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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 27 February 2008
Herald reporter nails Premier Iemma with question on improper influence?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: nsw govt

As the heat and damage continues to mount all this fortnight the front page of the Sydney Daily Telegraph had the weight early as above in this story:

It's time to be frank, Sartor | The Daily Telegraph

Interestingly the ABC radio are reporting a legal threat by Premier Iemma against any media suggesting corrupt decision making of Ministers as a consequence of donations. That is a libel suit:

 Iemma threatens journos amid donations tension ABC

And Sartor is in pain too:

Donations row: Sartor snaps at 'scumbags' - ABC News (Australian ...

But Andrew Clennell is of rival Sydney Morning Herald is also in the hunt for a Walkley with this story in full below which was on their webpage until earlier this evening, and is still searchable online, but off their main page now it seems. Is this the result of legal pressure?

We feel it needs to be copied and reposted, just to be sure it remains in the public domain. For though Quentin Dempster argues on ABC TV tonight there is no evidence yet of proximity between donations and decisions, we submit that is not the only test of correct governance.

 Rather we say another is that but for the position of power, would the request for support for say a fundraising dinner, or a donation direct, have been given? If not then that's use of the ministerial position for a personal party political benefit. In short a protection racket - the implied threat is you will donate or else take the consequences. It starts to look and feel like "the joke" as corrupt conduct has been known as previously.

That's the allegation in Clennell's story and Iemma hasn't answered it, except in fact to admit he has "participated" in fundraising. Iemma is a lawyer. He knows or should know from 1st year contracts at law school about "undue influence" and "unconscionable conduct" thus invalidating a legal agreement. What about in the extra ministerial activities of a senior politician: Even if it can be argued as not the intention to leverage the portfolio for donations, then what about the effect? Does every interest group except the minister think there is no pressure to donate?

Clennell is asking the right question, as per the strong front page story in the Daily Telegraph by Joe Hildebrand pictured above about Minister Sartor. Sartor can say until he is blue in the face there was no connection between donations to the Party and his planning decision but what of the effect on the giver(s)? Did they expect a quid pro quo? And what about the other story of canvassing for a fundrasing dinner to developers who needed Minister Sartor's discretionary support? That's the same undue influence question directed at Premier Iemma with no convincing answer to date.

We have no hesitation in saying those developers had no freedom to refuse the minister's clammy embrace if they wanted to do business, and the Greens are right to call it "inappropriate". Protection racket would be another term.



Mr Iemma ... dodged the question.

Mr Iemma ... dodged the question.
Photo: Bob Pearce

Andrew Clennell, State Political Editor
February 27, 2008 - 12:17PM

NSW Premier Morris Iemma today refused to answer whether he has ever personally telephoned interest groups in his portfolio responsibility areas as a minister or premier to ask them to attend fundraisers, as the storm over political donations to the Labor party grows.

Mr Iemma's evasion of the question follows Sydney Morning Herald revelations, which have been referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption by the Greens, that during a phone call Planning Minister Frank Sartor asked the chief executive of Stockland Group, Matthew Quinn, to book a table for a fundraiser.

Stockland at the time had several applications before the minister.

Yesterday in Parliament Mr Sartor refused to deny the allegations.

He has previously said he has "no specific recollection" of the conversation.

Mr Quinn has not commented on the alleged conversation.

Mr Iemma was asked today: "Either as a minister or as the premier have you ever telephoned any interest group within your portfolio responsibility and asked them whether they were attending a fundraiser?"

He said: "I've participated in fundraisers in the past, I've participated and attended fundraisers as the premier, as the former prime minister has, as have other ministers, shadow ministers and indeed the leader of the opposition is attending one on Friday and never [have I had] any improper association, conduct as a result of attending fundraisers or being involved in fundraisers."

Journalist: "When you were a minister or the premier have you ever telephoned an interest group within your portfolio responsibility and asked them whether they were attending a fundraiser?

Mr Iemma: "It's the same question you just asked me and I just provided you with a response."

Mr Iemma also defended Mr Sartor and appeared to pre-empt the ICAC finding concerning Mr Sartor, saying he was a man of "integrity".

He told the journalist:"If you're alleging corruption on the part of the minister for planning, do so, lay the allegation, face the consequences of the libel suit that comes.

"If you're alleging he's acted corruptly, in a matter that is before him, lay it and face the consequences of the libel action."

Posted by editor at 8:03 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008 8:55 PM EADT
Pics of seriously energetic rally to keep public power assets in high risk climate
Mood:  energetic
Topic: nsw govt









Posted by editor at 8:45 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008 5:32 PM EADT
Crikey calls for tips on Manildra ripping off the taxpayer on ethanol
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: aust govt


Veteran Alan Ramsey took a swing at Dick Honan (pictured above) of the Manildra corporation way back 2003 here:

A disgrace of the old school - smh.com.au 16 Aug 2003

Here is veteran Michelle Grattan back then too:

It's not assets, it's access - theage.com.au 17 Aug 2003

Lateline ABC reportage here of similar vintage:

Lateline - 11/08/2003: Labor attack Govt over Honan ethanol deal ...

Over at the Big Commercials, then Finance Editor Michael Pascoe with Seven Sunrise dishes the Big Money gossip back in Sept 2004:

Michael Pascoe, Finance Editor: While Sunday Sunrise's transmission was interrupted by the Olympics, some amazing business stories were playing out.

Inevitably in a particularly busy period, some extremely interesting details have been largely overlooked - details such as Dick Honan, chairman of Manildra Group, threatening John Pascoe when he was chairman of George Weston Foods - and John Pascoe apparently yielding to that threat - effectively, corporate blackmail.

He is of course no relation of mine.

Now that's the same Manildra Group that is the biggest single donor to the Liberal Party, the company that the Federal Government turned itself inside out to help over a little matter of ethanol. Yes, that Manildra.

George Weston also is a major contributor to the Liberal Party's coffers - some $600, 000 over the past five years. As either chief executive officer for 15 years and more recently as chairman, one might suspect John Pascoe had a say in that.

There's something else worth knowing about George Weston - aside from making Tip Top bread, Golden Crumpets and various biscuits, it's also a serial abuser of the Trade Practices Act with a particular taste for price fixing.

Four times its been hauled before the beak and fined for price fixing and associated matters - most recently two weeks ago when it copped the one and a half million dollar fine the ACCC asked for - and the ACCC has been criticised for not seeking more.

The actual fine was reported by several newspapers - but only the Australian's court reporter, Vanda Carson, picked up the apparent corporate blackmail story in Federal Court judge Roger Gyles' scathing judgement.

Otherwise, it fell through the cracks until the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday ran a riveting feature by Elisabeth Sexton, albeit well back in the paper.

Justice Gyles' judgement is itself a fascinating read - but let's just stick to the corporate blackmail bit.

A George Weston director, Paul Loneragan, had rung Manildra executives to suggest increasing the price of flour - price fixing.

Dick Honan didn't go to the ACCC when he found out about it. He went to John Pascoe because what Honan wanted was to stop George Weston importing gluten. Oh, I should have mentioned, gluten is another product Manildra dominates in Australia.

According to Honan's own extraordinary evidence, he told Pascoe he would go the ACCC about the price fixing unless Pascoe agreed by 5 pm to stop the importation and re-export of gluten.

As Justice Gyles puts it:

"Later that day, Pascoe informed Honan that the commercial matter was resolved in the manner sought by Honan."

Pascoe didn't go to the ACCC either. He did sack Loneragan, but with 12 months pay. And George Weston re-employed him as a consultant the very next month. Justice Gyles makes some interesting comments about that.

As it turned out, some anonymous whistleblower still tipped off the ACCC about the price fixing attempt.

Pascoe also was chairman of Aristocrat and Centrelink as well as George Weston, but he suddenly resigned all his very well-paid board positions two months ago when the Federal Government appointed him chief federal magistrate.

What I'm left wondering is: If that judgement had been made prior to John Pascoe's appointment, would it have had baring on his suitability for such a senior judicial role?

For that matter, would it have had baring on his ability to continue as chairman of a poker machine manufacturer? Would acceding to Honan's threat pass probity in the gambling industry?

I also can't help wondering if the ACCC needs to take a close look at the gluten industry. 

Dick Honan is no slouch in the affluence stakes:

ABIX via COMTEX) -- "BRW" magazine released its "Rich 200" list for Australia for 2002. The net estimated worth of Dick Honan is $A250m, which compares with $A270m in 2001. Honan, who inherited a flour milling and sugar business, has built Manildra Milling into a major Australian food processing company. Manildra rationalised its US food processing operations and bought the bioproducts division of George Weston Foods for an estimated $A41m.

Publication Date: 23 May 2002

Here is Crikey.com.au last Monday 25th February 2008, and it's a cracking story about corporate welfare:

Manildra's fuel ethanol grant will increase inflation

Richard Farmer writes:

As we try to make sense of stories about politics and companies, it pays to keeping looking at the list Crikey published back at the beginning of the month of who is giving how much to which party. I checked this morning and it put the current Independent Commission into Corruption inquiry about goings on at the Wolloongong Council into a proper perspective.

Property developers and development companies provided $5.1 million of the $13.9 million which Australian Electoral Commission figures show was donated to the three major political parties in 2006-07. Now we know that there is no such thing as free morning coffee as well as a free lunch.

The list also would make a normal person wonder why it was that the ethanol producer Manildra Group was the biggest single donor of all. Was there something other than altruism behind Mr Dick Honan's support for the democratic process? One of our website users suggests there just might be. In an anonymous tip the informant writes:

Dear Crikey, Please keep my details confidential. I thought you would find this information of interest.

I note that Crikey recently highlighted the massive donations given by Mr Dick Honan's Manildra Group to the two major political parties.

I'm sure you are aware that Manildra is Australia's near-monoploy fuel ethanol producer and receives a biofuel grant from the Federal government of just over 38 cents per litre. (Mr Howard ensured Manildra received the grant while ethanol importers would not.) Manildra will soon have the capacity to produce around 120 megalitres per year. Anyone doing the sums will quickly realise that the 2% biofuel mandate to be implemented by the NSW government, not to mention the 40 megalitre/year contract BP recently signed with Manildra, will result in Manildra collecting large sums of taxpayers' money.

Manildra asserts that its ethanol is solely derived from waste starch (i.e. fermentation of starch and sugars in the effluent stream of their Bomaderry gluten and starch operation. The plant separates wheat flour into gluten and starch. Some starch/sugars are lost to the liquid effluent stream). This makes them look greener than green. This is not the case.

Manildra has used corn starch from China and is currently negotiating with a Thai company (The THH Group) to supply tapioca chips to produce ethanol. Also, because of the huge profit margin on fuel ethanol, Manildra has been diverting more and more food-grade and industrial-grade starch to ethanol production. It is also rumoured that they are sending sugar from their Harwood sugar refinery to Nowra for ethanol production.

The result is obvious; The price of the starch and starch-based products (glucose, fructose, maltose, etc) that Manildra sells to food and beverage companies such as Fosters, Kraft, Cadburys and Nestle, and that are sold to industrial users such as Amcor, Visy and PaperlinX, must be increased so as to meet the profit margin enjoyed on the subsidised fuel ethanol.

In other words, the government's fuel ethanol grant is leading directly to food-price inflation which is in turn contributing to higher interest rates.

Aside from the food-fuel-inflation issue, wasn't the biofuel producers' grant supposed to assist LOCAL agriculture, not that of Thailand and China, which just makes our trade deficit even worse? Similarly, before handing over OUR money, why hasn't the Fed Government, the NSW Government or BP not demanded that Manildra provide a carbon/GHG lifecycle analysis and net energy analysis of their ethanol, as is now the case with biofuel suppliers to the EU market?

Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au, submit them anonymously here or SMS tips and photos to 0427 TIP OFF.

Next day 26th Feb 08 Manildra's PR officer responded to Crikey.com.au, which might not be quite apples and oranges on our first reading:


Peter Simpson, General Manager of the Manildra Group, writes: Re. "Manildra's fuel ethanol grant will increase inflation" (yesterday, item 15). I refer to your article in yesterday’s edition. This company does not as a general rule respond to allegations from anonymous informants particularly when such allegations are absolutely false. However the following points will serve to correct the factual errors contained in the points raised by your anonymous informant:

Biofuels Grant: Manildra does not retain the ethanol producer’s credit of 38.143 cents per litre. Not less than 112.5 per cent of this producer’s credit is returned to major oil companies and fuel wholesalers to pass on to Australian motorists. In other words 100 per cent of the Government subsidy paid by taxpayers is returned to the motorist together with another 12.5 per cent paid by Manildra It is for this reason that ethanol blended fuel is able to be sold cheaper at the petrol pump. Additionally, whilst it is true at the moment that this company produces the major part of Australia’s ethanol production, there are a number of new plants on the drawing board as well as other plants already in production. For example, Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources data shows that in 2006/2007, the total volume of ethanol claimed by producers Australia wide under the Ethanol Production Grants Program amounted to around 83.5 million litres of which around 53 million litres were claimed by Manildra. That is, Manildra only claimed 63 per cent of the total subsidy claimed.

Balance of Statements: Manildra does not import tapioca chips and has no intention of doing so. Corn starch imported by Manildra is used for the manufacture of modified products other than ethanol. Manildra is not sending sugar from the Harwood sugar refinery to Nowra.

I will not make further comment on this or the other statements made by your informant as frankly they do not make a lot of sense. I trust that in the interests of fairness you will publish this reply in today’s edition.

Posted by editor at 6:13 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008 7:47 AM EADT
Break dance circus act for 2020 Summit: Puffed Nelson, grinning Ruddster, Garrett
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: aust govt

This is more interesting than watching paint dry, spotted via Crikey with original YT link below: There is something disturbing here too, perhaps the puffed Nelson figure valiantly keeping up with the beat while outnumbered, or is it the brash grinning poise of the Rudd and Garrett figures prosecuting their vaudeville rather than real policy action with such ease (the bread and circuses aspect of federal govt), or just the pathetic 'pollies just want to be loved/don't hurt me' sound track, as they live in financial security and relatively high on the hog. It works on so many levels we laughed hard, but we better stop trying to explain a joke (always a bit of a bore) and let this mash weave it's own magic here:

We watched the second half of the urban/climate change themed large format chat show Insight on SBS last night 26th Feb 08 and noted Prof Peter Newman from West Australia, that a market approach will just deliver "enclavism"surrounded by "Mad Max suburbs". Very true.

We have another too cynical speculative view about this elite list of the summiteers:  A cute story on West Wing tv series (episode 5, series 1 in fact) involved a special pass for the 'elite' like Josh Lyman character, who get to go into the bunker, or Airforce 1 if or when the apocalypse happens, calling up survivor guilt etc. Is this the first draft of our own Aussie bunker list The Day After Tomorrow?!

Posted by editor at 5:42 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008 7:06 AM EADT
Tuesday, 26 February 2008
Comparative food budget of families across the world
Mood:  hungry
Topic: world

We received this from Steve Economidis on a broadcast email, but without attribution. It actually derives apparently from:

The book is Hungry Planet: what the world eats.  by Peter menzel.
Here are some more links about this work (that actually give credit to the ones due):
What's impressive is that the glorious images put us all in the picture. Who after all is not from 'a family'. Who indeed does not eat? What thinking person is not worried about sustainability of the human project and similarly ecological life supports?  

These images are reproduced in turn from


Japan: The Ukita family of Kodaira City Food expenditure for one week: 37,699 Yen or $317.25

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11 Favorite foods: fish, pasta with ragu, hot dogs, frozen fish sticks

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina Food expenditure for one week: $341.98 Favorite foods: spaghetti, potatoes, sesame chicken

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09 Favorite foods: pizza, crab, pasta, chicken

Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27 Family recipe: Pig's knuckles with carrots, celery and parsnips

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53 Family recipe: Okra and mutton

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo Food expenditure for one week : $31.55 Family recipe : Potato soup with cabbage

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03 Family recipe: Mushroom, cheese and pork

Kuwait: The Al Haggan family of Kuwait City Food expenditure for one week: 63.63 dinar or $221.45
Family recipe: Chicken biryani with basmati rice

China: The Dong family of Beijing Food expenditure for one week: 1,233.76 Yuan or $155.06
Favorite foods: fried shredded pork with sweet and sour sauce

United States: The Caven family of California Food expenditure for one week: $159.18
Favorite foods: beef stew, berry yogurt sundae, clam chowder, ice cream

Mongolia: The Batsuuri family of Ulaanbaatar Food expenditure for one week: 41,985.85 togrogs or $40.02 Family recipe: Mutton dumplings

Great Britain: The Bainton family of Cllingbourne Ducis Food expenditure for one week: 155.54 British Pounds or $253.15 Favorite foods: avocado, mayonnaise sandwich, prawn cocktail, chocolate fudge cake with cream

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23 Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat

Posted by editor at 9:05 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008 9:32 AM EADT
Monday, 25 February 2008
Big media wrap chapter II, in the NSW state of flux
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: nsw govt


Normally a Sunday Talkies article yesterday is enough. But these are 'momentous' times to borrow an adjective from veteran Alex Mitchell describing both the overt and covert real politik of SAM's own NSW turf. Yesterday we also needed a Big Media wrap. Important because otherwise there is no chance for synthesis, which can inform and assist the public and ironically the actors in their own Shakespearean plot(s): Better to know what's really happening rather than jumping at shadows. Hopefully in this way some genuine democracy and wisdom can arise from the fusion of myriad forces, forces good and otherwise.

This is the role of trustworthy independent community media not least fifth estate micro news site here.

We like to think we can intuite and observe the near silent ripples of the covert kind. And sometimes we are dead on bullseye when we are supposed to be following the spin and the herd. A solitary pursuit often like wonderful rock jock Peter Croft solo climbing with not a rope or harness in sight: Scary, dangerous, thrilling only the wind and gravity of law and real politik to keep us connected to reality. This damn intuition is not an appealing quality to vested interests ... of all sides of politics (that reads at least 4). One imagines it's something to do with the long lost grandfather's genes quite high up in the Fairfax machine in his day 1940-50ies..

So here is a third installment in 36 hours for what we couldn't cover yesterday before rushing off now to a legal rendezvous for our disabled buddy getting her fair share (under guidance of private practitioner one Pam Suttor, Law Society council member):

- Saturday front pager continues the trend of real politik pain for spiv NSW ALP with their economic growth fetish mostly in denial of the ecological imperative of our times of conservation and moderation:

- Adam Spencer this morning abc 702 radio refers to Liberal and in recent years ABC Board royalty Janet Albrechtsen, via blog, rather than press print (?) here:

 End the stench of political donations 0 comments about this article

24 FEBRUARY 2008

HALLELUJAH. After stunning allegations of corruption at the Independent Commission Against Corruption about property donations securing multi-million dollar development approvals in Wollongong, NSW Premier Morris...

Apparently Albrech. says "don't hold your breath" on developer reforms. Quite. The big money developer lobby are on the back foot but they will be baaaack as here:

Developers warn of crisis - National - smh.com.au 14 Feb 2008

This is one of those so called "development crisis" that political economist giant of the USA JK Galbraith would refer to in highly technical terms as big business "bullsh*t".

- Sometimes it hard to tell which is more macabre - the Big Media journalists who would fit right into the Adam's Family, or the MPs who it seems have already been convicted of that unforgiveable sin ... fatness ... which is a cheap shot surely for a boney arsed reptile when there is so much more substance to work with. So why go down market? Unless this is also the same revolving door natural habitat of said journo(s)?

Is it the rival porn dominated revenues of the internet causing the press gossip writers to go down market? Who for instance needs to hear that Rocket Rod Adler, convicted fraudster is being compared nastily with a mass murderer Ivan Milat at a local theatre?: As bad as Rocket was or is, mass murderer he is not (refer pic below).

Then what about Minister Reba Meagher's toilet habits? Do we really need to know? (see extract below)

We perceive Carty, Big Media reptile below,  for better or worse, as the parallel evolutionary product as Simon Benson on state rounds over at the Daily Telegraph in response to career pressure of ALP hegemony, same SB not averse to a little menacing of this writer. One can imagine Carty may try a bit of biffo in print too. Whatever.

First exhibit is this package of articles suggestive of a PR gambit of 'quarrantine and sanitise' in the Fairfax SunHerald which actually trivialises the systemic problem with brand ALP (see more below):

Rather the real hammer blow regarding good governance that Carty et al might have worked up for the Sunday press: How is it that a manager of ICAC investigations has ended up working with the main schmoozer and accused (Scimone) appearing before Justice Jerrold Cripps as beak at  ICAC? It's not going too far to say ICAC until last week had a major credibility gap with civil society groups including this writer for being a toothless lap puppy.

Indeed corroboration of this reality of ineffective ICAC - until last week - can be found in this Herald story today 25 Feb 08:

Scandal envelops Maritime

Ivan Patrick THE mostly female planning staff at NSW Maritime were alarmed when Joe Scimone was appointed executive director of their division because they knew he had resigned from Wollongong Council following harassment allegations, a former high-ranking Maritime manager has told the Premier.

This quote is damning of perceptions of ICAC ineffectiveness until very recently:

"Mr Patrick said he and some colleagues had tried from August 2006 to persuade ICAC "to investigate systemic maladministration in NSW Maritime," but the commission had told them to undertake their own investigation.

After he left NSW Maritime in December 2006, Mr Patrick accused the NSW cabinet of moving to "gut" government policies to control waterfront development, allowing wealthy landowners and commercial interests to build bigger structures and hinder public access. Mr Tripodi said at the time it would cut red tape."

Having said that we praise ICAC as it is always better late than never, even in the face of gripes. We fear ICAC has only been goaded into ferocity by the appearance of standover men leveraging the dozey dizzy ICAC record of recent years to rip out allegedly $500K from their hapless victims.

In other words ICAC was at existential risk themselves and so not just councillor crooks or ministerial mates in the dock all last and this week. It's the effectiveness and utitlity of ICAC itself. That's the subtext to Jerrold Cripps getting ICAC off its arse and actually doing something about good governance comparable to the jolting Metherell Affair of 1992. We don't know as a legal practitioner if that is contempt of a judicial body. But it needs to be said and said loudly - ICAC have ALOT of catching up to do, and we hope and trust they do so:


Posted by editor at 7:19 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 25 February 2008 6:31 PM EADT
Sunday, 24 February 2008
Sunday Talkies: $6B for Nelson's Super Hornet jets cancelled for F-22 Raptors?
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: aust govt

 Image:Two F-22A Raptor in column flight.jpg




Author’s general introductory note (skip this bit 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.


Sunday 9 7.30am- 9.30am


Missed the start but like ABC radio early bulletins Sunday the early stories are predominantly foreign based like Pakistan election and Obama presidential race in the USA. This fits the lower audience early and the currency via international overnight newswires leveraging the time difference and convenience of boiler plate media packages.


- adverts are running NSW Govt adverts on water and energy conservation which are blatant PR greenwashing efforts.


- Ross Greenwood business story – Skase reprise. Couldn’t track the detail but usually a strong reporter.


- membership civil liberties debate of organized crime in bikie gangs especially in South Australia. Legal power struggle. Anger is rising amongst bikiers. Prof Arthur Veno Monash University quoted – similar ban backfired, drove moderates to hard core with attempted bombings of police stations.

- Oakes interview with Stephen Smith, as foreign minister. LO looking a little more groomed and side on, buzz cut? Boiler plate Iraq etc. Weight is about Gates as US Secretary of Defence in the country for ‘AUSMIN’ as per ABC tv media pictures on tv news last night, complete with winged shoulder, surely symbolizing something about the Republican regime of W Bush and the credibility of the render loving USA. [as per Millibrand admission UK’s Diego Garcia].


- NATO conference in April attended by Rudd


 [along with his own 2020 summit, rich folks summit for Ayn Rand on in Sydney too.]

- No more troops to Afghanistan. Other things we can do to state building. Canadians are pulling out, 80 casualities.


- missile defence controversy about secret talks, Smith fudges, Oakes not convinced, Fitzgibbon did say they were secret. Son of Star Wars is under discussion. Not going to be rushed, no need to be rushed. [See more at this story by 'former intel officer, Lowy Institute'

Defence umbrella put to the test | The Australian 20/2/08]


 [is this the tradeoff for canceling other ridiculous arms purchases as here:

PM to slash Howard's defence spend 24 Feb 08

THE Federal Government will launch a major cost cutting assault on multi-billion dollar defence projects established by the Howard government. ]

Seems the Raptor is instead being moved up the shopping list says abc tv news 9 am this morning.








10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


Opening footage Rudd re AWA IR repeal.


Press roundup re FIFA world cup event stalked by Rudd, it’s a vaudeville type PR kicking a footy. Look at moi, look at moi, running in Sunday Sydney SunHerald to take pressure off brand ALP in Sydney (?)


 2nd front pager of note is integrity story about Brian Bourke meeting scheduled for Rudd running in Brisbane Courier Mail. It’s fairly cold story sought to be revived but it shows as in NSW Qld has misgivings about ALP cronyism – something never resolved by Fitzgerald as far back as 1987 after putting the salts through the National Party, and cut off before he got to the crook ALP.


Main talent is Christopher Pyne MP who is still the second string team – PB compere notes it’s a cold line of attack now post election while Pyne beats as best he can.


Mid level journos on panel Cath Hart telegenic complete with contact lenses (?), The Australian , Mark Kenny Adelaide Advertiser (both News Ltd papers) probably telegenic not that there’s anything wrong with that.


Which raises the question of Pyne’s clearly strong grip on rhetoric and policy but presenting as a minority sexuality, whether true or not (as alleged previously in the big media), as we move into the gay Sydney Mardi Gras season. If true we reckon like Bob Brown  long ago, the time is right, post Rudd election. There is no value in living a public political career with half one’s life out of bounds, like Alan Jones against one’s own God given nature. It’s the next big step Christopher, for greatness even.


Haneef cost of the debacle. Coalition supports Keelty in his job, AFP role.


Out take amusing Nicholson animation of ex PM ego line up of apologizers for various flaws. Works quite well.


John Connor again on his ALP ambitious platform with Climate Institute following the Peter Garrett track from real green to greenwash for the ALP? Sufficiently smooth and boofhead ugly to fit right in complete with “going forward” boilerplate. Garnaut very “thoughtful”. Lline of least resistance pragmatic tone.  Get’s on to no compo for owners of generators – pricing signals on energy supported? Roundabout yes, smarter use bills go down.


PB intervenes – big difference anyway whatever we do? China and US waking up to this and we should get ahead of the curve. [Connor gets this right.]


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



7 Weekend Sunrise: 8.35-40 am Riley Diary  -


Intro re high polling for Rudd v Nelson pulping fiction of Work Choices. Mr Woolfe/Harvey Keitel character “solves problems”


 [reminds of a shady character who gave me a lift over the Nullabor as a kid hitchhiker, Italian gent in a huge LTD who worked as a “problem solver”, that was in 1984 or so.]


Mostly about AWA fridgemagnets and postcards and mouse pads. Props all round, with cardboard Kevinator for the Coalition. Amusing staged presser with 1 cm thick lack of substance PM [KRudd.]


Footage of Coalition etc dinosaurs  ‘wax museum with a pulse’.





Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Intro is inconvenient truth of Garnaut report.


Panel is Karen Middleton sbs, Andrew Bolt News HeraldSun, David Marr smh.


FIFA event in 2018, bread and circuses proposal, laugh.


Cornes in Australian Story re biffo of Tonay Jones.


Harry Jenkins speaker looking at making answer questions, revolution if can do it. Bolt sees credibility gap real politik deliverable.


Andrew Robb in the studio – shadow foreign minister. Stunt of cardboard Kevin.


Panel get their head around the enormity of dangerous climate change, both have profound points to make and its cataclysmic economic and global ecological concerns. Bolt in denial but not nearly so dogmatic in opposition..


Garrett gets a good rap with passion on climate change while noting clearing for a pulp mill and dredging Port Phillip.


Downer gets condemned for hubris even in defeat. House of reps shouldn’t be a retirement home, get to work.


Iemma govt, worst in a generation possibly ever. Marr is a village politician from Calabria adjudicates the village disputes, always a scrum of rough people, not getting in and solving things. Bolt says 4 year term too long, undemocratic.


Footage [not midweek, actually Friday] re Iemma claiming “heads will roll”, no detail of political donation rules. Cassidy says often change the leader, Watkins wrong faction, machine prefer go down in the heap? No. This is NSW says 30 year experience as reporter hand to hand combat comes up from the gutters, beginning of NSW about corruption, property. Marr is soooooooooooooooooooooo right.


Talking pictures: Julie Bishop adapted as Deputy Opposition Leader. Sharp faced, and witted, and ruthless ambition. Find her chilling like an SS officer myself, the boney arsed one 9-5 movie. Shows here tactical nouse with Blair Howard schoolkids impromptu pic fac.


Rich journalists discuss PM use of tax payer funded child minding, irrelevant to wealth, it’s about job rights, ‘just like Mal Turnbull’ completely missing the point that the voters know Big Politics is really money politics and how they got their jobs in the first place.


Wind up – final observations – republic in a fortnight says Marr, Middleton on Afghanistan, Bolt on Nelson.



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



Posted by editor at 9:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 25 February 2008 7:18 AM EADT
Big Media press backgrounder: Did Morris Iemma get a green vocation in Adelaide?
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: big media

Preface - we've been in the job market this last week and fallen behind in writing up Big Media both fair and tricked up reportage, which is not to say we haven't been keeping up, just no time to write the damn stuff down and share.

- The NSW Govt is doing as best it can behind the scenes to shut down those who are out of their control in the big media. At least that's the gist of the pseudo funny oh so serious column of Joe Hildebrand in

Hunted by John Hatzistergos Sydney Daily Telegraph 23 Feb 08

who we think has seen the error of his ways in praise of Deborah Cameron on abc 702. We intuite a certain aggression by the Iemma Minister 'The Hat' to Hildebrand for his coverage of the public energy assets, a coverage that the somewhat captured Simon Benson at the same paper is predictably Yes Minister in style. By comparison Alex Mitchell for one has served up barrow loads of sharp critique on Crikey.com.au and local abc radio. To be clear we think Benson is captured by the ALP right.

- Even so we would take NSW AG 'the hat' over what plays for justice in Indonesia - what a shocker this story really is for a rusty lawyer:

Squeezing justice from court mafia - Opinion - smh.com.au 23 Feb 08

- Yep even with the growing Rudd credibility gap on real action, with another being "lofty words" on FoI reform, it's still a democracy one can appreciate here in good old Aussie, as long as we work at it:

Culture of secrets hard act to break - Opinion - smh.com.au 23 Feb 08

At least Minister Carr is working up his transparency credentials:

Gag to be lifted on research vetoes | The Australian 13/2/08

- We are working up a traverse on rich folks controlling and abusing our democracy, not least the up coming Ayne Rand conference in Sydney and we will add this to the manilla folder:

The bucks stop here - National - smh.com.au 23 Feb 08 The PM, a union official-turned-senator and the public are demanding that company executives rein in their extortionate rates of pay, writes Andrew West.

- The first of a cascade of scandals, each of a certain repellant fatal momentum and beauty in the art of political observation here in NSW: The first sentence is a cracker

"As managerial disasters go the Tcard debacle might eventually overtake the Cross-City Tunnel"

Lets' just dwell a moment shall we. The pun about overtaking in a road tunnel, the impacting compare and contrast with the very real politik pain of the CCT in 2006-7. The normally reasonable, but in NSW incredulous, assumption of government providing managerial expertise. An opening sentence to die for. Go Leah Mason of EcoTransit here:

Tcard mess a no-brainer: simplify fares - Opinion - smh.com.au 14/2/08

 - These front pagers below say it all as regards the wheels falling off the credibility of the "good government" of NSW as newly elected Premier Iemma wishfully claimed back in March 2007, and replayed in the out take to Stateline ABC last Friday night 22nd Feb:

That was "momentous" Friday 22 Feb as veteran reptile Alex Mitchell refers in his summary pieces with ABC 702 morning shows Fri and Sat just gone.

Here is Thursday 21 Feb:


Saturday just gone is no better, misplaced in the Brazil style paper flurry here at SAM desk.

Here is another front pager from last week's Sydney press:

which incredibly echoes in so many ways the great 2006 DVD movie of classic All The Kings Men (ATKM) with Sean Penn in the lead, a thinly disguised parable of ascendant Huey Long who ran Louisiana 1926 -1935 who apparently was fast and loose with correct governance ("dictatorial tendencies") and his libido, and cunning, very cunning, with a platform of 'just build it'. Huey/Willy Stark/Sean Penn comes to a sticky end too. The real Huey even has a passing resemblance to Morris Iemma:

Huey Long

We spoke to Cr Jeremy Buckingham (Greens) based in Orange and he said this hospital building debacle has resulted from ALP mates as the contractors doing a bodgy job. In ATKM it's a dodgy school that kills 3 kids, rather than a bodgy hospital or three:

Hospital crisis prompts review of all projects - National - smh.com.au 22 Feb 08

, but there is a new hospital central to the story line too, and even this Warren cartoon looks like the phallic Parliament buiilding of Louisiana prominent in the movie as fact and fiction merge here in NSW:

Maybe it's true everything that happens here has already happened over in the States?

The underlying subtext is the press barons want this particular State govt gone and they perceive the great majority of NSW voters do too so they are reflecting their readership. The sad thing is symptoms of this culture of cronyism go right down to the local community centre level as reported in part here on SAM, this time involving the Left clique ex MP Meredith Burgman and her network of mates:


Saturday, 16 February 2008

So you see it's a case of 'ALP Left Monkey see what ALP Right Monkey actually does so why can't we' in their own seats of Grayndler/Marrickville. This is what Quentin Dempster at the big presser with Iemma at 11 am last Friday 22nd Feb was meaning with the accusation of a culture of patronage over merit within the 12 year old government. Too old, too long:

Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 2:32 PM
Subject: ARC

G’day Tom,

Thanks for your recent emails. It can be confirmed [office manager] commenced employment on Monday.

With regard to Natalie McCarthy, she is the representative of "Roomies" which is not an incorporated body or registered name but a wholly ‘owned’ operation of the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre (NNC has 2 incorporation Reg’n Nos 1585126455 and INC9880928) and pays the rent for Roomies. Natalie is the nominated representative at ARC for NNC. It can be argued that Newtown Neighbourhood Centre is controlled by Marrickville Council by virtue of allowing them a peppercorn rent for the Newtown building and having some of the Council’s social workers operate from the Centre (?). If this is so, then Roomies (NNC) would not have a vote at ARC under the same rules which denies votes to the Child Minding Centre, the Community Garden and the Artist in Residence. Peter Olive does not agree with this argument - he maintains NNC operates independently of Council. A councillor or Council of a different political persuasion might have a differing attitude.

If you have a look on the National Names Index on the ASIC website you will find that "THE ADDISON ROAD GALLERY ARTS ASSOCIATION INCORPORATED" Reg No INC 9888276 has recently been registered - it was not on the register in December 2007. There is no other information on the public register but the rumour is that Meredith Burgmann is the chairman and the group either has or is in the process of negotiating a new lease with ARC for the Gallery on the same terms as the previous arrangement with Terry Cutcliffe.

The next meeting of the Board of ARC (26-02-08?) will presumably appoint an honorary member to replace YA and elect a new chairman.

With this campaign to bring ARC under acceptable rules of governance and conduct it may be worthwhile to take a broader look at the problem.

Some of the older members probably would claim to have a stakeholding because of their involvement at the beginning with the fight to retain the Centre in public ownership. This claim has translated into a view that they are entitled to pay little or no rent as a reward for their past efforts - I do not agree with this view. Other tenants have negotiated extremely beneficial arrangements for themselves and as a result have compromised themselves. In some cases there has been a great imbalance of power between ARC and its tenants and, in the past, ARC management did not have either the skill or the will to get a reasonable result for the Centre. Whatever has happened, the result has been that most tenants refrain from any involvement with the operation of the Centre. Consequently, an unrepresentative minority have obtained control by default and any change is resisted.

As you are aware there have been several court cases where directors of not for profit organisations have been held responsible for poor governance and have lost their homes as a consequence. At the outside, only 4 of the tenants at the Centre would understand this responsibility and is a factor in their reluctance to be a member of the Board of ARC. Marrickville Council must also be aware of its exposure.

You might also look on the websites of the Arts Council of Australia where you can confirm that the allocation to SIDETRACK PERFORMANCE GROUP LTD for 2008 is $143,418 and from Arts NSW in 2006-7 the same group received $100,000 plus $10,000 for consultancy. From this incomplete information it would not be unreasonable to expect this group to receive in excess of $250,000 during the 2007-2008 year. From a casual observation the question might be asked - does the community get value for money?

Yet with all this heavy duty pressure on Iemma he didn't sweat as usual under the glare of the presser last Friday. Garry Linnel, a smart usually moderate cookie now with the Sydney Daily Telegraph reckons its the calm of the victim before the kill "accepting his fate". We have an alternative theory - In extremis Iemma has discovered a new mission and a new faith - dangerous climate change, as per the Garnaut report speech to the Premiers Conference held in Adelaide recently, and see Tas pro Logger Lennon below for more on this resolution appearing in the neurosis of the big developer spiv ALP in favour of what Iemma seemed to be referrring to as "the public interest". Iemma's people cutely adopt a phrase back to a scathing editorial heresame day:

While the public may know and reluctantly accept that those in power are weak and incompetent, it will not - indeed, cannot - accept that they can use that power to betray the public interest.

Talk about aspiring to the lowest standard of weak and incompetent but not corrupt!

Labor's rot starts at the top - Editorial - Opinion - smh.com.au

- So where are we going now with the leadership of the NSW Govt? John Sutton, chief of the national CFMEU is calling for the 'Left's Watkins to take over, Koperberg has avoided the big union rally on Tuesday 26th and notice this we wrote last night:

Big Phil is no longer bound by Cabinet solidarity on energy sale On February 23rd, 2008 ecology action ... says:

... such as sale of the public energy assets in question at the big union rally this Tuesday with a picket line of some kind, though I don't think they are blocking MP access as such.

 Big Phil has just been on Ch9 [Feb 23 6 pm]  "explaining" why he had to resign for health reasons saying and I quote "it's not delibitating, its not life lifethreatening but its something I have to do ... I should be fine in a few months" or words to that effect.

Cabinet decided to sell the energy assets in Dec 07 when Big Phil, just after he had been forced to step down. Now as a leading Left faction minister I think he can't afford to be in Cabinet.

And whose to say Iemma will be Cabinet much longer, in which case we might just see Big Phil's health suddenly improve markedly, and yes return to Cabinet.

He was walking and talking with remarkable ease on Ch9 and it was no ambush either. It was a set piece.

Just a guess but there is more that meets the eye on this but not so cynical as those above. 

The tv coverage builds on this story in the herald earlier in the day:

I was happier when I was fire chief - National - smh.com.au 23 Feb 08

We played our own small part in poor ex Minister Koperberg's alleged health troubles when we delivered the full paper version of this submission to his GMT ministerial office early last week

Maroota sandmining II: 'experts' alleged 'fraud' exposed on dam into groundwater, dust on local school?
Mood:  irritated
Topic: ecology

which if you track through the links to a related January 08 submission contains this doozy about statewide maladministration of water licensing:

We understand that statewide the Dept of Water Annual Report 2005-2007, 2006-7 p28 reports no prosecutions statewide for breaches of the Water Act 1912 in either year, only 2 penalties for the Water Management Act 2000 in 05-06, none in 06-07, and only 1 prosecution under the Rivers & Foreshores Improvement Act 1948. These low figures of enforcement are derisory compared with 90,000 ground water bores and 13 900 surface water licences according to the 06-07 Annual Report.

Iemma was too calm for Linnel at the SDT not to notice:

 No-sweat Iemma's death-row calm | The Daily Telegraph 22 Feb 2008

And the Premier did have cut through even with all the muck on  him politically. The Premier was flanked by his climate savvy young political turks too Verity Firth and Nathan Vass (both of them up to their eyeballs in a higher class of developer money politics re Callan Park sellout to Sydney Uni, and $2B Desalination Plant respectively, and again Firth running interference on iar pollution  threat to Balmain/Marrickville of a $5B truck tunnel via smog stacks).

These ministers and Iemma himself are young enough to care and to accept environmentalism on a more objective basis unlike the browns like Costa or Macdonald. And young enough to be ambitious too. We wonder if Iemma may just have moved further over to one side of the previously paralysing neurosis in the ALP Machine of traditional growth fetish versus dangerous climate action agenda. We get the impression that Ross Garnaut read the riot act to the premiers down in Adelaide earlier this week before releasing his frightening Interim Report. Garnaut was definitely down there last Wednesday as were the premiers, Robert F Kennedy and Dr. Zhengrong Shi Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. It all seems to have been about a Solar Cities Conference.

 Has Iemma seen the greener side of things and taken it on board? Time will tell. The teasing question is indeed why the calm? Linnel takes the cynical defeatist view, we are still holding out a bit on the Let Bartlett Be Bartlett moral scenario of a guy who has decided what's right whatever the cost. Yes it is quaintly naive.

Or maybe because Iemma has now decided to support political donations reform 

 Premier's edict will derail the gravy train - National - smh.com.au 23-4 Feb 08

perhaps responding to this scarifying editorial late January 28 08

Gripe more than sour grapes - Editorial - Opinion - smh.com.au

Iemma may  feel this is way sufficient moral virtue to cover his otherwise embarrassing nakedeness most of last week? Perhaps for a guy whose whole raison d'etre has been money politics it is a big change that he feels is life changing and morale boosting. From his own paradigm he is probably right. Methinks it is good progress and indeed necessary but not sufficient, with Warren capturing it as he tends to do:

A big union protest about publicly owned energy assets on Tuesday 26 Feb 08 may finalise some more big changes all round.


- on the theme of jobs on merit or otherwise we noticed former rugby forward, ex NSW Premier then federal MP, lung cancer survivor, bereaved parent and now World Anti Doping Authority chief, is advertising for help. That's jumping Jack Fahey quick to protect Prince Charles in 93, good enough to see in an Olympic Bid via mostly the work of minister Bruce Baird (quietly sidelined so JF could reap the PR), and still harvesting the benefits of Big Sport with a choice job in WADA:

We even thought about applying but then checked our own innocent naivety.

- On matters even more fundamental Terry McCrann reckons Garnaut has made a threshhold assumption which is bonkers, to

"assume" a de-coupling of growth and carbon energy

in A cool response is right for unheated climate debate | The Australian 23-24 Feb 08

is even possible. This is the ex PM Howard Old Australia line in The Australian dependent on fossil fool advertising and Hard Right revenues as per this shaky editorial recently. They surely have the growth fetish. It is also social and ecological suicidal thinking - because if China and India etc don't decouple, just as they had to on the similar global ecological real politik of ozone depleting substances (ODS) with CFC and FC's (pictured below) then its goodbye climate and most if not all of the human project.

The largest Antarctic ozone hole recorded as of September 2006
The largest Antarctic ozone hole recorded as of September 2006

Sad isn't it. You can't eat money. We are starting to see why God has not allowed us to have any kids in our greenie media vocation, to spare us the trauma of parents everywhere and they do have our sympathy, as per the old black and white grim empty streetscapes of On the Beach in Melbourne. Check out the chilling Salvation army rally scene. It's not much fun actually.

 Meanwhile page 1 news here:

Councils must identify rising sea risk | The Australian

which surely will increase panic in the political economy, and not just in Australia but every coastal zone in the world. As we wrote elsewhere if the global re insurance industry is not satisfied with Australia's measures to combat dangerous climate they may just withdraw their coverage and that would make HIH collapse look like a kindergarten picnic in terms of economic disruption. So finally we see government biting the bullet to quote the above article:

Sea-level expert and head of geosciences at Sydney University Peter Cowell, who is working closely with insurer IAG, said hundreds of thousands of homes faced possible inundation resulting from climate change over the next 20 to 30 years. ....

[Paul Bell president of the Local Government Association] said he feared decisions made now, in the absence of modelling, would trigger "strong litigation" from property owners.

"There will also be a huge political backlash," he said. "It's something we can't blink at any more or walk away from."

Mr Bell said some councils had received funding from insurance companies with similar concerns to conduct research in their own districts. 

But the issue needed a national approach.

"There are differences in Port Douglas and Cairns with some event that causes huge tidal surges to what might happen in Melbourne and Sydney," he said. "We've seen a lot of good work already done by many of our councils, but it's the real science that needs to be applied to our coastline that is the issue now and it needs to happen very quickly."

He said the problem was more urgent than many people understood, with the community council on Saibai Island, in the Torres Strait, already forced last year to move some residents off the island. "They're an island that is 2.7m still out of the ground and they are saying 'You've got to do something, you've got to use planning'," he said.

Insurance Council of Australia communications manager Paul Giles said insurers remained concerned about the lack of reliable data on flooding and were close to producing a flood map based on data obtained from all states and territories.

"Flood cover is not widely available in Australia because we simply don't know the risks," Mr Giles said. "(They are) the same problems as the local councils have."

Mr Giles said the flood modelling would allow insurers to identify areas of risk and allow them to price the risk.


- McCrann above, as does the The Australian editorial refers to dinosaur unionists opposing electricity privatisation in NSW, as does it appears Mark Latham in the recent Australian Financial Review last week. We know this because Big Mark is regurgitated in the weekend editorial traverse of The Australian and favourably quoted. Cutely selective of them to leverage Old Mark eh who they delighted in kicking to death politically. But we fear all three, Latham, McCrann and Oz editorial are wrong in the same way Garnaut (who might have been JK Galbraith in another WW2 context) refers to dangerous climate change being a "market failure" unsuitable to "market" solutions :

See this rally call

Stop the Sell-Off and keep power in our hands

and specifically our comment:

public energy assets relates to effective climate policies On February 23rd, 2008 ecology action ... says:

The green movement can with confidence get behind the Union campaign on public ownership on several grounds:

 1. As the recent Garnaut Report makes clear 'dangerous climate change' is upon us and much quicker than realised due to ..."market failure". The implications of this "market failure" are huge: We simply cannot trust policies relating to our very social and environmental existence to such a capricious and dishonest market, externalising ecological reality at every turn which translated in the climate context means winners and losers - the losers in dangerous climate are dead poor people outside the affluent island enclave, from drowning, or thirst or civil war or whatever. There is no logic in trusting a failed market on climate with the very energy assets critical to that reform and transition of climate policy. On the other hand the social capital, organisational capacity and good will of the union movement will actually be critical to such a massive structural reform.

2. To restate point 1 effective climate policy really does require as much sovereign control by the state over the relevant sectors of the economy as possible such as energy assets. This is one area like a war itself where a centrally planned economy stands up as far more efficient even in economic rationalist terms.  For instance down the track we may well need in a sovereign way to avoid climate tipping points by putting eco taxes, tariffs and bans on highly ghg embedded production, imported or domestic. A multinational owner energy producer will do all they can to sabotage that kind of approach. A strong state control on the other hand can enforce hypothecation of such tax revenue into clean renewables and progressively scale down dirty energy. In the same way JK Galbraith who won two US Presidential medals of freedom (the only person in history) as a political economist was instrumental in WW2 in tightly controlling prices of essential supplies to the US domestic population when captains of industry were always knocking on his door to profiteer in the crisis. 

That's a very fair parallel of where we are heading in the climate crisis and domestic energy market. The corporate model is totally unsuitable to a major ecological threat.

3. It's no accident the 'brown' ministers most in denial over dangerous climate like Costa and Martin Ferguson are most gung ho for the privatisation to take the revenues and feed into big ticket greenhouse creating developments (like $5B truck tunnel to Port Botany, dredging Botany Bay for super containers with cheapie junk imports highly ghg embedded).

4. energy is genuinely 'a natural monopoly' meaning there is no real choice but to buy the energy from the provider for basic survival and existence (even if there is superficial retail contestability all from the same supplier). In this way a profit is guarranteed. There is no genuine role for private enterprise in this sector. Same for water supply, health and education. Let them stick to genuinely discretionary areas of the economy where life and death are not at issue.

5. Anyone who has seen The Corporation documentary will know that these legal entities originally invented by society have become unaccountable pathological monsters for profit. Even to the extent of ecological suicide. Corporations are very  stupid, narrow and blinkered like that:

Promotional poster for The Corporation

The profitable electricity public assets in NSW are being stalked by big business: The rent seekers are out for their corporate welfare as here, underlining exactly the convergence of energy market and the imperative of public climate change policy :

Compo urged for power firms | The Australian


Probably a more intelligent and balanced summary of the interplay of public energy assets and dangerous climate threat is here by Marian Wilkinson, but we wonder about Iemma's resolve increasing after Garnaut read the riot act to the premiers in Adelaide (more below):

Squabbles, obfuscation and resignation as the world warms - National 23-4 Feb 08

Marian Wilkinson Environment Editor
February 23, 2008


PHIL KOPERBERG'S decision to pull the plug as NSW Minister for Climate Change the day the Garnaut review was released is a telling sign that the urgency of the global warming challenge has escaped the Iemma Government.

Well before Koperberg's resignation, the vital decisions affecting the state's rising greenhouse emissions were being made by the Treasurer, Michael Costa, a proclaimed climate sceptic, not the climate change minister.

The most important decision is the privatisation of the industry and the push to build a new power station, which has been steered by the Treasurer and the energy department, whose director-general, Mark Duffy, is a close friend of the Treasurer.

The NSW Treasury has repeatedly argued for more baseload power and privatisation to pay for it. Treasury modelling has dismissed arguments that energy efficiency measures could postpone the need for a new plant.

The Owen inquiry last year endorsed much of Treasury's thinking on the state's power needs. But, critically, it found boosting energy efficiency might have delayed the need for a new power station - except that the "lack of reliable information" on the state's energy saving programs made it "not prudent" to rely on this strategy.

This lack of data was an indictment of the state's climate change policy and its ministers past and present. By December, the upshot was a cabinet decision to encourage investment in either polluting, coal-fired power, or a somewhat less polluting gas plant, by privatising the industry.

Significantly, the decision was made in Koperberg's absence. Days earlier, he was forced to stand aside after media reports of domestic violence allegations by his ex-wife.

With his climate change minister in limbo, Iemma announced the privatisation but promised a new, "energy efficiency strategy" to cut greenhouse gas emissions, especially in government buildings, hospitals and schools. Much of this new strategy was in reality repackaging of programs introduced almost a decade ago.

Despite the enthusiasm of the former premier Bob Carr, Treasury and other key ministries stymied the energy-efficiency drive for 10 years, as the rift between the "green" and "brown" wings of the Government undermined the programs.

A new climate change minister, Verity Firth, is stepping into the hot seat in NSW. But with the "browns" in the ascendancy, her influence over the biggest source of the state's greenhouse gas pollution, the power industry, will be extremely limited.

The Garnaut report is a warning to the NSW Government that the state's coal-fired power stations will not be given a free ride to pollute in the future.

The stations' value will likely be reduced in any privatisation, investment in any new coal-fired power station will be costly and cutting the state's profligate use of energy will be central to the fight against global warming.

Even so, no time off for protesters supporting the public ownership of our energy assets:

Iemma bans workers from protest | The Daily Telegraph 23 Feb 08

Bureaucrats denied time off to protest - National - smh.com.au 24 Feb 08

We repeat what we wrote above about Iemma in Adelaide with the international big nobs because it's all in the mix this Tuesday 26th Feb 08:

We wonder if Iemma may just have moved further over to one side of the previously paralysing neurosis in the ALP Machine of traditional growth fetish versus dangerous climate action agenda. We get the impression that Ross Garnaut read the riot act to the premiers down in Adelaide earlier this week before releasing his frightening Interim Report. Garnaut was definitely down there last Wednesday as were the premiers, Robert F Kennedy and Dr. Zhengrong Shi Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. It all seems to have been about a Solar Cities Conference.

Hard to say. Certainly the rest of the ALP machine is hedging its bets:

MPs snub public forum as Iemma pushes power sell-off p7 Australian 20/2/08 by Imre Salusinszky, offline by the looks of things re Illawarra forum.

Survery finds resistance to power sell-off is soft 21/2/08 The Australia again by Imre and again offline.

And so is the financial markets by the look of things:

Fears that electricity deal may fizzle - National - smh.com.au 15 Feb 08

Utility sell-off 'misses the boat' | The Australian 15 Feb 08

and even the government seems to be getting panicky about cutting a deal:

 Unions claim secret deal offered on power sell-off - smh 21 Feb 2008,

THE Iemma Government allegedly offered unions a secret deal for a 'mum and dad investor' float of the state's publicly owned electricity industry.

- We noticed alot about bottled water issues in the press and electronic media. We will write about this separately because we noticed some sadly superficial analysis which really fails to meet Coca Cola Amatil's business case and therefore continues to fail to beat them at their own wasteful game. Their corporate business case revolves around the point of sale service not the bottledwater itself:

  • 1. with all the concern about healthy diet, it's one of the very few sugar free beverages in convenience shop fridge with no caffience;
  • 2. the consumer is buying the services of (a) transport of a heavy object (water) to a just in time location (the pedestrian drinker) and (b) chilled refreshment, hence a shop ALWAYS charges more for refrigerated versus room temperature bottled anything.

So all the rhetoric of dear greenie friends allies and rivals continues to miss the point arguing one can get a drink for free out of the tap, stamping their feet. And Coca Cola Amatil's Sally Loane knows it. It's the refreshing cool temperature, and transport, they are selling, not room temperature tap water as such. Is it lazy and precious? Yes but that's why it costs money. We know this as we know 5 years of pavement pounding as "distribution manager" for Alternative Media Group publishers of such as the City Hub 02-07.

- We chortled at the direct honesty of "brilliant" :

Obama happily confessed to smoking pot with a dig at the dissembler-in-chief, Bill Clinton. "When I was a kid I inhaled, frequently, that was the point," he says.

Brilliant because as charming as the comment is, it's also astute that G W Bush had a drug use history he put behind him. Therein is the safe political port and the wedging of unreal sophistry of the Clinton machine, not least that bum Bill who hugely exploited his wife's loyalty, rather than simply divorcing her. Who else but George Megalogenis has the gripping quote in Keep kids in the picture if you want to win | Meganomics Blog ... 23-4 Feb 08

- Ross Gittins likes the credentials of Nicholas Gruen and says he should be at the 2020 Rudd Summit in April 08. We can but only agree with the great and good Gittins -

Lateral thinking should be given some latitude | smh.com.au 23-4 Feb 08

- Pine Gap four under the dogmatic national security approach of the Howardistas in 05-07, walked free recently after winning their legal appeal, only to promise to return to Pine Gap mid 2008 with more protests. That's courage and a certain dogmatic idealism one tends to admire, not least Donna Mulhearn. Talk about gutsy activist.

Pine Gap four cleared | The Australian 23 Feb 08

This matter has been covered alot more comprehensively on Sydney Indy Media, reporting how they were locked up on touch down in typical NT jack boot fashion prior to their legal appeal 13 Feb 08,  as here:

Pine Gap 4 Imprisoned in Berrimah, Darwin- write 'em a letter ...

- Another one from the 'dangerous climate change unifying theory of everything' convergence of real politik here: Premier Lennon twigs (!) that wholesale destruction of Tasmanian Forests in Lennon to target forestry | The Australian 23 Feb 08, Christine Milne of the Greens almost fell over in agreement by surprise as per the Mercury in Hobart here. It's becoming obvious even to woodchippers that the smart money is on trees, new ones or one's already upright, an approach apparently blessed by management heavyweights McKinseys:

 'Efficiency and forestry' key to cuts | The Australian

and the academic loggers appear to be trimming their sail too: Forestry not all about harvesting in SMH Feb 13 2008 p19 offline. Or maybe Premier Lennon has been noticing the credit crunch as well:

Banking strife to hit mill finance Matthew Denholm THE exposure of ANZ and other banks to the US sub-prime collapse will make it harder for projects such as the Gunns pulp mill to secure affordable finance

But Matthew Warren 'Environment writer' begs to differ as we have come to expect relying on Professor McKibbin on the Reserve Bank board no less:

 Plan to slash emissions is 'optimistic' | The Australian 18/2/08

Senator Milne has this to say about the tragic pose of Minsiter Wong.

 [Greens media release]

Wong admits 60% target has no scientific basis

Canberra, Wednesday 20 February 2008  After questioning Climate Change
Minister Penny Wong in Senate Estimates hearings today, Australian
Greens climate change spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, said that
the Government's claim to have science-based climate change policies is
a complete nonsense.

Senator Milne said "The Rudd Labor Government has plucked its 60% 2050
target from the atmosphere and has foolishly locked itself into this
target even though it must now understand it has no scientific validity.

"When asked what her understanding of dangerous climate change was,
Minister Wong could not answer.

"When asked what her understanding of how much warming, in degrees
centigrade, should be avoided in order to prevent dangerous climate
change was, Minister Wong could not answer.

"When asked what her understanding of what concentrations of carbon in
the atmosphere would be likely to cause dangerous climate change,
Minister Wong could not answer.

"The Government has no scientific basis for its 60% target, and it
should be abandoned in favour of a target that will actually see
Australia playing a constructive role in preventing dangerous climate

"These revelations come after questioning earlier in the week revealed
that the Government's key climate programs, such as the National Solar
Schools program, the Solar Hot Water Rebates for Households and Expanded
Solar Cities, have no set performance benchmarks in terms of emissions
reductions. The Minister admitted that these programs are designed in
part to raise public awareness.

"Whilst providing photo opportunities for Minister Garrett and Labor MPs
across the country to pose with the one solar panel provided to each
school, the Government's multi-million dollar programs will do next to
nothing to actually reduce Australia's greenhouse emissions.

"The question now becomes - did Professor Garnaut understand that his
advice on targets was to be sidelined? How does he now feel to be
relegated to an 'input'?"

Contact: Tim Hollo on 0437 587 562

- How ironic to see the 'dodgy brothers' nuclear reactor made by the dodgy Argenitinian INVAP here in NSW, continues to be dodgy with construction flaws:

Idle reactor keeps sick waiting for treatment - National - smh.com.au

This was predicted by the green movement years ago but the Howard govt don't listen to their enemies, even at their own expense:

Green Left - Issues: Lucas Heights reactor from 'Dodgy brothers' 30 August 2000

- We notice acting comrade of  that Heath Ledger RIP, Jake Gyllenhaal in his new movie Rendition is keeping faith pretty much to the same highly critical politics of the Iraq War as Ledger made clear on the Denton show years ago regarding the ideological national security mantra. That's one good way to honour the professional friendship:

     YouTube - Rendition Trailer The official trailer for the new movie "Rendition" starring ...
2 min 31 sec -

- the genetically engineered food debate is still going hammer and tongs with quite some scientific weight to the critics with Allen Greer a biological scientist in the Higher Education supplement in The Australian

GM concerns continue to crop up | The Australian 13 Feb 08

and letter writing reactions from one "Chris Kelly of Woomelang Victoria" with lots of angles and assertions but otherwise no claim to industry or lobbyist profession (?). We wrote more about this recently at

Thursday, 14 February 2008
By comparison another critic Mark Ragan does declare his academic interest from the University of Queensland. The pro GE lobby are definitely in there pitching as per this:
Bob Phelps of Gene Ethics Network counters with such as this:
NEWS MEDIA RELEASE - February 14 2008

The annual industry review of commercial Genetically Manipulated (GM) crops for 2007 (See: http://www.isaaa.org/) again shows they stalled long ago..

"GM technology and its products are a dud," says Gene Ethics Director, Bob Phelps.

"For yet another year, the ISAAA inflates growth in the GM industry, boosts adoption figures and ignores the negative health, environmental and economic impacts of GM crops.

"In 1996 GM soy, corn, canola and cotton were launched, with two new traits - tolerance to lethal weed killers or built-in Bt insect toxins but in 2008, just the same four crops and two traits are commercially available.

"Seven countries grew 97.5% of GM crops in 2007, the same as 2006.

"And five of those countries are in North and South America, where most GM crops are used for animal feed or biofuel production.

"No-one, anywhere, wants to eat GM foods and if they were fully labelled as they should be, GM food crops would not be grown.

"The number of countries that grew more than 50,000 hectares (500 square km) of GM crops fell from 14 in 2006 to 13 in 2007.

"A few other countries are dabbling in GM crops but drop them when environmental, animal and human health impacts appear.

"For instance, last year Iran cancelled its entire GM crop program.

"And Australia's cotton crop shrank from 220,000 hectares in 2005, to 134,000 in 2006, and about 60,000 hectares last year.

"GM is responsible for cotton's collapse as it follows the lifting of the 30% cap on GM cotton in 2005, when GM's share shot up to over 90%.

"Australian GM cotton is an ecological and economic failure.

"The global acreage of herbicide tolerant GM canola also stalled in 1999. The two GM producers - Canada and the USA - still grow less than 20% of the crop.

"In contrast, eighteen countries are GM-free and as Australia is the world's main GM-free canola exporter we sell it anywhere, at a premium up to $120.

"If the Victorian and NSW governments end their bans on herbicide tolerant GM canola, we'll be overrun by a plant version of the cane-toad. GM canola will exchange pollen with wild radish, turnip and charlock, making super weeds that can never be recalled.

"Ideology, not facts, are blinding our governments and scientists.

"The ISAAA is flogging a dead horse and our governments should continue to ban GM crops," Mr Phelps concludes.

More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500 or 03 9889 1717 (H)

Posted by editor at 6:10 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 24 February 2008 3:04 PM EADT
Thursday, 21 February 2008
Dept of Planning DG Sam Haddad politicised in Marrickville by-election 2005?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt

PM - All eyes on Marrickville by-election Friday 16th Sept 2005

Good old Sam Haddad, competent bureaucrat, now DG of Department of Planning, previously called DIPNR as above,  was wheeled out this morning for the NSW Govt just before 9am on abc 702.

He was rebutting Opposition Hazzard on 2GB with Alan Jones just before 8am  re Heritage Council being monstered and folded into the DOP by Minister Sartor here in NSW - allegations of lost independence, developer undue influence, echoes of corruption, as per dirt down in Wollongong Council.

Haddad sounds very honest. But how honest is he? And has an honest man been compromised by his political master Sartor? Do good men do bad things?

Does Haddad have form?

Back in 2005 Haddad was a deputy director general, before he was promoted by Sartor, and he refused our FoI for a very sensitive Commision of Inquiry report into Port Botany expansion. But it was the way he refused the FoI that was most instructive. Our appeal was run down to the time limit and the opportunity to publicised the consequence of the Port expansion namely a secret $5 billion truck tunnel under Marrickville. This was a real and proximate threat to the byelection voters.

Frank Sartor cunningly then released the Port Inquiry report which had been mouldering for months given its adverse findings for the state government, with a perverse spin as if it favoured govt mega expansion 4 weeks AFTER the byelection: As per this media release:

Media Release - Minister's Office

Sydney: 14 October 2005


Haddad even signed the refusal letter some 3 days after it was prepared, itself only released as a result of our telephone complaints on lack of an answer up to the byelection deadline: We even had to go into the DIPNR office in Bridge St and defacto picket the office until we got our paper copy of the refusal letter at least revealing the cover up of the Cleland Report they said they "would put in the mail for me". Get it?

No Cleland commission report. No refusal letter until we stamped our feet and got it finally 12th Sept 2005, only 5 days before the vote. No evidence of a secret truck tunnel on the cards

 'Secret' $5 billion tollway to tunnel under city | NEWS.com.au March 1 2007

until after the sensitive byelection delivering Carmel Tebbut from the upper house to her lower house ministerial perch, and fast track to promotion up in Cabinet:

A truck tunnel we in the green movement already knew must follow with the same smog stacks like the infamous M5 East now to poison Marrickville voters. A real vote changer in fact. So did Haddad deliberately squash both the report and the refusal letter as late as possible to help his political master Sartor?

Has Sam Haddad been politicised contrary to his 'honest broker' role on 702 this morning? You be the judge. We feel he has, but then that's just us.



Posted by editor at 10:21 AM EADT
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
The real politik provenance of NAIRU: 'whitey' on Megalogenis dense econo blog The Australian 16 Feb 08
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: aust govt

George Megalogenis 

"George Megalogenis is The Australian's resident nit-picker."  


Here is the article link:

 We’re not in Kansas any more

Meganomics Blog | February 16, 2008 | 43 Comments

Here is "whitey" no. 2 comment with bold added, which shows Big Mal Turnbubll or similar is foraging the press for question time tactics - like everyone else. We couldn't resist tipping off Wayne Swan's office now the milk is spilt, and Mal Turnbull has the equally high standard to meet:

Sat 16 Feb 08 (07:56am)

Indeed so, George, I believe it’s known as NAIRU, the non accelerating inflation rate of unemployment. It does throw into relief the promises made by the Libs during the election to bring unemployment rates down to “a figure with a 3 in front”. It’s clear they didn’t do anything to expand capacity during those wasted years, so by definition this would have increased inflation, which by definition would have increased interest rates, since it’s part of the independent Reserve Bank’s charter to keep inflation under control. So all those whinging Liberal nellies saying higher inflation is the inflation we had to have don’t get it—there’s a unemployment figure below which inflation and interest rates will rise, and we are currently below that point. Cutting wages through Work Choices for the low paid, as it’s now clear was the Liberal plan, will not and has not stopped inflation and interest rates from rising. It would smashing for unemployment to be zero, just as it would be smashing for me to be given long service leave eight years early from my current job so I could head off to WA and see some prolonged sunshine for the first time in about 2 rainy Sydney months. Neither is going to happen any time soon.
I reckon Rudd’s wages call is an attempt to erect some early political insulation from when things get tougher. But you’re right, both Swan and Turnbull are pretty rubbish. The only good sign is that the ALP recognises there’s a problem. If the other side was still in power they’d be going full steam ahead for the rocks with their eyes closed

Posted by editor at 9:27 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2008 1:39 PM EADT

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