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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Another big media backgrounder last 7 days
Mood:  chatty
Topic: big media

[under construction]

- classic Big Brother story last Sunday Telegraph by sharp Shari Markson about vetting of no. of sexual partners, illegal drug use, and other private matters for security clearance of such as media advisers and ministerial chief's of staff. And for those too boring to have anything to declare? Sam Seaborn and the hooker comes to mind. 

- Yet another summit? We reported in our last big media roundup about the Ayn Rand May soiree in East Sydney to come in May. We reported on News Ltd/The Australian 'real summit' of power players in business and politics in late March 2008. And now Michelle Grattan notes this summit for Yoof on April 12 and 13 "in a dress rehearsal for the big Australia 2020" event:

16 March 2008 Blood worth bottling - Horseracing - Sport - smh.com.au

Not governing talking seems to be the gist, when urgen action on climate safety is probably wiser. This softer story by MG follows a quite cutting piece the week before in the SunHerald "Budget pain bites Rudd" 9/3/08 p57


- We wrote on March 8th 2008 about this barely concealed Chinese Govt advert for 'a spy'

ASIO not the only one advertising for 'spies' ?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: aust govt

which seems to resonate with the story by crikey.com.au about donation of travel tickets from a foreign Chinese 'company' which no doubt is actually Chinese Communist Party controlled:

13 March 2008 Crikey - Exclusive: Rudd, Swan, Burke and the colourful Chinese connection ...

- Yet more fallout from the NSW Govt Dirt File:

* This tucked away in The Glebe 13 March p7 about 'a multibillion dollar infrastructure as big as the harbour bridge'

M4 East paper remains in secret basket THE Opposition and the Greens have called on the State Government to release the promised M4 East discussion paper, fearing that plans are progressing without community input.

* This story 17 March 08 is pitiful, with the 'independent speaker' Torbay actually appointed by the Iemma Govt still, about the 'coincidence' of a whistleblower's employment terminated on the day of her evidence against ex Minister and predator Milton Orkopoulous:

www.smh.com.au - Orkopoulos aide's job offer

As most staffers know the Parliament pays and runs the IR but the MP (or their party) decides who gets the gig or not, so if it smells and sounds like a fix, it probably is, even if not Torbay specifically.

* Ross Coulthard's go hard pieces on Sunday Ch 9 are getting a serious run in the Sunday Press now too re TWU 'slush' fund extorted from transport companies to donate to state MP's. The target is Tony Sheldon ALP Right machine man and "king maker" says RC:

[offline?] p11 Sunday Telegraph 16/3/08 Truckie boss who's also a Labor king maker by Ross Coulthard

and same page/day

Union's secret 'slush fund' to help ALP | NEWS.com.au Business

- 13 March 08 Andrew West on the case still of Party repudiation of Iemma/Costa govt sell off plan

ALP councils reject sale, but the power is still with Costa - National

But then so is the Iemma Govt with this advert in both major papers in Sydney:


- there's a twitch in the ultra right ideological dogmatists with some stories about Young Liberals compiling a dossier on 'biased' left wing lecturers. Boo hoo young fogey Howardistas!:

15/3/08 If left-leaning teachers offend, why not join their low-paid ranks ...

And how's this for an Ayn Rand type whining about the same thing in The Australian Higher Education supplement?



Posted by editor at 12:29 PM NZT
Sandmine in Hawkesbury Council boundary operating with lapsed consent for 10 years?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: ecology

We've published in January and February 2008 about the cowboy sandmining industry operating in breach of development consents in the Maroota area 45 km northwest of Sydney:

  • Now we are examining a sandmine at the Tinda Creek area on Singleton Rd on the eastern boundary of the Wollemi National Park and world heritage listed area.

    Picture: Huge sandmine hole next to Wollemi World Heritage national park on one side and Yengo NP/McDonald Wilderness on the other, 40 km west of Sydney next to the Singleton Road. The sand "pulled out" goes into the ALP controlled construction sector. The mine by Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd was illegal 1986-96 then given retrospective approval by Hawkesbury River Shire Council, and proceeded without valid development consent from 1996-2007 according to Environmental Defenders Office written legal advice. It is due for takeover by Adelaide Brighton Pty Ltd and most likely will be expanded to 270 ha and approved by Minister Frank Sartor in due course. It is killing the water flow in Tinda Creek into Wollemi natural heritage area. There is no real restoration of these huge sand mine sites. They are usually left as quicksand slurry pits (called 'lake' in the spin). Photo by SAM editor 14th March 2007.

    Later today we have an appointment to meet with veteran agitator Neville Diamond, and the Mayor and General Manager of Hawkesbury Council with two legal advice letters from the Environmental Defenders Office (one by Kirsty Ruddock no less, daughter of ex federal minister), and another letter from the Dept of Water and Energy. These are already with the HCC.

    The hierarchy at Hawkesbury Council are due to consider a 2006 development application for 1.3 M tonnes of sand extraction damaging Tinda Creek into the national park and other landholder neighbour's water supply.

    Picture: Neighbours site visit 14 March 2007 with sandminer Tom Bruce 3rd from Left

    Only the sandminer's Enviornmental Impact Statement in 1995-6 never considered the area for the extension of their sandmine, they have been found by HCC to have underpaid s.94 developer levies by at least $48,000 and arguably alot more, and have never submitted "details" of "erosion and sediment control devices" as required "prior to any works commencing" in 1997. This might be because the developer illegally 'moved' the creek contrary to the Rivers and Foreshores Act and to provide detailed plans of erosion and sediment control might give the game away?

    In other words the sand miner, Tom Bruce's Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd has effectively been operating unlawfully without the relevant environmental management plan and have no operative consent having lapsed either 2 or 5 years after late Dec 1996.

    The Council are obliged to enforce their own consent conditions including against local Big Wheel Tom Bruce. So will they?

    Picture: Before 1984 (top), and after 2005 (below)

    Here is our briefing paper for the senior officers Matt Owen (chief planner), Peter Jackson (GM), and Mayor Bart

    Agenda – 3pm  Tuesday 18 March 08 Re Tinda Creek sandmine


    Mayor Bart Bassett, General Manager Peter Jackson with Neville Diamond (ND), Tom McLoughlin (pro bono adviser)



    Action requested of council:


    1. Take Class 4 proceedings in the Land & Environment Court to close the sand quarry and immediate halt export of sand for lack of consent;
    2. Seek orders of the Land & Environment Court to remove the bypass channel from Lot 1 and to restore the water flows to Tinda Creek and to rehabilitate the site eg smaller pond(s);
    3. Quantity survey of how much material has been extracted from the site to make sure RTA gets the money due hypothecated to HCC road costs;
    4. Apply the existing $50K already in the rehab bond to generate and expert plan for rehabilitation. Birdon must not do such a plan;
    5. There is no need to send a s.96 extension decision to a meeting of councillors because there is no discretion to exercise.
    6. A new application and new EIS is required for a substantially new development.



    1. letter from DWE to HCC dated 3rd March 2008 (“DWE letter”) proves lapsed consent for lack of  approved erosion and sediment controls.


    A. Under consent condition 4, DA 134/95 approval Dec 96 for  Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd (“BC”) re sandmining approval at Tinda Creek Lot 2, DP 628806,  states


    “Erosion and sediment control devices shall be installed and maintained during construction and ongoing operations. Details shall be submitted and approved by the [DLWC] prior to any works commencing.”



    DWE letter evidences no details provided and condition 4 has not been complied with for 12 years to 2008.


    B. By way of corroboration of point A:


    In the absence of lawful commencement, EDO advice letter of 27 Sept 06 to ND (copy with HCC) states DA consent lapses by consent condition 3 after 2 years (see EDO para 15), and in any case in 5 years by s.95(1) of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 (EDO ltr para 14). See also EDO paragraphs of case law 16-23. The DWE letter answers EDO’s question at paragraph 29.


    C. We submit voluminous correspondence and postures are not probitive of any “details” of “Erosion and sediment control devices” under condition 4 ever being undertaken verbally or in writing. Consent condition 27 for instance  requiring an “environmental management plan” (EMP) including “Erosion and sediment controls” by early 1997 has never been provided.


    Similarly a 2004 consent under s.96 EP&A Act extension of sandmining into areas 2, 3, 4 , 5 and 6 also required within 2 months the submission to council of erosion and sediment control devices in another EMP which again have never been provided with.


    D. HCC has no power to grant current 2006 s.96 extension for a consent that has lapsed.






    2. The 2006 s.96 modification is for a different development to the 1996 consent and needs a new EIS.


    Refer to EDO letter to HCC dated 17 Sept 2007 especially reference to criteria in schedule 3, sections 35, 36 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000


    DA seeks to extract 1.3M tonnes outside the area granted consent in 1996, namely new areas 1a and 2a (as marked on the plan with the 2006 s.96 application). For instance Coffey & Partners geotechnical study in 1995 EIS does not include bore hole results or technical data outside the 1996 approved extraction area. To put it another way new areas 1a and 2a do not have geotechnical environmental assessment for this new 1.3 M tonne extraction. . Further the EPA/DCC officer Kieren Horkan has already made a written submission to council on this DA that the ponds must be made smaller to reduce evaporation for the creek into the national park, neighbours.


    The 2006 DA must be considered as designated development, and a new application and a new EIS must be provided


    3. Excessive water use


    BC is using about 125 Mega Litres p.a. for the dredge pond (figure via Conners/DIPNR memo dated 16/3/05, adjusted for 25 hours per week operation) when only licensed for 40 ML on the dredge pond (according to “Independent Assessment – 6102 Singleton Road, Colo Heights June 2007 by C. M. Jewell Associates Pty Ltd at paragraph 2.6 “Water Access Licenses”) as documented to the meeting of stakeholders 18 Sept 2007 at HCC.


    Some 75 ML is due to open water evaporation as per “Current Operational Water Balance” in section 4.1.2 “Site Water Balances”  in the Jewel report (above).


    Some of the bores are not licensed according to Ray Caldwell, Investigating Officer of DWE, and licensing officer McDougall DWE Sydney North Coast.


    Council cannot lawfully extend by s.96 an operation which depends on illegal use of water.


    4. S. 94 contributions


    A. HCC has a report done late 2007 by council officer Robert Stalley evidencing shortfall of $47K (updated to $48K) which BC refuses to pay. This money should be collected through the Class 4 proceedings in L&E Court.


    B. Quantity survey to find out how much sand has been extracted from Tinda Creek, for the whole site including extraction out of area.


    C. Freeburn Surveyors of Penrith did a quantity survey for BC at the request of Greg Hall showing no payment of s.94 levy on aprox 100K tonnes. Needs an independent investigation again for potential fraud of $50-100K.


    Posted by editor at 11:18 AM NZT
    Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008 9:28 PM NZT
    St Patrick miracle needed to save Hill of Tara cultural heritage
    Mood:  lucky
    Topic: culture

    Paul Sheehan did his bit for St Pat's day and quite likely his Irish heritage here (as we do too):

    www.smh.com.au - More than luck to this canny boy

    It's all about the expansion of the air travel market by Ryanair. 

    But we've read a bit about the combined effect of the spiv real estate speculation in Eire with the greater access of European Union common currency and economic synthesis.


    In the first category is this sad, sad fate for the wonderful cultural heritage of Hill of Tara:

    Mairead writes, and see the postscript below that in particular about the real estate spivs and vandals:

    Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 9:33 PM
    Subject: Tara update - and amazing SOS news

    Hello again, friends,
    On my way home this morning, after meetings in the city, including leafleting over 250 'high flying' people at the "official" Melbourne St. Patrick's Day breakfast with the Irish Transport Minister, I listened to John Faine on ABC Radio discussing, of all things, corruption in local councils –with enthusiastic talk-back-radio feedback proposing that developers should not be allowed to have business dealings within their council, if they want to be Councilors. –the talk back phones and instant messages ran hot!!

    After more than two years of observation, I've come to  believe this is what happened at the Hill of TARA, in Ireland. The Transport Minister 'celebrates' the fact that he was the "youngest ever Chairman of the Meath County Council" - where the Hill of TARA is situated. You'd think he would have a good working knowledge of the secret goings on. The Irish gov. Flood/ Mahon tribunal report tells a terrible story of deep corruption (details on the website). Most interesting revelation is that the Chairman of the National Roads Authority owns the biggest Real Estate Development company in Co. Meath.

    What hope is there!? ...well, for a very good start, "conflict of interest" laws should be strictly applied, especially at local government level, –from the ground up, so to speak– where it all begins. I think this would go a long way toward insuring accountability - and better later than never. :)

    An SOS went out from the Hill of Tara, on the Rath Lugh site, yesterday.
    Passionate young protestors have dug a 21st-century souterrain (cave or underground passages or storage spaces) at Rath Lugh, within the Hill of Tara precinct. They've dug a tunnel under the route of the M3 freeway construction site... they have sealed themselves inside indefinitely to prevent construction traffic from passing overhead. ... laying their very lives on the line to protect and preserve Tara's landscape from the destruction wrought by their own Government. There is an injunction going into court this morning at 10.30am. Read the details on the website...btw, there is someone in the tunnel!

    The beat goes on: Sunday at 3pm, we'll gather for a brief photo-op for TARA, – byo SAVE TARA banners. We'll meet next to the James Joyce Chair in the State Library of Victoria sculpture garden, after which we will head over to the Normandy Hotel, in Queens Pde. Clifton Hill (for the best trad. music!). Please join us, and invite/tell your Melbourne friends!

    Pauline Bleach, from Sydney, and I were interviewed by the Australian Irish Echo last week.  Pauline is organising an entry in the Sydney St. Pat's Day parade - more below, in the subsequent 2-page article:
    Save Tara!
    for the Anam Cara for Tara arts action campaign

    The Australian Irish Echo, March 12 – 25, 2008 –

    ‘Tara Road’ opponents to launch Oz protests
    –By Aaron Dunne–
    GROUPS opposed to the construction of a motorway near the historic Hill of Tara in Co Meath are planning to picket a range of Irish events in Australia over St Patrick’s Day.

    Save Tara campaigners have planned protests in Melbourne and Sydney to coincide with the arrival of a number of Meath County Council of?cials and Irish Transport Minister Noel Dempsey, who is also from Meath.

    A group called globalartscollective.org is running a worldwide campaign for St Patrick’s Day in conjunction with the Save Tara campaign in Ireland. Convenor Mairéid Sullivan, who is based in Melbourne, has told the Irish Echo of the group’s plans to attend events in their bid to promote awareness of ongoing resistance to the planned routing of the M3 motorway through the historic site.

    Sullivan, and Co Louth native Pauline Bleach, who runs the Tara Appreciation Society in Sydney, have plans to make their presence felt at a host of events that will be attended by the visiting
    Irish politicians, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Sydney.

    The Melbourne group will be targeting speci?c events in the city where the councillors and minister will be in attendance, while the Tara Appreciation Society has even entered a ?amp;#8218;oat into the Sydney St Patrick’s Day Parade to promote awareness about the Hill Of Tara and the Skryne Valley.

    “We’re putting in a parade entry called Tara – 7,000 Years Of Irish History as part of the Tara Appreciation Society,” Bleach said.
    “It’s a non-political event so we will be making no mention of the Save Tara campaign. We want to celebrate the history of this valley where so much of our history took place,” Bleach told the Irish Echo.

    “We’re not rabble rousers,” Mairéid Sullivan said. “We just want to bring attention to this very important matter. We’ll be there at everything the politicians are at to get our point across. There’s still time to save Tara.”


    Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 4:30 PM
    Subject: .... re. Tara update - NRA Board members

    > ....> I was asked for details of the NRA Board, and went to look at the
    > article "Who's Who on the NRA" on my website, and discovered it was
    > written in 2004.
    > So, for fun, I did some checking.
    > The fellow I referred to as being a big Auctioneer and Real Estate
    > developer in Co. Meath, Raymond Potterton is still on the Board.
    > But the current Chairman of the NRA is also Chairman of one of the
    > biggest Real Estate Development company in the world.
    Peter Malone, Chairman, National Roads Authority ...and Chairman of CB
    > Richard Ellis, Ireland.

    > Talk about vested interest & conflict of interest!
    > Info. from their website:---------------------------
    > CB Richard Ellis is the global leader in commercial real estate services.
    > CB Richard Ellis is the world’s leading commercial real estate adviser.
    > With 350 offices across 58 countries we have more consultants advising
    > more customers than any other property firm.
    > Estate Gazette Property Award Winner 2007!
    > CB Richard Ellis Ireland are very proud to have been named the Estates

    > Gazette "Property Advisor of the Year, Ireland 2007"


    The Irish not least this writer's family have been suckers for punishment in the alcohol stakes and one imagines the disastrous Famine killing a million citizens in the 19C has something to do with it. And reading about the spivs demise of the Hill of Tara is enough to drive one to drink, though we will decline that option too:



    Posted by editor at 10:17 AM NZT
    Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008 12:14 PM NZT
    Monday, 17 March 2008
    Media backgrounder last 7 days
    Mood:  quizzical
    Topic: big media


    When we first started out on this environmental sustainability vocation in 1992 as a refugee from a corporate law firm Baker & McKenzie in Sydney it was quite easy to stay across the environmental reportage in the main stream press.

    But now the threat of climate change, AKA dangerous global warming, AKA the unifying theory of everything, finds us pulling out whole swathes of the press for subtextual analysis. Business section, political section, lifestyle, science and nature, election contests. Frankly it's becoming overwhelming.

    Take for instance our recent background posts inevitably building on Big Media reportage on NSW public energy assets sale plan of the sick and dying Iemma ALP Govt in NSW:

    17 March 2008 Gittins damns Iemma's Costanomics with faint praise for public energy asset sale plan
    Mood:  down
    Topic: nsw govt

    Friday, 14 March 2008
    Then there is this one on the preposterous posturing of Meredith Burgmann similarly shackled to the ALP Right govt here:

    Thursday, 13 March 2008
    Indirectly related to environmental protest at climate dangers posed by big business were the APEC protests which the NSW, then Federal Govt and NSW police and security agencies did their very best to shut down last Sept 2007. We posted on this legal powers aspect:
    which appeared to 'coincide' magically with major change in PR direction by the NSW Police Media Unit to promote their successful cocaine bust.  Just as well as at least commercial tv channel 7 slammed the autocratic police. But the press next  few days amplified this web story instead:
    That's quick footed media strategy by the coppers if we ever saw it.
    In terms of housekeeping  we noted in our Sunday Talkies these threads in the Big Media too:
    - Heath Gilmore SunHerald Sydney has ALP aligned developers promoting Badgery’s Creek 2nd airport by 2009 only 12 months away, [while fuel costs will surely crush airline sector?] In the story is one long time ALP maaate Aaron Gadiel as predicted by Alex Mitchell way back on January 31sto 08 in crikey.com.au
    - Iemma cynical govt pushes 25 year 1.1M increase in Sydney population to rationalize their front ending of hyper environmental impacting developments, [no way of knowing the real future of Sydney, likely to be greatly disrupted not least cyclone activity or sea rise. More likely to be 1.1M increase in Hobart.] These guys have no vision or expertise in delivering ecological sustainability. This from a govt with a treasurer who doesn't even believe in planning.

    -  Strange attacks on their peers in the Big Media by The Australian about how they should not be players only reporterspot calls kettle black! Exhibit 1 John Hartigan as one of the Rudd summiteers this April. Indeed the editor there is pretty condescending to the rest of the meeja 'dupes', and perhaps because they are running this defacto 'real summit' leveraging the famous News Ltd power brand?:

    And here's yet another summit from the same philosophy of life:

     - We enjoyed big Laurie Oakes in the Sydney Daily Telegraph nowdays also reflecting on the naughty/silly Big Media as only a widely respected (even loved) veteran like LO including beating up by said The Australian, his own sister paper now. Amusing, ironic, normal! Here it is:

    An unloaded smoking gun | The Daily Telegraph 15 March 08

    - whole pile of noteworthy Gong gate ALP corruption stories in washout of the ICAC hearings to list asap [see section below]

    - whole pile of dangerous climate change/ economic restructure stories to list, indeed read myself, and post not least Matthew Warren and other business related coverage in The Australian [see separate post in due season (!)]


    A cute suite of stories about the rather mad star wars missile defence agenda bubbling along and no doubt was behind the US satellite target practice recently under cover of so called pollution threat:

    25 Feb 08 Labor considers US missile shield | The Australian

    26 Feb 08 Reality prevails on our stategic aims | The Australian

    15 Feb 08 Pentagon to shoot down satellite | The Australian

    Which follows of course China doing the same earlier this year:

    [19 Jan 08] Concern over China satellite shoot-down | NEWS.com.au

    Which is also another reason why:

    11 Feb 08 Nuclear warfare just stepped closer - Opinion - smh.com.au


    The Israel-Palestinian conflict has reach a higher note in the local press again following a Rudd inspired motion of solidarity with only one side, in possibly a craven attempt to appease a group excluded from his April Summit due to religious obligations. This coverage below reinforced our view

    1. that both sides over there are locked into a damaging tit for tat irrational psychosis caused by the spiral of violence

    2. Israel's creation is properly seen as part of the WW2 settlement the Arab countries must live with like all the other national boundaries chopped and changed in global upheaval

    3. As academic Jew Uri Davis has pointed out many times Israel and all its supporters are dishonest to claim a real constitutional democracy given  no written constitution with any objective enforceable land law free of ethnic discrimination

    4. It is for this fundamentally unstable political situation that Israel is so dependent, nuclear weapons to one side, on outside political and financial support such that there is arguably such strong criticism for any Diaspora Jewry that deviate from the company line, which would be normal to and fro in the Israeli free press itself - it doesn't affect the global drip if it's inside Israel itself.

    Press here:

     17 March 08 Celebrations overlook the plight of Palestinians | Letters Blog ...

    15 March 08 Palestinian leader had close links with Nazi Germany | Letters ...

    15 March 08 Blinkers off for the other side of story - Opinion - smh.com.au

    12 March 08 Israel's far-flung friend | The Australian

    12 March 08 Bipartisan support for state of Israel | The Australian


    Dirty NSW Govt

    We noticed this Piers Akerman oblique referencing to the "whitewash" of entrenched ALP corruption, here:

    The people of NSW will be unable to do anything about their government until March, 2011 and it is a safe bet that many of those close to the Wollongong disaster now will have migrated to safe havens in Canberra before then.

    (In truth, what is most amazing is that NSW's Independent Commission Against Corruption has actually taken on board a reference of this nature, given the whitewash it has applied to numerous other cases of alleged corruption.)

    But with parliament itself at risk, who will be able to rein in the Rudd government, born of the Victorian Left, by the NSW Right, when it takes the bit between its teeth and starts galloping? in Rudd's velvet steamroller | The Daily Telegraph 2 March 2008

     a term that ended up as a p1 banner headline on 3rd March 08 leading to this story:

    ICAC finds Tripodi not 'corrupt' | The Daily Telegraph

    This was not the headline the ICAC or Iemma Govt wanted because it showed a real credibility gap about either really cleaning up a systemic mess. One might say mission accomplished after our 1/2 day visit to the ICAC hearings and nattering to a couple of the media pack.

    In similar vein we list:

     8-9 March 08 Maritime no longer ethical, Premier told - National - smh.com.au

    8 March 08 Branch stacks and smokestacks - National - smh.com.au

    8-9 March 08 Everywhere you look in tribal NSW, a Labor mate with his hand out ...

    [7 March 2008] Minister had lunch with Scimone after taking job - National - smh ...

    [28 Feb 2008] Frank Sartor's crash landing - Editorial - Opinion - smh.com.au

    [28 Feb 2008] Everyone poorer if town's heritage is allowed to be trampled ...

    [21/2/08] www.smh.com.au - Investigator became colleague

    [7 March 08] Council fines with one hand, gives with other - National - smh.com.au

    [6 March 08] Packed schedule for 'gang of three' | The Australian

    [6 March 08] Slandered conman ready to rat | The Daily Telegraph

    [5 March 08] With friends like Joe - Editorial - Opinion - smh.com.au

    [5 March 08] Premier dismisses 'corrupt' council | The Australian

    [27 Feb 08] Sartor avoids question on call to developer - National - smh.com.au

    [27 Feb 08] Minister approved project of company that donated - National - smh ...

    [26 Feb 08] Councillors heckled over limp response to scandal - National - smh ...

    [26 Feb 08] Planning without the greed | The Australian

    [25 Feb 08] Scandal envelops Maritime - National - smh.com.au

    Not surprisingly the Liberal Party can smell some blood hoping the cycle is about to turn again, such that Bruce Hawker is even sharpening his rhetoric to sledge the Greiner years on Party Liners 702 this morning, and Nick Geiner himself chatted away batting off some googlies. Here's a drift (offline)

    Members take dates to Greiner bash 15-16 March 2008 The Australian, by Imre Salusinszky

    Including the (not) surprising statement "Howard got it wrong" on environmental concern. Ironic because so did Nick back in 1991-2 (Metherell Affair), so maybe he would know.

    We clipped this months back which just seems amusing: Rise of the inadequates | The Australian about people surely living otherwise successful lives on someone else's script (hence lack of fulfillment articulated as the imposter effect), which just seems pitiful.

    Posted by editor at 1:53 PM NZT
    Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008 2:24 PM NZT
    Gittins damns Iemma's Costanomics with faint praise for public energy asset sale plan
    Mood:  down
    Topic: nsw govt
    Late last Friday we took the cudgels to carpet bagger Jeff Angel for doing the ALP Right's bidding on the energy sale plan. 
    Now we notice the great and good Ross Gittins, Herald economics editor has a significant article today in the Herald trying his best to push a credible Fairfax line on this dodgy plan of privatisation of some $15B in public assets. He argues the plan is economically sound but really his article is damning for its faint praise:
    with Gittins conceding that economists Nicholas Gruen and Prof John Quiggin have blown the NSW govt economic arguments on AAA rating and investment out of the water. He might also have mentioned academic accounting professor Bob Walker

    Then Gittins tries some other angles which don't really work like claiming his superior sense of the political economic landscape.
    We are no economist but even we can see from our avid reading of the mainstream press on this issue that:

    - Though Gittins argues the power assets are not a natural monopoly 'because the govt is keeping the distribution (poles and wires) network' (which is a natural monopoly) but this is disingenuous - the poles and wires are the high maintenance cost element, low return. That's why industry doesn't want to buy these. But you need the profitable retailers and generators revenue to cover the maintenance (and future investment) in distribution. So it's socialise the cost of part, privatise the profit of the other. It's sleazy disaggregation.

    - then Mr G argues we have 'a national market for energy generation/competition', so the NSW sector doesn't need to be govt anymore, govt should stick to core govt business and let industry do it's thing. But this ignores the fact we do need govt control to restructure the industry for environmental purposes given climate change imperatives. Leaving it to a competitive market which itself has failed to address dangerous climate is suicidal. It would be like leaving the market to fight WW2 and sort out totalitarian Nazism, or Stalinism: Dangerous climate is just as much an existential threat to Australia as those with 100s of millions of refugees likely on the move this next 20 years. And corporations are quite fascist selfish driven ideologies themselves to be wary of. No, govt must be in this industry sector big time, as JK Galbraith showed controlling business in US in WW2. Gittins is still talking 20C mindset pre ecological limits to the market.

    - Gittins reveals a systemic bias to bad infrastructure projects referred to as "opportunity costs" by saying we need the money from the sale - Iemma has promised a $5B truck tunnel for expanded Port Botany under Sydney - great gravy for ALP developer mates. But Gittins omits to mention this 'political economic' motive. The income of the sale won't even be hypothecated into renewable energy infrastructure which is what orthodox good governance would normally demand. Curious omission of that principle by Mr G too.

    - Then the big G leaves right till last his concern over 'the public sector union control over the govt' as the "most important" reason for a sale to cut their ties as "one of the great obstacles to greater efficiency at state level". Only it's the union movement that has embraced dangerous climate change as a reality threatening their members and society (just like asbestos, just like Work Choices) as a whole while market economists have continued to promote an 'in denial' growth fetish. And big business generally have an enclave approach to dangerous climate of winners (survivors) and losers (drowned, cooked, dead from thirst). On the contrary we will need the social capital of the union movement alot more than the money/profit motive to effectively restructure the economy to clean safe energy and reach that safe shore as a civilisation.

    You mark my words.
    Meanwhile another chip at esteemed Jeff Angel's threadbare capacity to represent the green movement has arrived thus:
    Sent: Sunday, March 16, 2008 1:00 PM
    Subject: [chipstop] Where is TEC on forests?

    Hi chipstoppers
    You may recall that a number of green groups made a submission to the Unsworth Committee asking that a condition of sale of NSW electricity retailers, if it goes ahead, should be that biomass from native forest be excluded. On NSW Stateline on Friday night, Jeff Angel  of the Total Environment Centre set out his (+Harry Herbert's) conditions for agreeing to the sale of the electricity retailers (as members of the Unsworth committee). All very worthy, but no mention of native forest biomass. 

    Transcript extract:
    In a letter faxed to Premier on Wednesday and released exclusively to Stateline, the Reverend Harry Herbert and Jeff Angel insist their support was predicated on the implementation of Unsworth recommendations which could lead to:

    * no new coal fired power stations to be commissioned in NSW
    * off-peak electric hot water systems to be phased out, dramatically reducing current baseload demand
    * laws to enable householders to feed-in rooftop solar power to the State grid
    * inefficient coal fired stations to be closed down as soon as practicable

    In return for their signatures on the Unsworth/ALP approval certificate, the two independent delegates are demanding that Morris Iemma and the New South Wales Labor Government must turn green.

    Posted by editor at 1:23 PM NZT
    Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008 2:56 PM NZT
    Sunday, 16 March 2008
    Sunday political talkies: Nelson off the ropes for pivotal week before long parliamentary break
    Mood:  chatty
    Topic: aust govt

    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


    -         Heath Gilmore SunHerald Sydney has ALP aligned developers promoting Badgery’s Creek 2nd airport by 2009 only 12 months away, [while fuel costs will surely crush airline sector?] In the story is one long time ALP maaate Aaron Gadiel as predicted by Alex Mitchell way back on January 31sto 08 in crikey.com.au

    -         Iemma cynical govt pushes 25 year 1.1M increase in Sydney population to rationalize their front ending of hyper environmental impacting developments, [no way of knowing the real future of Sydney, likely to be greatly disrupted not least cyclone activity or sea rise. More likely to be 1.1M increase in Hobart.] These guys have no vision or expertise in delivering ecological sustainability.

    -         Strange attacks on their peers in the Big Media by The Australian about not being players only reporters – pot calls kettle black! Exhibit 1 Hartigan Rudd summiteers.

    - whole pile of noteworthy Gong gate ALP corruption stories in washout of the ICAC hearings to list asap

    - whole pile of dangerous climate change/ economic restructure stories to list, indeed read myself, and post not least Matthew Warren and other business related coverage in The Australian

    - Weekend press update in due course too


    Sunday 9, 7.30am- 9.30am


    -         Another bite at TWU re transparency of election donations via Ross Coulthard

    -         Feature on 18 year old ‘CEO’ of Oaktree Foundation, youth charity for poverty. History in png and now South Africa eg SOWETO, toothy liberal blue blood with a heart all about grooming and morale boost of conservative side of politics re noblesse oblige. Looks quite real though choreography is obvious.

    -         TWU story cranks up a notch with ‘secret fund’ no declaration of donations to assorted NSW ALP MP’s in March 07 election. [The donations were declared by the MPs so really about integrity of accounting and reporting within the TWU to their members who may or may not support ALP. But no revelations that union supported anti Work Choices political candidates (though state level for a federal policy is a bit off song).  Serious sources, including current TWU official likely to be sacked. The damage is allegation of a protection racket abuse of right of entry rules investigate a breach of an award/ safety regulation. Tony Sheldon as head of union does present like a seriously physically fit tough guy. Allegation is one of “industrial blackmail” payments to a secret fund such as Linfox of $100K to the union “training” fund.

    -         Laurie Oakes determined probing of  Deputy PM Gilliard who has the guts to front the show immediately after. Notes state MP’s declared. Dwelling on Sheldon question appointed to national transport commission. Gillard makes some good points. Relies on current checks/balances.

    -         LO to new topic Jarring disjunction of Gillard doing education as well as IR in the middle of the interview. Does help soften her persona to be talking about a constructive education agenda.

    -         First section LO interview clashed with Riley diary 835-8.40am







    10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


    Missed the start

    -         Joe Hockey is the talent. Campbell Newman wins in Qld Brisbane mayoral election as symbolic way forward. “determined to be an effective opposition” is the resonating phrase, if they hang on to that, they will have got to base camp 1.

    -         out take slick green message by Steve Fielding buying into the Greens cache with “message in this bottle, I’m no longer trash, I’m cash” container deposit agenda

    -         Ex MP Warwick Smith  re upcoming summit, used to work for Macquarie Bank for 10 years revealed by E Hall. Bingo! Rabbits on about water and skills base. Talks talks talks. Cooperation for financing for infrastructure – but won’t be specific. Talking like a real estate spiv, and Huey Long carpet bagger. E Hall looks depressed! Milne grabs the theme – immigrants to the country out of Sydney. Davis won’t bite on this real driver of.


    Panel rare appearance Eleanor Hall of World Today, Glen Milen, both serious players. Clashed with Coulthard feature story.




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




    Riley Diary 7


    Missed the start – Adams Family ‘Lurch’ theme quite amusing, priceless footage of the weird family, Steve Fielding footage made the cut again. Skepticism about Rudd leveraging Jackie Chan 25 hours of same builders labourers life 30 years ago in Canberra. Was a bit lame cult of celebrity stuff but in a worthy cause of a donation to John Curtin School of Medical Research (declaration, worked there part time 2 years).








    Insiders 2: 9- 10am


    Panel on press round up, Annabel Crab (SMH Fairfax), Brian Toohey (AFR Fairfax), Andrew Bolt (Herald Sun Melb)


    Turnbull footage praising Tanner as competent to damn Swan as Treasurer.


    Lindsay Tanner is talent as finance minister, looking hard worked (bags under eyes), and sounding verbally sharp and even amusing.


    Refers several times to ‘phoney’ campaign, “getting in touch with their inner mother Theresa” – Cassidy notes Opposition had a good week.


    Typical of both sides personalized scorn from Tanner.


    Bolt: ‘control freak no. 1 is going to be out of the country for 2-3 weeks prior to the budget. Toohey re actuarial figure $100B saving over 15 years with tax concession on superannuation (?).


    Paul Kelly – ‘politics of losers’ for next 2 months.  Govt – a lot of middle class welfare. Copped the work choices scare campaign and learned from that method, as per last week.


    Panel giving Nelson a rap for emotional intelligence – has to make more sense less conflicted logic. [stand out was abc radio coverage of “for God sake just tell the Australian People” re carer’s bonus].


    Expose of Pfizer pandering to the ego of stakeholder ministers.


    Interesting chat



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

    Posted by editor at 12:25 PM NZT
    Updated: Sunday, 16 March 2008 12:51 PM NZT
    Saturday, 15 March 2008
    Verity Firth MP and the ALP Right 'development at all costs' agenda for the Inner West
    Mood:  down
    Topic: nsw govt


    Comment: The articles above indicate what is really going with ambitious (and we say not a little horsey) Verity Firth MP for the seat of Balmain. Firth is niece of ex MP Meredith Burgman in a recent post, and currently councillor at Sydney City Council as well as on the Senate of Sydney University.

    She is undoubtedly working to facilitate Sydney University as the better class of developer to take over open access public space at Callan Park on the Habour in her electorate. She is seeking to mitigate the outrage of locals and environmentalists by the PR with infamous planning minister Sartor (pictured) and another site called Ballast Point.

    Firth's other dubious performance relates to claiming air quality 'improvements' in the lead up to the hard fought 24 Nov '07 federal eelection. Meanwhile most transport and environment civil society groups know that she is merely endorsing her ALP masters's determination to ram through a $5B truck tunnel in the Marrickville/Leichhardt/Annandale area, as well as the bridge project in the article pictured above.

    It's all fairly standard ALP big developer sleaze, which can only make air quality worse.




    Posted by editor at 7:49 AM NZT
    Updated: Saturday, 15 March 2008 10:50 AM NZT
    Friday, 14 March 2008
    Judenrat* Jeff Angel's monumental arrogance revealed on Stateline NSW: 'Only I can tame treasury'
    Mood:  down
    Topic: nsw govt


    Jeff Angel


     * Judenrat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

    Judenräte (singular Judenrat; German for "Jewish council") were administrative bodies that the Germans required Jews to form in each ghetto in General Government (the Nazi-occupied territory of Poland), and later in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union.

    The Judenrat was an important extension of Hitler’s government and was charged with solving the problems that arose in the occupied community. The Judenrat operated post offices, hospitals, soup kitchens, day care centers, and vocational schools. They also collected taxes and paid salaries for certain types of work.

    These bodies were responsible for local government in the ghetto, and stood between the Nazis and the ghetto population. They were generally composed of leaders of the Jewish community (with the exception of the Soviet Union, where Jewish organizations were eliminated in 1930s). They were forced by the Nazis to provide Jews for use as slave labor, and to assist in the deportation of Jews to extermination camps during the Holocaust. Those who refused to follow Nazi orders or were unable to cooperate fully were frequently rounded up and shot or deported to the extermination camps themselves.

    In a number of cases, such as the Minsk ghetto and the ?achwa ghetto, Judenrats cooperated with the resistance movement. In other cases, Judenrats collaborated with the Nazis, on the basis that cooperation might save the lives of the ghetto inhabitants.[1]

    "The Community Council - the Judenrat, in the language of the Occupying Power – is an abomination in the eyes of the Warsaw Community…" — Chaim A. Kaplan, 23rd April 1941.



    Don't be misled by the headline into thinking this is some shallow bigoted anti Jewish post below. This writer believes there are many beautifuil Jewish (and Arabic) people in this world. Both Ian Cohen MLC and John Kaye MLC both of the Green Party are of Jewish Australian heritage and both are opposed to the privatisation of public energy assets (see below).

    What this post is about is the historically accurate, yet still taboo subject apparently (according to Melbourne University Press's Louise Adler for instance, another prominent Jewish Australian), of a minority group of Jewish collaborators with Nazi fascism in WW2, for their own preservation amongst an evil holocaust. The ultimate betrayal. Given the widespread destruction of the non human environment that biologists lament we are literally living today, even sleep walking through, the comparison is entirely apposite.

    Dr John KAYE,  MLC

    The point is the old aphorism about the fruit does not fall very far from the tree. Angel by his career is demonstrably a collaborator with the ALP Right in NSW on every big environmental policy controversy going. They will freely admit that they "can work with Jeff". This is not a compliment given what we know of the corrupt ALP this last 10 years. We can only conclude Angel has a genius for this double game learned from somewhere like the infamous Judenrat phenomenon, just as others have referred to the NSW polity suffering the Stockholm Syndrome, and it's taken us a good many years and environmental tragedies to distill this reality. 


    Ian Cohen

    If the Iemma govt had wanted a really honest and credible expert on energy production from a practical environmental perspective free of political baggage and compromise he could have retained either Dr Mark Diesendorf, Institute of Environmental Studies at University of New South Wales:


    Or Professor Stuart White (Expert profile: Professor Stuart White) at the University of Techology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures  
    Stuart White

    Or maybe even Professor Peter Newman of the Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University. But in true Yes Minister form it had to be a bloke who would deliver on the intellectual fix in a somewhat plausible way:



    Quentin Dempster's NSW Stateline tonight (14/3/08 here in due course) has attempted to provide a platform for the two 'independent' members of the Unsworth pro privatisation committee, of NSW $10-18B publicly owned energy assets. These are Jeff Angel and Harry Herbert.

    But all it's really achieved is to reveal Jeff Angel's monumental hubris to think he is greater than parliamentary democracy itself as represented by the elected Green MPs, publicly declared ALP MPs, silent Opposition, the remaining wavering ALP MP's, and civil society itself via the near unanimous ALP conference delegates, and unions and membership of branches, and such groups as Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

    Apparently none of these can stand up to the nameless Treasury officials 'already acting like rapacious private corporations blocking any green initiatives' according to brilliant Jeff.  Jeff Angel must interpose himself conveniently as self appointed honest broker.

    It 'has to be' indispensible Jeff Angel, who 'coincidentally' will be rewarded with political gratitude and rewards beyond (till now) his wildest dreams courtesy Iemma and Costa for timely sophistry.

    'Only' Jeff Angel you see can deliver closure of coal fired power stations. Only Jeff and his brave 700 member band of TEC, with media oxygen via say abc Stateline can bring these wicked treasury rednecks to heel.

    Never mind an elected Parliament and government responding to overwhelming public demand for action on dangerous climate change. No, the powerful insights of Jeff are greater than all that wisdom and energy of civil society put together. As if.

    This is the biggest con trick of Angel's career trying to draw down all the political capital of the dangers of climate change into his own policy hands and self aggrandisement. To gazump democracy itself.  It has nothing to do with which is the better model, public or private, to restructure the energy sector - demonstrably more possible in public hands given the natural monopoly and universal service obligations.

    Angel by all means is entitled to his opinion such as it is. The poblem is the brazen fraudulent assertion he has much authority to speak for anyone but his own hopelessly compromised group of 700, which actually stood for something under Milo Dunphy when it was founded by architect Dunphy in 1972.

    Angel's bizarre fantasy, pandered to by the gormless, or ALP aligned cynics, is an insult and denial of the huge political momentum developed by others on action against dangerous climate change. Angel has been seeking a chess board approach to real politik his whole career, undercutting and drawing down political capital built up by thousands of others, usually behind their backs and covertly with whoever has the sinecures to trade. Jeff the client, and the collaborator greenie. The gazump artist.

    Whether it be 1,500 urbanites arrested fighting to save the south east forests of NSW as organised by The Wilderness Society in the early 1990ies. Then somehow these ecological patriots belong to Jeff Angel by 1995 appointed onto govt 'RACAC' panel which then endorses Premier Carr's 20 year logging guarrantees in a forest deal underpinning the ALP's  ('helping trees and jobs live together')1999 tv advert re-election campaign. Even when Carr makes it clear he will break an earlier election promise to close the Eden Chipmill.

    Or Greenpeace organising the 'Green Olympics' in 1993 - then suddenly dioxin (still) at Homebush is off the agenda by 1999 via the confusing noise of govt funded TEC/Green Games Watch 2000

    Or dirty Lake Cowal $6M 'Environmental Trust' in the face of hot protest over cyanide gold mining in the late 1990ies. All of these have been well reported here on the sydneyalternativemedia micro news.

    Make no mistake, Angel is a carpet bagger of the highest order.

    Angel's arrogance claims in effect none of the assembled political action or wisdom of others matters because only he is the authentic greenie, and only he can bless a deal and we all should tug our forelock and let him sort it out. We submit the guy has become a monster sucking the very life out of the green movement for his own self agrandisement. He is a real and present threat to the Green Party let alone future green orientated government. He is literally the greenwashing servant of the endless economic growth fetish championed by Iemma because the profits of the energy sale will go straight to a $5B truck tunnel under Sydney.

    Never forget the true accounting of our State of the Environment underr self appointed impertinent Angel leadership of the NSW green movement since 1996 on the death of fiesty independent Milo Dunphy. For 11 years until 2008 we have experienced in this state:

    - record levels of land clearing for agriculture up to 2 million ha at least

    - record levels of woodchipping of native forests out of Eden topping a million tonnes a year

    - record levels of tollway road and car fleet intensification.

    - very high levels of waste going to landfill still

    - promotion of racist biobanking tradeoffs of areas with native title woven in to the mix.

    - record level of highly green house gas embedded shipping container imports

    - record level of greenhouse emissions by NSW and via our coal globally

    - record level of economic immigration (regardless of refugee obligations) urged on by growth fetishists like Harry Triguboff and Frank Lowy and many others at the top end of town;

    - the same or worse air quality in the Sydney air basin

    - death of much if not all of the Murray Darling river system (with recent death of Prof Peter Cullen a sad metaphor for his life's work)

    Are green people starting to get the message? Should we change something in this picture? Do you think Angel might actually be part of the ALP destruction industry rather than a provider of solutions that perhaps the Green Party might promise with it's ground breaking work on political donations?

    The truth is Treasury officials follow the direction of government ministers and the real politik forces on the premiership. The truth is no premier can stand against the species survival instinct manifested by state, national and international imperatives on structural economic reform demanded by the threat of dangerous climate change. Unions are well alive to the level of this threat as per Stern, Garnaut, Gore, Garrett, Wong, John Robertson's Unions NSW alliance with the NSW Nature Conservation Council, with this article just one strand in that theme:

    Climate a worker's right | The Australian 6 Mar 2008 ... UNIONS plan to broaden their workplace rights agenda by pressuring employers to reduce the impact of climate change in individual workplaces

    It doesn't depend on one captured Angel, democracy never does depend on one. Is this why he doesn't trust democracy and never unlike Dunphy sought to work for and with the public masses? Always behind the scenes chess playing? Compare Cohen and Kaye above actually working up political capital under their own steam and the facts behind their own case. And going to the people in a vote.

    Our very collective survival depends on a mass process of change like the existential threat of WW2. The truth is these so called nameless treasury officials will follow the will of the people like every other time and the rest is sophistry. It will certainly be worse under a CEO legally obliged to maximise profits with no govt public interest  handbrake at all. 

     Angel's hollow claim that he is indispensible to getting action on climate is just that. Self aggrandising rubbish. Rather he is the bottleneck on a spontaneous evolution of a far more ecologically sustainable polity because he prematurely draws down everyone else's hard work. What a blood sucker.

    The truth is there is no Iemma premiership if the democratic base of the ALP conference rejects the sale privatisation. He will be replaced, and so what? And with him may well go Angel's patronage machine. The truth is there may not even be any ALP Right controlled government either because if Iemma doesn't order economic restructure then a new social semocratic force in NSW politics will replace that style of ALP including removal of current brown ALP MPs. All to the better.

    Even taken with a grain of salt, it's interesting that ex Premier Nick Greiner is talking 'warm and green' in his recent 20 year anniversary speech having evolved his thinking on environmental imperatives in this 21C, and soft pedalling on rampant privatisation:

     Time to stir up the wooden spoon state - Opinion - smh.com.au

    And thank heaven for that. The next generation of Liberal Party aparchiks need to be ecological conservatives too to have any credibility.

    Because dangerous climate threat is that big. All this bogus posturing about extra billions from asset sales for economic growth fetish infrastructure will be a waste of good money after bad as the new ecological limits further grip our way of life. Whether it's massive carbon pricing, or taxes and import bans on high greenhouse gas embedded products from such as India and China. All of this will and must happen over the next few years.

    Before the oceans really start to rise.

    And Angel thinks that key energy assets are better in the hands of anti union corporations, who would have run the place with asbestos if they could have got away with it, when it is the unions who actually hold the real democratic social capital (via their coverage if not their membership) to facilitate such massive social restructuring. As if tinpot autocrats like Angel or Iemma could ever achieve such a social revolution of sustainability. All they are good for is sterile games of chess.


    This is what John Kaye MP stated recently about trusty Jeff Angel, getting in the queue behind all the other gazumped idealists this last 15 years:

    Sent: Monday, March 10, 2008 3:15 PM
    Subject: [Greens-Media] Environment movement not heard in Unsworth report

    Environment movement not heard in Unsworth report
    Media Release: 10 March 2008
    The Greens are gravely disappointed that Total Environment Centre (TEC) Director Jeff Angel has supported NSW Treasurer Michael Costa's scheme to sell-off the electricity industry.
    Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "It's not surprising that the Premier's hand-selected supporters signed off on the privatisation.
    "It is quite shocking that Jeff Angel ignored the arguments of the overwhelming majority of the environment movement.
    "The only opposition came from the three union representatives. Their dissenting report captured the key environmental, economic and social arguments against the sell-off.
    "Selling off the retailers removes an important ingredient in the move to greater energy efficiency. Public ownership is essential in protecting household energy bills in a time of rising prices.
    "The generators are responsible for 37% of the state's greenhouse gas emissions and which ever way it is packaged, handing them over to the private sector is bad news for the climate.
    "In return for a handful of recommendations to consider or investigate various environmental options, Mr Angel lent his authority to Treasurer Michael Costa's disastrous scheme.
    "Jeff Angel has been prepared to trade off the environmental and social benefits of public ownership for the flimsy chance that some of his suggestions might be adopted.
    "Mr Angel has fallen for the beads and blankets trick. On the hope of getting something useful, he has signed on to the sell-off.
    "The campaign to protect public ownership and control of the electricity industry will continue regardless of the outcomes of the Unsworth committee," Dr Kaye said.

    For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455


    Posted by editor at 9:19 PM NZT
    Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008 5:58 PM NZT
    How could ex MP Burgmann have supported Joh style Part 3A repeal of green laws in NSW Planning Act?
    Mood:  down
    Topic: nsw govt
    Experience ... Meredith Burgmann points to her long history opposing inappropriate development.

    Sydney Morning Herald image yesterday 13 March 08 "Experience ... Meredith Burgmann points to her long history opposing inappropriate development."
    Photo: Sahlan Hayes

    In our previous post we identified City Hall aspirant Meredith Burgmann ex MP President of the NSW Legislative Council having endorsed as a loyal ALP member the 2005 Part 3A amendment of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 brought in by Minister Sartor.

    In a recent submission on a major sand mining development to the Dept of Planning:

    1/08 Maroota sandmining 

    our research extract on Part 3A reads as follows (and we commend this material to Adam Spencer of abc 702 who interviewed Burgmann last Thursday, noting without more at this point that Spencer sits on the Sydney University senate with Burgmann's niece Verity Firth MP):

    Political/legal context


    Regretably this DA is another exemplar of:


    Strong-arm tacticians Elisabeth Wynhausen in  The Australian 26th Jan. 2008




    in relation to ramming through ‘major developments’ against community standards and ecological sustainability.


    In particular this quote:


    "The minister [Sartor] can declare a site to be "state-significant", giving developers the go-ahead on big projects. Under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, projects that are objectively of state significance can go to the minister. Brad Hazard, the Opposition's planning spokesman, says of the Government's planning actions: "The reality is that anything Frank wants to get his hands on to, he takes."



    This theme regarding the dictatorial and/or arbitrary use of Part 3A of the EPAA reversing the proud history of the NSW ALP in Government from the intent and effect of the 1979 Act has been picked up extensively by civil society as here:

    1. NSW Nature Conservation Council background paper at Major Projects (Part 3A) developments:

     Lack of transparency

    The concentration of power in one person, the Minister for Planning, is bad enough, with clear implications for corruption. To make this worse, the decision-making process surrounding Part 3A developments is unclear, with environmental impacts, submissions from community groups and the public, and the thoughts of other government departments merely needing to be 'considered' by Frank Sartor."

    Weakening of other laws
    Under Part 3A, many standard approvals are not required, meaning effectively the Minister for Planning becomes the consent authority for these actions. Approvals that are no longer required include: ….


    - Clearing native vegetation or state protected land (under Native Vegetation Act )

    - Permit to excavate from riverbanks or shore, or to interrupt the water flow (under Rivers and Foreshores Improvement Act) ….

    - Water use approvals, water supply, drainage and flood control works, controlled activities and aquifer interference (under Water Management Act) …

    - Excavation permits, required for any likely impacts on relics (European heritage) under the Heritage Act ….


    Part 3A also changed the National Parks and Wildlife Act so that developers will not be prosecuted for harming protected fauna without a licence, if the work carried out is essential for Part 3A projects. ….


    What about environmental impact assessment?

    For Major Projects, the Director General determines the Requirements for environmental assessment. The Director General then writes a report to the Minister for Planning, including a statement whether the developer's environmental assessment met the Requirements. The Minister must 'take into account' this statement when deciding whether to approve the development. However, amendments made in 2006 – controversially described as ‘housekeeping’ measures by Frank Sartor – mean the Minister can now approve a development application under Part 3A whether or not the environmental assessment complies with the Director General’s environmental assessment requirements.

    For Part 3A projects, environmental assessment requirements are ‘tailored’ to a particular project. This means that the Director-General determines the assessment requirements based on consultations with ‘relevant’ (as decided by the Director General himself) public authorities. Consequently, if the Director General misses something (e.g. air pollution impacts) when writing the Environmental Assessment Requirements, then such impacts do not need to be investigated by the developer."


    The peak green groups Media Release from when Part 3A was introduced reads:

    Law removing community's right to appeal massive development passes


    Friday, 10 June 2005

    Environment groups are outraged that NSW Parliament last night approved a Bill which makes major and alarming changes to environmental laws in NSW. Both major parties pandered to the development industry, but set dozens of community groups against them, they said.

    "The passage of this appalling piece of legislation represents the greatest set-back in environmental protection laws in over 25 years. On his tenth anniversary as Premier, this Bill will ensure that Bob Carr is remembered as the 'anything but green' Premier," said Cate Faehrmann, director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.

    "The Bill gives the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources largely unchecked powers when assessing the most significant and potentially environmentally damaging projects.

    "The Government was hard-pressed to even demonstrate the need for granting such broad, discretionary powers to the Minister. The best example they could come up with to justify this dangerous piece of legislation in Parliament was a bridge collapse over the Derwent River in Tasmania - which occurred decades ago," said Ms Faehrmann.

    "The Bill is so flawed that even the Coalition saw fit to propose amendments which would have provided at least some checks and balances limiting the Minister's broad discretion.

    "But Coalition concerns over the Bill in the end amounted to mere rhetoric. If the Opposition were serious about addressing community concerns they would have supported a move to refer the Bill to a Parliamentary Committee for Inquiry," said Jeff Angel, Director Total Environment Centre.

    "An Inquiry would have been entirely appropriate, particularly given the level of community concern and lack of consultation surrounding the introduction of the Bill.

    "The fact that this Bill was ultimately approved by both sides of politics is a clear indication of how little public opinion matters and how much the property industry matters to both Labor and the Coalition. But you can't win government by just pleasing the developers and there is now a big hole in the parties' community credibility," Mr Angel said."


    See also their [the peak green groups] Position Paper on Part 3A in particular:

    ·  That an independent body, with members appointed by relevant groups/organisations rather than by the Minister, replace the Minister as the consent authority for the purposes of Part 3A.

    ·  That equal weighting and consideration be given to social, economic and the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) when determining each development application. This should take into account previous decisions and cumulative impacts.


    2. NSW Environmental Defenders Office - EDO Public Seminar – “Part 3A and the Public Interest” Cate Faehrmann, Nature Conservation Council of NSW - listen to speech [23:47 mins] Cr Sam Byrne, Local Government and Shires Association - listen to speech [19:20 mins] More information on the Part 3A amendments For a brief overview of the recent planning reforms, the EDO has assessed the current state of play. [PDF 92 KB]

    Note the EDO July 2007 states:

    “The new Part 3A reforms in 2005 introduced a new way of doing planning and development in NSW. The reforms were based on laws introduced by Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen in Queensland in the early 1970s: the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971. These rode roughshod over community consultation rights.”  


    quoting Jeff Smith Principal Solicitor, EDO July 2007


    Also note:


    EDO Paper  Part 3A Technocratic Decision-Making and the Loss of Community Participation Rights: Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 by Ian Ratcliff, Jessica Wood and Sue Higginson updated Feb 2007


    Also note:


    EDO letter Rachel Walmsley Policy Director dated 25 May 07 to Sector Strategies and Systems Innovation Department of Planning Re: State Environmental Planning Policy (Major Projects) including:




    Additional approvals 

    The consequence of the listing of a class of development as a Part 3A project under the Major Projects SEPP is that certain licences and approvals required by other Acts are no longer required. Under s75U of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, t hese include: the concurrence of the Minister administering the Coastal Protection Act 1979, approvals under Part 4 of the Heritage Act 1977, permits under section 87 and section 90 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and water use approvals under sections 89-91 of the Water Management Act 2000


    These other approvals constitute important safety nets, and help ensure that all potential impacts of a development are adequately considered when the Minister makes his decision. The departments that are responsible for granting these additional approvals have the necessary expertise to adequately assess issues such as pollution, heritage and threatened species licences. The listing of a class of development under the Major Projects SEPP means that these issues may be validly ignored. Furthermore, even those approvals that still apply under Section 75U (such as an Environmental Protection Licence) cannot be refused. Given these consequences, the EDO opposes the listing of classes of development as Part 3A projects. Developments should be considered individually to determine whether they are appropriate for consideration under Part 3A.


    Also note:


    Environmental Defender's Office New South Wales (Ltd), Fact Sheets - Major Projects and Critical Infrastructure, including

    Environmental Assessment of Major Projects and Critical Infrastructure


    Major Projects

    The environmental assessment requirements for major projects and critical infrastructure are far more discretionary than the requirements for developments under Part 4, and activities under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.


    Once a development or activity is declared by the Minister, or identified in the Major Projects SEPP as a major project, Parts 4 and 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 no longer apply to the project, nor do the provisions of Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) or Regional Environmental Plans (REPs). Whilst the permissibility of a proposed major project in the provisions of a LEP or a REP is a matter for that the Minister must consider in determining whether to grant consent to a major project, the fact that a project is prohibited in a LEP or a REP will not necessarily prevent it from being approved. ….


    State Environmental Planning Policies also do not apply to major projects unless the policy expressly states that it applies to the particular project. Part 3A also sets out different environmental assessment requirements for major projects


    Unlike the provisions of Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 which require proponents of integrated development applications to obtain additional approvals under other legislation, such approvals are not required for major project approvals. Approved major projects are exempt from having to obtain the following approvals:


    - concurrence of the Minister for development within the coastal zone under the Coastal Protection Act 1979.

    - permits for dredging or damage to mangroves or seagrasses or to obstruct the passage of fish under the Fisheries Management Act 1994.

    - approval under the Heritage Act 1977 for works affecting properties listed on the State heritage register or for excavation works which may affect relics. In addition, an interim heritage order cannot protect a heritage building, work, relic or place from being destroyed in order to carry out an approved major project.

    - permits under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 to interfere with or destroy Aboriginal objects.

    - consent to clear native vegetation under the Native Vegetation Act 2003.

    - permits to excavate the bed or shore of rivers and coastal lakes and lagoons under the Rivers and Foreshores Improvement Act 1948.

    - bush fire safety authority under section 100B of the Rural Fires Act 1997.

    - water-use approvals, water management approvals and activity approvals under sections 89-91 of the Water Management Act 2000.


    In addition, the following orders and notices cannot prevent an approved critical infrastructure project from being carried out:


    - an interim protection order under section 91A of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 to protect significant areas or areas which may contain threatened fauna or flora.

    - a stop work order issued under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 or the Fisheries Management Act 1994.

    - an environment protection notice issued under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.

    - an order made under section 124 of the Local Government Act 1993.


    Once a major project is approved by the Minister, there is little another authority can do to prevent the project from being carried out. If an approved project requires an aquaculture permit, mining lease or environment protection licence under other legislation in order to be carried out, then another authority is not permitted to refuse that approval.




     The clear implication is that planning in NSW is under control of a modern ‘Mussolini style’ autocracy, making the DA ‘train run on time’ with hardly any democracy or justice, for instance as regards in this specific case:

    -         need for future water licensing (now repealed) in a very water stressed location both for neighbours and the immediate environment due to unlicensed overuse in breach of the 1998  and 1989 consent.

    -         Extreme failure to follow progressive rehabilitation requirements 1998 or 1989 consent.

    -         Protection of a public land heritage lookout  on Trig Hill from extreme vandalism including destruction of sensitive vegetation and private profiteering for sand mining profits off public land.


    Thus endeth the lecture on the ALP's disgraceful vandalism of the planning regulatory framework, that is under the Party of Government that sponsors Meredith Burgmann for City Hall in 2008.

    Posted by editor at 1:18 PM NZT
    Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008 9:19 PM NZT
    Thursday, 13 March 2008
    The trouble with Meredith Burgmann, career lefty, disaster tourist, feminist
    Mood:  down
    Topic: nsw govt

    Picture: Which big sister do you want with that latte?

    Burgmann is the kind face of the wicked ALP Sussex St machine in this writer's opinion. By way of declaration we worked as a volunteer for Clover Moore's election to City Hall in March 2004 and more of that below - 95% pure we would say and the last 5% is the spice that makes her human and interesting too.

    We would be voting for the Green Party candidate regardless in Sept 2008 on ecological emphasis alone.

    Burgmann is in the news on abc 702 radio yesterday morning on the strength of the article in The Australian

    12 March 2008 Ex-MP eyes Sydney Lord Mayor job - ABC News (Australian ...

    Naturally the SMH has their own catch up today via trooper Wendy Frew:

    13 March 2008 Candidates step up for city's top job - National - smh.com.au

    In some ways both Moore and Burgmann are baby boomer dinosaurs of the progressive side of politics in the inner city but Moore has the edge for her lack of ideological blinkers which too often means cavalier 'any means to an end' behaviour.

    It's not convincing or probitive to consider Burgmann was arrested in the Green Ban days - talk about ancient history - but she is forced to trade on that to argue she's against developer corruption. Her own colleague Jack Mundey has gone to The Greens as most thinking and honest environmentalists have.

    In terms of currency in the South East Forest protests of the early 1990ies 1,500 people were arrested. Without wanting to sound agist or bigoted against baby boomers at least that's after The Beatles halcyon days of the early 70ies. What about the M2 tollway protests in 94-96? Eastern Distributor?

    Indeed Burgmann dutifully voted for the outrageous undermining of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 by lower house colleague Knowles in the name of "integrated development assessment' around 1997-8. Similarly she rubber stamped every other draconian attack by the ALP Govt up until her retirement in 2007. That includes vicious, egregious Part 3A repeal of a raft of environmental legislation under the umbrella of the  ground breaking 1979 Act.

    For this alone Burgmann is totally compromised in relation to developers.

    And we admire her history against the vicious aparthied regime over the Springbok Tour in the 70ies too but what about East Timor in the last 20 years? Might be a problem for the Whitlamites that.

    It's no accident Meredith got to the top of the Legislative Council in the greasy pole rotten ALP machine. That's the real point here.

    She's been to Bosnia and West Africa as we heard her talk but we felt it was rich white woman adventures on a disaster tourism holiday. This might be harsh and unfair but there it is.

    It's the rotten ALP tag, and her decades long role now in sanitising that brand that will knock her out in a contest with proven independent Clover Moore just as Councillor Michael Lee was rejected convincingly by voters in all the socially disadvantaged areas of the expanded Local Govt Area in 2004.

    Photo of Councillor Michael Lee

    A Federal MP for 17 years and Minister

    It's no accident that ambitious power player Cr Verity Firth is Burgmann's niece (that old ALP brand tribalism again) and state govt minister who sits with Councillor Lee on Sydney City Council. Firth who is hand in glove with developer Sydney University preying on open space at Callan Park in her Balmain electorate.

    So much for arms length from developers. Presumably Firth wants aunty Meredith to take over her workload while she steps up to 'Environmnet' ministry.

    Nor is Burgman flattered by the poor governance of her feminist co author and former staffer Yvette Andrews at the very large community space at Addison Rd Centre:

    Saturday, 16 February 2008

    Who has presided over the destruction of the cyber gateway for over 8 months (work this writer did in good faith, non aligned, equal prominence to all tenancies):

    addison road centre "Come back soon. We are just getting it better. This Website is still under construction."

    Talk about cynical. This writer was moved to publish this satirical job advert

    Addison Rd Centre General Manager Job Vacancy closing date 1st April...

    Nor is Burgmann free herself of the Addison Rd taint of poor governance as mate Andrews is well known to protect Gallery director Cutcliffe, an ALP aligned grifter who has enjoyed 4 years rent free 2003-7 despite $30K paintings on private sale. Cutcliffe's lease has been sanitised with highly discounted lease from 2007 under Andrews management via a new 'non profit entity' created for the purpose with guess who reputed to be on that company directorships? It's unconfirmed but the claim by one tenant is that it is in fact Meredith Burgman who has given presentations at same gallery.

    Turning to Clover Moore's credentials as Mayor of a big budget local government power centre while also State MP, this dual role was tested in 2004 with the electorate. Burgmann is trying to run this again but it doesn't resonate. In 2004 editor Gibbons of Sydney City Hub that we worked for 2002-7, said to the effect 'half Clover is worth more than 1 ALP'. Nothing has realy changed in that respect.

    There have been political ructions and disagreements over say traffic in East Sydney and free press distribution protocols versus News Ltd MX free commuter paper. But not nearly enough to come near Burgmann voting for Part 3A.

    Sure there has been dirt about some developer aligned donations from 'Living City' on the right of politics who wanted to prevent ALP hegemony at City Hall if their own couldn't win. And sure there are issues of precious Clover personality cult with any big ego, high powered personality. Or the shallow theatricality of PR postures - she once told me as a 2 month researcher in her parliament office in late 1992 that she changed her outfit 4 times for meet the electorate day given the diversity of her constituents.

    But fact is Clover is not the corrupt ALP. And that's about all you need to know really.

    Election declaration: Written and authorised by Tom McLoughlin, Marrickville tel 0410 558838, published as news comment.

    Posted by editor at 7:41 AM NZT
    Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008 9:06 AM NZT

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