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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Sunday political talkies: Can Rein distract hunters from rock dinosaur Garrett the ALP figleaf?
Mood:  party time!
Topic: aust govt



No horizon - no borderline

Too far away to know or define

Sweet wonderland.

Empty playground - drenched in sorrow

The forest weeps last harvest tomorrow

Sweet wonderland.


Made in Japan

The pleasure boats are leaving

But there's nowhere to go

Into time-on, only minutes left

Hear the whistle blow

Sweet wonderland.


Dream of the future - forget about the past

I'll sell you something - you think it's gonna last

Sweet wonderland

Give away your riches - give away your gold

Ghost nation's soul can never be sold.

Ghost nation by Hunters and Collectors


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. 


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.  


Picture: The headlines regarding PM's spouse Therese Rein stories are the 'tell' so to speak. Can you spot them? Notice the Peter Garrett song title "power and the passion" in one, and the even more blatant reference to "burn the midnight oil" referring indirectly to Garrett's rock band Midnight Oil. Yet they are stories about Rein are they not? Or rather a banal distraction from the real topic of news being Peter Garrett's hypocrisy on uranium mining which otherwise would dominate. We here at SAM recall hearing on radio of Garrett driving a Peugeot 504 model back in the early 70ies as a surfer dude. At that time a late model European car: A man grows accustomed to a certain standard of living at an early age, even a minister's wage especially with daughters to support.

  Media backgrounders 

* Minister Garrett the rock dinosaur hits the wall over his ALP sellout on green issues revealed by general cartoon coverage more in sadness than anger. And despite such as Annabel Crabb prime Saturday Fairfax acreage trying to portray him as an endangered whale. Au contraire – dinosaur not whale, and indeed predator dinosaur as per 2006 electioneering smear on The Greens in Melbourne. Too easy to the poor guy attack she implies. No, quite painful to attack given he’s effectively rolled back the 1996 consensus of the national green movement that the ALP are bankrupt on the environment - then under Keating - and to invest in an independent Green Party.  

Garrett has in reality been sabotaging the green movement for 13 years and deserves no sympathy for his vanity. And Crabb noticeably omits the reality from her own high paid perch that the millionaire rockstar gets well paid to take ‘the knocks’. And all that access and flattery and ministerial trappings. Front man ego regardless of the facts. And Big Media allies can’t spin that. 

*  It’s not just Garrett’s uranium mining backflip. His own Sydney ACF branch activists through the 1990ies never trusted him on woodchipping of forests here in NSW or Tasmania  etc. People like life long campaigners Noel Plumb, Margaret Barnes, Bruce Dover (RIP) to name only a few. Garrett refused to attend a Big Forest Meeting attended by Senator Bob Brown at Sydney Town Hall along the theme of ‘resurgence’ (crowd of 1,500). What an insult. Fact is Garrett was an apologist for the Carr ALP and nationally over 10 years ago. All this was airbrushed by Garrett’s self serving ngo Mittagong Forums of selective naive green group invites over several years no doubt picking their brains for the harvest by the ALP mates. 

* Laurie Oakes by coincidence in Saturday column refers to the Mal Meninga option of being too honest to work for an anti green ALP. We made a similar "Mal Meninga" comment of a personal heartfelt note below (see Bernard Keane crikey backgrounder): 

* In another ripple/echo effect of blogger SAM to big media or possibly back (?), we ran a 1998 picture of Garrett talking to a man in a dress from scrurrilous NT News . Then we saw superlative David Rowe putting Rudd in dress in his AFR cartoon. Our post was on Wednesday last, here http://www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog/index.blog/1926532/confused-minister-garrett-captured-by-nt-news-back-in-1998/ 



Not sure which came first in the cross dressing confusion theme. Both images are as they say "highly disturbing". 

* Garrett was not the only rock star surfing the protest movement in the 1990ies and arguably not the best – see Hunters & Collectors song above transparently about the Eden chipmill 100% Japanese owned for customers in that country for their cartoon book paper industry.

Similarly Sting attended the South East Forest protests (most arrests in Australian history) from famous band The Police in the early 1990ies. We may even have a picture of that too somewhere. 

* As if the underline the insincere ALP choreography on green issues Nathan Rees gets a platform at the (Climate Institute sponsored) Youth Climate summit held at the UTS. CI itself was seed funded by ex ALP premier Bob Carr, with the Youth Summit holding a video link cross to famous Al Gore, who next day in a news conference is chaperoned by Don Henry leader of Australian Conservation Foundation, with ACF the incubator for … Peter Garrett profile build and Mittagong Forums of greenies up to a federal seat and ministerial perch in this ALP Govt. Nice work if you can get it.

Fact is the Green Party, Greenpeace, The Wilderness Society and some grassroots groups (like say Chipstop at Bega) or Botany Bay & Catchment Alliance are the only independent green groups in the south east of the country in the sense that they are unaligned to either major brown party – Liberal-National Coalition or Labor Party in Government.  

* Curiously Crikey.com.au’s Bernard Keane has a story defending Garrett http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/07/16/leave-peter-garrett-alone but what was most worring was undeclared ex PM Keating ALP staffer Simon Baulderstone on the comment string stridently trying to defend Garrett. Tsk tsk. Fact is Baulderstone worked for Keating 95-96 on environment policy when the green groups abaondoned the ALP over destruction of the best forests in the country. It takes three attempts to expose Baulderstone’s provenance on the string and only then by quoting a crikey 2004 story.

Keane responds that moderation has nothing to do with him and we of course accept him at his word. Why did it take three tries I wonder and who prevented those earlier posts?  Baulderstone replies with supreme chutzpah that so what if he didn't declare his ALP connections at the highest level, including former staffer for Garrett himself.

One only of our comments there re Garrett: 

I’ve been mulling over what’s different between crome dome and myself after all we both went to Ursula College at ANU, though I doubt he’s on a gluten free diet.I’ve thought a bit about this recently: It was 1997 or 98 in the teeth of the first Howard Govt. I still had leverage with the peak green groups in NSW after the close election victory back in 1995. I drafted a statement attacking Howard’s woodchipping policies for the state greens network NEFA, SEFA, all the peak groups including [TWS] TEC, NPA, NSW NCC, FOE, ACF etc. I still have a copy somewhere.

[here it is


It was delivered in front of Howard’s electorate office, when Gunns was not even a glint in Paul Lennon’s eye, with a briefcase of woodchips for the occasion. The assembled media pack was quite big, press, electronic, some tv too. And it struck me in front of that crowd like a blinding light - that the only benefactors of this stunt was the ALP with an equally open slather pro woodchipping policy courtesy of Paul Keating (verus Deferred Forest Areas debacle 1995-96 monstering Minister John Faulkner).

I chucked it right there in front of the Big Media. Cleaned up the woodchips and walked away - the plan was an ostentatious arrest in front of the media throng with senior coppers on hand. No problem arrested many times before. Matthew Moore current FoI editor at Fairfax wrote back then an icily contemptuous comment piece about pity the trees for such ineffectual protest action. But he didn’t understand in his reptilian way that like Mal Meninga I just couldn’t do it - that is effectively be a political sl*t for the ALP.

Too good a memory of Paul Keating killing forests and too many principles.That’s the difference.  


* As if fully aware of Garrett’s credibility gap, as a figleaf for an anti green government as they expand coal mining nationally, the ALP Machine seemingly rolls out Therese Rein choreography as distraction. Trouble is PM Rudd/spouse Rein only have one roll of that spin dice and its expended, and the story isn't very interesting or appealing. Comes across more like her ruthless political husband than not. References to her family culture of a Forgettery are profound given prissy Christians ability to be selective. Like the eye of the needle/camel instruction of Jesus Christ. How to be a Christian and forget you are a multi millionaire. Oh please.

Also reveals Rudd only sleeps 3 or 4 hours a night and has always been like that. Which suggests the guy is a psychological timebomb and no wonder he had heart problems at only mid 30ies. 


* As written several times now recently, the only mitigation in the Garrett green movement sabotage story is that ex PM Howard was very likely to pursue dual use nuke power and weaponry either indirectly via US base say at Christmas Island (after Garcia Del Fuego handback?) or directly (eg report of navy lobby want nuke subs here now).  Also that the ALP were the only likely removal mechanism of Howard. On the other hand if Garrett was a NSW Greens senator today he would have balance of power in place of redneck Steve Fielding of the creationist Assembly of God demographics. 


* Bob Carr opinion piece against writers cultural/copyright protections in News Corp The Australian – with no declaration that he represents big corporate Dymock booksellers. That’s corrupt news presentation and dishonesty (again?) of Carr too not to declare?? 


* Dual broadsheet coverage and glossy mag coverage of millionaire spouse to PM Rudd Therese Rein. Preferred access to Annabel Crabb Fairfax, and Kate Legge News Corporation. She appears as just another ALP gap filler in the 24 hour news cycle. Which itself has been made redundant by the bombing in Jakarta on Friday and blown her (bad pun) off the news cycle anyway. Squandered political capital.  


* Environmental politics has always had a sleazy underbelly in NSW. At one point Ian Cohen MLC (Green Party) said to this writer about 7 years back along the lines of 'What's going on at NCC? [NSW Nature Conservation Council umbrella body for their registered green groups about 140 or so, not Greenpeace and some others though]. I just won't work with them anymore. That's it.'

On another occasion a former Herald journalist mid 90ies said the NCC 'has always been corrupt'.

Our first real wake up call about that body - which to be fair has new personnel and probably values today - was a breakfast meeting with Premier John Fahey and Cabinet colleagues prefacing an announcement weeks later of a measly 113K out of possible 750K endangered wilderness (in context of 80M ha statewide) in 1994. We represented The Wilderness Society. There was NCC leadership at the breakfast too who had not raised a finger on wilderness protection unlike The Wilderness Society, or Keith Muir at Colong Foundation. We had no notice they would be there. Even National Parks Association had done very little. After 3 years on the job I was asking myself who are these people [from NCC]?

During this period it seemed quite simple to campaign against the redneck Lib-Nat Coalition and in effect give defacto support to the Carr ALP Opposition.

However the late 90ies just how sleazy the ALP could be became apparent. The Carr Govt instituted a 400K grant scheme to winnow out the friendlies from the independent minded critics in the green movement. What Milo Dunphy called duchessing. This writer decidedly in the latter critical camp. All our grim policy predictions came true but NCC were happy to take the $50K cheque every 6 months regardless. There just was no political penalty to Carr for bad policy.

In the beginning late 80ies it was all so idealistic and probably quite honest:

Some pressers later on in the 90ies showed Carr claiming in effect Mission Accomplished on forests but this was woefully premature. We were one of the first to predict the failings and insincerity of the ALP as forests were attacked in 1995 and 1996. And the alarm of scolded green groups were heard more generally by 1998 realising how their ship was about to go down - too late, too late (and no wonder Carr didn't want to have his policy decisions recorded and cross referenced on web archives):



As the truth of this period of environmental decade became more apparent the ALP has been in desperate need in NSW of a green champion for Australia's high population centres. Enter Peter Garrett - aging, fading rock star well past his prime. The role of the NCC earlier should have been the warning to the public. The process of duchessing meant all kinds of dirty policy would go forward duly greenwashed or sanitised by some green figleaf type figure or organisation.

As we deconstructed the detail of policy we too came under severe personal and professional attack: Here is a rebuttal of a sleazy complaint from Dr Judy Messer head of the NCC to Friends of the Earth national (a group in itself way too close to the logging union in Melbourne):


Looks bad doesn't it? If you can be bothered taking the time to read the tripe.

Have a look at the rebuttal when we finally got a copy of the covert complaint, with witness backup and by the way the said public servant Rex Bowen 'retired' soon after presumably (?) under pressure from the FoI application we made to expose financial duress by the Carr Govt to manipulate appointees to a committee using grant money to NCC as the leverage. A scandal that has never been properly reported in NSW:



What has all this got to do with Peter Garrett's recently condemned policy backflip?

Only that it's part of a more general paradigm of NSW ALP management of environmental policy applying all kinds of sleazy influence. By contrast remember the Lib-Nat breakfast meeting back in 1994 - they just shafted us without any tricks or dishonesty. We opposed them and beat them at the March 1995 election. That was flower show compared to the smell these days.


10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 

Lead in is fanatic murders of rich westerners including Australians in Jakarta. [In a country of tens of millions of impoverished, as Hillary Clinton symbolically stays at similar target in Mumbai. Suggestions punishment of voters for SBY re-election, and resultant urban gridlock for big popular soccer game Man United.???] 

Talent is Opp shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop.  

Humour out take Peter Garrett over ‘Fresh Thinking’ slogan ALP national conference “proud” of anti uranium mining principles. [More than that, built his whole careeer and social reach on that via songwriters and band behind him, now joins the enemy. Totally untenable. All the major press as pictured here don’t buy his excuses.] 

Panel is Milne News Corp, Hewitt News Corp. Stern Hu et al scandal. Bishop runs her lines. Bishop looks confident about Govt dithering and lack of top leadership contact to China. Various analyses with Bishop in the groove, enjoying herself and even sparkling. That’s a worry for the Govt. 

Get Up runs anti web censorship advert. It’s very interesting and professional actors and sets. Footage of Rudd travel warning.  Professor Clive Williams. Speculation Nordin Top behind this attack. Marriot twice, last one vehicle this one personal. Top almost caught twice in the last 12 months. “Is that right” Milne asks gormlessly. 

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



Riley Diary 7, from 8.30am


 No show – perhaps due to the gravity of Jakarta murders a flippant package might be inappropriate. Sadly missed. Garrett’s hypocrisy was fertile material.  http://www.seven.com.au/sunrise/weekend   


9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am 

Nicola Roxon Health Minister, somewhat out of sync with the news. Not the right person but LO has to make do. Get’s to emergency attack scenario capacity.  Says well prepared but unpredictable, investing in the system. Gets onto Swine Flu capacity in the system. Elective surgery disrupted badly? Denies this.






Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Panel news round up Fran Kelly, Piers Akerman re business meeting aspect.


Stephen Smith Foreign Minister on Jakarta murders/bombing. Moves on eventually to Stern Hu et al arbitrary detention.


Roller skates vox pop on Garrett hypocrisy. Stay with singing complete backflip says youth versus older guy.


News conference cross re death of Australian soldier in Afghanistan . Panel discusses.


Stern Hu et al re China panel discussion. Fran Kelly nails it – GFC economic disruptions mean China re asserting centralized economic controls and rollbacking western market style checks and balances, “end of story”


‘Prof’ Paul Kelly echoes our analysis (SAM editor contributions on crikey strings) – Hu matter echoes “our future”, “naïve” polity here, “not our values”. China want 40% cut in iron ore prices, assertion of Chinese authority. Good news is separate from bilateral relation, bad news ongoing “saw”. Prof has been reading SAM contributions methinks. And tending to agree with same. Gratifying.


Peter Garrett slick apologia for ALP footage. Panel debates, Akerman says he’s a jerk and in effect dishonest, Kelly says should be in different portfolio and Rudd as PM is a sadist to keep him there, Farr says evolved his beliefs not hypocritical.


Antony Green says Greens Party will get balance of power in a half or double dissolution in the Senate.


Panel predicts election sooner rather than later. Therese Rein articles – read through them, Akerman and Farr says coverage has been banal. Didn’t convey any real life. Kelly very impressive person in her own right.  Too much choreography. Conduct an interview without any stuff ups.


Akerman says its ALP Rudd asset. Agrees lack of sleep is a problem for most psychologists (Alan Jones only 4 it is said).


Talking pictures theme of Peter Garrett. Note also of David Rowe cartoon as per backgrounders above.


Note Get Up censorship of web advert and show it in full. As per Meet The Press adbreak.


Panel says exaggerating given real problem of internet porn especially for children.


Kelly predicts ALP talking to coal industry on CPRS again. Farr not one top rank academic will attack China due to duchessing [except Paul Monk]. Akerman says wehere is the utegate email??? [good question]





Inside Business with Alan Kohler 

Lead in on Stern Hu scandal of arbitrary arrest. Interviews says China shooting selves in foot given economic expansion ramping up imports. Anger over prices.  Risky, damage relationship and prices in agenda to get steel industry under control.


Rio Tinto lead negotiating team now in jail. A lot of confusion, commercial terms and supply and demand, but Govt as political issue and that works against their negotiating position. Economic growth in China at 8% [but ignores rubbery June quarter figures for country of 1 billion in only 2 weeks mid July as per Stephen Long abc chief economic reporter]


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

Posted by editor at 12:59 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 19 July 2009 5:58 PM NZT

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