public comments or complaints about other issues relating to wind farms.

Hey, that’s good, isn’t it? If I have turbines I can have a public rant about them if I want to. I can say I like the money I’m getting but the wind industry is the most corrupt in the world. No problem. Acciona or any of the others would be cool. I do like that.

gag-tape-silence-censor-630Professor Simon Chapman says something similar.

“The only confidentiality or ‘gag’ clauses refer to financial transactions — standard commercial practice across all sectors. This is understandable, as the companies want to be able to negotiate with hosts on a commercial-in-confidence basis.

“While some contracts do appear to have gag clauses, these are likely to be unenforceable in any case where true negligence or harm could be established.”

So the only gag clauses refer to the financial side of the transaction. Is that right? Hang on, he says some contacts do have gag clauses but they would be unenforceable if anyone got sick. Hey Chapstick, that sounds like pretty damned good lawyerin’ on the part of those wind farm dudes. Drive a truck through that.

And confidentiality clauses are standard commercial practice across all sectors? Really? Several of us behind STS rent houses. Those leases didn’t have a confidentiality clause. Several of us rent offices. None there either. Car leases? Nope. House sales. None there too. Employment contracts? No. Contracts between advertising agencies and clients? Nup. Mortgage agreements? Not there either. Did you say standard commercial practice? Think not.

So let’s ask a lawyer.

James Higgins of Slater and Gordon says yes, there are confidentiality clauses, and yes, they are required by wind farm operators. This was reported in The Australian.

But wait, there’s more!

chrisbackpicLiberal Senator Chris Back made a speech in Parliament in October, 2012. Sorry. I know you were hoping we wouldn’t mention it. Nobody reported it (if they did, we didn’t see it.) And we know you were quietly chuffed that it went under the radar.

Senator Back said: “I have in my possession a number of wind development contracts which have been forwarded to me from around Australia. I can state quite categorically that these contracts do contain confidentiality clauses that would actually penalise a person if they spoke publicly—including if they were suffering health effects.”

Now that’s pretty clear, wouldn’t you say?

Senator Back continued: “A leading barrister who has an intimate knowledge of wind development contracts has provided me with information about the 2010 Windlab contract for a proposed wind farm to be operated by Suslon, now Repower, in New South Wales. I quote from a clause in the contract: ‘The landholder acknowledges and agrees that it accepts the noise impact which the landholder also agrees will not cause him or her nuisance and agrees that he or she will not make any claim, objection or complaint; and releases the developer from any claims or liability.’

turbine gag

Gosh, what do you say to that Mr Marsh and Professor Chap … um… man? The landholder has to agree the turbines will not cause him any “nuisance” even before they have started turning – and if they do, the landholder can’t make any complaint.

(Meanwhile, do you like the photo of our new fashion accessory? We’ll be launching these on this website soon. It’s the WTS Gag. How many can we put you down for?)

But Senator Back was on a roll now.

“I refer to another clause relating to confidentiality and I quote:

‘The Landlord may not conduct interviews with media organisations or other members of the public or issue press releases or other announcements unless the Tenant [Wind Developer] has first approved the content of the disclosure and has otherwise consented to the use of the Tenant’s name in association with that disclosure.’

“By signing this contract, the landholder is giving the developer a right to vet and veto any statement that the landholder may wish to make to the media or anybody else. Nothing that the clause indicates limits the capacity to reach into the contract on matters of any particular accord for the exercise, including adverse health effects.”

And so it goes on. Senator Back gave example after example after example.

Wind turbine contracts make sure wind turbine developers have hosts by the balls. Why would they need to do that if wind turbines were harmless?

Here’s a link to Senator Back’s full speech. Check it out for yourself.

Meanwhile, this only means one thing. This (on the left) equals this (on the right).kramer

Russell-Marsh

And, below, this (on the left) = this (on the right). The Last Word

simon chapmanGeorge-costanza

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Phineas T Windbag says:

    Great article fellas. Keep up the good work to spread the real news about these smarmy vipers who slither through societies worldwide scamming the bucks under the mantles of “clean energy” and “renewables” when all they are after is the money.

Trackbacks

  1. […] The purchaser’s agreement not to object to any application or procedure made by the developer in respect of any use of the site – combined with the acknowledgement that the purchaser “will not be materially prejudiced by the development or use” of the site as a wind farm – can be fairly described as a “gag clause”. While there are much tougher versions around, this one is probably tough enough for the developer’s purposes (see our post here). […]

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