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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Saturday, 12 April 2008
Is Tim Blair perverse in his focus today or what?
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: big media

Tim Blair has exceeded himself again. He's gone all greenie, animal rights obsessive again - meanwhile every other newspaper and even his own newspaper has actually covered the human rights protests over the Beijing Olympics, as above. Here is the Crikey.com.au profound image that makes Blair look like wet lettuce:

Blair's column is less a red herring as a limp pinkish sardine given the intrinsic drama and geniune humour in seeing the might of the IOC and Beijing spin machine humbled by grassroots activism across the globe. We were laughing during all the live radio coverage of the San Fransisco farce while power walking the Cooks River Trail. What a hoot. Talk about perverse airbrush.

Obviously this saturation coverage of the civil society groups in a good cause of Tibetan human rights was just too much for poor Tim such that his ideological blinkers saw saplings while surrounded by a veritable forest! That's sad.

How much other dysfunctional stuff does our resident Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde have in that mixed up mind of his? Yes one does feel clammy just going there.

 

 


Posted by editor at 10:35 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 13 April 2008 11:23 AM NZT
Developer heaven in NSW as the Big Media 'ordered' in 2005-6?
Mood:  sad
Topic: nsw govt

As much as we like to see this NSW ALP Govt get a good kicking as they do front page of the Sydney Morning Herald today in a strong story about nexus between major developer donations and planning outcomes, there's a major missing piece in the chronology there:


By which we mean the Big Media exhortations to increase housing development to boost the NSW economy in 2005-06, which in turn have amplified the developer donations to get the formal approvals.

Our view is that a suite of articles in 05-06 had a major impact on the trashing of the Environmental Planning system and major increase in developer donation$ by way of gratitude for the Part 3A repeal of about 7 different protection acts. For instance Sydney Morning Herald, referenced below, but also Sydney Daily Telegaph as well on the demise of Carr's premiership. The message implicit in the Fairfax, and Daily Telegraph, menace was clear, crank the economy or get a Big Media thrashing.

And so new Premier Iemma and loyal Planning Minister Sartor did by fair means or foul, and getting ever more cosy with developers and their donations in gratitude at least at administrative level.

To integrate this fact into the Herald chronology in no way excuses the blatant conflict of interest of developer donations to the ALP machine while waiting on planning minister discretionary decisions. It is not only a "perception of conflict" that Iemma acknowledges. It is an actual conflict of interest regardless of Chinese walls between policy and admin within the ALP.

Still it remains the case quite arguably that it was the Big Media that caused the quantum shift of this ALP Govt to intimate relations (as here in my post on a New Matilda string about developer donations earlier today):

Tom McLoughlin 12/04/08 6:17PM

You will notice that my traverse above was written quite early this morning.
Notice I mention a shift from Parliament to the executive. Secondly a shift in govt approach from about "2.5 years ago".
This was all written by me without the knowledge or reading of the lead story on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald today by Wendy Frew and others. I’ve just finished reading it. It’s a strong story and Planning shadow minister Hazzard is making hay over this "rotten" situation earlier today on radio and now I know his factual platform:

"Files expose sway of developers" 12 April 2008, Sydney Morning Herald

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/files-expose-sway-of-developers/2008…

The Herald story corroborates nicely my analysis [below] in a direct example of developments in the Hunter. As good as Frew and colleagues are and professional too, what the story omits editorially speaking is the corporate self awareness at Fairfax that the ALP under Iemma moved to accelerate any and all economic development as a direct reaction to both major newspapers signalling that they were going to go feral and fatal on the NSW ALP govt if the economy didn’t turn: Here are some samples via google:

- 7 Feb 2006 Slump hits home - National - smh.com.au
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/slump-hits-home/2006/02/06/113907417…

- 2 Sept 2005 Harder they fall: Sydney’s biggest housing slump - National - smh …
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/harder-they-fall-sydneys-biggest-hou…

- 2 July 2005 NSW’s economic slump hits home - Business - Business - theage.com.au
http://www.theage.com.au/news/business/nsws-economic-slump-hits-home/200…

- Sydney boom bleeds NSW economy - Business - Business - theage.com.au , By Ross Gittins, August 16, 2005
"It’s now clear that the NSW economy is the worst-performing among the states and its once-booming housing market is at the heart of the problem. Question is, who’s to blame?"

It saddens me to provide political logic for the ALP spivs but that’s the real politik reality. They trashed the integrity of the planning system as a matter of parliamentary majority. That’s what Part 3A is for vertically integrated into the electoral majority.

This was around 2005-6. At which time I totally gave up the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act as a dead letter, that Wran had pioneered in 1979 to keep integrity in the planning system.

Sad huh? Keep going independent media sector. Keep going.

 

This comment just extracted  builds on a story on New Matilda 

NSW Politics 9 Apr 2008 What's with the Back Flip? Lee Rhiannon and Norman Thompson

NSW Labor's plan to ban political donations comes after years of dodging calls from the Greens and community groups to do just that

and my first comment earlier today as follows:

Tom McLoughlin 12/04/08 6:59AM

To preface my comment, first I was a Green Party member 1993-2000 then lapsed to non aligned status. Second was a Cr at Waverly similar 95-99.
That declared I suggest the Greens via Norman Thompson and sponsor Lee Rhiannon have been unduly modest in their role in the long build up to this situation at the Gong being exposed which actually is the ALP State Machine proper, only caught red handed in one geographical location. And only because stand over men were leveraging the BAD reputation of ICAC for doing precious bloody nothing for years always deferring to the woefully under resourced Ombudsman role (mal administration short of corruption) and no doubt under resourced Auditor General (waste again short of corruption). ICAC itself likely very under resourced.
I saw ICAC chief commissioner at the Gong hearings get stroppy with Cr Gigliotti for being duped by the stand over men claiming to be ICAC officers milking $500K out of their victims. But the Commissioner should be looking in the mirror too, because like top movie The Departed there is a smell of a rat(s) like ICAC manager of Investigations McCabe by coincidence leaving to work in a high paid job at the Maritime Authority of NSW working with now infamous Scimone in what he thought was a safe parking station.

Only I don’t believe in coincidences like that as a lawyer admitted in 1990.

(As Egan in Opposition, later NSW Treasurer, said to Carr early 90ies - ‘you will live to regret this ICAC bill’ - revealing several things: Many like Egan in the Parliamentary and machine upper house ALP never believed in transparency or honesty as per ICAC goals, and/or knew their own party were dirty, like Askin before and had alot to fear. While Carr the populist, maybe idealist, wanted to consolidate the gains represented by North Coast land developer scandals of the late eighties/90ies.)

The Greens have been unduly modest, even as an ex member, because as Michael Duffy has pointed out, hardly your card carrying Greenie, in his SMH column perhaps a year ago now, this website of the Greens dishing the chapter and verse on the sophisticated laundering of developer donations

(undoubtedly for policy via Mark Arbib as machine boss at Sussex St , as now retired Hotel Lobbyist Thorpe freely admitted - was he drunk? - to the SMH last week)

that website of research and detail was highly educational. Highly instructive of the best democracy money can buy:

http://www.democracy4sale.org/

Duffy a well known conservative wrote that he was going to vote Green in the last state election. There is nothing more profound to say than that - as surprising as Kissinger getting a Nobel. And Duffy is wise and right even coming at this from the Right because credit where credit is due. Honest business people who want to make a buck are being tainted and ripped off in the endless game of playing favourites. It’s moral chaos here in the governance of NSW.

On Stateline NSW last night footage 11 April 08 played of Sartor as planning minister, highly implicated in a pattern of developer donations, stating there is not evidence whatsoever of any ‘development decision that was not based on the merits’ under what’s known as Part 3A, which is the minister’s call in and discretion to decide power.

This like Nazi propaganda is a lie, applying the big lie will work best approach. How so?

Anyone who googles the Environmental Defenders Office or the NSW Nature Conservation Council briefing papers, will find that Part 3A amendments to the pioneering Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 ere all about repeal of merits criteria. Lets run through some of the systemic check and balances that Part 3A repealed:

Assessments under

- The Heritage Act
- Threatened Specied Act
- National Parks & Wildlife Act
- Rivers and Foreshores Improvement Act
- Coastal Protection Act 1979
- Fisheries Management Act 1994
- Native Vegetation Act 2003
- Rural Fires Act 1997
- Water Management Act 2000, or predecessor 1912 Water Act where still in force

are all formally over ruled.

 


Picture: Protest by civil society/green groups around June 2005 at trashing of the Planning Act by 'Part 3A' amendment for state significate developments repealing a multitude of checks and balances.

But you have to watch carefully with sophist Sartor - and this is how sophisticated this abuse of power really is: The developers still have to address many of these concerns under "DOP directors requirements" but you see these are discretionary now, and weakened with omissions and unenforceable. All these LEGAL checks and balances have all been shifted out of the Parliament into executive discretion.

Looks sound but it’s as rotten as a house with termites. The environmental assessment process has always been limited and flawed for lack of auditing, and discipline on liar ‘expert’ guns for hire. Under cl.283 of the EP&A Regulation it is indeed an offence to "knowingly" lie about material in an EIS or similar document BUT one can simply plead "it was a mistake, an error, an oversight" and these documents are routinely 2 inches thick anyway. It takes an expert auditor to audit them. In short the integrity of the EIS process, not least under flexible director’s requirements, has been pretty much trashed.

You will find a summary and links about these repeals to the EDO, NSW NCC material at a submission to the NSW Dept of Planning on some of the latest sandmining cowboy operators here Jan. 08:

"1/08 Maroota sandmining"
http://www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/id158.html

Sartor wants to style himself as the expert benevolent dictator planner who get’s it right on "the merits" so nothing to see here, move on, but really he is sanitising the worst excesses of dictatorship by completely unravelling the 1979 Act and putting in place env assessment by yes men and client dependents of his discretion in either public service career, or developer decision making, or access as per the infamous phone call to a developer to attend his fundraising dinner ‘which he can’t recall’ anymore but Stockland do as reported in the SMH by expert state roundsman Clennell.

The situation stinks and the coincidences of developer funding for approvals keep piling up, but it is rotten, and its not a coincidence.

But here is the taboo in all this - about 2 1/2 years back both the Herald and the Telegraph Big Media ran a unity ticket to beat up the ALP Govt on depressed economic conditions - presumably damaging their profits.

Newly installed Iemma, Sartor etc made a quite blatant shift to destroy the EPA Act which elected Neville Wran in 79 (via his praetorian minister Paul Landa) in oder to crank the economics of the State. So the Big Media have some real responsibility for creating this monster of subjective development and rotten donations culture. They wanted the economic pedal to the metal and the ALP spin machine took them at their word. And it worked up to March 2007 state election too. Now the chickens are coming home to roost for all as amenity and common decency and self respect all go south.

Which is also why such as New Matilda are so important, as are all the other indy media sector, and are the ethical journalists still in the Big Media monoliths grovelling away at the truth of money politics.

God help us in NSW. Actually God will if we help ourselves and throw off these spivs and liars.


Posted by editor at 8:34 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 14 April 2008 10:25 AM NZT
Grown ups summit a tame affair with climate change credibility gap?
Mood:  party time!
Topic: aust govt

The front page of The Australian yesterday was profound - for a certain inscrutable expression of Rudd the man, possibly humbled by a self awareness of the awesome responsibility of mediating discourse with enormous power in the Land of the Emperors. Great photo-journalism that, worthy of page 1 too:

The youth summit of bright sparks kicks off today and good luck to them too. Even for the fast tracked privileged brats, the nepotism, the precocious ambition. One only hopes they have more individuality than these loyal soldiers of the Chinese Empire above. We particularly like the natural curiousity in the eyes of a mere one or two young crack troops - therein rests the hopes of the world.

The emperor of the summits, PM Kevin Rudd also returns to Aussie today too, and no doubt glad to see our sky, ocean, that old barely forgotten feeling of home.

On the other hand the summit next week 19th April in the open age bracket is looking a very controlled, indeed suppressed, affair with a firm Rudd brand on the forehead of every participant:

- 11 April 08 (offline) Talkfest to start with dinner date [for 10 group leaders which includes News Ltd's John Hartigan] in Sydney Daily Telegraph at p17.

- 11 April 08 (offline) Future productivity is all down to people power Warwick Smith Sydney Daily Telegraph p39

Indeed expert observers on several of the ten headline groups have scored some serious intellectual points about the limitations and flaws of representation: Indeed it's the 5th estate and less so Big Media critique that keeps the flame of independent thinking without fear or favour alive in the face of this vanity affair:

- 20 March 08 My boss shouldn’t be involved with Rudd’s gabfest | Mark Day Blog ... which echoes the bolsheviks apparently on the staff of The Age, owned by Fairfax, over their own editor Mr Jaspan also attending, as reported yesterday on crikey.com.au

- On the Defence and security bunch, via crikey.com.au 'Your say' section 7th April 2008 by Tony Kevin, author and retired public servant:
 Here is a case study. In the group on "Australia’s future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world", chaired by Michael Wesley, in a field I thought I was reasonably familiar with (foreign policy and national security); I think I recognized only about 28 from the 90 names, and I know personally about half of those. I feel a bit uncomfortable not recognizing the names of over 60 people - I must be really out of touch. (I thought perhaps I had failed to recognize international trade specialists - not my field - but then I saw that is part of an economics-oriented committee). Here are some of the names not on the list for the 'foreign affairs and security' committee -commentators and writers Bruce Haigh, Peter Mares, Dick Woolcott, Allan Behm, Nic Stuart, activists Helen Caldicott, Sue Wareham, Margo Kingston, controversial persons Andrew Wilkie, Lance Collins, Richard Butler and yours truly, academics Owen Harries, Coral Bell, Alison Broinowski, Stuart Harris, Tony Milner, Desmond Ball. Of course some of these - myself included - may not have applied. And most of my names here are over 55s. I wish the summit well.

- Regarding the sustainability group refer Mr Merkel and our own deconstructions found here:

Monday, 31 March 2008
and here compared with this list from 2004
- On the creativity list here via New Matilda here:

- On the education group's background papers here:

 10 April 08 Debate will stick to ALP script | The Australian

 - 10 April 08 The truth hurts, but it's good for you | The Australian By Mike Steketee who has deeper ALP connections and so higher profile these days in The Oz who says for instance

"There are ministers who have the intellect and strength of personality to play the part of the iconoclast, among them Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Special Minister of State John Faulkner. But they may not have the inclination: the Government is popular, Rudd is a control freak and the mantra is that disunity is death. ....

Button wrote about the political system's "frightening conformity" and his life in Parliament House: "The prisoners are confined to the punishment area from 9am to midnight each day. (Make that 7am under Rudd.) At midnight they are transferred in black cars to sleeping cells, under the direction of a transport officer."

The idea of Rudd's 2020 Summit is to cast the net for ideas far wider than normally. But if the background papers are to be the guide, many of the debates will take place within a framework that fits the Government's agenda and highlights the Howard government's failings.

Button's challenges to the orthodoxy were not always successful and his solutions were not always correct. But at least he asked the questions.

Post-World War II secretary of state George Marshall, architect of the Marshall Plan, insisted on frankness from advisers. "Unless I hear all the arguments against something, I am not sure I have made the right decision," he said. Hopefully, Rudd has told colleagues something similar."

 

Steketee's comment for more free thinking for democratic health resonates with an accompanying piece by Nicholas Gruen, of Lateral Economics here:

10 April 08 Much to learn from Hayek on efficiency | The Australian

 

As we wrote today on a New Matilda string today:

Obituary 9 Apr 2008 The Trouble with Button Plans

"Thanks for this great post. Also Nicholas Gruen’s piece in The Australian 10th April 08

(the same Gruen, surely related to big knob at Fed Treasury, who Gittins as SMH economics editor urges be selected for the 2020 mutual w*nk fest because at least he’s got new ideas)

is highly instructive about a similar phenomenon : "Much to learn from Hayek on efficiency". Sounds dry but given I’m not a proverbial bootstrap of an economist, I still found this great. How so? Because it applies to economic efficiency theory what I call the The Thin Red Line (movie) principle.

That war/action movie on careful re watching is all about a smart officer in the field bucking the chain of command and refusing a stupid order to make cannon fodder of his troops. So they have to look for another way forward even as his field officer’s career is shredded by the discipline system. John Cusack character (from memory) infiltrates the Japanese machine gun bunker high on the bluff. Some of the most thrilling action film drama you will ever see. But macho testosterone aside, and not forgetting the really really great sound track, the movie is about (USA culture of) democracy beating (Nippon Rising Sun) totalitarian hierarchy as a model of social wellbeing. All else being equal in terms of soldierly commitment and ability.

Democracy leverages the God given brains of each and every little man and woman in the social machine as imperfect and eccentric as the communication/synthesis of those eyes and brains can be. As in Guadalcanal, so it is Port Kembla steelworks or washing machine factory, and harth and home.

A centralised engineer’s plan’s just cannot synthesise all the complex human sourced data in a sufficiently contemporaneous and useful way. It’s arrogance to think otherwise. (This reality is also why the chaotic anarchic information sharing of the internet is so very powerful for speeding up that process.)

And what I most like about John Button personally, apart from being a Truman Capote sized charmer, is his brutally honest take on the evil native forest woodchipping industry back in 92-3, advisedly, as per the Resource Assessment Commission 3 volume report 1992, as here:

"Wednesday, 9 April 2008
John Button’s spirit at the 2020 Summit regarding forests: ‘Woodchipping’s a bastard of an industry’"

http://www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog/index.blog/1803864/john-butto…

God bless John Button’s memory, and his courageous independence. On reflection I think this ‘little’ man must have realised early on that everyone knows something, even the shortest smallest guy usually overlooked (literally in his case) in a crowd, and he must have decided to honour that and himself too in defiance of all those thrashings as a kid, and he leveraged that grand truth into a grand political career. Wow. That’s a very charitable and inspiring example of quality thinking. Everyone does know something and how to unlock that and honour that, indeed a vote of confidence in people’s innate creativity and talent, is the key to a happier world.

The power of democracy no less."

Not inside the Summit but outside it in the democratic sinews of the country before, during and after. Just as well to avoid a cult of personality over the boy off a Qld dairy farm.

Like a certain 702 morning presenter off a Hawkesdale dairy farm in south west Victoria who we do wonder was confirmed in the gig by hard man strategist CEO Mark Scott in our biggest city late last year at least in part to stay onside with the Nambour protege now PM elected November 24th 2007?

Indeed it was exactly this fiesty boisterous indeed wild quality that we submitted in our defiant application to the big knobs Summit here free of stultifying conformity, with a sting in the tail (!) in bold, and so it has proved to be, Mr 'Tintin in Beijing' PM:

My presence will assist a successful event: A principled dedicated non smoking teetotal community media practitioner who will report back fairly to the community sector with an independent legal and ecological eye, with no personal agenda; An enthusiastic respectful participant in forums. Our history of knockabout experience, good education, and ecological achievement will add a powerful flavour to the discourse dominated by proud over achievers in other fields. My qualities, off a very humble base, are a premium for social and economic restructure in a massively carbon constrained future, and which this summit - already with something of a credibility gap - needs.

This was one humourous photo of Kevin Rudd back 2007 when he was a mere wannabe PM at the national ALP conference:

The photo is intended to amplify the choreography and alleged control freak aspects of bureaucrat turned politician now PM Rudd.

As to the credibility gap of PM Rudd inspecting so called clean coal experimental plants when he could be ramping up renewable energy transfers. What chance of taboo topics like this at the 2020 summit as it relates to climate?

- 3 March 2008 An inconvenient truth about rising immigration (By Ross Gittins, economics editor)

- 7 March, 2008 Hitting the 'non-existent' limits (Gittins again)

And notice this quite damning assessment from those party poopers at the Green Party in federal parliament:

Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 11:00 AM
Subject: [Greens-Media] Are we headed for coal's biggest ever budget bonanza?

Are we headed for coal's biggest ever budget bonanza?

Canberra, Friday 11 April 2008  Australian Greens climate change
spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, today called on the Rudd
Government to focus its Budget priorities on existing climate solutions
such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, not offer up even
greater subsidies to the hugely profitable coal sector.

Senator Milne said "Prime Minister Rudd's visit to a coal fired power
plant in China instead of one of their world-leading solar or wind sites
is yet another ominous indicator that his Government intends to protect
the coal sector from real, competitive climate solutions.

"The coal sector's hype of 'clean' coal has been badly tarnished in
recent years and months, with little or no progress in research and
development, while renewable energy technologies have been moving in
leaps and bounds, increasing their efficiency, reducing costs and
developing improved energy storage technologies.

"Even John Boshier, head of the National Generators Forum and one of
Australian coal's loudest advocates, has said that early confidence in
the techno-fix is fading amid growing concerns over cost and timeline
blowouts, and the realisation of the mammoth scale of the problem -
burying some 300 million tonnes of CO2 every year in Australia alone.

"Coal is simply being out-competed, and its desperation is evident in
the increasingly strident calls for government hand-outs to one of the
world's most profitable sectors.

"The Rudd Government's first Budget must deliver a level playing field
for energy technologies that puts a price on climate pollution. When
that happens, those technologies that are ready to deliver substantial
emissions reductions now, like energy efficiency, solar thermal power
and wind energy, will out-compete 'clean' coal.

"Instead of delivering a level playing field, Rudd looks set to continue
the Howard Government policies of 'picking losers' with increased
support for the coal sector.

"The coal sector is old, polluting and well entrenched. Even if climate
change were not an issue, it would be outrageous that our governments
add billions every year to the coffers of the rich multinational
corporations that run the sector. When you add climate change
considerations to the mix, ongoing fossil fuel subsidies become one of
the most perverse and destructive government decisions imaginable. The
polluter pays principle tells us that the companies that have profited
from polluting for so long should be the ones to shoulder the burden of
cleaning up their act, not the taxpayer.

"The Greens have proposed that a portion of the billions that would be
saved by cutting fossil fuel subsidies should be channelled towards
further research, development and commercialisation of renewable energy
and energy efficiency technologies through a Sun Fund, and to pay for
the early stages of a systematic and systemic retrofit of Australia's
housing stock for energy efficiency set out in our EASI policy.

"I will be watching the Government's first Budget carefully to see if
its priorities follow Martin Ferguson's industry-fuelled hype, or a
sensible, realistic path to clean energy."


Tim Hollo
Media and Communications Adviser
Senator Christine Milne
+61 (0)2 6277 3063
+61 (0) 437 587 562
www.christinemilne.org.au

We reported on the dangers of carbon capture sequestration here recently:

- Friday, 4 April 2008 Energy Minister Ferguson gambling on safety of CO2 carbon capture after Norway report?
Mood:  blue
Topic: globalWarming

 Meanwhile The Greens have a point about a high powered 2020 gopher for the ALP Rudd machine:

Saturday, 12 April 2008

2020 boss should stand aside - Brown

The head of the Rudd government's 2020 summit secretariat, Linda
Hornsey, should stand aside while various accusations about her probity
in Tasmania are investigated, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said in
Canberra this morning.

"It is alleged that Ms Hornsey, as Premier Lennon's department chief,
interfered to block the appointment of a magistrate because he
criticised Gunns. This is a serious matter but it is not the only
concern about Ms Hornsey's use of power. It is not appropriate she
preside over the 2020 process which so much depends on goodwill and good
process," Senator Brown said.

Only 17 Tasmanians were selected to the 1000 delegate conference

Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

For those annoyingly active and boisterous folks there are various consolation prizes for 'the losers' not invited to the 2020 "shindig" and presumably have no place in the bunker after a nuclear holocaust either!:

10 April 2008 www.smh.com.au - Pull your head out, Sydneysiders

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

Postscript #1 13 April 2008

As for the Governance group they seem to be taking some water here regarding allegations of pre determined outcomes, but also 2 VIP retired judges bailing out:

 12 April 2008 Judges abandon Rudd's summit | The Australian

11 April 2008 Mad game to tinker with our great system | The Australian

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

Postscript #2 14 April 2008

We like and respect Bret Solomon of self described "independent" Get Up not least for his career history with fiesty charity Oxfam, but we also well understand he cannot escape the covert ALP provenance and seed funding of Get UP not least via Evan Thorley MP in the machine Vic Upper House perch and IT entrepeneur rich man. Solomon himself admitted in a talk we attended at the Sydney Mechanics in Pitt St that Thorley was his source of income.

Thorley presumably has fanchised here the US Democrat cyber model of political outreach of 2003-2005, and such as MoveOn.org financed by billionaire George Soros. Here is Get Up's full on engagement with the 2020 Summit indicating both genuine enthusiasm and endorsement of the narrow scope of the event - because they are inside the tent. It would be naive to expect very much cutting critique from Get Up?:

Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 8:31 PM
Subject: What's your 2020 vision?

Dear Tom,

Only 1000 people will be deliberating Australia's future at next week's 2020 Summit - but that's not to say your voice won't be heard. Incredibly, 118 of the chosen delegates are GetUp members, including our Executive Director Brett Solomon, so we're starting a conversation to make sure that your voice is added to theirs before they begin their dialogue about Australia's future.

Have your say on what you want our country's future to look like on our 2020 forums - and we will deliver your ideas direct to the decision makers heading to Canberra:

www.getup.org.au/2020

The forums have been started by GetUp members attending the Summit, and they're keen to make sure your ideas are heard. Add your comments and your new big ideas to our online forums - to make sure the Summit recommendations reflect the issues that are important to you.

The Summit is a golden opportunity to let the Australian Government - and a whole range of people representing the Australian community - know where we'd like our country to go. We'll deliver the top ideas from each forum to the Summit delegates, so add your idea now and vote for the ones you care most about:

www.getup.org.au/2020

It's rare to have such a concrete opportunity to look beyond the immediate political term in Australia - but it's forums like these where nation-building ideas are born. This is your chance to let those on the inside of 2020 know what you think.

Thanks for making it happen,
The GetUp team

PS - If you're a GetUp member going to the Summit and we haven't been in touch yet, please let us know by emailing Sally@getup.org.au.

PPS - It's National Youth Week - an important time to remember the thousands of homeless young people living on our streets. Click here to hear Tegan talk about her experiences. Tegan is a homeless young person involved with the Oasis youth centre, which was featured in a documentary, 'The Oasis', screened on the ABC last night.


Posted by editor at 9:51 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 14 April 2008 9:26 AM NZT
Friday, 11 April 2008
Retrospective on Shell stalking of Woodside, as China Inc seek share of BHP resource giant
Mood:  not sure
Topic: aust govt

Another dimension of the great China engages with the world story, apart from the Olympics corporate circus is the question of whether and to what level China Inc (that is vertically integrated to the heart of the one party central Beijing Govt) should be permitted to invest in flagship companies in Australia, with Australian assets:

- 10 April 2008 Securing a stake in the big Australian | The Australian

-  10 April 2008 Chinese whispers give BHP extra ammo | smh.com.au

Pure market economics suggests their money is as good as anyone's only China Inc is not orthodox market participants given the political economic control by their Beijing Govt overlords. They can be expected to exercise their political influence in favour of China every time even to the detriment of Australia or even their own Australian based company.

Similar questions came up with Shell stalking Woodside to appropriate future profitability of the North West Shelf. All kinds of sophistry was used to justify approval through the Foreign Investment Review Board. Then Treasurer Costello rejected all these blandishments and shallow claims of being anti free market.

We tracked the very serious political fight way back then here:

23/4/01....Comment by ecology action founder on Treasurer Costello rejection of Shell bid for Woodside ... "Shell's every move across the Planet is haunted by Ken Saro-Wiwa's ghost."

23/4/2001...Treasurer Costello formally rejects Shell bid for Woodside "in the national interest

April 2001...Ian Kortlang Shell PR operative on Woodside bid: The treacherous Australian?

16/3/2001 - News release Woodside take-over: Nigerian refugee tells 'Shell's domination of industry, puppeteering of govt, rampant pollution, political murders'

6/1/2001...Shell bid for Woodside: Letter to editor - 'Not a fit and proper corporate citizen'

21/8/2000...OUTCRY AT SHELL'S "CLEAN-AIR 2000 MONSTROUS DOUBLE STANDARD"

2/2000...Sydney Harbour oil spill by Shell ship transport contractor, indicative of rogue multinational, Submission to NSW Parliamentary Inquiry

 

Similar issues of probity and integrity might be expected to apply to China Inc seeking a share of BHP.


Posted by editor at 4:11 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 11 April 2008 6:26 PM NZT
China/IOC Inc play their 'Muslim terror' bogey man trump card today
Mood:  not sure
Topic: corporates

The biggest global corporate circus every 4 years known as the Olympics has been getting the open society treatment as it did in Sydney 8 years ago.   

We have 15 cm pile of clippings in two ring binders from back then including this choice reference to the racketeers in the IOC:

 A bit strong? We think it's the reality. Only this time the Big Media willingness is amplified by the fact the venue is a notorious closed society in Beijing also known as China Inc.

Crikey.com.au ran this profound image Thursday 10 April 08 too:

 

Hence the saturation coverage of the International Olympic Committee brand getting badly damaged yesterday as per the front pager above (top left), which has been succeeded by the 'popular authoritarianism' of an alleged terror threat to the 'global games' (at top right).

But the consensus in the open society west still looks to be pretty much in favour of a massive dose of Big Media salts through the terrifyingly manipulative central Beijing Govt.

One fear and loathing spin story about security threat does not a summer make especially by contrast with this report on SBS Dateline regarding the long time oppressed minority labelled as sinister evil doers:

  • Wednesday, 5th March,2008
  • INTERVIEW WITH REBIYA KADEER

    With the Olympics fast approaching, China's human rights record is, more than ever, in the spotlight.

    Read more...
  • Rebiya Kadeer

    Posted by editor at 3:37 PM NZT
    Updated: Sunday, 13 April 2008 11:01 AM NZT
    ABC to "traffic reporter" Vic Laruso: Time to go, politically non aligned, don't you know!
    Mood:  a-ok
    Topic: big media

    We understand from a source that Vic has cruelled his own work for the Australian Traffic Network commercial service provider, at least as far as the ABC is concerned, by becoming politically aligned in the latest State ALP PR campaign.

    In fact we rang the 702 folks about bushy tailed, eager Vic doing traffic updates on the "Swiss neutral" ABC while so obviously identified with the new somewhat controversial $12 Billion dollar metro train plan.

    They took the concern on notice. We are advised that they were already discussing the issue "in parallel" and have reached the conclusion to ask ATN "to roster someone else".

    Presumably high flying Vic in the helicopter was handsomely paid for his PR work for Morris Iemma and the ALP team because it looks very much like he won't be on ABC radio again anytime soon.

    ATN's Director Bill Pezzimenti was unavailable for comment.NSW Manager Ian Wallace declined to comment until formally confirmed.


    Posted by editor at 3:05 PM NZT
    Sydney Telegraph goes Pontious Pilate on grog adverts, Herald still angsty?
    Mood:  quizzical
    Topic: big media


    Last Monday 7th April 08 the Daily Telegraph grasped the nettle ... sort of ... regarding binge drinking amongst youth turning up poisoned in hospitals, and used their front page to blame their parents:

     Parents face tough laws to curb drunken children | The Daily Telegraph  7 April 2008

    Which is convenient given the many full pages of grog adverts only 3 days later.

    The Sydney Morning Herald are still in moral confusion mode about their own full page grog adverts living off the revenue of this highly deceptive legal drug trade.

    See for instance this front pager:

    Cyclist tells: I slid into alcoholic hell - Beijing2008 - Sport ... 7 April 2008

     

    And this earlier

    Sports should 'drop booze sponsors' - Breaking News - SMH 20 March 2008

    No such qualms anymore over at Holt St. They probably decided it's really the parents fault rather than the huge sophisticated advertising industry over a cold one at a nearby boozer like the Evening Star Hotel (aka Evil Star), or maybe the Shakespeare Hotel, or Stawberry Hills Hotel, or the other 4 pubs nearby their office? Maybe they are indeed being more honest in their own revenue addiction than the Herald?


    Posted by editor at 2:22 PM NZT
    Updated: Saturday, 12 April 2008 11:04 PM NZT
    Wednesday, 9 April 2008
    John Button's spirit at the 2020 Summit regarding forests: 'Woodchipping's a bastard of an industry'
    Mood:  crushed out
    Topic: aust govt

     

    Alan Ramsey tipped off the broader political community last Saturday side column of the impending death of this retired federal ALP politician, a Truman Capote figure of a man in physical stature at least. A pollie who later said he would have preferred to be a journo as his son did become.

    He presented as small and yet perfectly formed. By all accounts he was whimsical and disarmingly honest and direct. He was very big in "horsepower" outgrowing his own body in wit, intellect, fierce independence in the factions.

    John Button

    Make no mistake he was tough as ALP Senate leader and Industry Minister for Australia 1983 until 1993 when he retired. People respect strength, not least of character. Now the Big Media and Big Politics are moving through their own shock on a human level at his final departure, to the next phase of cannonisation of an important life completed. It will be in all the press today.

    Fred Chaney as former Senate Coalition Party leader in the 1980ies was on abc radio last night saying he envied the talents of his rival Button. now that's a compliment.

    Yesterday Crikey.com.au ran a dignified obit with no byline here, waiting they later said for something more worthy again. And sure enough later in the day, unusually they broadcast a second obit stand alone from former PM Paul Keating:

    Dear Sole Subscriber,

    Former Labor senator John Button died overnight at 74. We were waiting for a fitting tribute, then along came Paul Keating. This is what he thought:

    John Button is a real loss to the country and the Labor Party alike.

    A lawyer who inhabited the centre ground of Victorian Labor politics, he was material in returning the pendulum of Labor politics from the left, where it had stuck fast for a quarter of a century, to the political centre.

    A consequence of his work within the Independents’ group was the advent of the Cain Labor government and with that change, the underlying fabric of Victorian politics returned to the Labor fold, where it has more or less remained, for just on thirty years.

    A person needs a lot of horsepower to be at the forefront of such a change, and while it was not all John Button’s work, he left his fingerprints on all the important bits.

    In his prime, he was more or less despised by the left and the right. In the swing position, he played corner politics with cunning and élan. Some would say too cunning, others mercurial, while the impartial onlooker might say inspired.

    As a Senator, he was a member of the post-Whitlam government group lead by Bill Hayden in 1977. That group, the reform ministers of the 1980s and early 1990s, came together as a coherent unit out of conviction borne by the defeat of the Whitlam government and the fact that post-War growth, worldwide, had collapsed from the mid 70s in the context of hyperinflation.

    John Button like every other member of the group knew that the old closed way for Australia, the old Australian economic defence model was coming to an end. Like the rest of us, he was not sure what should take its place but he knew it had to be something competitive and more open.

    As a person with a background in legal issues, including such things as civil liberties, it was a surprise to us all that he asked Bob Hawke for the Ministry of Manufacturing Industry. I remember going to his office after our swearing in and saying ‘what are you going to do with this job?’ He said ‘I dunno; something! God knows, something needs to done.’ Pretty much reflecting the mood of most of us.

    Button was a case book example of giving a complex job to a person with a good mind, one formerly unsullied by its complexities, leaving the mind to sift through the issues, while coming to a new set of conclusions. As it turned out, he was the Minister for Manufacturing Industry at the fulcrum point of that industry’s development and history.

    He and I had great battles over tariffs and for the tariff reductions announced in the May Statement of 1988 and the Industry Statement of 1991. But he knew the reform mantle meant he had to see his constituency’s interests in a longer term perspective. I remember calling him at home one Saturday morning in 1991, urging on him a further reduction in general manufacturing protection to 5% by the year 2000. I said ‘come on John, in for a penny, in for a quid’ and in a measure of all that was good and brave about him, he said ‘why not?’.

    He drove a hard bargain at the Cabinet table on adjustment packages for particular industries, perhaps best known being the car industry, but being prepared to play the game, whilst being charming with it, I found him, at once, exasperating yet irresistible.

    He was a fully paid up and foundation member of the reform group of ministers, the one that changed Australia forever. Deep personal losses in John’s life meant his heart and mind were always vulnerable to issues which affected the needy or those less well off.

    He had a large group of friends and political associates and of course, many he picked up in his lifelong support of the Geelong Football Club. He was a warmly regarded person, yet for all that, he was always a loner. An intellectual loner and a political loner. None of us held that against him, because the same epitaph may be stuck to so many of us.

    For all that, he held firmly to one idea throughout his life, and that was that political life was the highest calling, within which great things could be done; where the greatest leverage existed. And as his life’s work attests, he stuck to that idea with enthusiasm and perseverance.

    John Button is gone but he will not be forgotten, inasmuch that at some point, we are all forgotten. Those of us who were close to him will always remember his penchant for devilment, for the zany and the unpredictable, but also the fun in being around such a quixotic character.

    PJ Keating
    8 April 2008

    Another ex Prime Minister Bob Hawke was also on the vision last night and there was something quite moving at the pause and the humility on the face of the often swaggering "silver bodgie'.

    As a younger wonky activist in harness for The Wilderness Society in 1992 we first came to learn who John Button was. The national campaign team under Director Karenne Jurd were all in a twitter in the old St James lane office (rented off the Teachers Union or was it the MUA?) just down from the Sussex St ALP head office in China Town.

    The excitement was around Button who had spoken: He told a press conference somewhere on the subject of the woodchipping industry that destroys natural forest to this very day under the ALP:

    "It’s a bastard of an industry."

    And why wouldn't he tell the truth about that? The hard impartial evidence was in. The 3 volumes of the Forest & Timber Inquiry report of the Resource & Assessment Commission 1992 was done with research led by Dr Clive Hamilton. RAC reported amongst so many other gems that there was not one example of 'ecologically sustainable native forest logging' to be found in the whole of Australia.

    This is what Ian Cohen MLC was referring to in Hansard in 1998 just prior to the March 1999 NSW state election here.

    In 1992 onward this was the shudder that went through the whole corrupt rotten logging industry led by such grubs as Gavin Hillier, national logging unionist, recently spotted trawling racialised filth out at Camden prior to the last federal election:

    12th March 2008 Gavin Hillier, prominent retired logging unionist on Stateline footage as protester no.5?
    Mood:  caffeinated

    The pithy Button statement was in context of federal cabinet discussion to that point too. Back in 1991 cabinet had a meltdown and backed off allocating public natural heritage forests to private profit interests rent seeking "resource security". Which actually means refusing to buy their own land with sufficient rainfall to grow their own tree farm timber. No, they demanded intensified destruction of the public estate via unprecedented highly mechanised job destroying woodchip operations.

    And why wouldn't federal cabinet refuse such rent seeking after reading a briefing note like this from The Wilderness Society that helped get them over the line in 1987, 1990 and by default in 1993?

    But the industry learned from their defeat. They copied the TWS grassroots model creating a front group filled with client employees called Forest Protection Society - a breach of s.52 of the Trade Practices Act. Then they renamed FPS to Timber Communities Australia funded in large part by National Association of Forest Industries. Later PM John Howard's senior staffer Catherine Murphy became their CEO.

    The loggers as opposed to the timber industry proper (mostly already in plantations in volume and job numbers) lobbied hard with 'timber truck' blockades taking time out from feeding Eden ChipMill. They demanded 'resource security' again in 1994 in Canberra. Bob Carr on a high profile forest protection platform was elected in March 1995 promising to close the Eden chipper in a ferocious blowback against the loggers but the ALP federally under Keating in Canberra tragically lost their way. Button was gone. Faulkner as Environment Minister was outnumbered. Keating fell to Howard in 1996.

    The RAC report and Button's honest interpretation was perverted into a weasel words National Forest Policy Statement from 1993-1995. Then  the NFPS transmogrified into 'Regional Forest Agreements' (with no agreement) and the holy grail of 20 year resource security for private industry in public forests, the browns of the ALP ascendant, hand in glove with dinosaurs of the National Party.

    As gracious as PJ Keating's soliliquy above for Button's life and career above reads, the ALP under his leadership failed to confront union/industry rent seeking liars and thugs and the electorate's respect was soon to follow. Who could condone this kind of thuggery by the logging union, emboldened by the same PM Howard's dinosaur values 1996-2007?:

     

    6th Dec 2006 - New paper: Logger terrorism under the Howard federal government 

    Paul Keating was later to say he regretted not doing 'more on the environment'. Regrets of course are as human as life and death itself, not least some 80 million tonnes of natural forest exported as woodchips 96-08.

    We wrote yesterday on crikey comment string about John Button:

    Tom McLoughlin
    Tuesday, 8 April 2008 3:59:09 PM
    Very sad to suffer this manner of death. What a full life. He reminds me of a character from fiction - I think it was in Beau Geste (?), on the boat trip escaping Britain - a little guy is getting bullied by the sloven, loud mouth ship's cook. So little guy invites this thug out onto the deck and puts on a display of technical boxing excellence for all the sceptical roughnecks on board. By the end everyone was cringing for the big guy totally outclassed, demolished. John Button seemed to come across like that. A class act. Big on the inside. Quality ALP. Like Nifty in his heyday I suppose. Apparently he actually wanted to be a journalist, as his son did become one? Condolences to his family and his mates.

    In 2004 Mark Latham as then ALP Opposition Leader did the intellectually honest thing on such magnificent world heritage quality forests in Tasmania, and given the real economics as opposed to the corporate welfare of special interests: How many of these brave scientists listed here back in 2004 will be at the 2020 Summit later this April 2008?:

    21/9/04...ABC Earthbeat ventillates real scientitic consensus for Tas forest protection with text of scientists' letter and huge signatory list 

    While the thugs in the logging union hierarchy in 2004 did the wrong thing and got away with the ecological and electoral betrayal:

    And what plays for public land use policy in Tasmania applies in East Gippsland and NSW still. The woodchipping industry as John Button has said is a bastard of an industry:

     

     

    In 2007 before the true shock wave on dangerous climate change had really been demonstrated in the electorate we made this report:

    Tuesday, 31 July 2007
    Tas forest shock wave on federal election gathers momentum
    Mood:  energetic
    Topic: election Oz 2007

    That was then. This is now. The planet can't wait Prime Minister, the challenge is only getting harder the longer you put this structural reform off to shut out the dinosaur woodchipping industry from natural forests, while the vast majority of the industry is based in existing plantations with most employment. Stop subsidising privte industry with public land Mr Rudd!

    None of this is easy but the Rudd Govt were elected to do the hard stuff, just as John Button did with his celebrated industry plans. There are these competing agendas here about logging internationally versus the destructin here at home. Perhaps Button would say two wrongs don't make a right.

    And notice this high level scientific advice. Another absentee from the 2020 Summit?

     [December 2007] New Australian Forest Science - Released at UNFCC Bali Conference From Adrian's Zero Emission Bali Blog. For more blogging see: www.zeroemissionnetwork.org.au

    "The last event of the night was run by The Wilderness Society. It included a presentation of the excellent work by Brendan M Mackey from ANU on determining the natural Carbon Carrying Capacity (CCC) of different forest types in the South East Australia. His work builds on the previous data for the forests of SE NSW and the E. ragnans (Mountain Ash) forests.

    Prof Mackey stated that Natural CCC was underestimated everywhere because foresters and forestry data is used as bases for calculating natural CCC. This is shown in the significant difference between between CCC calculations by the IPPC, 60 t C ha-1 yr-1 average for a temperate forest and Mackey's work which produces an average of 670 t C ha-1 yr-1.

    This work relates directly to one of the key focuses of the Bali meeting which is the debate around reducing emission from deforestation and degradation (REDD).

    Prof Mackey makes the point that current GREEN carbon (living terrestrial biomass and soil carbon) is not accounted for, unlike BLACK (fossil fuels), BROWN (agriculture and plantations) or BLUE (atmospheric and ocean) and that we must have definition of green carbon so we can actually see it in the context of action on climate change and REDD. Prof Mackey defined degradation of a natural system as any action that reduces its CCC.

    One exciting bit of work the Zero Emission Network has been doing with Prof Mackey's previous data, was showing that if the forestry sector was included in a carbon pricing mechanism (either tax for trading) with a minimum price of $10 or more a ton of C the native forest industry would collapse over night. This new research seems to support this.

    The report is currently only in limited release, but people interested in it should contact 

    The second part consisted of a talk about the challenges of protecting one of the world's last natural substantial tropical rainforests, the forest of Aceh, protected for many years by a succession war run out of the jungle. Here the main drivers of destruction are palm oil plantations destroying lowland peat swamp forests, and illegal logging. However there are some positive programs including the elephant patrol which consists of former Acehnese fighters that patrol the jungles looking for illegal logging on the back of elephants."

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

    Here is some more feedback from author Tony Kevin on another of the fairly subjective selection outcomes for the 'best and brightest' 2020 Summit (following other impertinent deconstructions of the Sustainability selection group), and doens't the 5th estate blogosphere do straight talking impertinence well - John Button always opposed to "dullness" would surely approve?:

    Here is a case study. In the group on "Australia’s future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world", chaired by Michael Wesley, in a field I thought I was reasonably familiar with (foreign policy and national security); I think I recognized only about 28 from the 90 names, and I know personally about half of those. I feel a bit uncomfortable not recognizing the names of over 60 people - I must be really out of touch. (I thought perhaps I had failed to recognize international trade specialists - not my field - but then I saw that is part of an economics-oriented committee). Here are some of the names not on the list for the 'foreign affairs and security' committee -commentators and writers Bruce Haigh, Peter Mares, Dick Woolcott, Allan Behm, Nic Stuart, activists Helen Caldicott, Sue Wareham, Margo Kingston, controversial persons Andrew Wilkie, Lance Collins, Richard Butler and yours truly, academics Owen Harries, Coral Bell, Alison Broinowski, Stuart Harris, Tony Milner, Desmond Ball. Of course some of these - myself included - may not have applied. And most of my names here are over 55s. I wish the summit well.

    In crikey.com.au 'Your say' section 7th April 2008

     


    Posted by editor at 6:33 AM NZT
    Updated: Wednesday, 9 April 2008 11:22 AM NZT
    Tuesday, 8 April 2008
    Unwatchable Films event in Erko this Wedn evening 9th April 08
    Mood:  quizzical
    Topic: culture
      projectionface.jpg

    photo by Alex Wisser. 

    It's been ten months in the making but
    kicking off this Wendeesday nite 9th April
    is .....drrdrrdrrrdrrrrrrrrrr
    UNWATCHABLE FILMS
    A series of screenings of BRILLIANT FILMS that you haven't seen
    or maybe even heard of -
    226 Union St, Erskineville
    upstairs in the Alpha House Gallery
    7-11pm (movie runs 7.30-10)
    First on the wall will be Hungarian director Béla Tarr's 2001 film "Werckmeister Harmonies".
    From Darrin Baker, co-programmer -
     

    Many consider Werkmeister Harmonies to be Bela Tarr's greatest achievement to date, and I have to agree.

    A carnvial arrives in a freezing Hungarian town, and brings with it a malevolent form of hatred and mistrust, that spreads throughout the town's inhabitants.

    This amazingly shot and directed film was never released in Australia, despite winning many prestigious awards. And aside from a screening at the Sydney Film Festival on the year of its release, this will probably be Werkmeister Harmonies' first public screening in Australia!

    Slightly more information (or the same info, slightly different) can be found here -
    Logisitics -
    It's essential that you bring your own bean bag or cushion to sit on
    and a gold coin will get you in.
    Handing over yet another gold one could get you soup or mulled wine or pop corn... or just a smile - try your luck on da nite. 
    Alpha House is close to King St, Newtown.St Peters is the closest train station and Newtown station is about an 8 minute walk away.
    Can't wait for it to be 7pm!
    wu hu!
    Wendy
    * Feel free to bring friends and to forward the invitation on - especially to people who make films.

    Posted by editor at 5:18 PM NZT
    Updated: Tuesday, 8 April 2008 5:27 PM NZT
    Online news format evolutions in the local indy, community sector
    Mood:  a-ok
    Topic: independent media

    Sydney Alternative Media has gone to roughly 20K pageviews a month. As Lili the lovely jobsearch consultant this last 2 months has said "that's alot". Yeah but what the hell to do with it? To sell adverts on it would surely spoil 'the vibe'. Even google adsense seems grim and bound to end in tears flogging more useless widgets. Subscription business model? Who could be bothered.

    We do enjoy the 20K per month pageview figure (about 10 stories per page) built up over 16 months. That's overtaking the usual monthly circulation of the erstwhile employer Sydney City Hub reborn 6 years now. That's satisfying.

    And what about imitation as flattery? Well that would be exagerating but we do notice ABC spruiking the 'go local, online, interactive' exhortation this week in their old media radio spruiking on 702. This is what they are referring to:

    Daggy vacuum cleaner indeed (!?). There is an interactive link at the bottom of their front page leading to this:

    We imagine this interactivity splurge has something to do with a gentle sledge by a guy called Tony Moore, an ABC-o-phile no doubt, in the Sydney Morning Herald opinion pages recently, which we in turn extracted in a speech recently at UTS:

    Similarly I like and respect the ABC but I don’t trust it entirely. I am heartened by an article by Tony Moore where he notes:

    “The ABC is grappling with how to transform itself from a paternalistic public broadcaster catering to a loyal if passive audience to a multi-channel narrow-caste, engaging diverse and conditional audiences that have an expectation they will participate, or at least be consulted, in content creation.”  SMH 25 March 08 p11 [bold added] in Your ABC board should be sacked, not stacked - Opinion - smh.com.au

    Meanwhile New Matilda has expanded it's horizons too with a daily news story and good looking new webpage format, seeking to build up it's own interactivity with cut and thrust comments section, where sleeping dogmatists may not lie (?!):

    Meanwhile in the huge email influence stakes there is the original Crikey.com.au which has expanded it's comment section on stories to a whopping 1000 characters limit up, from some 250. This might be a mixed blessing in terms of brevity and clarity of comments -time will tell. Here is one of our comments and notice the clumsy URL went off the page. The intention was to expose a covert ALP lobbyist also mentioned there.

    We are not sure what (now venerable) Get Up have done to tweak their model post Rudd election and this bears some investigation in due course.

    Also honourable mentions to maverick Stephen Mayne's Mayne Report which is pitching to the business market building on his business editor experience with News Ltd and of course as original founder of Crikey.com.au itself:

    .........


    Posted by editor at 10:58 AM NZT
    Updated: Tuesday, 8 April 2008 5:04 PM NZT

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