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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 5 April 2007
Greens shove aside ALP patronage machine infecting the green ngo sector
Mood:  party time!
Topic: election nsw 2007

SAM shook the proverbial sandles of the craven peak environment group in NSW pandering to the corrupt Carr ALP government patronage machine in 2000 or so when we resigned from the executive committee of the NSW Nature Conservation Council having been elected twice to that 'august' body. They had pre emptively buckled to 20 year logging resource security for woodchipping while taking the govt's shill.

As this devastating report in the Herald pre election makes clear, via one conservative rival group WWF to the ALP hegemony in NSW, most green non government groups (ngos) were failing their duty on biodiversity conservation in spades, and I knew it in 2000 and expressed my disgust at the time. 7 years later the feeling still burns deep:

Revealed: legal land clearing's savage toll - Environment - Specials

This report of late Feb 2007 refers to half a million hectares cleared legally with a hundred million native critters dispatched let alone native flora 1998-2005 under the Carr government. Not even considering very significant illegal clearing.

The green ngo establishment didn't even have the guts to admit to themselves let alone the public how badly they were losing, which might possibly have galvanised a public backlash. As it was the Carr ALP were elected with an increased majority in 1999 and 2003 for my green movement failure to really bare witness. They just kept taking the hush and access money from the ALP ministers and their manipulators.

And there is a federal election dimension to this because then ACF president Peter Garrett was part of that hush machine in NSW. As was John Connor then executive officer of the NSW NCC now with the Climate Institute (patron Bob Carr) actively soliciting grant money from the same NSW Government.

As was Jeff Angel director of the Total Environment Centre because he had primary responsibility on the NSW Native Vegetation Committee reporting to the Resource & Conservation Assessment Council reporting direct to Cabinet Mnisters, from about 1997 onwards. Angel's duty was to blow the whistle on the government and their effective green light to panic clearing for the next 10 tragic years but it never really came. They strung him along for years and never delivered real enforcement of clearing controls.

Picture: Ian Cohen MLC (Greens) at an evocative Sculpture by the sea, Tamarama Beach

I rang Ian Cohen MLC (Greens) on the record today and asked him what role he thought Jeff Angel had played in the most recent election, in other words did he agree with our impression Angel had disappeared from sight?

Cohen qualified his answer saying he was not up for re election and did most of his electioneering in the country areas but yes was sympathetic to our suggestion the Greens had held most of the space in the electioneering on environmental policy matters in the general media. 

Cohen added the electoral laws contributed to that in that green ngos were prevented this time handing out at the polling booth so the Greens were expected to carry the responsibility and burden.

We at this news blog say thank God for that. And we have little doubt that our backgrounding about Angel had an effect over the last 2 years. As did that knockout WWF report late February 2007. Unlike 2003 we never saw a green brand on the ALP from Big Jeff in 2007. The ALP were reduced to tv adverts singing their own greenwash praise.

Indeed in late 2006  the NSW Govt were pretty cock sure Angel was under their thumb, as he was, even when he didn't have the wit to know it, as per this extraordinary exchange back in November last in NSW Parliament regarding good old door mat Jeff:



Page: 4347

Mr IAN COHEN: My question is directed to the Minister for Natural Resources, Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Mineral Resources. Does the Minister agree that the changes the Government forced through Parliament in relation to the invasive native species module of the Native Vegetation Regulations did not have the backing of Jeff Angel or his ministerial review committee? Why did the Minister claim, in answer to a question asked by me on 26 October, that he had that support? The report fails to set out adequately how the changes will improve or maintain environmental outcomes, which is the object of the Act, and three prominent environment organisations—Total Environment Centre, the Wilderness Society and World Wildlife Fund—have condemned the changes. Can the Minister explain how the broad-scale clearing of native vegetation followed by the planting of exotic species will benefit biodiversity? Is the Minister able to name a single species in New South Wales that will benefit from the changes, which essentially facilitate native habitat destruction?

The Hon. IAN MACDONALD: That was rhetoric of a ferocious kind! I say straight out to Mr Ian Cohen that the changes that the Government has put into effect will produce a very workable system that will benefit both producers and the environment. As to the other point in his question, during question time on 26 October there was considerable discussion about the Government's latest groundbreaking reforms to invasive native scrub [INS] management. These changes were based on the recommendations made by the INS review group, chaired by Dr Denis Saunders, which were subsequently endorsed by the independent Natural Resources Commission. I stated that Jeff Angel, in his capacity as a member of the native vegetation ministerial review group, made recommendations in relation to this matter. That is entirely correct. In its consolidated report of October 2006 the ministerial review committee recommended that the Government "consider the proposed amendments of the INS tool as advised by the relevant agencies and the NRC". That is entirely consistent with my statement. In fact, there was a unanimous recommendation by the ministerial review committee that the relevant committee consider the INS report. That is exactly what the New South Wales Government has done—in fact, we have endorsed the report.

The INS changes protect the environment while giving farmers a practical and flexible system within which to work and get on with the job of farming. The consolidated report is on the Department of Natural Resources web site. Mr Ian Cohen might try reading it to get a bit more information on the matter than he revealed in his rather limited question. The report endorses the New South Wales Government's native vegetation reforms and notes that the system is working. That is why Mr Ian Cohen is feeling so aggrieved. Despite all his scaremongering, stakeholders have come forward to note that the system is working. Instead of knocking the system, Mr Ian Cohen might try getting behind the reforms, reading the science and contributing to the debate.

Mr IAN COHEN: I ask a supplementary question. In a letter to Adam Badenoch, Mr Jeff Angel wrote:



"I would like a correction (below) from the Minister about his statement in Parliament yesterday that I and the MRC supported the Saunders INS recommendations.

What the hell did the Minister thinking he was doing?"



Surely the Minister for Natural Resources owes the man an apology.

The Hon. Don Harwin: Point of order: The question is clearly out of order. It is clearly not a supplementary question. It did not ask for the elucidation of any part of the Minister's answer. It just put extra information onto the record, plus it contained argument.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The question was not a supplementary question and is, therefore, out of order.


And then in 2003 ex Minister Craig Knowles refers to good guy Jeff as

 "Jeff Angel, who can only be regarded as a solid warrior for the environment, recognises that as a partnership we have had substantial success [on landclearing regulation]."

Remember this is all the while 1998 to 2006 panic clearing is going on, and still going on in NSW in 2007.

In fact we rang Wendy Frew to congratulate her for her article in the Herald referenced above pre 2007 election vote, with a sting in the tail to the effect of

'keep in mind Wendy the gist of your report was known and understood as it was happening and the guy entrusted with the whistle from 1997 on the peak govt committee was Jeff Angel, and he never did blow that whistle. You have to ask yourself why not?'

Now Ian Cohen MLC has reported this first ray of sunlight today for the thrashed regional bushland of NSW with this media release today. No wonder the Total Environment Centre listed the Green Party at the end of it's election grid. The better the Green Party do, the less duchessing and leverage for his ngo at the expense of the environment he was honour bound to protect. If Angel is not corrupt he is certainly guilty of something just as bad in this business - a dupe for Big Govt and Big Agri business land clearers:

Media Release   -   5 April 2007

Environment the winner in departmental restructure

Greens MLC and environment spokesperson Ian Cohen has applauded the NSW
government’s restructure of environmental, land use and water

“The establishment of a new Department of Environment and Climate
Change, along with the abolition of the Department of Natural Resources,
is to be commended. I am optimistic that the transfer of native
vegetation legislation to the environment portfolio is more likely to
see advances in ending illegal land clearing and the regulation of
private native forestry.” Mr Cohen said.

“I welcome the appointment of Phil Koperberg to the new environment
ministry and hope to have as productive a relationship with him as I did
with Bob Debus to ensure important advances in environmental protection.
The inclusion of Climate Change in the portfolio is an overdue but
welcome recognition that this is an overarching issue which affects all
facets of the environment.

“The relocation of marine reserve management and aquatic threatened
species from the Department of Primary Industries to the environment
portfolio is an important step and will hopefully bring about better
results in the conservation of marine habitats.

“Likewise, the transfer of environmental water management, coastal
and floodplain management from the Department of Natural Resources
should lift the standard of protection in those areas of environmental

“The departmental restructure is an excellent start, but Minister
Koperberg will have a huge job ahead of him to end illegal land clearing
and improve the management of water and vegetation in NSW. I look
forward to working co-operatively with him to achieve real progress in
these areas.” Mr Cohen said.

Further Information: Ian Cohen: 0409 989 466


Now that the election is over we see Angel back in the green policy market place on the issue de jour [PDF link on greenhouse targets] but really he has no business being there and should be run out of the policy business if it were legal to do so.

There are plenty of other examples of how the ALP corrupted the NSW green movement over the last 10 years, such as supporting the Lake Cowal Environmental Trust to greenwash a water guzzling cyanide gold mine, to the great alarm of people like ...Ian Cohen MLC (Greens) and other actually independent green ngo voices.


Picture: Idealist grassroots activists on schools roadshow Jan-Feb 2005, highlighting for instance the mine at Lake Cowal will be as deep as Centrepoint Tower is high. Were they betrayed back in Sydney?

This scandal was again brokered by ... that 'solid environmental warrior' Jeff Angel:

Nov 06 - Alarm of independent greens over miner 'Environment Foundation' pay off to badly compromised 'peak' greens


3rd Nov 06 - Lake Cowal cyanide gold mine chewing up farmers drought water, 20m water table drops to 50 m depth!


15/3/04...The dirty Lake Cowal cyanide gold mine trust terms discussed here in 'Lake Cowal and real politik of mining decisions under Carr govt' 

Indeed there are historicly sound reasons why such groups as North East Forest Alliance and Greenpeace have stayed out of membership of the Sydney based peak green groups, in particular the TEC/NCC/NPA complex of ALP lap puppies. The suspicion surely is that it involves selling one's soul like Peter Garrett is famously accused of doing now.

Postscript #1: Arrests made after mine protest turns ugly Sydney Morning Herald 9th April 2007

"Eighteen anti-gold mine activists have been charged following a protest in central NSW, which concluded with a man allegedly ransacking the protesters' campsite while armed with a knife.

The activists, who included members of the Wiradjuri people, Friends of the Earth and the Australian Student Environment Network [ASEN], were arrested about 1.30pm yesterday after allegedly breaching the perimeter of the Lake Cowal gold mine, which is run by the world's largest gold producer, Barrick.

They claim the mine's operations are environmentally damaging.

"Barrick ... is stripping NSW of its precious water resources, internationally significant wetlands and destroying Wiradjuri history and culture," ASEN's national convenor, Nicola Ison, said in a statement released by Friends of the Earth yesterday.

"Barrick is transporting over 6000 tonnes of cyanide annually from Gladstone, Queensland, to Lake Cowal, New South Wales, creating risk of spill and lethal contamination of waterways along the 1600 km transport route," Ms Ison said.

The activists were each charged with entering enclosed lands. They were granted conditional bail and are due to appear in West Wyalong Local Court on April 26.

Police said a 32-year-old man was arrested yesterday evening after allegedly driving into the protesters' campsite and damaging vehicles and tents.

He was charged with malicious damage, failing to undergo a breath analysis, stalking/intimidation, carry a knife in a public place, as well as driving offences.

He is expected to appear in Griffith Local Court this morning."

Posted by editor at 3:51 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 9 April 2007 10:45 AM NZT
Get Up! Kick Ass ...for civil rights in Murdoch's The Australian today
Mood:  special
Topic: human rights

And we tips our hat to both Brett Solomon and their "170,000" online activist subscribers, and to The Australian editorial decision on placement in their newspaper today 5th April 2007:

Because a page 7 spread hits home more than say a page 6, 8 or 12. And yet there it was on page 7. That's quite a few more thousand$ in premium location, which tells you something about the Big Meeja displeasure with bogus gag orders on David Hicks, convicted of material support for terrorism. At this rate John Howard who appeared on 7.30 Report last night will be glad to leave politics. But let Get Up! tell it

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser also has a bit to say about the legal travesty here: Politics Overrides the Rule of Law

Perhaps of even more damaging significance for the Howard Government's re-election prospects is this economic criticism in the same edition of The Australian: Kevin Rudd: Howard ignores the big picture

Posted by editor at 1:34 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 5 April 2007 5:03 PM NZT
Political advertising in a modern city: Berlin Wall, Derry Northern Ireland, Santiago but not NSW?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media

When SAM's editor travelled around the world in 2002 we noticed even in shaky democracy of Chile they allowed a building size mural of Che on a main street.

Then in Berlin there was this moving artwork on that symbol of dictatorship the Berlin Wall, as below.

Yet the Blue Moutains council are getting a reputation for authoritarian officiousness when it comes to public political messages here in May 2006

Che mural removed! Condemn Blue Mountains Councils' censorship of art!

and according to abc radio this morning and no doubt elsewhere in the meeja over a Your Rights at Work poster http://www.rightsatwork.com.au/.

And we feel it's not just up there, but rather a creepy chill all over Howard's Australia:

Below are some enlarged posters of the Berlin Wall to read the text, and further below murals in fraught Northern Ireland city of civil rights demo in Derry/Londonderry, where they seem to cope. I've sneaked in some happy snaps at bottom left of Morocco market place and Gibraltar. All images taken 2002

And there is this poster below being sold in the main square in Santiago in 2002. Get the picture? Free speech is supported worldwide even in shaky democracies let alone NSW, Australia.


Posted by editor at 11:25 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 5 April 2007 1:04 PM NZT
Wednesday, 4 April 2007
Online activist media: decentralising or co opting political power, or both?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: independent media

The ‘Big Media’ as this blogger in the ‘5th estate’ likes to refer to, being the old established print tv and radio establishment, is a “cartel” say the new online media experts. Of course they are right.

The corporations with their big wages have fixed power in Big Politics and Big Media in a well worn revolving door. Naysayers, contrarians and downshifters pointing out the economic growth model has whiskers, that the emperor has no clothes, need not apply. The gate keepers will spot you a hundred miles away …. protect their big fat wage… their family well being … indeed the spoils of ecological warfare at the peak of the industrial/ technological/ information revolutions, right now in 2007.


One hopes the online activist media will not travel the same path as it's power grows.


Online activism at least will ameliorate this fix on democracy surely? The new breed of inheritors of 60ies radicalism free of the madness of legal and illegal drug cultures will seek to not only tune in, but also take over our media to implement progressive idealism, surely? Well maybe. Or maybe that in fact is a naive view of human nature.




Brett Solomon founder of Get Up (pictured inset at right above) says the goal of his “movement” of some 175,000 (?) email/web subscribers is a “progressive Australia … economic fairness, environmentally sustainable”. Just call Brett a Green or ALP Left I guess and amen to that.


"But what will he and Get Up do about the ALP support for expansion of uranium mining?", asked one older cynical questioner at this forum held today


 The Impacts and History of Internet Activism


Free lunchtime talk in Sydney CBD, On Wednesday 4th April from 12.30pm join Dr Matthew Arnison (www.active.org.au & www.indymedia.org co-founder) in conversation with Brett Solomon (Executive Director, www.GetUp.org.au ) & Tom Dawkins (Founder of www.vibewire.net) as they discuss the internet and its use as a tool to create a more democratic society.


From online activist planning, e-petitions and emails to MPs to citizen journalism this discussion will look at the effects of the internet on the Australian political landscape.


Brett Solomon states “New technology has given Australians a whole new way to influence the political and social landscape they operate in. Now it’s up to us all to use it to best effect.”

Dr Matthew Arnison sees online collaborations “like Wikipedia, YouTube and MySpace bubbling over with stories from the trivial to the profound. Yet Australian politics and government is still a top-down broadcast.” He asks “How do online activists affect mainstream politics?”

Tom Dawkins sees the internet as a space “with enormous democratic potential. By its very nature it’s a conversational rather than broadcast medium, and this opens up the opportunity for citizens to participate in this public space, express themselves on the issues that matter to them, tell stories and uncover issues ignored by the mainstream media, collaborate on campaigns, share information and better scrutinize political decision-makers.'


Media contact: Brett Solomon 9264 4037 or 0407 419 320 brett@getup.org.au

Tom Dawkins 0416 099 534 tom@vibewire.net Colleen Woods 9262 7300 or 0410 325 913 outreach@sydneymsa.com.au


So getting back to the question what will Brett do about the Labor Party embrace of uranium mining at their April Conference despite the clear problems with proliferation, waste, historical accidents and no doubt others? Well Brett answered by turning the question around JFK like – what are you going to do mate? I didn’t quite see his jaw jutting out but it might have been. And the clue to the real answer is here anyway:





To give Solomon his due he is a great speaker, diplomatic and strong. No doubt idealistic. But he appears captured too – he concedes he relies on rich folks specifically  people like Evan Thornley – rich entrepreneur and Upper House MP Victorian Parliament for the ALP. Also refer Evan Thornley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


So Get Up literally today are promoting this worthy campaign and staying quite clear of nuke expansion issues so far:


----- Original Message -----

From: GetUp

To: xxxxxxx

Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2007 10:37 AM

Subject: Don't let them stop you from voting


Dear friends,

It beggars belief, but this federal election tens of thousands of eligible Australians will be stopped from voting. Will you be one of them?

The Federal Government has passed extraordinary legislation that will close the rolls for new voters at 8pm, on the very night the election is officially called. In the last election, 83,000 first-time voters enrolled in the first week after the election was called. Hundreds of thousands more registered at their new address. But this time they won't get that chance - unless we act urgently.

That's why whether you're enroled to vote or not, there's a crucial role for you to play right now.
Click on the link below to demand this law be revoked, and help friends and family enrol correctly in the next two weeks - before new changes and extra red tape come into effect on April 16 making it even harder!


In Australia we never know what date to expect the federal election; it's up to the party in power to decide. Typically, the big announcement prompts tens of thousands of people, especially young, newly-eligible voters, to enrol that week. Hundreds of thousands more remember to register at their new address. It's been that way since Federation with no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

But this time if you're too busy or don't hear about the election in time, and you're not already correctly enrolled, you can't vote. Even if you're organised enough to get in early, new forms and ID requirements are about to come into effect on April 16 - making it that much harder for many Australians overseas or in rural areas to register. And if you've been overseas for more than 3 years and you're not on the roll, you're still not allowed to enrol from abroad.

The effect of this law - the Orwellian-inspired "Electoral Integrity Act" - is to stop people from voting. Our purpose is to fight back. We've made it easy to spread the word to ensure your friends and family are correctly enrolled before the polls slam shut: just use the note below to share this essential campaign with everyone you know, including Australians overseas!


Thanks for taking urgent action to spread the word,

The GetUp team

PS: GetUp has taken your calls for climate action directly to decision makers, at the weekend's National Climate Summit. We told leaders from politics, industry, science and the business community they have a mandate for bold action to fight global warming, and presented Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett with our Action Agenda and 75,000-strong Climate Action Map petition. For details and photos,
click here.



So if Get Up arguably is packaging of existing blocks of political capital roughly of the centre left ALP/Green kind more or less but in a new form, what about the other online activist organisers?


Are they decentralising power with this thing called the net? Or are they equally politically constrained gatekeepers too?


The thesis we found most impressive was from the Vibe Wire speaker Tom Dawkins that the internet grew out of democratic pressure to side step the Big Media/Politics cartel, allowing for suppressed stories, suppressed voices, keeping stories alive that Big Media then pick up. He said it with conviction and for his youthful constituency who are always given the leftovers from older generations.

Our understanding of the internet bares this thesis out: The US military industrial complex may have invented it but the Chinese had something going 17 years ago in the non western masses to sidestep the dictatorship there. My housemate in the suburb of chilly Downer, in Canberra in 1990 the year I lived on $4,500 dollars while doing my Legal Workshop solicitor's accreditation prior to moving to Sydney later that year, surprised me with printouts of data from off the phone via his computer.

Picture: Ironically, cartoon in The Australian same day of the forum alluding to Kevin Rudd (as pictured above receiving climate change petition), planning to visit China and negotiate the way forward for that 1 billion plus population on global warming, given he is a gifted Mandarin speaker. Good politics on climate change but silence on nuclear expansion under ALP policy, including uranium exports to ...China - where its citizens were using the internet in 1990 to avoid their own govt dictatorship. It's a worry ...

WTF, I thought to myself. How can he do that? It’s not a fax. That was in the 12 months following the Tianamen Square massacre. My guess he was a democracy activist or sympathetic academic.

But when I went to the online activism forum above, 17 years later, and then went on my way I spent the next hour thinking about why everyone in the room got to ask their question except me, sitting in the back row notwithstanding. Here was a mini cartel of another kind. 

The explanations are deep and not that comfortable for the organisers or for me, which is of course why they didn't take my signal, the first hand up and the last one down, the clock run down on me. These net experts like their own comfort zone, just as Big Media do, not realising dissent is the essence of the democracy they are sworn to save.

[Not vexatious dissent, but considered rational concerns, as per the question in the postscript below which was censored from the forum.]

Online activism decentralising power? I wonder. It comes down to human nature, whatever the medium. In my old fashioned book learning English Literature course in year 12 high school I studied The Leopard by Giuseppe de Lampedusa and what a revelatory story it was. In one hallowed section it refers to the introduction of the new system of Parliamentary Democracy in Italy supposedly replacing the Royal system of nobless oblige but in reality opening the door to a nouveau rich who cared even less for the humble classes. There is a deeply disturbing section where 3 votes in the village to keep the Monarchy, out of 300 for change, are fraudulently altered. The essence of democracy namely dissent is murdered, in a seemingly trivial housekeeping way for the clean unanimity desired by the agents of change. The new powermongers.

So I was intrigued why I could not get to ask my question. The facilitator looked at me again and again but no banana. You see I have history with the online activist ‘establishment’: From Mike Carlton or Pred (RIP) who invented Sydney Indy Media (SIM) and fraudulently sought to co opt my share of a commercial lease at Turrella activist centre in 2003 after I gave them free rental space, forcing me into the NSW Supreme Court to get justice. And then the expose of one Stacy Scheff on the Sydney indymedia collective who tried in that same year to kill rival old community media Sydney City Hub that employed me, and spent the next 3 years or so it seemed doing her best to censor and smear me off the Sydney web news site. The whole grim power game is discussed here: Turrella centre

The irony was that my content was keeping that website alive until I finally generated my own www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog outlet here in January 2007 in frustration at their latest crash. Now I notice my post of 23rd March on the old SIM is still the 5th most recent local news story after 10 days.

4 new local stories in 10 days. No wonder I felt like I was keeping the thing alive with content. By comparison the Melbourne equivalent site www.melbourne.indymedia.org is much more vigorous. Seems others got the mesage too and have been skipping SIM. At least with my own blog I know my work is appreciated: Not in 10 years roughly of contributing to  Sydney IMC as a writer or otherwise can I recall any encouragement or support. Must have been a slow learner or unrealistically idealistic, but I've learned good and proper now.

So the point is even in so called decentralised open publishing there is on the one hand mindless unedited blatherings and on the other hand edgy genuinely independent yet confronting voices that get oppressed. Incompetence is far more acceptable than weighty critique of a defensive IMC reviewer.

We recall the episode of the West Wing tv series where the CJ character recalls the Heisenberg Principle whereby the act of observing changes that being observed. This is true for example the presence of a tv camera eggs on people to be melodramatic. Similarly there should be a word for powermongering inherent in the creation of a new facility for decentralised democracy. There is always a gate keeper clique effect for who is and isn’t allowed through the door at the margins: Voltaire may have said he would give his life to defend his rival's right to free speech, but it’s a very rare creator of an online facility that eschews new found status and influence not to even a few scores or seek the odd perk.

There is always a clique and always a powermongering gate keeper in any medium. It’s human nature. Even in the non profit community sector. Indeed the currency there is not money but influence and emotional violence are usually the tools of trade not profit or meritocracy. All of this came to me as I travelled home from the online activist forum like some latter day brooding Cassandra. I was grateful that one insightful chap from www.projectaustralia.org.au also noticed the apparent snub and offered me his brochure. But it would have taken way too long to explain all of this above.

These are tricks of access and patronage the old media are most expert at, and which I spend a lot of time exposing like the story about Tony Koch earlier today from The Australian smearing The Wilderness Society.

Another recent example was James Woodford in the Sydney Magazine http://thesydneymagazine.smh.com.au/ published by Fairfax 29th March 2007 and oddly related to the Koch atrocity in Big Media.


The cover itself of Peter Garrett was free big media PR for his sellout to the ALP of the environment movement opposition to uranium mining and forest destruction. The road to hell paved with good intentions. But the Woodford article is more subtle. Woodford has been blacklisted by this writer and perhaps a majority of the really independent green campaigners in NSW for a vicious piece he did against the Wilderness Society some years ago, because they upset his then government employed wife at NSW State Forests. A clear case of undeclared conflict of interest. As a result he may only be able to access those on the NSW ALP govt drip in some way.

His story at p56 about “unsung heroes” of the green movement presents people who are already in the sphere of ALP govt or so wishy washy it doesn’t matter. Take John Connor now employed by the Climate Institute with Bob Carr ex ALP Premier with a big history of woodchipping behind him as their patron and aligned to the Australia Institute on the ALP patronage drip. There is a Taronga Zoo employee, an ACF loyalist (group that produced Peter Garret as ALP Shadow minister), a govt catchment body, govt funded environment education person, a fishing industry person in favour of refuges which government supports but recreationalists don’t, and national parks advocate trained up by a govt agency. The so called ‘guardians’ are all worthies to some degree but also lap puppies.

My colleague Lynda Newnam of Botany Bay & Catchment Association, covering south/western half of Sydney, umbrella to 33 community groups opposing Port Botany expansion, and I laughed scornfully at the Woodford piece at the Fair Trade café in Glebe recently. Gary Blashke OAM and Bob Walsh come to mind as unsung heroes that Woodford should have looked at but they are ‘dangerous critics’ of the NSW ALP. We were there at the cafe to admire this grand wooden table in the form of a dangerous salty.

Yep, there sure are a lot of political crocodiles out there if you want to rock and roll online. Only today our former employer Lawrence Gibbons has threatened to contact our web server (copied fyi via Sydney Indymedia organiser Cameron Gregg) presumably to shut us down. Our server is based in the USA, ironically Gibbons also hails from,  where they tend to believe in free speech. I hope they continue to do so.


Postscript #1: Oh, and what was the question I wanted to ask? I dreamt of flying last night (echo of the auto belay at the climbing gym last Sunday, and very groovy) then remembered this omission from the report:

Question: Gore Vidal and Bob Carr were asked by Phillip Adams if online activism was electorally relevant. This was about 12 months ago on one of his shows. Carr was categorical that it was not, Vidal a little surprised by his friend said in the USA it definitely was. Do you think the difference in answers is merely due to time lag here, and what about the 75% of the population who may use the net but don't have tertiary education and don't even care to, and would never attend a forum like this? Was Bob Carr referring to these Daily Telegraph readers when dismissing 'the online activist classes'?

My answer: It is time lag only. Get Up etc proves Carr is wrong and why he was losing it by 2005, but equally the anti intellectual ill educated classes most likely don't use the net for politiking just as they don't listen to the abc, don't read the SMH, don't go to uni, and often hate stuck up elites even as they still rely on doctors, lawyers, computer technicians and all the other professionals as little as possible.

And experts like PM John Howard know it. Indeed the forum confirmed my answer and this blind spot of self awareness in the audience, by sharing an open joke about Miranda Devine, right wing reporter. They didn't  realise as they sledged Devine that she has successfully jumped from the Daily Terror to colonise a chunk of their preferred newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald just as Howard has partially colonised the working classes. So Evan Thornley MP (ALP), if ever you read this, have a good think about that electoral/technolgoical dynamic, (and thanks for the presentation by your 'gopher' Brett).

Posted by editor at 8:08 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 5 April 2007 3:10 PM NZT
Tony Koch of the The Australian sells out his acclaimed journalistic integrity with racist baiting of TWS?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: big media

Tony Koch is no “Journalist of the Year” if his latest feature is any guide.


But first some credit where it’s due: On p2 24th March 2007 of The Australian, which is known for its 4 page paid propaganda Special Advertising Reports for the resources industry, their paper lauds Koch like this


“Our man wins Journalist of the Year award”


“…Koch, a three-times Walkley award winner and legendary figure in Queensland journalism, won the $20,000 award sponsored by The Age newspaper for his exceptional coverage of the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island.”


That’s a big rap for Koch. But then consider this latest feature yesterday 3rd April 2007:


Rough passage | Features | The Australian


It’s about “Queensland's white environmental establishment has sidelined traditional owners in the quest to protect the wild rivers of Cape York, writes Tony Koch”


Trouble is it looks like a big fat resource industry lie by their mouthpiece The Australian using their most credible star reporter in a hard fought federal election year where Queensland is a big battle ground state.


Examples of the resource industry financial pumping of the viability of The Australian’s big fat pay packages can be found here:


Engineering & Resources/A Special Advertising Report 24-25 March 2007 – all 8 pages of it.


And then this is this one: Paydirt uranium conference A Special Advertising Report pages 38-39 March 19th 2007.


Get the picture: The Wilderness Society (TWS) in the story being baited as racist, is the arch enemy of the big dam, big land clearing, big uranium mining sector that pay for The Australian to keep the presses and the gravy train rolling. It’s all so blatant crude and pathetic. And essentially why democracy is broken in this country when it comes to ethical land use decisions for the little guys, not the corporation bonuses.

So what is the evidence? Well when you read the story at the link above you are impressed by the three courageous Aboriginal protesters against the might of the Qld Govt and white greenie establishment. Small but brave they win support from other local Aboriginal dignatories.


Trouble is the feature airbrushes these easily obtained statements on the web from leading Aboriginal voices who you might consider to be even more representative:


The Carpentaria Land Council and The Wilderness Society call for protection of Gulf of Carpentaria Wild Rivers in Queensland

The Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
The Wilderness Society Queensland Inc

Media Release
23 June 2006


The Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (CLCAC) and The Wilderness Society today called on the Queensland Government to honour its 2004 election commitment to protect the rivers of the Gulf region under its Wild Rivers initiative.


The CLCAC and The Wilderness Society have been lobbying the Government this week in the lead up to an important cabinet discussion next Monday, 26 June 2006, which will determine the future direction of the Wild Rivers initiative.


In recent weeks, mining interests and the National Party have called for the scrapping of proposals to protect several Gulf region rivers including the Gregory River and Settlement Creek.


CLCAC have consulted closely with all of the traditional owner groups - the majority of people affected by the proposed declarations. They have expressed their overwhelming support for the protection of their rivers.


Murrandoo Yanner, a Gangalidda traditional owner said, “Healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our people – everything depends on that. Water for drinking, fish for eating – we have to protect this for our children’s children. We’ve talked with the Government and we thought we were on the same page – we want the Settlement and Gregory Rivers declared – the Government shouldn’t cave in to the scare-mongering of those mining and agriculture mobs”.


The Wilderness Society has also called for immediate declaration of the four Gulf rivers. Larissa Cordner, wild rivers spokesperson, said, “The only thing that is required now is a Cabinet decision that accurately reflects the Government's election commitment – we expect these rivers to be protected”.


Anthony Esposito, The Wilderness Society Indigenous program manager, said, “The support of the traditional owners is essential to the success of the Wild Rivers initiative on the ground, and the Government has it. The Beattie Government should honour its election promise to protect the Gulf rivers and not bow to the outrageous demands of the Queensland Resources Council and the National Party”.

For more information, please contact:

Larissa Cordner
Wild Rivers Campaigner
Email Larissa Cordner
Workphone: 07 3846 1420
Fax: 07 3846 1620

[bold added]


What happened to Tony Koch’s reportage of other Black voices apart from the pro big industry ones?


As they say in South America, not every Indian is a good Indian, not every tree is a good tree. There are developer Blacks and conservationist Blacks just like white society, and you know what Tony Koch? It’s racist to suggest otherwise.


The clue to the deceit is in the reference to Noel Pearson of the Cape York Land Council calling for postponement of the protection decisions, and then the map with the story: The 4 wild rivers protected are not really part of Cape York. How unsurprising.


Declaration: This writer was employed as an advocate for The Wilderness Society in 1993-4 including their pioneering Land Rights Policy which strongly recognised the traditional owners of heritage land.


This included meeting with traditional owners here in NSW as well as land council representatives including the NSW Aboriginal Land Council in Parramatta, and at conferences convened by the Environmental Defenders Office.


Our law honours thesis in 1989 was entitled A Legal Foundation for Aboriginal Land Rights, and predicted the native title decision in 1992 of the High Court Mabo Case from precedents in South Africa, India, PNG, and Canada, as well as the writings of Henry Reynolds.

Posted by editor at 1:38 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007 2:05 PM NZT
Tuesday, 3 April 2007
Selective big media spin the Iranian hostage tit for tat?
Mood:  irritated
Topic: human rights

Item #1 via google: Date: 6th February 2007 BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Iran envoy 'abducted in Baghdad' 

Item # 2 via google Date: 6th Feb 2006 Iranian diplomat may have been arrested in Iraq - CNN.com

Item # 3 via google Date: March report of Jan 2007 kidnapping : Fate of Five Detained Iranians Unknown by Khody Akhavi, WASHINGTON - As the Western media turns its attention to the fate of 15 Britons detained for allegedly trespassing into Iranian waters over the weekend, the status of five Iranian officials captured in a U.S. military raid on a liaison office in northern Iraq on Jan. 11 remains a mystery. ......

Item #4 via google 1st April 2007 Bush calls for Iran to release British sailors - World - smh.com.au


SAM comment: No it's not an April Fools joke on consumers here. Like Orwell's 1984 we are meant to believe via western including Australian big media that the British sailors were taken hostage in a vacuum by those wicked Iranians, that in fact there is no history, only today's spin, and indeed the truth still to be written tomorrow!

Postscript #1 4th April 2007: The right wing Sydney Daily Telegraph page 28, offline at this time, carries a report from the UK The Spectator with headline "Sailors taken in revenge for raid" as implied by the above chronology of articles. How unsurprising.

Posted by editor at 12:14 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007 1:10 PM NZT
Monday, 2 April 2007
It's official 6,684 hits for the month of March 2007, first legal threat received
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media

We are gradually growing as a  www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog

 The figures for 2007 are now


January 2800

February 5,372

March 6,684


For this we are pleased.


And if the axiom of good reporting is that it's a story that someone somewhere doesn't want published then this received today should fit the bill:


2 April 2007 

Tom McLoughlin



Dear Tom,


Re: Public Comments about the Addison Road Centre 


The Board has directed me to write to you about your comments on your blogsite. I am asked to officially warn you about making public comments which undermine the reputation of the Addison Road Centre.  


The Board instructs you to desist from making public derogatory comments about the Centre and its members. 


The Board further understands that you have concerns you wish to express. The Centre has adopted a Grievance Procedure, which is available to you, or any other staff member, or member of the Centre, which you should follow to air your concerns. The Grievance Procedure has been circulated to you. The appropriate step in that process is a formal complaint which can then be investigated.


This is an official warning. If you engage in further public comment in this vein, then the Board may consider disciplinary action.  


Yours sincerely,  

Ian Laird, General Manager



We have responded to refute the assertions in this letter with various legal argument and feel pretty good about our position in this situation.


The two stories complained of are here:


Saturday, 31 March 2007

Building Addison Rd Community Centre healthy democracy* beyond influence peddling, self interest


under topic local news and


Sunday, 18 March 2007

Our work ban on errant community centre tenant


again under topic local news



We stand by both these stories for being soundly in the public interest as well as our personal interest, and well sourced based on our lawyerly instincts for evidence based assertions. We are happy to apply a corrections policy where it can be shown we have strayed from any fact or reasonable comment.



We reject outright in the strongest possible terms that this damages the reputation of the ARC - which has a certain reputation all of its own and it would be dishonest to suggest otherwise. Also we include many positive aspects about the ARC which is we are not only happy to report but also have helped actively to achieve.


Further we note the precedent of the Local Government Act (NSW) which positively encourages outreach, information and education of the public about the situation regarding public bodies (in that case local councils) which we think the Addison Road Centre is quite comparable in terms of community service function.


Lastly we were always employed as an independent contractor until recently at the ARC when the centre urged this writer recently to become an employed staff member, with a pay rise. But that can't be at the cost of my democratic right to  free speech.

Postscript #1 3rd April 2007:  We don't compare ourselves with the gag order on David Hicks, or Mr Peek of Tristar allegedly sacked for speaking to the meeja, but we think the community is heartily sick of authoritarian bully boy censorship tactics.

Lawyer Greg Barnes wrote this in ezine crikey.com.au today of the implied constitutional right to political communication as here in the context of the abused Hicks:

"Since 1992, in a case involving the former Labor MP Andrew Theophanous, the High Court has determined that there are implied rights to free speech and communication when it comes to discussion of issues about government and politics, particularly in the context of elections. This is known as the implied freedom of political communication.

Surely the circumstance of the detention of Mr Hicks is a matter concerning politics or government. His arrest and detention has been the subject of heated political discourse. If the media publishes an interview with Mr Hicks about these matters are they simply not utilising that implied freedom? "

Amen to that as regards this humble blog reporting background to an ARC general meetings under their constitution. The attempted gag letter from the ARC board should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

Posted by editor at 10:00 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2007 3:52 PM NZT
The Iemma self described 'good government' staggers .....again
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: nsw govt

Picture: Phil Koperberg MP, Senator John Faulkner, ex MP Sandra Nori, Paul Gibson MP

Just as


- the Burnely road Tunnel tragedy in Melbourne the day before the recent election here in Sydney underlined the high risk road tunnels built or planned by the NSW govt ,


- then a couple of days later 3 die in a government ferry collission literally under the Harbour Bridge,


now we have more so called "good government" self described by Premier Morris Iemma on election night, as per the article in the The Australian today below regarding police probe of Paul Gibson MP.


Only trouble is, it's not very good and this is likely to be only the start of a long and grim 4 years on Planet ALP aka NSW. We also seem to recall MP Paul Gibson in the story below, known to be a favourite of the legal drugs industry (hotels, gambling), is apparently an ex football jock and has also been linked to ex wife of Senator John Faulkner (aka the Governor General of the ALP) the recently retired Sandra Nori MP ex member for Port Jackson now Balmain.


This looks like an intrinsically unstable dynamic to this writer:


 Police probe delays Iemma minister appointment

April 02, 2007


NSW Premier Morris Iemma says Blacktown MP Paul Gibson will not be sworn in as a minister today because he is being investigated by police.


It was announced on Friday that Mr Gibson would be promoted from the backbench to become minister for sport and recreation, Western Sydney and road safety


Mr Iemma today said Mr Gibson would not be sworn in today along with the rest of the cabinet because of an allegation that had been made against him.


“On Friday evening, a member of my staff was informed of a serious allegation involving Mr Gibson,” Mr Iemma said in a statement.


“This allegation has now been forwarded by me via the director general of the Premier's Department to the NSW police for full investigation.


“It is not appropriate for there to be any further commentary on the nature of the allegation.”


Mr Iemma said incoming Gaming and Racing Minister Graham West would temporarily take on Mr Gibson's allocated portfolios while the claims were investigated.


In 1998, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) dismissed allegations by convicted criminal Louis Bayeh that he had corruptly provided money and other benefits to Mr Gibson.


Mr Gibson's planned inclusion in Mr Iemma's new-look cabinet alongside former NSW Rural Fire chief-turned-MP Phil Koperberg attracted attention because of bad blood between them.


Mr Koperberg, who will become the minister for climate change, environment and water, last year publicly revealed his former wife Katherine had once applied for an apprehended violence order against him and accused Mr Gibson of being involved in a plot to smear his name.


Mr Gibson and Ms Koperberg were romantically involved for several years after the Koperberg marriage ended.


Mr Koperberg and Mr Gibson last week insisted they could work together.


Posted by editor at 3:33 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007 4:01 PM NZT
Logger union effectively working for Howard's work choices agenda?
Mood:  down
Topic: election Oz 2007

This is the newsagent banner for The Australian newspaper October 7th 2005. It refers to a $4M sweetheart deal with the logger union in Tasmania and the Howard federal government, as a pay off for their support in the 2004 federal election.

This is the union that Michael O'Connor in the news today says deserves the right to log where ever and whatever they want despite the urgency of climate change, the urgency of threat to biological diversity in an increasingly exhausted natural world, as per this report:

Rudd facing union backlash on forests

KEVIN Rudd is facing a backlash from the union that helped sink Mark Latham's 2004 election campaign, amid fears Labor's new forestry policy will cost Tasmanian jobs.

This is the same logger unionist who is implicated as an apologist for political terrorism at Wandella near Cobargo on the NSW South Coast, and in Victoria before that:

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

Posted by editor at 2:15 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007 2:37 PM NZT
Fran Kelly on RN in the 7.45 am news shadow exposes Hicks gag perverting legal administration, as Visy goes for broke per 702
Mood:  special
Topic: big media


Picture: The super bright Fran Kelly matches wits with big thinker Mal Turnbull MHR this morning.

The serious political analysis from Michelle Grattan (AO, Adjunct Professor ) every morning on radio national abc radio (576 AM on your dial in Sydney) is usually just before the 7.45 am news on the higher rating 702 abc radio.

It usually clashes with the classy simper of Virginnia Trioli, the thinking man's crumpet prefacing her morning show. Suffice to say I turn to Michelle's probing reminiscent of a George Smiley guru, because she has the real JUICE on federal election prep.

But even Big Michelle gets it 'wrong' sometimes - Hicks gag is in the context of a criminal style legal process whereas confidentiality provision is far more appropriate to a CIVIL matter. So to quote a legal saying res ipsa loquitur - the matter speaks for itself the gag is a civil mechanism for political protection, not administration of criminal justice. The Howard/Bush regime are guilty as charged of perverting the administration of justice because it should be seen and heard to be done, not gagged.

So sorry Michelle your ad lib misfired there. Indeed Fran Kelly tackles Mal Turnbull MP on this very gag - Turnbull who in an earlier life was involved in the  famous in the Spy Catcher free speech fight: SPY CATCHER by Peter Wright which we once found dumped outside the old Surry Hills library and devoured



Mal sidesteps the free speech issue and as Kelly points out he will be free before 1 year sentence here in Australia.

Robert Richter QC a defence and human rights advocate says its unique that USA Bush regime agent Susan Crawford of their Defence Dept cut the Hicks deal rather than chief prosecutor Mo Davis. In our view that's in effect perverting the administration of justice like the whole rotten operation.

Another broader concern for the long suffering ABC consumers is that Fran Kelly does her cutting edge media work in the shadow of the 7.45am news on the sister station because it seems it's not safe to be heard at a higher rating time on these critical issues.

Indeed as I write Richter confirms my view commercial contests often have confidentiality, but not the Hicks type of case: An illegal gag in the USA legal system. So are the Australian and USA government's saying his witness will actually damage their intellectual justification for the War on Terror. It sure looks like it.

It is true you can go to the the Radio National morning show website to download the story,


as wonk Christian Kerr of ezine crikey.com.au is also known to do but its not quite the same and damn annoying switching the dial between two stations.

This morning I missed most of the story about (dodgy process for?) a  Visy plantation fed pulp mill stage 2 at Tumut (a $450 million expansion, state significance wave through by Minister Sartor) set to expand pine plantations by 30,000 ha or so, with very serious landscape and water catchment implications, we having attended the first Commission of Inquiry for stage 1 in the late 90ies:

27/3/98...Visy pulpmill Commission of Inquiry for the NSW Planning Minister based on exotic plantations in the local region.

 A quick few phone calls and I found that it was advertised locally for a month in February in the shadow of the state election prep, and got a very few submissions according to Moira Shields of ABC Wagga. I referred her to the Environmental Defenders Office and quickly gave a brief to principal solicitor Jeff Smith too - good to see him at work at 8.15 am on Monday.

 This is what recently retired and highly respected Commissioner Kevin Cleland said in his prescient final report in 1998 on the stage 1 Commission of Inquiry process regarding stage 2 in the news today 9 years later:

"The pine plantation resource in the Tumut region will require supplementing to ensure timber is available to the mill over the next 60 years. This is not part of the development application for the mill. Nevertheless, an additional area of 30,000 hectares is required  for the Stage 1 and a further 40,000 hectares for stage 2. These areas  are substantial and compliance with the relevant Codes of Practice will be essential to ensure adverse environmental impacts do not occur. To accord with the National Forest Policy Statement these additional plantations need to be established on largely cleared land with only incidental clearing. Some parties [eg local property owners, green groups] are concerned for the social implications of changing land use from agriculture to forestry monoculture  over such large area. I recommend preparation of a strategic plan."  [bold added]

: Kevin Cleland, extact of executive summary of report to NSW Planning Minister June 1998.

Here's betting London to a brick, there is no "strategic plan" for massive regional landscape change in the political shadowlands of the Southern Slopes of Tumut, Cootamundra, Wagga area during the incompetent and corrupt Carr-Iemma government.

Here's betting the critics like local property owners are being bought off (according to advice) as the defacto method of good land use governance here on planet ALP aka NSW, and other civil society voices like this one are being studiously ignored.

Who indeed will even take the bet?

Posted by editor at 9:44 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007 2:32 PM NZT

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