Topic: human rights
We noted this advert last Wednesday March 21st, 2007 in our pre election coverage:
"As if to balance the Herald shock horror story [about sundry State Govt failures] is a chunky advert p12 from Sydney Ferries Corporation in their rival The Sydney Daily Telegraph for an "Injury Management Coordinator". Which surely is a horse that has bolted?: Man dies after ferry collision - National - smh.com.au"
Tragically it looks like there is too much work to do again:
BELLINDA KONTOMINAS 5:40am | Three people are dead and a 14-year-old girl is missing after Sydney ferry hits private boat.
The unions were keen to lampoon Opposition 'Leader' Debnam's national service in the navy but it looks like the ALP's navy man at http://www.sydneyferries might be the one who is out of his depth in delivering good safety systems on public ferries? Here is a report of his background: Admiral steps in as ferry boss quits - National - smh.com.au
Rear Admiral Geof Smith has the January disaster on his watch Sydney Ferries 'deeply regret' fatal accident. 14/01/2007. ABC ... which presumably is why the above advert was placed just prior to the election. Now he has this one too. We feel confident the Big Media will go the full work out of Government responsibility, if any, on this tragedy.
At least that's the perception until a full investigation is forthcoming.
Take care folks, its getting dangerous out there in Sydney transport land, and may they rest in peace. Condolences to the families at this awful tragedy.
Bob Carr is no longer chief spinner of the NSW ALP Government. He is now chief spivver for big corporations leveraging his political contacts to make money and salve his public relevance deprivation syndrome.
The Hon. (Bob) Robert John CARR,
He is on the front of business friendly The Australian yesterday which is appropriate because he is now a "spivver" for Macquarie Bank and Big Business generally with all those road building PPP projects in the bag.
Here are some of Carr's dishonest claims on radio in denial of why he was airbrushed from ALP history this last 18 months and especially election period by the real NSW Iemma ALP Govt, based on his whining to Adam Spencer 702 abc yesterday:
- Carr stopped land clearing in his term. A lie: Refer Revealed: legal land clearing's savage toll - Environment - Specials It was no real virture to be better than the redneck National Party driven Coalition by a few less hectares of destruction. In fact its arguable the ineffectual and vague enforcement criteria corruptly greenlighted panic clearing during Carr's last 5 years taking clearance rates up to a million hectares or more. Carr has no credibility on land clearing with one mitigating belated factor in 2005 as we got rid of the bastard - the 330,000 ha Goonoo Pilliga conservation decision that Iemma has ratified and the Green party treats as a serious commitment from Iemma, not Carr.
- Carr claims a so called "disjunction" of Big "media bias" against the ALP government's record versus voter actual intention to return the ALP. Really? Carr quickly narrowed this biting of the hand that fed him his whole career by narrowing it to 2GB's "electronic pamphlets" for the Liberal Party. But then he showed his broad contempt for the sector again with "I've never seen such print media bias" cross referencing Neville Wran who feels the same (no surprises there - Wran blacklisted then journo Mike Bailey, the elite abc weather man today, for failing to follow Premier Wran's arrogant instructions).
In reality most political observers and likely voters actually saw the print media savaging of Carr's record as the defacto Opposition doing its job with an ineffectual and untrustworthy Debnam Liberal team failing to cut through. Nor should Carr take comfort from Wran quoted in the Herald meaningfully 26/3/07
"The newspapers had been feral in this campaign. I've never seen it's like in Australian politics. ....This is probably one of [the party's] greatest victories in history because Iemma inherited a grab-bag of problems and liabilities and he faced up to them". [bold added]
Liabilities. That's you Bob.
This 'attack the media' phenomenon is a cliche of ex pollies also exhibited by the slightly bitter Arthur Chesterfield Evans MLC who is likely to lose his seat for the Australian Democrats, as interviewed by the sceptical Fran Kelly, abc radio national early Monday 26th March 07. ACE complained about the "are you dead yet?" treatment he got during the campaign. Commisertions ACE, congratulations John Kaye (Greens).
As Monday's Daily Telegraph "Campaign Confidential" correctly implied
"where was Emperor Bob Carr, the man who built Rome Morris Iemma now defends? It appears Bob developed some kind of serum which means he is invisible to everyone except Peter Debnam. And so we dedicate this catalogue of sightings and fightings to a man who's so there he's not even there. We salute you, Bob - wherever you are."
Ironically Carr was front of their sister News Ltd broadsheet same day but no one doubts the ALP would have lost if Carr had been leader at the election. That's why he and his cabinet colleagues Knowles, Refshauge, Egan and finally Scully were drop punted out. Remember Bob? You were destroying brand ALP and that's why no one is actually listening to you now, or only to express disgust at your vain tragic record.
Postscript #2 A brief clarification that we wrote this article above before reading a day later this article by Big Piers Akerman of the right wing Sydney Daily Telegraph with much the same gist re Carr's vain delusions about his role in Iemma's recent victory: Claims on an empty victory
Postscript #1: Courtesy Stevie Bee
'Yesterday we were campaigning, today you voted'
While walking down the street, a politician is hit by a truck and dies.
61 +2 9567 4006?
Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible. ? Thich Nhat Hanh
On Saturday we met then Education Minister Tebbutt as pictured here at the Warren Rd booth in Marrickville
and raised the horror scenario of a container truck accident in any of the Sydney motorway tunnels, as happened last Friday in Melbourne’s Burnley Tunnel.
Question: "Tom McLoughlin, SydneyAlternativeMedia news blog. On the record Minister, in relation to the terrible truck accident in the [Burnley] Tunnel in Melbourne, do you think that could happen here in Sydney with so many motorway tunnels?" Answer by Carmel Tebbutt local ALP MP for Marrickville: "I don't know anything about that. I really couldn't say."
The question required no answer. The point was all in the asking: We knew she was not the responsible minister for transport, emergency services, treasury or any other possibly related portfolio.
The point of the question was the subtext: Carmel Tebbutt as local member knows that the massive expansion of Port Botany will result in a road tunnel under Marrickville unless the politics are radically changed. All those containers can’t go on rail (40% maximum) and even the rail is disruptive already as per this recent letter to the editor:
Indeed local MP Tebbutt has been fighting off fiesty local Green Party members in the local Cooks River Valley Times March 8th 2007 front pager "Road tunnel"
"Labor MP for Marrickville Carmel Tebbutt, said the Minister has made it clear that there are no proposals before the NSW Government to build the M4 East or any such thing as an inner west motorway."
and from same paper apparently quoting her unchanged 2006 statements:
"While the $500 million investment in Port Botany will benefit the NSW economy , Sydney Ports Corporation must make every effort to ensure this proposed expansion does not adversely impact on the quality of life of local residents ..... I will continue to advocate the concerns of local residentsto Sydney Ports Corporation and ministers for Planning and Ports. As usual the Greens Party are offering no solutions".
In her February 2007 colour brochure Carmel states
"Johnstons creek corridor abandoned/ The Johnstons Creek road corridor will be abandoned entirely between Parramatta Road and the Illawarra rail line. Road reservations on those roads which would have fed into Johnstons Creek road corridor, including Llewellyn Street and Addison Road, have also been abandoned. "This decision gives certainty to residents worried their properties may still be affected," said Carmel Tebbutt MP. " pictured standing next to colleague Minister Eric Roozendaal.
And then an expose of exactly what the minister has strongly implied won't happen, happened: $5b secret road under Sydney | The Daily Telegraph that is a secret RTA plan for a tunnel under Marrickville because anyone who has studied the Port expansion knows it's part of an overall scheme to deal with the 3 million plus containers, a tripling of volume.
And Tebbutt has form in the art of political double talk, and it would be very naive to think she is some kind of feminista political saint. Life is not like that:
"Ms Byrne [Greens candidate said] Ms Tebbutt "blatantly misled the public" about Greens preferences at the a climate change forum in Marrickville last Tuesday night. Ms Tebbutt told the forum that the Greens had preferenced the Coalition before Aboriginal Labor MP Linda Burney in the seat of Canterbury during the 2003 election ...This is false. The Greens have never preferenced the Coalition ahead of Labor in any state or federal electorate in NSW." in Valley Times p6 Thus 15th March 2007.
This is a direct accusation of electioneering fraud by Carmel Tebbutt at a public forum being levelled by The Greens.
Who knows if there is more to her move to the back bench? Maybe she saw those school kids late last week protest against the unfiltered Lane Cove Tunnel (Families protest against lack of filtration in Lane Cove Tunnel ...) which is in her portfolio. Maybe she considered our unexpected mortality as per those poor victims literally incinerated in the grim prophetic Burnley Tunnel and decided ‘no way am I going to miss my kid growing up’. On Friday we emailed to the local community this story on our blog:
The way Carmel tells it her son made it clear a couple of weeks ago she was needed at home. Morris Iemma says she told him on election night. Curious timing. Kevin Rudd is quoted pictured here The Glebe March 22nd 07 p3 presumably with no notion of Carmel’s intention to bail out to the back bench:
23rd March 2007
Container truck tunnel crash is Sydney's future too under ALP transport policies
As the three major dailies today editorialise to remove the ALP government in NSW in the vote tomorrow, and Ch9 prime time news ruin Opposition Leader Debnam's last pitch due to technical problems with a live cross, a tragic tunnel crash involving container trucks in Melbourne today (Road catastrophe: Tunnel crash kills three) underline everything wrong with the Inner West Motorway tunnel exposed by the press during this election for Sydney: $5b secret road under Sydney | The Daily Telegraph
Container truck numbers from the Port are set to skyrocket under the ALP (Task force to oversee Port Botany expansion. 25/11/2006. ABC News ...) to 3 million per year at least (Port Botany - NSW Department of Planning) but likely even more than that (NSW Ports Growth Plan - Summary Sheet) with massive impacts on the Inner City congestion and suburban amenity from the Port Botany Expansion - 10/11/2005 - ADJ
The ALP over ruled an independent planning Commission of Inquiry (Port Botany expansion plan unwarranted: inquiry. 14/10/2005. ABC ...) and tried to stall the release of that report for 3 months (Port Botany Report - 15/09/2005 - QWN REP) making a new motorway tunnel an inevitability under the Iemma ALP Govt. One can assume fatal truck accidents like this today will also be an inevitability as above.
On Sunday another insecure road tunnel will open as the result of the election is finalised: Children at Lane Cove Tunnel protest - The Australian - 21 Mar 2007
Noxious road tunnels are indeed a powerful symbol of this ALP government as we go to the vote tomorrow as per The Greens last PR event for the day
“When you’ve got Carmel as a senior minister in this government and as an effective local member, you are really getting double bang for your buck and I think that’s really good,” : Kevin Rudd
That’s false election advertising in reality.
In the same paper Tebbutt states “I think I am feeling nervous and anxious at this point” but in another local press article (a bit hard to locate now) she said she was a lot more relaxed than at the byelection 18 months ago, and that was the view of Deputy Premier Watkins too on ABC tv coverage last Saturday night. If the Greens were going to win it was going to be at the byelection. Only they suppressed the Commission of Inquiry report on the Port Expansion until 2 weeks after that byelection as well.
Indeed Tebbutt has moved from the comfort of an upper house seat with ministerial portfolio free of managing the needs of an electorate to a lower house seat with all the cost and expense for the ALP that implies and has decided to bail out to the back bench now? And all the expense of a hard fought general election now to keep it?And she wants to bail out to the back bench?
Indeed Treasurer Egan virtually anointed her as a future Treasurer or Premier when he resigned with Bob Carr. Mind you who would like to look like the increasingly exhausted and aging Anna Bligh Deputy Premier and Treasurer (Queensland Treasury). Or pack on the kilograms as Chubby Morris below, or indeed Jodi McKay with increasing girth (pictured in the Telegraph) from all that worry contesting the seat of Newcastle.
That’s one hell of a conversation with your six year old for Carmel whose child has already grown up in a political family. (Sure enough, she is pictured with child in the press Tuesday 27th March.) That sure is enlightened parenting but lousy political organisation unless there is just a bit more to the story.
As a minister she could never defend Marrickville from toxic exhaust stacks from the inevitable push on to build a road tunnel under her electorate. Cabinet confidentiality would only be the start of her predicament. She would have to endorse the cabinet decision just like Gary Punch was expected to over the 3rd Runway at KSA and resigned instead. Those shipping containers are coming as night follows day and her people and indeed family are in the firing line. She would never be re elected anyway after that in 2011 if she was seen to have betrayed her electorate. This is a fight she has to take on just like the Greens she has been sledging..
Also her husband federal MP Anthony Albanese is in real strife. If the ALP national conference supports expanded uranium mining as they will, Anthony will be stranded in a rampantly green voting area of Sydney. He will be lucky to survive the federal election and will need all his spouse’s help there.
So it's not only Mr Debnam whose “work here is done” to borrow the phrase from Two Weeks Out episode of the West Wing last Saturday night which cartoonist Warren must also have been watching by the look of this in the Telegraph today:
It looks like Carmel Tebbutt MP's work in covering up for the boys in Iemma's so called "good government" is over for the time being too as regards their Truck Tunnel. And that's a good thing. Bravo.
One last thing Morris: Go on a diet
We received this email yesterday from our Spanish translator based here regarding our sister group in South America named above which translates as Clean Up Columbia. We have donated about Aust$2,700 to this group in the last 12 months or so for which we feel very proud given the useful exchange rate for them. More here: Clean Columbia help 1/06
Picture: Pauline Azcarate- Castro, lead organiser of A Limpiar Columbia in Palmira.
Anyway, Paulina sent another report of her activities in restoring the Wetland, I even spoke to her on the phone this week. The situation as you know it is not better there, the group is fighting against big influencing landlords and multinationals, so from death threats, to bad publicity, you name it, they are going ahead with the plan to restore and recuperate the wetland. The area is dominated by sugar cane plantations which have destroyed the rivers and wetlands, so the small farmers have been left without water and their livelihood, so what they are doing now is fighting back to restore the area and praying for rain.
At the election on March 24 I will be retiring from state politics.
This email address will not be active as of March 23.
If your matter is urgent please contact the new minister after the
election is finalised or ring the relevant department on -
Attorney Generals - 9228 7777
Environment and Conservation - 9995 5000
Arts - 9228 5533
I am leaving Parliament on the 24th March, however I am not taking up bowls.
All Parliamentary business should be directed to Jason Stewart on 9230 2548 or xxxxxxxxx
Personal Emails will be sent through to me on a daily basis.
It's not the end of the month yet to properly report our hit rate. Still we noticed this provocative item in The Australian today: Ghosts of blogging haunt net cemetery with Trioli ABC Sydney radio confirming it's a premature valedictory.
We can say our www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog is growing from 2,800 to 4,400 to 6,600 hits per month in the last 3 months roughly 8 days left to go in this 3rd one (we started January 3rd). Our biggest story so far was on the role of climate change in this NSW election (900 hits or so). That's a positive trend at least.
And there is another intangible measure of our fifth estate discipline on the 4th (Big Media) and 3rd (politicians) estate: We notice a sense of dejavu reading/hearing our language back at us. It could be parallel thinking but it's happening so often that it's either a lift, a crib, a borrow (which is okay with our open copyright), or 3 degrees of separation in the endless creative recycling which is the human condition:
- This morning John Hewson refers to "squandered" opportunity by the Libs in this election (which was our nice word for Fred Nile's treatment of God's creation with his redneck voting patterns);
- In the Daily Telegraph editorial today we noticed the Iemma Govt refered to as "accident prone" which was also our mood emoticon choice in the blog template for our election report yesterday Sunday 25th March;
- In the Sydney Morning Herald today Davd Marr refers to the old axiom 'your enemies enemy is your short term ally' which was also our recent blogger terminology (to find an ethical resolution of Norman Thompson's criticism of Clover Moore's suspect developer donations back in the 2004 election to stave off the ALP gerrymander of City Hall).
- Again in the Herald today an image of candidate Prue Goward praying (or preying) in a Goulburn church similar to our metaphorical image (see yesterday - election report) of voters in a local church hall booth like sheep fulfilling some tired religous obligation. A lesson in faith over reality.
Or maybe it's just our ego noticing these echoes. But it happens alot.
No surprise specialised blogs are healthy. Trioli's crew wouldn't take my call on air this morning but they knew my surname (!). And anyway the Oz article above is spliced amongst the "Paul Kelly Blog" and the "Janet Albrechtsen blog" in the newspaper's own website rebuffing the sense of their own article really. You can be sure the disciplined-by-blog Big Media are not really safe critics of blogging and resent the fact being told as professional journalists they never were that high on the intellectual or wisdom hierarchy in the first place. Think about it - they were the guys (gender neutral) getting the (f)arts degrees.
Which is why we enjoyed this piece so much as even more healthy discipline on the grotesquely overpaid and indeed captured 4th estate:
"Talk is cheap and newspeak beckons by Julianne Schultz is the editor of Griffith REVIEW (ABC Books) and the author of Reviving the Fourth Estate: Democracy, Accountability and the Media (Cambridge University Press)."
But what can be said about sustainable blogging is that one needs to be a creatively inspired person, and as such dependent on the medium, not so much for shallow self aggrandisement but as a safety valve and harmoniser of one's own maelstrom of insights as if to unload a burden, of too much knowledge. Indeed blogging, like painting, or singing, or book writing is pretty much for its own sake. It's not nearly enough to have a big ego (though it helps to get started) because, well, an ego per se just runs out of material which was the real message in the Oz: Celebrity might spread over the world like a thin sprinkle of radioactive dust from a massive burst of energy, touching everyone and everything, but it's not very useful, and in the worst cases a fatal germ.
And it certainly helps with blogger motivation if your previous truth telling has closed off all the orthodox pathways (just like Muhammed Ali was shut out) in a systemicly corrupt and grasping polity. In that case blogging is virtually an inevitability to sidestep the fascist gatekeepers and their powermongering.
We now publish Dr Jim's ezine as promised for the Monday following the NSW election. (We will publish later today some post mortems on the election including Minister Tebbutt going directly to the back bench, do not collect $200, do not pass go. )
We have one minor criticism about Dr Jim's newsletter. We disagree that Matthew Warren of The Australian is a safe reporter on climate change issues (as here Rebels of the sun | Science & nature | The Australian ) when it's well known that organ is financially conflicted with its paid for massive 'Special Advertising Reports' pandering to the Fossil Fool and uranium mining sector here in Australia:
Examples are not limited to the March 19th 2007 "Paydirt uranium conference/ A SPECIAL ADVERTISING REPORT" pages 38 and 39 including 'story' with no byline "SA Labor presses for end to no-nukes policy".
Indeed Dr Jim has agreed in correspondence now that such a major reservation is in order when gleaning any value from the corporate voice of one Matthew Warren, as if he can really as mere journo expertly second guess the UN IPCC and other world class scientists like the USA based NASA scientist Dr Jim Hansen. I don't think so.
In this way Warren must be read down severely just as reputable scientists are being attacked for speaking up in the USA under the Bush administration.
Here is our second try at posting this item:
Image provided by Friends of the Earth Scotland.
March 15, 2007
Picture: Voters in marginal seat of Marrickville yesterday in local Anglican Church hall: Democracy here feels like a religious obligation dominated by power mongering and frightening corruption, where the sheep are duped and abused.
[This replaces our usual Sunday tv political talkies article. We missed 10 Meet the Press, and 7 Riley Diary, we are catching 9 and 2 now.]
As predicted by most the ALP have 4 more years with a lot of bark off them, no landslide, no restored credibility. The Big Media on election night were openly describing the winner as yet “deeply unpopular” (Riley, 7). And as we suspected the Big Press can take alot of credit for the late swing away from the government with all their threshing of brand ALP in the last 3 days or so.
John Howard was even willing to appear with the loser Debnam 20 minutes after his feisty concession speech. That’s not a PM scared of this result. In fact a defensible loss here enhances his chances federally a great deal.
Barry O’Farrell who might actually have won as leader, and once aspirant for the leadership looked tired and not very hopeful of taking Debnam’s job on the ABC panel. The catchcry for the conservatives is ‘1st swing against the ALP since 1988’ which rings true. Barry consoled himself the talent pool in parliament for the work of the official Opposition is greatly boosted with a senior prosecutor, maybe Prue Goward, enviro lawyer Stokes in Pittwater and others. This new blood should shake the tree and really exploit the Iemma Govt’s flaws, incumbency or not. With Debnam as leader with such gains when totally outspent by the ALP.
What Morris Iemma shows with his lack lustre victory speech is that he knows he bought the election with $100M + of taxpayer funded advertising, and pandering to dangerous forces in society – the construction lobby for the desalination plant at Kurnell, the gun lobby for cowboy shooters on public land, the developers more generally in every suburb of Sydney with a good $8M in donations in the last 6 years and gutting of planning assessment laws, the ALP bureaucracy’s own lust for secrecy.
The ALP will argue (eg Anthony Albanese, federal MP Grayndler taking in Marrickville on AM special this morning) that the Liberals failed to take one seat from the ALP government. But that's an exageration of the situation if technically true. No one doubts the MP's in Pittwater and Manly for instance though independents were effectively centre left labour if not Labor. And the Nationals in the Coalition did take an ALP seat out west of the state from Peter Black. And then many ALP seats are far more marginal. The Howard federal government will want to exploit that lurch to the right in the face poor service delivery by Labor in NSW. In short a far more polarised society.
(From Sydney Morning Herald election day 24th March 2007)
In effect Iemma has the same team on a slide and even heavier expectations (and didn't he look tired last night on tv) with very little public goodwill. It’s a recipe for grinding misery really and a difficult parliament. Not as bad as minority government but pretty grim.
There is not an informed person in NSW who thinks democracy is not at least half broken here as per the startling interview on Stateline last Friday here: The Last Interview
Perhaps Morris Iemma knows how thin the ice has got because he may have 'turned the phones off' for the sake of his family today, celebrating his Dad's birthday, but there he is on the box anyway trying to boost the ALP brand again on Insiders 2 in a live cross and 9 Sunday fielding brutal bouncers from Laurie Oaks.
Simon Santo on abc tv Insiders says the vote after about 75% stage is 53:47 this morning, with a swing of 3% to the Coalition. Last night one of the commercial tv stations was reporting 52:48. The ABC is calling 53 seats to the ALP but Sunday 9 is calling it 49 so far.
But the other ‘mandate with a message’ is surely for the NSW Greens. As Leigh Sales of ABC TV accurately suggested, to paraphrase ‘surely you would have expected to do better?’ An extra seat in the Upper House making now 4 Greens up from 3, of limited effectiveness still, beaten in Marrickville and Balmain seats it seems and on average only 8.5% of the primary vote in a year of unprecedented ecological awareness. Truly the Greens are not ‘an enviro group’ despite their colour code to quote Lee Rhiannon, contradicting her ally and new MP John Kaye who once said ‘we are of and from the environment movement’. That systemic confusion in short explains the muted gains of ever hopeful Greens. If they worked a lot harder and effectively on the broad environment and less on boutique social issues, or just more effectively on green and social issues they might actually win a lower seat?
One could only feel sorry for Fiona Byrne of the Greens with half obscured/over exposed postage stamp posters the opposite of the ALP or Liberals Peter Shmigel large format jobs, or even Clover Moore. If your party can’t present decent posters how can you manage an electorate? No doubt they tried their hearts out and their glossy leaflets I saw were very good. But all the materials have to be winners in the big game of lower house seats.
Which brings us to big hearted Rochelle Porteus candidate in the generally vain society of Balmain voters. If the ALP relied excessively on telegenic policy bimbos for cute packaging in this election, the Greens preselection of Rochelle suggests a shallow pool. She may be brilliant and have a heart of gold for all I know and God knows real beauty is not skin deep, but we are campaigning on earth not heaven. I made this point to a Greens stall worker a month ago, and she smiled with no dissent or offence. Rochelle did extremely well to get such a close competitive vote but not good enough. I don’t judge a book by its cover but that’s not voter land. At the least we should have seen a crash diet in the media age of biggest loser.
The Greens are vaguely going forward and holding their position and this is essential for healthy politics in NSW and Australia. But they are going very slow because they seriously lack a meritocracy in their culture where expertise and qualifications mean more than tribalistic ideology in the organisational wing. The triumph of safe mediocrity over geniune talent.
ABC election analyst Antony Green, even allowing for his known ALP leanings (briefing one of the thinktanks) and cynicism says this morning the Greens have reached "their ceiling" and that's a comment that hurts.
Mike Carlton says it's all about the next few weeks of slash and weeding in the NSW Government and that rings true: Next item of business, blood-letting in Macquarie St. Similarly Alex Mitchell says today in Fairfax Iemma will "ruthlessly deal with recalcitrants". Yep. It's a scary place here on Planet ALP.
Well the start of the day could have been nicer.
Picture: An ALP worker on polling day in Marrickville who reckons this writer "has a mental problem" (possibly parroting Piers Akerman here Greens and sanity? That's a bridge too far | Daily Telegraph ) and somehow "a bully" (?) for chalking "NO TUNNEL" at a polling booth. This same chap when we revisited the booth 3 hours later (to take some pics as below, and vote) said to this writer shamelessly, "why did you assault and defame a member of the public this morning?". Very disturbing. This writer as per the story below was the one being stalked by a random crazy drunk as they knew, and I received several threats of ultra violence from same 'member of the public' and these ALP folks were the witnesses, the Pharisees passing on the other side of the street metaphorically speaking, but more, blaming the victim (me) with it. Talk about ugly ALP machine. This writer may have a sharp tongue but also Gandhi 10 principles of nonviolence pinned to my front door.
AT 6am we went on our morning jog and bought the daily press. The fruit and veg shop next door to the newsagent was setting up and a drunken fellow with cropped hair was talking to the ethnic shop owner in a slur. I stopped to see if everything was quite allright. Holding my paper up as if to read I said "I think I will buy something too". The street fellow suddenly decided not to be there anymore. Curious. The shoppie told me he had already had a box of plums stolen that morning. He had been up since 3am at Flemington markets.
"Thanks for your support" he said. "That's okay, see ya later."
Picture: Our local vegies and fruit man taken at 9.30 am 3 hours later: "You want to take a picture of me? Take a picture of my shop ....what's it going to cost me?" he asked insightfully, gently, as I said hello again. "Nothing" I said hopefully.
I held my Daily Telegraph which is a handy size in a roll as I walked home from the newsagent still pre dawn in case I needed to defend myself.
But the morning was to get alot worse than that.
At the church on the corner the ALP were early, and first as usual, setting up their booth props in the shadows. I got in a mutual sledge about the "liars from the ALP in their tax payer funded cars" wanting to build "a Marrickville Truck Tunnel". They sledged back:
"It all in your head. You're going to support a [Green?] Party that can't deliver anything."
"8 million containers are coming from Port Botany. How are they going to get to western Sydney? ....1000 people die of air pollution in this city every year ..... the govt hid the Commission of Inquiry report for 3 months ..... The trains can only take 40% ..... You set up a secret committee by Laurie Brereton when the Inquiry didn't give you the right answer"
That could have gone better. But it was about to get alot worse.
Picture: Taken at 9.35 am this morning at corner of Illawarra Rd and Warren Rd Marrickville, 3 hours after earlier incidents, 24th March 2007: Question: "Tom McLoughlin, SydneyAlternativeMedia news blog. On the record Minister, in relation to the terrible truck accident in the [Burnley] Tunnel in Melbourne, do you think that could happen here in Sydney with so many motorway tunnels?" Answer by Carmel Tebbutt local ALP MP for Marrickville: "I don't know anything about that. I really couldn't say."
On a whim I went home, close by, grabbed my big chalk and went back at 6.45 am now, and started scribbling NO TUNNEL on the footpath outside the booth. Probably illegal as not authorised or registered but hey I was doing free speech on the day of democracy. I was willing to run the gauntlet.
Picture: Embarrassing secret ALP policy? We chalked about 5 of these NO TUNNEL signs and they were washed off presumably by the ALP booth workers within 10 minutes before 7 am corner of Warren Rd and Illawarra Rd 24th March 2007.
The ALP guys hated that, but were relatively restrained applying emotional violence but not the physical kind: "You've got a mental problem doing that at this time of the day .... your a bully."
I say: "Why do you say I'm a bully for exercising free speech? Are you projecting ALP culture [laughing]?"
Picture: Green booth worker next to poster, image taken later this morning Warren Rd booth.
But it was about to get alot worse:
The drunk had appeared from the earlier creepy situation at the Vegie Shop looking for more trouble.
The drunk was at that empty phase 3 hours from his last drink, starting to sober up, unloved and unwanted, angry and obnoxious. Like a rat with plague he scuttled into the animated verbal exchange with ultra violent menaces
"There is no fucking tunnel here. It's in Lane Cove. Get your fucking facts straight" bearing down on me crouched with chalk.
"Put your head up so I can take it off"
I say to the ALP guys: "This is the guy who tried to rob the veggie shop." I didn't actually know that but he was quite suspicious bailing out of the vegie shop so quick just for being watched, and I was warning the ALP blokes not to throw their lot in with this vicious looking fellow for nothing.
To be fair the 2 ALP booth workers had nothing to do with this nasty drunk although they unintentionally contributed to the danger with their side of the sledging. At one point I said to them
"Can you just stay close by, I don't deserve to be assaulted by this guy."
But the ALP guys were too busy shrinking back it seems or just putting up their booth, or enjoying my predicament.
Well that sledge about the Vegie Shop really endeared me to the drunk. For the next 10 minutes I raised my fists twice crouching in self defence as this "I do black belt" nasty kept advancing at me and promised to take my head off. I said stuff to confuse him like "I'm very strong ....Your an alcoholic, that's sad ....I'm a lawyer ... I will bankrupt you." All before 7 am on a Saturday. Phew.
He was way down on the alcoholic anaesthesia now and seemed to need some red rage to postpone his own private hell, the inevitable black dog. He had an evil leer towards the end, of a desperado who needed someone's blood on the floor to get him through his own tragic world. Twice he crossed the road to pursue me and the second time moved to block my exit like a hunting jackal. At this I retreated the long way around the block to get home in one piece without "a punch on".
Picture: Peaceful democracy in action: A lefty radical hands out at the booth. The hostile ALP witness (to my predicament with the nasty drunk I never did get a picture of) is in the background in blue shirt. This is the same guy in the first picture above who used personally abusive sledges when I mentioned 'the Marrickville Truck Tunnel plan' of the Iemma Govt.
Marrickville is like that. You try and help a veggie shop owner, and criticise the ALP grip on power, and nearly get your head taken off, with ALP cronies treating it as a sideshow display. Any correlation between this crazy menacing me and the fact it's been an ALP seat for so long? One wonders when the dominant political paradigm is emotionally violent personal attack rather than honest policy, that seems to promote actual physical violence by others one step removed. The gentle Graham Richardson giving permission to the frightening Tom Domicans of this world?
That drunk was living proof to me of someone taking ALP denials of their Truck Tunnel plan (as reported front page Daily Telegraph) as a justification for his own threats to "take my head off": Get your facts straight indeed.
To be fair the ALP booth workers didn't really want anything to do with the drunk. He was simply a nasty piece of work all of his own doing who lives directly opposite me (!) and knows "you're the guy with the van, with the [anti] nuclear poster. I pass it every day". He kept saying I was a "fucking hermaphrodite". Perhaps that's the clue - the guy is a self hating gay or Fred Nile supporter or unstable child sex victim? Certainly dangerous and a bit close for comfort. (For the record I am a hetrosexual with all the bits in working order and where they belong.)
No help from the ALP guys through all this extended menacing. They couldn't have cared less I reckon.
To show just how sly the local ALP can be, when I saw the fellow pictured above 3 hours later pictured here on the right:
Picture: Ethical dilemma. The ALP booth worker, at right, is vexed about witnessing a determined menacing assault of this writer a trenchant critic of same ALP Party. What indeed has happened to society to lose its common decency to ignore the plight of someone in real danger? Said ALP booth worker told us after this photo "I wouldn't have let him hurt you, that's why I followed you down the street. [The drunk] came back here and starting sniping at us too."
he loudly asked 'why did you assault and defame a member of the public this morning?' Charming.
As if I was the one slurring "I'm going to take your fucking head off." Talk about victimising the victim of an assault. So now I had attacked a thug while crouching trying to chalk a message "NO TUNNEL", who had pursued me for 50 metres, crossing the road twice to get at me. Do the ALP have any shame with this false witness and bending of reality? Or was he worried I would indeed "complain" about the ALP booth workers lack of assistance to their boss Tebbutt MP? Not that I really blame them, the thug was really quite scary.
As God is my witness I never touched or threatened anyone and really was fearful actually, doing all I could to extricate myself, and tried several times to avoid this crazy from the local boarding house, feeling like Stephen Mayne on Walkley night. But unlike Glenn Milne this Thug was fit (like out of the Joint) and youngish and a much more serious proposition. Fact is violence makes me feel ill, but this Thug somehow had learned or been conditioned to feed on it like John Howard enjoys political conflict. Just strange really and frankly outside my experience. I was this Thug's sport and he was dog shit on my shoe I couldn't get off. Unlucky me.
But that's the ALP, black is white, night is day when under pressure. And so tricky. It's all about power really, in this case over the embarassment of the Marrickville Truck Tunnel plan.
Democracy is so degraded here in NSW from fear and grasping, as per the tough questioning of Premier Iemma by Quentin Dempster last night about developer donations destroying democracy here on Stateline The Last Interview (which is damn quick transcribing work too up already from last night), and the machine workers seem to have learned their lesson well making fiction out of dangerous reality:
QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Mr Iemma, if re-elected, will you bring to an end the practice of developer donations to political parties?
MORRIS IEMMA: As part of – as part of a national system, because that’s the only way to achieve it, we have written to the Prime Minister, my predecessor had as well, Bob Carr had, we’ve called upon the Prime Minister as part of a national system - yes, we would.
QUENTIN DEMPSTER: You are not prepared to take leadership in something that is alienating the public and leading to public distrust about the integrity of the planning process?
MORRIS IEMMA: We have tough disclosure laws. It has to be a national system, otherwise you will end up with the donations being funneled from Canberra back into the states.
QUENTIN DEMPSTER: There is a skew here because the public has seen on the blip screen of Labor Party ads up to 15 million, we don't know exactly how much, that your party, through incumbency, has been able to get the slush funding from the developers. That's part of a systemic problem in New South Wales. That disconnect needs to - that situation needs to be addressed, does it not? You have had a huge incumbency advantage of getting slush-fund money from developers.
MORRIS IEMMA: The Labor Party undertakes the fundraising through the course of the term and does that fundraising from a wide range of groups, and individuals.
QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Developers donate money to buy access, and that's unhealthy.
MORRIS IEMMA: No, donations are made – all, all, who come to Government, put a case to Government are dealt with appropriately. We fundraise from a wide range of groups. Now, in relation to donations and disclosure, we have very tough provisions in New South Wales. As part of a national scheme, that's how it would work.
QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Can you assure the public that Brian Burke-like influence peddlers, people like Graham Richardson in the Sydney scene, will not be given access to your ministers if you’re re-elected?
MORRIS IEMMA: I can give that absolute assurance, nothing, nothing, inappropriate. All our dealings are appropriate.
Postscript #1, 3 pm same day: After hiding from the Thug in my place for several hours, then sneaking out to remove all identifying stickers and posters on my van, I called Marrickville Police to tell them I was scared. He's perched on the street and hurls abuse about bizarre gay sex and genitals at every nerve wracking attempt to transit. If he hasn't been in jail he's got an unusual sense of horizontal sports.
The police arrive pretty quick at about 2.30 pm and give me an interview. I'm grateful for being visible and for hearing me out. The cops have identified the now sober Thug opposite my place and promise to talk to him and tell him to leave me alone. They say I shouldn't have to hide, just keep out of his way. As I write this I can literally hear said Thug swearing at the world.
One of my colleagues in the activist movement send me a text from the polling booth nearby, and it reads "The police r here over the incident this morning they were talking 2 the alp guy who I think gave yr name they took a report."
When I rang said source back, she (NN) says ALP also mentioned this website, the police also spoke to the Greens booth workers, who had arrived during the second group of menacing assault and possibly witnessed the foul mouthed obscenities, and more verbal threats to "take my head off" and maybe menacing pursuit by the Thug down the street as I tried to get away from him (I couldn't be sure as I was too busy watching out for the Thug in fact).
One can only guess what self referential story the ALP cronies will cook up to make themselves look clean, just like the 'non existent' Marrickville Truck Tunnel plan. Their usual approach is to say I'm aggressive etc and that it was all my fault.
That's the ALP Left's preferred method of attack - emotional violence regardless of fact. It was the same at Waverley Council when I beat them pointless shutting the Waterloo Incinerator that they controlled (indeed a new $40M redevelopment plan for a waste to energy plant via incineration, and not easy to forgive). That's life in the ALP's NSW if you buck their system. And come 7pm tonight it will be again most likely.
Postscript #2 (about 8pm, same day) The Thug as we call him here has been noticeable the last 4 hours of daylight sitting on the street frontage and wolf whistling and cat calling to every woman who has had the misfortune to walk down this street near a major bus stop, polling booth, shops and supermarket. This is the character of the Thug that the ALP booth worker above is potentially running against our witness above in the minds of the police today? I don't think so. And whoever wins in Marrickville today some old fashioned campaigning against sexual harrassment is in order around here. A neighbour who is a medical doctor was telling me this arvo he can hear the cat calling in the street from our backyard. Conclusion: The Thug is a social menace. And no I haven't seen anything quite like this specimen in all my time in Sydney.