Our latest bombshell revelation about what the NSW Government, senior Nats and Gurmesh Singh knew about the impact of the blueberry industry has caused quite a stir. What happens when the truth threatens to break out? Try to shoot the messenger.
Yes this even includes Shoker attempting to link community activism to terrorism and pedophilia.
Read on if you don't believe us.
We only published our latest scandalous revelation overnight and it's already a record-breaker for us:
It now nudges out our last break-out post (6 548 people reached, 2 713 engagements), which publicised a recent Southern Cross University study which found pollution levels over 800 times safe levels in our local waterways, due in large part to blueberry farming.
The industry is now clearly scared about growing community awareness, and outrage of the impacts of the blueberry industry, and rather ironically the Government report we just released predicted this would happen.
So why are they surprised, and how does this all involve Paul Shoker?
Also, who is he?
He wasn't even on our radar till someone posted our report to a local Facebook community group: Woolgoolga and the Northern Beaches - What's Happening!
Here's what happened next.
A user whose profile claims they live in Antartica demanded to know:
Who is behind this group.
Also, 'we want names'. You know, just for a friendly chat about the community issues. Right?
(Our response here: we're local residents exercising their democratic right to think, write and share on matters of extreme local importance, and no thank you very much young man - you cannot have our numbers).
In response, another user makes the obvious point about the message, not the messenger.
The conversation quickly becomes overrun with users who don't seem very happy about the message.
One goes as far as to imply we fraudulently made-up the report, on the basis of bad photoshopping skills. (Hey don't blame us, blame the Government's graphics department!)
This user clearly didn't read to the end of the post, where we link directly to the Government report.
If that's not enough for this digital sleuth, they can go read the agency's blog post announcing the report.
At this point things start to go off the rails for industry apologists.
Paul Shoker decides to step in, presumably in an attempt to get ahead of this breakout issue, put a lid on it, and plant fear, uncertainty and doubt into the community discussion:
In Shoker's legal opinion posting publicly available content (such as Government reports), passing comment on them and urging the public to form their own opinion is 'defamatory'.
What's particularly risable is calling community who are taking action to protect our water gutless. We'd argue it's quite the opposite.
There are now so many groups and people in the region who are rallying against reckless intensive agricultural practices: decent rural people, farmers, semi-rural and suburban.
They come from across the political spectrum, including longtime Nationals members and voters.
We don't oppose farming and agriculture. We oppose reckless farming, cronyism and business practices that don't care about the people who are here for the multi-generational long-haul.
This is a community issue, not a party-political issue.
Maybe that's what has some industry-boosters in full panic mode? The local community are wising up, across the political spectrum, and they're really not happy.
They are in full panic mode, by the way:
In spite of a user's sensible response regarding the veracity and importance of the message, Shoker decides to engage in the most objectionable attempts at character assassination.
The authors of the website clearly have something to hide... known to host underground movements supporting terrorists and even child pornography.
Hang on, weren't you just talking about defamation, Paul?
As a community we're fed up with this aggressive, entitled behaviour. Whether it's calling public figures 'pathetic and inept', disregarding community concerns or engaging in the above, it's painfully clear their only strategy is to attempt to deflect from hard facts and engage in personal attacks.
Don't let them trample our community.