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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 25 January 2007
Non disclosure by Big Media of pollie vested interests is crook
Mood:  loud
Topic: election nsw 2007

Whether its Tom Switzer failure to disclose, George Williams, questions of Maxine McKew domestics, Patrice Newell access to abc radio (arguable tho as below), the Big Media/Politics revolving door is spinning ferociously at the moment.

How totally unsurprising: Democracy is only for rich folks obviously in an echo of the insightful political movie Bulworth


with Warren Beatty


In this election period yesterday we had George Williams, a professor of Law indirectly backing up ALP Premier Morris Iemma's vicious attack on Magistrate Pat Oshane here:

'We should have a say on who judges us'


Yeah George, yeah Daily Telegraph. Why no disclosure of his very public appeal for a political career having joined the ALP recently. This was admitted from memory in this abc conversation hour here:

Tex Perkins and George Williams [24/10/2006]


which is all well and good George, an ornament to any political party to be sure, but failure to disclose? That's wrong. Very wrong.

And my memory of admirable humanitarian George is reinforced by this:

"Professor George Williams spoke at the ALP Conference in favour of a Human Rights Charter, as did the Attorney General Bob Debus. George Williams repeated the argument he used at a recent Evatt Seminar "Australia is unique, unfortunately". Professor Williams has been in the leadership of the six month community consultation in Victoria, that has led to draft legislation, that will be introduced later this year. In this Newsletter, Williams updates on the Victorian leadership."


Just declare it, is the rule.

We read yesterday about Tom Switzer, senior editorial biased favouring of Malcolm Turnbull yesterday on MIM here:

'Crikey.com.au expose Turnbull's hypocritical mate at The Australian'



At least Crikey scribbler Stephen Mayne was overt in his political allegiance to People Power Party in the recent Victorian state elections while posting for the ezine.

Switzer in turn was whining about recruitment of ex senior ABC journo Maxine McKew to new ALP leader Rudd's team, domestically tithed to a senior ALP fellow: There is always the question of spouses as stand alone professionals independent of partners in this age of gender emancipation. The pain in Switzers whine was stark when it became clear he was hypocritically involved in profile boosting of his own spouse's employer (senior minister Malcolm Turnbull) via the pages of The Australian.

Should have been disclosed too as much as McKew's situation surely.

The rules of disclosure of family vested interest should at least be consistent is the obvious point. And dislosure should be the rule not the exception until it becomes tedious, but then even then too.

Now Patrice Newell turns up on ABC 702 radio with sharp announcer Trioli this morning. Newell is a greenie climate change, stong achieving, published author, and media professional, who just happens to be the partner in life of one high profile abc broadcaster. No disclosure: She is an independent running for the Upper House in NSW, but will her candidacy help rather than hinder the ALP, or does she have a real chance of winning? It's way too early to know about preferencing at this stage but one wonders.

I ring their producer and chat about this: They advise the ABCrang her, not the other way round, based on her high profile lead letter in the Sydney Morning Herald today, which fits the news cycle today too. She is a professional obviously. Her letter is a cracker and sincere. But whereas disclosure for the Herald is irrelevant, it becomes a real question for valuable access to abc listening voters.

On balance they should have disclosed her spouse is an abc broadcaster, perhaps not who specifically, and explained how her independent credentials were conclusive, not the family relation. They did list these credentials but not the abc connection and that is just not transparent enough given the perception if not actual conflict of interest: A minor sin that should be rectified, feminista emancipation or not.

Also prominent in the news today is this outstanding cartoon that is just breathtaking in conceptual beauty, and reinforcing articles by this writer that 'ecology does indeed underpin the credibility of all future governments':

The Turnbull federal Env Minister character (independently wealthy strong thinker and speaker, above the fray often) is at risk of munching by Garrett Opposition Water spokes (and long time professional greenie agitator turned mainstream pollie), playing off the real life fantastic escape of abalone diver on ACA ch9 tv last night, Garrett with the shark smooth skull.

"Poke him in the eye" calls Howard figure to Turnbull, just as real life Eden based diver explained was his instinctive survival tactic.

One of Moir's best ever. David Rowe the awesome Australian Financial Review cartoonist ought to give Moir the cartoonist equivalent of The Ashes back (albeit temporarily).

All reinforced by the following editorial too:

"With this speech [by W Bush State of the Union yesterday on related matters], there can be no more excuses for John Howard. Australia's problem with climate change - not mere drought - must be at the top of the Australian political agenda after 10 years of relative neglect by the Federal Government and the Labor premiers. Mr Howard's elevation of Malcolm Turnbull to cabinet as Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, following the elevation of Peter Garrett as the Opposition spokesman for the environment, is an acknowledgement that both major parties see the environment and energy use as a top priority. Two political heavyweights will now battle for public attention over the issue."

Postscript #1

A version of this article was published on Melbourne Indy Media and Professor George Williams posted there with a verifiable email address as follows:

by George Williams Thursday January 25, 2007 at 09:41 PM
[email: xxxxx]

I think its a bit rough to say I have failed to disclose my interest in standing for Parliament. When I made the decision last year (some months after chairing the Victorian process) one of the first things I did was contact journalists to inform them. I have hardly been keeping this under a bushel then or since.

In the time since my interest has, as you mention, been on ABC radio’s Conversation Hour and has been mentioned several times on other shows like AM and PM. It’s also been reported on in many newspapers such as the Australian, Sydney Morning Herald and the Canberra Times. Eg:
It's also been mentioned recently in the Daily Telegraph itself and on TV such as on Insiders.

My point is only that this is already in the public domain. Even given this, it needs to be remembered that this is all merely about a possible future aspiration. I have not actually stood for, let alone been pre-selected for, anything.

Otherwise, thanks for the kind bit about ornaments!



It was rough
by Tom McLoughlin Friday January 26, 2007 at 01:19 PM

When I heard the Conversation Hour I thought the ALP would be foolish not to court your impressive mind in some way. Lord knows we need a strong sense of human rights law in this country, with now retired appeal court judges of Victoria publishing against the scandal of legal abuse of a citizen (Hicks).

It's enough to make one quite queasy.

Good luck George, but as always without fear or favour has to be the approach here at the indymedia blogger 5th estate.

I read the transcript of OShane's decision. She was treated rough too, and that put you and Iemma in play.


A moving article about Magistrate OShane ran with a picture in The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, which indeed was a good balancer to all the baiting she has been getting: O'Shane makes peace with her demons


Posted by editor at 10:04 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 27 January 2007 7:29 AM EADT
YouTube white supremacist hate videos are the other side of the coin
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: election nsw 2007

As posted yesterday SAM didn't find a reverse racist hate video promoting ethnic takeover of traditionally white euro dominated Australia (which till the 1960's actually had an official White Australia policy). The provocative intent was obvious on free to air tv news all stations last night: 7, 9, 2, SBS28, presumably 10. 

It appears to have been taken down from YT. But the spin and cynical politicking was clear once revealed the video had been there on YT since November 25 2006 (as reported by community media website Melbourne Indymedia). Why the big controversy just before Australia Day Jan 26th 2007?.

Why indeed. As repellant as the hate video featured on tv was, amply rejected by elders of the Australian Lebanese community here, will there be similar outrage at glorification of white supremacist racist hate videos still on YouTube seen yesterday and found there again this morning?

Here is one only example:

The battle for Cronulla 03:47 The battle for Cronulla. www.stormfront.org Tags:WPWWAdded: 8 months ago   in Category: News & BlogsFrom: Maka56 Views: 3,047


There are plenty of others and we took to posting a link to Gandhi's 10 principles of nonviolence in the comment section of these hate videos as well as the ethnic posted ones:


Gandhi nonviolence


Selectivity of racist video intolerance and ethnic versus white supremacism is not helpful and feeds a view of systemic social bias. Big Media can rise to the challenge by equally exposing posts by such as 'Stormfront', or '88AngryAryan88' as here:


Cronulla Riots aftermath 02:10 Tension after the Cronulla Riots Tags: Cronulla   Riots Added: 1 week ago   in Category: People From: 88AngryAryan88 Views: 2,406


Sure the video on free to air tv last night taken down off YT had the extra news value of possible involvement of public school symbols under government control, ultra violent symbols like machine guns and knives, and a criminal rapist, making it serious and sensationalist news created by stupid teenagers. No doubt. But the point is: There is a racist dynamic of spiralling intolerance and who really doubts just as aggressive intent in both directions? That indeed is the infectious disease of racism.


White supremacist evil on YouTube is the other side of the coin. Politicians engaging with this nastiness as they feel they must like rats trapped in a maze, only makes it worse in many ways.


Until PM Howard vigorously denounces White Supremacism, as per YouTube, which he refused to do with Pauline Hanson's One Nation ( which grew out of his own Minister Abbott's Manly electorate office via staffer, later independent MP David Oldfield), the overall circumstances bespeak Howard is a covert supporter of the junked White Australia policy:


cronulla uprising 01:58 This is my firsts video people im sorry it mite be a little dodgy but enjoy Tags:cronulla   riots   uprising   10   000   fists   disturbed Added: 1 month ago   in Category: News & Blogs From: Devilsreject06 Views: 1,017


It may be these videos will be taken down by YouTube in due course. That would be a good thing too. As this story was being assembled this message came up: Searching for videos is temporarily unavailable


A few minutes later: Video results for 'cronulla'  No Videos found for 'cronulla'


Amen to that. 



Postscript #1

Regretably it's a feint hope. The Cronulla hateful videos are all up there on YouTube at 7.28 am 25th Jan 07 AEST, seemingly jammed for higher usage as I posted this story.

Posted by editor at 6:42 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 25 January 2007 10:39 AM EADT
Sisters publish glossy on tragedy of SE Forests 'And They're Still Falling'
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: ecology
 [SAM's editor has not seen the book in question below but it looks quite possibly inspired, certainly a source of bitter sweet fatalism, given the Eden chipmill bragged in December 2006 they have woodchipped a record 1 million tonnes of natural forest in the past year, more than at the height of protests in say 1990 or so, when 4000 people camped out in protest down there led by Karenne Jurd of The Wilderness Society Ex Premier Bob Carr promised to end this scourge 'by year 2000'.]


Hi Tom


I am hoping you will be willing to circulate this info about our book, proceeds from which (when we meet our publishing costs), will of course go towards saving some more forests.


Regards Anabel Macdonald


Have you heard about 'And They're Still Falling'?


 Recently published by Ginninderra Press it is a collection of twenty three women's accounts of their involvement in the campaign from the 1970's through to the RFA in 1999.  Compiled by Olwyn Broder, Moira Collins, Anabel Macdonald and Venie Holmgren with a foreword by Bob Brown, it contains of a variety of anecdotal accounts from women of the Far South Coast and as well includes authoritative contributions from former Independent Senator Irena Dunn, Economist Judy Clarke and Botanist Heather Meek.


Some of the writers relate the effect the campaign had on their personal lives, others write of the beauty of the forests. Many tell of their arrests, two of the writers were gaoled for refusal to pay fines for trespassing in a forest.  The book is indexed and has twelve pages of colour photos and documents.


Olwyn, Moira, Anabel and Venie, whose average age is now 78 years, hope their book will encourage younger women to continue to fight for our precious forests because, as we all know, they are still falling.


Copies of And They're Still Falling can be ordered from: Moira Collins 84 Peak Hill Road Bega  NSW 2550


$27.50 Packing & postage included

Cheques payable to: O.Broder & A.Macdonald


For  orders of five or more contact the publisher:

Stephen Matthews

Ginninderra Press

xxxxx xxxxx


ph. (02)6258 9060

PO Box 6753 Charnwood ACT 2615 Australia


Postscript #1


Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 8:50 AM
Subject: Re: [chipstop] Re: Women's stories of NSWSE Forests Campaign

This is a good read, I'd highly reccomend it, gives good background and many inspiring stories of  those pre rfa days. Inspiring for men and women alike! love Rob [Toombs]
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 6:47 PM
Subject: RE: [chipstop] Re: Women's stories of NSWSE Forests Campaign
Hi Tom,  
Book was even raised as a positive at the FSC RAC meeting - by the forces of darkness.....Fiona McCrossin.

Posted by editor at 6:15 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 27 January 2007 7:41 AM EADT
Wednesday, 24 January 2007
Expert (?) political online news from the USA
Mood:  chatty
Topic: big media

A multi media including website has launched for 2007, with some grand boosting, to cover the Congress v Bush Presidency stoush, Democrat preselection process for their election in 2008, and reportage of the the insiders and lobbyists.

All in all it looks like a real time version of West Wing tv series where you are left gobsmacked wondering "is that what really happens there in Modern Rome?"

Judge for yourself here at http://www.politico.com/

Posted by editor at 9:05 PM EADT
Gotcha: Tom Switzer at The Australian fails to disclose family connection to Howard Minister
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: big media

Crikey.com.au have exposed this cracking hypocrisy in respect of the recent Howard government reshuffle, from their ezine today 24th Jan 2007:

"Of all the newspapers that championed Malcolm Turnbull's promotion today, none was as supportive as The Australian. Not just favourable front-page coverage, Paul Kelly's comment and Mike Steketee's feature, but also the sympathetic editorial as well as the over-the-top endorsement by Janet Albrechtsen "Turnbull for PM -- he is now one step closer". It's worth pointing out for the record that Tom Switzer, The Australian's editorial and opinion page editor and resident culture warrior, is married to Malcolm Turnbull's spin doctor Sarah Stock. But no diclosure. In normal situations, this would hardly matter -- except that this special treatment of Turnbull occurs within a couple of days of Switzer's opinion piece "Instinctive bias not among ABC's virtues" where he slammed ABC journalists such as Maxine McKew for not declaring that they were Labor hacks. "

Posted by editor at 8:37 PM EADT
Senior retired appeal judge rejects legal abuse of David Hicks
Mood:  on fire
Topic: human rights

"About Stephen Charles

"Stephen Charles as a barrister practised in the areas of commercial and corporate law, constitutional law, banking and finance law. He became a Queen’s Counsel in 1975. He was chairman of the Victorian Bar Council from 1983 to 1985 and president of the Australian Bar Association from 1985 to 1986. He was a director of Macquarie Bank from 1985 to 1995, a member of the Victorian Corporate Affairs Advisory Board from 1987 to 1991 and the Commonwealth Administrative Review Council from 1989 to 1992. He was appointed a judge of the Victorian Court of Appeal in 1995, retiring in 2006."

His full article is here:

David Hicks: the government needs a verdict of Guilty

The website that carries the article is controlled by inter alia former Liberal Party Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (compare current 'Liberal" PM John Howard on this), and a bunch of other eminent Australians here:


One quote: "total desertion of David Hicks was very much the business of every thinking Australian, certainly of every Australian lawyer".

SAM's editor is one such lawyer.

Posted by editor at 7:47 PM EADT
Howard and Watkins cynical selectivity re diverse YouTube hate videos?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: peace

The SAM editor spent ten minutes this morning posting this comment on about 20 hate YouTube videos glorifying the white supremacist Cronulla race riots

Gandhi's 10 principles of nonviolence


Yet whitebread politicians at Federal and NSW level respectively are running a cynically selective condemnation of a hate video glorifying an ethnic rapist on ABC midday radio news. No doubt the video is obnoxious and repellant. It appears to be down now.

Good thing too, almost certainly hate speech. Alot of it found on YouTube this morning was mostly white supremacist "glorification" of the Cronulla riot which was "caused" by drunken slobs and Alan Jones hate barracking on 2GB.

Keep in mind Alan Jones' mantra - 'not multicultural, multiracial with one culture'. Yep its a diet of fatty meat pies and vegemite for multiracial Australia. Which of course is very unhealthy 3 times a day. In fact it's a diet that kills social wellbeing probably.

People will say it was an assault of some life savers that caused the Cronulla riot, like Opposition Hartcher on abc radio earlier today. That could have been addressed proportionately.  No, it was racist politics that created a 5,000 strong rampage endorsed by community 'elders' like Alan Jones talking to other white bread elders, who then turned a blind eye to drunken Shire youth well off track.

I've met Hartcher and I am sure he knows it. In fact I was asked whether he should be ditched from Cabinet in 1993 by Andrew Harper in the Premier's office of John Fahey. More fool me for speaking positively about him.

Shameful stuff.

This selectivity about what is on YouTube is a subtle twist on systemic white supremacism being played out all through society at this time. All hate messages should be equally condemned and actively rebutted, and I found a good 20 of them easily enough this morning mostly white supremacist.

Similarly I posted this at http://melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2007/01/137548.php

You Tube gardening for harmony
by ecology action Wednesday January 24, 2007 at 10:40 AM

Sydney news is running today with another symptom of the NSW election White Supremacism dry run for the Howard re election agenda: You Tube hate video's of varying degree. Here is a nice peace loving response there, which sort of befuddles the hate and anger mongering.

Here is a report of the hateomongering via new media:


At every YouTube string I suggest add an entry like this (YT seem to be accepting of this approach with about 20 added this morning):

"Gandhi's 10 principles of nonviolence


A similar summary of the Gandhi non violence philosophy would be just as appropriate.

For those already into this kind of nonviolence in some fashion they might forget (like riding a bike) how powerful the prescription is for those infected with violence who have never heard it before.

Only a saint can live up to the full observance but it has great resonance and value as a cultural message, creating a common sense framework to address underlying disagreements from there.

A good antitode I've seen work in many situations. Like a vibes watcher at a fraught meeting.

Posted by editor at 12:08 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007 12:45 PM EADT
Iemma spinning portal toxic emissions from M5 to fit election timetable: RAPS
Mood:  rushed
Topic: ecology

[received 23rd January 2007]


In an obvious politically-motivated move with the March elections fast approaching, the Premier has delayed plans to pump toxic fumes from the Bexley and Arncliffe portals until the installation of the proposed $50 million pilot filtration plant later this year.

RAPS has argued that the filtration plant will not be adequate enough to significantly dilute pollution pumped out of the portals, and local residents are naturally worried about being exposed to a lethal cocktail of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other toxins, if permission is given

The RTA plan, which is currently being assessed by Planning, is receiving criticism from NSW Health and CSIRO experts over possible health risks.

Congratulations to Minister Roozendaal on recent changes to P-driver regulations because of evidence presented to him - let's hope he does the same re the filtration trial!
On 16th June 2006, the Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal announced the NSW Government's air quality improvement plan for the M5 East tunnel. These improvements include :

+ Video identification of pollution causing heavy vehicles and the Clean Fleet Program.
This part of the project has been in operation for some time however. As of early November 2006, there have been 567 detections by the camera (including multiple detections of the same vehicles.) Although useful, it is clear that the detection effort will have little effect on the real problems of the tunnel. Even well tuned diesel engines emit harmful particles in their exhausts. The RTA plan only detects grossly bad polluters.

+ increased ventilations flows with an extra 12 fans.

The "increased ventilation flows" are an attempt to fix a long standing problem with the ventilation system in the east bound tunnel where trucks push the air more quickly than intended. The jet fans are used to overcome this.

+ a trial of filtration technology. This is what requires planning approval as hidden in the innocuous sounding "trial" is the proposal to use unfiltered portals emissions as a routine ventilation strategy to limit pollution in the tunnel by pumping it out of the portals. This allows more fresh air to be sucked in , diluting the pollution.
The fact sheet entitled "Modifications to the M5 East Motorway - Air quality improvement plan" with addendum, is actually the third attempt to produce a brochure which did not mislead the public by making inappropriate and misleading claims about the likely impact of the emissions. The RTA was forced to change what it had on its website originally. However, the current version, containing the addendum which is supposed to correct it, is still grossly misleading and compares life time risks with daily risks, without making that situation clear. See:

RAPS has made strong protests about this along with its recent submission to Planning. However no time frame for a decision has yet been given, nor have we been able to interview the Planning appointed expert assessing the project.
Approximately 2 million premature deaths a year world-wide are caused by air pollution, according to the World Health Organization. WHO is challenging international governments to reduce air pollution in their cities to improve public health substantially by reducing the incidence of respiratory and heart disorders and lung cancer, (for example by lowering particulate goals to 20mg per cubic metre). The NEMS for particulates in Australia is at present 50mg per cubic metre. There is no safe level for particulates.  See :

According to the RTA, the opening of the unfiltered Lane Cove Tunnel will cause traffic jams and confusion as motorists try to sort out the changes in the road system. There will be traffic jams on the harbour approaches in the morning and westbound section in the evening until motorists become used to  See:
http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2007/01/11/1168105115846.html  and

The M2 extension, approved post haste and with consultation a 'fait accompli', will now be minus a 5 kilometre stretch of cycleway between Lane Cove and Beecroft Roads. This change, approved by the government, will create an extra west-bound traffic lane.

A senior Toyota executive is reported as stating that the car industry was in danger of becoming "the new tobacco industry" and a recent parliamentary report names car exhaust fumes as the major contributor to up to 1400 death a year. See : "Go the green route", Sydney Morning Herald, 20-21 January, 2007

Last week Carl Scully announced he was quitting NSW parliament while congratulating himself for his work, especially in the road and tunnel building area. "I did it my way" he told the media during several interviews. But on ABC radio, a prominent spin doctor summed up what a lot of people have thought for a long time - Scully's assessment of himself is very much at variance with what others think of him.

The people affected by the toxins from the M5 East are not happy with the way he did it when he built a 4m tunnel complete with the world's worst practice ventilation system, neither are the people who will be affected by the toxins from the unfiltered Lane Cove Tunnel when it opens in a few weeks' time.

In RAPS' dealings with Carl Scully, we found him to be arrogant – a politician who inevitably dismissed community concerns as trivial in his determination to be known as the great road builder - and it was this arrogance which led him to believe his own spin even to the extent of lying to parliament once too many times that bought about his downfall.
Certainly, nothing to be proud of. when he looks back on his political career! See also Joe Hildebrand's views "Carl departs in a dense cloud of fertiliser" 15.01.07

 RAPS is an incorporated community group representing residents and workers affected by the M5 East tunnel, ventilation stack and portals. We meet on one Tuesday night of the month at Earlwood Bowling Club, Doris Ave Earlwood NSW, Australia. RAPS Inc is funded entirely by $10 membership fees and community donations and volunteer time.

We currently have significant costs, and need to build up funds for ongoing outlays such as public liability insurance well and professional advice and help. Please help us to keep going by sending a donation to:

PO Box 270 Earlwood NSW 2206 Australia Telephone: 061 02 9558 8863, 061 02 9573 0052, 061 02 9559 1278


RAPS Inc is a member of GASP, Groups Against Stack Pollution, a coalition of community groups with similar aims and objectives affected by similar stacks from around Sydney's Cross City and Lane Cove tunnels.


Our email list is maintained in confidence [refer website above]

Posted by editor at 10:19 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007 11:50 AM EADT
Howard reshuffle of Cabinet shows white supremacist tendencies, climate fear: Green MPs
Mood:  down
Topic: election Oz 2007

As predicted in another entry ex leader Beazley is not news, but the impending Howard reshuffle is. And so it has happened mid yesterday.

SAM editor's view is that the NSW election with contender Peter Debnam is a road test for Union Jack led white supremacism by the Howard led Coalition federally (which is why the much bigger Sydney Indymedia website, currently AWOL, amongst many other forums is an important counter balance and is needed asap).

Media release of Senator Kerry Nettle below amply evidences this stark reality. On the other hand Sydney's broad community is likely ready and equal to this evil agenda, and long may it be so:


Howard signals divisive election tactics with dropping of multiculturalism

Greens Multicultural Affairs Spokesperson Senator Kerry Nettle today  called on incoming Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews to publicly commit the government to supporting multiculturalism in Australia in the wake of multiculturalism being dropped from the title of his department.

"Multiculturalism has been a massively successful policy in Australia and Mr Andrews should acknowledge this and commit to supporting its objectives of respect, celebration of diversity and non-discrimination.

"The Greens also call on Mr Andrews to start his new job by ending the cruel practice on mandatory detention of asylum seekers and begin by bringing the 7 Burmese asylum seekers now on Nauru to Australia.

"As far as Senator Vanstone is concerned then, if the rumour of an overseas posting is true, perhaps a posting to Kabul, Afghanistan would be the most appropriate job the Prime Minister could offer her."

Contact - Jon Edwards 0428 xxx xxx

Senator Rachel Siewert Australian Greens Senator for WA

 Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Howard reshuffle prepares for Climate Election
The Prime Minister's portfolio reshuffle is a clear acknowledgement of the Government's faltering performance on the key election issues of climate change and water, industrial relations and immigration.

"It is clear that these areas are the major battlegrounds of the coming Federal election, and the Government knows it has been performing very poorly," said Australian Greens spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert

"Prime Minister Howard has missed a golden opportunity to establish a ministry of climate change to reflect the over-arching nature of the greatest threat to the nation. Dumping Ian Campbell is a sensible move and we hope that Malcolm Turnbull's promotion reflects a new appreciation for the importance of climate change.

"The Government's values are on open display this morning - 'multiculturalism' has been replaced with 'citizenship', reflecting an increasing emphasis on intolerance, exclusion and what is 'unAustralian'."

 "The most important Australian value is the right to a fair go, which went out the window with the introduction of Work Choices. Howard has had to appoint Joe Hockey to spin his disastrous IR agenda since Kevin Andrews' approach has clearly broken down."

"I wish the new Ministers well and hope this reshuffle reflects a change in the spirit of the Government, and not just an attempt to paper over the serious mistakes of the last few years."

Posted by editor at 7:26 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007 11:38 AM EADT
Tuesday, 23 January 2007
China says no space arms race (because it's about Iranian oil!)
Mood:  hug me
Topic: peace

SAM posted on the very scary demo of space military capacity by China by referring to the 'coincidence' of escalation of US military in the Persian Gulf with carrier USS Stenner mid January widely seen as a menacing of Iran, and China's oil dependence on Iran, here:

Saturday, 20 January 2007
China space missile warning to USA to protect their Iranian oil supply Mood:  blue Topic: peace
There is reportage from China Daily, Reuters, AP and The Australian referenced there.
What is strange with coverage of the latter up until yesterday at least is plenty of discussion of 'a space arms race' and importance of 'US military satellites'. But no mention of USS Stenner's recent menacing of Iran and China's need to defend its investment in Iranian oil in the US$ tens of billions.
This writer has no doubt that coincidences like that don't just happen. This story last Sunday ran in the Fairfax Sydney SunHerald p42 sourced to one Chris Buckley in Beijing
"China plays down fears/Missile test wasn't meant to spark arms race in space: Beijing"
referencing a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman who neither confirmed or denied the test itself but reitereated the principle of peace in space, and this:
"David Wright, of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Massachusetts, said the satellite pulverised by China could have broken into nearly 40,000 fragments from one to 10 centimetres wide - about half of which would stay in orbit for more than a decade."
SAM's editor says anyone who thinks this is all coincidence is is being duped by the Murdoch press: China are warning the USA off damaging their interests in Iran, and the newswires are carrying ongoing frictions between the USA and Iran eg
- the latter getting selective over who can obtain access from the IAEA nuke inspectors in the UN, and
- the US detaining Iranian diplomats in Iraq,
and on and on the power wrestle goes:
via google to Reuters here and New York Times
Rice warns firms Iran may face further sanctions - Reuters.uk - 21 Jan 2007
Iran complains to UN over diplomats' arrest -TV - Reuters - 20 Jan 2007
Debate Grows in Iran Over Nuclear Program - New York Times - 2 hours ago
Postscript #1
A local earth sister reader with an experienced world view of the peace movement writes in response to this topic string:
"Wow! Tom!!!!!!!
Maybe this is how 
[China] willstop the US from attacking Iran - to annex it to their bases on either side. Have you seen the maps of many US bases in both Iraq and Afghanistan? - none in Iran! psychic hugs - to help you over come the "blue" mood."

Postscript #2

This power struggle for political and military ascendancy in the Middle East between Iran and the USA is also revealed here within the hawks and doves of the USA administration, via this BBC story of then Secretary of State Powell trying unsuccessfully to promote diplomacy between the 2 countries in 2003:

 Washington 'snubbed Iran offer' 18th Jan 2007 at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6274147.stm

[worth quoting in full given the disaster in Iraq now:]

"Iran offered the US a package of concessions in 2003, but it was rejected, a senior former US official has told the BBC's Newsnight programme.

Tehran proposed ending support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups and helping to stabilise Iraq following the US-led invasion.

Offers, including making its nuclear programme more transparent, were conditional on the US ending hostility.

But Vice-President Dick Cheney's office rejected the plan, the official said.

The offers came in a letter, seen by Newsnight, which was unsigned but which the US state department apparently believed to have been approved by the highest authorities.

In return for its concessions, Tehran asked Washington to end its hostility, to end sanctions, and to disband the Iranian rebel group the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and repatriate its members.

But as soon as it got to the White House, the old mantra of 'We don't talk to evil'... reasserted itself
Lawrence Wilkerson
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had allowed the rebel group to base itself in Iraq, putting it under US power after the invasion.

One of the then Secretary of State Colin Powell's top aides told the BBC the state department was keen on the plan - but was over-ruled.

"We thought it was a very propitious moment to do that," Lawrence Wilkerson told Newsnight.

"But as soon as it got to the White House, and as soon as it got to the Vice-President's office, the old mantra of 'We don't talk to evil'... reasserted itself."

Observers say the Iranian offer as outlined nearly four years ago corresponds pretty closely to what Washington is demanding from Tehran now.

Since that time, Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah inflicted significant military losses on the major US ally in the region, Israel, in the 2006 conflict and is now claiming increased political power in Lebanon.

Palestinian militant group Hamas won power in parliamentary elections a year ago, opening a new chapter of conflict in Gaza and the West Bank.

The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran following its refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

Iran denies US accusations that its nuclear programme is designed to produce weapons. "

Posted by editor at 1:02 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007 11:25 AM EADT

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