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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 23 May 2007
Green MP attends south coast logging protest, more arrests, Council alarmed, local media escalates, Blackwashing by Iemma Govt?
Mood:  special
Topic: nsw govt

We have received these reports from local environmentalists and various network lists of the protests all this week at Gulaga/Bodalla Forest, but at the outset we note 2 things for some context:

1. Australia has about 5% forest land cover, and before colonisation it was only about 10% anyway of a huge continent. That's not that much to squander. The logger lobby always drag it down to local district proportions to hide this broad national reality (see MP Constance below). These are figures from the key Resource Assessment Council large volume of reports of 1992 or so and it still holds;

2. Patriarch until his death recently, Aboriginal elder Guboo Ted Thomas of the Yuin Clan on the Gulaga south coast told this writer directly 7 years back we were "on the right track" opposing the loggers and woodchippers. He hated their industrial vandalism on his land. He blockaded a bulldozer on his own in the 1970ies. Now he is gone other Black leaders there are turning a blind eye but it doesn't make it right. I seriously doubt traditional Aboriginal law would stand for it, and there are many ways to make duress on local needy Black communities, sometimes with political bribes in other directions, sometimes with threats. In fact the white law 1983 Land Rights Act here cuts across Aboriginal traditional owners, as developers and loggers well know. It does this by having dispossessed, relocated Black folks onto non traditional lands given land assets with no ancestral ties quite willing to trade it away. You could even call it Black washing. We wonder if that's the case with one such report below.

Sent: Monday, May 21, 2007 6:57 PM

Subject: [chipstop] gulaga blockade

Another successful day at the blockade with a mass walk in to the logging compartment. Seven arrests with 6 of those refusing bail conditions, so they were taken to Batemans Bay and an immediate court appearance.
Two of these brave souls were also subject to the Mathie injunction.
Estimates of the number present were about 70, but it was very difficult to be sure with people coming and going all the time.
An enormous police presence (10 cars, a bus and police rescue from Sydney) enabled the first loaded trucks to go out. The 3 Mathie trucks were kept busy all day taking loads from about 300 logs stockpiled over the past week. Some were huge. A very sad sight.
harriett

CHIPSTOP campaign against woodchipping the south east and east gippsland forests PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia 02 64923134 0414908997   http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au

...............................

Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 12:25 PM
Subject: [chipstop] loggers stopped at gulaga

Loggers were stopped this morning by a tripod cabled to their machines. Work was stopped for the whole morning until they brought in a cherry picker to remove a possum from the tripod.
The possum was unfortunately arrested.
HS

 

3 South East Radio ABC radio news reports

...............................................

Council stays on sidelines of forest dispute

Wednesday, 23 May 2007. 07:22 (AEST)Wednesday, 23 May 2007. 07:22 (ACST)Wednesday, 23 May 2007. 04:22 (AWST)

Eurobodalla Shire Council says it is not going to take sides in a far south coast forest dispute.

The council yesterday backed away from a recommendation that it call in police to move on protesters who are camping on council reserves near where controversial harvesting is under way in the Bodalla State Forest, near Tilba.

Councillors instead referred the matter to the general manager who they were told has statutory powers to prosecute people for illegal camping.

Mayor Neil Mumme says the New South Wales Government has a responsibility to review overdue Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs).

"The difficult thing for council is this is a State Government issue," he said.

"What did come out of the day was there was quite a lot of passion in the public gallery and I guess the message we sent to the State Government was 'for God's sake, review your RFAs', it's part of your obligations and you are supposed to do that.

"There was a call to cease the logging to those RFAs [they] have been reviewed.

"Pretty much we are sympathetic to both causes. It is like a dollar each way for the council."

.....................................

Clashes continue over Bodalla forest logging

Tuesday, 22 May 2007. 12:50 (AEST)Tuesday, 22 May 2007. 12:50 (ACST)Tuesday, 22 May 2007. 09:50 (AWST)

Anti-logging protests and police have clashed in the latest disputed forest of the south-east of New South Wales.

Seven people were arrested this morning after they refused to observe police orders to leave the section of Bodalla forest, near Tilba.

They were taken to the Narooma police station and have been charged with refusing to leave a prohibited area.

Meanwhile, the Eurobodalla Greens councillor, Chris Kowal, has accused the State Forests department of using his council as a pawn to control logging protesters in the Bodalla forest.

He claims that State Forests is behind a recommendation to tomorrow's council meeting that would allow police to remove anyone camping on council reserves and roadsides.

Cr Kowal says the recommendation may have an unforseen impact on tourism and paints council as the bad guys, taking the heat off State Forests.

But Cr Kowal's claims have not impressed the local MP.

Andrew Constance says most of the protesters are from outside the local area.

............................

Conservationists bark up wrong tree: claim

Tuesday, 22 May 2007. 12:48 (AEST)Tuesday, 22 May 2007. 12:48 (ACST)Tuesday, 22 May 2007. 09:48 (AWST)

There is a claim on the New South Wales far south coast that conservationists trying to stop logging of a forest near an important Aboriginal cultural site may be barking up the wrong tree.

Forests New South Wales has begun logging in the Bodalla forest, near the base of Guluga Mountain, which the State Government last year handed back to the traditional owners.

Up to 60 protesters have been trying to stop the logging, claiming sacred sites will be damaged.

But Noelene Leha, co-ordinator of the Merriman's Lands Council, has no problem with the harvesting.

"Gulaga is a mountain, they're not logging on the mountain," she said.

"They're logging on the sides of a road leading to the mountain."

Yesterday, seven protesters were arrested at the logging site.

..........................................

Sent: Monday, May 21, 2007 11:46 AM
Subject: [Greens-Media] Greens MP at forest blockade calls for urgent reviewof logging in Bodalla State Forest

Media release - 21 May 2007
 
7 arrested at blockade in Bodalla State Forest, Greens move to expand national park

Speaking at the site of a forest protest in Southern NSW today, Greens Upper House MP Lee Rhiannon congratulated protestors at the community action this morning to halt logging in Compartment 3046 of the Bodalla State Forest. 

"Protestors should be congratulated for their actions this morning to halt logging in the Bodalla State Forest. I send a message of encouragement to the seven people who have just been arrested at the logging coup," said Ms Rhiannon. 

"In parliament next week, The Greens will move a motion to make Compartment 3046 part of the Gulaga National Park.

"The actions of the people arrested today highlight the feelings of outrage that the community feels over the logging of this beautiful forest.

"The Greens will also move for an urgent review of logging in the Bodalla State Forest.

"Under the Forestry and National Parks Estate Act, this review should have already been conducted. The NSW government is flouting its legal obligations.

"In the face of climate change and severe water shortages, the NSW government should move to save our iconic forests rather than turn a blind eye to deforestation.

"Compartment 3046 is part of the headwaters for Corunna Lake and the state of the two stream crossings through which the compartment traffic travels is appalling.

"The direct action today is a clear way to send a message to the NSW government that logging in this high conservation area must stop", said Ms Rhiannon.

For more information  Lee Rhiannon 92303551 or 0427861568


Posted by editor at 9:52 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007 11:48 PM NZT
Sydney University's Gavin Brown all smiles after federal budget but silent on security fascism
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: human rights


 

Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 2:05 PM
Subject: letter to the editor - pls help re attack of press freedom by Sydney Uni security

Dear Editor
In this age of community media* I decided to attend a publicly advertised student rally on May 2nd organised by the Sydney University Student Representative Council. My intention was to publish on my micro news blog. I took a picture of a security officer in a pseudo police uniform with notebook warning a uni student putting up a poster. An hour later after taking lots of photos* as I was getting my bike to follow the march into the city 5 security officers surrounded me, demanded my ID and gave me an indefinite eviction from the campus. This is a democracy?
I know The Glebe is owned by a big news company. That's fine. But it seems the authorities are starting with little non profits, community media etc, then who's next? The Glebe, the Tele, The Australian? This is wrong. Sure it was an anti govt rally by students as per usual but I don't think even John Howard would agree with suppression of the media like that. At least not openly. Or maybe he would? These goons were so cocky and couldn't care less I was a solicitor as well. They threatened to arrest me for nothing, and also if ever I go on the campus again. This is Australia?
A very senior journalist in this town has encouraged me to take it their union even though I am just a blogger. I'm glad Vice Chancellor Gavin Brown looks happy with the budget in The Glebe 17/5/07 at page 6 but what about a fair go now he has got the big bikkies, and cancel that outrageous ticket by his goons*?
Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin
........ Marrickville
* See the attached letter, notice of termination of licence indefinitely and photographs of that day

 

 

 


 


Posted by editor at 4:15 PM NZT
Leigh Sales of the Australian Bland Corporation over reaches in The Australian
Mood:  not sure
Topic: human rights

 

Leigh Sales with her own wikipedia page here has published a book through Melbourne Uni Press  which Richard Ackland, legal writer has reviewed here: Detainee 002: the case of David Hicks - Book Reviews - Books ... 

We have always found Ms Sales very appealing and sharp, including once  chatting there in NSW Parliament media level maybe 10 years ago, but feel quite annoyed with her shaky presentation of the David Hicks situation in this final phase. Ackland is judicious with praise of her book but actually is damningly faint too around concerns of congenital blandness there at the ABC. That is (my words) inability to take a line for truth rather than political mediation of powerful opposing forces in Australian society (read Coalition v ALP). And Ackland is not alone. The reviewer in The Australian from memory (offline?) came a similar conclusion of, well, which side of a many sided situation are you on? Inevitably the answer is every side and no side.

That's not to say it's not a highly competent 'flesh on the story' research effort by Sales, to paraphrase Ackland's tick for a media mate. She sounds cranky that David Hicks refused to cooperate and put out a chill to the family and lawyers. But here's a possibility she doesn't openly consider in her latest article. Maybe Major Mori as a defence lawyer warned his client to not cooperate or encourage her. And why would that be? Simple - the long established Big Media culture of the 'little murder' charm the subject then trash them to get the sensation story.

And it looks alot like Sales indeed has gone down that road loaded up with all that detail at her command.

But here is the drum Leigh from a fan till now. That's no way to really live a life. Doors open and doors close. You have to take a stand for something based on morality not opportunity.

And here is my deconstruction of  Leigh Sales: A marked man for the rest of his life | Opinion of May 21 we think has some howlers (she did a deal for The Australian to extract her book too):

First the headline by the sub editor  - quite vengeful and malicious. No rehab in a Murdoch press paradigm. That's nasty.

Second she compares him to Mamdouh Habib selling his story turned into a PR disaster - actually wrong. It polarised according to prejudice but got out real evidence of real torture endorsed by our oh so real nasty federal govt. In that sense he got to tell his truth and thus save his sanity.

Three, Sales just seems shallow and sort of apples versus oranges quoting the mars bar survivor after 40 days in the Himilayas savaged by the Big Media. (As we recall it was 60 Minutes who paid for the story and went the biff via Richard Carleton, based on the facts?). Sales says the media will turn on him if he sells his story in an exclusive.

Err sorry wrong again. These deals are done every day - its called commerce and the Big Media accept that business paradigm more than anyone built on the advertising industry: Notice this from The Age at the link back in 2001:

"It was a complex negotiation and Klemens said the family did not have the expertise or desire to field all the inquiries they were receiving.
It's an experience familiar to other families who suddenly find themselves caught in the media glare.

The sister of James Scott who, in 1992, survived for 43 days in the Himalayas on a chocolate bar, has written of the demands on their family. They reportedly spent $60,000 to $70,000 rescuing him and gained a deal worth between $100,000 and $250,000."

Our family experienced so many media intrusions that they became a source of enormous stress," Joanne Robertson said."

As such, we were left no other option than to receive assistance from Harry M. Miller and to sign exclusivity deals, simply to reduce this pressure."

She said the money was used to repay people who donated towards the search.

News files are filled with cases of ordinary people gaining multimillion-dollar deals to tell their story. They include runaway Natasha Ryan, Tasmanian hiker Ben Maloney, Thredbo survivor Stuart Diver and Richard Pratt's former nanny Julie Page.

Lone English yachtsman Tony Bullimore copped flak after being rescued by the Australian military in 1997 at a cost of $200,000, and then selling his story to the Seven Network for $10,000 or $100,000 - depending on who you believe." in Chequebook hostage

 No, malice is motivated by more than competition. Hicks also has young children and been accused of being a no hoper father. That would be highly inconsistent to be attacked for trying to make a living. In fact grotesquely cruel given the suffering he's been through.

Then there is the old chestnut of training with Al Qaeda - well in fact it was the Taliban pre WTC terrorism as we recall it. A nasty mob to be sure. The oppressive govt of Afghanistan but the govt no less. But it's amazing how AQ is available as a pre emptive smear these days regardless of actual evidence, or actual existence, the all round bogey in the geo politik cupboard.

Then quoting Max Markson, a PR schmoozer if ever there was - remember the dodgy Cherie Blair fiasco with bugger all money actually going to charity: AM - Cherie Blair begins controversial tour of Australia

And Max almost certainly is a dedicated Zionist if not apologist for Israel, certainly Jewish as he declared at the link to Big Media following, while Hicks is almost certainly a dedicated anti Zionist which is not in fact quite the same as anti semite or bigot or racist: Not even Max Markson would deal with Hicks | Media | The Australian though it could be.

We say  if David Hicks considers a life of ecological study as a zoologist in the outdoors in particular compared to 5 years in gaol, then its a good idea. Nature is a known healer like the Tasmanian forests for WW2 veterans in a very shaky state after that scarring experience. It is known as a good thing in this age of climate change which helps with public reputation. It can also teach compassion we hope.

And in the best of worlds can be apolitical (though not in this writer's case). Last but not least the environment movement often functions as a redeemer such as developer bankrupts like Ian Kiernan, or corporate graspers who turn over a new leaf like the current head of WWF Australia Mr Bourne and no doubt a long line of others, even Rupert Murdoch showing some green tinges lately.

Lastly, it would be good to haggle with Sales over this critique directly over a cup of tea given she started out at Deakin Uni and gone so very far, but that is a feint prospect for a blogger hack. Same goes for David Hicks. A pot of tea for three would be just fine by me. Off the record even.


Posted by editor at 10:09 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007 11:34 AM NZT
Tuesday, 22 May 2007
Missing rocket launchers still at large in lead up to APEC in Sydney?
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: legal

 

This is a press release we noticed today from the legal authorities posted on Melbourne Indy Media a few days ago relating to a high profile mainstream media report in early April 2007:

 

Further charges over stolen rocket launchers This is a joint Media Release between the AFP and NSW Police.

As a result this report from the Murdoch press around the same story

 

Bail refused over alleged rocket launcher theft | NEWS.com.au states:

 

"TWO Sydney men, including an Australian army captain, have been refused bail after being charged with the theft of 10 army rocket launchers.

 

.....Mr Collins said only one anti-tank rocket launcher has been recovered by police. He said extensive searches had been carried out in bushland for the missing seven weapons, but their whereabouts were unknown.

 

......Police said the missing rocket launchers had been taken into account in security preparations for the APEC summit in Sydney in September."

 

The individual posting on Melbourne Indy Media states there is no update on the police website and speculates that this means the "seven" rocket launchers are still at large.

 

We find this state of affairs very scary including for innocent peaceful protesters who might be at risk.
.........

 

Postscript #1

 

In terms of national security credentials two significant political developments here are

 

1. the interview on the 7.30 Report last night with highly respected army veteran Mike Kelly now a federal ALP candidate complete with glowing reference from Iraq Provision Authority's Paul Bremmer, and role in criminal prosecution of Saddam Hussein:

 

 "'Incompetent leadership' drives military lawyer to politics

 

Australian military lawyer Colonel Mike Kelly, who has served in some of the world's most dangerous locations, says the country's "incompetent leadership" is what has driven him to enter politics as one of the Labor party's star recruits. "

 

; and

 

2. the PR battle of the Iraqi Govt VIP's with Downer and Nelson parading Iraq's foreign minister in the press here Iraqi minister fails to sway ALP on troops - National - smh.com.aubut hardly rebutting the savage condemnation of the Occupation incompetence by Iraq ex Finance and Defence Minister on SBS last Wednesday May 16th (reported on SAM last Sunday)

Posted by editor at 7:05 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007 1:09 PM NZT
More Christian Kerr free market blather as Doug Cameron steps up for the senate
Mood:  sharp
Topic: election Oz 2007
 

Picture: Then unionist, now ALP senate candidate Doug Cameron speaks to the OurMedia conference in April 2007 in Granville about controversial things like good policy on climate change, IR, innovation, public education and health services and against bigotry in politics. He was very well received by these international community media practitioners unlike Christian Kerr at crikey ezine today.

Rebuttal of shallow ignorant crikey.com.au ezine today (as below)

 
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 3:54 PM
Subject: bullsh*t Christian - Doug Cameron is right on the bullseye

First is it Labour or Labor? Make up your mind.
Second, nothing wrong with fair trade over bogus "free" trade. We all know about the "free" market meritocracy eg Macquarie Bank boss earns $33m who themselves are juniors to the whale sharks on Wall Street: It's small bickies at Macquarie compared with the big boys.
We all know what a market FAILURE capitalism has been on global warming  courtesy of Sir Nicholas Stern  and why the ALP are pioneering economic intervention along with every other logical world leader on the planet. Even Bob Santamaria  knew laissez-faire capitalism was  a demon.
All you are arguing for is rampant privileged enclavism, ie millionaires over economic justice for the millions.
I would say Cameron is worth about 100 Ayn Rand clones, and all that growth economics claptrap devoid of ecological limits let alone any sense of John Kenneth Galbraith  political economy in a civilised society.
Indeed the root cause of all these mad ideologies making the world so insecure at the moment is the poverty and misery caused by the so called economic rationalism of psychopathic Corporations .
Other than that, good column. I only wish he was running for the Green Party.
Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin


6. Doogie Cameron: the ALP's latest anachronism
Christian Kerr writes:


Motoring buffs will know all about the Hindustan Ambassador – India’s first car. It’s a saloon based on a 1948 Morris Oxford that is still being churned out in its hundreds every year.
The ALP has its equivalent, in Australian Manufacturing Workers Union boss Doogie Cameron. He’s also based on a 1940’s British model. He’s a throwback to the days of "I’m All Right Jack" – which, as if to emphasise the drabness of the period, is even in black and white. And he’s also going into the Senate.

It’s pretty clear that fairness in industrial relations matters to voters. And it’s also equally clear that voters don’t think much of the trade union movement.

One Labour source described Doogie to Crikey as "An arcane and archaic remnant of a lost history of the Party that has yet to understand it should roll over and die."

"Labor even in the Hawke-Keating period could comfortably make the link between its many tens of thousands of Party members and the addition of union executives and delegates as representatives in Labor's forums because the unions had good majority of wage and salary earners as members – a majority of whom voted Labor," they said.

"Now the unions have less than a fifth of the salary and wage earning workforce which is now much reduced anyway, and its membership is in a narrow range of old-style industries such as manufacturing, mining and oil – and the Shoppies in retail, who were/are the DLP rump. Even a majority of those members voted for the coalition up until 2004. Any claim to legitimacy as representatives of workers within the Labor party is unsupported by the facts."

This party member claims Labor, as a state based organisation, is still tied to a system that has given a small group of union delegates unrepresentative and unequal power on its administrative bodies and the preselection bodies.
For federal lower house and Senate seats this means that they can dictate who gets nominated, except in the territories where the seat numbers are so small as to be irrelevant. They say the collapse in rank and file party membership has exacerbated the imbalance of power.

"The change to 50% union delegates at conferences and other changes that Crean pushed through -- at least in part, at the price of his loss of the Leadership -- were a minor improvement, but major change will only be possible when Labor is in government," our source says.
"The prime minister needs to drive that change. Who knows if Rudd will be that PM given what he owes to the NSW Right and the current system."

The government seems to have toned down some of its anti union rhetoric in the past few days. Crikey Labor source thinks the issue may have actually helped Kevin Rudd.

"It builds the perception of an 'extreme' position from the union and a balanced, moderate but tough response from Rudd," they say.

"It’s not dissimilar to the role-playing Howard used to do with Hanson and does now with Heffernan. He lets the shot get fired then sees what damage the projectile has done."

Now that’s a different take on the polls. And it explains why the ALP is still churning out Hindustan Ambassadors of its very own.
Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or submit them anonymously here.

Posted by editor at 5:54 PM NZT
Dire Straits tribute to the Cutty Sark on YouTube here
Mood:  hug me
Topic: water

In light of the tragic fire on the Cutty Sark gutted by fire - Travel - smh.com.au we suggest a good song for the local radio is this one Single Handed Sailor, you can sample via YouTube here below, or album version would be even better. More on the Cutty Sark here too Cutty Sark - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and Cutty Sark

 

 

YouTube - Single Handed Sailor Dire Straits Rockpalast 79

Single-Handed Sailor Lyrics
Artist(Band):Dire Straits

Two in the morning dry-dock town
The river rolls in the night
Little gypsy moth she's all tied down
She quiver in the wind and the light

Yeah and a sailing ship is just held down in chains
From the lazy days of sail
She's just a lying there in silent pain
He lean on the tourist rail

A mother and her baby and the college of war
In the concrete graves
You never wanna fight against the river law
Nobody rules the waves
Yeah and on a night when the lazy wind is a-wailing
Around the Cutty Sark
The single handed sailor goes sailing
Sailing away in the dark

He's upon the bridge on the self same night
The mariner of dry dock land
Two in the morning but there's one green light
And a man on a barge of sand

She's gonna slip away below him
Away from the things he's done
But he just shouts 'hey man what you call this thing'
He could have said 'Pride of London'
On a night when the lazy wind is a-wailing
Around the Cutty Sark
Yeah the single handed sailor goes sailing
Sailing away in the dark


Posted by editor at 3:07 PM NZT
What happened to the 'playgirl princess and the spies that saved her' story?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: big media

Mmm, looks like a juicy gossipy story in the middle section of the teasers top of page one yesterday. Only trouble is the story pointing readers to the "Worldwide" section just isn't there in the newspaper. We flicked through the pages 3 times in case we were missing something.

I would have bought the paper normally if I'd seen that teaser. As it is we missed ours yesterday and only saw it for free at the local Marrickville Library a day later.

What did that naughty princess and the spies get up to I do wonder.

Especially after watching the disturbing (last episode?) of Spooks last Friday night on ABC TV where two top spies in MI5 are the full stop to the show in the most harsh way possible in a twisted plot involving the death of Princess Di.

We rang the News Ltd news desk just now, publishers of The Australian ,was immediately transferred, it seemed knowingly, to the voice mail of "MaryEllen" for what job or advice we don't know. We declined a sweet invitation to leave a message. 

It may have happened before where an advertised story doesn't appear in a top line daily newspaper (just as headlines can be mis spelt, rarely). But we can't remember ever seeing it before.


Posted by editor at 2:10 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007 5:16 PM NZT
Whither ABC bias? Mike Bailey ordered to do the weather by ALP's Premier Wran
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: election Oz 2007

 

 

Stay tuned for the pre emptive buckle by all the ABC broadcasters as to allegation of bias in light of weatherman Mike Bailey nominating for the North Sydney seat held by Joe Hockey:

Weatherman Bailey facing 'huge challenge'  8:18am | Labor's latest recruit Mike Bailey admits he faces an uphill task to defeat Joe Hockey in the federal election.

Minister Joe Hockey is sounding strangely very strident on 702 Trioli show just now, so they probably have good reason. Indeed Chris Uhlmann of AM show earlier today gave a too negative sledge of Bailey as if to cover his delicate *rse. He might have mentioned profile of Bailey as a real asset after some 20 years in the job on tv, in a climate change election, as the weather man no less.

Transcript in due course here.

But what intrigues me is the original, and relevant to allegations of bias, reason Bailey became a weather man after starting out as a political reporter in State Parliament but then being black listed by the ALP's Neville Wran Premier of NSW back in the 1970ies, if memory of modern history serves:

The version we heard from a middle aged Lefty (the Art Gallery curator) is that Bailey reported a story after being confidentially backgrounded, preferring to buck the control games of the government, a forerunner of the Carr bell ringing of media Pavlov dogs and manipulation. The discipline on Bailey was said to be blacklisting from all ALP ministers making his job virtually impossible. Voila - forced career change into the weather man business to pay the bills. How the circle turns.

Certainly Nifty Neville had a rocky relationship with the ABC more generally as per this 50 years retrospective recently by NSW Stateline:

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: But all the policies and reforms in the world couldn't save Neville Wran from that perennial New South Wales’ institution, corruption or allegations thereof. There was the Bill Allen affair, with the second-highest police officer in the state accused of profiting from gambling and crime figures. The government struck a deal and Allen was allowed to retire, in return for not trying to fight the charges. Prisons minister Rex Jackson went to jail for accepting bribes. And there were the so called Age tapes, the result of illegal phone-tapping by the New South Wales police. They brought up links between a solicitor, Morgan Ryan, and the High Court judge and former Labor attorney general, Lionel Murphy.

And the scandal of them all, the claims in a Four Corners program called the big league, that Neville Wran had got a mate off an embezzlement charge by pressuring the Magistrates Court. Fortunately for Mr Wran, a royal commission ultimately cleared him, but, unfortunately, he had to stand down from the premiership for three months.

JEAN KENNEDY: Neville Wran was livid about his treatment and he was especially angry at the ABC.

NEVILLE WRAN: Are you from the ABC?

REPORTER: I am.

NEVILLE WRAN: Yes. Well, I don’t answer your questions, I don't answer your questions at this conference.

........................

My feeling would be Bailey is just worried about the climate (as per cross to Disneyland with Adam Spencer earlier today), there is a real chance of a change of governmnet as per the Prime Minister conceding the same yesterday, and Bailey is ready to get involved.

In other words its all just normal democratic grist, and nothing for the ABC Haters to get worked up about.

And lastly we say if Howard does draw India and China into compulsory carbon emission controls at APEC in Kyoto Mark II, it will be largely due to the strident ALP campaigning, just like the recent $70 billion splurge on taxpayers in the recent Budget.

But more importantly it will be good for this planet facing a 5 metre sea rise in 90 years time more or less an imperial foot or two either way.

....................

Postscript #1

Looks like Bailey has locked in his decision to go for ALP pre selection and resign from the ABC, story timed at 11.48 am today on Fairfax website Weatherman Bailey quits ABC for politics


Posted by editor at 10:35 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007 6:20 PM NZT
Terry Hicks skips Sunrise 7 this time, father of the year and community media champ
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media


Jill Hickson, film maker of ARTV program provider to TVS Ch31 community tv tells us her team interviewed Terry Hicks in person last Sunday morning (20th May 2007) at their Addison Rd Centre office. It will be broadcast sometime in the next few weeks on Sunday night 11.30 pm (with repeats at obscure hours).

Terry Hicks is of course the father of alleged terrorist David Hicks recently, finally, mercifully, returned now to Oz: Adelaide Now

We say alleged because we take the view the USA military commission may have been justice or not, but it wasn't seen to be done from our vantage point. 5 years too long. Chucked out by the USA Supreme Court for dodgy process along the way to rise phoenix like. Bullied into a plea and denied British citizenship. We would have to wait for a High Court of Australia decision endorsing the conviction of the younger Hicks before joining the sheepish chorus of Big Media here re "convicted terrorist" which sounds to us like a PR figleaf for the federal govt. Thus we lawyers are the last resort for human rights in a democracy.

On the other hand as a Gandhi type person we don't approve of mercenaries or similar with a psychological disposition to military violence. Between the two lies the politics and law of this situation.

But Terry Hicks is the father, and what a father he has proven to be:

My Australian Father of the Year - Eureka Street 

The Adelaide Review [Issues] Father’s personal fight for human rights

Naturally a controversial choice like the Sydney Peace Prize this year for Hans Blix who effectively opposed the Iraq war in favour of ongoing inspections regime and evidence based approach: Sydney Peace Prize for blunt Blix - World - smh.com.au

But what impresses us at SAM micro news blog now is this startling anecdote from Jill Hickson to paraphrase (as we dug her garden pond yesterday with recycled bath tub):

'While we were doing [the interview] the call came through from Weekend Sunrise at channel 7. Terry told them he had to fly out by 12 midday. They said okay come in, we will put you with Alexander Downer. Trouble is says Terry to the Sunrise researcher I'm booked with community tv. '

[Consternation follows, relative merits and stature, audience size, scheduling, will Terry cancel in favour of Sunrise?].

'Producer for Sunrise rings back and said okay that's fine, respects Terry's decision to do community tv as promised and wants to keep the options open for the future.'

Our comment would be: This was a big call by Terry Hicks, and supremely ethical. The enthusiastic amateurs of ARTV volunteer team organised by pro Jill Hickson were all in place and ready to go. But Sunrise were a much higher profile opportunity. We understand Terry didn't even pause. "End of story" was his conclusion when it was clear the scheduling conflict was impossible to resolve.

The guy has real class. And perhaps he well understands that it's the community good will for his campaign for human rights for his son, right or wrong, which underpins the return of his son in the first place. Groups like  GetUp! - Action For Australia - www.getup.org.au, and many others also from left to moderate right wingers.

In that respect we think he is most likely correct which presumably why he gave this talk to Melbourne University Law School in April.

Declaration: We do legal checking each week pro bono for the ARTV show at 11.30pm Sunday nights Channel 31 Sydney. An ex girlfriend with more radical politics to this writer  became a determined supporter of the Bring David Hicks Home campaign, and congratulations too for this reward for all that hard work.

Postscript #1 May 22nd 2007 at 8 am - Leigh Sales, reporter over reaches

Leigh Sales has published a book presumably through Melbourne Uni Press  which Richard Ackland, legal writer has reviewed here: Detainee 002: the case of David Hicks - Book Reviews - Books ... We have always found Ms Sales very appealing personally but feel quite annoyed with her shaky presentation of the David Hicks situation in this final phase. Ackland is judicious with praise of her book but actually is damningly faint too around concerns of congenital blandness there at the ABC. That is (my words) inability to take a line for truth rather than political mediation of powerful opposing forces in Australian society (read Coalition v ALP). And Ackland is not alone. The reviewer in The Australian from memory (offline?) came a similar conclusion of, well, which side of a many sided situation are you on? Inevitably the answer is every side and no side.

That's not to say its not a highly competent 'flesh on the story' research effort by Sales, to paraphrase Ackland's tick for a media mate.

But here is the drum Leigh from a fan till now. That's no way to really live a life. Doors open and doors close. You have to take a stand for something.

And here is my deconstruction of  Leigh Sales: A marked man for the rest of his life | Opinion of May 21 we think has some howlers (she did a deal for The Australian to extract her book too):

First the headline by the sub editor  - quite vengeful and malicious. No rehab in a Murdoch press paradigm. That's nasty.

Second she compares him to Mamdouh Habib selling his story turned into a PR disaster - actually wrong. It polarised according to prejudice but got out real evidence of real torture endorsed by our oh so real nasty federal govt. In that sense he got to tell his truth and thus save his sanity.

Three, Sales just seems shallow and sort of apples versus oranges quoting the mars bar survivor after 40 days in the Himilayas savaged by the Big Media. (As we recall it was 60 Minutes who paid for the story and went the biff via Richard Carlton, based on the facts?). Sales says the media will turn on him if he sells his story in an exclusive.

Err sorry wrong again. These deals are done every day - its called commerce and the Big Media accept that business paradigm more than anyone built on the advertising industry. No malice is motivated by more than competition. He also has children and been accused of being a no hoper father. That would be highly inconsistent to be attacked for trying to make a living. In fact grotesquely cruel given the suffering he's been through.

Then there is the old chestnut of training with Al Qaeda - well in fact it was the Taliban pre WTC terrorism as we recall it. The oppressive govt of Afghanistan but the govt no less. But its amazing how AQ is available as a pre emptive smear these days regardless of actual evidence, or actual existence, the bogey in the geo politik cupboard.

Then quoting Max Markson, a PR grub if ever there was - remember the dodgy Sherie Blair fiasco with bugger all money actually going to charity: AM - Cherie Blair begins controversial tour of Australia

And Max almost certainly is a dedicated Zionist, while Hicks almost certainly a dedicated anti Zionist which is not in fact quite the same anti semite or bigot or racist: Not even Max Markson would deal with Hicks | Media | The Australian

Lastly we say  if David Hicks considers a life of ecological study as a zoologist in the outdoors in particular compared to 5 years in gaol, then its a good idea. Nature is a known healer like the Tasmanian forests for WW2 veterans in a very shaky state after that scarring experience. It is known as a good thing in this age of climate change which helps with public reputation. And in the best of worlds can be apolitical (though not in this writer's case). Last but not least the environment movement often functions as a redeemer such as developer bankrupts like Ian Kiernan, or corporate pigs who turn over a new leaf like the current head of WWF Australia Mr Bourne and no doubt a long line of others, even Rupert Murdoch showing some green tinges lately.


Posted by editor at 9:25 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007 10:08 AM NZT
Monday, 21 May 2007
Corrupt compromise of the public revenue by Treasurer Costa with Priest affidavit?
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: nsw govt

Picture: NSW Treasurer Michael Costa gave a very helpful affidavit to a trenchant critic of the NSW Govt allegedly in the lead up to the NSW election. But why did he put the public revenue at risk with such evidence? 
----- Original Message -----
To: NSW Auditor Cc: Sylvia Hale MLC Greens Justice spokesperson, ICAC NSW, Greg Pearce Shadow Treasurer, Stateline NSW, Crikey.com.au editor, NSW Law Society, Mike Carlton SMH/2UE,
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2007 1:13 PM
Subject: Referral of Andrew Clennell expose SMH re Costa 'pre election affidavit' questions over compromise of public revenue

NSW Auditor
CC Shadow Treasurer Pearce, Sylvia Hale (Greens - justice portfolio)
By email - 21st May 2007
 
Dear Sir
SMH expose of Treasurer Costa pre election (2007) affidavit favouring litigant against the NSW Crown
 
We have had a telephone conversation earlier today with the journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald Andrew Clennell who has written 2 articles extracted in full below.
 
Significantly Clennell suggests in our conversation the affidavit praising Priest sworn by Minister Costa was prior to the 2007 election.
 
I am editor of a micro news website called www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog with expertise in the community media sector for at least 10 years, 2 years as a reader analyst with Media Monitors, and a solicitor in NSW. In 1990-91 I worked in the litigation section of Baker & McKenzie until moving into the ngo sector this last 15 years.
 
My understanding of the media coverage in the last 6 or even 12 months to the NSW State election is that Mr Tim Priest was conspicuously absent from the cut and thrust of election battle when prior to that he was a very notable figure in the politics of this state around law and order issues. This impact was in particular as a result of substantial media support from Alan Jones at 2GB and his article in the conservative Quadrant magazine here of January 2004
 
The Rise of Middle Eastern Crime in Australia - Tim Priest ...
Although this article has been substantially attacked for being a blend rather a precise account of criminal events in my view the facts asserted by Priest have never been convincingly rebutted outright, though certainly weakened in terms of credibility. Nevertheless after the Cronullal riot in late 2005 there was a clear political strategy of the Debnam led Coalition to further exploit Priest's claims and witness as per this ethnicly charged report Alan Jones: I'm the person that's led this charge - National ...
 
Based on our legal experience now rather than political and media analysis we raise this critical question for the protection of the public revenue and legal integrity of the administration of justice in NSW: In my experience whenever a public servant including a minister like Michael Costa has competing legal or moral obligations regarding court evidence inevitably the evidence is provided by way of subpoena rather than voluntary affidavit.
 
We say if Costa was in agreement with Priest's legal claim, a friend or felt a moral obligation to support Priest for whatever reason he had a clear conflict of interest as a member of Cabinet to withhold any such affidavit until he was compelled by legal process. He indeed could have advised Priest's legal team to seek a subpoena to avoid his conflict of interest and indeed duty to protect the public revenue as much as was reasonable.
 
We are deeply concerned to know without knowing either way whether or not Mnister Costa may have offered an inducement to Priest to self censor any role in the NSW election period in order to obtain a favourable affidavit of evidence enabling a substantial payout to satisfy the $2.5M claim by Priest. For instance it would be our expectation that professional politicians at that level would well know the political equation involved as we have outlined above and that taking Priest out of the debate would be a political coup for the ALP government under very great pressure in their 4th re election contest since 1995, with a Premier virtually forced to retire in mid 2005.
 
In particular we note this revealing article by Mike Carlton quoting "police sources" last Saturday 19th May 2007
 
Let me tell you about the copper and the deal done - Opinion - smh ... .
 
We have added bold in these quotes:
 
"As Andrew Clennell reported in the Herald on Wednesday, "the affidavit is understood to contain words to the effect that Mr Priest could have made the senior ranks of the police service, such as assistant commissioner or deputy commissioner, had he not been sidelined after a stint at Cabramatta".

My police contacts say this is not a view widely shared at the higher levels of the force. But Costa's lunging intervention was enough. The police minister in office before the election, John Watkins, was advised by Commissioner Moroney and legal counsel to settle the action.

"There was a risk of greater cost to the taxpayer if this case continued," Watkins told me on 2UE on Tuesday. Claiming the matter was confidential, he refused to reveal how much had been paid out. But if Priest and his wife got even half the amount they were demanding, which seems at least possible, we are talking seven figures.

Whatever the worth of Costa's opinion, the truly startling thing is that a Government minister - the Treasurer, in charge of the taxpayers' money, for heaven's sake - should take sides with a claimant suing for a fat chunk of that money. It is, quite simply, bizarre."

We say it appears more than bizarre. It appears as a wild departure from the usual role of evidence by subpoena, instead an affidavit pre election. Putting this with the conspicuous silence of Tim Priest during the election period and we say res ipsa loquitur - the matter speaks for itself.

Please advise whether this course of conduct by Treasurer Costa has in fact wasted substantial public revenue for failing to adequately support the legal defence to the Priest legal claim.

We are similarly copying this correspondence to ICAC in order for them to inform themselves and consider whether this matter deserves investigation in case it involves improper political reasons for settling the legal action to avoid political criticism during the sensitive election period, as described above. Suffice to say we believe it does look that way on the information in the public domain.

Yours truly

Tom McLoughlin, editor www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog

 

Costa's affidavit help for Priest - National - smh.com.au
Andrew Clennell State Political Editor
May 16, 2007

THE NSW Treasurer, Michael Costa, wrote an affidavit on behalf of the disgruntled former police officer Tim Priest that could have led to higher damages being paid by the taxpayer in a Supreme Court action Mr Priest was taking against the Government.

The affidavit is understood to contain words to the effect that Mr Priest could have made the senior ranks of the police service, such as assistant commissioner or deputy commissioner, had he not been sidelined after a stint at Cabramatta.

The Government settled its case with Mr Priest on April 13 for an undisclosed sum. Mr Priest had been suing the police service for more than $2.5 million for "psychiatric injury", breach of contract and negligence.

The Herald learnt yesterday that the Government settled a separate action with Mr Priest's wife, Karen, the same day. There is speculation Mr Priest's settlement was as much as $1 million, based on past legal advice to the Government.

Mr Costa's office said yesterday the Treasurer had written an affidavit supporting Mr Priest's case.

Mr Costa's spokesman, Mat Jones, denied the affidavit had called Mr Priest a potential "future commissioner".

Asked if the document had talked about Mr Priest having had an opportunity to reach the top of the police hierarchy, Mr Jones said Mr Costa had no further comment.

The document reached the Crown Solicitor's office and NSW police legal services but it is unknown whether it reached the Supreme Court, where hearings were still some way off when the settlement was made.

The shadow treasurer, Greg Pearce, raised concerns last night about Mr Costa's actions. "I believe Tim Priest was poorly treated, but it's entirely inappropriate for Costa, as the Treasurer, to intervene in this way," he said.

The former police minister John Watkins, who approved the settlement with Mr Priest, said yesterday he did so after a recommendation from the Police Commissioner, Ken Moroney, and senior counsel that settling would save money.

"There was a risk of greater cost to the taxpayer if this case continued," he told 2UE.

However, Mr Costa, who as police minister in 2001 befriended Mr Priest and employed him as a consultant in his office, is believed to have pushed for the settlement.

Mr Watkins denied the settlement had anything to do with secret police documents on an operation known as Operation Retz that Mr Priest's legal team had been seeking.

....................................

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/costas-whistleblower-mate-wins-damages/2007/05/13/1178994998359.html

Costa's whistleblower mate wins damages

Andrew Clennell State Political Editor
May 13, 2007

THE Iemma Government has paid out the controversial whistleblower and former policeman Tim Priest, who had claimed more than $2.5 million damages from the police service for "psychiatric injury" and a breach of contract.

It is believed the settlement follows a push on Mr Priest's behalf by the Treasurer and former police minister, Michael Costa, who befriended Mr Priest during controversy over crime in Cabramatta in 2001-02 and employed him as a consultant during that period. The office of the Police Minister, David Campbell, confirmed NSW Police Force settled with Mr Priest in early April, just after the election, but refused to say how much it had paid the disgruntled former officer.

Mr Priest repeatedly hung up on the Herald when it called him about the settlement.

Mr Costa, who would not comment yesterday, befriended Mr Priest after being introduced to him by the broadcaster Alan Jones in 2001. This followed Mr Priest's allegations to a parliamentary inquiry about the police handling of drug and gang crime in Cabramatta. The former police minister Paul Whelan and former police commissioner Peter Ryan lost their jobs in the wake of the Cabramatta affair. Mr Costa employed Mr Priest as an adviser on gangs for a time.


Mr Priest was suing the state of NSW, claiming psychiatric injury and alleging negligence and breach of contract concerning his service as an officer at Cabramatta.

The former detective came to prominence as a disaffected officer stationed at Cabramatta in 2001 when he accused his superiors before the parliamentary inquiry of ``criminal neglect'' in the handling of drug- and gang-related crime.

Last year he backed the claims of the then Opposition leader, Peter Debnam, that the Government was soft on gangs in western Sydney and confirmed he had spoken to the Liberal Party about standing for it in the March state election.


Settlement of the matter follows demands from the Supreme Court, after an application by Mr Priest, for internal police documents that the police force was keen not to release.

Settlement of the matter follows demands from the Supreme Court, after an application by Mr Priest, for internal police documents that the police force was keen not to release on Operation Retz - an investigation which led to the sacking of former assistant commissioner Lola Scott in 2002. It is believed that there is some potentially embarrassing information in the documents.

Mr Priest's case had been some way from being heard, with the ``discovery'' of documents still being worked out when the decision was made to settle, a police spokesman said.  Mr Priest's case was handled by Crown solicitors and the police legal services branch.


Mr Priest told a federal parliamentary committee in October 2002  that the office of Mr Costa had helped him receive some payment from the police service and a police pension.

``I was invalidated, medically retired from the police,'' Mr Priest said.

``Only recently I had been denied any compensation from the NSW Police but, owing to the interference and the persistence of Police Minister Michael Costa's office, that was set right.

'`I have received a lump payment and I am on a police pension of about $1100 a fortnight at the moment.'' The pension payments are believed to have been discontinued upon settlement.


Posted by editor at 3:15 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007 3:29 PM NZT

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