Topic: nuke threats
Whoa. This is bad news for community media. Open publishing always had some whiskers on it by allowing ratbags and fruitcakes to publish unintelligible sometimes uneducated rubbish under the guise of free speech. And that's not being an education snob. There's many ways to gain wisdom and knowledge in this world and lack of formal education can still mean very well worth looking at. Only ranting was never a useful form of expression at any time. And most people know it.
But still we feel sorry, and can only hope MIM revives. Damn. And at such a close time to the federal election. I always said this was a period of unusual risk and danger for community politics with a stale cynical 11 year old federal govt hanging on grimly by its fingernails. MIM as it is known seemed to be ahead of the curve ball generally speaking.
The key to community publishing is interactivity, without the hogwash and sabotage. Not really that hard to establish, look at the long long comments strings on YouTube. It can be done.
Here is the last official post for the time being:
Melbourne Indymedia Suspends Publishing
Open publishing has been suspended on Melbourne Indymedia as numbers in our editorial collective are insufficient to manage the site effectively and responsibly. We realise that MIM has played a vital role in reporting activist news from Melbourne, around Australia and internationally. To this end the present collective will be assessing options for how best to provide an activist news service in the future. If you wish to get involved, please contact us, or subscribe to our mailing list.
While open publishing is suspended, our collective suggests if you have a well researched, well-written story about Melbourne events, you should post the story to Sydney Indymedia. We thank our many loyal readers and contributors for several years of grassroots journalism and media activism and hope we can resume reporting with an even better interface at some stage in the future.
Melbourne Indymedia Collective
We just had to add a comment to Paul Kelly's blog here:
No easy way to share emissions cuts burden, Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Actually Kyoto was, and remains the valid model in a geo political economy.
It's based on the precedent of the Montreal Protocol targeting the ozone hole problem in that case not greenhouse gases.
China and India similarly didn't want to retool out of CFC and HCFC gases destroying the ozone layer.
The western countries, including USA and little sir echo Australia, put their foot down on the ozone hole and said yes, you must retool or we embargo those goods/services inputed with those ozone depleting substances (ODS).
China and India retooled in 5 years in their huge populations so they could keep selling their air conditioners and fridges to the USA and other countries.
True the Montreal Protocol is a qualified success with a fair degree of backsliding and cheating, but basically the model works ... IF...there is a unified block of western countries hosting the buyers market here in the more affluent economies. In short the West controls the market access that India and China need, as much as the West need their cooperation on GHG reductions.
Actually a shame on this govt and Big Media for not knowing this environmental politics AO1. But then it was under this govt that the ABC cut Earthbeat in 2005 specialising in environmental policy. Get the picture?
This market based reality is indeed why China for one, with all its coal fired power stations is also accelerating their solar and other renewable energy industries as fast as they can. They know they've been here before on ODS. As I do. As anyone with some brains should by now. It is also why Rudd would be a better PM in the future with his Chinese language skills for the messy negotiation.
But what this situation also does reveal is that Australia as a main supplier to China and India is in fact part of the China-India block, and is playing a rodent like double game. To the West especially Europe we say we support ghg cuts, but to the East we say come and get our coal as much as you like until the music inevitably stops.
The truth is Australia will cop the same discipline as these two major fossil fuel consumers China and India when the USA eventually stops playing chicken with global ecological reality just as they did with the ozone hole, and buckles down to a carbon constrained future and threatens refusal of Chinese etc goods . That would be about January 2009 when W Bush is removed from office along with his Big Oil mates.
Perhaps this is why Costello who gets climate change supports some insurance with a massive solar technology power plant in north west Victoria. It's our future, or very similar, too (geothermal, wind etc), not just China and India.
But it is quite shocking the level of rodent in Australia's dealings on this issue: The Australian Govt has been doing it's best to maximise our coal sales by literally working to delay (read sabotage) as long as possible the western markets inevitable guillotine on Chinese/Indian carbon rich cheap produce.
In this sense it doesn't matter what it's called - Kyoto, G8, APEC, Sydney, or Bali being the next scheduled UN talks in December 2007 (after our federal election as per Marian Wilkinson here G8 moves to put APEC in the political shade - Opinion - smh.com.au, an article that parallels Prof Kelly's article above).
The leverage on China and India remains the same, and has always remained in the hands of Western Countries if they were unified and serious: The threat of a collective ban on carbon rich sales into affluent western markets just like ODS under the Montreal Protocol. By the way the Montreal Protocol also systematised financial and technological transfers to India and China to meet the challenge on ODS just as will be necessary on GHG reduction West to East, and who knows East to West one day.
The community of nations seems to be dancing to the carbon tune in a game of renewable energy musical chairs knowing full well the music stops with a market based guillotine sooner or later. And that it will indeed hurt many if not all if it's not done well. The key is to grow the number of renewable energy chairs and pronto.
We hear that Premier Iemma on ABC radio noon today 14th June 07 via his Attorney General is consulting the Bar Association and NSW Law Society over the lifetime tenure of the DPP.
That's interesting. We think the Bar and Law Society may potentially have a conflict of interest getting involved in such "consultations".
What if say a public watchdog was investigating a minister of the NSW Govt? Just say they were investigating them right now. If they were to make an adverse finding or discover adverse evidence, who would be obliged to proceed with prosecution of the NSW minister?
We think it would be Nick Cowdery, Director of the DPP who would decide to prosecute or not.
So the Law Society, and Bar Association as in effect chief officers of the court for their respective professions could be drawn into "thugging" of a DPP's life tenure, when their real interest if they were fully informed, might be to actually seek as much employment independence from the NSW Govt as possible.
We have been in correspondence with both the Law Society and Bar Association in relation to this. We notice the Law Society carried the chief agent for Iemma on their Law Society Journal recently (as above).
We trust that doesn't affect their independent approach to the framework and status of employment of the DPP in these curious times.
Postscript #1 15th June 07
The more things change the more they stay the same:
Friday, 13 June 2003
The New South Wales chief prosecutor has warned the State Government off any moves to limit his term to a fixed seven years.
Nicholas Cowdery has a lifetime appointment as the Director of Public Prosecutions, but the Premier says this is an anomaly and should be changed.
Bob Carr also says that if Mr Cowdery does not plan to move on soon, the Government might have to bring in the reform before his term ends.
Mr Cowdery says limiting the DPP's term could affect the independence of the office with political decisions being made to shore up a second term of employment.
"I would caution the Government to think very carefully before unilaterally altering the conditions against which I serve this office," he said.
"Unilateral interference with the terms of employment of a statutory office holder is not something to be undertaken lightly."
The President of the Bar Association Michael Slattery (whose office we lobbied yesterday on this) was on 702 ABC radio this morning just after 7 am. He pointed out the life time tenure of the DPP came in across many western countries to quarrantine the DPP from political interference in sensitive prosecutions - he didn't say but presumably like ex ALP MP Milton Orkopoulos pre 2007 state election, or say adverse findings by say ICAC of current ministers.
The Daily Telegraph is running a story with the line that the up until now esteemed ICAC have a director on a limited tenure term. The trouble with that example is that the ICAC have become quite mediocre and ineffective from this writer's view. Well who cares about us you might say. Significantly some influential writer(s) at the Murdoch owned Sydney Telegraph have reached a similar conclusion.
The Telegraph were concerned about some matter of public policy or other that wasn't pursued with quite the vigour or acuity that they thought was needed.
Off the record a very senior journalist at Fairfax has made similar sceptical comments to this writer regarding the success rate or effectiveness of ICAC.
For our part we we worried about consistent failure of the govt over years to seriously prosecute rich farmers of outrageous breach of land clearing laws, and ICAC determination to avoid any flushing out the sleaze behind that approach at political level.
It's a long time since we had the impressive ICAC's Ian Temby QC rampaging against Nick Greiner's tricky jobs for Indy MP's in the Metherell Affair. In that situation at heart was the protection of the environment concerns of ex MP Metherell who refused to deliver up his vote in parliament to destroy.... forests, in a hung parliament.
If only we had an ICAC with that kind of guts today. Maybe with life time tenure they would?
We suggest the last word should go to this scathing criticism of the federal govt sleazing of the independence of their federal public service by destroying permanent heads of department. Sound familiar?:
14th June 2007 Editorial Sydney Morning Herald
TENSIONS between politicians and public servants are inherent in the Westminster system, a fact exploited to brilliant effect in television's Yes Minister. But there is nothing funny about what has happened to the relationship between ministers and mandarins, between ministerial advisers and bureaucrats, over recent decades, and particularly under the Howard Government. The politicisation of the federal public service - the imposition of the electoral and ideological priorities of the party in power on supposedly apolitical officials - has gone so far it poses a serious threat to Australian democracy.
The warning bells have been rung by an authoritative insider, Andrew Podger, a former public service commissioner and head of three different federal departments. In the Australian Journal of Public Administration, Mr Podger says changes to the conditions under which departmental secretaries - they used to be called "permanent heads" - are employed, rewarded and penalised have eroded their independence and professionalism. The big turning points were the introductions of job contracts for secretaries (by the Keating government in 1994) and of performance-based bonuses as a percentage of their salaries (in 1999). These changes, and the increasing tendency to give all but "favoured" departmental chiefs contracts of three years, rather than five, have heightened the tension between the requirements that they be both professionally impartial and responsive to government wishes. The result, says Mr Podger, has been greater emphasis on "responsiveness" and a tendency on the part of senior officials to hedge bets, limit the issues on which to take a stand and craft documents more carefully.
It is depressing, given the roles of politicians and public servants in scandals and cover-ups such as the "children overboard" affair, mistreatment of migration detainees and AWB. Doubtless, Mr Podger will be accused of special pleading - he candidly admits having once been denied reappointment and once denied a bonus - but he is persuasive in his calls for a return to five-year contracts as the norm for secretaries, while retaining flexibility, and for the end of performance pay at this level. Unhappily, the Government is as unlikely to listen as it is to face up to the even graver problem posed by unaccountable ministerial advisers.
And now today in their Editorial today:
Starving the DPP into submission
The DPP's budget is to be cut and the operations of his office are to be subjected to an extraordinary audit. Mr Cowdery may hold the office for life but the Government is looking at ways to ensure his successors do not. Mr Cowdery is not accused of serious malpractice or incompetence, though the Government would dearly like to trump up an overseas trip he had planned into a scandal. His real - his only - crime is candour. At different times he has been less than wholeheartedly in support of Government law and order policy. He made some tart, but justified, comments about the egregious state plan. But candour, under the Iemma Government, is the worst crime of all. Now Mr Cowdery will suffer for it. Yet the Government is playing a dangerous game.
Its first danger is that by neutering the office of the DPP, one of the few remaining independent sources of advice is silenced. We will not speak of the move as unwise: it is demanding too much to require wisdom in politicians. Let us just call it counterproductive. Governments of all persuasions need their servants to speak the truth without fear. How will they know what is happening in the world around them if all they hear is flattery or their spin played back to them?
Second, and more important, it is dangerous because it places too much power in the hands of the government of the day. The Iemma Government may not have heard of the separation of powers, but the rest of the community has. Once the DPP becomes subject to executive pressure - and that is the intention of the campaign against Mr Cowdery - the prosecutor risks becoming the attack dog of the government of the day. The impartiality of the law is put in danger. Temporary political storms whipped up against individuals or groups - and how many of those have we seen in recent years? - can then become truly oppressive. A DPP on a short leash becomes a direct threat to democracy. The Government should back off immediately.
The Green Party have chimed in here too:
15 June 2007
Govt tries another repellent for DPP pest
Greens MP Lee Rhiannon says the Iemma government*s proposed review of
the tenure of the NSW DPP is designed to strip the chief prosecutor of
protection crucial to guaranteeing his independence and indicates a
rotten government bent on silencing its critics.
*The judicial appointment model for the DPP, which has been adopted
in NSW and other jurisdictions around the world, is key to protecting
the prosecution process from political meddling,* Ms Rhiannon said.
*The government is clearly intent on putting the Director of Public
Prosecutions on limited tenure.
*The Iemma government*s manoeuvre smacks of a school yard bully
set on securing its ascendancy.
*The review is one more attempt to silence a valuable critic of the
Iemma government*s popularist law and order policies. It follows
Treasurer Michael Costa*s plan to cut the DPP*s budget.
*The government*s bid to control key appointments and bury
information that should properly be in the public domain is eroding
democracy in this state.
"Mr Nicholas Cowdery QC has been an outspoken critic of Labor's justice
*Mr Cowdery had the courage to label the State Plan a 'political
and has resisted government attempts to meddle in his sentencing and
*Provisions exist to dismiss the DPP for misconduct that ensure
accountability alongside life tenure.
*Preserving the independence of the DPP is crucial for the quality of
justice in this state.
*Greens MPs will vote against any attempts to downgrade the NSW model
for DPP appointments,* Ms Rhiannon said.
Contact: Lee Rhiannon 9230 3551, 0427 861 568.
Powerful article here by Fairfax's Andrew Clennell 15th June 07Cowdery has rare freedom to say what he thinks - for now NICHOLAS COWDERY has been fearless in asserting his independence.
Telegraph story page 2 here, seems to be offline (maybe) - Fixed term moves on prosecutors
In the months leading up to the state election new Premier Iemma’s government was mercilessly attacked by both major dailies Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph for allowing the economy to stagnate. There were widespread fears as here NSW economy a brake on prosperity: PM - Breaking News - National ... affecting the political news cycle.
These fears didn’t quite eventuate as reported here NSW economy 'sound' despite low growth. 06/09/2006. ABC News Online and here: Growing NSW economy dodges recession fears - Economy - State
However we wrote a prediction 12 months ago on Sydney IMC website that the environment was in for a thrashing under Iemma as a result. We predicted it would be a lead foot on the accelerator for economic growth at any cost ….to save his venal political career. Similarly we almost got beaten up for writing this outside a polling booth on election day:
Picture: Embarrassing secret ALP policy? We chalked about 5 of these NO TUNNEL signs and they were washed off presumably by the ALP booth workers within 10 minutes before 7 am corner of Warren Rd and Illawarra Rd 24th March 2007.
In this sense Iemma is no different to predecessor Carr forced out in 2005 for lack of confidence as the moral veil for his atrocities disintegrated. Carr was all for the same Big Business cronyism, nepotism and favours to Big Business in the Union, Construction and Finance sectors involving various public policy atrocities: Tollway roads, congested expansion of centralised port facilities at Botany, pulling the teeth of the Environmental Planning Act. It was an evil ten years facilitated by a moral veil over the wickedness: In Carr’s case natural heritage protection with 300 odd national parks.
But Carr did his best to ruin even that with just as much forest destruction at record high rates still going on today: Chipstop Campaign in SE NSW
Iemma’s political strategy has been very simple and effective to date in response to the core issue of economic competence – take on huge public debt to finance rollout of infrastructure development at any environmental or amenity cost to pump prime the economy to moderate the savagery of the Big Media. So there was never any doubt about Anvil Hill coal mine approval under his regime as here, only the timing:
They Big Media/Big Business Complex must be fed big chunks of meat for their institutional clients/advertisers to keep the revenue churning over. And so former political numbers man at Sussex St, now Treasurer Michael Costa will roll out this strategy for the NSW budget on 19th June 2007 with some $10 to 20 billion in public debt.
But like Carr he needs a moral figleaf to suspend disbelief at the gorging and rorting at the expense of the public. As a long time participant and critic of NSW politics this writer has learned the public will only suspend their disbelief, even the more naïve plods in companies like Media Monitors, if there is a symbolic higher moral purpose to keep believing democracy is not in fact broken in an appalling money politik gerrymander. In Iemma’s case that figleaf is now apparent being therapeutic cloning: MPs to debate ban on therapeutic cloning - Breaking News ... to help find the cure to various illnesses.
Carr – natural heritage. Iemma – curing the sick. And the fact it involves sledging meddlesome Cardinal Pell is a side benefit with Mr Iemma senior reportedly being a bitter critic of the old village priest back in Italy.
It’s a cynical strategy for an ALP Govt that has lost its existential purpose and simply funnels money to its mates. But it causes some strange jarring results. Verity Firth MP newly elected in Balmain was busy leading the PR on therapeutic cloning but will have a new M4 East road through her electorate:
No mention of this pre election. The road will certainly generate greater air pollution congestion and cancers needing a cure from cell cloning.
Similarly former minister Carmel Tebbutt and MP for Marrickville will also likely have a tunnel with cancer causing ventilation stacks for the same road. No wonder she bailed out of cabinet on election night, to get some daylight between herself and this thuggish cynical Premier:
Picture: Taken at 9.35 am election day 24th March at corner of Illawarra Rd and Warren Rd Marrickville, 3 hours after earlier incidents, 24th March 2007: Question: "Tom McLoughlin, SydneyAlternativeMedia news blog. On the record Minister, in relation to the terrible truck accident in the [Burnley] Tunnel in Melbourne, do you think that could happen here in Sydney with so many motorway tunnels?" Answer by Carmel Tebbutt local ALP MP for Marrickville: "I don't know anything about that. I really couldn't say."
MEDIA RELEASE - 13 June 2007
M4 East motorway another post election Labor bad news story
Greens MP and transport spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said today that Premier Morris Iemma and other prominent Labor MPs mislead the people of the Inner West by not announcing prior to the NSW election that they intended to proceed with the M4 East motorway through the inner west.
"Labor knows that the M4 East is a bad news story and they wanted to sweep their plans under the carpet until after the NSW election," Ms Rhiannon said.
"Prior to the NSW state election Marrickville MP Carmel Tebbutt, Balmain MP Verity Firth and Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal denied that the Labor government had any plans to build the M4 East.
"It is now clear that the Labor MPs were wolves dressing up in sheep's clothing.
"The M4 East will increase traffic congestion and air pollution and be a financial drain on the public purse.
"The Richmond Review revealed that inner surburban motorways such as the M4 East would not be economically viable.
"The Iemma government will have to take money out of schools and hospitals to subsidise this motorway.
"The costs of this project far outweigh any so-called benefits to the community. There will be increased traffic congestion, pollution, accident costs and reduced public transport patronage.
"This project does not fit into any strategic network planning for the Inner West.
"The Greens forced the release of papers last year that showed that the M4 East motorway was on the cards but the Iemma government were quick to put a cone of silence around their plans.
"The Iemma government mislead the public on this issue. Sydney will now be lumped with yet another traffic inducing expensive motorway", Ms Rhiannon said.
For more information: Lee Rhiannon 9230 3551, 0427 861 568
The last word should go to community group RAPS which has suffered the M5 East all these years as an indicator of what the rest of Sydney is now about to suffer.
R A P S Residents Against Polluting Stacks Inc, Sydney NSW Australia www.nostack.8m.com
J U N E 2 0 0 7 N E W S R A P S #1
01 FRUSTRATION AS MURKY M5 EAST FILTRATION PLAN STALLS YET AGAIN
02 DOES THE NSW ROADS MINISTER REALLY KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON?
03 NATIONAL CONFERENCE INTO AIR QUALITY IN AND AROUND TUNNELS
04 'GRIM POLLUTION DEATH WARNING' - DAILY TELEGRAPH 06.06.2007
05 'SOMETHING IN THE AIR' - SMH 01.06.2007
06 'HEALTH FEAR OVER DIESEL' - SMH 01.06.2007
07 'SMOG THREAT FOR DRIVERS IN TUNNEL' - SMH 27.05.2007
08 'SYDNEY ON SMOG ALERT - DAILY TELEGRAPH 26.05.2007
09 SMS POLLUTION ALERTS NOT ENOUGH: GREENS' - ABC MEDIA 26.07.2007
10 'GREENS CRITICISE SMS SMOG ALERT PROPOSALS' - SMH 26.05.2007
11 "SMS ALERTS A DOOMSDAY RESPONSE TO SYDNEY'S KILLER POLLUTION"- NSW GREENS MEDIA
B R I E F w R A P S
* Sign the global petition for world leaders to take action on climate change, in the lead up to tne next G8+5 summit. http://www.avaaz.org/en/climate_g8/tf.php
* Hello to the Botany Bay and Catchment Alliance which posts our newsletter to its website. Incrased container movements into Sydney will impact the already overloaded M5 East: http://www.botanybay.info/
* Comment on the Independent Port Botany review before June 8: http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/search/search_results.asp?sidebarSearchTextBox=port+botany&Search=Search
* Engineering firm Heggies has been contracted by Willoughby City Council to install, operate and maintain an Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station to assess the impact of the Lane Cove Tunnel on
local air quality. The station will monitor carbon Monoxide, oxides of Nitrogen (NOX), PM10 and PM2.5. http://www.infolink.com.au/articles/Heggies-to-assess-the-impact-of-Sydneys-Lane-Cove-Road-Tunnel-on-local-air-quality_z52104.htm
* Farewell and best wishes to Sun Herald journalist Alex Mitchell, a long time supporter of RAPS who has now retired from the newspaper.
* Residents around the Cross City Tunnel portals can now receive emails from the tunnel operators about planned venting of emissions from portals. Under the Conditions of Approval,vehicle emissions must be discharged from the Tunnel through the stack except in emergencies http://www.crosscity.com.au/DynamicPages.asp?cid=99&navid=9 and air qualityreports:http://www.crosscity.com.au/DynamicPages.asp?cid=100&navid=9. But why just the Cross City Tunnel?
* Read the government health study and compare the results with what residents had to say about the health of the effects of the Port Kembla smoke stacks: https://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/171_4_160899/westley/westley.html and and http://www.sep.org.au/cancer/findings.pdf
* Sydney's transport system is unnecessarily confusing because passengers are not given enough information or encouragement to use major transit hubs, a NSW Auditor General's audit has found.
http://audit.nsw.gov.au/publications/reports/performance/2007/public_transport/publictransport-contents.htm and http://www.smh.com.au:80/news/national/lost-in-transit-were-going-nowhere-fast/2007/06/06/1181089151642.html?sssdmh=dm16.263558 and http://www.nsw.liberal.org.au/public_news_and_events/media_releases/transport_interchanges_labor_has_failed_to_meet_long_term_transport_needs.html and http://lee.greens.org.au/index.php/content/view/1886/50/
* Queensland has become the first state to increase taxes on gas-guzzling cars in an attempt to encourage more motorists to buy fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles. http://www.smh.com.au:80/news/national/car-taxes-to-rise-in-green-drive/2007/05/30/1180205338904.html
01 FRUSTRATION AS MURKY M5 EAST FILTRATION PLAN STALLS YET AGAIN
RAPS is concerned very little has been done since the March election regarding the M5
East filtration proposal.
Latest news from the RTA is that it could be months before additional information required by
the Department of Planning's February Compliance Audit is gathered : http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/asp/m5.asp
However, RAPS will now meet with the RTA on June 19th
02 DOES THE NSW ROADS MINISTER REALLY KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON?
On 31st May, 2007, in response to a question by the the Hon David Clarke on the
progress of air quality improvements in and around the M5 East tunnel, Roads
Minister Roozendaal told the NSW Upper House that a package of measures
was being put in force to improve air quality in and around the tunnel, that the
government was committed to the installation of Australia's first road tunnel
filtration system and that a revised ventilation strategy would not commence
until the filtration plant was operational.
The Minister's answer, unfortunately, shows that little progress has been made, with
the RTA apparently sticking to its flawed plan, or the Minister not being kept properly
* Minister's response: http://parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hanstrans.nsf/v3ByKey/LC20070531
* Is the Minister in control? http://www.smh.com.au:80/news/national/minister-in-drivers-seat-on-road-to-nowhere/2007/05/30/1180205338928.html
03 NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON AIR QUALITY IN AND AROUND TUNNELS
The National Health and Medical Research Council's 'Air Quality in and around
tunnels' conference was held in Canberra on Tuesday 15th May, 2007.
The aim was to provide advice to Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbot on the need
for new air quality regulations in and around tunnels. It was chaired by prominent
epidemiologist, Professor Michael Moore of Queensland University with experts
on air quality such as Professor Lidia Morowska of Queensland University of
Technology, co-author of the recent WHO document on the design of health
investigations of the impacts of pollution.
In all, there were about 50 attendees from departments of health end environment
around Australia and others from medical and air quality backgrounds. Community
advocates included Graham Lorrimer from Victoria, who advised the community
on the Burnley tunnel and Sydney community representatives Professor Ray
Kearney and Mark Curran.
Although it is clear that the most effective way of controlling pollution is at the source,
by cleaning up the fleet, reducing both traffic and congestion and the use of public
transport, it was also clear that there are significant concerns about the levels of
in-tunnel pollutants and the way in which they are regulated. In addition, there was
concern about the way in which impacts outside the tunnels are addressed.
There was a widely held opinion that the current 'rules' look inadequate and that,
besides carbon monoxide- the only component currently regulated - it is important to
consider nitrogen dioxide and particles, both by themselves, but more importantly
The information is still embargoed but there should be an announcement before July.
The M5 looks to be amongst the worst polluted urban tunnels in the developed world.
What is considered bad in Europe is a daily event in the M5.
* Watch RAPS conference webpage for updates: http://www.raps.bur.st/nhmrc/tunnels/index.html
* Background media :
* RAPS discussion paper on regulation of pollutants in Sydney tunnels: http://www.raps.bur.st:80/nhmrc/tunnels/index.html
04 'GRIM POLLUTION DEATH WARNING' - DAILY TELEGRAPH 06.06.2007
" Air pollution could kill one Sydney resident every four hours by the year 2030
if the city's car obsession continued at its current rate, the lord mayor said today.
The figure is eight times the number of people killed in road accidents."
* Daily Telegraph story from 07.06.2007: http://www.smh.com.au:80/news/news/something-in-the-air/2007/05/31/1180205408805.html
05 'SOMETHING IN THE AIR' - SMH 01.06.2007
" Diesel produces fewer greenhouse gases than unleaded petrol but it is more
dangerous to our health.
Demand for diesel-powered cars is soaring. Australians bought more diesel cars
in the first four months of this year than they did in the whole of 2005.
However, the explosive growth is a double-edged sword."
* SMH story from 01.06.2007: http://www.smh.com.au:80/news/news/something-in-the-air/2007/05/31/1180205408805.html
06 'HEALTH FEAR OVER DIESEL' - SMH 01.06.2007
" A big increase in the number of diesel cars - including those using so-called clean
diesel - has raised fresh concerns about the health effects of the fuel.
An immunologist, Ray Kearney, said the emissions from diesel had been linked to
asthma attacks, cardiovascular and respiratory disease and cancer. Governments had
been slow to legislate against it, he said.
"Diesel pollution kills people. One in five lung cancer deaths can be attributed to fine
particles from burning fossil fuels," Dr Kearney said.
07 'SMOG THREAT FOR DRIVERS IN TUNNEL' - SMH 27.05.2007
" NSW motorists may be warned to wind up their windows when entering smoggy freeway
tunnels under a proposal being considered by the State Government.
A report resulting from last year's parliamentary air quality inquiry has recommended motorists
keep their windows up when driving through tunnels.
The Roads and Traffic Authority has continually declined to place health warnings at the entrance
to tunnels, but Parliament could force it to act."
* SMH story from 27.05.2007: http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/smog-threat-for-drivers-in-tunnels/2007/05/26/1179601733713.html
08 'SYDNEY ON SMOG ALERT - DAILY TELEGRAPH 26.05.2007
" Sydney residents will be able to register for real-time Government SMS air pollution health
alerts under a proposal Premier Morris Iemma will take to Cabinet next week.
The Saturday Daily Telegraph reports that an email and SMS advance warning system would
be developed in response to key recommendations from a parliamentary air quality inquiry last year.
The inquiry report warned that 1600 people were dying every year from air pollution related illness."
* Daily Telegraph story from 26.05.2007: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21795534-2,00.html?from=public_rss
09 'GREENS CRITICISE SMS SMOG ALERT PROPOSALS' - SMH 26.05.2007
" A NSW government plan for real-time SMS air pollution health alerts is a sign the government
has failed to manage Sydney's transport crisis, the Greens say.
Under the proposal which NSW Premier Morris Iemma is due to take to Cabinet next week,
residents will be able to register to receive text messages providing pollution data across the
Sydney metropolitan area, The Saturday Daily Telegraph reports."
* The Age story from 26.05.2007: http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Greens-criticise-SMS-smog-alert-proposal/2007/05/26/1179601713645.html
10 SMS POLLUTION ALERTS NOT ENOUGH: GREENS' - ABC MEDIA 26.05.2007
" New South Wales Greens say that a State Government plan for an SMS pollution alert is
an inadequate response to the city's air quality problems"
* ABC online story from 26.05.2007: http://www.abc.net.au:80/news/newsitems/200705/s1934063.htm
11 "SMS ALERTS A DOOMSDAY RESPONSE TO SYDNEY'S KILLER POLLUTION"- NSW GREENS MEDIA
" Premier Morris Iemma's SMS pollution alert system for Sydney is an admission of government failure to
manage this city's transport crisis Greens MP and transport spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said today.
"It is alarming that the Premier's plan for dealing with Sydney's smog
is to issue a warning rather than increase public transport and so
reduce the volume of traffic that is the cause of this pollution," Ms
"The SMS pollution alert system is a doomsday response to Sydney's
dirty air that is killing more and more people."
* Greens Media release from 26.05.2007 here:http://lee.greens.org.au/index.php/content/view/1886/50/
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So much for integrity in NSW politics
Picture: Green booth worker next to poster, election day March 2007.
All day we've been hearing the "only in America" story of a Korean American dry cleaner who lost a new judge's pants, and sued for $64 million. Here it is even on quality ABC AM
The ranting, the ridicule, the outrage at litigous USA and mad lawyers.
A really popular story. Trouble is it's obviously a practical joke suit by the lawyer at the expense of his launderer to express his annoyance. Sure it's a cruel joke. Sure its almost certainly abuse of the legal process to get some revenge on a service provider gone wrong.
But it's a joke no more sophisticated than writing a cheque for $100M issued by Mickey Mouse Lotteries. Take one Statement of Claim form to the Local Court. Claim $1 billion dollars in damages. Have case thrown out AND ordered to pay court costs, but scare the bejesus out of the legally naive defendant.
The really funny thing is that the Big Media in dopey Australia (the Galilee to their Rome) are running it as if it is a straight story, complete with boosting by the traditional Republican think tank haters of plaintiff lawyers seeking to spin a practical joke back at the annoyed lawyer for losing his pants.
How gullible to these Rove style Republican ranters can you get?
GET REAL PEOPLE. ITS A FAKE STORY. A STRAIGHT MAN REPUBLICAN RANTER WITH A WHINEY YANK VOICE DOESN'T MAKE IT TRUE.
Postscript #1 27th June 2007
As predicted above - Judge loses $54m lawsuit over lost pants - ABC News (Australian ...
The version we heard on ABC tv news 26th June last night was that costs were ordered against the sore pants loser and it would amount to some tens of thousands of dollars. Again as we predicted above. This just confirms to us this story was an attempt at a more generalised bash of plaintiff lawyers - critical to social justice in western democracies - traditionally hated by Republicans, hence a world class beat up for a frivolous vindictive litigant abusing their knowledge of legal process.
[No picture of George which we understand is the cultural ethic after the death of an Aboriginal man.]
We saw George, or "Georgie", along with an enthusiastic crowd at Waverley Oval in Sydney. It was around 1999 or so. It was the Survival Day concert that had been recently relocated from La Perouse in Sydney. It was my last of 4 years on the Waverley council and I was feeling pretty burned out and needing a change. I had decided to make way for an Aboriginal member of the local Greens Dominic Wykanak who was duly elected late 99, in place these last 8 years.
George has died at age 50, according to The Australian press yesterday and today.In 1999 he seemed at the height of his power, very lithe, very energetic and a very black traditional looking man. A superb rendition of My Island Home and other songs were performed. A successor to him and his band's artful music, Christine Anu, was also on the bill later the same day, in much gentler refined tones.
Picture: New mural in Marrickville reads "different past shared future"
But for me it was George's performance that was the eye opener. Wow. He was great. And the crowd response reflected that too. They started to jump.
In my beady way I noticed the tv coverage that night missed this gifted display, showing the more mainstream more everywoman looking Anu singing the exact same song My Island Home. I felt a little ripped off, like what's the problem, was George too loud, too black, too traditional looking? His rendition of the same song, which was in fact their song was superior in my view proven by the crowd reaction.
But I think it was just Christine's greater recognition to Australia generally at that stage in her career. She also became known for doing tv pre election advertising for the NSW government a few years later with "It's a living thing" theme. Besides it wasn't a contest, it was what it was. You had to be there to get the best of George.
In fact we first heard of Ms Anu in about 1993 or so when we actually personally had this conversation at a Christmas function for The Wilderness Society like this:
Me: "Are you from the Metro Aboriginal Land Council ?" [an invitation sent by myself if memory serves]
Christine Anu: "No we're the entertainment." [looking as drop dead gorgeous as she was ever going to at that age]
Me: "Oh, okay".
And it was also the first time I'd ever seen another singer on the ticket that night at our function, held in the Old NSW Teachers Club in Bathurst St, and thinking, that guy is something special: Neil Murray of the one and same Warumpi Band playing solo. He was damn good too. Sang a song something like "Into the wilderness" a bit like getting away from it all in the Warumpi song "Good light in Broome".e
Neil is in The Australian today describing the enormous talent his colleague George was. God bless you George, condolences to your family, to Neil, Christine and all their fans. What a champion performer George was.
Tom McLoughlin (NSW campaign coordinator 1993-94, The Wilderness Society NSW)
Above: Byron Bay Echo page 5, 12th June 2007
Ian Cohen MP is there on p11 of the Sydney Daily Telegraph in typically sensationalist terms apparently facing a complaint to police by a "Byron Bay business woman Donna Davis" alleging assault of some kind. This could be an allegation of anything from an unwelcome chinese burn to the wrist, to something more serious. Who would know.
One takes a sceptical view not so much of the woman making the complaint per se but of the purveyor of the story, and therefore it's truth.
How so? Let me count the ways, and subject to a reservation found below:
1. The Telegraph, and specifically this editor, David Penberthy, have a proven unsafe track record when it comes to reporting the private life of political enemies of conservative politics. John Brogden was a moderate targeted by the ultra right loyalists to John Howard. The blowtorch was so exagerated especially (from memory) the gratuitous third front pager the anxiety riven MP and Opposition leader tried to commit suicide in a fit of deep depression. The Liberals lost the seat of Pittwater there was such a blow back.
2. Again from memory Cohen has won an undisclosed defamation payout from the Telegraph for falsehood written by Piers Ackerman via top barrister Clive Evatt for Cohen. I seem to recall Cohen having another defamation proceedings under way though memory is vague on that. If this is so, we could be seeing a nasty revenge tactic, just as News Ltd run knee jerk attacks on Ch7 - owned by Kerry Stokes as Stokes sues them for alleged business thuggery over the marginalisation of the Stokes C7 pay tv venture (notice too James Packer another party defending the C7 litigation as owner of PBL/Ch9, has effectively sold out of the litigation with sale to private equity).
3. The timeline in the story itself is curious. The incident is said to be June 2 2006 but the complaint was made to police in January 2007 just prior to the state election. It was so damaging (not?) as to have been unheard of prior to the state election in March 2007. Even accounting for Cohen not being up for re election himself, it's hard to believe such ammunition, if it had strength wasn't flushed out in that seriously adversarial climate. The timing does seem equivocal as to whether the complaint was delayed for entirely human reasons, or to leverage the pressure of the election which would be quite cynical but sadly pretty common to relationship breakdowns.
4. In a reading of his book Green Fire at its launch in the 90ies Cohen outlined a moving account of domestic violence by a male protester in the Chaelundi forest protest camp around 1990, where the sisters in the blockade all lined up and literally spat on a young man who had offended their own social code. And how that young man took his humiliation in front of the whole camp. Powerful stuff. Is that the kind of guy who has lost his sense of right and wrong? Even in a tense relationship breakdown?
5. There is an overt feminist, but really power politik battle being fought for the female vote in the lead up to this tough federal election, and one of the covert battle fronts is in NSW State Parliament, including leverage of the media. So people are playing angles, Prue Goward MP, ALP Leader Iemma MP with his telegenic policy yuppies, and if Cohen is collateral damage well all to the good would be the attitude of the duopoloy major party gerrymander.
6. Then there is what I would call the Byron Bay factor. Fraught internecine social and no doubt sexual power politics amongst the new age and business hippie crew trying to invent a new society up there.
The one qualification is that the story is not by the usual attack dog Luke McIlveen, but a double headed byline of old hand Bruce McDougall with Kate Sikora. There is also mention of witnesses. On the other hand the hallmark ridicule of the Greens Party by reference to Cohen allegedly "fond of surfing, cycling, colourful [also described as "outlandish"] suits and slip-on shoes" is there for daring to stand against said duopoly gerrrymander/Big Media complex. Pathetic journalism really which trivialises the serious questions underpinning the story.
In all the context, it looks very much like an innocent until proven guilty type situation. Time will tell.
This writer can't say Ian Cohen is our favourite MP even if on roughly the same side of politics, given we don't like the haughty culture of parliamentarians in general. Nor can we say that Cohen is above power games at the expense of his rivals inside and outside the green movement. But it's a whole different thing to join in an invitation to emotional and professional thuggery by the Daily Telegraph, or one David Penberthy.
I mean we just don't know if staff of the Daily Telegraph have stopped beating their own wife, spouses, girlfriends or children yet? We do know they are episodic drug addicts (Stephen Mayne reports of culture there), serial defamers (senior reporters regularly and successfully sued), racist abusers of an ethnic security guard (refer IR legal decision), apologists for mass murder in Iraq (refer pro Bush war coverage) etc, and an insult to real editorial standards (common mentions Media Watch ABC) but that's a whole different matter. Or is it?
Declaration: The writer, Tom McLoughlin, was a member of the Green Party from 1993 - 2000, an ex girlfriend was a parliamentary staffer for Ian Cohen 97-99 or so.
Postscript #1, 13th June 2007 When we spoke yesterday 12th June neither Ian Cohen MP's office, nor Andrew Clennell state political editor at the Sydney Morning Herald seemed to think there is any relation in the timing of the report out mid yesterday that Paul Gibson MP of the NSW ALP would not be facing formal charges of domestic violence from some 17 years or more ago, involving alleged victim then MP Sandra Nori:
SANDRA NORI has broken her silence on her refusal to give a police statement about allegations that she was assaulted by her former partner and fellow Labor MP, Paul Gibson, saying she "has had enough of this issue to last a lifetime".
We are indeed more cynical. The Cohen story as flaky as it sounds does take the edge off the Gibson 'not charged' ALP embarrassment story, but even more significantly off MP Nori, who refuses to lodge a witness statement so she can move on with her life. For instance you can expect female MP friends colleagues of Cohen will have just that much greater pause to not engage on the Gibson/Nori matter today.
For instance that's a hallmark of systemic patriarchal abuse really that Nori does not feel free to tell the facts, which if she did would all likley echo back to say .... professional sport like rugby league ... do yer think?:
A scandal story not so easy to find via google as it appeared front page Sydney Morning Herald on June 1st 2007.
Who released the details of Cohen allegation? Apparently it ran in the Fairfax Sun Herald of 10th June, then quite big story as above Murdoch Daily Telegraph 2 days later. The kind of story police might have organised, or ALP to diverrt attention of their own? That would never happen in Sydney surely not.
Here is that Sunday Sun Herald first story which indeed was issued by NSW Police
Date: June 10 2007
A NSW MP has been accused of assaulting his former partner.
In a statement issued to The Sun-Herald on Friday, police confirmed they were investigating the alleged domestic assault.
The statement said that on January 31 this year a 56-year-old woman contacted police alleging that an incident took place on June 2 last year where she was assaulted by the man, whom she knew.
Detectives then launched an investigation.
A police spokesman said it took several months for key witnesses to come forward.
After further inquiries, several new witnesses were identified.
No one has been charged.
The police spokesman said that while investigations into the alleged assault continue, no further comment would be possible.
SAM news blog draws these conclusion: A media story management fix is in at the expense of the Greens, motivated by perhaps the NSW Police, perhaps the ALP Iemma Govt ministers.
Christian Kerr writes:
Greens v boys in blue? "The Greens' chief policy strategist in Victoria has admitted she helped organise a cannabis festival," the Melbourne Herald-Sun reported over the weekend. "Freja Leonard, chief-of-staff to Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber, used to be a coordinator at Mardi Grass, Nimbin's pot celebration," it breathlessly continued. The story has left more people than just a few old stoners scratching their heads and asking what Greg Barber has done to cop such a story. Could it be calling for an independent crime commission to be established in Victoria along the lines of those in NSW and Queensland? Such a body in Victoria might well cause embarrassment for both the ALP and the boys in blue.