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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 2 December 2007
Bangladesh fundraiser this Friday 7 Dec at Minto
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: world


More background here:

Water torture

Whether it's from the heavens above or sanitation below, water is a constant source of danger to the people of Bangladesh, writes Larry Elliott.



Posted by editor at 8:05 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 2 December 2007 8:23 PM EADT
Sunday tv political talkies: Here comes dangerous climate change ready or not
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: aust govt


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.




Media backgrounder


- alot of worthy and humbling coverage of Matt Price's death. As the shock dissipates read this last line of Errol Simper's piece Columnist's sharp eye for the absurd and pompous 


"His death at 46 can lead you to dwell on all manner of things, not least that the good die young. And it also makes you wonder a little about possible hazards inherent in the mobile phone, an instrument Price so constantly used."




- Power station plans shelved | The Australian suggesting no coal fired power station for NSW? Hard to believe. Meanwhile in 'a shocking but not surprising' story in Good Weekend Nov 24 when all good munchkins are doing their democratic duty rather than reading, has "Dirty money/In the hunt for new fuel sources, a vast swathe of western Canada is being mined for its precious oil sands ...." There is no hope really. Remember that old Native American Indian saying 'only when the last fish and the last buffalo has been killed will white men realise you can't eat money', or similar. Well that was not just an observation, it was prophesy of inevitability. They were saying white man are incapable of respecting the ecology, and they can only learn this truth by actually going there as a society, by which time of course there is no reversal, no recovery, no way back. The di is cast for western civilisation. All the evidence bears this out.



- With all due respect to Peter Fitzsimmons (today SunHerald p48), Bruce Hawker (last Monday party liners abc 702 Trioli segment) and others in the Big Spin Meeja fully convinced by John Howard's 'dignified' concession speech on election night - let SAM editor put the contrary cynical/realistic view. Any politician who is complicit in the deaths of 500K-1M Iraqi's who can still impress his critics with a Shakespearean performance requires deconstruction. And here it is in two words - machine man. That is to say Howard knows power. Seeks it, exercises it, defends it and respects it. If Australia was prone to military coups he might have shown interest in that route. As it is he knows power had shifted to the ALP by the ballot box and it was over. Dignity was the least of his burdens. He was a supreme realist on that night. AND he knew to revive the beloved Liberals he had to take all the electoral poison into his own symbolic person. By this theatrical abasement he could ironically carve out an appeasing future for himself too across party lines (further reinforced by the friendly images of meeting his own model Mk 2 at Kirribili, ie Kev&Therese. Senior journos are nevertheless gormless and gullible to excuse the morality of the devastation in Iraq by some shallow speechmaking on a thumping loss. How incredulous. It is this same machine power aspect that explains the logical albeit immoral  appeasement of One Nation supporters as a riposte to the legendary ALP ethnic branch stacking under the cover of 'multiculturalism' for two decades. Or nuclear power to wipe out the coal industry unions. Or privatisation of Telstra to wipe out the public sector unions. It's machine politics, not public interest as such. If they coincide it's ... you know .. a coincidence. Sociopaths are like that - charming, logical, endlessly cruel.


- Curious echo of headlines Look right, look left, look right again | Dennis Shanahan Blog ... and Ramsey here Look Left, look Right, look … - Opinion - smh.com.au which sort of echoes our own prose about Rudd being a left/right/green/brown work in progress like a political Bob Dylan, written the morning after the night before 24 Nov 07




- Greens be careful for what they wish for? Greens call for Garrett to step down | NEWS.com.au: Ouch, courtesy Senator Christine Milne who is no slouch, only to get machine fixer Penny Wong out of the CFMEU and NSW forestry minister and lawyer party hack in a new Australian package. A tedious rherotician is our take out so far pre Bali conference.


- Marian Wilkinson, a top mind re Bali Emissions road map a crucial mission - Environment - smh.com.au


- Black politics looks very fluid and fraught. NLC has changed leaders given Brough compromised Galawruy and both exit right. Langton has run to safe harbour at Melbourne University from Cape York Institute. Pearson is left sledging ALP and Martin ex NT First Minister from his govt gazette perch. Undertone of intervention to reverse ALP election victory of 2001 and regain the politics of pro U mining and nuke waste dump, which the federal ALP probably support under such as Martin Ferguson as Energy minister.


Refer Links to black MPs fell apart | The Australian, Fall of the 'legend' as indigenous affairs bites | The Australian, Federal intervention led to paralysis | The Australian, Credit for reforms but legacy clouded | The Australian, Labor eyes expanded NT scheme, 'Stay with intervention' | The Australian,


- Airport politics in Sydney, Daily Telegraph (read Albanese's voicebox?) attacks $4 takeaway coffee price instead of attacking Macquarie Bank massive noise impacts which is too close to the real issue of greedy multinationals he has to appease, and notice big capital here in Albanese hits the ground running | The Australian


- great article on Aral Sea partial recovery in Weekend Australian Dec 1

"The draining of the Aral Sea was one of the 20th century's worst ecological disasters - and a warning for our own Murray-Darling system. Picture: Richard Mills Audio slideshow "

- Federal and state ALP PR spin is that consensus and cooperation is the mantra now as here: Brumby predicts end to feuds with Canberra | The Australian [but self interest and greed of a corrupted ALP party is bound to take its course]. And here too via climate enlightened NSW Unions John Robertson After 11 years of war,we can all share peace | The Australian. [Some of course 'share' more peace than others.] Others are not so forgiving on the Left: Why it’s great to see him go | Phillip Adams Blog | The Australian; On the Right: Labor's innovation pledges amount to a trumped-up industry policy p32 27/11/07 The Australian.


- Democrats get our message about three sides to the triangle of successful political action 1. research 2. media but also crucially 3. grassroots action - the last one withered on the vine in favour of style and spin. Now the vestigial parliamentary party are starting to think more clearly with this - Online activists may hold key to survival | The Australian. It is all too late for them? Time will tell.

- The USA impact of Rudd repudiation of Bush accolyte Howard is being teased out, just as we detected Carl Bernstein here to pick the entrails and take it back with him as an 'effective 13M poll on the Bush foreign policy and socially conservative values' (our line, not Carl's). Refer similarly Stanford man David Kennedy here: Historian compares Rudd to Obama | The Australian


- Perceptive upbeat 'spade work' by John Lyons in the sense of the Ausralian crawling back into the lap of the new ALP govt, via amplification of the emancipation angle for 50% of the electorate via Gillard gender symbolism as deputy PM: Journey to the centre | The Australian


- Koperberg gets a big media kicking today in the press as a proxy for Iemma from News Ltd, not least as we head in to the fire season, always the big story from December onwards. K is the ALP's bushfire go to man. Could be an ugly strategy of the state Coalition to pick off K's credibility wings re climate change in causing mega fires as here on Robin Williams Science Show yesterday, so the loggers/National Party can avoid accountability for destroying humid canopies which are fire suppressant across huge areas of old growth this last 40 years of woodchipping in NSW. And coal miners won't mind an emasculated Koperberg either after his 'clean coal' honesty/backflip. This so called "shock" story in fact is a reheating of an alleged domestic violence story from ......1987? Are they going to go back to his high school days too? We are literally talking 20 years ago. For all we know the man might be a closet Budhist by now?

 As serious as domestic violence is there just isn't enough weight or nexus to his current public service to kick this along. Maybe if he was minister for DOCS or Status of Women (never likely), or even Health. [We notice Iemma is sticking by him on abc tv prime time news tonight and he runs some of these lines and that he has declared much of this previously at his pre selection.]


On further reading and reflection there is another real politik angle to this: Selective (?) outrage of the ALP Left sisterhood a la the Ernies, admittedly based on a dinosaur unionist but more recently a misconceived (?) attack on Joe Hockey ex federal Howard Govt minister which greatly annoyed the Shrek (for claimed disrespect to his hard working wife but actually a failure he says to note the irony in his tone.) Is this attack on the Big K a revenge on the Left Sisters for saying nothing about an AVO in their own NSW Cabinet? In any case it is trench warfare emotional violence (or as Christian Kerr would call it "wet work") and a very corrosive acid on the social fabric, not just the Big Parties, especially in the fraught territory of personal morality amongst career politicians. They are hardly known for consistency one week to the next let alone decade to decade.



- Spooks are advertising for geeks to sign up claims very witty Defrag here: Worrying times as spooks seek geeks through virtual ads in games p38 IT The Australian, Tues Nov 27 2007.


- a colleague asked me about the new federal cabinet

Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 1:00 PM
Subject: the new cabinet - good question

Mmm, good question took me a day or two to think about this one.
Borrowing from the lists/Big Meeja etc, looks like Julia Gillard is way overloaded even for a smart tough cookie like her. The problem may well be over willing to breaking point as per her whole life. She said only Xmas and New Year day off. Sounds like coronary material to me. She looked holiday material on Sunday talkies this morning.
Also Martin Ferguson has energy and resources if memory serves. This is full on pro uranium mining, woodchipping etc. See [x] feedback and my chat in the string at the bottom re Penny Wong history, Faulkner done over in 95-96 as then environment minister etc. Faulkner is back as fixer. That's okay too assuming he really understands how dangerous dangerous climate change really is.
In my area Albanese has Infrastructure so he has the job of betraying his own residents to build a $5B motorway tunnel network - all just snouts in troughs for construction sector pigs (company and union both) and put some greenwashing on it as people die young of lung disease. The ALP is nothing if not brutishly dishonest on the ground.
Who else? Stephen Smith foreign affairs - yeah allright, but Cond Rice apparently has her hooks into him already probably because the 13M vote here is a poll effectively (like one whole USA state) adverse to President Bush/Republicans Nov 08 elections. Rice will want to pick Smith's brains bare to get a bed on this bad election result for the W regime.
Swan as treasurer, will be tough fiscal conservative. The ALP have learned those lesssons of the 80ies and 90ies to keep Big Capital onside.
Garrett demoted as called for by the Greens (Sen Milne). Ouch. He is a carpetbagger so fair enough. Refer above Penny Wong - dry rherotician I call her now on climate and water. Can't see much ecological joy there.
Like Nicola Roxon actually, hope rather than expect she succeeds in tough area of health.
I saw some vision of Bob Debus in the "outer ministry" for Home Affairs (cooks meals?, vaccuums the rug?) in the caucus as Kevin traipsed through kisses here, handshakes there, and Bob Debus who was slated for environment or attorny general at age 64 now, "on a promise" they reckon, left with Home Affairs. They looked past eachother, no contact eye or otherwise. Slowest clapping of Debus you could imagine to fit in with the crowd for the camera, with a 1000 yard stare. Poor bastard.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 10:16 AM
Subject:  Martin Ferguson is the most frightening

Hi Tom
None of these scare  me half as much as Martin Ferguson, the new Minister for Energy, etc. He is redneck in style and substance. His hatred of greenies drives most of his "thinking" if you can call it that. He is a member of the Ferguson family (one brother is CFMEU secretary, I think+ late father, brothers all ALP pollies) and a strong presence of Greens in his own seat gives him an added impetus to put the boot in where ever possible.
During the election campaign he came to Bega with Mike Kelly. [Y] by chance bumped into them and made a comment about the desirability of closing the Eden chipmill (as you do). "Over my dead body", said MF.
Maybe that should give us added impetus to close the chipmill (not that we need that).

Wong is a redneck out of Kim Yeadon's NSW Forest ministry, pro woodchip, CFMEU operation. Smooth talker and as jaded a rherotician as you will ever find in Big Politics. All style no ecological heart.
People forget too Big John ie Faulkner was done over by Keating and the chippers in 1995-6 when  the former was Environment Minister. People like Wong at state level probably. Keating latter lamented he wished he'd done more on the green stuff - too late d*ckhead.

And here's a chestnut - no chipping industry in Kev's hallowed Qld. But happy to inflict this criminal sector on Tas, NSW, Vic, WA. Pretty inconsistent that. Stephen Biddulph got it right yesterday - it's the ecology stupid.

And add to this, the real Environment Minister is probably Bob Brown in parliament anyway.
Here is the link: 
But notice too how they change headlines around "Garrett loses the planet but keeps the backyard"
The Biddulph article SMH is here:
The party's over and Liberals will soon be history
Regards, Tom McLoughlin, principal ecology action sydney



10 Meet the Press





Press round up, nothing very startling except Koperberg attacked old and tired AVO allegations of 1987 (pre Berlin Wall for God sake), last story in line up, but first on abc radio .





Gillard is the talent – stripped shirt for an increasingly chubby person, suggestive of bib and braces somehow of a fitter and plumber. Perhaps the somewhat strained and tired image. Not very relaxed as you might expect. Looks over worked. Big credibility gap on huge portfolio as per file footage of JulieBishop criticism. Rings true.





Australia settled or invaded. She proves her conservative credentials “I would say it was settled but I can understand why the Indigenous would say it was invaded”.[Totally wrong historical version. A white Australia version of history.]





Out take footage of Howard and Bucket meeting Howard Mk2 and Bucket Mk2 at the Lodge.





Get Up advert with banner against Old Growth Logging (while squibbing any direct lobbying on that issue which is gutless), with underlying message of 'change starts here'. [Stephen Mayne suggests they will now fizzle under ALP hegemony - maybe, maybe not, time will tell.]



Panel: Maria Hawthorne AAP, Malcolm Maiden (? Fairfax?)


She finishes sharp and convincing too, Bongiorno wishes her a restful holiday but she doesn’t get it, 'only Christmas and boxing day' she says. The point is – she needs a holiday and it will cruel her career if she doesn’t take a real break ideally in Alaska or Greenland. Move slow, think fast is a lot more sustainable.




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



Myspace web address: www.myspace.com/meetthepeople









7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary  -


7 News promo with dramatic climate change images re Bali conference. [wonder how good the conference security will be for obvious reasons]


Leadership of the Libs


Great footage of inside the Lodge, talkies of Buckets and Howards. Nice sound track of ex PM in reversing C*1 car. Bit of talk about ALP first week, posturing as dynamic. [Methinks the country is exhausted, or it could be just this writer.]


Swearing in on Monday.









Insiders 2


Talent is Nelson ex Labor man, now federal Lib leader but on the make politician proving the convergence of both major parties. Footage never voted AMA president at a protester, Liberal in his life, but it was a lie in the heat of the moment because he had in 1987 and 1990. He is hooked on the Howard dishonest culture he prospered under. The Rodent factor. You can’t say that about Turnbull. He might throw a tantrum or be cavalier or confronting but he won’t deliberately lie like that …surely? Is that why Howard hated him?


Sure enough next question about Turnbull telling Nelson to “toughen up”, bossing his boss around but with 41 votes in the caucus in his kit bag. Turnbull sure is impertinent. [a bit like this writer I suppose]


- Nelson runs the line ‘watch this space’ as if promising creative dynamism which does ring true to some degree in terms of his ambitious energy and record of such.


- hard to believe but Nelson is showing some fluid articulate style in patches which maybe got him up the greasy pole. Could have been showing sleep deprivation but a bit of bounce in this exchange.


- hedges alot on sorrow, in some cases shame, not personally responsible. His compassion bone is showing all the same after the Lowitja tickle up on the radio yesterday.


- Cassidy catches him in free flight (which was good) with an amused Rudd me tooism allusion back at Nelson. Nelson doesn't repudiate the idea. Jostling on the middle ground younger generations is the gist.


- Everyperson segment group of matrons at Maroubra or similar. Mostly a rehash of the straight reportage.


- Panel is Karen Middleton SBS, Brian Toohey AFR, Gerard Henderson Fairfax Sydney.


- Paul Kelly soliliquy - Faulkner is the fixer. Depth of this Labor Govt. Determination of Rudd busy on the job. Strong theme. Rudd off to Bali. Rice has rung Stephen Smith being taken into their ranks for visits first 2 months of 08 (and one presumes get a line on damage to Bush presidency of Howard's repudiation, to cherry pick Smith's brain on how to capture Rudd govt in the presidential election of Nov 08?). Costello gone big shock. Lost Howard authority figure.


Panel chat - laugh out loud moment on Islamic Simpson's donkey gibe no disrespect to the great world religion, rather Nelson's failure to know the real history of the WW1 pacifist, trade unionist etc.


Henderson such an obvious pro Coalition spruiker. 'Good' tension with Brian Toohey on such things.


2 minute tribute to Matt Price RIP, a dynamic life, good singing voice too, gaggle of kids, made his mark in this world. Easy to feel upset about the loss of a good hearted wonk.


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





Sunday 9


- no Sunday 9 show.




Posted by editor at 8:43 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 2 December 2007 7:52 PM EADT
Friday, 30 November 2007
Wall to wall anti ecology ALP governments full to the brim with developer sleaze?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: independent media

Picture: It's not just the ex Coalition Govt leadership who are laughable when it comes to ecological credibility. When it comes to the environment under the wall to wall ALP govts it's going to be beggars all for the 'peak' green groups which is merely humiliating, but a slaughter house for the actual environment. That's the age old patronage system of the highly corrupt ALP in Australia, road tested mercilessly in NSW, the foundation stone of corrupt govt. Remember when Iemma was elected earlier in 2007 and in his election speech pronounced his was "a good government". And these guys are living in which universe?


The feeling of dread has begun. Howard steps forward to welcome and shake Kevin's hand at the disused Lodge on the vision last night. Similarly the email arrives from Bega;

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 6:28 PM
Subject: [chipstop] Martin Ferguson energy minister

Hi greenies
Martin Ferguson is the new Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism in the Rudd Government. This is a real worry. He is the politician who hates greenies and wants to burn 5million tonnes of native forest a year and call it "renewable."


Between 2,500 and 3,000 trees from SE NSW and East Gippsland are cut down every working day to supply the Eden chipmill
CHIPSTOP campaign against woodchipping the SE forests, 02-64923134, PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia, http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au


Where is the true Opposition in a wall to wall ALP reality, not that we were impressed with those poorly reproduced Coalition scare adverts totally unsuitable for newsprint hardly revealing the brickwork metaphor.

Well the real Opposition is the community media, maybe the Big Media and certainly the Green party from a low base of maybe 10% public support.

Yes sir, the unrestrained ALP is a real worry. They have their Kyoto Treaty figleaf and decimated Garrett 'Environment Minister' Portfolio and not much else:

It's an anti ecology, brown and vandalistic ALP full of sleaze terms like "clean coal" and "bio banking" which means destruction of half not all of the 10% left after 200 years. All PR consultants' dirty work for the Dark Side woven in with expanded uranium mining, land clearing and chipping,

These people are professional liars, who sound good but mean and do great harm.

Take Minister Penny Wong replacing threadbare brand Garrett post election in the Portfolio Water and Climate Change. We recently responded to Simon Benson of the Sydney Daily Telegraph about this:

Here is the Benson link:  http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/simonbenson/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/rudd_dumps_garrett_for_the_sake_of_the_planet/
But notice too how they change headlines around "Garrett loses the planet but keeps the backyard"


#1 of 7

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 6:45 AM
Subject: Benson on Garrett

My comment was:
Sure, sure SB and "there is no doubt" you are THE Tele messenger on the drip from Ruddmeister aka Bonhoffer.
Wong is a redneck out of Kim Yeadon's NSW Forest ministry, pro woodchip, CFMEU operation.
Smooth talker and as jaded a rherotician as you will ever find in Big Politics.
All style no ecological heart.
People forget too Big John ie Faulkner was done over by Keating and the chippers in 1995-6 when  the former was Environment Minister. People like Wong at state level probably. Keating latter lamented he wished he'd done more on the green stuff - too late d*ckhead.
And here's a chestnut - no chipping industry in Kev's hallowed Qld. But happy to inflict this criminal sector on Tas, NSW, Vic, WA. Pretty inconsistent that. Stephen Biddulph got it right yesterday - it's the ecology stupid.
[And add to this, the real Environment Minister is probably Bob Brown in parliament anyway.  The Biddulph article SMH is here: The party's over and Liberals will soon be history with the immortal line "It's the ecology stupid" which we do like being principal of ecology action Australia, non profit, unincorporated etc etc.]
#2 of 7
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 8:40 AM

Are you serious mate? You don't really expect me to post that ridiculous comment do you? Get a grip mate. I might have to report you to the mental health authorities if you keep that up.

Simon Benson   
State Political Editor
The Daily Telegraph
President NSW Press Gallery

#3 of 7
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 9:35 AM
Subject: sure sure SB

On the contrary,
.....whatever your impertinent view of my soundness of mind while working for neurotic madhouse like News Ltd ....
 you are reported elsewhere (was it Sun Herald or Telegraph) as likely to be promoted to a fat wage in the Rudd regime. I saw it so thousands of others did too surely.
Call it rumour but the rumour is out there, and not from the royal 'us'. But of course I like to 'push a falling wall' too, a bit like that poor Indian place in Surry Hills just round the corner from you folks (what a metaphor for the Liberal Govt, fact stranger than fiction):
What about Addison Rd Centre Simon,.....I've lobbied Clennel to same effect.
Yours truly,
Tom McLoughlin, from the real community media!
[And on it goes with the great and good Simon Benson] 
#4 of 7

I would have thought your pretensions to high ethics prevented you from making such assumptions without veryifing the rumours first. But I can save you the trouble. They are not true.  
You have just indulged in the very crime you accuse others of

#5 of 7
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 10:19 AM
Subject: all the better for the basting? Re: sure sure SB

...are you, .... or have you ever been, ...... a member of, ...... (ha ha).... the ALP .... just look into the light sonny and answer the question!!!!!
it's the Rum Corps now for all of Oz courtesy the likes of Arbib franchised to the nation.
If it was tough under Howard it's going to be downright scary now with well fed and watered ALP trench fighters everywhere.
But I have one advantage - the money makes 'em fat and slow, all  the better for the basting I guess.
Yours truly etc [Tom, SAM editor]
#6 of  7
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 10:26 AM
Subject: RE: all the better for the basting? Re: sure sure SB

Never Tom..
And that is the second insult you have sent my way today. Let's keep it at that, shall we?
#7 of 7
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 11:13 AM
Subject: here's a third insult ....

well not actually. Ever read Raymond Chandler? The Phillip Marlowe character is tough, real tough. WW2 vet, created the genre of private investigator's etc. I loved those books. Made into movies by Bogart. There is one endearing quality of the character - when ever someone sledges him he just gives twice back.
Remember Simon I don't have much, but you have an awful lot. I've got nothing to lose like Jesus Christ himself, you have way too much all those years slogging it away with fatty Piers and Mal Farr to squeeze past in the corridors.
I'm nothing if not sincere. So are you threatening me with your playful menace?  I know I'm going to regret this but why don't you just do your job like that ... lead that should have been reported years ago.
I have no doubt the Rudd mob offered you a job, or vice versa. By the by in the community media we tend to republish big meeja who slum it amongst us. ....

Posted by editor at 9:37 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007 11:19 AM EADT
Librarians revolt against bad NSW Governance
Mood:  energetic
Topic: nsw govt


Dear socially/environmentally/future aware colleagues,

Yesterday, on one of my frequent trips to a local library, an apologetic lady of about 45 timidly asked me to sign a petition. She was very uncomfortable in doing this - her natural disposition obviously made her feel guilty, disobedient and trouble-making - but she was forced to do it through fear of losing her job and income. As a librarian she was quite lowly paid, but highly educated and, in my view, an extremely worthy citizen doing skilled and important work. But she is also easy and safe to kick, and this is what our present NSW Government and economic system are likely to do to her and to many other local librarians, as may be gleaned from the attached, very conservatively worded, statement (in quoting the increase in library funding since 1980, it doesn't even allow for the CPI increase !).
This is the latest of a number of recent socially and environmentally outrageous actions by the present NSW Government which should eventually be recognised as the most corrupt, regressive and contemptible state government since federation (I very much regret saying this, as a former environmental advisor to the Wran Government and bushwalking friend of Bob Carr). Anyhow, I feel strongly that free access to knowledge and education are essential aspects of the relatively civilized culture we've had, but now seem to be in danger of losing. Accordingly, I'm writing a letter of protest about public library funding cuts to:
You may want to consider doing something similar.
With regards and best wishes,
[retired science academic] Fred Bell

Posted by editor at 8:01 AM EADT
Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Same ol', same ol' for the Addison Rd Centre Annual General Meeting
Mood:  sad
Topic: local news

Picture: We had to stonewall several members of the audience after this photo: 'Don't take our picture, that's against the law without our permission, delete it' .... blah, blah, blah until the Chair called the meeting to order and pressed on. From right Geof Hague, Natalie McCarthy, President Yvette Andrews, Cr Peter Olive, Stavros Economidis, John Reynolds, and acting general manager Peter Talmacs. Missing from empty chair in middle is Robert Morrison who has chucked it in. On the far left and right foreground are Assad Abdi and Don Mamouney in 'a pincer' movement from the audience. Turnover at the ARC is $480K p.a. not including 40 odd individual tenancies.

We struck out in our nomination for the Board of the Addison Rd Centre in the best 'Stephen Mayne tradition'. In fact our proxy vote, personal representation authorisation by Ridvan Manav of the Turkish Welfare Association Inc, and nomination form signed by a Greening Australia staff member and Law Consumers principal were all ruled out of order for one administrative error or another. These included lack of due notice mainly to do with the federal election distractions but also from lack of assistance by the ARC closed shop itself, with a healthy dose of downright malice from the power structures there for daring to participate at all.

But we couldn't help noticing that our 'talking points' circulated widely before the meeting became the overall focus. Andrews was spruiking our environmental sustainability agenda with an invited speaker, a high priced consultant trawling for work from Pidcock Architects. She wanted to pursue corporate sponsors AMP and ANZ. Or maybe the GM position on $65K or more p.a. Then ex Board President Mamouney calling for greater openness and cooperation (but no practical suggestions). Even Don's sidekick Abdi telling this critic "we wish you well" in the spirit of Gandhi while ruling out any elegibility to an election franchise (similar but much less than ill fated Newhouse recently).


It wasn't until 36 minutes into the meeting that the former General Manager Laird who resigned 'just wanting to get out alive' was mentioned, in fact the elephant in the room, and only in a sanitised and quite disingenuous way.
One board member Robert Morrison from off site didn't bother to turn up to step down or report.

The Auditor who apparently had provided a condensed financial report didn't bother to attend either.

At one point Andrews said "the only asset we've got is the 50 year lease.". An extraordinary claim. Not the plant or other equipment including IT server or website. Not the enormous goodwill of the last 25 years. Not the staff. Not the immense unrealised potential of car parking fees, cafe, synergy of cultural and intellectual resources like her own Film Festival project. It was a surreal experience. No wonder one board member told this writer ahead of time they were not looking forward to the meeting. Actually Andrews didn't really mean what she said thanking the staff later on but it indicates a clumsy handle on the task.

She was keen to note her attempts to lobby ministers, but not to embarrass them by naming her ALP senior colleagues, but it was really "very hard" to get public funding.

The Board, most of whom as far as we can tell remain in place after tonight's AGM (we left early to avoid the cronyism), have not provided any justice to this writer for verbal abuse, standing over and harrassment by a board member fully 5 months ago despite a dead letter grievance/mediation procedure on the books. Our written grievance has gone exactly nowhere which is ominous for the next innocent victim, which could be anyone really.

The AGM last night might have been a chance to get some justice but the room had several hostile ratbags in the 30 odd audience in for the fix amongst the already narrow 22 "Ordinary Members"  with most "Associate Members" ie lower status tenants, absent due to well understood powerlessness.

To really go at the dirty laundry would have been a futile brawl with honorary president Yvette Andrews, ex staffer to Meredith Burgman and said to be slated for Senator Faulkner's new minister's office, and the damning information had already been circulated anyway to the disenfranchised. Even so I did find it amusing to hear the nervous speech making of an ALP hack and nervous board member Treasurer John Reynolds the subject of the harrassment complaint, as I studied them from the front row as they evidenced what I would swear was a guilty demeanour. They were scared. They were beginning to experience the discipline of public transparency and they weren't so cocky anymore. Hence also we presume their fixers in the audience.

Some of the questions we drafted but didn't bother to ask included:
1. Do you think the Board has a Labor Party stack?

2. Do you support the mediation/greivance procedure on the books of the ARC, or not?

3. Ian Laird [former GM] has now left for some high powered job in the Community Broadcasting Association. I understand Yvette Andrews wrote to him in his last few days. What did you say to him? [A vicious poison letter apparently.]

4. The website is the modern gateway to the centre and it probably has been crucial to the success of the market. But it's 3 months out of date. Why? [the Board sacked this website developer from the work in a blatant example of victimisation.]
These are the questions we did ask:
1. Associate Members can't vote. There are only 22 Ordinary Members who can vote [for a 7 member Board]. Isn't that a bit unfair for a 3.4 hectare community centre with a 50 year lease?

2. To Cr Olive [Green Party, Marrickville], do councils put their minutes and draft minutes on their website, and if so why not the ARC as well like they do at Waverley?

3. To Cr Olive, what's your view of the deal struck with the Gallery. [read on for this one]
I don't trust many of the people with power at the ARC where I work as a part time gardener and I bring 20 years of legal and community experience to that view. In this respect I refer specifically to Yvette Andrews, John Reynolds, and Natalie McCarthy (studio in the Gallery) and influential tenants like Assad Abdi, Terry Cutcliffe and probably Don Mamouney. In my estimation all know for instance that a free rent deal this last 4 years for the whole Gallery space (two levels apparently around 500 sqm) is dodgy, given the floor space ratio amounts to some $50,000 in revenue per annum on a comparative basis with some other tenancies, even if that amount is radically discounted with community service obligations down to a humble $20K pa or even less! Now a sweetheart deal on low rent for another 3 years but still not publicly available for transparency.

Picture: Terry Cutcliffe, who is fond of saying the local Green Party and more generally are "hopeless". 4 years rent free, now 3 more years low rent sweet heart deal.

Cr Peter Olive, only recently returned to the ARC Board, effectively gave the same advice to the meeting over the vexatious attempt at a blocking point of order by Abdi desperate to keep the whole house of cards aloft. But rather than really address this short changing or misuse of rentable space they preferred to whine about electricity usage of the highly successful Sunday Market who were not in the room. I wonder what the Inner West community who visit the market might think if they knew many of the "Ordinary Members" don't like them: Too many cars in the car park, loss of trade to Reverse Garbage, don't bring their own bins, 'can't' access my office on Sunday blah blah blah. The market must be "reviewed". There must be an "audit". Good for the goose but not otherwise. Failure is fine, success is the real problem.



Abdi was returning officer for the Board election when his colleague Mamouney at Sidetrack Theatre had nominated a friendly tenant for the election. This was despite a genuinely neutral returning officer in Peter Talmacs, acting general manager, being available. Mamouney even blatantly nominated Abdi to be returning officer with no hint of embarrassment by anyone this might be a conflict of interest . Just another slick closed shop operation at the ARC.

Perhaps the reputation of our SAM news blog has preceded: The really amusing aspect was the fear of a photograph being taken by several characters and one person trying to claim it was against the law to do so without permission. In Australia. At a community centre AGM open to all 40 tenants, their friends, visitors and in effect the public generally. So much for democracy and public right to know about their 3.4 ha community centre on a lease for 50 years.

Another amusing aspect was the Bower representative Matthew (?) suggesting obtaining some free legal advice somewhere when this writer is a qualified lawyer and offering exactly that skill via a nomination to the Board, ruled ineligible (!).

Some of the honest board members like Olive and Hague looked suitably mortified albeit dumbstruck for much of the meeting. I felt sorry for them.
Unless they can wrest control off the hacks the ARC is effectively going nowhere. We may get sacked for making this report. But it's all in the public interest. Especially the rent free deal for 4 years with another 3 low rent on the sly. Talk about scandal.

Posted by editor at 10:49 PM EADT
Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007 8:30 AM EADT
Green Party update their Senate performance
Mood:  chatty
Topic: election Oz 2007

[Media Release of Greens follows]

Tuesday 27 November 2007

Greens pass million milestone

The Greens' vote in the Senate has exceeded one million. The final count
will near 1,080,000 compared with 917,000 in 2004.

In other outcomes the Greens:

* Supplanted the National Party as Australia's third
largest political party - by a country mile;

* Rescued the Senate's balance of power through winning a
seat in South Australia (Sarah Hanson-Young) as well as Nick Xenophon;

* Busted the Senate quota barrier (14.2%) for the first
time - In Tasmania, with 17.74%;

* Scored a new record high percentage national Senate vote

* Scored a new record high percentage Senate vote in any
electorate (ACT - 22%);

* Gave Labor the preference flow to win 21 seats,
including Bass, Braddon, Bennelong and Bowman;

* May well pass the Liberals in Melbourne to score over
22% (with candidate Adam Bandt) and will peg Labor's Lindsay Tanner to
closer than 55-45 in two party preferred;

* Will go into the next Senate with between 5-7 seats
(1998 - 1 seat; 2001-2 seats; 2004 - 4 seats) and hold or share the
balance of power;

* Increased the Greens Northern Territory vote to 9% from
7.7% after opposing the Howard government's intervention laws which Rudd
Labor supported.

"In the Howard-Rudd context, this has been another electoral advance for
the Greens, who do best when Labor, rather than the Coalition, is in
office," Greens leader Bob Brown said today.

Contact: Prue Cameron 0408 473 379

Posted by editor at 5:45 PM EADT
5th Estate blogocracy has a job of work to discipline the big party Yes (Wo)Men?
Mood:  energetic
Topic: big media
What this means for the media

Margaret Simons writes [Monday 26th Nov 07 crikey.com.au]:

I’ve never been entirely convinced by that saying of Keating’s that has become political cliché – change the government and you change the country.

It seems to me that the changes of the last eleven years have been mainly do with what gets articulated, rather than with fundamental changes of national character. The nation itself changes much more slowly than the political cycle.

I argued this with Robert Manne once, and he replied that a change of articulation is a change to the nation, and I agree with him to a point – but can’t forget all those legions of Australians who have never heard of Robert Manne, or of me, and for whom there is no culture war, let alone victors and losers in that war. Just their lives and the pragmatic, close-up politics of lived experience.

Nevertheless, there will now be at least a change in what elements of the national mindset are articulated in the public sphere, and this will mean a change in the networks of media power.

I am not talking here about proprietors – although the fact that News Limited newspapers split in their pre-election editorials signals that Murdoch gave no binding direction - perhaps a measure of his lack of interest in the Australian branch of empire these days.

I am talking about individual journalists. I have seen the type of change that is now likely once before. When Howard came to government in 1996, over the succeeding months individual editors and journalists were eased out. Canberra Press corps were recast to get rid of those who, rightly or not, were seen as having been too close to Keating. Over the following years editors changed too, and of course new stables of columnists were brought to the fore.

It took at least 12 months, but it happened, and the battlefield and the cultural warriors were established.

No newspaper that wants to be on the Canberra drip can continue with a line-up of reporters and opinion writers which, rightly or wrongly, is seen to have closed its ears to the ideology of government.

The line-ups are allowed to be critical, certainly. But they must at least have ears to hear and understand the new tune.

So we can expect a big shift in the journalistic world over the next year. This will open up opportunities for some, and close careers for others.

Watch for the changes. This will be the hint to what gets articulated in the future.

There are a few words and phrases I hope will die, or at least be challenged. One is “mainstream”. So many columnists in sympathy with the Howard Government have declared themselves to articulate “mainstream” Australian opinion, which includes enormous hostility to the so called left wing “elite”.

I doubt that these people ever articulated the mainstream. Certainly I don’t believe the levels of intense hostility towards intellectuals expressed by columnists and shock jocks have ever been echoed among ordinary people in the suburbs and regions.

And now look at how out of touch, how old fashioned, these people – the Alan Jones’s, the Akermans and others – are looking.

The so-called articulators of the mainstream largely failed to catch the mood of the nation on David Hicks, or Dr Haneef, or Iraq, or workchoices.

But what, in any case, is the mainstream? How do you divine such a thing among all the rivulets and backwaters of Australian life experience and opinion? The truth is the mainstream is taken to be the thing that those with the power of publication decree it to be – until reality rises up and bites them in the bum.

Meanwhile most Australians get on with living their quite diverse lives, with political points of view arising from their lived experience.

The Rudd Government has as one of its defining polices fast Broadband Internet. This carries symbolic as well as practical importance. The power of the op ed writers, the journalists and the commentators is not as complete as it was in 1996.

As we have seen in this election there is always an alternative, published, point of view, accessible to anyone who wants to look for it.

So watch for the players of the media game to change – but watch, too for the game itself to alter.

Posted by editor at 9:14 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007 5:44 PM EADT
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
No cash for community media from either major party in this election: CBAA
Mood:  irritated
Topic: independent media

[Direct lift from CBAA on Sydney Indy Media 25th Nov 2007]

No cash for Community Radio & TV

The community broadcasting sector is unhappy that, on the eve of the election (and the sector’s annual conference) neither of
the major political parties have committed anything to sustain the future of community broadcasting.

Politicians of all persuasions have been very strong in espousing their support for the sector throughout the more than 100 meetings
that the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia has had this year. Those comments haven't been backed up with firm
policy commitments though, according to the CBAA.

CBAA General Manager Barry Melville has told radioinfo:

"All of the politicians and candidates we've met have been warmly supportive of community broadcasting [but] despite this, neither
the Coalition nor the ALP have responded positively to our funding requests."

Earlier this year, community broadcasting sector representatives presented a funding submission to representatives of all political
parties, hoping to underscore the future sustainability of the sector. Key elements of the submission included:

1. Content production: $7.2m

2. Infrastructure: $5m

3. Training: $2.8m

4. Sector coordination: $1.8m

“Given the budget surpluses of recent years these figures seem a remarkably modest ask,” says Melville.

The only party to release a policy on community broadcasting is The Greens. Their policy ‘Supporting Community Broadcasting,’ i
ncludes a commitment of an extra $10m per year in core funding to the sector. The Greens also support a recently released report
from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Information Technology, Communications and the Arts which commits
to funding for stations to subsidise management, training and improved governance.

Under its Arts Policy, the ALP has announced a commitment to fund the Australian Music Radio Airplay (AMRAP) project, which
is “very welcome,” according to the CBAA. The project, which has successfully connected thousands of independent Australian
musicians with community radio stations, is due to be wound up in early 2008 should it not receive further funding.

The CBAA opens it 35th annual conference in Melbourne today, without the hoped for funding promises. Over 350 community
broadcasters from around the country will attend the event.

At the conference the CBAA will be calling on the major political parties to “show their appreciation for the integral role the sector
plays in supporting local communities and enhancing Australia’s broadcasting landscape.”

Melville says: “It would have been simply fantastic to open the conference and say that no matter who wins the federal election
on Saturday, the community broadcasting sector would receive strong support from Government. I guess instead we’ll open it
with ‘great work everyone – sorry about the government’.”


Posted by editor at 9:07 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007 9:13 AM EADT
Monday, 26 November 2007
Brett Solomon the new Peter Garrett: ALP, Green or genuine NGO?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: election Oz 2007


Picture: Orange is the theme colour of the Sydney City Hub December 07 cover (rescued from the paper recycler with 9 other copies at Addison Rd Centre on Nov 25th 2007). Appropriate as orange is the Get Up livery as well. And by 'coincidence' its also the colour of choice of leading Left ALP MP Anthony Albanese on all his korflutes throughout local seat of Grayndler.

When you are called to serve the country, one must accept the invitation. But how best to serve? Brett Solomon has been covering his Evan Thornley/ALP aligned tracks for quite a while now. The 230,000 progressive movement (churning?) of Get Up is a marvellous form of political capital.

But will Get Up strengthen and consolidate what it has in terms of non aligned character, and cut the strings from mother US Democrat/ALP, with all the cruelling of access and fundraising opportunity?

Where the touchstone issue of forest protection is no longer "off the table". That specific approach is bogus. To be agnostic about a crucial issue of our time - Tas pulp mill/forest slaughter - is frankly not good enough. Lacks spine. Lacks credibility. Echoes the mediocrity and in the end moral confusion of the captured and wasted Peter Garrett MP.


We noticed on 10's Meet The Press vision some weeks back Brett Solomon in person on the picket line with the Greens inspired street protest with Senator Kerry Nettle in Phillip st federal govt offices. So agnostic about forests doesn't even wash dear Mr Solomon.

What's it to be? Perhaps we will find out soon with some 'Refreshing' honesty that Get Up seeks to promote?:

Sent: Monday, November 26, 2007 2:04 AM
Subject: An extraordinary night

Dear friends,

What an extraordinary night - and now, a new beginning for Australia.

Saturday night, as we were in the tally room, we saw a clear march of voters back towards the progressive issues that we've all been fighting so hard to put back on the agenda - with our campaigns on climate change, a fairer economy, indigenous rights, and the war in Iraq all having a major impact on this election. And GetUp members have been right there at the centre of it all - emerging as part of a powerful people-centred movement for change.

Last election we did not exist. Now we are 230,000 strong, having built the foundations of an unprecedented grassroots movement for the 2008-10 parliamentary cycle. In the words of one commentator, GetUp has "evolved from political experiment to a voice Australian politicians cannot afford to ignore."*

Allow us to express our profound gratitude to those of you who have worked so hard with us in this election year to inject accountability, honesty, and progressive policies into this pivotal election. Together we've run the most ambitious and effective non-partisan grassroots electoral program in Australian history:

- In Bennelong alone, over 800 GetUp volunteers campaigned on the ground over the last eight months, with every single polling booth staffed by GetUp volunteers handing out party comparison scorecards on Election Day. Your presence was unmissable and instrumental.

- Yesterday, thousands of you flooded polling booths nationwide with a sea of orange to distribute GetUp materials - ensuring that the issues you care about were front and centre in the minds of over half a million voters. (If you volunteered at a polling booth, tell your day's story here.)

- Our campaign to restore balance to the Senate is looking to have succeeded, with the Coalition set to lose one Senator in Tasmania and one in South Australia - enough to end one party control of the Senate (Victoria and the ACT are still too close to call).

There's a lot more that we could say about the implications of last night's election results and your work over the past six months, but enough from us. Join the discussion on our election blog.

Finally, we all know our job didn't end on Election Day. In fact, our task of keeping politicians from all sides accountable to you is just beginning. We, like you, will take the next few days to catch our breath, but later this week we'll be in touch with our new GetTogether program, the next steps with Promise Watch and our exciting plans for this grassroots movement - to ensure the new Government builds the progressive Australia we all have in mind.

Today, we begin the journey to reshape our future.

The GetUp team

PS - GetUp's Refresh Conference, a national meeting of Australia's progressive movement to evaluate the election, share skills, and plan next steps, will take place Dec 7-8 (Fri-Sat) in Sydney - and you're invited! It's fillling up quickly, so RSVP now - and apply for one of our travel scholarships available for those from outside Sydney.

*Larissa Dubecki, The Age, 29 Oct 2007


Postscript #1 30 Nov 07

Crikey.com.au seem to have cottoned on to this emergent Orange theme yesterday 29 Nov all set in train by Get Up livery. This image here itself echoes an orange korflute Mal Turnbull used to sledge Peter "we'll just change it all" Garrett in the seat of Wentworth with a call to "don't risk it". Given Big Mal rebuffed a national adverse swing and is known from Ozemail days to be a net savvy guy, we presume he bummed the livery off Get Up too.


But maybe all these serious players should recall that the original Orange People, or Rajneeshies, including here in Australia were very unusual if not strange like here deifying a rich guy in a Roller. It may be that's enough orange for everyone now?

Image:Osho Drive By.jpg

Posted by editor at 9:53 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007 1:36 PM EADT
Matt Price dies in the light of a political dawn aged 46
Mood:  special
Topic: big media



Journalist and author Matt Price, right.

Matt Price has died at 46 (45?). He was a rascally, bright, kind, dedicated toiler in the big media with an eye to the compassionate approach. The fellow with the gasp at the forefront of the vision on the close election of Mark Latham to ALP leader 3 years ago, and shown above with John Howard in his role with the Canberra Press Gallery.

On the centre leftish side of The Australian press gang, perhaps as a foil to Dennis Shanahan or other right wingers, Matt was a regular on ABC too.

He stumbled intellectually about mid year and now we presume it was almost certainly the brain tumour that has now taken him. How many ferocious deadlines did he make, how many pressure cooker news rooms, did he endure? Was it the genetic lottery? Lifestyle? It hardly matters. He's gone before us. But we are all going down the same road.

Trioli has spoken of his death this morning on 702 ABC radio. He would have revelled in analysis of the Rudd years. Especially this image of the 'Jed Bartlet/West Wing' stance (episode #43 on Wikipedia if memory serves), ie hands in pocket, made up his mind, set his course with that high power intellect, only this time it's no actor but new PM Rudd in Price's own newspaper this morning:

It's an image with a subliminal for the insiders like Matt who surely enjoyed the USA power sit com drama. He was visited by PM Howard last week indicating his credentials.

Just yesterday Barrie Cassidy gave a brief soliliquy for Matt Price on Insiders ABC as "strong and positive and that's the way forward". Such irony, maybe intended, maybe not.

Damn, damn, damn. God bless your soul Matt Price. We never met but we liked you alot.

Posted by editor at 8:46 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 26 November 2007 9:15 AM EADT

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