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June 11, 2009

A FLOOD of public donations will enable Greens leader Bob Brown to pay off a big legal debt that threatened to cost him his Senate seat.

Senator Brown owes Forestry Tasmania $240,000 after a failed legal bid to stop logging in the Wielangta forest in Tasmania’s southeast.

If he failed to pay the bill by the end of the month and was declared bankrupt, he would have been disqualified from the upper house.

Senator Brown said he had been overwhelmed by the response to his public appeal for help earlier this week and will now be able to get back into the black.

He said over 1,000 people had made donations to his cause, mostly small amounts between $10 and $100.

However, there was one $10,000 donation he knew about and he also sold one of his artworks for $20,000 to help fund the legal battle.

“It really just shows how strongly people are concerned about the forests and the wildlife in them,” Senator Brown told ABC Radio on Thursday.

“A lot of them are saying they’re not Green voters but they didn’t like the way that Forestry Tasmania were threatening my seat in the Senate.”

Senator Brown said he called entrepreneur Dick Smith, who had offered to help him out of his financial woes, to give him the good news.

“I left a message with Dick … to say that it looks like it will be alright,” he said.

“He was offering back-up but it looks like we won’t need to call on that.”

Senator Brown said he hadn’t raised more money than was required to pay Forestry Tasmania but if he did, it would flow on to funding other environmental battles.

He thanked all those who donated for their support.

“I’m just terribly grateful,” he said.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25619472-2702,00.html

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