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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 9 March 2008
Sunday political talkies: Nelson on the skids for character issues in poor poll
Mood:  not sure
Topic: aust govt

Picture: Big Mal looks like he's been burning the midnight oil last Thursday on ABC TV, as his 'leader' Nelson hits 7% record low preferred PM status. Either Mal has a cold or he's working very hard on 1. the upcoming budget, and 2 a leadership challenge. By comparison he looked quite well slept this Sunday morn on Ch9 Sunday with Laurie Oakes.



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.



Media backgrounder – this section under construction till later Sunday/Monday


-         Malayasia election spill underway

-         China trying to improve death sentence human rights re Olympics


Sunday 9 7.30am- 9.30am


-         Coulthard interview about USA as modern Rome with an author/analyst, don’t presume USA will stay, need for benevolent structure for the world

-         Feature on Zoloft danger of anti depressants

-         Greenwood on private equity barbarians takeover attempt on Qantas controversy about plane ownership involving Allco financiers may be owners while on the skids!

-         Feature on chocolate with Tim Costello. Powerful footage of child economic slavery Ghana and Cote Dazure (spelling).  Australian Confectionary Manufacturers Association – promise by 2005 no longer child labour choc. Little has changed. Daniel Street political reporter – going in hard on a moral issue. Ivory Coast discussed – still taking the cocoa. World price of cocoa gone down over last 20 years. Price in supermarket is too low. Footage of easter eggs coming up.  [had to bail out for Riley diary]








10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


Nelson on as talent. Down market on this early low viewer show. Shows working but also trouble getting a gig in higher status shows? Some sound rhetoric about “ascendant” ALP new govt, “bread and circuses” now major economic challenges.


Circles under eyes, pretty smooth talking, right we want an effective Opposition. Turnbull introduced, “coming to get you?”. Slick but false answer ‘Swan as Treasurer is the worry’.


Support Kyoto, dropped Work Choices, accepted apology, new President Stockdale. Sounding pretty determined, AMA credentials called up, not make a difference. Bit of steel there, true enough.


Howard introduced speech for pro war in Iraq. Calls up Nelson defence minister history and Howard record.


Out take – Nick Minchin blooper not in “government” anymore, pretty innocent.


Jennifer Hewitt (News Ltd The Australian), Steve Lewis (News Ltd tabloids) on the panel, both serious Big Media reptiles. Nelson on the attack on economic issues. Accused in turn of Whitlamesque by Treasury [truth seems to be Howard Govt high spending underwritten by implicit brutal IR in a grim competitive package, in terms of lowered govt debt on to public then make ‘em work harder desperately to pay those debts, a real cannon fodder style of governing. Coalition’s own bread and circuses approach?).


Nelson pushes Productivity Commission/Miranda Devine article approach – ignores culture of throw away, peak oil feedstock issues.


Out take Nicholson animation from Oz. Economy crashed due to high interest rates. Funny but scary too airplane metaphor.


Christopher Pyne film rolled, missed it, may have been Lateline. Nelson supports merge with National Party – eminent good sense. Drive it? Says yes he is. Strong view about it. Needs to come from Federal level leadership, organizations. Strongish line there.


Hewitt counters re ex ministers AWOL – Nelson takes a soft line on hard workers blowing off steam after defeat. Sounds plausible but last chance kind of talk. Not planning to force clarifications? Spoken to Costello, Downer – won’t say what said. Any super Saturday?


Laurie Oakes with Turnbull, disingenuous about no comment on leadership when he’s on the camera. Lapsed says LO, not rule out a challenge the other day. Didn’t rule it out. Turnbull eyes are well slept and a little tired but not nearly as much as last Thursday on 7.30 which suggests he has been working up something and hard.


MT is a little patronizing about Nelson doing a good job and working hard as if to say he will have a high status job when he is leader. On treasury matters. Turbull pushes carer/pensioner fearmongering, LO sounds skeptical as per Riley tip off.


LO attacks quietly on rain making for $10M.  Treasury says spending like Whitlam Govt. LO must know more about social services budget like Riley backgrounded. That ML has not.


ML talks down some sectors of economy, two speed economy, talks with some force of worrying forces, plays pensioners carers card yet again, but has overplayed it.





Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.




Riley Diary 7


No point peaking early, early days, Monty Python bright side of life. Same Mal Turnbull footage ‘no comment’ while looking chuffed. Interest rates higher than interest in Nelson. ‘safe as houses’ faux par.


Tanner economic metaphor on pies and tim tams. Got to go on exercise. Spare tyre, double chin.


Footage of Howard, Yankees singing Waltzing Matilda. PNG singers Goroka is no. 1. with mud mean trd costumes. Billums  Petals thrown by teenagers – very moving.


Q & A in 2004 how to vote cheques, were one off payments. Not going to take the money away formalize in the social services budget – sounds like he’s been tipped off by Swany on his excellent budget adventure.


Re 7%, give him time theory, but new territory, only got one shot. Turnbull should take it with Nelson arms tied. Annabel Crabb more with asthma.






Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Dennis Atkins Courier Mail on the couch new talent (News Ltd), Misha Schubert Age/Fairfax – relentless Rudd machine. Glenn Milne News Ltd Australian. Hockey as State Opposition Leader talk in the press.  Hockey is not a match for OFarrell intellect?


Julie Bishop. Film footage – St Kevin media support will run out of steam when the tough questions are asked. “decent caring competent” politician. Defending her deputy leadership position in a spill. Quite a coathanger image is Ms Bishop. Always strikes me as hard and ruthless with lots of edges.


Pushes the carers card, already


Every person segment riding school. Two women trash Nelson. Bloke says back off. They pick his dishonesty ‘slimey sleazy’. Contrasting sincerity of Rudd. Turnbull (was it?) is ‘a true Liberal’. Rudd do great things if get their social agenda right.


73 to 7 per cent figure is staggering figure. Discussion.


Latham piece in AFR this week worth a look, great grip on language re “corroborree of chattering classes”.


Final observations – joke about prostrate cancer Peter Costello, Libs will retain Brisbane mayoralty, do well in local council elections resist merger. Milne says Rudd made a precedent now ruling out stuff pre budget.


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

Posted by editor at 9:10 AM NZT
Saturday, 8 March 2008
Death of powerful eco feminist forest defender Val Plumwood
Mood:  special
Topic: ecology

[under construction] 

SAM's editor read the sad news by former local resident of Braidwood James Woodford in the Sydney Morning Herald. It felt like seeing the movie Into the Wild again.

8 March 2008 Philosopher as prey, a life of survival  Mauled by a crocodile, Val Plumwood lived to tell an amazing and intellectually challenging tale. James Woodford farewells a conservationist.
Not being much of a fan of James Woodford's hopeless embrace of 'limited' woodchipping of native forest, we wanted to check my own files and materials on Val and indeed found some precious material of hers, and some strong memories of her intervention in 1996 as Friends of Mongarlowe River when the blokes were going to stuff up her beloved Monga. None of this is in the Woodford piece, perhaps having married a PR operative for State Forests some years back now.


We had no idea this was posted on the SMH website last week
A google search brings these up but if not mistaken not in the press copies (?) because this writer would have remembered them. A curious omission from the press copy methinks, possibly the last patriarchical slight (?) of a seriously radical thinker:
She has her own signficant wikipedia entry here


SAM has some some materials evidencing Val's contribution to conservation in our Monga file, especially busy in 1995-1996 period which are original record of the timely contribution in an awkward political phase.






Having taken images of much of the file, we are posting a lengthy piece with links to follow soon to honour Val Plumwood and the forest she loved.


It's also by way of recording our own role from that time which was much more extensive than has been published before in the Sydney green movement around colour photocopy briefings to all the power players in Sydney (political and media). This will become clear from the materials.  We remember even showing the pictures to Waverley's Mayor Barbara Armitage at the time. Not least getting Colin Dorber for the industry to agree to concede at the 'DFA' negotiations at Hurstville NPWS in 1996 Monga was "rainforest" and bad PR for the industry to log, a lay down misere (so it seemed). Tony Hastings painted a picture to celebrate the moment that he witnessed in 96 in those sterile offices. Yep to visit Monga was to love the place and want to save it:


In summary Val's critical role at that time (and one expects other times we can't directly report on) goes like this and with all politics context is crucial:

Carr wins close state election March 1995 and in victory speech promises to save the forests, which tipped his win in close seats like Coogee. He wins by 3. He was himself surprised by that - very charming at the time. This was the culmination of 3 years of slog for this writer which began for us in 1402 in Coolangubra with giant 400 year old 'brown barrels also fund at Monga (see below):

In truth this fight had been going on since the woodchip mill was opened in the 1970ies.

The NSW Forestry Commission as it was still known started getting sneaky trying to subvert the state govt election platform, logging identified wilderness in Deua (mid 1995) and targetting Badja and then Monga in less well known areas. Their mode of operation was much like the RTA divide and rule approach in urban Sydney. Flatter and sleaze a few individuals over the real environmental impact, usually conservative otherwise ignorant locals who hardly understood the high impact integrated woodchipping intensity. Brand them as the symbolic moderate majority and sideline the ecologically minded in the local landholders then promote the compromise in the media and to the pollies.

This was tried but thankfully failed at Croobyar closer to the coast in late 1994, in no small part due to this writer stepping in and demanding a complete halt for The Wilderness Society, no deals in the lead up to the election. It was touch and go with police literally driving to the camp that fateful day Dec 94 forcing the NPWS to in turn step in to issue a stop work to avoid bad press for the state govt in an unwanted clash. Monga was re run of the same dynamic:


Hence this memo to self in 1995:

Based on such work as this from TWS Canberra:

At Monga late 95/96 on the range near Braidwood. Ian Barnes/Nick Cameron of Forestry had tame folks in a group called Tallaganda Community Action Association locked in to logging places like this:


Picture: Eucalyptus fastigata or Brown Barrel in compartment 836 of Monga taken summer 95-96, with from right Steve Taylor, Indra Esguerra, Andrew Wong and one other unknown.


Picture above: The famous plumwood/pinkwood rainforect species is picture here with Andrew Wong of The Wilderness Society still an ANU student at this stage 1995.


Val Plumwood intervened with a new Friends of Mongarlowe River group as early 1995 and certainly by January 1996 in combo with such as Cath Moore prominent in the Local Green Party. She wasn't having any of that compromise rubbish by these men in TCAA. I have the materials for the showdown called for 22 Feb Braidwood RSL.








This writer treked down from Sydney FoE office myself just like Croobyar in late 94: At a certain point in the politiking you have to actually be there to fortify the local folks. I met Val for the first time. Andrew Wong represented The Wilderness Society and being fairly new to public speaking rambled too much. Val was furious and seemed to blame me as a 'senior organiser'. But FoE as a group had little profile compared to TWS, my ex group so it wasn't up to me. In a way the incident says everything good and scary about Val. She was sick of men stuffing things up, even on the same green side of things, but mainly the industrial loggers and spineless local landholders.

Val Plumwood (surname taken after the rather feminine 'pinkwood' local rainforest species) was the foot in the door for Monga stopping the loggers sleazy politics on the local scene around Braidwood in 1996, no doubt about it. By sheer force of character and intellect. As Woodford reports she put her land where her mouth was too dedicating it to a conservation agreement with the government.

There is a federal election newsletter called Earthright February 1996 with a two page article by Val. It's important to get this on the public record and the internet.


She signs off with this

"Note: This is not an Aboriginal story, (although I have tried to follow some of their explanatory conventions), but the word "Monga" is said to mean "place of many ferns" in the relevant Aboriginal language. Val Plumwood"

She loved that place and no doubt the forest loved her.

Interestingly the word Monga has provenance all across the world. Just as Val Plumwood's intellect has travelled the world too at various universities in the United States and here in Australia.  There is a very high quality Monga Bay website based in Madagascar from memory, website all about conservation and global leading science that is often cross reference on ezine crikey.com.au. Val would definitely approve of this mission:

It's also a term used in Bangladesh referring to a time of hunger in the seasonal cycle. I understand there is a river Honduras too. A style of salsa. A word in Zambia (Congo?).  A location in Japan, and Mozambique.


How intriguing, very much like the mysterious and ferocious intellect of Val Plumwood herself.
Of course as we now know the loggers came back for Monga in 2001 causing serious damage, and a substantial if not all of the area has been included in National Park by late 2004 linking Deua and Budawang, as a sop in some ways for the ongoing devastation by the Eden Chipmill especially in East Gippsland.
Most of the materials in this post are dated for the period 95-96, and I expect most likely are not included in this book I notice just now for the first time: 
Monga intacta After over a decade of campaigning, the whole of Monga Forest is now protected and gazetted as Monga National Park. Many of the people gathered knew the ins ...
It looks like a good book, and maybe could have benefited from some of the original materials at the post above. The SAm editor was never invited to contribute or interviewed and I didn't know about that book launch by TWS. That's how things play in the green movement.
It's been instructive to spend some time to get some of our history on record on the web for this period. It's actually very educational about real politik of winning forest campaigns against the forces of darkness which our expertise, and probably distinct from academic skills or artistic merit.
Vale Val Plumwood, dedicated forest defender. RIP sister of the forest. Condolences to her friends and family and professional colleagues at this time. There appears to be a growing determination to hold a memorial event for her "next month" which seems like an excellent plan.

My feeling is many from Sydney will be interested to support such an event. Not least the feminist movement.


Posted by editor at 9:01 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 9 March 2008 10:50 AM NZT
Get well Tim Blair, mental injury takes the most time
Mood:  rushed
Topic: big media


Go easy on Tim Blair. He's convalescing. He's suffered alot. He's reflected on mortality. He knows it's a fragile business this veil of tears. He's even needed his supermum to get going again. It's the existential threats that purge our neuroses like emotional vomit with regrets and pride littering the puddle like carrot pieces.

No I don't mean the operation on his cancerous tumour of the bowel.

 I mean the fact Tom Switzer has left as opinion editor at The Australian. Tim is last man standing in the global News Corp Aussie satellite as symbolic climate change denier. They have kept him on because even John Hartigan doesn't want a premature death of, up till now, a loyal literary slaverer on his conscience:

Kicking a dog while he's down is just ugly. Retraining him is fraught too but if it can be done who knows he might become a Sea Biscuit? You don't throw away a life just because a guy is banged up a bit.

Neurosis? To quote Tim today he's returned (yes again) to the "greengreengreengreengreengreengreengreengreen". Yep that's nine of the buggers. And he is right to consider he is increasingly surrounded. The picture above shows full pages from the same Sydney Daily Telegraph edition of his wise arse article today.

Last week his own sister paper The Australian graphic next to this story reported that the Green vote is up to 14% in NSW from 9% 12 months ago. That's way above the National Party for instance. Al Gore has won an Academy Award and Nobel Prize in 2007 for his outreach work on climate threats: 

Gore as a field reporter in Vietnam
Gore as a field reporter in Vietnam

 NSW has just gone through a political meltdown, still going too, based at heart on said Green Party rock steady in their scathing democracy4sale website about political donations, that even conservative thinker Michael Duffy is impressed by.

The ALP have just won a federal election leveraging the widespread rational concern about dangerous climate change in November 2007, stealing the Greens clothes in many ways. Just as in NSW the conservative Greiner fell in 92 (Metherell Affair) over forests, Fahey again in 1995 (forests again), more ALP effective greenwash in 99 and 03 and Howard defeat in 2007 (climate change).

Come on Tim, you are still fairly young and 20C thinking is so OVER.

The popularity of Top Gear car show is no doubt, like champagne and chocolate, a heady consumer mix. But you don't have the bubbly on your wheaties/muesli if you want to get through the day. And as  Kurt Vonnegut points out in his WW2 memoir Slaughter House Five, when you are really hungry you don't crave sweet sticky cocoa, you crave bread.

Even in peace time people feed their own kids milk and bread because they love them even when the kids want lollies.

So if the green in Green is seen as dour boring milk and bread for a global society in desperate need of ecological sustainability, then so be it. Most every one chooses life over death in the end.

Posted by editor at 8:26 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 8 March 2008 9:49 AM EADT
Ruddster's summiteer trusties out and about already
Mood:  lazy
Topic: aust govt

The big summit is coming mid April. Now we notice the vain silver bodgie in golf mode pictured in this story by Paul Kelly in The Australian:

Nation tired of confrontation, says Hawke | NEWS.com.au 6 March 2008

Onya Yellowcake Bob, and loquacious Paul! Youse surely must get an invite for that one.

But what about the devout Jewish folks double booked on Passover? Not to worry - Michael Danby has found another reason for Yiddish participation in the national Parliament precincts in mitigation - he's got married, which is surely above and beyond the call of ALP duty:

Jewish wedding in parliament | The Australian 25 Feb 2008 MICHAEL Danby, federal parliament's most active member of the Jewish community, brought the Jewish community to parliament yesterday.

Everyone loves a wedding. And many blessings on the happy couple too.

And for those others who can't make it (ie rejected applicants, or too dumb or smart to even apply) please don't behave like smelly dead fish in this 'nice' metaphor from Dennis the Menace:

Hard to reject what the best have to say | Dennis Shanahan Blog ... 29 Feb 2008.

There's a bit of a chummy theme getting worked up here in Mr Hartigan's newspaper of record The Australian now Tom Switzer has shuffled off as the opinion editor.  Or is is proverbial naughty boy Lachlan Harris just back to his industrious self?

Activist cum flack becomes story | The Australian 14 Feb 2008

Lachlan Harris

Lachlan Harris, one of Labor's top media advisers, with boss Kevin Rudd. Picture: Ray Strange

Harris who worked for the so called 'non aligned Get Up' .

Fortunately apart from the 5th estate blogocracy there still seem to be a few 'revolting journalists' (meant in a good way) in the Big Media left to speak truth to summit power, none too comfortable with any trusty script:

- Media Diary in the Oz 6th March refer to fiesty Fairfaxers who wouldn't take tidy up orders for the bosses tour of the workplace

- same column refers to page 1 of The Australian cropping out Walt Seccord's boss Minister for the Ageing.

- The Ch31 tv stations appear to have mostly bailed from the existing CBAA community radio representative body to amplify their particular advocacy for a digital future from 2013 or so: Always plenty of fiest in the community media sector as a rule and long may it be so: Community TV faces blackout | The Australian 6 March 08

- big man in heart and otherwise Harold Mitchell is also wanting some action from Govt on digital tv commercial sector let alone community: Troubled offspring needs more than soap and water | The Australian

Where indeed are they getting the calcium in their backbone lately? The fifth estate exemplar?

And why is this important?

Because PM Rudd showed in a spontaneous and quite human moment recently that, although he undoubtedly perfectly understand the constitutional theory of separation of powers (unlike disgraced fellow Queenslander Joh Bjelke Peterson), yet Big Kev still has the ALP hallmark sleazy approach to conflict of interest by inviting/attempting to subborn on air live the ABC's pre eminent Kerry OBrien, a former Labor staffer, to attend the grand summit:

KERRY O'BRIEN: Your ideas summit, 1,000 people engaged in 10 simultaneous mini-summits over a weekend in a couple of months' time. Can you really expect that a weekend spread so broadly to lead to a whole new burst of policy vision, a 20 year vision or a 10 year vision?

KEVIN RUDD: Are you suggesting to me, Kerry, that it's not worth rolling the arm over and having a go? What I've discovered you know, in the last six weeks or so that we've been in government is that right across the country and certainly within the bureaucracy, there's been a bit of a lid on things.

A whole lot of people have got some real ideas about the future direction of the country. The bureaucracy in my experience seems to have suffered from a culture whereby they feared there was a right answer and a wrong answer and if they gave the wrong answer they had get into strife. I think it's time to turn the page on that.

Secondly we've been, I think, plagued as a nation by too much short-termism, short electoral cycles. It's time to look out to a 10 year vision to the country.

Secondly, harness the energies, enthusiasm and ideas of the nation, and guess what? Everything that gets put forward in this summit is not going to be flash. It's not going to be completely useable the next day. But if you get a dozen good ideas out of 1,000 people gathering together in Canberra at their own expense over a weekend, frankly it's an effort worth going to. Guess what? We're going to debate the future of the ABC as well.

KERRY O'BRIEN: I look forward to that Kevin Rudd.

KEVIN RUDD: Do you want to come along?

KERRY O'BRIEN: We'll see. In one form or another

KEVIN RUDD: You can participate it and cover it, whatever you like.

KERRY O'BRIEN: We're out of time for tonight, thanks for talking to us.

KEVIN RUDD: Thank you very much.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Might be a little bit of conflict of interest - covering and contributing.

Rudd did add as an after thought either as objective reporter or subjective participant. That's the attitude of a machine man bolting on good governance who must be tested by the 4th and 5th estate to keep him up to the job description proper as our public servant, not vice versa. That's real democracy.

Posted by editor at 6:20 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 8 March 2008 7:26 AM EADT
ASIO not the only one advertising for 'spies' ?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: aust govt

Doing our duty at the local job agency we noticed this curious advert on the My Career Fairfax website for the 'Hong Kong' Government, which as most people know is the mainland vertically integrated Chinese Communist Party dictatorship Government in a more western friendly guise:

Hong Kong
HONG KONG ECONOMIC handle enquiries and conduct research relating to particular issues in Australia engage in liaison and networking activities in... more
Sydney Metro, NSW | Published in The Sydney Morning Herald  Salary not specified 09/02/2008

The full advert reads via this screenshot, and notice in particular,

 "will be mainly responsible for monitoring reports and briefs on economic and political developments in Australia and New Zealand"


"Knowledge of Hong Kong and the Chinese language will be an advantage"



Which all goes to suggest it's not just ASIO who are advertising in the mainstream press for personnel quite regularly of late, but also here at their website:

We won't indulge in sledging of the security agency, at least not this time.

Rather why would the Chinese be so interested to have such advice above and beyond standard spooky control games?

We recall super killing machine gun Metal Storm so well reported by Channel 9 Sunday programme in 2006 (which is missing from their features archive ... but we found it anyway! via good  old Sydney Indy Media archive God bless 'em both Big and Little media) and it's all still there but for how long we don't know:


Chinese whispers and the Aussie killing machine
October 1, 2006
Reporter :Sarah Ferguson
Producer : Nick Farrow

Chinese whispers and the Aussie killing machine

Video link
Watch video 


with echo here:

China's desire for inventor's gun just tip of iceberg - World ... Hamish McDonald Asia-Pacific Editor, October 2, 2006 also ironically on Fairfax

and here

Chinese after our weaponry - Business - Business - smh.com.au 2 Oct 2006

 Mike O'Dwyer … offered $134 million for this gun.

We also recall Chinalco stalking global miner Rio Tinto for their enormous resources apetite. But methinks dangerous climate policy is perhaps an even greater concern to our no longer sleeping giant neighbour to the north:

 and as that twee pop song goes "we're all in this together" more or less by an artist who started out (?) at BBies in Bondi years ago:

Suffice to say we didn't apply for work with either organisation. We are but a humble servant of the community media sector and probably on a few defacto black lists anyway given this last 15 years of ecological politiking, and no regrets whatsoever for doing our duty.


For those doubting the manipulative arts of the Chinese empire one might just notice this suite of articles:

- Spielberg snubs Olympics over Darfur | The Courier-Mail 13 Feb 2008

- Spielberg quits as Olympics adviser - World - theage.com.au 14 Feb 2008

- Taiwan alert after Chinese spy claims | The Australian 14 Feb 2008

- Beijing brands Spielberg 'naive' | The Australian

- Essays set agenda for radical reforms | The Australian 25 Feb 2008

- Athletes' blogs add dimension to Olympics coverage | The Australian 25 Feb 2008

And then here comes the PR trump card with glamourous colour pic of actress Naomi Watts page 3 6th March 2008 sanitising all of the above regarding all things China, with not a mention of that stumble bum has been director Spielberg:

Watts lifts veil on China's mysteries | The Australian 6 March 2008

Followed up with a friendly quarrantine sport from the real world of international relations in the Oz weekend glossies with Lisa Forrest "who just wanted to swim" and has a book out called Boycott with Allen & Unwin. She even notes in the last line that she and athlete Peter Evans are the 'Vietnam Vets of the Olympics'. Boo hoo.

People in Darfur "just want to live" and sport is frivolous. As if a swimming race or whole sports carnival can compare. How many Darfur athletes will be there?

The ways of the Chinese dictatorship are inscrutable apart from the odd glimpses above.

Posted by editor at 4:25 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 8 March 2008 9:45 PM NZT
Thursday, 6 March 2008
How Fred Nile and NSW ALP turned a 4 yr fixed local council term to 4.5 yr, twice
Mood:  not sure
Topic: nsw govt

The Sydney Morning Herald today solemnly advises

"[Local] Council elections were last held in 2004."

Which indeed was the case. This is by way of background reporting this story:

 Council elections brought forward ABC New South Wales

So now the local council elections are on Sept 13 2008, two weeks earlier. At first we thought most local govt elections were in Sept 2003 and thus now a year over due (from Sept 07), because we know they were held in Sept 1999 before that, and Sept 1995 before that. That is every 4 years at a time we held such humble office. The AEC website confirms councillors are elected for “4 years”. But somehow a 4.5 year term has effectively been inserted twice between Sept 99 and Sept 2008

The Hansard March 5th 2008 via NSW Minister Tony Kelly in the 2nd Reading speech in the Upper House ‘explains’ it all in convoluted fashion, as follows:

The Hon. TONY KELLY (Minister for Lands, Minister for Rural Affairs, Minister for Regional Development, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [3.37 p.m.]: …..

The Act was then amended in 2003 to postpone council elections from the second Saturday in September 2003 to the fourth Saturday in March 2004. The change was the result of the Local Government Amendment (Elections) Act 2003, which, when introduced into Parliament, was intended to change the election date from the second Saturday in September to the fourth Saturday in March for all future elections. The purpose of these proposed amendments was to align the local government election cycle with the local government strategic planning process.

The amendments were also designed to shift local government council elections out of the same four-year cycle as the State elections so that New South Wales voters would no longer be required to go to the polls twice in the same year. This shift will also ease the burden of the New South Wales Electoral Commission having to conduct State and local government elections within six months of each other.

We don’t find this explanation in bold above about delay of 6 months from Sept 2003 to March 2004 very convincing. Indeed the Opposition’s Don Harwin MP in Hansard states 26 June 2003 when the first 6 month delay was enacted:

It says a lot about the attitude and cynicism with which the Government has approached the entire electoral process and its mandate. If ever there was a bill for which the Government did not have a mandate, it is this bill [Local Government Amendment (Elections) Bill]. The loud and articulate opposition of Ministers, Government members, and Labor Party activists in the lead-up to the March State election on the issue of forced council amalgamations, when the Government articulated that it stridently opposed forced council amalgamations, has been shown to be utter deceit. The bill is the foundation of a process that will lead to forced council amalgamations. The Coalition strongly opposes that.

The arguments that the Government has put forward for this bill are, at face value, plausible. Few people would argue against the suggestion that there is a benefit in not having council elections in the same year that a general State election is held. For a long time I have believed that that is desirable. However, the Government's second principal argument, in relation to the council budgetary process, is much less plausible. The idea that a councillor elected in March can get on top of all the complexities and issues involved in preparing a budget for the coming financial year, only a matter of weeks after being elected, is complete nonsense.

Rather we think the whole schedule went topsy turvy when the ALP started stalking Sydney City Council from at least 2003 as per Harwin's speech, but quite possibly as early as 2001 as per this call:


Interestingly the simply Rev. Gordon Moyes became a colleague of Rev Nile in the Upper House in 2002 replacing Elaine Nile MP who retired. Fred Nile MP is very friendly with the ALP govt and supported the disruption of the 4 year fixed term by the ALP in 2003.

Sydney City council was indeed amalgamated with South Sydney Council in a massive power play by the ALP:

City super-council on the way - www.smh.com.au 21 Nov 2003

South Sydney Council is about to give up its fight for survival, merging with the City of Sydney to create an inner-city super-council controlled by Labor.

The Mayor of South Sydney, Tony Pooley, will propose the merger at an extraordinary meeting of his council next Wednesday, following a damning internal assessment of its financial future.

The move would end the stand-off between the two councils and give the State Government an opportunity to ram through amalgamation.

A merger would also greatly strengthen Labor's chances of controlling the City of Sydney for the first time in more than a decade, installing the former federal minister Michael Lee as lord mayor.

The election for the new super council was held on March 27 2004 along with the rest of the state 6 months delayed, but the ALP’s cynicism was punished severely and they lost City Hall (with this writer a volunteer for Clover Moore MP):

Clover Moore is off to Town Hall  By Alex Mitchell, State Political Editor
March 28, 2004 The Sun-Herald

So in summary the State Govt appear to have invented 4.5 year terms in 2003 pushing it to 2004 to get the super council in, which then got pushed out yet another 6 months in 2008 courtesy of Fred Nile MP and the Govt pandering to the vain old man, who for some reason liked the month of Sept rather than March. Actually his reason is here from Hansard 2003 again:

Over the years the local government election. has been held effectively in September. Why does the Government want the election to be held in March? I will put forward a practical reason for the change. It is difficult for minor parties and Independents to get ready for election by March. I know that it is difficult for the Christian Democratic Party, being a minor party, to get mobilised for an election in March. That may not be the case for the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal Party or the National Party. It is difficult for minor parties because staff go on holidays over Christmas and January.

We have puzzled over this for years because those 4 years of ours Sept 95-Sept 99 due service as Bondi ward councilor at Waverley - until we made a baton change to now Indigenous Deputy Mayor Cr Dominic Wy Kanak -  are branded on our memory banks:

  Cllr Dominic Wy Kanak   Dominic Wy Kanak, Deputy Mayor - Greens

If you look real close you will see the editor's name on a plaque at the front of the Library at Bondi Junction, which we do feel proud about too:




Posted by editor at 12:46 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008 1:47 PM EADT
Cameron, part of the furniture
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: big media

It's quite apparent the Deborah Cameron leg of the ABC Sydney 702 radio line up is part of the real politik furniture now, in quick time. Perhaps marked by The Whiltlam's Gotta Love This City just played.

We noticed at 8.30 am lead in this morning 'the cardigan effect' that ABC does so well dressing its real A category power audience with sound waves. It was confirmed in previous days by first Malcolm Turnbull Opposition Treasurer inspired to ring in and interrupt the Party Liners segment on Tuesdays (?).  

Confirmed again by a state govt minister Ian Macdonald ringing in yesterday to tackle the FoI investigative journalists Moore (SMH) and McKinnon (7) to challenge their description on food shop hygiene reporting.

It's in the intellectual force she brings to analysing the State Govt ructions with quite a reptile's beady eye. Yep Trigger Trioli has her worthy successor.

Where are her limits? One hopes she doesn't exceed like success, as Alan Jones surely has with his low rent sun spot climate change denier yesterday, with no balancer. That's not journalism, that's pandering by Jonesy ever the showman. And it's not really doing any favours for what's surely coming this 21C.

Posted by editor at 9:42 AM EADT
Read on the next page
Mood:  smelly
Topic: legal

There has been a curious pattern of vandalism in the centres of harmony this last 6 weeks since Australia Day January 26th 2008. 

For those who tap into our quite big dynamic of real politik in NSW one could not help but be aware of logical concern in the lead up to Australia Day. Some fundamental aspects fostering social harmony do not change in a hurry. And Australia Day is always a platform for whatever is going. Everyone in real politik knows this.

Nor has this city forgotten only 2 years previous Dec 11 2005 was very sad in terms of torn social fabric and imperative for counter politiking.

The Saturday front pager of the Sydney Daily Telegraph was telling of a breath of fresh air building on the Nov 2007 federal election, and conversely an affront to those contrary?

We hope and trust the centres of harmony are not suffering the capricious and cruel consequences of that step forward here and here of a country that has turned a page because some can't or won't read on.

Today a suburban library re opens after 5 weeks closure after determined vandalism because to quote Cyndi Lauper a diverse community is not only interesting but also a strong one.

Posted by editor at 7:46 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008 8:33 AM EADT
Wednesday, 5 March 2008
Who can you trust online, or anywhere really?
Mood:  sad
Topic: independent media

Who can you trust? Such a little word, such a massive issue, personally, professionally, local, state, federal. Trust underpins a viable society because otherwise one is paralysed by constant threats of cheating.

We got a whiff of that malaise in an SBS show on constant 'price points' put onto daily life in Kenya otherwise known as demands for bribes. In Australia however it's called Macquarie Bank and their famous coin with the hole, making more out of less:


Joe Hildebrand picks up the farcical nature of a society without trust recently too:

Sartorial elegance is costly Joe Hildebrand – Friday, February 29, 08 (05:35 pm) IT’S fair to say that the whole concept of house pride kind of passed me by in my youth, but it struck me this week that as a man in the soft-grey glow of his early 30s it would seem unbecoming not to start experiencing it now.

In the last week we've had two requests for comment to other sections of the 'up by their boot straps' independent (micro/minor) news sector. Always ready with an opinion we are happy to be approached. One from NZ of all places, another from the groovy NewMatilda (now on our right hand sidebar) for a panel discussion on 2nd April 2008. For instance this cracking read:

nsw politics 3 Mar 2008 Treasurer Costa Lot by Ben Eltham

Their topic is:

Newmatilda.com is holding another In Conversation panel discussion on Wednesday April 2nd.

 Our last years panel- “Is Online Media Dumbing Down Journalism” was very successful with speakers such as Liz Jackson, Peter McEvoy, Dylan Welch and Carrie Lumby on the panel.

 We would like to invite you to be in the panel for our next discussion:


Who Can You Trust?

Who is a credible source online? With the proliferation of blogging, amateur experts and user generated content- has the investigative journalist become redundant?


Due to your work on your blog we think you be an ideal speaker for our panel. We are trying to get bloggers/journalists from a range of backgrounds.

Who do you trust indeed. We are working up our submission already and will attempt a positive approach. However the obverse also applies, as in, who do you distrust on the offline media, even while being an obsessive media consumer of same.

Exhibit 1 and 1A is the Sydney Morning Herald "paper of record" today. Their pie charts on p6 as shown above regarding ALP versus Coalition fails to address "environmental protection" when arguably this was the difference between Carr and Fahey in March 1995, and even underpinned the Metherell Affair bringing down the Greiner Premiership in 1992(Metherell became an independent rather than support wholesale forest/wilderness destruction, sat on the cross benches and was 'encouraged' to take a job out of parliament as head of the NSW EPA instead, enter ICAC).

Environmental protection, and not simply "public transport" is a big ticket item in the real politik of NSW. Clennell as their gun state political reporter knows, or should know, this when he interprets the Nielsen polling company pie charts.

The omission by Clennell/Neilsen/SMH is even more curious given at heart it's been the rock steady determination of The Green Party to flush out democracy for sale political donations that has got us in this meltdown with ICAC into Wollongong right now as a specific exemplar. Also it underlines why Peter Garrett joined the wrong party if he wants real change versus vanity. Though he is surely helping educate the ALP who need him alot, but not nearly as much as Australian politics needs The Greens. Because it's an interlocked political spectrum and by remaining steadfast the rest of the political family has been forced in the Greens direction, bravo Green Party, in particular Norman Thomson et al at:

Political Donations - Democracy4Sale — The Greens NSW

And it's not just Metherell/Greiner 1992, or Carr/Fahey 1995 (and arguably 99, 03, on other greenwash with the Coaliton re Nats being slow learners) but arguably Rudd v Howard leverage climate change in Nov 2007 but still no pie chart in the economic rationalist Big Media. But you can't fool all the folks all the time. The green in Green Party just won't go away like a spot on Mrs Macbeth's hand.

The real politik implication in the airbrush of the "environmental protection" pie is that the National Party leg of the Coalition is dead weight, and therefore of no utility in a pro NSW Coalition agenda in the Herald [or 2nd lead on ABC tv nightly news]. Certainly the NSW ALP have been exploiting that low base for 12 years now (including via ngo trusties) not least Part 3A of the Planning Act dictatorial destruction of nature, because no matter how evil 'they couldn't be worse than the Nationals'?

Or could they, given even the Nats criticise bogus "biobanking" recently via leader Andrew Stoner - the thesis seems to be the Nats copped lots of political pain early 90ies on North Coast Land Deals so they want equal treatment for the ALP corruption with developers today, which is a fair point Mr Stoner. Bravo. Extract here:

> Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 16:20:15 +1100
> Subject: [NCEC] Nationals come out against BioBanking and developer influence
> North Coast Environment Council (& friends) discussion list
> In Tuesday's Macleay Argus the paper published the following article:
> STATE Government links with developers, raised at an Independent
> Commission Against Corruption inquiry last week, are worrying for the
> Mid North Coast, Oxley MP and NSW Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner said
> yesterday. Mr Stoner said high development on the Mid North Coast had
> local residents concerned about possible corruption between
> developers and the Government. "People in our neck of the woods are
> very concerned," Mr Stoner said. "I've had many people contact me
> from the Mid North Coast about the stench of corruption."
> Specifically, Mr Stoner said the bio-banking legislation introduced
> by the Government could be exploited.
> The scheme lets developers offset any loss of biodiversity caused by
> their projects through credits purchased from a bio-bank, which uses
> the money to conserve threatened species in other areas. Mr Stoner
> said land on the coast that was previously protected was in danger of
> being developed as developers trade off land elsewhere.
> State Parliament resumes today and Mr Stoner said the fireworks
> would begin as the Opposition pursued the government over what he
> said was a stench of corruption in the ALP. He said an inquiry in
> the Parliament's Upper House would investigate donations to the
> Government from developers. The links were raised at an ICAC inquiry
> into Wollongong City Council that began last week. Some State
> Government ministers have been drawn into the controversy. A former
> employee of the council, Joe Scimone, is a friend of Waterways
> Minister Joe Tripodi. Mr Scimone's recruitment to NSW Maritime is
> under investigation by ICAC because of his friendship with the
> minister responsible for the department. He is also a subject of the
> ICAC inquiry into Wollongong City Council. Mr Tripodi has said
> Maritime recruited Mr Scimone, and it was all proper and "at arm's
> length". Health Minister Reba Meagher, Police Minister David Campbell
> and Tourism Minister Matt Brown have all been put on notice by
> Premier Morris Iemma that they would be investigated over any
> allegations made against them. The three ministers have all been
> linked to Mr Scimone, who was a member of the ALP. It was
> also revealed that a company linked to a developer at the centre of
> the ICAC inquiry had donated money to Mr Campbell's and Mr Brown's
> election campaigns last year. "No doubt there is a huge stench of
> corruption," Mr Stoner said yesterday, But the Deputy Leader of the
> Coalition said the Opposition would be unlikely to pursue a vote of
> no confidence in the Government. "A lot of people have contacted me
> and said we can't wait three years (to get rid of this government),"
> Mr Stoner said. But he added a vote of no confidence would not
> succeed in the lower house, where the ALP holds the majority of
> seats. He said blocking supply at budget time was a course of action
> available to the Opposition but the public service would grind to a
> halt, and a dismissal by the State Governor would require very
> serious corruption allegations to be proven. Mr Stoner said the
> Opposition would be proposing legislation this week to cap donations
> by developers to political parties.

To reinforce this shallow effort on natural heritage real politik reportage the otherwise commendable ECO page(s) from page 12 today are two thirds government greenwashing today courtesy of the "Green Globe Awards" (funded by NSW Dept of Environment and Climate Change) which at least are not the Power and Energy industry "special advertising report" we are used to seeing in The Australian. But it is thinly disguised advertising for the NSW Govt and we wonder about the editorial control of the content now too.

The big light green colour scheme over 4 additional pages is desperately needed to sanitise with greenwash the smell of the ALP corruption on display at ICAC and Macquarie St itself. 

In terms of editorial problems we noticed at least one - Page 15 - Peats Ridge Festival  under the headline "fun and frugal". Only the festival didn't occur in the 2007/08 summer break and we know this for a fact. But why was it cancelled is the story: A local activist wanted to instruct us as a pro bono lawyer on commencing action in the Land & Environment Court for alleged failure of the land owner for the festival venue, one wealthy and influential Mr Barton Lawlor, to obtain a conforming Development Application for the parking area, and possibly time frame for part of the area,  from Singleton Council.

Apparently locals have been the victim of success at Peats Ridge parked out and other environmental amenity impacts galore, so it seems. Either it was "too muddy" this year due to rain or legal discretion played a more significant role given the dry weather 4 days before the event, and no rain during the schedule advertised in the city entertainment press. In other words quite a deal of financial outlay sacrificed.

The overall point in all this is that for all the environmental concerns of the Sydney Morning Herald which are real enough, and which can be impressive, the newspaper is suffering a neurotic conflict over materialistic growth economics covert subtext. This affects the quality of their political coverage when fully 10% are now voting Green Party (a taboo perhaps) as above absence of pie chart on an issue 'owned' by that Party. It's affecting SMH's editorial control of their own content as above too.

Another example was Ross Gittins' excellent story as economics editor recently on limit to growth after Garnaut, contradicted in juxtaposition by the editorial in the same paper opposite page:

Thursday, 28 February 2008


Maybe Gittins should be handed over the real politik stories a bit more too with cracking and valid expose of the racket of hyper immigration (quite exclusive of refugee obligations):

An inconvenient truth about rising immigration | smh.com.au Ross Gittins; March 3, 2008. JOHN HOWARD never wanted to talk about his booming immigration program.  It seems Kevin Rudd's lot doesn't want to either.

And it is this increasingly obvious deficit in a grand old lady of the Big Media which creates an opportunity for a micro general news media outlet which has a 21C conceptual framework of ecological sustainability in its political economic assumptions to increase readership and influence. That is online micro news service SydneyAlternativeMedia here - trustworthy for it's subtext of ecologically sustainable economics, and real politik, compared to growth fetish economics.

Posted by editor at 9:41 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008 5:38 AM EADT
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Chicken shop explosion is now being treated as arson
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: local news

As of midday today the police are reported as saying that accelerant was used to cause a fire at a Nandos chicken shop in the Broadway-Ultimo retail precinct in Sydney just beyond the CBD.

Sydney explosion deliberate: police12:07pm | Chicken shop blast that critically injured a man was arson, say police. | Photos

We reported on this a month ago here, with photo of window frames being removed at the direction of Police Forensics for further testing a fews days after the explosion:

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Posted by editor at 4:47 PM EADT

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