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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 21 January 2008
NSW Energy privatisation: Trusties on new committee make it a sell off stack?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: nsw govt

Cartoon via Sydney Morning Herald 2007

Apparently Morris Iemma has been promoting a colour brochure of his effective leadership within the NSW ALP Parliamentary party. This must take the role of spin by the ALP machine to even greater heights:

Premier calls in spin doctors to help power sale bid | The Daily Telegraph  19 Jan 2008

It also suggests Iemma is really quite worried about his $15B privitisation agenda crashing and his leadership with it. Today we read of a new so called committee "to consider the effect of the sale on the state's electricity industry".

Unsworth to head electricity committee 21 Jan 2008

On face value it looks an obvious stack of the committee despite overwhelming public opposition, a numbers game fix beloved of Iemma & Co for a sale, as follows:

A FORMER ALP state premier, Barrie Unsworth, will chair the group established by the State Government to consider the effect of the sale of the state's electricity industry./As a former union official who started his working life as an apprentice at Bunnerong power station, his selection has been endorsed by union representatives on the committee.

Comment: Barrie arguably is a dependent of the Sussex St machine in retirement. He will want to deliver whatever they want in a majority report. Union endorsement suggests they believe Barrie's spirit is still willing on the idealistic front but we still think the flesh will be weak in time honoured ALP back room fashion. Unsworth will try to be an honest broker and mediate a deal for the machine.

Other members include three union representatives - Ben Kruse of the United Services Union, Matt Thistlewaite of Unions NSW and Steve Turner of the Public Service Association

Comment: all three will oppose privitisation unless instructions from the their union membership suddenly change. Unlikely. 

- and two community representatives, UnitingCare's Reverend Harry Herbert ...

Comment: Harry Herbert looking at welfare concerns has a history of constructive collaboration with the NSW ALP. He won't try to oppose the govt on principle but seek to salve his ethical conscience over loss of a natural monopoly/essential service out of public hands by mitigating impacts on the poor. No overt side deals on policy tradeoffs but you never know, like ongoing govt support for the MSIC

 .....and Jeff Angel of the Total Environment Centre.

Comment: An honest representation would have included someone like Professor Stuart White of Institute of Sustainable Futures,  or Dr Mark Diesendorf of the Institute of Environmental Studies UNSW. Both of these are experts on renewable energy and conservation with good credentials as indepedent of politics. Angel, or "Angel of Death" as one cynical Greens local councillor refers to him has a highly controversial record in the broad green movement - inclusive of substantial Green Party with 3 MP's - for gazumping green campaigners with tradeoff deals with this NSW ALP Govt when they are in a tight spot. This well understood aspect of Angel as an ALP trusty keen for a deal is generally not reported by the Big Media fearful or contemptuous of more radical independent voices out of the ALP's grasp but the links provided here remain strong evidence of govt collaboration and we argue demonstrably at the expense of the public interest.

Specifically on energy privatisation we can report this indicative anecdote of 1996 as reported by John Connor then exec officer of NSW Nature Conservation Council (later ALP aligned Climate Institute), with others including Jeff Angel in the foyer of Bob Carr's office for a lobbying meeting: There is a delay. Staff emerge and speak openly to these allies in the tough state election battle the year before: 'We are looking at a $450 million green fund out of the sale of the state's energy assets, like the Telstra $1B Natural Heritage Fund'.  Significantly the ALP advisers were cocksure of support of narrowly focused peak green group reps like Angel they had cut policy tradeoff deals with already and given the nascent Green Party were still no threat to that PR approach. Since 1996 this compromise on public interest policy has been greatly reinforced on such as:


Government representatives are the director-general of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Robyn Kruk, and David Richmond, the co-ordinator-general of NSW, ....

Comment: Both loyal govt public servants they will seek to deliver the energy industry sell off as instructed by their ministers/Premier.

 ....and two state ALP politicians, Steve Whan and Michael Daley.

Comment: Both right wing Sussex St machine men. We understand Whan was pro Snowy Hydro sale until the wheels fell off in 2007 and will want to manage the politics of that again, otherwise do Iemma's bidding. Daley in Carr's seat in Maroubra is a creature (advisedly) of the Right who we understand has showed concern or at least agnosticism to noisy local branch members but privately stated it should have been sold years ago, and if the sale and similar policies eventually led to an economic crash (like the fear in the USA) then it would be after he's gone (!)

According to this head count above we have 3 against and 2 possibly swinging (Unsworth, Herbert) but arguably for, and 5 for the sale for whatever reason. Worse case scenario for democracy it's a fix at 3 versus 7 despite overwhelming public opposition to the sale.

Postscript #1

This is the biggest govt policy play in town and for a long time too. Not surprisingly there is an update story already here early afternoon:

  • 1:53pm | NSW unions will try to halt power sale
  • Postscript #2

    In our main post above we suggest Diesendorf or White as worthy experts on renewables and conservation policy rather than Angel. On Tuesday 22nd Jan 08 Clive Hamilton of the Australia Institute (to step down sometime) has entered the fray. He is indeed a highly credible expert on resource economics as it relates to greenhouse/climate policy and could also have been added to our list of possibly greater reliability to Jeff Angel to tell it straight, no side deals. Maybe or maybe not, because like Angel, Hamilton is also very connected in the ALP. Arguably even better than influential Jeff Angel, having once been head of research for the Hawke inspired Resource Assessment Commission.

    We wonder if the against case within the ALP Family have already moved to annexe Clive's expertise by either lobbying or employing him to do his "independent" report much like one lawyer in a stoush retaining experts to the exclusion of the rivals? A scan of Clive's paper suggests a non financial motive of getting square with "climate sceptic" NSW Treasurer Michael Costa: Clive would reject outright he is a gun for hire, or even if so that it might affect the integrity of his research & analysis, and there is no doubting his commitment to the view climate change is the over arching environmental problem (he lambasts opponents of wind farms for not getting the gravity of the threat). We do tend to trust him.

    In any case Clive is a top academic and must be taken seriously. He effectively gazumps Jeff Angel which we find quite ironic. Always a bigger fish as they say. Here's the link to Clive's presser (a samll PDF), and full paper (a 5 page PDF) and to a Herald report on this important turn of events, and notice the very big sting in the tail [bold added]:

    Taxpayers face $15b power sale sting Sydney Morning Herald Date: January 22 2008

    Andrew West and Brian Robins


    NSW taxpayers could be forced to pay more than $15 billion to indemnify private companies bidding for the state's power assets, a report has found.

    The indemnities - against losses that privatised coal-fired power stations would face under a new national carbon trading scheme - would wipe out the $15 billion revenue boost the Iemma Government expects to gain from the privatisation.

    An analysis by the independent think tank the Australia Institute has revealed the carbon trading scheme the Federal Government intends to introduce to combat global warming would dramatically reduce the value of coal-fired generators.

    According to the author of the report, economist and institute director Clive Hamilton, the cost of the indemnity could reach $15.4 billion.

    "This amount would be the cost borne by NSW citizens if the NSW Government indemnifies private buyers against future carbon liabilities," he concludes.

    Under the proposed national emissions trading scheme, scheduled for 2010, all electricity generators and other producers of carbon will need permits to cover their greenhouse gas emission. The scheme aims to impose a cost on electricity generated through fossil fuels and remove the price advantage that coal enjoys over gas and other renewable energy.

    The State Government has challenged the institute's findings. Alison Hill, a spokeswoman for the Premier, Morris Iemma, told the Herald last night: "There will not be an indemnity."

    But the Iemma Government has set a precedent by indemnifying Bluescope Steel for the next 25 years to ensure new investment in its Port Kembla steelworks.

    "The Government has form on this issue," Dr Hamilton said. "And they will come under even greater pressure from potential buyers to offer them indemnities, too. There is nothing to say the Government could not, and would not, do this in secret, using all sorts of commercial-in-confidence provisions, and the public may know nothing about it for 20 years."

    The NSW Government said last night the indemnity given to Bluescope did not apply if a carbon trading regime was introduced.

    The Rudd Government is yet to clarify the details of its trading scheme, adding to doubts raised by the institute about the liability NSW taxpayers face.

    "It's a bad time to be selling electricity assets when there is so much uncertainty about the carbon liability of coal-fired power plants," Dr Hamilton said.

    The institute's report warns that no prudent investor would commit to major expenditure in such a risky commercial environment, predicting that "carbon liability and the indemnity issue will dominate negotiations in the sale process".

    The electricity industry is asking the Federal Government to grant carbon permits to offset the immediate financial penalty operators of coal-fired power stations would face from a carbon trading scheme.

    "We would seek a one-off allocation of permits to generators so that their position would be preserved, so they would be willing to consider investing in new generation technology," the executive director of the National Generators Forum, John Boshier, said.

    Dr Hamilton doubts the Federal Government will agree to the electricity industry demands because such permits would undermine its carbon trading system.


    Posted by editor at 12:12 PM EADT
    Updated: Wednesday, 23 January 2008 6:46 AM EADT
    Malcolm Turnbull buys the Wentworth election for a cool $2 million?
    Mood:  irritated
    Topic: election Oz 2007

    Who really doubts Malcolm Turnbull bought his election back into Wentworth? This instructive letter ran recently with no contradiction to date that we know of:

    Big Mal is never far from big money as suggested by this shopfront photo pre election:

    And if you doubt the power of money beyond the excellent democracy4sale website of The Greens, complimented by one no less conservative and cynical as Michael Duffy in print, then notice this full pager in hazard warning colours last week of the hard fought election, in fact election day 24th Nov 2007 Sydney Morning Herald:


    But methinks Turnbull and his mates taking the hardline on Newhouse technicalities, even post election as per news today here and here, is probably looking a gift horse in the mouth: If the ALP had taken the high road on opposing the Tasmanian pulp mill corruption it was almost certain Turnbull would have lost - $2M in campaign funding or not - as this photo indicates: A box full of Not Happy John materials for Wentworth sacrificed and left harmless at his doorstep because the ALP cruelled George Newhouses green platform over the pulp mill:


    The more the Liberal Party and Big Mal pursue Newhouse the more the electorate are reminded that ultimately ....



    Picture: Rudd supporters coincidentally (really) drop by our information stall about forests weekend before the federal election.




    Posted by editor at 9:21 AM EADT
    Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008 2:15 PM EADT
    Sunday, 20 January 2008
    Big Catholic world youth day in Sydney a threat to healthy spirituality?
    Mood:  quizzical
    Topic: culture

    Picture: The Apology scene, episode 4 in the ground breaking 13 hour long Brideshead Revisited TV miniseries of 1981 (Granada Television) of the Evelyn Waugh book of the between the world war years of an aristocratic Catholic family in Britain. Broadcast here around that time.

    Dypsomania/homosexuality in an intolerant society or systemic dishonest religious emotional sado-masochism? This is quite a quandary posed in the great Brideshead Revisited tv miniseries. And a useful exploration of why the English have held such an anxiety about the power mongering Roman Catholic church too, justifying quite the extra effort by actors and crew despite industry strikes and remaking of production norms. This was a work of great discipline and loyalty by television people to their craft.

    As to the quandary, a close viewing will tell you it's the latter, not the former which explains the implosion of young Lord Sebastian Flight.

    If only it were the relatively simple issue of the former the Catholic Church would have far less trouble in its heart.

    It may have been young minister Joe Tripodi we saw skipping up the steps of St Peters in Rome in July 2002 taking his confession at the seat of Roman Catholicism, on a very hot summer day in his double breasted suit, flanked on either side. It was the tail end of our world trip away from years of hack political work in NSW.

    It may even have been the pitch by very Catholic Joe for World Youth Day in Sydney later this year 15-20 July 2008. At St Mary's Cathedral in the CBD one can see an arch lit like a game show back set just across from Hyde Park, counting down the days, 180 or something to go:

    Later this year Big Catholicism is going to get up on its hind legs and make the happy clappers at Hillsong, corporate christianity franchise central who dare not look at a camel too closely, look like a suburban McDonalds outlet. Predictions are of 1 million or more faithful at some $350 per head. A religious tourism bonanza for the local economy. A crushing of the brand of the splinter faiths. A proud flexing of muscular Catholicism by Cardinal George Pell gathering in the converts.


    Caligula's 30 metre high obelisk in the middle of St Peters Square which is actually an oval, the seriously big Vatican City walls, and the shining gold memorabilia of ancient popes/saints in the Basilica itself, proves that the old dame does grandeur like no other Christian church might. It's the original and best. It's had 2000 years continuous practice. And they know their business which is to coral superstition and fear of death.

    (A bit like micro news blogging here. You really have to be stupid to not get better at it with practice - 12 months now, running at 17,000 page views a month.)

    So where is the risk to youth exactly from this hyper event in July? Certainly one ought not lightly disrespect the saintly heroes of Catholicism, like this fellow here, killed by Pinochet's neo Nazi thugs in Chile:

    Or these other unrecognised folks referred to in this sharp article. Or recently the role of their church as a refugia for human rights in East Timor.

    So where is the harm in an even bigger, perhaps more authentic Hillsong event to be held at Randwick Racecourse? The intensely crafted and subtle Brideshead Revisited carries the cautionary missive: Prosletizing Catholicism can be a fanatically ruthless power game corrosive of balanced healthy relationships at either familial or societal level.

    We know this as we know our own 9 siblings and parents of a devout, pious Catholic drunken Irish family and wracked with neuroses. It must have been at 7 or 8 years of age as we took the sacraments of confession, holy communion etc that we also made a profound promise to ourselves to never end up like that. A precocious promise physical health superficially and in the last 3 years we kept the promise as middle age spread threatened - teatotal, totally lapsed, physically fit. But it was also deeper than a child's mind might conceive. To seek happiness, not Church endorsed misery by way of the (Irish) Catholic strictures. My parents taught me by contrary nagging loveless example.

    In retrospect we fortified ourselves from the depradations of 'religous duty' so corrosive of human potential, and ironically, spirtual fulfillment. We took up the agnostic religion (!) in Victoria of Australian Rules Football (then known as VFL) and other sport in idolatory:

    Brideshead Revisited was also broadcast at a pivotal time in the early 80ies as we prepared for endless years at University courtesy the tail end of Whitlam's free education policy. Not a sandstone but the new spread eagled campus of ANU Canberra, the alma mater of PM Kevin Rudd and now it seems the top uni in the country. Nice to have two degrees from there now.

    At 14 we threw off the imperatives of the local priest for a life of independent thinking like we threw off the alter boy's red and white vestments. Not for us the hierarchical blatherings of an anti women, anti ecology institution, in love with its own exclusive history, perversely leading mankind to dangerous climate change not least via excessive population and bogus hierarchical sophistry about contraception. Disgusting arrogance to be sure.

    Some writers comfort themselves the doomed Sebastian character in Brideshead Revisited was a fairy such that religious neurosis led him to alcoholism. But the thesis doesn't stack up and the Catholic church can't escape the devastating critique of the book so easily. Catholic Author Waugh also has the father Lord Marchmain who is undoubtedly straight being a drunkard until he runs away (which rings true). Shown above is his martyred wife played by Claire Bloom,  expressing with exquisite clarity the moment of shock recognising the mercurial absconding husband in her own son. History repeating. Both hating her oppressive annexation of their very life force to vicarious service. She only comprehends the sting of cruel disloyalty. Her mission is to prevent the second one escaping like the first.

    Anthony Andrews who interprets the part above so effectively gives a commentary as a special extra on the DVD set of Brideshead along with vague ponderings by producer Derek Grainger. Andrews is so very perceptive and enthusiastic, albeit decades later, in his analysis essential to getting to Sebastian's character and this is quite moving in itself for the obvious commitment to his art. The actor tells of knowing two others in real life whose religion led them to drunkeness, one a Jesuit priest no less. He notes the 'terrifyingly manipulative steely' character of the matriarch, married into a rich family and who never stopped seeking more influence. Our gloss would be grieving for her magnificent brothers killed in the war, determined to avoid that searing pain again by keeping those she loves close by calculating willpower till their natural life energy is squeezed out of them. A controlling philosophy she cannot sustain long term because it drives off that which she most seeks to keep. So much for psychological motivations for power mongering. 

    Andrews expresses great compassion for his character "at the height of his confusion" given the taboo of mater fear and loathing, shown above breaking down on the step. Just as the immensely bright Charles Ryder character (who sees all) warms to Van Gogh's flowers as early as the 1920ies evoking the real beauty of life, and by contrast sees through the mother's attempt to covertly "suborn" him to her will. Just as she in turn presumably was suborned by her church in time honoured hierarchical fashion, to a life of weary martyrdom in a failed marriage, and the priest had sought to suborn this writer as a child into ongoing service to the alter.

    The whole Brideshead story is resplendant with social power-mongering under cover of piety, just as Big Catholicism is in Sydney.

    Oppressive mindless religous dogma is surely a sickness of self denial leading to bodily dysfunction (in Lady Marchmain's case cancer, Sebastian's drunkeness, in others gluttony, obesity, exhaustion) through habitual self deception over decades: As if the example of Christ calls for constant suffering by his followers. The gospel says he suffered for us, not that we should suffer as His mimic. Man's conceited pretence at playing God?

    Thus the perversion of the gospel takes it's course. We like St Paul here on personal suffering:

     If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, enough to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions and hand over my body to be burnt but do not have love, I gain nothing. [bold added]: From St Pauls 1st letter to the Corinthians

    We say it's not long suffering masochism that Christ exhorts but honest emotional life leavened with healthy discipline. We submit He didn't want or need a life of misery in symbolic aping of the crucifiction. What a horrendous idea. A real blashemy. Such pain was surely meant to be redundant.

    We say the purpose of life is a society based on honesty spontaneous emotions free of calculation. In short a love of truth and innocence. Not the cynical reliance on the ever available confessional to conveniently wipe the slate clean week in week out not least conceited brutal power games because 'we have the superior Catholic brand' and the prosletising end justifies the means. As if such a truly good message in the Gospel needs such machination. No. It's only people's vanity that feels the need.

    What these dogmatists don't imagine is that confession may bring God's forgivenes, but mainly allows forgiveness of oneself. If it becomes a cheap moral get out of gaol free card, a convenience, then its healing function is lost. A device to sanitise any vicious power game much as the highly Catholic NSW ALP Right in NSW practice as their daily bread, especially if it is rationalised as gloriffying the church itself. A power game 'cardinal' Gerry Gleeson was reputed to have played not least in the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority:

    At the 11th hour, however, an unknown representative of the authority telephoned Rothschild signalling that a surprise late bid was on its way. IN HIS heyday as Wran's favoured mandarin, Gleeson elicited a mixture of fear and respect among both ministers and the public service. Today, just a fortnight before his 76th birthday, Gerald Gleeson still retains a legendary aura. Renowned for his rigorous Catholicism, commanding presence and steely demeanour, he once said he did not seek to get close to people: "I'm not looking for love. I'm looking for respect."

    When Gleeson stepped down on June 10, 1988, after nearly 30 years of senior civil service, he spent the Liberal years collecting a swag of directorships on boards at the big end of town. Among them were Capital Investment Holdings, Catholic College of Education Australia, Commonwealth Bank, Grocon Developments, Amalgamated Holdings and briefly, Transfield.

    He remains a director of the Australian Catholic University and is still active in the Catholic community.

    In 1995, when Labor was returned to power, one of Bob Carr's first acts was to lure the uber-bureaucrat back to Macquarie Street. In the early years, he quietly acted as a significant Mr Fix-It for Carr, brokering several major deals, including the early forestry agreements and fixing the Olympic hotel bed tax issue.

    Gleeson chaired the Statutory and Other Officers Remuneration Tribunal, which sets Senior Executive Service pay packets. And as chairman of the Darling Harbour Authority he oversaw the venue's final construction.

    Then, in 1998, he began his increasingly controversial reign as chairman of the newly formed Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. With one stroke of the cabinet room pen, great swathes of Sydney became his turf, including the Sydney Cove Authority, City West Development Corporation, Luna Park and even the Australian Technology Park in Redfern.

    Since then the crisscrossing of his growing empire and board interests has become grist for the rumour mill.

    Said a senior Government source: "Over the years, he has wanted more and more authority and, at one point, even came looking for Olympic Park." Last October, with the Sydney Entertainment Centre management rights tender fresh on everyone's mind, Gleeson sent a memo to the director-general of the Premier's Department, Col Gellatly.

    in Going once, going twice by Paola Totaro May 29, 2004 Sydney Morning Herald

    Indeed in terms of youth Big Catholicism is just about opposite to this very popular somewhat chaotic yet practical inspiration in youth friendly format:

    It's a message youth can enjoy and embrace without travelling any distance at all from all over the world to Sydney for World Youth Day thanks to the beauty and perils of the internet.

    And if that's not quite your taste then try this - and why does 'the devil' have the best music anyway?:



    Posted by editor at 8:48 AM EADT
    Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008 4:11 PM EADT
    Saturday, 19 January 2008
    Local SH Ervin Gallery Sydney '72 pics reprise Led Zeppelin London 02 Arena reunion Dec 10 2007
    Mood:  lyrical
    Topic: culture

    We were a teenager in 1980 when we discovered Led Zeppelin, which is quite behind the wave but you don't care at that age. Volume 4 was great, 4th highest selling album ever apparently. We even wrote a fan letter.

    Back in December 07 we made a story (below), and trust the You Tube songs are still up there (with a later addition of Whole Lotta Love, given we couldn't find a quality version for a while). And don't miss this soul from 'old man' Plant with Alison Krause in Bob Dylan/Time Out of Mind mode, getting his spiritual second breath:

     Polly Come Home - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

    Today a gallery show in Sydney kicks off with similar charity aid for children vibe behind the 07 reunion show. Ain't that grand? Children in Brazil will be the beneficiaries. Gotta love that.

    SH Irwin information follows:

    19 January - 02 March 2008
    The Led Zeppelin World Tour - an exhibition of photography and contemporary art

    1978 - 2008 Celebrating 30 Years of Australian Art

    National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery

    Watson Road (enter from Argyle Street), Observatory Hill, The Rocks, Sydney
    Gallery Hours:           Tuesday–Sunday 11am-5pm.  (Closed Mondays)
    Exhibition admission fees: $6/$4 National Trust members, seniors & concessions.
    General information:   02 9258 0173
    Media information: 02 9258 0150
    Education officer:  02 9258 0122  group bookings & school tours welcome
    Public ProgramSundays @ 3pm  (talks subject to speakers availability).
    Exhibition introductory floor talk each Tuesday @ 12 noon.

    Trust Café, Arts Book Shop & on-site parking.

    S.H. Ervin Gallery will open on Australia Day Saturday 26 January 2008


    ...............................ABC Webpage entry follows:

    In exhibiting this works, Harvey hopes to raise awareness for Rockphoto aid – helping to support children who live in extreme poverty in Brazil, a project he and his wife are committed to.
    Led Zeppelin continue to be held in high regard for their artistic achievements, commercial success, and broad influence. The band have sold more than 300 million albums worldwide and recently played a reform concert in the UK.

    The exhibition also presents responses from contemporary artists Adam Cullen, Nicholas Harding, Geoff Harvey, Euan Macleod, Lucille Martin, Alan Jones, Craig Waddell, Chris O’Doherty (aka Reg Mombassa), Danius Kesminas and Gareth Samson.

    The photographs were first exhibited in an exhibition called 'One Night Stand' at the Lismore Regional Art Gallery.[More pics and story]

    The exhibition opens January 19 to March 2, 2008 at the S.H. Ervin Gallery, National Trust of Australia.

    Photographer Ted Harvey in front of one of his 100 iconic images of Led Zeppelin that were forgotten for more than 30 years

    AudioRelated Images


    Thursday, 13 December 2007
    Led Zeppelin reunion concert on YouTube: Viewer numbers flying along
    Mood:  special
    Topic: world

    The excited flush of the tv news announcers last night on most channels seemed to indicate it was a great show. And when you see the skyrocketing viewer numbers on YouTube and the quality of the soundtrack for these old guys, you just have to shake your head at their impressive command of the art form. And it was a charity show too apparently. Really beaut.

    The setlist from their December 10th reunion show in London is as follows:

    "Good Times Bad Times"
    "Ramble On" (live debut)
    "Black Dog"
    "In My Time of Dying"
    "For Your Life" (live debut)
    "Trampled Under Foot"
    "Nobody's Fault But Mine"
    "No Quarter"
    "Since I've Been Loving You"
    "Dazed And Confused"
    "Stairway To Heaven"
    "The Song Remains The Same"
    "Misty Mountain Hop"
    "Whole Lotta Love"
    "Rock And Roll"














    Posted by editor at 8:05 AM EADT
    Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008 4:21 PM EADT
    Friday, 18 January 2008
    Trigger Trioli's successor has got the goods for tough 702 mid morn gig
    Mood:  a-ok
    Topic: big media
    Virginia Trioli 
    Virginnia "Trigger" Trioli while in the 702 chair mentioned late 2007 'that everyone hears this show' meaning we presume the vested interests and stakeholders in the quite big and dynamic business of politics in NSW, if not the actual ratings war itself which apparently is on at the moment for commercial listeners.

    Trigger is an inspired nickname given the similar surname and the quick fire verbal facility that she brought to the work. Too much ego some said early to which we here scoffed derisorily - how exactly can you have too much ego in combat with the larger than life doyens of Sydney? Certainly a healthy ego is essential if not sufficient.

    She did the job proud parading her general neutrality like a double edged axe blade like some media style intellectual Xena amazon as the barbarians milled around. Too warlike? It is the home of the bear pit.

    Now Deborah, aka Debbie (if you are Sir Jimmy Little), Cameron is in the chair all this first week, and she is quite the worthy and indeed more than that talented, successor. Trigger has left a lasting impression to be sure and now the audience will go on another personal journey.

    Cameron has already met the infamous sleep cycle impact which in brutal fashion can steal 20 IQ points turning a charming conversationalist into a leaden bore. Julie McCrossin never quite got to that stage but she got out quickly all the same. Who can forget the Adam Spencer meltdown at one time at unfortunate Trigger's expense early on in his placement - we called it the Margaret and David moment from then SBS Movie Show - the chalk and cheese frisson of friction. Oh how we recognised the symptoms after 2 years night shift at Media Monitors.

    Cameron clearly has the intellect and journalistic professionalism and experience, with several years in Japan apparently. She also fits the times for the Federal ALP hegemony in several stylistic ways (refer below). 

    Also her dead straight no hesitation, just the facts 'breaking news .... 2 killed in a winery in the Hunter Valley' tells you she is tough which she will need, no risk. The vocab is tops with a breathtaking 'confrere' thrown in at an impossible angle like a key in a bank safe going click just when I was sure she'd surely lost her balance on a circus rope.

    And sufficient flashes of inspiration and genuine humour to attract more attention.

    Appealing broadcast voice with quite a deal of kindness (an under rated quality?) and grace (ditto) to help mediate the brash harshness of Sydney daily grind, sufficient patience to manage a googly of a call back literally 1 minute to first week's end. Made it.

    Yep, she's  got the goods. Her image on the website reminds of a Japanese style westerner, with a somewhat severe Lathamesque buzz, that could do with more colour to match the Sydney festive season (is black ABC neutrality?) but actually her background looks more Paddy Irish Australian with her career kicking off with the Warrnambool Standard (now owned by Fairfax a long time now), Canberra Times and Sydney Morning Herald. That's Irish Catholic territory as a stereotype, and if so won't hurt with the ALP. She appears in black which is quite their colour too.

    Deborah Cameron (Click for larger image.)

    It may be we have given a soft 1st week review having been born and bred our first 18 years from the same provincial Victorian Town of 15,000, doubling every summer holidays. It's possible. Nothing to do with old drunkard Eric our grandfather who was a senior journo or subby for the Herald whom we never met.

    All being equal - meaning fair politics - she will be quite good, or good, or very good. However NSW politics and life is not fair, and therein is the white knuckle ride that is 702 radio 'real news' mid morning show. Vale Trigger, entre [insert nickname for Deborah Cameron here, too early to say].

    Posted by editor at 12:19 PM EADT
    Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008 1:41 PM EADT
    Greens state election 07 protest warning on Port Botany expansion is coming true
    Mood:  sad
    Topic: nsw govt

    SAM reported on this community protest way back in March 2007

    Picture above and more below: Community rally at Botany Bay Beach off Foreshore Rd, Botany Saturday 3rd March, against expansion of Port Botany guaranteed to increase toxic transport congestion in most of southern metropolitan Sydney. Shade was a premium under the burning late summer day.

    Now we read more corroboration of the massive transport impacts that perhaps 2M of Sydney's 4 million residents are sleep walking into, led by the narrow minded hyper growth economics of this sleazy NSW Government. Nor are the official opposition any better, and they must do better to have any credibility.


    There are plenty more transport, noise, air pollution and outright dangerous traffic impacts on the way for the sleep walkers as reported here:




    7 March 2007 ALP NSW coverup of the Marrickville Truck Tunnel by any other name

    Friday, 23 March 2007
    Container truck tunnel crash is Sydney's future too under ALP transport policies
    Mood:  don't ask
    Topic: election nsw 2007
    Picture: from News Ltd inside the Burnley Tunnel in Melbourne today after a horror crash that killed 3.

    As the three major dailies today editorialise to remove the ALP government in NSW in the vote tomorrow, and Ch9 prime time news ruin Opposition Leader Debnam's last pitch due to technical problems with a live cross, a tragic tunnel crash involving container trucks in Melbourne today (Road catastrophe: Tunnel crash kills three) underline everything wrong with the Inner West Motorway tunnel exposed by the press during this election for Sydney: $5b secret road under Sydney | The Daily Telegraph

    Container truck numbers from the Port are set to skyrocket under the ALP (Task force to oversee Port Botany expansion. 25/11/2006. ABC News ...) to 3 million per year  at least (Port Botany - NSW Department of Planning) but likely even more than that (NSW Ports Growth Plan - Summary Sheet) with massive impacts on the Inner City congestion and suburban amenity from the Port Botany Expansion - 10/11/2005 - ADJ

    The ALP over ruled an independent planning Commission of Inquiry (Port Botany expansion plan unwarranted: inquiry. 14/10/2005. ABC ...) and tried to stall the release of that report for 3 months (Port Botany Report - 15/09/2005 - QWN REP) making a new motorway tunnel an inevitability under the Iemma ALP Govt. One can assume fatal truck accidents like this today will also be an inevitability as above.

    Posted by editor at 10:14 AM EADT
    Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008 11:04 AM EADT
    John Howard's legacy: Sanitised Exclusive Brethren human rights abuse?
    Mood:  sharp
    Topic: human rights

     In terms of institutional misogyny in Australia the Exclusive Brethren are right up there, turning the young female members into economic slave cannon fodder.

    For those who take the time to look at this EB mob seriously as the ABC 4 Corners have done, as noted here on SAM last year (see below), either conservatives or leftwingger, can only wonder how a Prime Minister of Australia ever got mixed up with this pack of ultra hierarchical grubs:

    Tuesday, 16 October 2007
    Now the whole dirty business of the quasi religious business cult using modern forms of economic slavery and control to gouge their profit are in the news again today 18th Jan 2008, with another clipping of interest from 2007 included. Perhaps most notable is the impertinence of this cult involving itself so deeply in Big Politics behind a facade of neutrality and other-worldliness. Or perhaps that John Howard would never let his own professional daughter, lawyer Melanie, be oppressed and suppressed with a blanket ban on access to higher education let alone computers. SAM here finds the EB very creepy:

    Postscript #1 21 Jan 2008 
    Sect schools to get $10m, despite ALP unease THE secretive Exclusive Brethren religious sect is poised to receive more than $10 million in Federal Government funds this year, despite the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, describing it during the election campaign as an extremist cult that breaks up families.


    Posted by editor at 9:43 AM EADT
    Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008 4:40 PM EADT
    Australia quality think tanks don't make the cut in international study
    Mood:  caffeinated
    Topic: independent media


    A respected US think tank has been doing some naval gazing at their own sector from the dynamic home of think tanks over there. Mark Latham once referred to this robust culture as impressive with a specialised lobby on every street corner (perhaps referring to Washington itself).

    The FPRI itself is based in Philadelphia and according to a report of ABC radio national Asia Pacific programme 18 Jan 2008 none of Australia's think tanks make the top list of 20 or 30. That means neither the cashed up Lowy Institute with its top academic profile, nor Australia Institute with its well qualified and talented (ex) leader Clive Hamilton (see below), nor the right wing business funded mobs like Institute of Public Affairs with ratbags like Jennifer Marohassy on land use and conservation issues, or Centre for Independent Studies. 



    And this could well be a legacy of 10 years of anti democratic control tactics against civil society organisations by the Howard Govt said to be reversed by the new Rudd Govt:

    Labor to lift gag on critics | The Australian

    ...maybe (ironically same day, same newspaper edition) .....

    Political gag can be of no public gain | The Australian

    "Julian Cribb | January 09, 2008 IN a poor omen for scientific and intellectual freedom in Australia, barely a month after the Rudd Government was elected it appears to have been caught trying to censor science."

    ...which resulted in this balancer by the Minister Kim Carr, in the following week Education supplement ..

    Debate charter promised for boffins 16 Jan 2007

    The background to the report is here:

    The Global "Go-To Think Tanks”: The Leading Public Policy Research Organizations in the World

    Gone are the days when a think tank could operate with the motto “research it, write it and they will find it”. Today, think tanks must be lean, mean, policy machines. The report that follows summarizes the findings of a pilot project to identify some of the leading think tanks in the world, and provides lists of what might be called the “go to think tanks” in every region.

    Related is local Clive Hamilton moving on after a distinguished contribution to public life via his Australia Institute:





    Posted by editor at 7:34 AM EADT
    Pat Farmer MP embroiled in pre election racial flare up?
    Mood:  not sure
    Topic: nsw govt

    Previous recent post on this topic:

    Tuesday, 15 January 2008 Memo Pat Farmer MHR: You can run but you can't hide from the Islamic School racism issue



    Posted by editor at 7:12 AM EADT
    Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008 7:31 AM EADT
    Thursday, 17 January 2008
    Is Janet Albrechtsen losing the plot? [Postscript: Paddy surely is!]
    Mood:  quizzical
    Topic: big media
    Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 11:38 AM
    Subject: are you losing the plot there, or serious?

    By coincidence I saw your celebrated column of 7/9/07 in my clips which has surely been vindicated regarding your influential call for Howard to hand over the baton nearly 3 months before the vote. On your game there:
    Then I read your column yesterday presumably from Canada given the many references where you effectively call for:
    - the removal of anti villification legislation by attacking a govt investigation of a complaint by a minority group, which body hasn't even ruled yet. And you a lawyer who upholds due process? Strange.
    - promote free speech to such extremes I almost expected you to openly authorise burning of the USA flag from the safe distance of the neighbouring country. I don't think so.
     Are you suffering psychic shock at the fast paced unravel of the Howard halcyon days? The systematic dismantling that Rudd as PM is undoubtedly qualified to do according to his own lights, as Bureaucrat Man? Is that why you are licking your wounds over in the land of the melting swamp post climate change? 
    Do you ever get the feeling in moments of introspection that given your political views above and your physical presentation you missed your time in an Australian Freedom and Fatherland Party ie fascism of the 1920-30ies? 
    In short are you losing the plot? 
    Tom McLoughlin, editor www.sydneyalternativemedia.com
    Postscript#1 18 January 2007
    P.P. McGuiness apparently relieved of command of the right wing Quadrant, kick started so rumour has it by CIA anti communist funds decades ago, has a patronising condescending piece of impertinence in The Australian today: 
    It may well have been written from PP's perch there at the window seat of the Unity Hall Hotal in Balmain where he is often ensconced. And his opinion piece has about as much appeal as wet old carpet at closing time. 
    Apparently an academy award and a shared Nobel Peace Prize for Al Gore regarding dangerous climate change "makes no sense". PP knows better, or is that noes better (!) than any other career contrarian? Give it up PP - the age of ecological denial was your time in the 20C, now it's our time so shove off by which I really do mean sincerely SHOVE OFF permanently.
    God's time will do. It can't be long now.

    Posted by editor at 6:43 PM EADT
    Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008 4:16 PM EADT

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