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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 4 March 2010
Koala colony for logging on NSW south coast: Public meeting this Monday
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: nsw govt


 

Last month The Sydney Morning Herald alerted urban readers to this debacle of land use policy in the 21st Century:

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/logging-plan-poses-threat-to-precious-koala-colony-20100124-msm7.htmlx

Logging plan poses threat to precious koala colony

BEN CUBBY January 25, 2010

LOGGING is set to start within weeks in a forest that supports the last known koala colony on the NSW far south coast.

The NSW Government is yet to release data from a comprehensive survey of koala habitat and population in Mumbulla and Murrah state forests, near Tathra, even though some trees have been marked for removal.

The two-year koala survey, which could be published this week, is believed to contain strong evidence of koala occupation in several parts of the eucalypt forest.

Sources painted a picture of fractious debate between staff from the Department of Environment and Climate Change, which managed the koala research effort, and Forests NSW, the government agency that will manage the logging operation.

One source described a map of the area that had been drawn and redrawn in search of a compromise between felling trees and maintaining enough forest to allow the koalas to survive.

The NSW Greens and south coast environment groups are campaigning for a moratorium on logging in the koala habitat.

"The koala population on the NSW south-east coast is at a critical level,'' the Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said.

"Yet the NSW Government is prioritising the interests of the logging industry over the ongoing survival of this much-loved native animal.''

The logging operation, due to begin in early March, would involve taking some high-quality timber and some timber for woodchips.

Most of the timber from felled trees in the region goes to a mill in Eden, which exports woodchips to Japan.

As well as the remaining koala population, which has been identified by sightings, droppings and scratch marks on trees, the forest is known to provide a home for endangered long-nosed potoroos.

The Environment Department is ''committed to the protection of koalas and their habitat'', a spokesman said.

The department had engaged in ''what is arguably the most extensive koala survey of its type ever undertaken in Australia, in parts of the Mumbulla and Murrah state forests which are believed to contain koala habitat''.

''The survey results will be used in current negotiations with Forests NSW to ensure the longer-term protection of critical koala habitat identified in the survey,'' he said.

The marsupials are listed as a vulnerable species in NSW, but there is controversy over how many are still alive in the wild.

The Australian Koala Foundation has said its research shows there were only 43,000 to 80,000 left on the Australian mainland, based on data from more than 1000 forests surveys.

The group is heading a new push to get the species listed as ''endangered'' via the threatened species committee.

But many other researchers think the foundation's koala population figure is a serious underestimate, and say that in some areas koala populations are not in decline.

At the time we noted here on SAM that a former SMH environment reporter James Woodford who now doubles as a "real dirt ....environmental news" blogger on the NSW south coast  ("the real dirt, the whole dirt, nothing but the dirt"), author and opinion writer on SMH still, was seemingly ignorant of the koala furore in his tree change domestic bliss. We hope it was ignorance but we believe otherwise. We detect a history of airbrushing NSW Govt "dirt" being the source of many if not all of his stories as a journalist on the drip.

Since then the green movement on the NSW south coast has been in uproar for a solid 6 weeks over this vandalism of icon species habitat, as per media releases and articles below. Indeed what would the United States side of the Premier Keneally family think of such wanton killing of koalas creating a regional extinction in a section of NSW?

We have now received this notice of a public meeting featuring Deborah Tabbart, a high profile koala campaigner from the Australian Koala Foundation:

Public meeting:

Logging threats to the South Coast at Murrah, Mumbulla and Tanja

Guest speaker: Deborah Tabbart, Australian Koala Foundation

7pm Tathra Town Hall

Monday 8th March 2010

Related community and/big media follow, all apparently invisible to dirty blogger James Woodford even when it's his own backyard (but not here 6 hours drive away!): 

Additional public meeting here nearby forest at Western Yurammie


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

[The Canberra Times]

26 Jan, 2010 01:00 AM
A colony of koalas in state forest near Tathra on the NSW South Coast could be wiped out by woodchip logging scheduled to begin within weeks, the ACT Conservation Council says.

Executive director John Hibberd has written to Federal environment minister Peter Garrett and NSW Premier Kristina Keneally urging them to intervene to save the Mumbulla State Forest koalas.

''This is the only known koala colony on the far South Coast, and represents the last remnant of the once extensive koala populations in the Bega Valley,'' Mr Hibberd said.

''Shooting, clearing, feral animals and fire have all decimated the koalas of the region. We cannot afford to risk these koalas now.''

The NSW Government launched a comprehensive survey of the area three years ago after local Aboriginal land council staff unexpectedly discovered two koalas in the Mumbulla forest.

The first stage of the survey, the largest of its kind undertaken in NSW, assessed 400 sites and more than 12000 trees.

Early results showed evidence of koalas at about 50 sites in forest between Gulaga and the Mumbulla mountains.

Based on these findings, the NSW Environment Department issued a statement which described Mumbulla as ''a stronghold of the species'' on the far South Coast.

The Government has not released the final results of the two-year survey, but the early findings were posted online as evidence of the survey's success.

The logging operations, due to begin in March, will harvest high quality timber as well as woodchips for export to Japan. Forests NSW is required under state conservation laws to leave a percentage of koala habitat trees in the area being logged.

Artist and former fashion designer Prue Acton said the threat to the South Coast koalas highlighted the need to stop a national decline in koala numbers by listing them as a nationally threatened species.

'' While the Commonwealth has not yet listed this animal as a threatened species, there is enough evidence around now about its decline that we simply cannot afford to take any further risks with its future,'' she said.

Mr Hibberd said the koalas needed sufficient space for their young to move into new territories, and any post-logging fires ''will spell the end for them''.

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

NSW Government must release all koala data: Constance

17 Feb, 2010 10:22 AM
LIBERAL MP Andrew Constance has called for the release of all NSW Labor Government information pertaining to koalas on the state's Far South Coast.
"It is in everybody interests that all data is publicly available so that the wider community and the timber industry can see how the Department of Environment and Climate Change and Forests NSW are addressing any concerns relating to koalas," Mr Constance said.
"The advice I have is that there are a number of well established koala colonies in the region and it is in everybody's interests that the community and the industry have confidence in what the State Government is doing to protect koalas and honour the regional forest agreement.
"The government has to be open, accountable and transparent so that any debate undertaken in the community is done with all information available.
"Whilst claims that there is only one colony left, the government must outline what colonies exist in both the National Parks system and State Forests on the Far South Coast and what measures are being undertaken to protect such colonies from being decimated by wildfire.
Bob Brown in the 1990s claimed the national park in the Tantawanglo as the most important koala habitat in south east NSW with an estimated 40-45 adult koala population.
"If there is an issue with any koala colony on the Far South Coast then an explanation needs to be given by the Minister Steve Whan, who has had nothing to say thus far on this issue, on how any concerns will be addressed.”

Join the cause on Facebook 

Save the Mumbulla and Five Forests Koalas from logging


 
 ........................................
[19 Feb 2010, full copy PDF link on image]


 


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


 

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

Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 9:57 PM
Subject: [chipstop] koala report

 Koala surveys in the coastal forests of the Bermagui–Mumbulla area: 2007–09 – interim report

"Figure 1 indicates that there have been few reports of koalas in other coastal and foothill forests of the Eden Region since 1996. This reduction in reporting rate suggests an overall decline in the regional population. "

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BODALLA KOALAS THAT WERE IN THE TUROSS RIVER CATCHMENT?  WERE THEY MADE LOCALLY EXTINCT DUE TO LOGGING IN THEIR HOME RANGE?  COMPARTMENTS 3036 & 3037 HAD KOALA RECORDS IN 2005, HAVE THESE KOALAS PERSISTED?

ADVISE MAKE ALL FEED TREES LISTED AS PROTECTED THROUGHOUT THE EDEN AND SOUTHERN FOREST REGIONS

ADVISE THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE OF ESFM BE THE IMMEDIATE ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT POLICY ADOPTED BY THE GOVERNMENT

ADVISE LET NATIVE FOREST STAND.

GET YOUR KOALA MASKS READY!

[South East Forest Rescue]

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

 

 

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

Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 10:27 AM
Subject: another letter on koalas

Hi All,

 Sorry to keep sending these emails, but we are trying to get the attention of the state government on this urgent koala issue. A preliminary DECCW report released yesterday confirmed that there is a small healthy recovering population of about 50 koalas on the NSW south coast. ForestsNSW intends to log these forests irrespective of the findings, possibly as early as Monday. This will almost certainly spell the end for these koalas, which are nearly extinct on the south coast.  It’s been shown that letters and phone calls, especially to your local members, are one of the most effective ways of getting politicians to respond – better than emails. On the other hand, since time is very short, a letter, email or phone call to one of the pollies below might be the best strategy.   It would be great if you could adapt this letter in any way you want and send it.  Many thanks, and no obligation,PS You might like to watch this fantastic Youtube video produced for Japanese viewers by Japanese-Australian campaigner, Anja Light.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_3UeZ96vKk


 

The Hon Ian Macdonald, MLC,Minister for Mineral and Forest ResourcesGovernor Macquarie Tower
Level 36, 1 Farrer Place, 
SYDNEY NSW 2000 
OR 
Premier Kristina KeneallyMember for Heffron,Shop 117, 747  Botany Road, ROSEBERY NSW 2018   
Dear          ,  
Your urgent action is needed to save the koalas of the far south coast.  The preliminary DECCW report, released yesterday, confirmed a small healthy recovering population of about 50 koalas on the NSW south coast, in the Mumbulla forest.
ForestsNSW intends to log this forest very soon, irrespective of the findings of this report, of any debate on the findings, or of the public release of the full report, including the koala habitat mapping.  In addition, the compartments will be burnt after logging, which will further decimate the remaining koalas.
 Logging and burning could result in the extinction of south coast koalas, by destroying habitat and expansionary corridors, and by directly killing koalas in both surveyed and unsurveyed areas. Compartments in other as yet unsurveyed forests are also due to be logged and burnt in the near future, and these may also contain small populations of recovering koalas that have not yet been identified.  
Australia’s top koala experts recognise the far south coast as a region where our national icon is in serious trouble. Koalas have a range up to 50km, so leaving small ‘cells’ for koala habitats is not effective to safeguard populations. These koalas need space if their population is going to grow to a viable size, capable of withstanding disease, drought and fire. Koalas must find trees with nutrient rich leaves for their highly specialised diet, and males need to find new territory.  The requirements of koalas are poorly understood, so it is impossible to ascertain what trees they will need, and in which direction they will need to move. These forests are also home to other endangered species, such as Long-Nosed Potoroos, Sooty Owls and Eastern Grey Headed Flying Foxes, as well as being critical habitat for the endangered Swift Parrot.

The NSW government appears to be placing very short sighted interests over the survival of this courageous animal, over our natural heritage and over the expansion of industries such as tourism on the south coast. The koala, one of our iconic native animals, could face destruction in these forests, for the sake of a very short term supply of woodchips and sawlogs, when there are now enough plantation resources on-line in Australia to ensure that no native forest needs to be logged.  
The NSW Labor government has a wonderful opportunity here to demonstrate its environmental credentials in the lead up to the next election. We don’t believe that this Labor government will want to leave the demise of the koala on the south coast as part of its legacy. You can save these animals and we are asking you to act now by putting an immediate halt to logging in the south east forests. 

Yours sincerely,

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

[ABC SE NSW radio] 

 Claim: Koala survey a "hurdle"

Posted Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:39am AEDT

Forests New South Wales has labelled an interim report into the state's South East koala colonies as "another hurdle" to its logging plans.

After two years of fieldwork the report was released this week, identifying a healthy koala population in areas including the Mumbulla State Forest, near Bermagui.

The department says it must begin logging in parts of the forest, because it is tied to a supply agreement with the timber industry.

Regional Manager Ian Barnes says there are many years left in the agreement.

"The government, in good faith, in exchange for the loss of resources by creating new national parks, gave an assurance to the industry that supply would be continued for 20 years," he said.

"So we've got at least 10 years to run on that agreement."

Mr Barnes says the report reveals more koala activity than expected in parts of the forest, which complicates arrangements under the Regional Forest Agreement signed in 1999.

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

[ABC radio SE NSW]

Community battles to save koala colony

Posted February 27, 2010 08:47:00

Conservationists say they will confront loggers head-on in an effort to save the habitat of a small colony of koalas on the far south coast of New South Wales.

Surveys by the Environment Department have found evidence of a recovering population of around 50 koalas in the Mumbulla state forest, south of Bermagui.

The New South Wales Government is due to start logging parts of the forest next month.

Most of the timber is to be sent to a mill in Eden, which exports some of it as woodchips to Japan.

John Hibberd from the ACT Conservation Council says if NSW Environment Minister Frank Sartor lets the logging go ahead, the koala population will be wiped out.

"I think it's absolutely staggering that we're still having this debate," he said.

"The south coast is marked by fantastic beaches, beautiful forests and yet we're prepared to log the forests and destroy an iconic species like koalas for the sake of supporting a foreign-owned industry that's heavily subsidised by the NSW taxpayer."

Mr Hibberd will meet with Mr Sartor in Sydney today together with other conservation groups.

A meeting between environmentalists and Mr Sartor yesterday failed to reach any agreement to protect the koalas.

Noel Plumb from conservation group Chip Busters says it is almost inevitable there will be direct conflict in the forests.

"The community is not going to allow this koala population to become extinct because you've got an arrogant state forest agency that won't listen to anybody," he said.

Meanwhile, deputy director-general of the Environment Department, Joe Woodward, says State Forests has agreed to hold off on some of its logging plans in the area.

"Importantly, [State] Forests have stated that they won't be going in and initially logging in those areas where the koalas have been identified," he said.

"Then we'll be having further discussions with State Forests to work out what can be done to protect the koalas."

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

SERCA South East Regional Conservation Alliance

ChipBusters


Conservation Council ACT Region

MEDIA RELEASE - 27 February 2010

Koala Crisis Deepens in South East Forests

The crisis surrounding the possible extinction of koalas in the South East Forests deepened yesterday, as conservation groups met with the NSW Environment Minister, Frank Sartor.

“The Minister is deeply concerned at the situation but seems embattled on many fronts with forest issues,” said spokespersons for the South East Regional Conservation Alliance (SERCA).

“State Forests will not rule out the start of logging in the key koala areas as early as next Monday but are also effectively blocking negotiations (to protect the koalas) with the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).”

“It was apparent to us in the discussions with the Minister and his senior officers yesterday that State Forests has refused to supply the critical, specific timber-supply figures that would enable Minister Sartor to negotiate for alternative supply arrangements with the Minister for Forests.”

“The Minister repeatedly expressed his concern that alternative supply arrangements had to be put in place because of contractual commitments to the logging industry".

Concerned environment groups say "Such figures are, according to their  own logic, critical if the koalas are really to be protected from the intensive logging and wood-chipping operations now proposed by State Forests in the koala area.”

“State Forests has also broken its public commitment, made at a community meeting in Bermagui in 2007* that there would be genuine community consultation about the future of these forests once the NPWS koala survey was released by DECC.”

The completed Report was finally released by DECCW only on 23 February 2010 but without the maps critical for clear community information. The survey covers approximately 10,000 hectares of the Mumbullah and Murrah State Forests which lie between Bermagui and Bega.

“This survey does however confirm south coast conservationists and community groups statements of the past 10 years, that there is a small but potentially viable population of koalas barely hanging on in the south east forests.”

Noel Plumb, John Hibberd and Prue Acton "expressed the deep concern of their respective organisations to the Minister that, given State Forests' present attitude, there would inevitably be direct conflict in the these forests if State Forests attempted to start logging operations. Members of  the south coast communities are sick to death of 40 years of woodchipping and associated environmental destruction, we are determined to save the  Far South Coast koalas.”

For further comment;

John Hibberd,  Conservation Council ACT Region, Mobile 0407292657;
 

Prue Acton O.B.E. SERCA Merimbula
ph. 0264945144, m. 0419393203.
www.serca-online.org.


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

MEDIA RELEASE 28 February 2010

Koalas Doomed in South East Forests

Sell Out In the Wind

Conservation groups today claimed that the NSW Department of Environment (DoE) was dooming the last remaining koala colony in the South East Forests by caving into the NSW logging agency, State Forests. 

“DoE has effectively sold out on the survival of the last koalas in the South East Forests as it tries to negotiate with State Forests on a grossly unequal basis”, said spokespersons for the groups.

“We insist that conservation representatives be included in the negotiations to ensure the koalas get a fair go at survival.”

“DoE has failed to insist on the critical information on timber supply from State Forests so that it can actually negotiate on the basis of alternative supply sources. This information is vital to get around the claimed short term supply problem for a local timber mill.”

“ We know that the reality is that most of the timber, up to 90%, felled in this region goes straight to the Eden chipmill. State Forests has been caught time after time trying to claim a supply crisis for saw mills when none exists, or should exist if State Forests was competent.”

“DoE has tried to hide its desperate situation with the misleading statement that State Forests won’t be “initially logging in those areas where the koalas have been identified” but all this means is that State Forests intends to woodchip the forests all around the actual koala sightings.” **

“The end result will be the same – extinction of the last koala colony in the South East Forests from lack of sufficient forest habitat to feed and shelter them.”

For further comment, images;

Prue Acton SERCA 6494 5144 (Merimbula).

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

 


Posted by editor at 12:05 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 4 March 2010 1:52 PM EADT
Tough reaction to river redgum decision as mill announces pre emptive closure
Mood:  not sure
Topic: nsw govt

 

Picture: File picture of this long running saga as per ex premier named in the banner.

  

Earlier this week the front page of The Australian led with a confronting/compassionate speech by federal Agriculture minister Tony Burke along the lines that it would have been alot kinder to implement transition out of drought declared farms 7 years ago. He mentioned self harm by farmers in recent years despite being on Exception Circumstances subsidy and even after the drought had broken because they had exhausted their capital, reached the ceiling of EC benefits, and have no great prospects by the next drought or capacity to loan for current investment. Leading to self harm. A hard story to be sure.

Then we heard a 5 year 6,000 cubic metre per year deal for logging to continue until a national park is created in toto in the river red gums of NSW:

Yesterday the Sydney Morning Herald ran this protest story:

 Rees's plan to save redgums faces the axe

BRIAN ROBINS March 3, 2010 

Chopping mad ...  environmentalists protesting against the decision raised a banner outside the Premier's office.

Chopping mad ... environmentalists protesting against the decision raised a banner outside the Premier's office. Photo: Nick Moir

The decision of the former premier Nathan Rees to immediately end logging of the Riverina redgums has been reversed by the state government.

It has opted for a five-year wind-down of logging, coupled with the establishment of national and regional parks that cover much of the contested area.

But getting the necessary legislation through Parliament is expected to be difficult, with the Coalition, Shooters and Greens parties all indicating opposition.

The state government said it would protect 107,000 hectares of Riverina redgums and set up an $80 million support package with logging to be wound down over the next five years.

Mr Rees proposed locking up the 42,000 hectares of the Millewa forest Riverina redgums in a national park, along with further unspecified areas along the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Lachlan rivers.

Environmental groups slammed the government for ''chopping the promised area in half''. The Greens want a total ban on logging while the Shooters are opposed to any halt to logging.

''This is clearly a deal with the Greens to win their preferences at next year's election,'' the Shooters MLC Robert Brown said of the government's proposal. ''We'll vote against it, as will the Nationals and Liberals, I suspect.''

The Greens MLC Ian Cohen said: ''Don't be surprised if I oppose it. It's a Labor-Nationals stitch-up. I am seriously unimpressed, and will be seeking advice. It's a pathetic compromise that leaves half of the magnificent Millewa Forest open for logging.''

The opposition also slammed the decision, saying that ''on face value, we'll be opposing'' the legislation because the government has ignored the local communities.

''The only reason that the redgums in the Barmah-Millewa area are in a reasonable condition is because they have been actively managed by the forestry industry for the past 150 years," the opposition spokeswoman on natural resources, Katrina Hodgkinson, said.

We also offered this analysis to southern forest groups:

Subject: redgum pr via Lake Cargelligo Re: [chipstop] Emailing: Riverina red gums get protection from logging - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

I was wondering what the expert analysis would be of the redgum outcome. Notice Premier Keneally's people did PR choreography for this rural regional logging policy story by announcing water pipeline for Lake Cargelico which ran radio and tv last night.

Home | NSW Premier1 Mar 2010 ... $19 million pipeline to secure town water supplies for Lake Cargelligo. Premier Kristina Keneally and Federal Minister for Climate Change

She foreshadowed this over a month ago and got praise from The Greens for this (fair enough)
This is surely her regime offsetting the backlash for literally any redgum forest protection by showing she cares for remote communities from Sydney - clever PR.

This cynical view of government choreography of regional rural stories seems to match with this expected reaction from local conservative authorities:

Riverina ABC reportage:
Red gum park decision 'miserable' 3 March 2010
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/03/2835113.htm?site=riverina 
Shires fear new parks to oust loggers 4 March 2010
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/04/2836093.htm?site=riverina

 

How does that state government decision match up with the tough love of Minister Tony Burke we wondered, and with some chagrin: 6K cubic metres p.a. does seem quite low volumes compared to the east coast, but perhaps also quite high ecological effect for a generally dry environment with low growing rates?

Just now 9.30 am over the ABC radio 4 March 2010 we hear the next twist that 'a sawmill will close' in the Riverina having effectively decided to forego a 5 year logging future in the river redgums of the south west. So it seems Minister Burke's message of tough love has already had a further influence. 

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

Here is text of environment groups below another file picture in this long running saga (as per ex premier 3 previous named in the banner above):

[2nd March 2010]

similarly

  

Groups Unite to Condemn Red Gum Back Down

 

Seven environment groups from across two States condemned the decision made today by the NSW Government to back down on the protection of River Red Gum wetlands.  

"Despite yesterday’s rhetoric of new national park protection for Red Gum, the State Government has kept the best areas open to logging for five years” said Peter Cooper, Campaigner for The Wilderness Society Sydney.
“This is disastrous - these forests cannot sustain another five years of intensive logging damage."


"The Millewa forest, identified as an area significant enough for national park protection, will wait five years before it is protected.  This is an exceedingly generous outcome for the forestry industry but a very poor one for conservation," said Mr Cooper.


“This was the decision to judge Premier Keneally’s environmental credentials and she has clearly failed.  We are still to see any serious environmental outcomes in this term of Government and Premier Keneally has reversed the promises made for these forests.”


“Use of the NSW Environment Trust to continue logging is entirely inappropriate  – vast funds will be spent without delivering the environmental outcomes which were promised.”


The weakness of the NSW red gum decision compares starkly against a similar decision to protect River Red Gum forests made by the Victorian Government in Dec 2008,” said Jonathan La Nauze, Friends of the Earth spokesperson.


“When Victoria protected 91,000 hectares of Red Gum it was described by environment groups as ‘one of the most significant conservation decisions in the state’s history’.  The NSW decision today was described by the groups as an ‘empty shell’.”


“The Victorian Government delivered world class National Parks, including the full protection of the Barmah forest.  Yesterday the NSW Government delivered a compromised outcome on the other side of the Murray River, with the unprecedented step of opening up half the Millewa to logging for the next five years before making it national park.”


“The Victorian Government delivered a jobs positive outcome which saw a net increase in employment for the region.  The NSW Government has condemned the region to remaining stuck in the past by a protracted phase-out of industrial-scale logging and delaying the opportunity for new jobs creation”, said Mr La Nauze. 

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

#2

http://www.wilderness.org.au/articles/activists-dump-red-gum-firewood-on-premier-keneally2019s-doorstep

Activists dump Red Gum firewood on Premier Keneally’s doorstep

The Wilderness Society Sydney Inc.
Media Release
25 February 2010

Activists from The Wilderness Society have today dumped a load of River Red Gum Firewood on the doorstep of Kristina Keneally’s Heffron office to highlight the destruction of the Murray River Red Gum Forests.

The firewood was accompanied by a banner reading “Kristina, your choice: River Red Gum National Parks or River Red Gum Firewood”. Today’s action launches a renewed campaign to communicate the need to protect the Murray River Red Gum Forests to the members of Ms Keneally’s electorate.

The Wilderness Society has become increasingly frustrated by the Premier’s lack of response to the December 2009 recommendations by the NSW Natural Resources Commission, which recommended the creation of over 100,000 hectares of new River Red Gum reserves.

A decision on creating new National Parks, as recommended, is currently before the Premier, from which the people of NSW will gauge her environmental credentials.

“Today’s action highlights the simple choice that Premier Keneally must make” said Peter Cooper, Campaigner for The Wilderness Society “She must chose between allowing the Murray River Red Gum Forests to be destroyed for firewood, or protecting them, as recommended by her own scientists”.


The NRC’s report confirmed the importance of the conservation values of these forests, as well as the environmental crisis the face – with up to 80% of trees stressed dead or dying in areas – and painted a damning picture of the impact of logging on the forests.

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

  

#3

  

Will Keneally keep her Red Gum promise?

 

 

 

The Wilderness Society Sydney Inc.
Media Release
2 March 2010

The National Parks Association of NSW and the Wilderness Society Sydney have this morning unfurled a large banner outside the Premier’s office to urge her to deliver today on her promise for large new Red Gum National Parks.

A large banner reading ‘Stop logging the Murray River Red Gum forests’ was strung between the trees outside Governor Macquarie Tower in Sydney. A decision on the future of the forests is expected today.

“This will be a chance to rescue Labor’s abysmal environmental record and put the Premier on the map for the environment” said Belinda Fairbrother, spokesperson for The Wilderness Society.

“The NSW Government has not delivered any major conservation outcomes in this term and delivering on their green promises is crucial to their integrity with the electorate.”


Since 2007 Labor has overseen windbacks in planning laws, massive expansions in coal mining and a blanket approval to a car rally in World Heritage rainforests. Hunting and tourist developments in National Parks are still on the agenda.

“Premier Keneally must create new National Parks across the River Red Gum Forests, as promised, if she wants to be able to present any environmental credentials to the people of NSW” said Carmel Flint, Spokesperson for the National Parks Association of NSW.

“The NSW Government needs to implement the decision of the independent umpire – the Natural Resources Commission.  They mustn’t turn their back on the best technical advice.”

Environmentalists have expressed deep concern around the concept of ‘transitional parks’, where logging is phased out over a number of years.  Millewa forest, the centrepiece of the National Parks system promised last year, is at risk of becoming damaged goods through ‘phase-out’ logging.

“The environmental crisis facing these forests is extreme, with over 80% of trees stressed, dead or dying in some areas.

The forests simply won’t cope with a transitional period that allows logging to continue – logging must end now if there is to be anything left worth placing into National Park” concluded Ms Flint.


Posted by editor at 10:12 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 4 March 2010 10:49 AM EADT
SAM news stats for Feb 2010 running at around 30K pageviews
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media

 

 


 

Some screen shots above but excluding numbers for 3 days 9 and 10 Feb and 3rd March in usual period taken from 3rd of the month. Also taking into account Feb is a short month. While not being an expert on reading web stats it seems our pageviews are about 30K per month on a general upward trend, after a huge kick off early in the piece - perhaps a story about Simpson of Gallipoli

As we always say, it's not the numbers as the audience that interests us. We aim to reach the beltway in big media and big politics. Perhaps this is impertinent, overly optimistic, arrogant but you have to have a goal.

We got this nice feedback earlier this week:

Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2010 9:44 AM
Subject: Re: I called EP for PM/AM show and counselled them ....

Gosh you are good, with a good memory and excellent research skills!
Thanks for letting us know that Tom. I will pass this on to others as well.
There's going to be more of this stuff too I am sure...
Regards
.......
Electorate Officer for .......... MP.
For other reports of SAM stats refer to the "independent media" topic link on the left hand column.

Posted by editor at 8:43 AM EADT
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Images of tour to Chile 2002
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: world
As suggested yesterday here are some images from a "gringo" of an interesting time in our lives, engaged to a Chilean Australian.

 Picture from top left clockwise 1. Various tickets by train from Santiago south to Chillan ("sheesharn"), and if memory serves bus to Temuco and Peurto Montt; 2. Volcano country inland of Peurto Montt; 3. Possibly Valparaiso (like our Canberra) with copper symbol of national wealth;  4. Lady boat guide at Peurto Montt at one point trailed by large pelican 6 foot off the surface and volcano in background; 5. Dockside Peurto Montt; 6. Car/bus Ferry to Chiloe Island; 7. View over Valparaiso from elevator car; 8. Clowns at the traffic lights in Santiago, literally. They are busking with juggling etc.


Picture above top left clockwise 1. Chilean side of the Andean border at around 8000 feet, heading to Mendoza 2. Bernardo OHiggins hero of the nation, in Chillan from memory; 3. Postcard pic of Santiago with rare clean air; 4. Chief and campaigners with CODEFF national green group; 5. Chiloe Island church; 6 Easter Island figure in Santaigo protectorate of Chile; 7. Llama postcard; 8. Workers snooze on way to work already tired at 7am; 9. Andean border; 10. Stilt houses on Chiloe Island on fjord/river; 11. Salmon market in pink room; 12. Birthday dinner in the pot; 13. Postcard of Valparaiso; 14. Wild rivers inland of Peurto Montt; 15. Good food at Mercado Vega Chica (a bit like Footscray Market) inner Santiago.

 

Most of the trip, including 3 weeks in Europe was fine but on 4 occasions dearest's bipolar kicked in

1. trying to pick an argument with military officers in downtown Santiago in a country with a murderous fascist history, not so long previous either;

2. letting me go alone down a murder street in poor suburb of Cerrillos late at night without any warning

3. Leaving me alone on Chiloe Island (I was doing email) until the bus almost left (with no Spanish to navigate back)

4. leading us toward a street the relatives specifically warned of muggers that target gringos.

There was no current rational explanation for these dangerous emotional blindsides. We reluctantly concluded the victims of a fascist coup under Pinochet are not just those killed and maimed by neo nazis but also those traumatised and uprooted to another country. Combine with childhood of neglect/abuse in a slum and life can indeed turn to custard. Even so not our problem. We are neither social worker nor therapist.

We repaid dearest the round the world ticket and broke it off after returning to Australia. Glad to be home safely in one piece including from friendly fire. Sadly her father's advice was correct. It certainly was an education about another culture but also personally. 

We remain in contact with 2 excellent environmentalists over there after the successful No Alumysa campaign drawn into while on holiday complete with interpreter - ideas like set up an indymedia web service, employ 2 staff financed from Australia ($15K donated by this writer), publicise the issue here.

It was the least we could do after hearing the dulcet tones of martyr Victor Jara and reading a biography of his life by his widow Joan from the Victor Jara Trust.


Posted by editor at 5:13 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 4 March 2010 8:54 AM EADT
Monday, 1 March 2010
Sad reflections on beautiful coastal Chile visit in 2002
Mood:  special
Topic: world


 

We contacted an environmental colleague in Chile today by the magic of the inter tubes, with a response barely 15 minutes later. So far so good. We have made use of a handy Spanish English web translation page - which does seem to have glitches too - but useful at times like this: http://translation2.paralink.com/ 

But it sounds grim there with 80% of the country affected. Remember in 2004 January tsunami in Indonesia the death toll went from a few thousand to well over 200,000.

We fear a major jump from 700 plus deaths confirmed early on in the 6th, 7th, 8th regions of this long thin neighbour of the Pacific.

The quake was a monster by all accounts. Even allowing for good construction codes, the tsunami only 15 minutes later sounds catastrophic. We heard Chile's ambassador here say on abc public radio a wave of 8 to 10 metres hit Conception and travelling 3 to 5 kilometres inland. That's danger writ large.

We got out some photographs of our trip (with an ex girlfriend) native Chilean in 2002 with our terrible old camera. We recall getting slightly drunk on red wine in a Santiago apartment on a 4th floor listening to Victor Jara for the first time when a mild tremor shook the light globe. No drama.

We recall a bus-train-ferry trip from the capital to Peurto Mont via Temuco and Chillan via local markets and even watching Spider Man movie release in a town with a statue of national hero Bernardo OHiggins. An Irishman in a Spanish speaking country. Just another charming aspect of a diverse country.

More background here in one of our first clumsy web pages, yet a successful collaboration with social movement in Chile: Patagonia ecology solidarity project to prevent a US $3 billion dollar hydro smelter project threatening fjordlands, lake and 3 rivers by Canadian miner Noranda.

We wrote in crude Spanish via the website translator:

Subject: tsunami 15 minutos después de temblor ...... Re: Hola Mitzi, Marisol, ¿Usted es seguro?
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2010 13:49:19 +1100

El embajador chileno aquí en Australia de la radio pública dice la onda de 8 metros, 3 a 5 kilómetros interiores en Concepción y pueblos.... También 700 muertos sobre todo en 7o (?)
región

[The Chilean ambassador here in Australia on the public radio says a wave of 8 meters, 3 to 5 kilometers into Concepcion .... Also 700 dead persons especially in 7th (?) region

Tom McLoughlin

Marisol at Ecosistemas green group in Chile:

Sent: Monday, March 01, 2010 1:59 PM
Subject: RE: tsunami 15 minutos después de temblor ...... Re: Hola Mitzi, Marisol, ¿Usted es seguro?

si eso es así...realmente la ola...ha afectado muchísimo a la costa de la 8, 7 y 6ta región. hay mucha gente desaparecida
y a sido decretada zona de catástrofe en estas regiones.

El problema ahora es la conectividad de las carreteras y las comunicaciones, para hacer llegar la ayuda.
ver:
www.tvn.cl

 

[if that is like that ... really the wave ... it has affected very much to the coast of 8, 7 and 6ta region. there are many missing people
and to been decreed zone of catastrophe in these regions.

The problem now is the conectividad of the highways and the communications, to make the help come.
to see:
www.tvn.cl]

 

We will try and post some beauty pictures tomorrow of the ocean and mountains and people we know as Chile. 


Posted by editor at 8:05 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 1 March 2010 8:11 PM EADT
Peter Garrett's imposing to do list is not so shabby
Mood:  energetic
Topic: aust govt

Seems big media think Peter Garrett is going to be dogging it. We added this comment to First Dog cartoon today which got the 'under moderation treatment' so far:

Serve that dog some hot dinner.

Meanwhile those of us who like critters might want to consider this remaining to do list for Mr Garrett.

- Mitigating the $43 Billion (that a real billion not a Joyce billion) Gorgon development, class 1 nature reserve at Barrow Island etc

- Ancient rock art in the Kimberley - everywhere in a resources hot spot

- Whaling v Japanese earth rapists

- Old Growth forests in Tas, NSW, Vic under the EPBC Act

- $2B Tas pulp mill wheels falling off in a state election, while GMO plantation estate of Euc. Nitans appear be naturally toxic to waterways (Australian Story).

- Arnhem Land Aboriginal employment programme over 1 M hectares

- Cape York World Heritage negotiations with the Pearsons in a preface to Barak Obama meeting local Black jurists like … said Pearson shouter (?)

- Tillegra Dam/Kooragang Island wetlands decision, worth $500M to $1B cost to the NSW Govt

… and probably lots of other stuff I have no clue about.

But apparently this is less important than insulation according to the latte set in the big media.


Posted by editor at 7:29 PM EADT
Nicole Campbell 'local business woman' in Alexandria, ALP candidate for Bennelong '04?
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: nsw govt

 


 

Bike paths and protesters eh? Where have we heard that name Nicole Campbell before? Not an ALP hack doing Meredith Burgmann's work for her in the ABC news today?

Here is Ms Campbell back in 2004 in the Not Happy John campaign days.

 


Posted by editor at 7:12 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 1 March 2010 7:24 PM EADT
Sunday, 28 February 2010
Sunday tv talkies: Polling a bit flakey, federal health reform really coming
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt

 


 

     

Author’s general introductory note   

 

This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies in Big Politics and Big Media. Perhaps the greatest utility is the headline synthesis above of the 3 or 4 shows followed in this session.

   

For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.

  

Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.  

  

Media backgrounders.  

- Day After Tomorrow on tv movies still packs a punch on 7 last night.

- Rudd meeting insulation tradie protesters outside the Big House in Canberra reminds of a scene in the West Wing when POTUS Jed Bartlett under extreme political pressure jumps out of the security convoy to talk to voters on a tourist visit to Washington DC. Man of the people etc. Was it first or second season? We don't recall but wikipedia has the episode list.

  

- BSE  - bovine spongiform encephalophy – or something like that is growing controversy. Govt has full page advert in press today via industry figure.

  

- Lenore Taylor ex News Corp front page SMH last week. News Corp revolving door with big politics with opinion piece by one David Gazard “former political adviser to John Howard and Peter Costello”, not to mention Sinodonis in The Oz. Glen Milne may become redundant yet.

  

- finally PM Rudd appears on Insiders but only because he is desperate for PR with his brittle polling popularity slipping. Abbott is now on 40% preferred PM – which is not good for public policy on climate or just about any other green policy issue.

  

- News Corp comments moderator deletes our comment about aggressive far right peanut gallery  on their string for Laurie Oakes column. Pathetic organization.

  

- hard man Tony Abbott was reported as taking 7 hours or something  to complete a triathalon.

  

- Offsiders sport show this morning refers to News corp behaving ‘coercive tendentious’ is like Frank Sinatra description of Australian journalists as “two bit hookers”. But then compere Cassidy states “that was Insiders last week” regarding discussion of The Australian as biased (as per David Marr comments etc)

  

- What’s to be made of the SMH still trying to identify a colour writer to replace Annabel Crabb. First it’s Marr, then Devine, and pre New Year there was another feature writer who was good. Make up your minds, or give SAM the gig!

- When a liar calls a liar a liar? We recognised a talkback caller on abc 702 late last week, let's call him N waxing lyrical about his credentials as a 'sailor for 30 years on Sydney Harbour' in reference to the Keating/Barangaroo phallus like gazump on the official design competition. Now having known N for 15 years, and visited his home several times and worked on joint projects over that time we can't recall one nautical item literally or in conversation. Not one safety jacket, sail cloth or salty rope. Maybe he has been out on the Harbour in that time - in a Sydney Ferry?

10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 

Riminton in the chair. Footage of PM Rudd etc. Press on big quake, polling 50:50 major parties. Talent is Abbott. Q re pursue Garrett more? Shifting focus to PM and govt – says all talk no action. Says long way to go despite polls.

 

Lack of value in schools stimulus. Humour out take Roxon golf ‘balls’ to her opposite.

 

After 1st adbreak Panel is Lewis News Corp, Schubert The Age. Principle of federal takeover. Abbott blames bureaucracy, management boards Qld and NSW, renegotiate health agreements.

 

Lewis on Sorry Day like Anzac Day? Black armband? Abbott – lets wait and see. [Dorothy dixer.]

 

Schubert on trust – work choices, medicare safety net. Agrees adjust promises due to radical changes. ‘Crisis of faith in this govt’ over promising on petrol grocery prices.

 

Lewis finally asks hard question – Joyce moved as finance minister. Lame answer about Joyce not Garrett on insulation. Argues Tanner airbrush of insulation scheme as nitpicking. “Barnaby doing a good job”.

 

Riminton – play book from Republicans spoiler role in Senate. Denied. Israel let Australia down? Says unclear full facts. Don’t assume bad faith. [totally lame]. Humour out take is Warren on Garrett bob sled toon.

 

2nd guest – Prof Clive Williams on Israel

   

Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.

 

Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am 

Rose Bay sign Rudd sucks. Mini me theme Mark Arbib look alike to Minister Garrett. Rudd stand by “next week” . “Whose going to save me” Oils clip. Q and A re Beattie game play. Rudd action on GFC not all well designed. Combet is Mr Wolf of govt (fixer? Refer Pulp Fiction).

http://www.seven.com.au/sunrise/weekend   

 

9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

Winter Olympics coverage again, refer feature story in Saturday News Corp Sydney Daily Telegraph Telegraph Rudd says he's dropped the ball which gets a bollocking by aggressive right wing commenters typical emotional violence.

   

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/oakes

  

  

Insiders 2: 9- 10am

 

Riley style package terrorism, insulation, Israel rip of Oz passports for political murders. Garrett looking … sullen, like a spoiled lad who has always got what he wanted. (?). Just another ego driven pollie who has crashed (?).

 

Panel on press – Lenore Taylor Fairfax  re polling headline is confused and incorrect. LT and Farr shows Abbott consolidated vis a vis Hockey. G Henderson – TA has ‘people skills’. Farr notes image of Garrett in casuals exaggerated but Dept got a rough deal major economic programme not equipped to implement.

 

Henderson claims Abbott is sincere about pay rates as if he is poor?

…………………………..

 

PM Rudd has PG as second class minister? In effect no because env minister is a big job on pulp mill, Traveston dam etc. PM sounding a bit better with his head cold, but also looking a little pale. Q. Combet has job so troubles in future blame who? PM says mine. Praises Combet. Alan Hawke to administer very experienced. PM plays GFC card, not an excuse, but that’s the context avoid global economic disaster.

 

Moves onto health. Finally gets to GFC for failed July 09 deadline. Says no excuse [but in effect the reality]. Had problems with delivery. Didn’t properly understand the complexity. [in our experience everything takes longer than it looks, everything because you inevitably get fresh information as you go].

 

Says govt deserves a whacking in the poll now and in the future. Shows a smile intends to get on and do it on health – clearly hinting there is a big reform coming. Double dissolution as late as October.  Colour returning to Ruddy visage as interview continues. Looking more natural and relaxed and smiling.

 

Holds to climate as absolutely profound. Through everything at it. Thinking about 20 years from now. Cost a trillion dollars, a real trillion dollars not Joyce one, in 20 years. Refers to “watching facial expressions” [which was our blog line on crikey strings]

 

Convincing rejection of sexist quote attributed to him in SMH.

 

Reconciliatory nod each way compere BC to PM quite dignified.

 

………………….

 

Vox pop – nursery staff on Garrett.

 

…………….

 

Panel discussion on PM Rudd be more accountable. GH says over reaction. Takes a softer line about bureaucrat gibe. (GH sees himself). Farr says boredom factor while Abbott is [everyman] cut through. Grab of radio call scared oldie to Niel Mitchell. Resolved with Dean Meaghl at ETU.

 

Taylor points out Cabinet responsibility for blocking co-payment. Grab from Good News Week – Rudd is the 26th in the job with a d*ck.

 

GH says Hamas figure is no loss, hiccup in relations with Israel. LT – nothing Australian Govt can do. Impact on now travelling in ME. GH says Stan Hu is a bigger issue. Farr – Mossad won’t consult with ASIS etc on such things. Farr accuses GH of supporting killing of Hamas leader.

 

Joyce grab on net public private debt bigger than US. LT notes TA lame defense Joyce not actually a minster yet. [agree lame].  GH praises Gillard more rigorous policy in our schools: Number is guarantee of privacy.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/insiders

  

Inside Business with Alan Kohler  

Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/ 

 

Posted by editor at 10:58 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 1 March 2010 9:28 AM EADT
Saturday, 27 February 2010
Tony Abbott's culture of complaint in the luckiest safest country in the world?
Mood:  hug me
Topic: world

 

All this griping and choreographed danger and trouble over electrified insulation reminds us of the final speech of the previous sitting week in federal parliament. It's very sobering and perhaps a timely reminder to count our blessings in Australia:

[At pages 69 -70 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Thursday, 11 February 2010 in PDF format from here http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/reps/dailys/dr110210.pdf ]

 

Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (4.54 pm)—On 13 January

the television news started to penetrate Australias

summer reverie with images of the devastation in Haiti

caused by the earthquake that had occurred in the late

afternoon of the previous daythe anguish on faces of

shocked and terrified survivors, the bodies in the

streets, the injured, the crushed buildings, and aerial

views of the national palace, the cathedral and the

Christopher Hotel, which housed the United Nations

headquarters, all collapsed in ruins.

I talked on Monday in this place about the devastation

suffered by the Haitian people in this disaster.

Again, I offer to the citizens of Haiti my deepest condolences.

This terrible event also resulted in the largest

loss of staff lives in the UNs history. Over a number of

days the news emerged that almost 100 UN staff from

28 countries had perished in the mass of concrete and

rubble. This included four of my friendspeople I had

worked and socialised with in Kosovo and Gaza. In

such difficult places, your friends are your family.

Luiz Carlos da Costa was the deputy head of the UN

stabilisation mission in Haiti. Words can hardly do justice

to this gentleman of the worlda brilliant, warm,

charismatic, soft-spoken Brazilian man who was also,

as described by his wife at his memorial service, dropdead

gorgeous. Like the former Secretary-General

Kofi Annan, Luiz started out in the UN as a messenger

boy and worked his way up over four decades to one of

the highest posts in the UN system. He was responsible

for recruitment in UN peacekeeping for decades and he

signed my own appointment letter when I started with

the UN peacekeeping mission in Kosovo in 1999. Luiz

was known for his professionalism and dedication to

the UN, for his kindness and for his egalitarian treatment

of staff and his fierce loyalty to them. As the secretary-

general said in his condolence statement:

He was a mentor to generations of UN staff His legacy

lives in the thousands that serve under the blue flag in every

corner of the globe.

I remember Luiz once telling me how sad he was at the

death of his fellow countryman Sergio Vieira de Mello

in the Baghdad bombing in 2003. What a devastating

blow to Brazil, the UN and the international community

to have now lost both of these incredible international

civil servants. I worked with Luiz and his assistant

Jerome Yap in Kosovo and later in New York.

Jerome, from the Philippines, steadfastly supported

Luiz over the last 15 yearsaccompanying him to

Kosovo, Liberia and Haiti. Jerome was a happy person

who loved to sing, and he was a member of the UN

choir. I kept in touch with Jerome through Facebook

but my last message to him went unanswered as he too

was tragically killed in Haiti.

Emmanuel Rejouis, from France/Haiti, and Emily

Sanson, from New Zealand, were friends of mine in

Kosovostaying with me and my housemate Matthew

at one stage. They later married and had three beautiful

daughters. After stints in many countries they were

posted to Haiti. Emily was at work at the UN when the

earthquake struck. She ran home to where Emmanuel

was taking care of their daughters, but the building was

collapsed. She found her youngest daughter Alyahna

alive under Emmanuel’s body—he had been sheltering

her when he died. Their other two little daughters did

not survive. Emmanuel was a kind and gentle person

who loved his family and his fellow human beings.

Their daughters Kofi-Jade and Zenzie were beautiful

and sassy children.

Another close friend lost in the Haiti quake was

Jean-Philippe Laberge, a French-Canadian with whom

I worked in Gaza, along with his wife Victoria. I was

on the UNRWA panel that interviewed Jean-Philippe

for the job as an Operations Support Officer in Gaza. I

liked him immediately as he was smart and funny and

laid back, while being completely professional. As his

friends have noted in our condolence letter to Victoria

and his mother Marjolaine: he had a mischievous style,

which masked his essential shyness, and he was one of

the most sensitive and caring persons you could meet

as well as being a thoroughly reliable colleague and a

true leader, making the right decisions in difficult and

dangerous situations, as was often the case in Gaza.

The nicest New Years Eve I ever experienced was a

few years ago at a party Jean-Philippe and Victoria

held in Montreal. Many of the Gaza friends were together

againsuch a lot of champagne, such beautiful

memories. In one of those strange coincidences, Jean-

Philippes memorial service is happening now in Montreal

as I speak and my thoughts are certainly with him

and his family, especially Victoria and their two young

children.

To all of my UN friends who are gone, it was a

privilege to have known and worked alongside you. As

one mourner put it:

You thought only of bringing good to the world

and

represented all that is best about the human race … Marcel

Proust thought that people who have passed away remain

with us through our memories of them. “It is as though,” he

wrote, “they have gone abroad”.

So, then, Luiz, Jean-Philippe, Jerome and Emmanuel,

you and your fallen colleagues have gone abroad to

join Dag Hammarskjold, Sergio Vieira de Mello, Count

 

Folke Bernadotte, Iain Hook, Jean-Selim Kanaan and

many other UN soldiers for peace. But our memories

of you will remain strongly with us and will fortify us

in carrying on your work to restore dignity to the lives

of the worlds most vulnerable. In the immortal words

of Wordsworth:

What though the radiance which was once so bright

Be now for ever taken from my sight,

Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;

We will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind.


Posted by editor at 11:25 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 27 February 2010 11:32 AM EADT
Comment: Is Ken Henry to 'blame' for so called insulation 'debacle'?
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: aust govt

Picture: PM Rudd indicates inner turmoil at the sign off on 7.30 Report just as compere Kerry OBrien looks down and away as if ashamed of his old ALP employer: Ruddd's thin lipped 'smile' indicates a disjunct with a pained expression around the eyes. Next day Minister Garrett is effectively sacked from the $2.5B insulation programme.

Some spontaneous reactions to the imbroglio, taking a broader view of the real politik, beyond demotions and promotions and all that PMC, Opposition choreography:

 - Abbott Opposition opposed the stimulus because of the debt implications. But really because of the huge popularity it would buy the Government?

- According to this interpretation 'safety' as an issue is really secondary to the main motive of trashing free or near to free insulation as a vote buyer. In effect running interference on a NSW ALP Right/Mark Arbib style give away like the free light globes and hats and lights on the Harbour Bridge in 2007 state election.

- Insulation in that sense is a vote buyer with oomph because as my landlord says for his home - "it really works" this last hot summer meaning when he gets home 6 days a week driving his truck his house is fairly cool. That's like a How To Vote Card multiple times a day every hot day of the year.

- In one sense nsulation is the Rudd's govt's AWB bribery scandal, at least a little: Using taxpayers money to buy an advantage for a treasured political sector. In this case blue collar tradie vote, in that earlier case national party farmer types.

- But is it really 'a bribe' morally speaking? We believe the surplus in the budget pre GFC was built up over 10 years via the GST being a 10% hike on all consumables in a regressive tax. It seems eminently moral and ethical for a government to return that to the same people who paid it as least to some degree with broad give aways that pump prime the economy.

- We haven't seen one media release from The Greens free subscription list praising Garrett or seeking to intercede on Garrett's behalf over insulation or renewable energy. Now Senator Brown is in the news challenging his successor Combet will be any better. Implying Brown wants a battered Garrett to keep his broader portfolio? Mmm, that's a bit cold then warm mixed message for us. No doubt The Greens know the programme was an ALP  vote buyer too aimed at sidelining their eco role too.

- It was Ken Henry, Treasury Secretary who famously advised - go hard, go early, go households ... or something like that to avoid a miserable recession during the GFC late 2008 to avoid say 200K job losses, social dislocation and statistical fatalities that go with that kind of thing - suicide, domestic violence, drug use etc. In this sense Henry, no where to be seen in general media, was the motivation behind Garrett's rushed and amateurish building programme. Just do it, indeed.

 


Posted by editor at 9:52 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 1 March 2010 6:57 PM EADT

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