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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
Our prediction on Unsworth energy sell off 'report' was a bullseye
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: nsw govt




We wrote about the majority hand picked Unsworth Committee being a fix for the Iemma- Costa sale agenda 2 months back.

 Monday, 21 January 2008 NSW Energy privatisation: Trusties on new committee make it a sell off stack?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: nsw govt

Sure enough, with the three unionists being hung out by the 2 cynical bureacrats Kruk and Richmond, then add backbench ALP Right machine stooges like Daley and Whan. That's already 4 versus 3.

Then Angel already badly compromised as explained below leaves welfarist Harry Herbert with his begging bowl, needy for support for the MSIR in Kings Cross and essentially irrelevant to the big politics.5 or maybe 6 to 3.

As Bernie Banton pointed out in the great asbestos struggle, it was the unions who helped out when no one else did. And so its left with them again to put spiv ALP back on their heels, if at all.

It's all been a Sussex St machine sleaze to dupe the Big Media if at all possible. Thankfully not all is captured reportage as here:

10 March 2008 Sparks ahead as power report splits Labor - National - smh.com.au

Which corroborates our own dismal view of the ALP machine grasp right into the heart of the formal green movement in NSW in the form of Jeff Angel, that Milo Dunphy so greatly feared: 

Thursday, 16 August 2007

 A specific case study is detailed here: 

 15/3/04...The dirty Lake Cowal cyanide gold mine trust terms discussed here in 'Lake Cowal and real politik of mining decisions under Carr govt'

and similarly

1998-2008 Lake Cowal scandal in Central NSW,$6M slush fund for select green groups, cyanide leaching for gold, pit as deep as Centrepoint Tower is high. Globally on average 79 tonnes of waste is produced for every ounce of gold. More info and links here

Another shocker back in 1997 was Angel shepherding the racist 'biobanking' developer/land clearer concept past native title/Racial Discrimination Act concerns as if these just didn't matter. This writer was seriously angry about that as explained here:

'bio banking initative' in 1997 with a decidely racist native title extinguishment agenda ,and other ineffectual native vegetation land clearing policy


This trusty role  of Angel (our description) has been a subject of ongoing comment by veteran Alex Mitchell on crikey.com.au such as this on Tuesday:

Veteran greenie shocks with NSW private power support 11 March 08

Once reader/blogger says Angel was 'suckered' but sadly this is contrary to all experience and our determined whistle blowing, at great cost too:

Tom McLoughlin Says:
March 12, 2008 at 7:38 pm

Alas, Jeff is no sucker, my sincere belief is he is a suck up - and that’s my view as a solicitor in NSW with plenty of back up. Greenpeace on the other hand are likely duped, being far less cynical, genuinely financially independent and either youthful inexperience on the vagaries of this complex policy debate or reassured (falsely) by a VERY experienced NGO operative in Jeff Angel. Too tricky to belong in the green movement if you ask me.

Never forget Jeff was in the foyer outside Carr’s personal office in 96 and was told by the upbeat staffers they had a plan to ‘do a Telstra’ and set up a $450M green fund with the revenue from the public’s natural monopoly, which will always turn a healthy profit. Which of course implied Big Jeff to get a cut of that action and greater status for a green blessing.

The ALP Right have always said “we can work with Jeff”. Given what we know of the rotten ALP machine this is no compliment.

Self interest and self aggrandisement of Jeff at the helm of good ship TEC is the agenda, always has been, and why my friend and mentor Milo Dunphy, TEC founder, never trusted him even as his co-director (a status which itself was a manipulative impertinece). Nor do I trust him, since at least 1996 on a raft of policy issues. His career is littered with busted or disillusioned mid level idealist campaigners sold short in trade offs of political capital that Jeff never built or earned. Carl Drury (Snowy River), Frank Miller (Goulburn landfill), myself and ChipStop network on the Eden chipmill, Traditional Owner Neville Williams/Benny Zable/Ian Cohen/Ruth Rosenhek re Lake Cowal cyanide pit mine, Dr John Kaye of the Greens over the Unsworth report. As I have said to angsty Dr Kaye, get in line John.

Angel says the energy sector already operates like private industry. I heard him on ABC radio. This is demonstrably false regarding say level of unionism, govt power to control universal service obligations and pricing for poor folks. It also totally ignores that market failure has delivered us the climate threat. Who in their right mind thinks the capitalist market will not cheat on the solutions? As I like to say WW2 was not resolved by leaving it to market forces, for God sake.

Fact is Jeff should be working INSIDE the ALP Right government.

By the way why did the ALP pay off TEC to fund the Green Games Watch in 95-96 (Faulkner as federal environment minister)? Because in 92 in the bid document no less the SOCOG cheated by fraudulently claimed two green groups endorsed the green bid - TEC and NSW Nature Conservation Council. Rather than stand against public popularity for the Games, these two groups took the pound of flesh instead. But all it achieved really was to confuse the hard hitting agenda of Greenpeace who were the real architects of the green bid - to clean up a world scale [dioxin] pollution problem at Homebush - still there under the cap, still in the fish too.

More chapter and verse here:

  • spin regarding unresolved dioxin threat at Homebush Bay via splitting tactic of govt funded Green Games Watch 2000 versus Greenpeace
  • greenwash of Lake Cowal cyanide mine with a $6M green fund for collaborating peak green groups
  • Here are a swathe of recent articles about the big sell off agenda, with the pro Work Choices, anti union Big Press predictably editorialising for the sell off agenda, while journalists like Hildebrand at the Telegraph, and West at the Herald provide critical balance to other moderately centre right leaning Salusinszky (Australian) and Benson (Telegraph):

     - Sparks ahead as power report splits Labor - National - smh.com.au West 10 March 08

    - Thumbs up for power privatisation, Salusinszky The Australian p31, 8-9/3/08 (offline)

    - Power stations want permits to pollute Wilkinson SMH 6 March 08, relegated to p6

    - Public float to clinch power sale 6 March 08, pushed to page 1

    - Power changes hands | The Australian 3 March 08

    - Unions to support Iemma on carve-up | The Australian March 1-2 08

    - ALP Left ready to fight Costa - National - smh.com.au 29 Feb 08 West

    - Private power 'cheaper' | The Australian 29 Feb 08

    - Power to the people | The Australian 'Victoria proves privatising energy benefits consumers' 29 Feb 08 editorial

    Clever use of debt enriches debtors - On Line Opinion - 28/2/2008 Nicholas Gruen economist, contra sale

    - Fire up Morris - or you will really feel the heat, Benson, Telegraph strangely offline p21 27 Feb 08

    - MP power backs Premier's enemies | The Daily Telegraph 27 Feb 08

    - What do we want? Secure power supplies - Editorial - Opinion - smh ... editorial 27 Feb 08

    - Power industry seeks $100b investment 27 Feb 08, Wilkinson/Cubby SMH (strangely offline, with minor significant correction listed instead)

    - Now even their own MPs are revolting - National - smh.com.au p1 SMH27 Feb 08 West, Clennell, Robins

    - Iemma to push through power sale | The Australian 26 Feb 08 (Brad Norrington)

    - Let there be light through regulation, not ownership - Opinion - Home Treasurer Costa, Herald opinion page 26 Feb 08

    - Union sell-off protest, but Costa powers on - National - smh.com.au West, 26 Feb 08

    Sun rises over the waters of Lake Cowal - the dawning of another day across this timeless and priceless jewel of nature.

    Posted by editor at 8:38 PM NZT
    Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008 9:03 AM NZT
    Ongoing APEC police powers ignore misleading evidence to the NSW Supreme Court Sept 07?
    Mood:  incredulous
    Topic: legal


    Today the Herald press/web reports that the authoritarian tendencies of the NSW Govt are continuing with a determination to keep the police powers from APEC:

    March 12 2008 Tough police powers outlive APEC - National - smh.com.au

    In the shadow of this legal develppment is more news about the unpopular prosecution of the Chaser team just this morning:

    Chaser's APEC stunt goes to court 10:56am | Hearing date set over charges for fake motorcade during APEC.

    What the NSW Govt is not willing to talk about though is the wide divergence between protester reality compared with sworn evidence by the police hierarchy that we listened to in the NSW Supreme Court.

    More on this Supreme Court free speech aspect as reported by this writer back in Sept 2007:

    Wednesday, 5 September 2007

    Decision on APEC protest march at 2pm in NSW Supreme Court
    Mood:  not sure
    Topic: legal

     Gandhi's confronting non violence
    Mood:  special
    Topic: peace

    Then there is still unresolved failure of the national security authorities

    Tuesday, 4 September 2007
    No matter how hard the authorities tried to shut down free speech or embarrassomg protest to President Bush outside his own consulate there was no denying the democratic issues to be expressed to government at all levels:
    Thursday, 6 September 2007
    And we were inspired by The Chaser's art and courage, a high point in Australian culture of free speech:
    Friday, 7 September 2007
    The cynicism of the NSW police popular authoritarianism became apparent with a shepherding of a vexatious right wing group into the midst of a vast majority of anti Bush protest events:

    8 Sept 2007
    The NSW police also got caught out singing different songs which is a problem when one script is sworn evidence before the Supreme Court:

    September 9th, 2007 Was it 3K or really 10K at the SBC rally and march? It does matter! with this addendum "Police evidence to the Supreme Court predicted 20K, then '3K'On September 10th, 2007 ecology action ... says:

    ... the police/govt claimed in PR postures on Saturday late arvo that there were only 3K.

    That's a huge differential actually from police evidence in court [compared] to media PR after the event.

    And diverges hugely from the protest organisers estimates of at first 5K, then upgraded to 10K on the day.

    There is a clear pattern here I submit of the police presenting dishonest spin to the public, [and also] quite seriously in evidence to the Supreme Court.

    The senior police better watch how they go, getting way too clever and adopting sleazy ALP media management style tactics,  this is proper fodder for

    1. the Police Integrity Commission

    2.  ICAC

    3. arguably potential allegations of perjury (a criminal offence) before a Supreme Court judge Michael Adams in the case over the anti Bush rally/march last week.

     Having said all this, we do agree with UWS academic Kennedy in the SMH today young police are indeed being used as political pawns in a hard fought dangerous law and order bait and switch federal election dynamic, power arm wrestle between Howard/Federal Coalition versus ALP/Iemma State govt proxy for Rudd federal Opposition.

    The fact remains the police like everyone must act according to law in performing their genuine public safety and security function.

    There must also be honesty on the party of the civil society ngo groups both inside and outside the Stop Bush Coalition that .01% of people at the rally were a real threat to public safety. As a lawyer and long time ngo activist and community media practitioner I am quite comfortable in conceding that point to Police Commissioner Scipione, Minister Campbell and the nervous coppers on the line. I felt a few of those nerves myself on Saturday.

    Overall democracy came through with some pretty bad bruises and scrapes - quite alot more communication and analysis to review what we've been through is probably in order Mills, Scipione, Campbell, students Paddy and Jones on that list (and SBS and 60 Minutes too as young stars), Bainbridge etc.

    Some positive dialogue might be order, and quite a bit more trust. We can all agree surely this was no g20 farce, and one up on Melbourne folks for strategic savvy all round. Ha ha. (Speaking as a refugee from Victoria, God love 'em.)

    [and this further addendum]

    Thankyou, police numbers take the protest to a minimum 6K/13K? On September 10th, 2007 ecology action ... says:

    We never contemplated counting the police in the march and rally numbers, but that's our cliched stereotype of the dear brothers and sisters in blue.

    I declare they have two eyes, two arms and legs. They are human like us and they were there.

    Heaven be blessed we must count them as at the rally making a healthy 13,000 at the rally march.

    Great stuff. The official rally count just keeps growing to reach the police evidence to the Supreme Court judge Michael Adams last Wednesday of in fact 20K likely attendance, but down a little because of the rain up until 10am.

    See - telling the truth was never so easy, eh Chief Superintendent Stephen John Cullen, in the witness box as Commander of the Riot and Public Order Squad. It's all on the transcript for some kind of review, can't wait. 

    And let's recall the living democracy of the Stop Bush APEC rally:



    Posted by editor at 2:42 PM NZT
    Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008 6:31 AM NZT
    Gavin Hillier, prominent retired logging unionist on Stateline footage as protester no.5?
    Mood:  caffeinated

     Hillier in 1995 NSW Govt RACAC panel

    Was that Gavin Hillier on the Stateline footage last Friday? It was a strong story by Nick Grimm showing a familiar face and voice exhorting the crowd of (xenophobic?) protesters in Camden. The transcript of the show reads this voice to the rally against a Muslim school :

    "PROTESTOR 5: You've got to worry about winning. Winning is the glory. There's no guts and there's no glory in losers. You must win.

    We are still trying to confirm Big Gavin's presence. It a very strategic, machine politik kind of rhetoric and Hillier was always regarded as "colourful" in harness as secretary of the NSW/national logging division of the CFMEU. His AWU website quote him as "I'll never be stopped!" and "He says the secret to improving wages and conditions is to be strategic and be united."

    Big Gavin presents like a Kevin Reynolds/Joe McDonald type figure, that is an old style campaigner not least in girth.  Is he also a xenophobe or is it just the planning issues? Or ALP machine tactics? Maybe it wasn't him?

    Gavin Hillier: Crown Employees Division
    Gavin Hillier: Crown Employees Division, current AWU website

    Hillier once offered to sort this writer out physically at the back of the Broadway Hotel in about 1998 in a Politics in the Pub event. To be fair I did my share of loud provocative heckling (along with others like John Corkill in the audience) which must have been vexatious.

    Hillier's offsiders were actually more willing to turn the situation into a fist fight until the bar manager encouraged us all to leave the premises quietly. Tempers settled down after that.

    Here is some antecedents of pro forest woodchipper unionist Gavin Hillier

    Early in 1995, the NSW State Secretary of the Construction, Forestry and Mining Employees Union, Mr Gavin Hillier told ABC Radio's Background Briefing that damage to equipment occurred as part of struggles to unionise workers. Hillier said: " ... we know how to sugar trucks. We had to hit them and hit them hard. And you (conservationists) probably got the blame for it too along the track. I'm telling you now that they knew who it was, we told those contractors that you behave your fucking selves or the same thing will happen".(footnote 3) Following Hillier's statements there was a deafening silence from the timber industry.

    footnote 3. Gavin Hillier, NSW election, Background Briefing, Radio National 2RN, Sunday March 19 1995.

    In Victorian Police Report on Anti-Environmental Action sourced to author Bob Burton via The Wilderness Society website 1999.

    We only ask Hillier's role because we have written about this issue before out at Camden:

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

    And there is a public interest with all this 'white flight' reportage from public schools implying lack of discipline and/or cross cultural tolerance.

    We think sensitive responsible big media coverage is important because we fear a pressure cooker of blowback criminality if this conversation is not held at the highest and lowest levels:

    6 March 2008 Read on the next page

    In the hot house of the federal election it may be that the ALP have been caught playing to the right wing fringe in a triumph of ambition over morality as per this report:

    Rudd opposed to Islamic school - Local - General - Camden Advertiser 23 rd Nov 2007.

    We recall coverage by crikey.com.au about the Tas logger embrace of then PM John Howard down at the Hobart Town Hall in 2004. If memory serves they published an image which unfortunately we can't locate, with one forest worker having a "white power" tattoo. Mmm. That's a curious echo.

    Posted by editor at 12:54 PM NZT
    Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008 7:47 PM NZT
    Early morning life in the burb
    Mood:  lyrical
    Topic: culture








    Posted by editor at 10:40 AM NZT
    Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008 11:19 AM NZT
    Monday, 10 March 2008
    Albanese's asbestos shame in the heart of Grayndler
    Mood:  incredulous
    Topic: health

      Anthony Albanese  

    Anthony Albanese has been the Member for Grayndler since 1996.


    Addison Rd Centre is supposed to be the biggest community centre in Australia. Located in the inner west of Marrickville at no. 142 Addison, it is certainly big with some 42 tenants of diverse nature. It was an army barracks then immigration centre and since the 1970ies a state government lease to a community board. There are several groups on federal govt grants like Children's Services Central and  Greening Australia one way or another.

    This writer was an employee on the grounds staff at the ARC from 2002 to 2007.


    We have written previously of the dubious ALP controlled management of the centre with current general manager Yvette Andrews, one of the ALP Left 'Meredith Burgman all stars':

    Saturday, 16 February 2008

    and more here

     Tuesday, 29 January 2008,

    Acting General Manager Addison Rd Centre resigns effective this Friday
    Mood:  smelly
    Topic: local news

     and will again regarding the determined secrecy of the finances of the rent free, privately run gallery for 4 years 2003-2007 while having $30K picture(s) on sale, with no accounts submitted over this 4 year period as we understand. Beautiful works no doubt sold out of public land and for whose profit or purpose? 


    One might well ask from a green and left point of view this time, where indeed does the money go, and where is the transparency? Into a Patrice Newell/Phillip Adams campaign to sideline The Green Party in the last federal election might be one line of inquiry:

     Or to keep a struggling gallery up and going, in competition with the general market, so why no public reporting of financial accounts?

    But this post is primarily about the scourge of asbestos because we are heading into the budget season and local federal MP Anthony Albanese, a big wheel in the new federal government is on notice his time is up on this issue.

    As Minister for Infrastructure he is lock step with the state govt on a highly polluting $5B truck tunnel under his own electorate. Meanwhile a shameful legacy of asbestos is festering at Addison Rd despite a childcare centre on the grounds, community markets, any number of community events on the green.

    This shameful situation has continued for 30 years at least under governments of ALP and Coalition. But Albanese is the man in harness now and has at least since 1996 been responsible for getting a solution to this real and present danger. Alternatively its his state MP wife Carmel Tebbutt. Either way it's the ALP government.

    What is Albanese going to do about it? Those asbestos rooves are badly weathering. It's a health time bomb. At the very least they should be treated with sealant via a spray gun by experts. They should be totally removed and replaced, if not the whole of the buildings - by order of the State Govt authorities. 

    It's not just Mr Rudd's recent forced (?) backflip on cuts to carers in the current razor gang budgetary process in tight fiscal times and inflation that have the govt in a rock and hard place situation. It's life and death issues like the ongoing scandal of the taboo subject of asbestos at Addison Rd Centre, facilitated by the conspiratorial (lack of?) governance that keeps such concerns a closed shop.

    Mr Rudd can praise Bernie Banton at his funeral caused by asbestos but the Addison Rd Centre reality with various federal government grantee tenants doesn't quite gel with that public stance, does it?

    Posted by editor at 6:19 AM NZT
    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

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