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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Saturday, 20 January 2007
Bogus Beazley projects his own existential angst in damaging story for Rudd?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: election Oz 2007

It was sad reading Phil Coorey's choreographed piece in the Saturday Sydney Morning Herald today about deposed ALP leader Kim Beazley. The proverbial windbag can't shut up which is really the only loyal thing to do:

Out, but still the party man

Kim Beazley Kim Beazley has no plans to dish dirt, or scorn colleagues, despite feeling he was robbed of his best chance to win the prime ministership, writes Phillip Coorey.

There he is giving oxygen to his extensive experience, which inevitably contrasts with Rudd, as if to annoy the MPs especially in NSW who read Fairfax who dumped him. Sour grapes? He wallows in theories of both parties at risk of existential demise talking himself into a real mess by effectively saying if Iemma wins in NSW (which KB says he will despite shedding MPs like an old cat sheds fur), it will be the end of the Liberal Party forever to then vote for Rudd coming next in election timing, because Howard's Coalition will be out of government everywhere, dodgy branches disintegrating.

How's that for smashing democratic checks and balances, according to KB? Alot of swinging voters might take Beazley at his word and just not vote Rudd after all if Iemma wins in NSW first. 

Is that Beazley's real game here, some faux happy go lucky fatalism as 'a loyal party man' while actually viciously damaging Rudd

1. on his relative inexperience, and

2. putting into stark relief the danger to our democratic fabric by having federal and all states as ALP governments?

KB dithers hopelessly saying on the one hand

- The ALP are very robust even in opposition because they have 100 years of tradition to fall back on while out of government, but

- if they lose the next federal election they will still be cactus because the industrial relations changes will kill the union movment that the ALP so greatly relies on.

That's pretty contradictory actually. It is also hopelessly unsustainable to argue the Liberals, conservatives or whatever, will be finished if the ALP hold every government: First it is intrinsically unstable in a country of democratic tradition and second there is the small matter of a capital strike to such critical affect in so many Latin American countries: Nothing like capital (including commentary via Big Media), withdrawing their participation to cause chaos and voter backlash.

I once got an email from Big Kim back in the late 90's. He wondered if I would get involved in an ALP youth round table on the environment there in Canberra or wherever. You get the feeling at such times you are being checked over for potential talent. But the ALP woodchippers are not for me. Their cynicism, not least Bob Carr, cured me of any patience. You can say logger terrorism has expanded under the federal Howard government, as I do, but it's also State ALP government fascism:

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

[an update of this paper soon collating a story form Environment Victoria May 2000 entitled "Will the Government wait until someone is killed before it acts on forest violence?" with gruesome bloody picture of a greenie bludgeoned on the head.]

The Melbourne leadership of FoE green group were alarmed at my contemptuous response to Big Kim for the pro woodchipping ALP. But it wasn't meant personally, it was policy.

Now Kim is exhibiting the existential angst he speaks of and it's not a pretty sight seeing him do exactly what Latham in his Diaries in the 2003 and earlier sections accuse him of - two faced presentation. On the one hand all kindness and diplomacy, on the other vicious and underhand.

It doesn't help matters that the story leads in on the sadness of his younger brother's sudden death (which was quite the Shakespearean moment) as if to imply the cruel vote to dump him was the shock that did it. Is KB relying on sympathy for his loss to avoid criticism for the meddlesome content of this article with Coorey? Could KB be so cynical? Well we all know Latham's view.

But I can't otherwise explain this pallid regurgitation by the Fairfax hack - who had a similar tedious regurgitation earlier in the week from Howard's view of the world in a direct feed:


Where indeed is the public curiousity for deposed Kim Beazley amongst the readership, unless Fairfax is making mischief? There is nothing so ex as a soundly defeated ex leader, who has resigned from future politics, and suffering the proverbial relevance deprivation syndrome. It just steals clear air from Rudd who is featured in the foreground of an interesting photo in both the Telegraph and Herald (by different photographers) at a funeral for another silly old bugger Jim Killen with no John Howard in sight:

Survivors of another age say farewell to Killen

Is KB positioning for a deal on the governor generalship? Seems premature, and impertinent. What's his game - make me a promise or I keep running interference? Still the party man in Machiavellian self interest?

No wonder Coorey's article had a tacky hair replacement advert on the flipside page: "More hair or your money back".

Indeed the real political future is covered by Peter Hartcher in another story about "senescent" (love that) Howard needing to implement a reshuffle to match the freshness of Rudd, and his team like Gillard and Garrett:

For a fresh face just make a little nip and tuck

John Howard needs to put some new faces on his ministry if he is to avoid the perception that the Government is simply old and worn out, writes Peter Hartcher.

Mind you I agree there is resonance in the tag "existential problems" vis a vis the Coalition and ALP but for a wholly different reason being the ecologically unravelling world, with a two party preffered method of voting effectively a corrupt gerry mander against The Greens.

How else to explain the desperation of Howard to rely on $370,000 in electioneering from the evil slavish Christian cult extremists in the Exclusive Brethren to keep the Greens out?:

Sect member funded anti-Greens campaign

A MYSTERY Sydney businessman belonging to the Exclusive Brethren sect spent $370,000 on advertisements and pamphlets during the 2004 federal election, according to the Australian Electoral

But Beazley is part of that duopoly problem. The corrupt gerrymander explains why we have the weird unstable pendulum swing federal to state, Coalition to ALP as the electorate desperately seeks neither and tries to orchestrate a neutralisation of both. This is where the old parties are simply defying the political proportionate representation of The Greens as their vote gets bigger and bigger and will only grow as said greenhouse and other unravel takes over.

That is a party not dedicated to the material economy first, but second. People are getting it, not least professional communicator Richard Glover with influence from HSC papers, abc radio, books, and yes the political patronage machine, in this amusing piece:

It's time to come clean about my dirty little secret

Richard Glover Since age 16, I've created 6988 kilograms of greenhouse gases simply by warming my teapot, writes Richard Glover.

( I was already aware of Glover's shift. It has been a long time coming. It happened when he spoke to a climate change expert and you could hear his voice drop an octave at the reality of the threat to civilisation and the world. Welcome aboard Richard at least you know it really is a ship of fools now, rather than just being fooled.)

Get another satisfying life Kim and stay out of the press, in fact leave the country for a while if at all possible as you suggested years back. Or become a true greenie dedicated to good works. That's a worthy philosophical commitment. Those are the real choices. Federal politics is not 'about you' per se anymore. Carr had the same trouble realising he was actually, really,  REJECTED. You say you get it, but the article suggests otherwise. And that goes for your pilot fish like Maxine McKew, that Costello ratbag et al. Don't feed the pilot fish indeed.

It's about the future of the country, a much bigger deal altogether than the Beazley franchisee of brand ALP. No doubt it gets confusing when the family business has appeared synonymous with the matters of state for decades. Appeared Kim, not reality. That's the problem with intergenerational succession, proprietary as distinct from earned, like fluffing your lines at the most painful of moments when credibiliy was THE question.

But no matter. We are all called including Kim Beazley to save this world from the programmed flaw in Humanity: Modifying and destroying our own ecological cradle over all anthropological time. Glover yesterday, KB tomorrow?

Postscript #1

Perhaps related, or coincidentally, Rudd has grasped the gist of this analysis today 22nd January 07.

The Beazler (silly old geezer) interference in the article mentioned above has effectively been skewered by Rudd's launch of a bipartisan national meeting water summit.

The feds are resisting via loud mouth Malcolm Turnbull especially to keep alive the NSW electoral tactics over desal plant and water etc.

The Feds did this to The Greens too, scorning a summit, then holding it on Melbourne Cup day (November 2006). Turnbull claims this was for availability of the Premiers, but methinks it had the virtue of being hidden from view as a backdown to the Greens that Howard is so desperate to close out on Iraq, on greenhouse, on his whole 'senescent' world view.

Now Maxine McKew, senior ex ABC journalist and Beazley booster, has joined Kevin Rudd's staff on the abc radio headlines here this morning.

My story above suggests McKew is 'a Beazley pilot fish' but obviously she has decided to rise to the occasion and works for Rudd as of this morning.

Sure is an interesting time for a political hack like me, and the gears of democracy are really grinding and clunking and indeed proceeding forward in some fashion.

God help Australia too, not least water.

This story re USA military satellites at risk of China missile reach by Sheridan in the Australian is also very important:

p12 Chinese can hit enemies where it really hurts

Greg Sheridan
* January 20, 2007


Posted by editor at 5:30 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 22 January 2007 9:36 AM EADT
China space missile warning to USA to protect their Iranian oil supply
Mood:  blue
Topic: peace

SAM's editor has put 2 and 2 together and realised China is a big oil recipient from Iran. The stories from big media AP and Reuters including via front page of the The Australian today show in a real version of West Wing tv series fiction that China is sending a message to the USA to back off Iran because China have the ability to knock out USA military satellites. This is a very serious situation indeed. The USA military satellites presumably deliver weapons guidance, phones, Global Positioning Systems, echeleon spy surveillance, direct visual photography down to a metre or less, and who knows what else they have in those high tech tin cans up there.  This space missile demo by China is really playing tough and scary. The following 3 links reference the geopolitical reality:

 #1 of 3

China, Iran sign biggest oil & gas deal
(CRI) Updated: 2004-10-31 08:51

China's oil giant Sinopec Group has signed a US$70 billion oil and natural gas agreement with Iran, which is China's biggest energy deal with the No. 2 OPEC producer.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed Thursday, Sinopec Group will buy 250 million tons of liquefied natural gas over 30 years from Iran and develop the giant Yadavaran field.

Iran is also committed to export 150,000 barrels per day of crude oil to China for 25 years at market prices after commissioning of the field.

Iran's oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, who is on a two-day visit to Beijing pursuing closer ties, said Iran is China's biggest oil supplier and wants to be its long-term business partner.

Official figures show that China imported 226 million tons of oil in2003, about 13 percent of which coming from Iran.

Beijing expects to secure foreign energy supplies by the deals for its economy, which has turned China into a major oil importer but suffers severe power shortages.


#2 of 3

U.S. buildup in Persian Gulf, sharper rhetoric take aim at Iran

By Lolita C. Baldor

12:25 a.m. January 17, 2007

WASHINGTON – Provocative words by President Bush and a fresh American military buildup in the Persian Gulf seem to mark a new focus on Iran that could signal another Cold War or even a deadly confrontation."

"As the USS Stennis aircraft carrier began its journey to the Gulf on Tuesday, top administration officials traveling in the region defended the increased U.S. presence there as the only way to impress on Iran that the four-year slog in Iraq has not made America vulnerable.

Sending a second carrier to the Gulf for the first time since 2003 and positioning a Patriot missile battalion in the region, mark a broader U.S. stand in the Middle East at a time when diplomatic efforts with countries such as Iran and Syria have stalled. ...." 


 #3 of 3

China missile strike fuels fear of new arms race

20th January 2007

WESTERN nations fear China has fired the first shot in a post-Cold War arms race in space by destroying without warning one of its own satellites with a ballistic missile. "

The Australian and referencing Reuters and AP


Postscript #1

This story re USA military satellites at risk of China missile reach by Greg Sheridan in The Australian at p12 of the weekend edition, which corroborates my comments about high tech tin cans above:

Chinese can hit enemies where it really hurts

* COMMENT Greg Sheridan * January 20, 2007


Posted by editor at 4:33 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 22 January 2007 9:40 AM EADT
Chaytor convicted for kicking his ex, maybe saving her life, and of being a NSW ALP politician?
Mood:  sad
Topic: election nsw 2007

The big political news leading the press locally is Steven Chaytor NSW ALP MP for Macquarie, a twenty something law graduate is convicted yesterday of 'assault' of his apparently suicidal then girlfriend:  

Labor: the guilty party

 ANNE DAVIES AND JONATHAN PEARLMAN | Conviction of an MP for domestic violence latest scandal to hit Morris Iemma ahead of election.

Chaytor might say, on appeal, in his own mind that the words 'you want violence, I will give you violence' when he kicked her with serious bruising resulting, was a tactic to break her suicidal hysteria and demonstrated determination to kill herself having already reportedly taken poison tablets:

"Ms Njoo admitted trying to kill herself by taking pills after Chaytor, 30, told her their relationship was over. She had accused him of having an affair – which he denied." http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,21087970-5001021,00.html

Not a slap on the face, but a determined circuit breaker none the less. Maybe.

The admissions of suicidal poison pills taken by Ms Njoo, who loyally supported Chaytor's career for some 2 years apparently to the degradation perhaps of her own identity, are significant. They suggest a process of unconcscoius emotional blackmail:  He had a new life as an MP and was growing out of the relationship. She was being left behind and could feel it but not accept it.

Was the kicking to her calf as much a rejection of that emotional blackmail as a disabling? Or the end game of a long process of abusive exploitation of a girlfriend of no further use in a bright prospective political career? (Actually there is nothing to suggest a history of violence in the news to date.) Was it simply an effective act of disabling - so she couldn't get back up to the poison tablets?

What else might he have done faced with an hysterical suicidal, according to his evidence? He could have done nothing, suicide effected, tragedy and been elected. He wasn't that callous. He could have let her take the pills and called an ambulance. Again not so cruelly calculating and reckless.

He could have ... what? Slapped her rather than kick her, once to see if she stopped pill popping. If that didnt' work, slap again so hard she was knocked out? That's unthinkable. But doing nothing also seems a bit theoretical and unrealistic to this writer.

Plenty for an appeal court to work on there.

Chaytor presents as a SNAG (sensitive new age guy), and I think its a sad situation all round. Is there evidence of a history of violence? Doesn't sound like it in the news reports so far.

What is the political history and background of the Magistrate Robert Rabbidge?

This is a proper question: Opposition leader Debnam was on ABC radio news at 6pm last night, then 7pm  tv again, whining about his wife being monstered by "union thugs" playing off the scandal of the Chaytor conviction. Only the vision on ABC TV news showed your well dressed middle class health services people, not "union thugs", not a jostle or elbow in sight. Maybe on other channels but I doubt it. It was opportunism by Debnam like the Debus smear that fell flat in Parliament which I attended at the relevant speeches in the public gallery and front foyer the second time via video link.

But it was an Opposition tactic that played after Chaytor's conviction. As wrong a tactic as it was: Debnam just another greasy politician like Iemma who also over does it with prominent "coward" tag on Chaytor in a complex situation, if one accepts the evidence of both parties.

But electorally it doesn't matter now. Successful appeal or not. The conviction does Chaytor in professionally in the short term, and does feed into the Iemma Govt's deep reputational problem. Even more ethical Fairfax Sydney Morning Herald are over egging the story with bias agaisnt the ALP to a degree listing Kerry Hickey with some mild traffic breaches with  other "EX MPs" when he is still quite in harness and in the same job as Local Government Minister.

Sloppy give away of bias, that.

And notice the predictable gratuitous editorial here:

Editorial: Another day, another scandal for Morris Iemma

with this jarring moralism from Big Media: "For Labor in NSW, bereft of ideas, talent, and energy, good government comes a distant second to the drive for re-election."

As true as this may in the case of the ALP under Iemma, for "good government a distant second" substitute "good honest journalism a distant second to the drive for higher circulation and advertising revenues and excessive pay rates" of the Big Media sector.

In other words profiting from the scandal mongering over the Chaytor and Njoo domestic misfortune via the prominence both major dailies give the story, with very little weight to the fact convicted Chaytor may just have saved Njoo's life: There is something vaguely hypocritical and immoral in the moneyed Big Media preaching on the vices of moneyed Big Politics in our society. No surprises there is a revolving door between the two.

The Daily Telegraph equally hateful of the ALP generally, though quite patriarchal in leanings still ran it front page with very fragile looking Ms Fee Fen Njoo, knowing full well the damage to their brand.

On a personal note this writer can relate to this story: A similar not quite the same painful situation over 20 years ago as a law student. Thankfully no physical violence but plenty of emotional violence. She came from an abusive alcoholic family and had bad habits from that cycle of violence, I had my legacy from an insensitive alcoholic father. We agreed to never see eachother again after breaking up. It was the saddest time of my life. If you haven't been there, then there but for the grace of God, is about right.

On the other hand surviving an awful break up is also character building.

As Billy Joel points out poetically in one of this songs: In the end you forgive yourself. Life goes on and time heals.

It is also why in politics and domestics Gandhi's principles of non violence is my guiding philosophy, if not perfect observance, from when I first read them in 1992 at green group The Wilderness Society (which ran a great TV advert on SBS just before the 9.30 news last night):

Gandhi's ten principles of nonviolence:

1. Humiliating or deliberately provoking your opponent invites violence.

2. Knowing your facts and arguments well helps avoid violence.

3. If you are open about your cause your opponent is less likely to be violent.

4. Look for common ground between you and your opponents to promote trust and understanding.

5. Do not judge others.

6. Trust your opponent. They will sense this trust.

7. Compromise on inessential items to promote resolution.

8. Sincerity helps convert your opponent.

9. By making personal sacrifice you show your sincerity.

10. Avoid exploiting weakness in your opponent. Aim for integrity, not simply to win.

Gandhi nonviolence

And some sincere advice to Mr Chaytor and Ms Njoo if they ever see this: There is a worthwhile life after such a depressing chapter in one's young life. Time does heal, take if from an older head and its not really about how intelligent one is. It's about taking positive action however mundane, as simple as exercise, which gives peace of mind and self respect and then time for the emotions to heal. But it does take time. Hold onto that thought.

Posted by editor at 8:03 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 21 January 2007 10:27 AM EADT
'We have to move the catchment': Ian Cohen MP, Greens
Mood:  on fire
Topic: election nsw 2007

Yesterday super fast thinker/talker Adam Spencer 702 ABC radio announcer did a follow up interview on a big issue of the day, being the impending decision to go ahead with a very expensive desalination plant for water here in Sydney.

ABC TV prime time ran it at 7pm too all building on a front page report in the Daily Telegraph,


Desalination plant for NSW

January 18, 2007 12:00 [web version, but published paper version p1 , left hand column 19th Jan in similar form]

THE controversial desalination plant proposed for Sydney's south to combat record low dam levels may go ahead before the March state elections, the NSW Government says.

reinforcing the influence of that paper but also the significance of the story in the election as Adam Spencer correctly pointed out.

His guest Ian Cohen MP, the Greens was chair of a Paliamentry Committee on sustainable water and it was one of his best interviews when it mattered. Starting calmly then the facts and the passion really started to burn. Cohen has always been able to talk a leg off a chair like most pollies but he was on fire as per the 'emoticon' above:

"There is the energy greenhouse problem of desalination - two steps back and one step forward. It has been raining. Away from Warragamba Dam on the coast here. We have to move the catchment.  It is so disappointing that this government has not instituted a big roll out of rainwater tanks and conservation measures we urged 12 months ago. The Coalition are ahead of Labor on this situation. "

Or words to that effect. It was bloody good stuff there Ian, who can sound a tad flaky. But like his book "Green Fire" he might have some kick in the old batteries yet. His sister in a good ALP mugging joins in the chorus here (as well as abc tv news last night):

19 January 2007

Greens call for level four water restrictions, not desalination plant

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said today that the NSW government could still
avoid building a desalination plant in Sydney by immediately putting all
water users on level four restrictions.

*Level four water restrictions, scrapped by the NSW government in
March last year, would lift water saved to about 30 per cent,* Ms
Rhiannon said.

*The Greens have called on Premier Morris Iemma to reintroduce level
four water restrictions.

*Plans for a desalination plant should be ditched in favour of water
restrictions, stormwater harvesting, recycling and demand management.

*Today*s news that Sydney*s dam water levels are just above 35
per cent would have been the trigger for the introduction of level four
water restrictions under the old water restriction regime.

*In February last year the Iemma government abandoned all plans for
level four restrictions in favour of a desalination plant. It was a
spectacular misreading of what the community wants.

*Level four restrictions ban external watering for domestic users and
limits water use for some businesses and government agencies.

*Details of restrictions are determined by Sydney Water in
consultation with the Drought Management Committee to ensure targets can
be achieved and maintained.

*A federal government supported study last year revealed that two
thirds of Australians support water restrictions. With community
education and compliance monitoring, Sydney could entirely avoid the
need for a desalination plant.

*Instead, the Iemma government completely underestimated the enormous
water savings potential locked up in the community*s willingness to
change habits and use less water.
*Morris Iemma*s desalination plant and aquifer pumping will not be
needed when the drought breaks. In a year of so, they are likely to
become white elephants that have soaked up more than a $1 billion that
could have improved public schools, hospitals and transport,* Ms
Rhiannon said.

For more information: 0427861568

The electoral influence of the Greens on the sustainability of water policy area is reflected by the usually not so sympathetic News Ltd Daily Telegraph which took up their message here:


Desalination unnecessary: Green

January 19, 2007 12:00

INTRODUCING level four water restrictions in NSW would make the building of a desalination plant unnecessary, the NSW Greens said.

And what'$ the difference between a de$alination plant or stricter restrictions? Oh, only about $1billion dollars in taxpayer dollar$. And this is where the famous ALP dependence on the political patrongage of the construction sector both corporate and labour/union comes in, as distinct from say rain tank makers and plumbers: The ALP would demolish and rebuild the Opera House if they thought they could get away with it, just to prove they are good at promoting 'economic activity'.

Trouble is economic activity per se is not probitive of whether it is good or bad for society, like car crashes which make lots of work all round especially if people and car manage to survive the impact. Same with desal plants, the water equivalent of a car crash, to be avoided at all costs?

Posted by editor at 6:55 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 20 January 2007 7:30 AM EADT
'Uni for cash' scandal creates enrolment chaos: Green Party
Mood:  irritated
Topic: election nsw 2007

Media Release 19 January 2007

The Greens today called on NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt to
convene an emergency meeting of her state and territory counterparts
to demand that the Howard government impose a moratorium on full fee
paying University places.

Greens NSW Education Spokesperson and Upper House Candidate John Kaye
said: "The university entrance system has been driven to the edge of
collapse by the Howard government's deregulation of full fee places
and their systematic under-funding of public institutions.

"The quality of tertiary education is being compromised by the Howard
government's grab for cash. Carmel Tebbutt has an obligation to work
with her Labor colleagues in the other states and territories to put
a stop to this undermining of Australia's universities.

"Two years ago the union, student bodies and the Greens warned state
and federal governments that the system would be placed under
unacceptable pressure by deregulation.

"Universities have begun to abandon the coordinated admissions index
system in favour of their own criteria. While this may work for some
courses, it can also produce massively unfair outcomes for many students.

"State and territory ministers have a unique opportunity to stand up
to the federal government and force changes that protect the
integrity of the assessment system and ensure that admission is based
on ability, not wealth.

"So far Carmel Tebbutt and her seven Labor colleagues have been quite
spineless in dealing with federal ministers like Julie Bishop.

"The current crisis gives them the opportunity to display some
serious resolve and, for once, drive the agenda on education.

"If they don't, the next three years will see the collapse of the
university entrance system and the uncontrolled growth of full fee
paying courses," Dr Kaye said.

For more information:   John Kaye 0407 195 455

Posted by editor at 6:51 AM EADT
Friday, 19 January 2007
Mixed motives of F Hannan in sale of Wentworth Courier etc (FPC) to News Ltd ?
Mood:  hungry
Topic: corporates

A segment extracted below (cribbed from subscriber material in the public interest re independent media) ran yesterday in Crikey.com.au. Pascoe is a top ex ch9 reporter who got the boot for being too tough on cosy interests related to the boss or his mates. He has a very fine business mind (though not infallible). It deals with News Ltd gobbling up another media company, F. Hannan’s FPC initially public knowledge back in November as here for magazine titles


News buys magazine stable

November 10, 2006




and then suburban freebie newspapers as here like chunky Wentworth Courier, the bane of local free press in East Sydney for at least 15 years (buying out in turn start up Eastern Suburbs Messenger):


News gets regulator OK to buy newspapers

Helen Westerman, Media Reporter
January 18, 2007




By coincidence I ran into a middle aged business man (never did get his name) at Pine Street Gallery Chippendale about 6 months ago whose daughter was part of a sustainable design exhibition for UTS. We got to chatting. By chance he socialises with the owner of FPC, the Mr Hannan. He sounded credible and quite sober unlike myself (teatotal now).


I said with bravado, next time you see Mr Hannan you let him know we at AMG



publishing suburban freebies Sydney City News, City Hub, Bondi View 'are coming to get him', ho ho (as if), 'by leveraging our 3 titles with a cheaper yet still penetrating advertising rate in the same catchment from say Balmain to Marrickville to eastern beaches'. It was all pretty light hearted given their weekly thick wad of glossy adverts.


I don't for a second think Hannan had a glass jaw on the strength of my somewhat alcohol fuelled gossip to sell out to News Ltd, given everything is for sale 'at the right price', as Kerry Packer once famously said.


 (AMG owner Gibbons claims he will never sell his business 'because he could never work for someone else' and there is some credibility to this given his literary academic qualifications from the USA meaning he likes being a publisher.)


The opening of the media market courtesy the Howard federal government put that price bid on FPC fully in play.


On the other hand Hannan's press business is very profitable having been built on the real estate market, and my considered view is that that market is on a long downward trajectory from now: For one reason of economic contraction of the innner city and NSW generally. But that's short to medium term for an old business like Hannan's FPC.


Another disturbing reason to get out that News Ltd might just be too stupid to realise, as greenhouse deniers, is coastal real estate is going to be hit bigger than anyone except perhaps Mr Hannan realises by the threats of climate change. How so?


Substantial sea rise of 1 to 3 metres (and that’s conservative in my view, could be 3 to 5) in the next 30 to 50 years will change civilisation as we know it. This sea rise prediction will be front ended to the economy NOW in term of market viability of 25-30 year mortgages which affects … Hannan’s business model: Who is going to take such a mortgage on something that will flood at Bondi Beach, Rose Bay (notice the golf course on a flood plain next to Bellevue Hill), parts of Centennial Park, Vaucluse harbour frontage, Double Bay?, Rushcutters Bay and any other lower lying areas I've missed.


And don't think greenies don't follow the property market. It was our poo marches late 80's that cleaned up Bondi Beach from a smelly slum for Kiwis to booming yuppie prices in 10 years. That's a big profit turnaround and one reason why I got elected as a local councillor for the Greens in 1995 to Waverley, courtesy Greiner's deep ocean outfall political strategy. It's also why the rich owe us greenies.



 Which is also as an ecologist why I am so interested in crikey.com.au's report yesterday of Greenland melting at a huge rate: See link to New York Times totally spooky piece:




"The Warming of Greenland 16th January 2007"


And remember if Greenland is melting then so too is the Antarctic. God help us.


Then of course there is the question of contracting paper press circulation due to ezines and web expansion generally including crikey.com.au.


AMG is in some ways in the undertaker business, gobbling up and synthesising the suburban papers that fall over which is orthodox free market economics, a much smaller version of News Ltd. The great virtue of AMG amongst other things is that it simply is not News Ltd!


Take your pick on Hannan sell off motives: Change in media ownership rules put a healthy price in play, sunrise web media sector, climate change.


Has anyone thought to ask the owner/director of Hannan's FPC stable what exactly were the motives for selling, rather than speculating as above? That would be a good business story.


Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin (AMG distribution), editor http://www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog/


principal http://cpppcltrust.com/ecologyactionsydney


Jan. 18th 2007 in crikey.com.au ezine follows:

3. ACCC destroys few remaining media diversity hopes

Michael Pascoe writes:

Anyone remember Graeme Samuel’s big promise to be the guardian of media diversity? Turns out it was all nonsense – the ACCC either has no idea what the words mean or it just rolls over for Murdoch like every other arm of government.

In a very bleak day for Australian media, the ACCC has pre-approved News Ltd’s acquisition of FPC’s community papers, allowing Australia’s dominant newspaper publisher to get even bigger, handing it clear monopolies in markets that previously enjoyed competition and apparently not even considering editorial diversity in its feeble effort of going through the motions.

It’s a dire foretaste of how the ACCC will "safeguard" media competition when the Coonan Gift is promulgated.

A bunch of suburban throwaways might not be the linchpin of Australian journalism, but a very dangerous precedent has been set at a time when a reasonable person might think the ACCC should be particularly sensitive to such things.

For the moment, let’s ignore the issue of the publisher of two-thirds of Australia’s newspapers being allowed to buy another 16 titles. By the ACCC’s demonstrated thinking, it would be perfectly acceptable for News Corp to take over every paper in the country with the possible exception of just three – The SMH, The Age and maybe The Sun-Herald.

Samuel’s comments yesterday indicate the ACCC was only interested in the advertising market, not editorial coverage, in accessing the Murdoch application.

The regulator "was satisfied that sufficient advertising alternatives existed in this case to provide a competitive constraint on News Ltd". Which is not what the watch puppy was suggesting last month when it singled out Sydney’s Lower North Shore market as a particular concern.

This is a considerably bigger market than any of the country towns that excited National Party MPs for a while and it’s one that Murdoch’s Cumberland Press already dominates with the North Shore Times and Mosman Daily. FPC provides some competition though with the Northside Courier.

As Lisa Murray recalls in the SMH (but unfortunately not online), the ACCC last month said "market inquires" suggested competition between the FPC and News titles had assisted in preventing increases in advertising rates and that general advertisers would have no significant alternative to advertising with the two free newspapers.

The News lawyers and lobbyists obviously were able to convince Samuel otherwise.

Too bad about editorial difference though – it just doesn’t count. The suburbans provide residents with just about the only source of local news. In a city the size of Sydney, the Terror and SMH obviously can’t and don’t cover the many local governments except at their most bizarre.

Furthermore, with the metropolitan dailies suffering static or falling circulation, the suburbans increasingly are the only papers most people get. And they are very nicely profitable indeed.

But that doesn’t concern the ACCC. Jilted local advertisers presumably can stick flyers in letterboxes. And editorial diversity, any concept of a market in local news ideas, is not an issue.

Funny that that wasn’t what Graeme Samuel was saying back when he was providing backup for Helen Coonan. Maybe he should stick to threatening to tell Australia who sells petrol here.

Posted by editor at 8:56 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 20 January 2007 5:49 AM EADT
Thursday, 18 January 2007
Greenland is melting
Mood:  sad
Topic: globalWarming


The Warming of Greenland 16th January 2007


"All over Greenland and the Arctic, rising temperatures are not simply melting ice; they are changing the very geography of coastlines. Nunataks — “lonely mountains” in Inuit — that were encased in the margins of Greenland’s ice sheet are being freed of their age-old bonds, exposing a new chain of islands, and a new opportunity for Arctic explorers to write their names on the landscape."


" Carl Egede Boggild, a professor of snow-and-ice physics at the University Center of Svalbard, said Greenland could be losing more than 80 cubic miles of ice per year.

“That corresponds to three times the volume of all the glaciers in the Alps,” Dr. Boggild said. “If you lose that much volume you’d definitely see new islands appear.”


"There is no consensus on how much Greenland’s ice will melt in the near future, Dr. Alley said, and no computer model that can accurately predict the future of the ice sheet. Yet given the acceleration of tidewater-glacier melting, a sea-level rise of a foot or two in the coming decades is entirely possible, he said. That bodes ill for island nations and those who live near the coast.

“Even a foot rise is a pretty horrible scenario,” said Stephen P. Leatherman, director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University in Miami.

On low-lying and gently sloping land like coastal river deltas, a sea-level rise of just one foot would send water thousands of feet inland. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide make their homes in such deltas; virtually all of coastal Bangladesh lies in the delta of the Ganges River. Over the long term, much larger sea-level rises would render the world’s coastlines unrecognizable, creating a whole new series of islands.

“Here in Miami,” Dr. Leatherman said, “we’re going to have an ocean on both sides of us.”

Such ominous implications are not lost on Mr. Schmitt, who says he hopes that the island he discovered in Greenland in September will become an international symbol of the effects of climate change. Mr. Schmitt, who speaks Inuit, has provisionally named it Uunartoq Qeqertoq: the warming island.

Global warming has profoundly altered the nature of polar exploration, said Mr. Schmitt, who in 40 years has logged more than 100 Arctic expeditions. Routes once pioneered on a dogsled are routinely paddled in a kayak now; many features, like the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf in Greenland’s northwest, have disappeared for good.

“There is a dark side to this,” he said about the new island. “We felt the exhilaration of discovery. We were exploring something new. But of course, there was also something scary about what we did there. We were looking in the face of these changes, and all of us were thinking of the dire consequences.”

Posted by editor at 3:03 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:13 AM EADT
Greenpeace leading community action on dangerous global warming
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: globalWarming

Our spanish translator Amparo sends through this encouraging news on community action against dangerous climate change:

More good news for Anvil Hill

The New South Wales government has confirmed that it won't appeal the Land and Environment Court's landmark ruling of last year http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/news-and-events/news/Climate-change/Anvil-Hill-polluter).The ruling means that environmental assessments must include the greenhouse gas emissions that result from the burning of New South Wales coal overseas.

This is great news. It's a strong step forward for the campaign and firmly establishes the principle that we cant ignore greenhouse emissions from our dirty coal just because it disappears overseas. Every tonne of coal we export comes back to us as climate change.

Vote for clean energy if you live in New South Wales http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/issues/climate-change/take-action/vote/NSW

Occupy Newcastle in February!

Let's send a clear message to the New South Wales election hopefuls. Join the People's Occupation of the World's Biggest Coal Port on 10 February, at Newcastle harbour. This peaceful mass action will be a land vigil and a colourful harbour flotilla, organised by Newcastle climate action group, Rising Tide.

When: 1pm, 10 February, 2007
Where: Horseshoe Beach, Newcastle
More info and RSVP:


Hazelwood activists to appear in court

Fifteen Greenpeace activists will appear in a Victorian court this week charged with trespass.

In August, 2005, activists occupied a loader in the brown coal pit at Victoria's Hazelwood coal plant. They chained themselves to a dredger and released a huge "1st prize" ribbon, awarding Hazelwood the dubious title of the developed world's most polluting power station.

Read more about the court case

Read about the August 2005 action


Campbell backs down over Bald Hills

Federal Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, has finally approved the $220 million Bald Hills wind farm, reversing a controversial decision in which he claimed the project would pose a danger to the rare orange-bellied parrot. Senator Campbell said the wind farm had federal approval subject to key changes to the turbine layout and strict conditions to protect the parrot and other threatened species.

Antony Newbold, the director of Wind Power Pty Ltd, which has applied for the Bald Hills project, hailed Senator Campbell's decision as a victory for his company "but, more importantly, a victory for the Australian and Victorian people".

"This decision reinforces the importance of renewable energy and the importance of this project, which has taken two years longer than it should have to be approved."

Read our FAQs on wind farms in Australia http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/issues/climate-change/climate-change-resources/faqs#climateChange_q13

Happy Switched On New Year!

Renewable energy made tremendous strides globally in 2006. From the
passage of Schwarzenegger's million solar roofs legislation in California
to a solar cell breaking the 40 per cent efficiency barrier to a record
year for wind power in the US, Canada and UK, it all looks good for even
more good news for clean energy in 2007.

Read the top global clean energy stories of 2006 at the Renewable Energy
Access website


Take action links:

Are you an older Australian? Join the Grey Power community

Do your bit to save energy. Download the Switched On guide.


Thanks for helping Australia switch on to clean energy solutions. Catherine, Mark, Louise, Ben, Kieran and Julien Energy and Climate team, Greenpeace Australia Pacific

If you received this email from a friend and would like to subscribe, please email switchedon@au.greenpeace.org. Put the word "subscribe" in the subject line and include your first and last name, suburb and postcode in the body of your email.
This email was sent by Mark Wakeham, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Level 4, 39 Liverpool Street, Sydney, Australia to [lots of folks]


Posted by editor at 1:22 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:15 AM EADT
Fairfax journalist Tim Dick resignation in the offing? Grovelling apology by Minister Watkins? Don't hold your breath!
Mood:  smelly
Topic: election nsw 2007

The latest Pat OShane controversial judicial decision has some curious angles that have got the interest of this blogging scribe.


No doubt she has made arguable, maybe wrong, decisions in the past and these have been trawled over in the paragon of infotainment if not journalism Sydney Daily Telegraph.


But what has got SAM’s attention is a glaring discrepancy in The Australian report of a man Rose who OShane says in  the paper was “racially abused”:


 Magistrate faces acquittal probe

"Ms O'Shane said they had racially abused Mr Rose."



Rose apparently was thus acquitted of a charge relating to spitting at transit officers by OShane.


The clear suggestion to this solicitor in NSW is that there was advocacy of racist provocation and abuse of power and if true, not surprisingly, OShane herself Aboriginal threw it out as an abuse of officious power. Most likely the defense lawyer was so instructed by Rose because they can’t just make it up and see if it flies. There has to be a factual basis of some degree otherwise the lawyer could be struck off for breach of ethical standards. This is all well known in the profession.


Not that Rose is an angel, reported as swearing like a trooper in one paper, but then offensive language is not the controversial charge in question in the media reports. They are howling because he was let off for spitting, regarded as an assault and very unhealthy.


This activist is well aware of other Magistrates taking a similar line when figures of authority overdo it: In the 90’s I was arrested for an anti woodchipping of forest protest at Newcastle. The Boral staffer who apprehended me on the huge chip pile with a tin of symbolic red paint (blood of dead animals) not only roughed me up, but ground my face into the paint along with my business suit. It may have been the Chief Magistrate himself at the Newcastle court who found me technically guilty of trespass, but not criminal damage, and gave me what’s called a ‘section 10’ today, that is no conviction recorded. The smirk of the logger’s helper to his mates in the gallery as I quietly cross examined him on his assault and criminal damage to my suit was all I needed.


The Magistrate who is no shrinking violet at all, was as unimpressed with this turkey’s illegal vigilante aggression as he was with the disruption of more serious matters in his court.


I never was compensated for my suit. They got $50 I volunteered for the tainted woodchips, sent before the hearing.


This writer is also aware of disturbing injustice in a spitting charge we wrote about yesterday:


 Wednesday, 17 January 2007What's in a charge of spitting depends on context as per Jabiluka 1998 


So Mr Rose got lucky, and was acquitted: The law set him free via Magistrate OShane. But Tim Dick in the Sydney Morning Herald got on the Police Minister John Watkins’ bandwagon in the press this last two days. Never mind the Daily Telegraph with their shocking editorial standards. Watkins says publicly on ABC Radio yesterday and 7pm tv news last night to the effect OShane ‘is prejudiced against anyone in uniform’. That might be grounds for a defamation action against the Minister depending on what the case in question really involved. Ambitious Watkins has referred her to the NSW Judicial Commission but has he jumped the gun for the police’s favourite whipping girl?


Being of a certain age with a career spanning at least a decade before the Wood Royal Commission in 1994, with plenty more police corruption according to the Police Commissioner Ryan himself 5 years later, perhaps OShane is wise to keep an open mind, if not prejudice?


So the question becomes in the Rose matter, was there racist provocation for the spitting? If so why was it not reported by the Herald ‘journalist’ as at least an element of the case? Well one reason is Tim Dick admits that although he is “Legal Affairs Reporter” he wasn’t in court, only the Daily Telegraph was. But this doesn’t wash because The Australian’s Simon Hayes did include this in his January 17th article, as minimal as it is


"Ms O'Shane said they had racially abused Mr Rose." 

Tim Dick has form on sloppy indeed arrogant journalism. This writer met him with an embarrassing government FOI refusal letter in the foyer of the Fairfax offices in the IBM building at Darling Harbour before the 2005 Marrickville byelection. Not only did he not take up the issue – the disgraceful spread of truck congestion through Marrickville in the next few years proven by a document (Commission of Inquiry Report no less) Minister Sartor refused to release under my FOI application – he didn’t even want a copy of the letter: Yesterday the Herald ran a big report from the Federal Government on exactly the same 'truck congestion'. It was as though Dick didn’t want ALP candidate Tebbutt to be damaged by the reality of the suppressed Commission of Inquiry Report into expansion of Port Botany and its implications for a Marrickville Truck Tunnel. Or couldn't see it's importance.


Dick’s whole attitude was cavalier at that meeting, dwelling in the corridor chatting while I patiently waited having spent 2 days to get an FoI refusal letter from the Minister’s department after a month long wait, like extracting a molar without anaesthetic. The refusal letter, let alone the actual report.


To be fair Dick was not the only one in Sydney with a biased media approach to Tebbutt’s credentials for Marrickville. Antony Green and Julie McCrossin both failed their journalistic duties in my considered view during that time, the first for equally scorning the FoI refusal letter in Petersham Town Hall when I tried to hand it to him, and rejecting it with poisonous vigour, and the second for leaving me on a mobile waiting for 20 minutes on the hustings during talkback to run me out of airtime. The Greens lost the byelection by only a few per cent in this ALP town.


Sure enough when I rang and spoke to Tim Dick yesterday he blustered and prevaricated: There’s no difference in the Herald and Australian stories, he misleadingly asserted. You haven’t actually read the Australian story (with the racist provocation element included) he insinuated. What ‘legal advice’, he scornfully interjected before I told him I was a lawyer and my opinion there was the issue of an expensive cross claim against the State Rail for the alleged transit officers ‘racial abuse’ reportedly via The Australian. “You’re an idiot” was Tim’s finest effort.


I may be an idiot for expecting much better of Tim Dick too. But what I want to know is will Tim Dick resign if the Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson finds there was racial abuse provocation as a factor in a transcript they have requested? Time will tell.


Top journalists are paid more than government ministers at Fairfax as admitted on the Insiders programme last year. Even juniors are on $50K plus I read in their employment feature page on one occasion. Tim Dick presumably is on say $100K or similar, and still with the power to destroy reputations and careers. In such a role he should be attentive to his own professional obligations. Time will tell who resigns.


Nor is it only Tim Dick. The environmental reporter James Woodford also has a cloud over his professional reputation. All the green ngo’s in this state, at least with financial independence from this ALP government won’t talk to him. Not The Wilderness Society, not ChipStop group down in Bega, not this writer on behalf of little ecology action Sydney.


If you notice his stories, including the good one about insects in the forest canopy over the Christmas New Year break, it’s always sourced to a government employee. Which is where his bread is buttered these days. He’s gone from an activist for South East Forest Alliance using the green movement to dumping on them. It all started when TWS did a protest at PR event at the NSW State Forests office in the northern suburbs. Woodford’s 2nd wife was the PR officer for the state agency and the event was hijacked by greenies in cuddly animal suits. She then moved on to work for the Southern Catchment authority. You can track Woodford’s sources from his wife’s career.


But gallant Woodford took revenge on TWS. He wrote a fraud article about “wilderness” as a racist concept, when for a decade of the 1990’s The Wilderness Society stood shoulder to shoulder with traditional owners of Starcke in Cape York, Noel Pearson on the Cape York multi Land Use Agreement,Yvonne Margarula at Jabiluka,  had a great pro land rights policy this writer distributed at a conference to NSW Aboriginal People. Part of the biased approach is to go for small membership groups for quotes and ignore TWS with maybe 10,000 members. The ALP here love doing that too. In short Woodford tried to destroy The Wilderness Society in NSW with a fraud smear. Government sources indeed. No wonder he is blacklisted for abuse of journalistic power.


And we have his email correspondence to prove it.


But he still has a gig at Fairfax but will Tim Dick resign if the transcript says racist provocation of Mr Rose was a valid factor in OShane’s decision which he failed to report in a paper of record? Will Police Minister John Watkins grovellingly apologise and support a referral of government staff to the Anti Discrimination Board if Pat OShane was right to condemn racist abuse by State Rail transit police? Time will tell.


You see OShane by quickly dismissing the matter may have satisfied Rose the defendant, but now with the big controversy stirred up by Watkins, Rose might get it in his head to be grateful to OShane and go for one of those $5K to $10K discrimination payouts we read about in the same Sydney Morning Herald (p3, 28th December 2006 actually).


As I was thinking about this piece I realised it’s not just the Federal Government that is in ‘revenge mode’ as their window of power starts to close. The ALP NSW government also seem to be exhibiting the same behaviour of seeking to even old scores against OShane before they lose their clout. Only this might blow up in Watkins face yet.


Declaration: Of the seven or so arrests in my peaceful protest career, all declared to the NSW Law Society upon my recommencement as a solicitor, one of those was an acquittal by Magistrate OShane with 7 or so other environmentalists including Councillor Murray Matson of Randwick to protect parkland at the Eastern Distributor Tollway construction site around 1998. The charge was chucked out early on and I never had to appear in court.


Postscript #1


Tim Dick has in many ways redeemed his 'oversight' with a strong article about Magistrate OShane today apparently endorsed and vindicated by the NSW Judicial Commision conduct division " where three judges could have recommended her dismissal" over an earlier controversial matter of strict exercise of contempt of court power to send a disruptive litigant to the cell amongst other things:




But the newspaper itself saves face with a vicious editorial here:




Now to the News Ltd 'paragons' of journalism on this brutal clinch of power politics in typical Sydney tradition. The clue to that is Watkins boss Premier Iemma and Opposition leader Debnam are both in the news today on different topics, as if to say, all move on, this one with OShane is over ... for now. As said often it's a big cruel game in Sydney, Australia's oldest and biggest city, and likely most corrupt.


Postscript #2


Similarly The Australian pushes the attack on OShane along a bit:


O'Shane may face fight to keep job

18 January 2007 Imre Salusinszky, NSW political reporter

MAGISTRATE Pat O'Shane could become only the second NSW judicial officer in history to be hauled in front of parliament to explain why she should be allowed to keep her job.

but it's running out of steam. As MP Lee Rhiannon states in the story Parliament will be entering the vortex of 'separation of powers' and given the strong Judicial Commission vindication (on one front at least, which the Oz clearly were excluded from seeing unlike Herald above) it does look like election period hot air. Possible but unlikely. Notice the author is Imre Salusinszky reflecting the escalation to a higher level of power plates grinding.


Postscript #3


The high circulation Sydney Daily Telegraph significantly doesn't carry the story in its paper today 18th January, the story having lost its grunt but their 'breaking news' wire from last night carries this:


Review could spell end for magistrate, By Peter Jean, January 17, 2007 12:00




including quote:


"Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said the Government's pursuit of Ms O'Shane was a disgrace.

"Election fever has given Minister Watkins a rush of blood to the head, causing him to forget the principles of judicial independence and separation of powers," Ms Rhiannon said.

"Pat O'Shane has had a distinguished record as barrister, department head and now magistrate."

Posted by editor at 3:24 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007 12:32 PM EADT
Wednesday, 17 January 2007
What's in a charge of spitting depends on context as per Jabiluka 1998
Mood:  not sure
Topic: election nsw 2007

Tyron Gibb.

SAM's editor then a legal adviser to environmental activists remembers his name and his face so well. His tears in the dock. His 30 days in Berrima Gaol bail refused, in 1998 as one of the 'peaceful anti Jabiluka uranium mine' protesters.

This story in the news today reminds me:

Alleged railway spitter walks free

about railway coppers gobbed on by 'a Redfern man' which may well be a euphemism for an Aboriginal bloke. Aboriginal Magistrate Pat O'Shane is again being criticised for letting him off.

Tyron was as Anglo as this writer, popular and good with a guitar. Ned Kelly style looks but actually a quiet personality. You can imagine him locked under a mining machine as feral activists will do, trespassing, or obstructing police, but spitting?

Must be a bad one surely. Not so. This is where context comes in. His friend Rusty was locked on under a bulldozer too next to Tyron. The police couldn't cut Rusty's device so they dislocated his shoulder ripping his arm free instead. This went on for minutes of shrill agonised screaming.

(Rusty later sued for criminal injury by the NT police via NT Legal Aid from memory, result unknown, compliant to Ombudsman etc.)

But Tyron was next after Rusty that hot sweaty dusty day in a claustrophic wedge on the ground. He writhed. He shouted. He spat at the police coming for all he knew to torture him next.

None of this came out at the bail hearing in fairly remote Jabiru Local Court as Magistrate Lowndes (if memory serves) saw a scruffy man break down in tears incapable of articulating let alone give me instructions. Poor bastard. I interjected angrily and the Magistrate cut me dead, one more word and I would be out the door or in the cell with him.

I also recall a quick whip around from that so called scruffy bunch producing a $1,000 cash for his bail in case that would please the court. But the cops had to win one out of 106. A million dollars wouldn't have been enough in that politically charged atmosphere.

He spent 30 days in Berrimah Gaol a model inmate until the NT Legal Aid lawyers got jack of this injustice applying to the court with the obvious point that he had served longer in jail without bail than his charges could reasonably deliver in prison sentence if found guilty.

Tyron was my only loss out of many contested bail hearings, out of 106 arrests in that chapter. Jabiluka uranium mine was eventually shut down not least by traditional Aboriginal owner Yvonne Margarula.

It was this same week at Jabiru for Tyron and others' bail applications, I received a precious gift - the fresh morning smile of a 40,000 year culture via traditional owner Yvonne Margarula as she strode proudly to court on her own 'trepass' charge alone to meet her lawyers: She appeared from nowhere, and at first I was flummoxed, even though I had met her once before in Sydney at the Friends of the Earth office with Jacqui Katona right at the start, when Gini Stein (ABC) did a one word interview with her (English being a 3rd language). God gave me some grace as I offered from deep somewhere "good luck Yvonne", just three words across a massive cultural divide, and her response was silent friendly radiance. You can have your Queen of England and your U2 rock idols, that was it for me. I swear it kicked me like a strong black coffee for the next 3 weeks of hard slog.

I understand it was partly my 12 or so page legal report to the Gundjemi Aboriginal Corporation amongst others of the state of play of 400 plus protest cases (several involving illegal police brutality, and one a sexual harrassment situation by an unknown policeman), that encourged the TO's and allied civil society stakeholders to wind down the protest camp and move to a new political phase of their ultimately winning campaign. I still have the huge red yellow and black flag there of one protester (Dave Kennedy, now deceased).

I learnt from that period you could spit on someone out of reasonable fear of torture in Mr Gibb's case, and still go to gaol for 30 days having been convicted of absolutely nothing. It all comes down to context.

I visited him once there in Berrimah Gaol in Darwin a long way from Jabiru about a week in.  After returning to Sydney and Waverley Council duties to a commendation from the Mayor Paul Pearce, I was greatly relieved to be told Legal Aid intervened to get him out. Yvonne Margarula is my hero there at Jabiluka, and so is activist Tyron Gibb. They have a common thread too - survival.

By Tom McLoughlin, solicitor in NSW, NT court approved legal adviser to some 106 Jabiluka protesters July 1998 at Jabiru local court. The holding cell at Jabiru was designed to hold a maximum of 16.

 Postscript #1

 Is Tim Dick a sloppy legal reporter?

Notice the report in The Sydney Morning Herald above, doesn't refer to alleged racial taunts made at the arrested man by the transit police but they do mention this provocation in The Australian newspaper here:

Magistrate faces acquittal probe

"Ms O'Shane said they had racially abused Mr Rose."


If true, the fact that Tim Dick at the Herald left out a critical aspect of the factual matrix of the case being racial discrimination which in fact is a cause of action with the Anti Discrimination Board here in Sydney, reported in the SMH recently for expensive damages orders as here:


is very bad reporting work.

But Tim Dick probably doesn't even read his own newspaper. It ran on page 3 28th December 2006.

Magistrate Oshane probably saved the NSW taxpayer a $10,000 cross action against the State Rail authorities.

Postscript #2

Now it comes out that Tim Dick admits he wasn't in the court at all despite the "legal affairs reporter" byline. I rang Tim Dick to enquire why is their no mention of racist provocation in the Herald story, but there is in The Austrlaian.

Apart from calling me an "idiot" and scorning my legal qualification, I quote Tim Dick in words to the effect of:

"the reason I didn't put in any element about provocation was because I wasn't in the court, the only reporter there was the Daily Telegraph and I'm not going to rely on them"

Fact is the Daily Telegraph doesn't seem to have anything about racist provocation either online in this story of January 16th:


so no guidance there. Is Tim Dick throwing out a red herring? I will go back to the paper version at the local library for 16th January and see if the SDT refers to racial provocation like sister paper The Australian as a sound basis for the acquittal. It should have been mentioned in a balanced story.

If there was racial provocation that's a big problem for the State Rail Authority too, and contrary to tub thumping by ALP Police Minister Watkins the magistrate may well have saved the public revenue from an expensive legal cross claim. Or not now that he is pursuing her acquittal which may not be very smart.

Time will tell. But my view of Tim Dick as a so called "Legal Affairs Reporter" is reinforced: Not a very good one in my view.

Postscript #3 Seems the elusive "breaking news" original Daily Telegraph report of 16th of January (which I read and then lost on the screen said to be by the only journo in the court) which the above  SDT 16th Jan opinion piece is based on, and Herald too via Tim Dick, doesn't have anything about racial provocation one way or the other and is irrelevant to why Tim Dick left the element out of his report.

Looks like the Australian reporter Simon Hayes did some leg work to get a response from Magistrate O'Shane as is quite proper before publishing while Herald  and Telegraph were too slack. We await Hayes return call if any.

Postscript #4: A call to the Chief Magistrates Office of Graeme Henson, and a chat to Media Officer Angus Huntsdale, indicates their office will be looking at the transcript of the case to see if evidence of racial provocation was involved in the acquittal, and thus if effectively OShane has spared the public revenue the embarrassment of an expensive Anti Discrimination Board hearing and expensive payout.

Or maybe not now, as the Magistrate acquitting the defendant is in trouble and the defendant may want to get his pound of flesh on her behalf now too? Minister Watkins could well have this attack, as a non lawyer blow up in his face for exposing State Rail to a $10K racial abuse legal claim against their transit officers according to The Australian report referencing Magistrate OShane.

Posted by editor at 10:25 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 20 January 2007 7:45 AM EADT

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