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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 13 September 2007
Howard feeds the leadership/polling crocodile, to eat him next
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: election Oz 2007


You know that old fable about never feeding a crocodile because they are always hungry? Once you start you just have to keep feeding it until the hand itself is inside the jaws and the rest quickly follows.

The Greens/greenies know the metaphor well because it's what the two major parties say about offering appeasing policy on say forest protection: The Greens are never satisfied and the crocodile will just want more forest to lock up after that. That's Wilson Tuckey with that acute comment, because yes the Greens do want a sustainable society, and there's nothing wrong with that either. Bob Carr called it the wolves with lambent eyes looking up for more chunks of meat after the meal seconds earlier (of some forest protection). Tuckey/Carr - same resource politicians in essence.

But today in the current politics de jour the crocodile is the damning polling against vain old man John Howard. The unchanging crushing reality of that polling means Howard has to appease the change/succession merchants in his own party .... to buy time. 

Last week Howard reacted to that reality by sending trusty Alex Downer into the midst of the issue, just like he surely sent Geof Cousins/Heffernan into the midst of the Tas pulp mill issue to get control of it again, Howards agents pissing in opponents pockets while always supporting resource extraction his whole life.

This week Howard aka Rodent has glared down an open challenge, and when that didn't kill the crocodile, has fed the toothy beast a big chunk of meat today with an undefined, unreliable, unbelievable retirement sometime in the next 3 years. He won't even retire from Bennelong, maybe pulling strings still like the Mufti from Lakemba?

Howard's got no clothes. The Newspoll next Monday/Tuesday is the next act in this tragedy evolving into farce. Beazley was in the news yesterday saying Howard has until end of the week. 

The next group of polls will be Pythonesque - it's only a flesh wound, blood spurting from the stump.


Postscript #1

Minister Joe Hockey is on the abc AM show this morning 13th Sept 2007 with some real howlers:

1. universal support in the Cabinet for Prime Minister Howard - clearly not the case, expedient convenience given he won't go quietly. In other words papering over a huge chasm of disagreement, a brave face, for mutual self preservation of credibility in the short term.

2. John Howard is 'the Don Bradman of Australian Politics' - how vain is that? There was only one Don Bradman and Howard is not past Menzies by quite a way yet. Further Bradman was bowled out for a duck in his last innings short of a test 100 batting average. So it may not be the most helpful metaphor. All the polls are clear - Howard may well be out for a duck next election innnings, or a very low score.


Additionally, the more prominent Peter Costello is this next 4 days attacking the ALP Opposition, when combined with a bad poll for Howard next Tuesday, as well as Morgan etc before that, and the precursors for an execution of Howard's prime ministership will all be in place for real.

The backbench and Cabinet will have no reason to not just make the change and start rebuilding the electoral prospects of the Government on credible climate change, on extracting ourselves from Iraq, on dumping the 25 nuke reactors agenda, reconciliation values and sundry other dodgy Howard policies.

Postscript #2 14th Sept 2007

Costello is not the problem for the Govt, that the ALP can exploit as a negative given his strong economic reputation (right or wrong), the real downer for the govt and why the polls will go south again, and why the so called 'attack' tv adverts (but really fair critique) will work' is that this PM is indecisive. When will he retire, why won't he commit to 3 years, why can't he be certain (as McKew points out) for such an important job?

Howard now flushed out, can expediently claim in parliament yesterday an honest virtue (by contrast with ALP retired premiers keeping their plans quiet until the day - like Beattie recently), but it doesn't really wash or resonate because those jobs were not relinquished for age driven reasons, or fatal govt polling reasons. And the PM's job is the big cheese by comparison really controlling the money in our democracy. 

That's why indecision ii far more fatal at that level. People know the States are the smaller game/dynamic by comparison, but PM of the country has to be safe, secure, reliable, not indecisive, uncertain, aging, or as the Sydney Telegraph put it ...dithering. 

In conclusion, it's the uncertainty, not Costello that is the Govt's problem. Barnaby Joyce is right - Costello is stereotyped as unpopular Treasurer but such are made to be broken, and one wit in that electorate pointed out PC hasn't been "tested" because he's not in the chair for real - the same logic Howard uses to claim polls will bounce once its the election for real.

Which version the Coalition believes will decide their fate, even as an Opposition. Howard's plea to keep hold of their "political understandings" flies in the face of the polls which have stabilised against him, and along with it the broadsheet flagship of News Ltd. Now the Coalition have the shock on the head from their own side of conservative media, reality must follow ... but how long will it take? Methinks the defacto Cabinet meeting in Downer's hotel room shows in their hearts they know. It doesn't have much to do with being a Howard Hater as Alan Jones claimed this morning on 2GB (read above re the distinction between retiring premiers versus retiring PMs).


Posted by editor at 9:47 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007 10:45 AM NZT
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Howard is a dead duck Prime Minister now
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: election Oz 2007

Problem for winning Libs is that you ought not listen to cocky certainty of proven losers. Downer as sacked federal leader mid 90ies, Fahey March 1995 (despite an Olympics and saving Prince Charles from a madman), Hewson who lost the so called "unloseable election" in 1993.

The Liberal Party should get real. Howard's vanity is there for all to see. Rudd has been practicising how to be humble and is not so set in his ways a la climate change etc.

And speaking of which issue Hewson says 'climate change is the greatest challenge for Australia for decades if not centuries' [really he said that, an issue Costello tried to run via Cabinet in 2003], and that he didn't support Howard taking Australia into Iraq.

Well onya John, like your style, the sincere feral abacus and all that, but hey that's a very tepid endorsement for vain old man Howard, who will 'have to be carried out in a pine box'. You said it Abacus. You are describing an old man consumed by the ring of power.

Dangerous to all. Hope the Libs can do "the execution" as Christian Kerr noted on News Radio 630 earlier today. The future of the country probably depends on it to some degree.


Image from Crikey.com.au to 40K subscribers 11th Sept 07 follows here

Postscript #1 1pm 12th Sept 2007

Nothing and everything changes after the lengthy party room meeting of the Liberal and then joint Coalition Party today:

There is no formal challenge to Howard's leadership after cunning pre emption of post APEC challenge by sending Downer into the Cabinet's midst and finding out the mindset, and who is really pushing against him, to be prepared.

If there had been an APEC riot he wouldn't need the real politik insurance but better to be sure: Send Alex into the flock to see who were wolves under wool.

But there is a price to be paid:

1. Everyone on the backbench, in the media, in the political community now knows there was a majority of Cabinet who support Howard resigning and all that implies, as per reports of a cosy gathering last Thursday or so in Downer's hotel room during the APEC 'gabfest';

2. The next devastating flatlining Newspoll is in 5 days time, Monday night if memory serves, once every two weeks. The same polling evidence that prefaced the current leadership crisis of confidence felt by former political client ministers and backbenchers within the Coalition, will only be reinforced ...most likely ...in 5 days time.

3. According to the history of these things the first phase is the evidence of a geniuine significant shift in sentiment. We have seen that now at point 1 formal vote or not. The second act is the actual execution. In five days time after the next Newspoll?

4. Counter to this scenario is the claim that internal Party polling by Cosby Textor shows the Howard Coalition are actually in striking distance 46-54 in some critical marginals like Eden Monaro. It hardly seems pursuasive though with general polling in the annihilation range of 42 - 58 or worse 40 - 60. The odd Eden Monaro doesn't withstand a tsunami like that. There are a hell of a lot of other backbenchers on fine sensory alert now besides just Gary Nairn.

Quack quack ... erk.

Postscript #2 7.30 am 13th Sept 07

Howard feeds the leadership crocodile, to eat him next

You know that old fable about never feeding a crocodile because they are always hungry? Once you start you just have to keep feeding it until the hand itself is inside the jaws and the rest quickly follows.

The Greens/greenies know the metaphor well because it's what the two major parties say about offering appeasing policy on say forest protection: The Greens are never satisfied and the crocodile will just want more forest to lock up after that. That's Wilson Tuckey with that acute comment, because yes the Greens do want a sustainable society, and there's nothing wrong with that either. Bob Carr called it the wolves with lambent eyes looking up for more chunks of meat after the meal seconds earlier (of some forest protection). Tuckey/Carr - same resource politicians in essence.

But today in the current politics de jour the crocodile is the damning polling against vain old man John Howard. The unchanging crushing reality of that polling means Howard has to appease the change/succession merchants in his own party .... to buy time. 

Last week Howard reacted to that reality by sending trusty Alex Downer into the midst of the issue, just like he surely sent Geof Cousins/Heffernan into the midst of the Tas pulp mill issue to get control of it again, Howards agents pissing in opponents pockets while always supporting resource extraction his whole life.

This week Howard aka Rodent has glared down an open challenge, and when that didn't kill the crocodile, has fed it a big chunk of meat today with an undefined, unreliable, unbelievable retirement sometime in the next 3 years. He won't even retire from Bennelong, maybe pulling strings still like the Mufti from Lakemba?

Howard's got no clothes. The Newspoll next Monday/Tuesday is the next act in this tragedy evolving into farce. Beazley was in the news yesterday saying Howard has until end of the week. 

The next group of polls will be Pythonesque - it's only a flesh wound, blood spurting from the stump.

Posted by editor at 11:49 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007 11:52 AM NZT
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Will vain Howard be forced out at govt party room meeting 12 Sept 07?
Mood:  energetic
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: Environment Minister, but more significantly former federal treasurer for the organisational wing of the Liberal Party, Malcolm Turnbull meets with John Howard PM breifly on the floor of Federal Parliament today 11th Sept 2007. Turnbull is claimed in reports on abc radio to have been urging the PM to reconsider his position. Turnbull's office in turn denies this. Ditto Foreign Minister Downer. No questions from the Rudd ALP opposition on any leadership instability to Howard in Question Time today either, which actually could be a smart tactic as Howard is very counter suggestive by reputation and its in the interests of the ALP to let the Govt stew.


Any self respecting lawyer in the Coalition Govt will be disgusted that PM Howard would give unqualified support to 200 police who deliberately refused to wear ID badges at an APEC protest recently.

That is the slippery slide to real fascism and political abuse of power in a Prime Minister.

To seek to forgive the rule of law on our police force as distinct from applying in full measure only to protesters is way beyond the pale.

Now Sky News at 9.30 am today has put up a kite that two Cabinet MPs Turnbull and Downer have calculated the electoral equation against vain old man Howard staying as leader, soaked as he is in corrupt power lust, not goals of good governance as such.

The Coalition being slaughtered might be the dream of the ALP and many of the public too but it's not good for democracy, which has suffered here in NSW for a huge win to the ALP. The ALP do abuse their power in due course.

It is the obligation of the broad Coalition Party room to defend the sustainability of the party in Parliament according to their own lights, as best they can. Quite objectively too there must be a sustainable Opposition to preserve a functioning Parliament.

If Howard is leading them over a cliff to a landslide that just is not in the national interest to keep the ALP honest.

Time to start rebuilding the prospects of the Coalition even from the perspective of Oppositional politics.

The ABC World Today is running the leadership quandary as the lead and the word is Howard's "selfish" nature (which we interpret as vanity of an old man) is cruelling their whole party. The PM's enormous centralisation of power has effectively cannabalised his credibility. Endorsing cruel force of 200 unbadged police is just the latest symptom.

20 points polling differential under his leadership is real and only getting bigger.

So any leadership change isa all in real time now, just as ex national Liberal Party President Valder has the microphone, with the spark into a flame like a bushfire on total fire ban day in the height of summer.


More circumstantial evidence here too in the pages of today's conservative newspaper The Australian which in sum is like a death notice for Howard, indirectly:

It's all there in the articles in the Oz today. Let me read the paper for you like a Coalition MP, because its their paper, seriously:

1. the front pager - "Rudd to confront states on pokies" builds on cracking 4 Corners last night (Kuring gai 1 pokie per 1000 popn, Bankstown something like 15 per 1000 ie poor people/ALP seats getting screwed by ALP parasites). A strong policy initiative that every Coalition MP would agree with to their very moral core. A real heart breaker in the belief in their own sides comparative edge on things that matter.

2. Beattie is the other main story, showing how to quit by example, very very telling.

3. Bottom page 1, Howard will never give up power voluntarily story.

4. page 2 variations on the theme above

5. Native title agreement in Qld p3, the modern Australia agenda, not Howard's

6. Pulp mill dogma shared by Howard trashed p4

7. page 6 Beattie again full page, how it's done by example, eschewing the lust for power

8. Ditto page 7 only Bligh as woman leader, again feeding perception ALP is modern to have a female leader, not the past social norms of Howard

9. page 8, APEC - in sum, not specifically, a fizzer electoral launch strategy Howard tried to cook for 3 years but no banana. He's not everyone's Daddy anymore.

10. page 9-10 irrelevant world stories re election here, bar one re Patreas report hedging in Iraq disaster, Brits want out of Basra, just like ALP again.

11. p11, Beattie again, damn it. But also devastating acute APEC piece by Louise Evans with nasty sting, Howard tried to censor questions at his last presser at APEC. Ouch ouch ouch. Power gone to his head really.

12. p12 Bill Leak gallows humour cartoon crystal ball taboo message, Opinion pieces by in house and invited, 'Too little, too late, PM', and 'For the sake of Howard's legacy/Costello ...must be ...Liberal leader' and 'Rudd Mandarin speech'

13. p13 letters headline "To remain in the leadership will only be seen as obstinancy"

That is not so much a hint, as a coppers baton on the head from The Australian to the Coalition Party Room. After the shock, reality will follow ...

Posted by editor at 7:09 PM NZT
Water bills set to rise up to $130 per year for all property owners to fund desal white elephant
Mood:  rushed
Topic: nsw govt

Public meeting on this Wednesday at University of Technology Sydney, access via Harris St Ultimo (ABC side) of the building. 


Posted by editor at 11:08 AM NZT
Kevin Rudd has a problem in NSW and its name is Morris Iemma?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: election Oz 2007

With due respect to Ian Rintoul of the Stop Bush Coalition organising team we submit the 99.99% of civil society peaceful supporters on the Saturday rally and march are not VICTIMS of dictatorial police brutality or police state tactics. Including bookseller Bob Gould and other elderly folks blocked from exiting Hyde Park North in some of the vision. What we say is the rally marchers are in fact SURVIVORS of police state tactics, not victims, and thankyou Black Australians for the survival conceptual framework.

Indeed we suggest gratitude is in order to thank Morris 'Mussolini' Iemma, and John 'Adolf' Howard for their extraordinary endorsement in total of the police behaviour including 200 unbadged proto fascists, no disrespect to the 3,300 other decent coppers used as pawns in a cynical political game:

PM hails 'brilliant' police tactics

More fool these mainstream political 'leaders' for contradicting what every fair minded person at the rally itself, and those who read page 7 of the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday, and community media here, will now know too:

Identity parade of the secret police


And isn't the community media flourishing, sprouting everywhere on YouTube, ARTV footage, news websites etc. This Premier's credibility is going south every hour and day since Saturday with all those dubious road blocks miles from restricted and declared APEC zones, and despite the fixers in some Big Meeja.

We should thank these two, Morris Iemma and Howard, for truly revealing their dictatorial tendencies over democracy. Ironically it feeds Howard's attack on Rudd ALP as dictators if they hold every state and federal govt. No wonder JH was encouraging MI and 'Benito' Scipione [NSW police commissioner] to pre emption, forward interventions 'before something got out of
control'. It's Howard's own justification for invasion over non existent WMD in Iraq - burning the village to save the village. 600K deaths later there are some misgivings. Great thinking that. Grand Catholic morality that. Actually gutter governance like Benito Mussolini himself of WW2 infamy. What we wonder does Iemma senior feel about that in his own 'quality' son the Premier?

A forward looking self defence - there's a word for that - its
called fascism against otherwise lawful activity, for real. Iemma reveals that in his disgusting urban
development decisions as well like the 3A repeal of the Environmental
Planning Act (eg another big coal mine and Enfield intermodal late last week). The 'premier' is thus unfit to serve and a proto fascist,
and so are the ALP in NSW. Beattie resigning today as a marcher against
Joh in the 70ies must be very embarrassed by Iemma authorising 200
black op police. Never have the ALP been so shameful as Iemma
yesterday, and it's an eloquent justification of a third group in
politics via an independent The Greens.

You can't fool all the people all the time: There were 10,000 decent
beautifiul people at that march including Chris Brown's mother. Who
will talk to another 10 and on and on. They will be mortified and
aggrieved by Iemma. And they probably voted for him one way or the
other. But will they again? A good day for The Greens I should think. A
bit of a NSW problem for Rudd though.

And after the scathing column by Miranda Devine about this


, the NSW Opposition Leader Barry OFarrel could well support a Parliamentary Inquiry into poor justice governance from a centre right position of ethical law and order, of rule of law for police and protesters.

No less than the Washington Post correspondent pointed out on ABC radio that this was a very atypical security performance for George W Bush, including post 9/11 WTC mass murder.

Lisa Miller as compere on morning ABC radio was also incredulous that Premier Morris Iemma had absolutely no criticism of 200 unbadged police, despite being evidence of an illegal intent, and contrary to Police Commissioner standing orders.

And another big question arising from the successful SBC march and rally.

Who were AWOL at that proud protest activity against 1. the Iraq War 2. dangerous climate change policy settings/nuke energy 3. attack on workers rights??

1. The CFMEU were missing. And my union the ASU. And their state Labor Council Secretary John Robertson usually no slouch on
community rallies.

2. The Iemma ALP in NSW were 'missing' although actually represented in a hostile way by Scipione's police

3. Kevin Rudd for the federal ALP or his representative was missing too.

And therein we can see who actually believes in and has faith in grassroots democracy, real civil society democracy, and who are hierarchical bullies whether Coalition or ALP.

More here: Call for inquiry into clash that felled photographer

Lastly for those who do feel traumatised or annoyed we recommend some therapy like this - a visit to the Chullora Wetlands project of the South West Environment Centre who were granted a 5 year lease last Sunday by Sydney Water Authority. That's good governance we could have alot more of do yer reckon?

Posted by editor at 9:10 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2007 5:52 PM NZT
Sunday, 9 September 2007
Sunday tv political talkies, 10K citizens tell W Bush, Howard to f*ck off, Ministers electioneer
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: election Oz 2007



Author’s general introductory note (skip this if you know this regular weekly column):



This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media.



Indeed it’s the tv version monitoring task similar to what Nelson Mandela refers to here in his book Long Walk to Freedom (1994, Abacus) written in Robben Island prison (where he was meant to die like other African resister chiefs of history in the 19C), at page 208



“..newspapers are only a shadow of reality; their information is important to a freedom fighter not because it reveals the truth, but because it discloses the biases and perceptions of both those who produce the paper and those who read it.”



Just substitute ‘Sunday tv political talkie shows’ for "newspapers" in the quote above.



For actual transcripts go to web sites quoted below except with Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.




Meet the Press


Press round up – none focus on successful Sydney protest because there is no pro Establishment riot story – pathetic really.


Guest is Foreign minister Downer, with heavy talent on the panel Michelle Grattan and Mal Farr of Age and Daily Telegraph respectively. Heavy weights indicate leadership skids are real, subtext is Downer is Howard man.


Talks up Howard resilience.



Downer claims dubious climate police from leaders APEC meeting [as enforceable as one of those Russian contracts against corrupt business there?! ].


Downer slags Greens for wanting to save Oz forests too.


Animation shows Howard Downer wanting to escape Iraq.

First adbreak has the brunette Barbara Bennett pro Govt IR advert with blather.


2nd half of show is mostly self referential blather – no tough leadership probing.


As camera closes out and music rolls  protagonists pick up the threads and Mal Farr launches a big double handed flourish a bit like John Travolta on Saturday Night Fever. WTF?


Transcript in due course www.ten.com.au/meetthepress








7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary 





Footage of APEC meeting proper, none of the protest.


Fascinating footage of Riley with first question to W Bush at the first press conference, noting concrete and steel barriers. Bush knows Howard picked Riley for the honour of first question because he has the highest rating network (and highest gallery pay rate?).


The most intense aspect was the charming deference of Riley’s facial expressions but the hard as steel content of his words about the “inconvenience” to quote W Bush – who got it straight up and was “maybe feeling guilty” noting “protesters who might be violent” playing firmly into John Howard’s law and order, Daddy Party electioneering tactic against the memory of a Feb 2003 peace rally that condemned him in Sydney, and did again yesterday.


W Bush fixed an unblinking, rattlesnake look of executioners practised power of death at Riley totally unconcerned by this brazen serious attack on W Bush from Australia's domestic side of politics which was a mosquito bite on W Bush’s Modern Roman Empire side of global real politik.


But you did good Mark Riley, you did good for self and profession. Looking into the volcano of Mordor and living to work another day in your gallery. Not a hint of nerves except perhaps “didn’t mean to blame you personally sir”. Ouch. That’s exactly what you did mean to do. As per Sunday Talkies 7 days ago – “Sydney is not looking very free for the Leader of the Free World” is what you said Riles, God love yer. You are no Chris Reason, that’s for sure.










Insiders 2


Lead in re Rudd success at APEC and Howard leadership problems.


Jim Middleton wrap up of  conference, missed the start of it. How quickly Sydney return to normal? 3,500 police to stand down soon etc.


Cross to Mark Vaile – increase forests by 20M ha [NSW by comparison is 80M ha in size] so yes it’s a big area. ….transcript. Parts of country have to accept permanent drought. Earnest blather.


Missed a lot more BUT Vaile dodges if PM Howard should quit, question on no poll jump from APEC? Again claims boost and sledges Rudd as if he is already the PM, sounding like a carping Opposition and negative.


Sings the loyal song for Howard, which is really loyalty to National Party agrarian socialist boondoggles via Howard.  Tired boring 10 minutes interview with so called Deputy PM.


Paul Kelly, Rudd gatecrashed APEC said with a smile. Rudd “will make a fairly effective Prime Minister”.


Kelly says Howard will lead govt to the election [echoes Oakes on 9].


Footage of PM Howard claiming climate change Sydney Declaration contrary to lead story abc 7.45 am radio news. Lenore Taylor AFR says grievously misled on Sydney APEC – feeds into vain and dishonest. Taylor savages him, really gets on her high horse, big damaging spray.


Panel – Toohey says trivial. Bolt even trashes Liberal Party “air of unreality”. Crazy. Voters are bored by global warming. Taylor disagrees. But Bolt sound that won’t sell for Howard – not credible champion – derr the pulp mill, tas forests etc etc.


APEC observations – Big gas deal, security updates/trilaterals, chaser stunt, Rudd mandarin, Bush curious language, footage as per 10 MTP. Toohey speaks sense on China needing to trade more, stop saving so much distorting currency markets.


Security expense $170M value for money? NSW police disturbingly collecting names of people against Iraq War, says Toohey. Bolt notes G20 trouble means justified. Bolt goes quietly while making his point. By and large peaceful by Taylor. Bolt gets it wrong SBC predicted 10,000 not 20K as he claimed. It was Police who said 20K but overall intent is gracious to protest civil society groups – that’s some achievement in the political dynamic. Rain kept numbers down or adverse police publicity.


Polling 58-42 trend still going toward ALP, extraordinary result.


Bolt savages Liberals air of denial fat complacency. Footage of Costello not serious, not real. Gap so big won’t turn around much in the campaign says Taylor. Bolt nodding but also concerned


Bolt says Downer after MTP should do his duty and change the leader “today”.


Lots of chat, Bolt correctly notes Chinese dictator Hu deserved a lot of protest but didn’t get very much, but actually Falung Gong did go at China all week but not so much Saturday so yes and no.



Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/



Sunday 9


Neslon as Defence minister with Oakes at 9am already about Howard leadership skids, in particular. Bland as batshit and not very trustworthy either. A spiv if ever there was.


Ellen Fanning stand alone compere, starting from 8am now?


Long interview with Oakes. Softy spoken merciless focus on the hard questions. Both know its playing for power keeps now, no time or energy for theatrics. Just the facts Maam.


Nelson’s grey hair burgeoning. Big play on Al Qaeda killed Australians in Bali – actually it was JI. ASIO tipped off by CIA prior to Bali bombing as per report in The Australian early 2007?


Sounds like a carping negative Opposition to ostensible PM Rudd.


Big arts story re Paul Getty Museums with Oz manager, polo extreme sport story.


 Adverts x 2, nurses against federal govt IR laws.


Ciao Pavarotti.







Posted by editor at 10:54 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 10 September 2007 6:27 PM NZT
Saturday, 8 September 2007
Collage of Stop Bush Coalition march in Sydney CBD Sept 8th 2007
Mood:  special
Topic: peace




Posted by editor at 9:34 PM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 8 September 2007 11:48 PM NZT
Senior police Scipione and Cullen at risk of referral to Police Integrity Commission over APEC conflicting protest permits?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: peace



As a solicitor in NSW and a community media practitioner this writer has been very interested in various aspects of this APEC week.

Now we are at the most serious end with the world leaders meeting in session and the biggest protest march scheduled in 10 hours time meeting at Town Hall at 10 am.

It has been raining heavily so the weather may or may not be conducive. That's in the hands of God or whatever guiding spirit you follow.

But here on Earth the NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione as a former chief of police intelligence, and his lieutenant Chief Superintendent Stephen John Cullen Commander of the Public Order and Riot Squad, are responsible for peace welfare and good order in Hyde Park North Friday 7th of September.

I have just finished an interview with the night shift at the ABC news desk via their direct phone line. A long chat on tape with plenty of material to work with.

My take was quite similar and independent to this which I have just seen on the SMH website this early Saturday morning:

Anger over 'propaganda'

APEC protesters dismiss police warnings about violence at a march in Sydney today.

and video by SMH here


In my interview I said: How can a police force  - as evidenced by the web reports of the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday afternoon here

Photos: Tempers and humour flared in locked-down Sydney.


- encourage two counter protests at the same time and same place in Hyde Park North, one for George W Bush, and one against the USA President. We heard via abc radio that the numbers were 10 to 1 against the pro bush banner holders.

What the images on the SMH website showed yesterday, especially one image, is that a NSW police phalanx shepherded the pro Bush banner holders into the same place and time of a long time scheduled 'bums against Bush' event which might indeed have attracted world coverage, like those mass naked glacier events.

Sure enough one anti Bush protester sought to spray symbolic red sauce on the pro Bush banner referring no doubt to the blood spilled in Iraq. He was arrested with serious force by police. This was the image of conflict we say the NSW police wanted, and promoted.

It's not the role of the NSW police hierarchy to play politics positiioning rival protests against each other same time and place, to promote conflict to justify their huge expenditure on security or to grandstand their law and order credentials.

It defies common sense that the police would chaperone a small banner weilding pro Bush protest into the midst of an anti Bush rally yesterday at Hyde Park North and is a proper matter of concern for consideration of the Police Integrity Commission.

The context is suggestive also - Scipione has been very clever as a former intelligence chief in denying the first march route past the Opera House, then second route along Martin Place, then very late in the piece announcing a road block only on Sept 4th via the Supreme Court at King and George st intersection and then allowing a third march route of their choosing to end at ... Hyde Park North just like the arrest yesterday.

In The Australian newspaper earlier this week here Black-listed marchers in court fight Sept 6th at page 11 state:

"Outside court, rally organiser Alex Bainbridge refused to rule out marching to King Street.

"The court has made very clear that we have got a right to protest. The court order today prohibits nothing, our rally and demonstration will be going ahead. As we have always said we intend for this to be a peaceful protest," Mr Bainbridge said.

Public Order and Riot Squad Commander Stephen Cullen told the court police were bracing for large-scale violence, with intelligence reports tendered in court saying protest organisers might be unable to maintain control.

The police intelligence report said "a right-wing group" numbering about 60 intended to attend the rally, which could lead to confrontation with others among the protesters themselves.

The second day of official protest passed peacefully yesterday, with police praising the conduct of about 250 demonstrators in Sydney's Belmore Park.

Sarah McKenzie, 16, from Ravenswood School for Girls, said the protest allowed young people to express their beliefs. "It's very important because I'm only 16 and I don't have the power to vote yet," she said. "

[bold, italic added]

If the NSW police under Scipione and Cullen act like they did at Hyde Park North Friday afternoon last with preferential support and prominence to a right wing group obviously seeking to provoke a reaction in the same place and location, then the NSW Police will be culpable of provoking violence for their own political purposes, just like we saw with rock carrying Quebec police in Canada reported their in late August 2007 by such as CBC network. 

That's properly a matter for the PIC. 

Fair notice of an intention to refer top brass to the NSW Police Integrity Commission to consider any improper political interference in the anti Bush protest march, free speech and right to assembly by encouraging concurrent conflicting protests at the same time and place with their police permit system.

Interestingly Tom Allard, National Security Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald writes today 8th September 2007:

Not much civility from police chiefs, but scant civil disobedience

referring to Cullen in the story and with this prescient comment:

"The psychology of the mob in protest rallies is an unpredictable beast. But there is no bigger influence on crowd behaviour than the police themselves. Bored and tense, officers controlling APEC have annoyed plenty already with their overbearing manner.

Calm and restraint are required from police manning protest lines. Unfortunately, if they have been listening to their commanders and political leaders, it's a message front-line police are unlikely to have heard."

Earlier this week we asked here on IMC will the NSW Police now that they have finally agreed to a protest march route act honourably and with integrity. We think the initial evidence of shepherding a pro Bush protest into the midst of an anti Bush rally is worrying evidence that they suffer a real deficit of honour and integrity. 

Over to the Saturday protest march. Rain permitting. 

Tom McLoughlin, solicitor in NSW, editor www.sydneyalternativemedia.com

3.00 am 8th Sept 2007 

Posted by editor at 5:11 AM NZT
Friday, 7 September 2007
Great FoI win for greenie, writes Harriet Swift of Chipstop
Mood:  special
Topic: legal

Picture: Jerry Watt at top left of a protest over south coast forests earlier this year 2007, referred to in the Sydney Morning Herald today 7th Sept 07.


Hi greenies
The "W" word has finally appeared in the Sydney morning Herald. Twice in fact. Onya Gerry!
You can leave a comment in the SMH blog about this at:
Please take the time to do that if yoou can.

[Sydney Morning Herald article follows]

Shiver me timbers: FoI victory for the little man

EVER since a giant woodchip mill was built in Eden a few decades ago, conservationists have been fighting to find out the prices Forests NSW gets for the logs that go through the mill before export to Japan.

Opponents of the mill have long argued that the damage to forests from woodchipping outweighs the value of local jobs and export income the mill provides. It has been a hard argument to prove either way, and it has been further complicated because the prices Forests NSW gets for logs have always been kept secret. However, a remarkable decision by the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal last week could change that.

A South Coast local, Gerry Watt, lodged a freedom of information application with Forests NSW, seeking the separate royalty rates it gets from South East Fibre Exports Pty Ltd, the company that owns the Eden chip-mill, for the pulplogs cut in the southern and Eden regional forestry agreements for 2003-04.

In an entirely predictable response, Forests NSW refused to release the figures on three grounds: the information has a commercial value that could be expected to diminish if released; the information concerns the business, professional, commercial or financial affairs of a company; releasing the information would found an action for breach of confidence.

Given the sensitivity with which government departments typically treat any information that has a dollar sign attached to it, Watt's chances of succeeding in his FoI application looked slim at best.

However, in a 33-page decision last week a tribunal member, Stephen Montgomery, rejected all the exemptions claimed by Forests NSW and dismissed much of the evidence they produced, handing Watt a decisive victory.

Montgomery went a step further. He said that if he was wrong, and some of the exemptions did in fact apply, he needed to consider whether the information should be released, anyway.

This view was prompted by a recent decision in the Supreme Court, University of NSW versus McGuirk, which was a rare ray of light in the dark world of FoI.

That decision says that, even if information is exempt from release, the tribunal can still order it to be released if, on balance, it believes the release is in the public interest.

During the proceedings, Forests NSW told the tribunal that it was definitely not in the public interest for the prices to be disclosed, saying there could be negative socioeconomic consequences for the area, including a drop in pulplog sales, job losses and mill closures.

Watt did not dispute these points but he said there was a public interest in knowing the way different forestry regions are commercially valued and how much private interests paid for logs cut in public forests.

Montgomery also said "the public benefits from truth and transparency, in regard to the management of public assets, assist in public benefit being determined and achieved". Weighing up these two positions, Montgomery said the socioeconomic impact from releasing the royalty rate was "a highly relevant factor" and, if Forests NSW was correct in its assessment of the potential impact, "very strong grounds would need to be found to justify disclosure of the royalty rate".

Then, in a conclusion that stunned everyone who follows freedom of information issues, he added: "In my view, the factors favouring disclosure are sufficiently strong to justify disclosure."

Did you get that? Even though jobs might be lost, mills might close and Forests NSW could be financially disadvantaged, the need for transparency and public debate outweighed such adverse consequences.

"An uninformed public cannot usefully participate in that debate," Mr Montgomery said. "I agree with the applicant that there is a public interest in an informed debate about the most appropriate uses to be made of this publicly owned asset.

"The price at which a publicly owned asset is being sold to private interests is a significant factor in that debate. It is my view that the correct and preferable decision is that the royalty rates should be disclosed."

Forests NSW has 28 days to hand over the information.

Matthew Moore is the Herald's Freedom of Information Editor. Tell him your FoI successes and failures at foi@smh.com.au
Posted by SMH Online
September 6, 2007 12:01 AM

Posted by editor at 11:54 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 7 September 2007 12:17 PM NZT
Chaser stunt adds to inspiring PR effort of non government sector at APEC Sydney
Mood:  special
Topic: human rights

Well the non govt sector has really risen to the occassion so far in a many act Shakespearean struggle for the hearts and minds of the voting public here in Sydney. Depending on the weather the main act may well yet be the anti war rally/march on Saturday morning 8th Sept 2007 at Sydney Town Hall at 10 am.

The big media have been putting in some pretty amazing balancers at times too. On the Sydney Morning Herald website yesterday before say 7 am they led on the front page with a graphic cartoon of Howard and Bush both wearing "I'm with stupid" T shirts pointing to eachother. The graphic didn't make the paper cut or even the daytime web readership, but it would have gone across the world back to the USA Democrat aligned bloggers.

Similarly on abc talkback midday yesterday a caller manager to calmly ask "why are we allowing a mass murderer into our country" (take your pick I suppose, the caller meant GW Bush, but think China, Indonesia etc). This created quite an awkward moment for compere James Vallentine worried about "slander" and balance. Or was he?! Only he knows.

The big media are featuring a courageous stunt by the Chaser comedy team here:


SECURITY experts and world leaders must be asking today how a man dressed as the 9/11 mastermind could get 10m from George Bush's APEC hotel. Not even The Chaser crew thought they would they get that close.
Video: See the belated arrest | Map: How they waltzed in to APEC
Statement: Read their explanation | Gallery: The farce in photos Blog: Praise or pan the pranksters | Poll: Was this going too far?
Gallery: Daily Telegraph reader pictures of APEC | Send us yours More
But at least as worthy is this page 7 of the Sydney Morning Herald 6th Sept 2007 half pager by business man human rights campaigner Ian Melrose

Which also reminds us of this in another direction all in the mix of this APEC calling up questions of wretched abuse of human rights by greedy corporations, such as the right to a sustainable environment, the right to a just work place (notice sticker from the Living Green festival sponsored by the Sydney City Council recently), the right to honest politics instead of the pulp mill planned in Tasmania.



Posted by editor at 8:26 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 7 September 2007 8:52 AM NZT

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