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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Obama's 35 minute speech without notes on race and unity
Mood:  special
Topic: human rights

Deja vu?: West Wing tv series Series 7, episode 8        "Undecideds" 

We're not much into cult of personality but that's what we call a superior orator. Win or lose this guy has courage to speak publicly on any hot issue directly with a poise and moderation that comes over like fresh air.

The conservative press are reporting this as "Candidate gives the speech of his career" . Some cynics are implying that confronting racism so openly is a fatal third rail of US politics. To which we say we are about to find out. 

 


Posted by editor at 9:37 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 21 March 2008 10:18 AM NZT
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Rudd under some pressure over Chinese company donation link
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: aust govt

Picture: Image taken off the Parliamentary live web feed which covers the full qeustion time 2pm to 3.30 or 4pm here: http://webcast.aph.gov.au/livebroadcasting/.  Kevin Rudd PM gets personal and a little off the point after repeated quiet and potentially deadly questions from the Opposition about Chinese developer donations for his overseas trips. The quiet attitude of the Govt benches suggested how serious the questions actually were.

The issue of smelly political donations has run amok in NSW in recent weeks over the Wollongong Council/senior State ALP disgraced figures like Joe Scimone. We have even done some reportage here:

Thursday, 28 February 2008 Stop press: Developer given enough rope on Deb Cameron ABC 702
Mood:  vegas lucky
Topic: nsw govt
Friday, 29 February 2008

Here is a feature in The Australian from back on 8-9 March 2008 on developer and union funding of political parties:

8 March 2008 Parties with money to spurn | The Australian

And the issue of dodgy ALP financing is still metastising as here into the Transport Workers Union allegations of secret slush fund:

March 16 2008 Union's secret 'slush fund' to help ALP | NEWS.com.au Business

All this context not least relating to the ALP at high levels suggests more reasons for PM Rudd, who it must be said has succeeded within that millieu to take the prize of Prime Ministership, to feel quite some pressure over a certain Mr Tang. Mr Who? Over to Crikey.com.au who seem to have the running on this (while noting an oblique reference by Alexander Downer to Beijing AustChina Technology Ltd in another context apparently in the Adelaide Advertiser

Crikey.com.au report this today:

19 March 2008 Rudd's AustChina connections have more Tang

These issues free of discriminatory comment or xenophobia are definitely worth chasing down.

A heckle went over the tv broadcast back to the Opposition to "put up or shut up".

Maybe someone will.

Or not - because Rudd or someone has let it be known that his honours thesis as a god fearing student (significant that by comparison with godless ideologies) was on ... wait for it "Dissidents of China" or such like.

Sooo, yes money politics in the greedy developer sense, or industrial espionage sense, could be in play, but Rudd's patriotism is not really an issue. As Swan said above - and party non aligned here - it was their job to engage with the economic value China offered to Australia. Most high paid workers in Western Australia and Qld and mining sector generally are likely to agree.

But yes, bring in the sunlight. China is a corporate dictatorship to be very cautious about like most ruthless capitalist corporations too. The snake head meets the tail in this respect, and funny to say Santamaria got that one right. It's all about avoiding totalitarianism.

Which is why we should acknowledge the profound role of politics in the Beijing Olympics  

Picture: Image taken from tv broadcast up to 3 pm on ABC TV 1. Fairly cool PM Rudd deflects and diverts on the question of his links to Beijing AustChina Technology Ltd which has funded his travel in Opposition.


Posted by editor at 4:34 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008 5:54 PM NZT
Green Senators official blog raises bizarre disjunction of climate and infrastructure policy
Mood:  sad
Topic: aust govt
Photo of Senator Christine Milne
Direct lift from Green Senators GreensBlog follows, and noting a stark example of their argument being this in Sydney March 1, 2007 'Secret' $5 billion tollway to tunnel under city | NEWS.com.au, hardly greenhouse friendly, corroborated by this M4 East paper remains in secret basket Wednesday 12 March, 2008, and similarly Nowhere to go but into [Lane Cove] tunnel | The Daily Telegraph 11 March 08

March 19, 2008 by Tim Hollo

The Rudd Government’s Bill to establish Infrastructure Australia is currently being debated in the Senate, with several amendments being proposed and debated by Christine.

In her Second Reading Speech last night, Christine said:

“I think it is a good idea that a nation should begin to predict and anticipate its infrastructure needs and demands and set out a strategic blueprint. Why I am disappointed, though, is that this whole bill is couched as if climate change and oil depletion are not real.”

The debate should prove to be quite interesting, and I will post more as it becomes available through Hansard.

Any ideas that people have that could be useful while the debate continues are most welcome.

Update:

The debate has been adjourned until after question time this afternoon, but not before Christine’s first amendment was rejected by the Government, Opposition and Family First. Christine’s media release on this morning’s activities is here.

As it turns out, Infrastructure Australia will not even have the capacity to examine the greenhouse implications of proposed infrastructure developments unless specifically instructed by the Minister to do so. How frequently do we think that will happen?

Do we think Minister Albanese will call for the greenhouse implications of expanded coal ports and related infrastructure to be examined?

Update 2:

The debate thus far from 9.30am up to 12.30 is here.

............................
We have alot of time for Senator Milne at SAM news blog, and we notice this too:

Posted by editor at 3:36 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008 4:21 PM NZT
Olympics IS political: Aussie Peter Norman solidarity with black power salute 1968
Mood:  special
Topic: independent media

The penultimate post was a mild sledge of the ABC morning programme the way you get the shits with a parental figure when it comes to community media, and we mentioned 'The Mural'. As said our understanding is that the mural was done by Donald Urquhart, unauthorised possibly, a Kiwi living in Australia and who we suspect has a day job as a nurse, if still here.

Now here is an artist blogger dated 22 April 2007, which we are so grateful for, for saving us the trip. Over to Nosey in Newtown:

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Stars of Track and Field

The 'Three Proud People' mural on the side of a house near Macdonaldtown Station is one of my favourite pieces of Newtown street art. Not two proud people, but three.


The white guy in the picture, the third proud person, is Australian Peter Norman. He knew the African-American athletes, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, were planning to give the black-power salute during the ceremony and supported them by wearing a badge for the Olympic Project for Human Rights. He also suggested to them that they share their one pair of black gloves, which is why Smith has his left arm raised and Carlos his right. Norman died last year, and Smith and Carlos came to Australia to be his pall-bearers. They were quoted as saying that Norman deserved to be more famous that Steve Irwin.

I can't imagine any Australian Olympic athletes making a political statement like this today. Certainly not if it meant risking offending the United States. Carlos and Smith were expelled from the Olympics for this salute, and Norman was officially reprimanded. Despite qualifying, Norman was not picked for the 1972 Olympic athletics team.

RailCorp has recently erected a massive concrete sound barrier along the tracks at Macdonaldtown, completely obstructing the view of the mural.


I have written a letter to the Lord Mayor and the Minister for Transport calling for them to reproduce the mural on the other side of the barrier so you can see it again while trundling past on the train. If you'd like to voice your support for repainting the mural, feel free to write to me for a copy of my letter which you can conveniently modify and send on.

8 comments:

Nosey in Newtown said...

Update: Thanks to those who have written to lend their support, and thanks also to Matt Norman, the nephew of Peter, who has thrown his weight behind the campaign to have the mural repainted.

I'll make sure to keep you posted on any progress.

Anonymous said...

well done nosey in newtown activist!

suzysiu said...

You are on top of everything! I am so impressed with this blog.

lucazoid said...

aha! i have been hoarding this news article meaning to scan it in for ages. i loved cruising by mcd town station and seeing that mural, and was mighty annoyed when that ugly wall went up.
here's the dodgily scanned in news article. tis a bewdiful story:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bilateral/476455530/
and here's the detail of the image which the mural artist must have worked from:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bilateral/476462368/

Karen said...

I did always wonder what that was all about, during my hornsby via strathfield years...

CRANKY said...

UNREAL. I had noticed the mural's obstruction on the train and was disappointed, especially as I'd only recently discovered what it was all about (thanks to coverage of Peter Norman's death... what a champ). Those dudes are heroes. Meanwhile could you imagine Thorpie taking such a stand for anything other than a pink party shirt? Bah on modern athletes. And hooray for you for agitating.

Ginger said...

Good on ya enjoying your blog newtown and area is the suburbs of my wellspent teens -> 20s.

nisch said...

Heard about your site on FBi... I too was extremely saddened when railcorp decided to cover up one of the most important pieces of street art in Sydney...


Posted by editor at 2:47 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008 4:10 PM NZT
Olympic politics: Passive censorship off the ABC 702 talk back for this 5th estate tyre kicker
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: big media
 


 

Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 10:39 AM
Subject: mmm off your talk back list? So be it

1. I've been aware for about 3 weeks at least that I'm blocked from your talk back list, 702 morning show.

This is fair enough if it's a policy of facilitating general citizens while I'm more or less a full time community media practitioner that edits a community media website and so not 'normal'. That's okay, and accepted. I never wanted to be so average.



But maybe your team should be honest and tell me that directly instead of the ostensible passive censorship? Indeed it's a subtle form of emotional violence really to be blocked and censored, like this morning: My feedback on Lisa Forrest/politics in the Olympics - no mention of the Peter Garrett sorry suit at Sydney 2000. No mention of mural near McDonaldtown railway station (stop before Newtown) depicting the famous Black Power 1968 salute painted by one Donald Urquhart, an activist artist years ago pre Sydney 2000 from memory. These would have enriched your coverage.

But I would have preferred to not waste my time too.


Also you might just share the policy decision around, as some of your telephone talk back staff want to hear my material while one in particular is the proverbial Berlin wall, chilly.

It was much the same with Trioli, blocked, then waved onto the airwaves, then if memory serves blocked again. Cie la vie.

2. There's no secret I am highly critical of James Woodford who sounds like a Fairfax mate on your show. It may be of interest to know that HE in turn is blacklisted by many civil society green groups in south east NSW who have any independence from the hegemonic state ALP govt. In particular
ChipStop group run by ex journo Harriet Swift, local landholder, held in high esteem, wife of local Bega Councillor Keith Hughes, take quite a dim view of him. These are for sound reasons of biased (read absent) reportage about the Eden chipmill. A bias that the Sydney Morning Herald has been woefully guilty of too for about 8 years now directly leading to the destruction of East Gippsland majestic forests.

Nor do we have anything much good to say about another favoured ABC Sydney information source, Jeff Angel, director of the Total Environment Centre, and significantly, mentor to Woodford 1991-92. We say Angel is implicated in grotesque financial compromise from the NSW ALP state government such as the Lake Cowal Trust, Green Games Watch 2000, RACAC and Native Vegetation Committee as well as the most recent Unsworth Committee on power privatisation.

Significantly this is the position that Milo Dunphy, founder of TEC held, Dunphy having been our mentor. We say Angel is the cork in the bottle of spontaneous green movement and Green Party evolution. We know for instance the ALP ask rhetorically what are the green groups going to do when Jeff is gone? Get it? They need him as their controller, and contemptible gate keeper. If only I could do a 'Daily Telegraph/Mamdouh Habib' legal contest on the chapter and verse detail of this reality.

3. I'll be in the community media  trenches with or without engagement with the ABC radio morning show, which reminds me of the Stephen Mayne amusing reference to "the Kremlin" even as he does get an official gig. In truth every organisation is equally defensive or jealous of their turf.
I take seriously the role of the fifth estate on disciplining Big Money Media of which the ABC is a more benign and public spirited form, no doubt compared to many of the barbarians. That's accepted. But your organisation has got its warts like every flawed human endeavour, myself included. We were impressed with your on air grovel in particular about the issue of dementia which took guts and also seemed a little too accomodating which suggested a compassionate approach.

The morality of the ABC was never better than that on air grovel. Was it the modest orgins, farm near Panmure (?) that generates the moral gumption? My fear remains that like the local Hopkins/Merri Rivers none of these will survive dangerous climate change for lack of upstanding forests. As with all sectors of the society too much talk not enough honesty.

Yours truly

Tom McLoughlin, editor www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog (solicitor)


 ..................

Postscript #1


We made a courtesy call in Gandhi style to these folks being in the story here and had an amicable conversation with the "senior producer". She swears its just an artefact of logistics and split second decision making with 12 lines to juggle. Sounded plausible too. Which doesn't mean we are convinced. While wishing her well, we think it's probably moot as we decided a while back to try and wean ourselves off the talkback urge and rather manifest our material in this SAM outlet. A natural evolution for this community media, grown out of local indymedia, grown out of City Hub et al, and growing out of the talkback habit.

Off to get a picture of that mural of the black power salute because big money Olmpics means by it's nature, Beijing is political. Not least because China got the gig on a political agenda 'to help open up to the world'. Just as Sydney's 'green games' was to promote sustainability. And with the critical role China has in the global economy, and dangerous climate change, the big money olympic engagement involves profound politics already. Merely adding the profound concerns of Tibetan and Darfur human rights into this already profound mix seems totally appropriate to this writer.

Stay tuned for alot more on this front with some (mostly foreign?) 800 media reps at the press conference of a Chinese leader in Beijing yesterday according to the excellent Stephen McDonell on PM show last night:

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Well it was interesting this morning, just as Premier Wen Jiabao started his annual press conference, a dust-storm had blown in from the Gobi Desert, and shrouded Beijing in a very thick, I suppose, cloud of sand, and when I arrived at Tiananmen Square this morning and looked across at the Great Hall of the People I could barely see it.

Now, we went in there, and these press conferences are partly because it's… you get one chance at it. They are huge. There was like 800 journalists there, and Premier Wen Jiabao, to his credit, took a lot of questions about Tibet. And, you know, obviously people wanted to speak, to ask him about it, and I suppose he had a few things to say about it. Let's have a listen to some of the things he was asked.

Here's one of the grabs.

JOURNALIST 1: There is turmoil and violence in Tibet and China is accused of cracking down on peaceful demonstrations there. The Dalai Lama calls it cultural genocide, and in the light of these developments some are advocating a boycott of the Olympics. What do you say to these?

WEN JIABAO (TRANSLATED): It is true that recently in Lhasa, Tibet, a turmoil involving the beating, smashing up of property and arson and ransacking was taking place.

In this incident, a small number of violent rioters injured or even killed innocent people on the street and they used extremely cruel means.

There is ample fact, and we also have plenty of evidence proving that this incident was organised, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique.

Picture: The Olympics has been about politics for a long time now. Evidence of our tragic participation in the Sydney Olympics 2000, being a reader analyst night shift job (really night shift midnight to 8 am) with Media Monitors where most of these clippings filling 2 large binders derived from.

 


Posted by editor at 11:13 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008 3:31 PM NZT
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Another big media backgrounder last 7 days
Mood:  chatty
Topic: big media

[under construction]

- classic Big Brother story last Sunday Telegraph by sharp Shari Markson about vetting of no. of sexual partners, illegal drug use, and other private matters for security clearance of such as media advisers and ministerial chief's of staff. And for those too boring to have anything to declare? Sam Seaborn and the hooker comes to mind. 

- Yet another summit? We reported in our last big media roundup about the Ayn Rand May soiree in East Sydney to come in May. We reported on News Ltd/The Australian 'real summit' of power players in business and politics in late March 2008. And now Michelle Grattan notes this summit for Yoof on April 12 and 13 "in a dress rehearsal for the big Australia 2020" event:

16 March 2008 Blood worth bottling - Horseracing - Sport - smh.com.au

Not governing talking seems to be the gist, when urgen action on climate safety is probably wiser. This softer story by MG follows a quite cutting piece the week before in the SunHerald "Budget pain bites Rudd" 9/3/08 p57

 

- We wrote on March 8th 2008 about this barely concealed Chinese Govt advert for 'a spy'

ASIO not the only one advertising for 'spies' ?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: aust govt

which seems to resonate with the story by crikey.com.au about donation of travel tickets from a foreign Chinese 'company' which no doubt is actually Chinese Communist Party controlled:

13 March 2008 Crikey - Exclusive: Rudd, Swan, Burke and the colourful Chinese connection ...

- Yet more fallout from the NSW Govt Dirt File:

* This tucked away in The Glebe 13 March p7 about 'a multibillion dollar infrastructure as big as the harbour bridge'

M4 East paper remains in secret basket THE Opposition and the Greens have called on the State Government to release the promised M4 East discussion paper, fearing that plans are progressing without community input.

* This story 17 March 08 is pitiful, with the 'independent speaker' Torbay actually appointed by the Iemma Govt still, about the 'coincidence' of a whistleblower's employment terminated on the day of her evidence against ex Minister and predator Milton Orkopoulous:

www.smh.com.au - Orkopoulos aide's job offer

As most staffers know the Parliament pays and runs the IR but the MP (or their party) decides who gets the gig or not, so if it smells and sounds like a fix, it probably is, even if not Torbay specifically.

* Ross Coulthard's go hard pieces on Sunday Ch 9 are getting a serious run in the Sunday Press now too re TWU 'slush' fund extorted from transport companies to donate to state MP's. The target is Tony Sheldon ALP Right machine man and "king maker" says RC:

[offline?] p11 Sunday Telegraph 16/3/08 Truckie boss who's also a Labor king maker by Ross Coulthard

and same page/day

Union's secret 'slush fund' to help ALP | NEWS.com.au Business

- 13 March 08 Andrew West on the case still of Party repudiation of Iemma/Costa govt sell off plan

ALP councils reject sale, but the power is still with Costa - National

But then so is the Iemma Govt with this advert in both major papers in Sydney:

 

- there's a twitch in the ultra right ideological dogmatists with some stories about Young Liberals compiling a dossier on 'biased' left wing lecturers. Boo hoo young fogey Howardistas!:

15/3/08 If left-leaning teachers offend, why not join their low-paid ranks ...

And how's this for an Ayn Rand type whining about the same thing in The Australian Higher Education supplement?

 

 


Posted by editor at 12:29 PM NZT
Sandmine in Hawkesbury Council boundary operating with lapsed consent for 10 years?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: ecology

We've published in January and February 2008 about the cowboy sandmining industry operating in breach of development consents in the Maroota area 45 km northwest of Sydney:

  • Now we are examining a sandmine at the Tinda Creek area on Singleton Rd on the eastern boundary of the Wollemi National Park and world heritage listed area.

    Picture: Huge sandmine hole next to Wollemi World Heritage national park on one side and Yengo NP/McDonald Wilderness on the other, 40 km west of Sydney next to the Singleton Road. The sand "pulled out" goes into the ALP controlled construction sector. The mine by Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd was illegal 1986-96 then given retrospective approval by Hawkesbury River Shire Council, and proceeded without valid development consent from 1996-2007 according to Environmental Defenders Office written legal advice. It is due for takeover by Adelaide Brighton Pty Ltd and most likely will be expanded to 270 ha and approved by Minister Frank Sartor in due course. It is killing the water flow in Tinda Creek into Wollemi natural heritage area. There is no real restoration of these huge sand mine sites. They are usually left as quicksand slurry pits (called 'lake' in the spin). Photo by SAM editor 14th March 2007.

    Later today we have an appointment to meet with veteran agitator Neville Diamond, and the Mayor and General Manager of Hawkesbury Council with two legal advice letters from the Environmental Defenders Office (one by Kirsty Ruddock no less, daughter of ex federal minister), and another letter from the Dept of Water and Energy. These are already with the HCC.

    The hierarchy at Hawkesbury Council are due to consider a 2006 development application for 1.3 M tonnes of sand extraction damaging Tinda Creek into the national park and other landholder neighbour's water supply.

    Picture: Neighbours site visit 14 March 2007 with sandminer Tom Bruce 3rd from Left

    Only the sandminer's Enviornmental Impact Statement in 1995-6 never considered the area for the extension of their sandmine, they have been found by HCC to have underpaid s.94 developer levies by at least $48,000 and arguably alot more, and have never submitted "details" of "erosion and sediment control devices" as required "prior to any works commencing" in 1997. This might be because the developer illegally 'moved' the creek contrary to the Rivers and Foreshores Act and to provide detailed plans of erosion and sediment control might give the game away?

    In other words the sand miner, Tom Bruce's Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd has effectively been operating unlawfully without the relevant environmental management plan and have no operative consent having lapsed either 2 or 5 years after late Dec 1996.

    The Council are obliged to enforce their own consent conditions including against local Big Wheel Tom Bruce. So will they?

    Picture: Before 1984 (top), and after 2005 (below)

    Here is our briefing paper for the senior officers Matt Owen (chief planner), Peter Jackson (GM), and Mayor Bart

    Agenda – 3pm  Tuesday 18 March 08 Re Tinda Creek sandmine

     

    Mayor Bart Bassett, General Manager Peter Jackson with Neville Diamond (ND), Tom McLoughlin (pro bono adviser)

     

     

    Action requested of council:

     

    1. Take Class 4 proceedings in the Land & Environment Court to close the sand quarry and immediate halt export of sand for lack of consent;
    2. Seek orders of the Land & Environment Court to remove the bypass channel from Lot 1 and to restore the water flows to Tinda Creek and to rehabilitate the site eg smaller pond(s);
    3. Quantity survey of how much material has been extracted from the site to make sure RTA gets the money due hypothecated to HCC road costs;
    4. Apply the existing $50K already in the rehab bond to generate and expert plan for rehabilitation. Birdon must not do such a plan;
    5. There is no need to send a s.96 extension decision to a meeting of councillors because there is no discretion to exercise.
    6. A new application and new EIS is required for a substantially new development.

     

     

    1. letter from DWE to HCC dated 3rd March 2008 (“DWE letter”) proves lapsed consent for lack of  approved erosion and sediment controls.

     

    A. Under consent condition 4, DA 134/95 approval Dec 96 for  Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd (“BC”) re sandmining approval at Tinda Creek Lot 2, DP 628806,  states

     

    “Erosion and sediment control devices shall be installed and maintained during construction and ongoing operations. Details shall be submitted and approved by the [DLWC] prior to any works commencing.”

     

     

    DWE letter evidences no details provided and condition 4 has not been complied with for 12 years to 2008.

     

    B. By way of corroboration of point A:

     

    In the absence of lawful commencement, EDO advice letter of 27 Sept 06 to ND (copy with HCC) states DA consent lapses by consent condition 3 after 2 years (see EDO para 15), and in any case in 5 years by s.95(1) of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 (EDO ltr para 14). See also EDO paragraphs of case law 16-23. The DWE letter answers EDO’s question at paragraph 29.

     

    C. We submit voluminous correspondence and postures are not probitive of any “details” of “Erosion and sediment control devices” under condition 4 ever being undertaken verbally or in writing. Consent condition 27 for instance  requiring an “environmental management plan” (EMP) including “Erosion and sediment controls” by early 1997 has never been provided.

     

    Similarly a 2004 consent under s.96 EP&A Act extension of sandmining into areas 2, 3, 4 , 5 and 6 also required within 2 months the submission to council of erosion and sediment control devices in another EMP which again have never been provided with.

     

    D. HCC has no power to grant current 2006 s.96 extension for a consent that has lapsed.

     

     

     

     

     

    2. The 2006 s.96 modification is for a different development to the 1996 consent and needs a new EIS.

     

    Refer to EDO letter to HCC dated 17 Sept 2007 especially reference to criteria in schedule 3, sections 35, 36 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000

     

    DA seeks to extract 1.3M tonnes outside the area granted consent in 1996, namely new areas 1a and 2a (as marked on the plan with the 2006 s.96 application). For instance Coffey & Partners geotechnical study in 1995 EIS does not include bore hole results or technical data outside the 1996 approved extraction area. To put it another way new areas 1a and 2a do not have geotechnical environmental assessment for this new 1.3 M tonne extraction. . Further the EPA/DCC officer Kieren Horkan has already made a written submission to council on this DA that the ponds must be made smaller to reduce evaporation for the creek into the national park, neighbours.

     

    The 2006 DA must be considered as designated development, and a new application and a new EIS must be provided

     

    3. Excessive water use

     

    BC is using about 125 Mega Litres p.a. for the dredge pond (figure via Conners/DIPNR memo dated 16/3/05, adjusted for 25 hours per week operation) when only licensed for 40 ML on the dredge pond (according to “Independent Assessment – 6102 Singleton Road, Colo Heights June 2007 by C. M. Jewell Associates Pty Ltd at paragraph 2.6 “Water Access Licenses”) as documented to the meeting of stakeholders 18 Sept 2007 at HCC.

     

    Some 75 ML is due to open water evaporation as per “Current Operational Water Balance” in section 4.1.2 “Site Water Balances”  in the Jewel report (above).

     

    Some of the bores are not licensed according to Ray Caldwell, Investigating Officer of DWE, and licensing officer McDougall DWE Sydney North Coast.

     

    Council cannot lawfully extend by s.96 an operation which depends on illegal use of water.

     

    4. S. 94 contributions

     

    A. HCC has a report done late 2007 by council officer Robert Stalley evidencing shortfall of $47K (updated to $48K) which BC refuses to pay. This money should be collected through the Class 4 proceedings in L&E Court.

     

    B. Quantity survey to find out how much sand has been extracted from Tinda Creek, for the whole site including extraction out of area.

     

    C. Freeburn Surveyors of Penrith did a quantity survey for BC at the request of Greg Hall showing no payment of s.94 levy on aprox 100K tonnes. Needs an independent investigation again for potential fraud of $50-100K.

     


    Posted by editor at 11:18 AM NZT
    Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008 9:28 PM NZT
    St Patrick miracle needed to save Hill of Tara cultural heritage
    Mood:  lucky
    Topic: culture

    Paul Sheehan did his bit for St Pat's day and quite likely his Irish heritage here (as we do too):

    www.smh.com.au - More than luck to this canny boy

    It's all about the expansion of the air travel market by Ryanair. 

    But we've read a bit about the combined effect of the spiv real estate speculation in Eire with the greater access of European Union common currency and economic synthesis.

     

    In the first category is this sad, sad fate for the wonderful cultural heritage of Hill of Tara:


    Mairead writes, and see the postscript below that in particular about the real estate spivs and vandals:

    Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 9:33 PM
    Subject: Tara update - and amazing SOS news

    Hello again, friends,
    On my way home this morning, after meetings in the city, including leafleting over 250 'high flying' people at the "official" Melbourne St. Patrick's Day breakfast with the Irish Transport Minister, I listened to John Faine on ABC Radio discussing, of all things, corruption in local councils –with enthusiastic talk-back-radio feedback proposing that developers should not be allowed to have business dealings within their council, if they want to be Councilors. –the talk back phones and instant messages ran hot!!

    After more than two years of observation, I've come to  believe this is what happened at the Hill of TARA, in Ireland. The Transport Minister 'celebrates' the fact that he was the "youngest ever Chairman of the Meath County Council" - where the Hill of TARA is situated. You'd think he would have a good working knowledge of the secret goings on. The Irish gov. Flood/ Mahon tribunal report tells a terrible story of deep corruption (details on the website). Most interesting revelation is that the Chairman of the National Roads Authority owns the biggest Real Estate Development company in Co. Meath.

    What hope is there!? ...well, for a very good start, "conflict of interest" laws should be strictly applied, especially at local government level, –from the ground up, so to speak– where it all begins. I think this would go a long way toward insuring accountability - and better later than never. :)

    An SOS went out from the Hill of Tara, on the Rath Lugh site, yesterday.
    Passionate young protestors have dug a 21st-century souterrain (cave or underground passages or storage spaces) at Rath Lugh, within the Hill of Tara precinct. They've dug a tunnel under the route of the M3 freeway construction site... they have sealed themselves inside indefinitely to prevent construction traffic from passing overhead. ... laying their very lives on the line to protect and preserve Tara's landscape from the destruction wrought by their own Government. There is an injunction going into court this morning at 10.30am. Read the details on the website...btw, there is someone in the tunnel!

    The beat goes on: Sunday at 3pm, we'll gather for a brief photo-op for TARA, – byo SAVE TARA banners. We'll meet next to the James Joyce Chair in the State Library of Victoria sculpture garden, after which we will head over to the Normandy Hotel, in Queens Pde. Clifton Hill (for the best trad. music!). Please join us, and invite/tell your Melbourne friends!

    Pauline Bleach, from Sydney, and I were interviewed by the Australian Irish Echo last week.  Pauline is organising an entry in the Sydney St. Pat's Day parade - more below, in the subsequent 2-page article:
    Save Tara!
    Maireid
    for the Anam Cara for Tara arts action campaign
    http://www/globalartscollective.org/acf/about.htm

    The Australian Irish Echo, March 12 – 25, 2008 –



    ‘Tara Road’ opponents to launch Oz protests
    –By Aaron Dunne–
    GROUPS opposed to the construction of a motorway near the historic Hill of Tara in Co Meath are planning to picket a range of Irish events in Australia over St Patrick’s Day.

    Save Tara campaigners have planned protests in Melbourne and Sydney to coincide with the arrival of a number of Meath County Council of?cials and Irish Transport Minister Noel Dempsey, who is also from Meath.

    A group called globalartscollective.org is running a worldwide campaign for St Patrick’s Day in conjunction with the Save Tara campaign in Ireland. Convenor Mairéid Sullivan, who is based in Melbourne, has told the Irish Echo of the group’s plans to attend events in their bid to promote awareness of ongoing resistance to the planned routing of the M3 motorway through the historic site.

    Sullivan, and Co Louth native Pauline Bleach, who runs the Tara Appreciation Society in Sydney, have plans to make their presence felt at a host of events that will be attended by the visiting
    Irish politicians, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Sydney.

    The Melbourne group will be targeting speci?c events in the city where the councillors and minister will be in attendance, while the Tara Appreciation Society has even entered a ?amp;#8218;oat into the Sydney St Patrick’s Day Parade to promote awareness about the Hill Of Tara and the Skryne Valley.

    “We’re putting in a parade entry called Tara – 7,000 Years Of Irish History as part of the Tara Appreciation Society,” Bleach said.
    “It’s a non-political event so we will be making no mention of the Save Tara campaign. We want to celebrate the history of this valley where so much of our history took place,” Bleach told the Irish Echo.

    “We’re not rabble rousers,” Mairéid Sullivan said. “We just want to bring attention to this very important matter. We’ll be there at everything the politicians are at to get our point across. There’s still time to save Tara.”

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

    Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 4:30 PM
    Subject: .... re. Tara update - NRA Board members

    > ....> I was asked for details of the NRA Board, and went to look at the
    > article "Who's Who on the NRA" on my website, and discovered it was
    > written in 2004.
    > So, for fun, I did some checking.
    > The fellow I referred to as being a big Auctioneer and Real Estate
    > developer in Co. Meath, Raymond Potterton is still on the Board.
    >
    > But the current Chairman of the NRA is also Chairman of one of the
    > biggest Real Estate Development company in the world.
    >
    Peter Malone, Chairman, National Roads Authority ...and Chairman of CB
    > Richard Ellis, Ireland.

    >
    > Talk about vested interest & conflict of interest!
    >
    > Info. from their website:---------------------------
    >
    > CB Richard Ellis is the global leader in commercial real estate services.
    > CB Richard Ellis is the world’s leading commercial real estate adviser.
    > With 350 offices across 58 countries we have more consultants advising
    > more customers than any other property firm.
    > Estate Gazette Property Award Winner 2007!
    > CB Richard Ellis Ireland are very proud to have been named the Estates

    > Gazette "Property Advisor of the Year, Ireland 2007"

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

    The Irish not least this writer's family have been suckers for punishment in the alcohol stakes and one imagines the disastrous Famine killing a million citizens in the 19C has something to do with it. And reading about the spivs demise of the Hill of Tara is enough to drive one to drink, though we will decline that option too:

     

     


    Posted by editor at 10:17 AM NZT
    Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008 12:14 PM NZT
    Monday, 17 March 2008
    Media backgrounder last 7 days
    Mood:  quizzical
    Topic: big media

    Preface

    When we first started out on this environmental sustainability vocation in 1992 as a refugee from a corporate law firm Baker & McKenzie in Sydney it was quite easy to stay across the environmental reportage in the main stream press.

    But now the threat of climate change, AKA dangerous global warming, AKA the unifying theory of everything, finds us pulling out whole swathes of the press for subtextual analysis. Business section, political section, lifestyle, science and nature, election contests. Frankly it's becoming overwhelming.

    Take for instance our recent background posts inevitably building on Big Media reportage on NSW public energy assets sale plan of the sick and dying Iemma ALP Govt in NSW:

    17 March 2008 Gittins damns Iemma's Costanomics with faint praise for public energy asset sale plan
    Mood:  down
    Topic: nsw govt

    Friday, 14 March 2008
    Then there is this one on the preposterous posturing of Meredith Burgmann similarly shackled to the ALP Right govt here:

    Thursday, 13 March 2008
    Indirectly related to environmental protest at climate dangers posed by big business were the APEC protests which the NSW, then Federal Govt and NSW police and security agencies did their very best to shut down last Sept 2007. We posted on this legal powers aspect:
    which appeared to 'coincide' magically with major change in PR direction by the NSW Police Media Unit to promote their successful cocaine bust.  Just as well as at least commercial tv channel 7 slammed the autocratic police. But the press next  few days amplified this web story instead:
    That's quick footed media strategy by the coppers if we ever saw it.
    In terms of housekeeping  we noted in our Sunday Talkies these threads in the Big Media too:
    - Heath Gilmore SunHerald Sydney has ALP aligned developers promoting Badgery’s Creek 2nd airport by 2009 only 12 months away, [while fuel costs will surely crush airline sector?] In the story is one long time ALP maaate Aaron Gadiel as predicted by Alex Mitchell way back on January 31sto 08 in crikey.com.au
    - Iemma cynical govt pushes 25 year 1.1M increase in Sydney population to rationalize their front ending of hyper environmental impacting developments, [no way of knowing the real future of Sydney, likely to be greatly disrupted not least cyclone activity or sea rise. More likely to be 1.1M increase in Hobart.] These guys have no vision or expertise in delivering ecological sustainability. This from a govt with a treasurer who doesn't even believe in planning.

    -  Strange attacks on their peers in the Big Media by The Australian about how they should not be players only reporterspot calls kettle black! Exhibit 1 John Hartigan as one of the Rudd summiteers this April. Indeed the editor there is pretty condescending to the rest of the meeja 'dupes', and perhaps because they are running this defacto 'real summit' leveraging the famous News Ltd power brand?:

    And here's yet another summit from the same philosophy of life:

     - We enjoyed big Laurie Oakes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph nowdays also reflecting on the naughty/silly Big Media as only a widely respected (even loved) veteran like LO including beating up by said The Australian, his own sister paper now. Amusing, ironic, normal! Here it is:

    An unloaded smoking gun | The Daily Telegraph 15 March 08

    - whole pile of noteworthy Gong gate ALP corruption stories in washout of the ICAC hearings to list asap [see section below]

    - whole pile of dangerous climate change/ economic restructure stories to list, indeed read myself, and post not least Matthew Warren and other business related coverage in The Australian [see separate post in due season (!)]

    ............................... 

    A cute suite of stories about the rather mad star wars missile defence agenda bubbling along and no doubt was behind the US satellite target practice recently under cover of so called pollution threat:

    25 Feb 08 Labor considers US missile shield | The Australian

    26 Feb 08 Reality prevails on our stategic aims | The Australian

    15 Feb 08 Pentagon to shoot down satellite | The Australian

    Which follows of course China doing the same earlier this year:

    [19 Jan 08] Concern over China satellite shoot-down | NEWS.com.au

    Which is also another reason why:

    11 Feb 08 Nuclear warfare just stepped closer - Opinion - smh.com.au

    ................ 

    The Israel-Palestinian conflict has reach a higher note in the local press again following a Rudd inspired motion of solidarity with only one side, in possibly a craven attempt to appease a group excluded from his April Summit due to religious obligations. This coverage below reinforced our view

    1. that both sides over there are locked into a damaging tit for tat irrational psychosis caused by the spiral of violence

    2. Israel's creation is properly seen as part of the WW2 settlement the Arab countries must live with like all the other national boundaries chopped and changed in global upheaval

    3. As academic Jew Uri Davis has pointed out many times Israel and all its supporters are dishonest to claim a real constitutional democracy given  no written constitution with any objective enforceable land law free of ethnic discrimination

    4. It is for this fundamentally unstable political situation that Israel is so dependent, nuclear weapons to one side, on outside political and financial support such that there is arguably such strong criticism for any Diaspora Jewry that deviate from the company line, which would be normal to and fro in the Israeli free press itself - it doesn't affect the global drip if it's inside Israel itself.

    Press here:

     17 March 08 Celebrations overlook the plight of Palestinians | Letters Blog ...

    15 March 08 Palestinian leader had close links with Nazi Germany | Letters ...

    15 March 08 Blinkers off for the other side of story - Opinion - smh.com.au

    12 March 08 Israel's far-flung friend | The Australian

    12 March 08 Bipartisan support for state of Israel | The Australian

     

    Dirty NSW Govt

    We noticed this Piers Akerman oblique referencing to the "whitewash" of entrenched ALP corruption, here:

    The people of NSW will be unable to do anything about their government until March, 2011 and it is a safe bet that many of those close to the Wollongong disaster now will have migrated to safe havens in Canberra before then.

    (In truth, what is most amazing is that NSW's Independent Commission Against Corruption has actually taken on board a reference of this nature, given the whitewash it has applied to numerous other cases of alleged corruption.)

    But with parliament itself at risk, who will be able to rein in the Rudd government, born of the Victorian Left, by the NSW Right, when it takes the bit between its teeth and starts galloping? in Rudd's velvet steamroller | The Daily Telegraph 2 March 2008

     a term that ended up as a p1 banner headline on 3rd March 08 leading to this story:

    ICAC finds Tripodi not 'corrupt' | The Daily Telegraph

    This was not the headline the ICAC or Iemma Govt wanted because it showed a real credibility gap about either really cleaning up a systemic mess. One might say mission accomplished after our 1/2 day visit to the ICAC hearings and nattering to a couple of the media pack.

    In similar vein we list:

     8-9 March 08 Maritime no longer ethical, Premier told - National - smh.com.au

    8 March 08 Branch stacks and smokestacks - National - smh.com.au

    8-9 March 08 Everywhere you look in tribal NSW, a Labor mate with his hand out ...

    [7 March 2008] Minister had lunch with Scimone after taking job - National - smh ...

    [28 Feb 2008] Frank Sartor's crash landing - Editorial - Opinion - smh.com.au

    [28 Feb 2008] Everyone poorer if town's heritage is allowed to be trampled ...

    [21/2/08] www.smh.com.au - Investigator became colleague

    [7 March 08] Council fines with one hand, gives with other - National - smh.com.au

    [6 March 08] Packed schedule for 'gang of three' | The Australian

    [6 March 08] Slandered conman ready to rat | The Daily Telegraph

    [5 March 08] With friends like Joe - Editorial - Opinion - smh.com.au

    [5 March 08] Premier dismisses 'corrupt' council | The Australian

    [27 Feb 08] Sartor avoids question on call to developer - National - smh.com.au

    [27 Feb 08] Minister approved project of company that donated - National - smh ...

    [26 Feb 08] Councillors heckled over limp response to scandal - National - smh ...

    [26 Feb 08] Planning without the greed | The Australian

    [25 Feb 08] Scandal envelops Maritime - National - smh.com.au

    Not surprisingly the Liberal Party can smell some blood hoping the cycle is about to turn again, such that Bruce Hawker is even sharpening his rhetoric to sledge the Greiner years on Party Liners 702 this morning, and Nick Geiner himself chatted away batting off some googlies. Here's a drift (offline)

    Members take dates to Greiner bash 15-16 March 2008 The Australian, by Imre Salusinszky

    Including the (not) surprising statement "Howard got it wrong" on environmental concern. Ironic because so did Nick back in 1991-2 (Metherell Affair), so maybe he would know.

    We clipped this months back which just seems amusing: Rise of the inadequates | The Australian about people surely living otherwise successful lives on someone else's script (hence lack of fulfillment articulated as the imposter effect), which just seems pitiful.


    Posted by editor at 1:53 PM NZT
    Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008 2:24 PM NZT
    Gittins damns Iemma's Costanomics with faint praise for public energy asset sale plan
    Mood:  down
    Topic: nsw govt
    Late last Friday we took the cudgels to carpet bagger Jeff Angel for doing the ALP Right's bidding on the energy sale plan. 
    Now we notice the great and good Ross Gittins, Herald economics editor has a significant article today in the Herald trying his best to push a credible Fairfax line on this dodgy plan of privatisation of some $15B in public assets. He argues the plan is economically sound but really his article is damning for its faint praise:
    with Gittins conceding that economists Nicholas Gruen and Prof John Quiggin have blown the NSW govt economic arguments on AAA rating and investment out of the water. He might also have mentioned academic accounting professor Bob Walker

    Then Gittins tries some other angles which don't really work like claiming his superior sense of the political economic landscape.
    We are no economist but even we can see from our avid reading of the mainstream press on this issue that:

    - Though Gittins argues the power assets are not a natural monopoly 'because the govt is keeping the distribution (poles and wires) network' (which is a natural monopoly) but this is disingenuous - the poles and wires are the high maintenance cost element, low return. That's why industry doesn't want to buy these. But you need the profitable retailers and generators revenue to cover the maintenance (and future investment) in distribution. So it's socialise the cost of part, privatise the profit of the other. It's sleazy disaggregation.

    - then Mr G argues we have 'a national market for energy generation/competition', so the NSW sector doesn't need to be govt anymore, govt should stick to core govt business and let industry do it's thing. But this ignores the fact we do need govt control to restructure the industry for environmental purposes given climate change imperatives. Leaving it to a competitive market which itself has failed to address dangerous climate is suicidal. It would be like leaving the market to fight WW2 and sort out totalitarian Nazism, or Stalinism: Dangerous climate is just as much an existential threat to Australia as those with 100s of millions of refugees likely on the move this next 20 years. And corporations are quite fascist selfish driven ideologies themselves to be wary of. No, govt must be in this industry sector big time, as JK Galbraith showed controlling business in US in WW2. Gittins is still talking 20C mindset pre ecological limits to the market.

    - Gittins reveals a systemic bias to bad infrastructure projects referred to as "opportunity costs" by saying we need the money from the sale - Iemma has promised a $5B truck tunnel for expanded Port Botany under Sydney - great gravy for ALP developer mates. But Gittins omits to mention this 'political economic' motive. The income of the sale won't even be hypothecated into renewable energy infrastructure which is what orthodox good governance would normally demand. Curious omission of that principle by Mr G too.

    - Then the big G leaves right till last his concern over 'the public sector union control over the govt' as the "most important" reason for a sale to cut their ties as "one of the great obstacles to greater efficiency at state level". Only it's the union movement that has embraced dangerous climate change as a reality threatening their members and society (just like asbestos, just like Work Choices) as a whole while market economists have continued to promote an 'in denial' growth fetish. And big business generally have an enclave approach to dangerous climate of winners (survivors) and losers (drowned, cooked, dead from thirst). On the contrary we will need the social capital of the union movement alot more than the money/profit motive to effectively restructure the economy to clean safe energy and reach that safe shore as a civilisation.

    You mark my words.
     
    Meanwhile another chip at esteemed Jeff Angel's threadbare capacity to represent the green movement has arrived thus:
     
    Sent: Sunday, March 16, 2008 1:00 PM
    Subject: [chipstop] Where is TEC on forests?

    Hi chipstoppers
    You may recall that a number of green groups made a submission to the Unsworth Committee asking that a condition of sale of NSW electricity retailers, if it goes ahead, should be that biomass from native forest be excluded. On NSW Stateline on Friday night, Jeff Angel  of the Total Environment Centre set out his (+Harry Herbert's) conditions for agreeing to the sale of the electricity retailers (as members of the Unsworth committee). All very worthy, but no mention of native forest biomass. 
    regards
    harriett

    Transcript extract:
    In a letter faxed to Premier on Wednesday and released exclusively to Stateline, the Reverend Harry Herbert and Jeff Angel insist their support was predicated on the implementation of Unsworth recommendations which could lead to:

    * no new coal fired power stations to be commissioned in NSW
    * off-peak electric hot water systems to be phased out, dramatically reducing current baseload demand
    * laws to enable householders to feed-in rooftop solar power to the State grid
    * inefficient coal fired stations to be closed down as soon as practicable

    In return for their signatures on the Unsworth/ALP approval certificate, the two independent delegates are demanding that Morris Iemma and the New South Wales Labor Government must turn green.

    Posted by editor at 1:23 PM NZT
    Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008 2:56 PM NZT

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