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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Prof Allan Fels profile build to stalk Graeme Samuel's ACCC job?
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: aust govt


One get's the feeling Allan Fels is in the news alot lately in the late dawn of the Rudd regime. There he is on 7.30 Report last night 

12 May 2008,  Westpac and St George to merge

PROFESSOR ALLAN FELS: If Westpac acquires St George, then surely the other banks are going to be wanting to merge amongst themselves
to match its new size. And so, the Treasurer will have to decide whether he's sticking with the 'four pillars policy' or not. .....

PROFESSOR ALLAN FELS: This merger, if it happens, may well trigger moves by other banks to gobble up the remaining small banks.

and again on AM this morning:

Then there is this about Graeme Samuel's job contract up for renewal ... or not:

Crikey - Telstra’s Dr Phil wins media over but what about Graeme Samuel Thursday, 8 May 2008 Stephen Mayne writes:

"The Rudd Government has an important decision coming up when Graeme Samuel’s first term at the ACCC expires and the Telstra situation will be a major factor."

Graeme Samuel nearly didn't get his first term:

13 Nov 02 The World Today - States block ACCC appointment 

... STEPHEN LONG: There were indeed a variety of reasons why the different Labor regimes opposed Graeme Samuel. NSW claims it has no problem with the man, but opposed the lack of consultation about his appointment. Western Australia argued the role of deputy chair is meant for a consumer advocate.

Queensland has a history of disputes with Graeme Samuel over competition policy. And the ACT apparently thought that, as an ex-president of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he was too close to the big end of town.

But Peter Costello has attacked the states for failing to put up an alternative candidate. He says they were given ample time to do so. But NSW Treasurer Michael Egan says that fails to take into account that after Allan Fels unexpectedly announced his retirement plans on national television in September, it was a new ball game.

MICHAEL EGAN: Well that’s absolute nonsense, Mr Costello wrote to the States 18 months ago seeking nominations for the position of deputy chair. NSW made a nomination, nothing happened with that nomination. But in any event that was 18 months ago and the decision that we’re now dealing with is quite different because it’s effectively the chairman designate of the ACCC. ....

STEPHEN LONG: Meanwhile, it's been confirmed that there were last minute attempts to stitch up joint ticket acceptable to the States involving Graeme Samuel and the head of the Australian Consumers Association, Louise Sylvan.

Norm Carruthers is acting chief executive of the ACA. And his boss interrupted her sojourn at Lake Como in Italy to confirm she had been a candidate.

NORM CARRUTHERS: [laughs] I’m not sure exactly where she was contacting me from, Steve, but Louise did send me an email this morning just clarifying her position in regard to the ACCC appointments.

STEPHEN LONG: And what is her position in regards to the ACCC?

NORM CARRUTHERS: Well her position all along is that the consumers movement in Australia is seeking that there consistently be an appointment of a deputy chair of the ACCC who is a person with a strong consumer background and experience.

STEPHEN LONG: It’s been widely said that Louise Sylvan was proposed to take over as deputy chair of the ACCC when Graeme Samuel ascended to the top job. Can you confirm that?

NORM CARRUTHERS: That’s what’s been suggested by a number of people, I know Allan Fels and a few other people suggested that and making it clear there was, in fact, a person available who was confident and experienced and able to fill that position.

Posted by editor at 11:07 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 May 2008 11:56 AM NZT
Baby takes first designer step
Mood:  not sure
Topic: legal

[media release of Gene Ethics Network based in Victoria follows]

Sent: Monday, May 12, 2008 12:25 PM
Subject: Press Release 12/05/08 Human Genetics Alert: first GM human embryo created

Human Genetics Alert
For immediate release 00.01 am May 12th 2008
Scientists create first GM human embryo

HGA and international civil society groups, scientists and ethicists call for moratorium

British Government must withdraw legalisation of GM embryos pending full public debate
Human Genetics Alert (1) has discovered that American scientists have created the world's first genetically modified (GM) human embryo, without notifying the public or the media.  In response, HGA's Director, Dr David King called on the UK Government to halt its plans to legalise GM embryos in the Human Fertilisation and embryology Bill (HFE Bill), which will be debated in Parliament today.  HGA and an international group of civil society organisations also called for an international moratorium on such experiments until there has been a full debate.

A team of scientists based at Cornell University, and led by Nikica Zaninovic genetically engineered human embryos last year (2).  Dr Zaninovic confirmed that this is the first time that a GM human embryo has been created.  Government plans to legalise such experiments in the HFE Bill are being debated by MPs tomorrow, yet few MPs are even aware of the plans.

An HFEA document (3) says that, 'The Bill has taken away all inhibitions on genetically altering human embryos',  It acknowledges that this raises, 'large ethical and public interest issues', without saying that, despite HGA's repeated warnings about GM embryos, these issues have not been publicly debated.

Attached briefings outline the government's plans and the case against Human Genetic Modification (HGM).  In brief, the Government initially stated openly its aim of allowing genetic modification of human embryos in order to permit  the development of safe technology to create GM children (4).  It even proposed to eventually legalise GM children by executive decision, rather than by a full Parliamentary debate!  Although the Bill, in itds current form bans the implantation of GM embryos for the present, this is clearly not a permanent ban, since it would be illogical allow the development of technology and then continue to ban its use.

The creation of GM children is not just a hypothetical scenario - leading British scientists, Robert Winston (a Government adviser on these issues), and Ian Wilmut have patented techniques for Human Genetic Modification (5). The ban also contains a major loophole, in that it contains powers for the Government to permit the implantation of GM embryos to treat mitochondrial genetic diseases, without full Parliamentary debate (Clause 3ZA (5)) (6).

HGM is unnecessary for medical purposes, since there are many alternative ways of avoiding passing on genetic conditions, but if permitted it will very soon be used to create 'enhanced' 'designer babies'.  This would turn children into objects, designed just like other consumer commodities, and would lead to a new eugenics in which the rich are able to give their children genetic advantages over others.  Because of these concerns, nearly all EU countries and many others, have permanently banned HGM, and the EU has banned the creation of cloned and GM embryos, in its last two major research funding programmes (7).  Britain must not break this international consensus.

Dr David King, Director of Human Genetics Alert said: "When I discovered these experiments on the Internet I was shocked at these scientists' irresponsibility.  This might seem like a small thing, but it is a large first step on the road that will likely lead to the nightmare world of designer babies and a new eugenics.  We may be entering the era of Human Genetic Modification, which would be no less significant for humanity than the nuclear era.

"The HFEA is right to say that the creation and legalisation of GM embryos, 'raises large ethical and public interest issues', but neglects to mention that these have not been debated at all.  I have been speaking to MPs all week, and no one even knows that the Government is legalising GM embryos. The public has had enough of scientists and Government sneaking these things through and then presenting us with a fait accompli.  The Government must withdraw these plans, so that we do not cross crucial ethical lines without a full debate."

Dr Marcy Darnovsky, Associate Executive Director, Center for Genetics and Society, a public affairs organization based in California, said:  "A small group of researchers has decided on its own to overstep a key ethical boundary that is observed around the world. In response the UK appears ready to lower its own standards. This is a global issue and highlights clearly demonstrates the need for international regulation and for far greater involvement by the public and civil society."

Silvia Ribeiro from ETC Group, a civil society group, based in Mexico City, said: "If the UK Parliament legalises GM Human embryos it would set an awful precedent for the rest of the world.  GM embryos may be sold to policymakers today on the vague promise of 'curing disease' but the real money is in 'human performance enhancement' applications (known as HyPEs). In a world in which diabetes drugs are sold with much more profits as 'bikini drugs' and Alzheimer drugs as 'cognitive enhancers', any germ line manipulation will open the door to market-designed babies. Human diversity would be seen as abnormal, further marginalizing disabled people and those too poor -or not wanting- to be 'improved', according to a market-led standard of what and who is a proper human being."

Dr Stuart Newman, Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy at New York Medical College, said: "Human embryos, particularly within their first two weeks, are poor systems in which to study basic biology or the development of disease.  It is clear that technologies for genetically altering human embryos are being developed with the hope and expection that legal prohibitions against gestating them for extended periods will eventually be dropped, ultimately leading to organ harvesting and full term GM infants.  The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is just another step in this unfortunate direction."

Dr Richard Nicholson, Editor of the Bulletin of Medical Ethics, said: "The Government seems willing now to permit scientists to do whatever they like in the field of reproductive technology.  It thinks it is helping British scientists to keep ahead of the competition elsewhere. But there is little competition because most other countries recognise how obviously unethical any genetic modification of human embryos would be."

Dr David King will be available for interview on Monday, May 12th from 8 a.m. He can be reached on +44 (0)20 7502 7516, or +44 (0)7854 256040, and by email at david.king@hgalert.org.

Marcy Darnovsky, +1 510 625 0819 ext 305; mdarnovsky@geneticsandsociety.org.
Notes for editors

1. Human Genetics Alert is a London-based independent secular watchdog group, which supports women's reproductive rights, www.hgalert.org.
2. Fertility and Sterility, Volume 88, Supplement 1, September 2007, Page S310  N. Zaninovic, J. Hao, J. Pareja, D. James, S. Rafii, Z. Rosenwaks.  This abstract can be found at
www.sciencedirect.com: enter Zaninovic in the author search box.  HGA's discovery is reported in today's Sunday Times.
3. The document, 'Lay summary  of meeting' can be found at
http://www.hfea.gov.uk/en/1662.html, along with 'Gene transfer into male germ lines and embryos' which mentions the Zaninovic abstract.
4. The original consultation document can be found at
http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Closedconsultations/DH_4123863.  The key paragraphs are 5.33 to 5.38.
5. Patent  numbers: US2006064763, GB2331751 (Wilmut) and US2002138865, WO0069257, WO0029602 (Winston).
6. HGA's legal briefing on the HFE Act is attached, along with its Parliamentary briefing, and a more detailed summary of the arguments against HGM.  The HFEA's documents also mention the loophole for mitochondrial conditions.
7. For EU Framework Programme 6, see http://ec.europa.eu/research/fp6/pdf/fp6-in-brief_en.pdf, For FP7, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2006:412:0001:0041:EN:PDF




Posted by editor at 10:46 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 May 2008 11:06 AM NZT
Sunday, 11 May 2008
Sunday tv talkies: Confusion, excess demand (inflation) in 20C political economic march to next federal budget
Mood:  caffeinated
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 backgrounders


- heaps on spiv Labor public energy power sell off, hammer blow yet to come we suspect, not least union industrial action reference in weekend Oz, Iemma in split with Karl Bitar, ABC radio failing systemically to report Carr as employee of Macquarie Bank (eg 9am Sydney 702 radio Saturday 11 May 08), similarly Michael Easson ex director of Mac Infrastructure. Woeful omissions by the standard bearer. What bet Michael Egan same actual conflicts of financial interest (The Oz Fri 8th May 08)? Clennell in Fairfax even reckons the policy negotiation at the ALP conference was influenced by fear of the media coverage anticipated (implication better to show Iemma standing up to the Unions in the big corporate press) totally bogus approach with 85% against selloff so manufacturing consent). Echoes with Iemma's expensive media monitoring paid for by taxpayers. Too bad most of the money from such as Chinese investors, or whoever, will go to spiv's in the construction companies for this:

- La Nina is morphing back to La Nino - that is much less rain expected yet again.

- Herald still after sleazy NSW ALP with Sartor forced to drop Mussolini clause to annexe private property rights for developer interests

- free city broadband in Sydney dumped day of tragedy multiple fatal boat crash last week – sleazy spiv Roozendaal of course.

- buried report on Catherine Bay developer feeding frenzy in NSW – more NSW ALP sleaze

- Albanese electorate office broken into twice in last month (local freebie press)

- proof positive the ALP is a tribe and not a political movement, as ALP figures support convicted predator Orkopoulos ex MP?

- Haughty Fairfax editorial about 4th estate safe in their hands,

- huge skepticism about openness of Rudd ‘culture of disclosure’ – would be good but we don’t buy it, in fact we know his history probably back to Heiner, no reason to trust him and that despite high polling numbers.

-  Conroy as federal minister has let national broadband rollout drop off the radar and the big media are a wake up to it.

- good story on China influence in Fiji

- lots of movement on alcohol causing cancer and curious financial research by MacBank story.

- Oz p3 gratuitous blow torch on suburban planning frictions involving Ross Garnaut – crude message they are gunning for him over his final climate report. Pathetic prominence of focus by Oz. Check the heavily ironic title when it's The Oz doing all the heavying. Or is that friendly fire from the Ferguson MP led fossil fools?

- Gittins analyses demand driving inflation, Murdoch confirms re profitable advertising revenue from Australia. But why the self indulgence?

 [offline] Murdoch hails down under ad boom as News Corp profit soars The Australian p19 9 May 08

Like Singapore party time before the Japanese invasion only this time dangerous climate change?


- What is Alan Moran as director of Institute of Public Affairs doing in the Herald when he doesn't disclose his funding sources. Basic journalism trashed.

- freight rail makes its pitch, Albanese agrees to finally analyse inland rail line, as per Fri Oz, including rah rah editorial.

- Albanese hides airports report on Sydney congestion or not, all the better to promote aircraft noise mitigations (2nd airport) to hold his and spouse seats, offsetting cancer ventilation stacks for M4 East using public energy sale revenue to build the truck tunnel.

- ALP machine in trouble for manipulation not least with John Lyons manhandled asking question at Fairfax picfac – with ALP Inc advert for metro line juxtaposed in The Aust Friday p3, with metro first station out of the CBD, Fairfax Pyrmont area of 1 Darling Island. Talk about cynical corporate welfare for haughty Fairfax e.g. Ron Walker and mates. And cynical attempt by ALP Inc to buy editorial interference in the Oz with big 1/4 page 3 advert. It's so brazen most will hardly notice the pandering to big media rent seekers.

- similarly Brumby style of gross cynical manipulations causing jack up in the ranks

- Indian weather experts say climate intensifying cyclone effects, Oz implies all happened before with list of historical disasters all of huge proportions. Echoes Tim Blair climate change denial in Telegraph. TB (!) if only, ignores disarray in local conservatives and Nelson woeful polling re heating Howardism, to run story about US democrats. Talk about perverse.


- Nigel Wilson discreetly relegated report of carbon capture sequestration $2B project being shelved in WA, Greenpeace report that essentially it’s a scam

- Swan in Sunday press saying $2.3 billion on climate change this budget, like what? CCS?

- News Ltd and elitist Davos in Future Summit – full pager hidden back of Friday Oz p24 complete with Rudd penned blather

[offline[ 2020 vision means looking forward an moulding a better lifestyle

, addressed by Rudd in summit at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel TODAY – very sly discreet positioning of this totally arrogant organization. Is this the real secret Govt?



- pre budget choreography spin in full force now, not least posed picture of Swan in window reading a document, like Keating same pose. Pathetic pose for the punters really by ALP machine.

- breaking story about some kind of merger idea in Qld, post John Howard tribute dinner.

- ABC shops to close outsource to Dymocks bookshops – who is behind this company – Bob Carr in the ALP?

- Naked eye column in Sydney SunHerald is biased to the ALP always taking cheap shots at anyone but. Boring bias.

- the truth about ethnic minorities as cannon fodder between the ALP and Liberal Party is coming out slowly but surely as here in Sunday press:

Angry at Labor vandals: Lib | The Daily Telegraph

This gels with our research earlier this year about this loyal ALP campaigner spotted at a Camden protest meeting next door seat up to the federal election:


12th March 2008 Gavin Hillier, prominent retired logging unionist on Stateline footage as protester no.5?
Mood:  caffeinated


Picture above: What future for the children?  Community rally at Botany Bay Beach off Foreshore Rd, Botany Saturday 3rd March 2007, against expansion of Port Botany guaranteed to increase toxic transport congestion in most of southern metropolitan Sydney.

9 Sunday 7.30 – 9.30 am


-         news round up on Burma disaster [no doubt made worse by clearance of mangroves but also intensity of storms by climate change], budget, cover story on autism.

-         Story on Murdoch espionage via a company called NDS to hack rival computers. Story by ABC (US) network, running here on 9. To do with code for satellite tv – Kanowski staffer. Mr Ergun questions to Rupert Murdoch by experience tv journo in public place with cops running interference. Echostar reverse engineering. Legal case underway with News Corp lawyers. Posted code on the net allowing hackers to destroy the commercial confidence is the allegation. Kanowski called 2nd best hacker in the world. Ross Greenwood refers to Murdoch’s Direct TV and treats story very seriously.


-         discussion of interest rates – NAB’s Stewart - $2.5 billion profit.




Oakes has prime choice interview with Treasurer Swan – showing tv talkies are finding their equilibrium again back to the Sphere as highest impact, but with Insiders endeavouring to have the last word.


Mothers Day question – says having a hard look at it. Tries a flippant start – should have just wished all mothers a happy day. Election promises on climate change as per press leak.


Review of tax – all of the relationships, high powered group. How long will it take. End of next year 2009. Revamp of tax system to 2010 election?


[Must admit I vagued out bit during this – reading Naked Eye column in Sun Herald]


Swan is sounding like his work is done and not rushed in this last phase. Gets awkward about health insurance bail out of 400K people.


Unemployment will increase? Start of real Rudd Govt on tough decisions? Are you nervous. Really looking forward to it he says.


Budget night special Tuesday night at 10.30 to compete with such as crikey.com.au?







10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


-         news roundup, notable re computer costs of Rudd policy on families. Burma footage.

-         Talent is Lindsay Tanner as Finance Minister. Stuffs up one bit about $3M for Burma being so low, explained as corrupt junta annexing aid, rings true.

-         Footage of Howard tribute dinner, bullshit test series analogy. That didn’t really lose for systemic or structural change in politics.

-         1st adbreak teachers political advert with corporate clothes horse type woman older exec style.

-         Dumping workers choices causes inflation. Julie Bishop pushes the inflation from IR.

-         Michelle Grattan Fairfax age, Steve Lewis News Ltd tabloids nationally. Q. won’t release treasury advice, why not. LT says routine not release, plays Work Choices coming back. Leak of treasury minute definitely did cause confusion on govt ranks.


MG with new hair dye and looking and sounding sharp, follow up question.


Lewis on medicare threshold etc


Lewis asks tough one on keeping interest rates down. Standard answer, do their best.


Amusing lonely hearts theme – very grim and bit violent for a cartoon


Access economics,  Chris Richardson (Crikey BK calls the ‘alternative treasury’ and ‘though got wrong on trajectory of resources boom – to continue’) says last month figures came through to show the resources boom not only continue but prices accelerate. The tax cuts are locked in but risky in for causing inflation. Echoes Hartcher re resources boom


MG confused about Opposition saying kill the patient. Disagrees with Opposition.


Missed last few minutes of A grade analysis by Chris Richardson – comfort break! – starting soliloquy on tackling middle class welfare.


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





Riley Diary 7, 8.35 am


-         Riley diary back, soapbox meltdown as away for fortnight. Budget theme – inflation genie like aladin cartoon. Robin William comic voice.  Costello footage. Kevinator mentioned. Riley over acts a bit. Footage of tribute dinner to Howard. ‘Be proud, don’t take any cheek. Rage against opposition with muzak elevator music. Names ABC as ‘against them’. Bicycle footage of Orangutan funny obscure.

-         Riley in Q&A with the perfect teeth. Looking perky. Budget – leaks out – traditional Labor take from rich give to poor. Luxury tax on cars. Baby bonus as much to means test as to claw back. Tax cuts locked in. How keep promises, lower cost of prices, houses affordable, petrol price.

-         Opposition will be fighting first time since election re ALP and






Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Rudd war on inflation, enemy of all. Jumping at shadows says Opposition –


True hyperbole of inflation by ALP.


4.5, 3.5 down again by time for federal election in 2010.


Fairfax footage of Lyons manhandled. Dennis Atkins Courier Mail (News Ltd) on the panel Lenore Taylor (The Aust?), Brian Toohey.


Footage of Rudd lambasting Opposition not believing in the war on inflation.


Shadow minister Turnbull is the talent. In the studio. A good look.


Clearly has a grip on big economic issues. Effectively arguing Swan is running a political narrative on inflation but the projections are reducing anyway due to international factors and so don’t make big cuts of 5 to 6 billion because it will cause hardship. Unwise he says. Reveals ‘Swan inexperience’ he says.


Baby bonus debate all about excite politics of envy, nothing to do with economics.


Tax review – step by step middle of the year discussion paper.


Leadership issue moves on he reckons. Nelson being written off by Daley/Fairfax press.


Paul Kelly soliloquy, 2-3 years impact of inflation demand coming off but prices still high.  Disagrees no net cuts position of the Opposition. Signing a blank cheque Rudd is fiscal conservative. Opp concedes the ground. Don’t understand the politics of it. Large no. leaks and briefings on this budget.


Toohey says universities will go backwards, Rudd inconsistent about middle class welfare. No education revolution. General discussion. Not collecting stats on carbon emissions to save money [or more likely hide their failures].


[missed a bit]


FoI of treasury advice on inflationary effects of IR policy – first leak dated, second one hugely significant says Taylor. Govt vulnerable [like challenge to Tanner on 10 MTP]


Fairfax opening re culture of openness. Police raid in WA, FoI refused. Rudd looking quite stoney. Media hopeful but old habits are dying hard. Bligh Govt talks big on reform of FoI too. But still get knocked back.


Outside Fairfax building – strong points and footage made about minders press secretary police running interference on media doing their job. By buying into this and giving coverage the Gallery are bucking the pressure. Now the Govt are learning [but its wrong to say slow learning, it was brute monolithic power play which failed, and 5th estate bloggers breathing down 4th estate has stiffened their backbone on this].


NSW Power – union power waning on policy says Toohey. Thinks should get out of pre selection business.


Tribute dinner for Howard. Keating made a dill of himself. Toohey sticks boot into Keating conflict of interest.


Toohey about drawing China into the world, good if quadripartite beat up of China doesn’t get up. Hugely important. Expand 6 party talks over North Korea with China. Atkins agrees – not a big fan of China. [Fairfax runs Saturday he thesis]. Kudos for comments on Tibet in China here in Australia.


Ridicule for Liberal Parties at state level not putting heat on ALP weak governments [greater truth is Howard sucked in all the talent?]


Talking pictures: Bruce Petty in the twilight of his career is telling it like it is on food scarcity and power privatization in NSW.


Tax review with no GST or superannuation.


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





Posted by editor at 12:18 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 12 May 2008 8:31 AM NZT
Friday, 9 May 2008
How to really save driving time, petrol cost and love road cyclists
Mood:  crushed out
Topic: local news

 Picture: Local bus driver Steve inspects the aluminium recycling for the editor's ecology action pick up van earlier this week.

The big cycling driver aggro debate is escalating with a malicious attack on a group of sportsmen and women. It looks like a hit and run and legal bunfight with some heavy weight stakeholders like Olympian athletes, cyclist Adam Spencer of 702 abc radio and NRMA deep bias to car drivers.

But there is actually a resolution in this pitched battle over property in the road surface, and human right to choose one's mode of transport (especially the ethical choice of cycling). It's more about adjusting human perspective than surrounding transport realities which don't change very much.

Our credentials here are 5 years 2002-2007 as street press delivery driver thoughout the inner city. And we still do some delivery work occasionally as above. Not quite the freeway type road conditions on the relevant Southern Cross Drive in this conflict but the principles are the same:

1. Expert fuel conservation drivers advise that a speed reduction of say 50% on city roads has not much change in the trip arrival time but it also saves petrol used by 30% saving alot of money (see below). How so? Well it's obvious really - city driving is from one bottle neck (eg traffic light, congested traffic) to the next. It is nothing in this reality to be held up 30 seconds at a traffic light, similar to navigating past a big bunch of sports cyclists. Not that we are into cycling for sport, more like for work and basic transport:

It's not your maximum speed, it's the average around you that counts. To fight against the crowd around you is like swimming against a rip at the beach - it's a waste of time and energy. People who don't get this are having trouble with their own narrow perceptions (which brings me back to the old hobby horse about alcohol and the decades long slow brain damage, or indeed the bad mood from a hang over the morning after):

It's amazing how over takers will be right next to you at the next lights because everyone is only as fast as the next bottleneck. Indeed look at this expert study of lane changers for no time saving with excess use of fuel:

 [University of Queensland, Faculty of Engineering, Physical Sciences and Architecture]

New Research Says Lane Changers Get No Savings

11 August 2006
by Charlotte Nash-Stewart
With petrol prices rising, new research from Civil Engineering’s Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Research Laboratory shows aggressive drivers not only use more fuel and create more emissions than defensive drivers, but save themselves little travel time in the process.
“When you compare the fuel consumption and emissions, it can be up to four times greater for aggressive drivers in a motorway environment,” said ITS Lab Director Dr Hussein Dia. “And for just a 4% saving in travel time.” (62seconds on a 26 minute trip)
The study modelled aggressive drivers as taking greater risks when following other vehicles and changing lanes, and simulated travel on a fairly uncongested M1 motorway.
“In the simulator, aggressive drivers accept shorter follow-up distances to the vehicle ahead,” said Dr Dia.  “For instance they are willing to take a two second gap where a defensive driver might look for a four or five second gap.”
Aggressive drivers were also more hazardous.  The simulations show frequent braking while attempting lane changes results in near collisions, which can also create a congestion “shock wave” in traffic behind them.
“This effect can last for 10-15 minutes, and by the time you get past it, there is no apparent problem,” said Dr Dia.  “All it takes, especially on freeways, is someone travelling at 100km/hr to suddenly brake to create this ripple effect.”
The ITS lab generated the data from existing simulation programs, and included their own fuel field data validated consumption and emissions model.
“From the acceleration and speed of the vehicle we can tell how much fuel is being used,” said Dr Dia.  “From the field data, we are quite confident it is a good replication.”
Many drivers listening to the research findings on ABC radio were surprised to hear that many lane changes would not significantly speed their trip.
“A lot of people were surprised because they thought they would get there five or ten minutes earlier, but this wasn’t the case, and they didn’t realise the damage they were causing the environment,” said Dr Dia.  “Most fuel consumption and emissions occur during accelerating and decelerating.  If you travel smoothly and only change lanes when necessary it is much more efficient.”
“You might save a couple of minutes here and there, but what you’re doing to the environment and your own hip pocket, not to mention stress ... These findings reinforce what we already know:  lane discipline is a basic premise in traffic engineering as it ensures that drivers and vehicles get from their origins to destinations quicker and safer,” he said.  “That is the ultimate aim of any efficient transport system.”
Dr Dia said the key was changing driver behaviour, and this data compliments research on other applications being prepared for the Queensland Department of Main Roads to encourage drivers to stay in their lanes and maintain safe distances.
Such measures include lane control, such as on Coronation Drive, over-road dynamic message signs, and variable speed limits which would allow bottlenecks to be relieved at peak periods by dynamically changing the speed of upstream traffic.
The simulations on aggressive driver behaviour were undertaken for an ABC field study and Dr Dia said it was rewarding that the simulation results matched the field data, showing the ITS Lab models to be calibrated and validated with a practical degree of accuracy.
For more information…

ABC Catalyst Program News Item
View the Simulation Experiment

2. Building on point 1, cutting travel time while driving is all about planning ahead and making the right strategic decisions about how to get into the best flowing stream of traffic while travelling quite moderate or slow. For instance:

(a) Marrickville to CBD 7.30-9.00 am , best to avoid Newtown totally, and go via Dulwich Hill to Parramatta Rd via Broadway.

(b) Similarly Marrickville to Eastern Suburbs in peak hour morning or evening - avoid CBD and Oxford St. Travel via Alexandria, Surry Hills and Moore Park Rd.

3. Driving fast in city traffic is a very big waste of money:

 Take it slow and save big on gas

Driving style has a big impact on fuel economy. Backing off can save big.

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - You can get 35 percent better fuel mileage out of your current vehicle by using a device most drivers already have.

That would be your right foot.

Most drivers agonizing over the cost of gasoline fail to realize the enormous impact their driving style has on fuel consumption.

During the last run-up in fuel prices, we wrote about Edmunds.com's tests of common fuel-saving driving tips. Some common tips, it turned out, had little or no effect on fuel economy. (Edmunds.com provides data and content for CNN.com's automotive Websites.) ...

If you want a big gain in fuel mileage, though, you need to seriously lay off the pedals when driving around town. Accelerating more slowly away from green lights and stopping more gradually for red lights cut fuel consumption in Edmunds.com's tests by 35.4 percent for the Land Rover and 27.1 percent for the Mustang.

Slamming down the gas pedal pushes more fuel into the engine while it also keeps the engine running faster.

You can also save a lot of gas by just lifting your foot off the accelerator as soon as possible when approaching a yellow or red light or a stop sign.

For one thing, letting up on the gas sooner gives your car more coasting time.

By the way, when we say "accelerating hard" and "stopping abruptly" we aren't necessarily talking about juvenile tire-squealing antics. If you start keeping a conscious eye on how you drive, you may realize that you've been hot-rodding around for years without realizing it.

In Edmunds.com's tests, they slowed acceleration times down to a 20-second run from zero to sixty miles per hour. Compared to the kind of zero-to-sixty times we hear car makers bragging about these days, 20 seconds may sound impossibly slow. In fact, it is slow. But, while it won't get your pulse pounding, it will get you safely onto the highway.

Since most drivers don't have a stopwatch handy to time their acceleration, Cole Quinnel, a spokesman for Chrysler Corp. engineers, advises not pressing the gas pedal down by more than an inch unless you really have to. Using that approach, the difference in fuel economy will be appreciable.

Let's say that your car currently gets 22 miles per gallon overall. If this laid-back driving style gets you just 30 percent more in fuel mileage, which Edmunds.com's tests indicate it could, you'd see that increase to about 30 miles per gallon.

It's not easy, though. For most people, driving this way will feel, to say the least, awkward. When I tried Quinnel's high-mileage driving advice, it was difficult to maintain this disciplined approach to acceleration and deceleration without consistent effort. The minute I let my concentration slip -- Zoom! -- off I'd go again in a gas-wasting rush, just like I usually do.

And, to be perfectly honest, it was a little embarrassing to drive that way. Every molecule of testosterone in my body was begging to be excused for the day.

But, in a couple of short drives, the car was using significantly less gas per mile, even with my occasional slip-up. Maybe if I keep it up, I can soothe my dented ego with a little cash in my wallet.

4. In all cases never worry about travelling slow or fast behind other traffic. Have your favourite music in the car and radio stations. Carry water in case it gets hot and suffer dehydration leading to rage. Be happy, don't worry. Experienced drivers tend to even read a bit at the lights but the authorities probably wouldn't encourage this.

The real disruption to travel time is the choice of road with congestion bottlenecks and knowledge of all sidestreets which only comes with experience, and ability to judge the traffic ahead of time to avoid navigational mistakes stuck in the wrong lane etc.

In this way you can save alot of petrol driving slower, arrive at roughly the same time, feel alot more relaxed and learn to love bunches of cyclists because everyone stops at the next bottleneck anyway.

And the last principle? No. 5 taxi drivers are very arrogant, but then who would want to do their job every day?

As petrol becomes very very expensive we have been researching the following:




Posted by editor at 9:56 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 9 May 2008 1:03 PM NZT
Thursday, 8 May 2008
Murdoch broadsheet: 'Chinese hostile to Western media'
Mood:  sad
Topic: human rights


8 May 2008 Chinese hostile to Western coverage | The Australian

"Rowan Callick, China correspondent | May 08, 2008

DEATH threats against foreign correspondents and official statements demonising Western media risk creating a hostile environment for foreign journalists based in China and for tens of thousands of other media staff arriving to cover the Beijing Olympic Games.

This was a warning issued by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China this week, 100 days ahead of the opening of the Games.

But the warning prompted an outpouring of anonymous attacks onforeign journalists in the online forum of the Global Times, the popular sister publication owned by the Communist Party's flagship newspaper, People's Daily.

The FCCC revealed that at least 10 foreign correspondents have received anonymous death threats "during a campaign on the web and in state-run media, against alleged bias in Western media coverage of the Tibetan unrest and its aftermath".

The organisations that have received death threats include the BBC and CNN.

The introduction of new regulations for the Olympic period, freeing travel and interviewing restrictions within China until October, "represented an improvement in reporting conditions", said the club, which represents more than 800 accredited foreign journalists based in China.

But the FCCC said that in the past two months, since the unrest began in Lhasa, it has learned of more than 50incidents of interference in the work of international media trying to report in communities in the greater Tibet area.

It said: "Foreign correspondents have been detained, prevented from conducting interviews, searched and subjected to the confiscation or destruction of reporting materials.

"Authorities have intimidated Chinese sources and staff, and in some cases ordered them to inform on foreign correspondents' activities."

If this is allowed to continue, said FCCC president Melinda Liu, Newsweek's China bureau chief, "the reporting interference and hate campaigns targeting international media may poison the pre-Games atmosphere for foreign journalists".

She urged the Government to investigate the death threats, "which violate Chinese law".

But police have been reluctant to pursue such complaints.

The club urged Beijing to make good on its commitments, made public in 2002, to "be open in every aspect to the rest of the country and the whole world" and "to follow international standards and criteria" before and during the Games.

Recent comments in the Global Times online forum, a popular gathering place for extreme nationalists, include several quoting a song from a patriotic 1950s film on the Korean War: "When friends come, I bring out good liquor, when the jackals come I bring out the hunting rifle."

Others said:

* "China doesn't like people who become enemies. Kick them out. If they won't leave, annihilate them. To hit the enemy is to protect oneself."

* "These beasts are as annoying as hell, f..king chattering all day. These bastards make one want to throw up. I strongly advocate tossing them into the Taiwan Strait to fill it up. They're like flies. Disgusting. Are these half-breeds trying to sicken Chinese people to death?"

* "When the eight united armiesinvaded China (in 1900, after their citizens were murdered during the Boxer Rebellion), they made China pay indemnities. Even today, foreign devils dream of doing the same thing!"

* "Their statement exemplifies the bias resulting from Eurocentric brainwashing. Now that the sons and daughters of China have stepped out into the world to express their feelings about the 100 years of shame (before the 1949 revolution), we're being made into the enemy. This is aclassic case of the bandit crying:'Thief!"'

* "We 1.3 billion Chinese have nothing to fear from threats by shameless Western journalists, we won't tolerate their smears and slanders against China."

Posted by editor at 8:13 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 9 May 2008 9:53 AM NZT
Get Up blows whistle on greenhouse mafia inside Federal Parliament House
Mood:  sharp
Topic: globalWarming

 Get Up broadcast email to their 230,000 subscriber base

 They've taken over Canberra

Click here to sign the petition now!  


Something very troubling is happening right now in Canberra, as our pollies put the final touches on next week's Budget. It only became clear to us while delivering your People's Budget Submission - the halls of Parliament are crawling with lobbyists from the powerful and well-resourced polluting industries, using their industrial muscle to aggressively argue against climate change action.

We urgently need an active people's movement to counter the largest and best-funded lobby in Australia. Next Thursday, the Government will meet with environment groups to discuss climate change solutions. We want tens of thousands of signatures to bring to the table, calling for emissions to begin declining by 2010, and be cut in half by 2020. Nothing less will do.

Will your signature be one of those countering the polluters' push for short-term profit?


All the polluting industries have combined their resources to trump the will of the people: coal, aluminum, cement, electricity generators, mining, and many more. But our politicians work for us - they need to set targets and pass laws that reduce emissions, not reward polluters.

We are much closer to a crisis tipping point than previously thought. It's now possible that there will be no Arctic summer ice by 2013, 90 years earlier than IPCC predictions. With existing projections being viewed as the minimum changes we can expect, Australia must adopt a science-based emissions reduction target - and nurture a green economy with green jobs to get us there.

Our economic prosperity and our environment depends on it, and that depends on our politicians being willing and able to resist the powerful self-interests of the polluter lobby. Help swing the debate back in favour of the people, by signing this urgent petition today, before next week's meeting:


The polluter lobby must not set the terms of the debate around climate solutions. We know that the costs of inaction are catastrophic and will affect every aspect of our economy and our lives. Kevin Rudd is making decisions this year that could help avoid that - but only if you demand it. He needs you to let him know you expect corporate greed to not trump climate need.

Thanks for being a part of the solution,
The GetUp team
PS - To read the full version of your People's Budget Submission, based on your Biscuit Budget results and People's Agenda process,
click here.


GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to contribute to help fund GetUp's work, please
donate now! If you have trouble with any links in this email, please go directly to www.getup.org.au. To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here.

Authorised by Brett Solomon, Level 2, 294 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000

Posted by editor at 7:25 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 9 May 2008 1:11 PM NZT
Law Council of Australia April 08 Newsletter (repost)
Mood:  chatty
Topic: legal

[repost of their ezine follows]

Contact Details

Phone: +61 2 6246 3788
Fax: +61 2 6248 0639


Edited by Ben Caddaye
Phone (02) 6246 3725


Welcome to the April issue of the Law Council's monthly e-newsletter - @theLCA. The newsletter is designed to provide timely information on a range of topical issues relevant to the Australian legal profession. Contributions to @theLCA are welcome and should be forwarded to the editor on the details provided.



President's Message


Ross Ray QC


It has been a busy month as usual for the Law Council, highlighted by a short but productive meeting between myself and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard on April 11.

Ms Gillard and I discussed a range of issues including funding of law schools; incentives for lawyers in rural and regional areas, occupational health and safety law reform and workplace relations law reform.


click here for more




Law Council Tests Its 20-20 Vision


The Law Council made sure its thoughts on the future of this country were put before the Prime Minister’s Australia 2020 Summit, held in Canberra on 19 and 20 April.


click here for more




Legal Aid Boost a Step in Right Direction


The Attorney-General’s recent announcement of additional funding for community legal centres and legal aid commissions should mark the beginning of a genuine attempt by the Government to address shortfalls in this crucial area, according to the Law Council.


click here for more




LCA Backs Changes to Same-Sex Laws


The Law Council has welcomed an announcement that Commonwealth laws which discriminate against same-sex couples will be either gone or on their way out by year’s end.


click here for more



Quentin Bryce Welcomed as New Governor-General


The Law Council this month congratulated Quentin Bryce on her appointment as Governor-General of Australia.

“Ms Bryce’s appointment as Governor-General is richly deserved and caps a long and distinguished career, which began in the law,” Law Council President Ross Ray QC said.


click here for more




Law Students Call For Scholarship Overhaul


The peak body representing Australian law students says the Federal Government’s Commonwealth Scholarship Program falls short of the mark and has called for a number of shortcomings to be rectified.


click here for more




Future of Federalism Under Microscope


Brisbane will play host in July to an international panel of experts to discuss the major challenges and opportunities for federal systems around the world.


click here for more



So You Think You Can Practise Downunder?

By Elizabeth Lee*



April 2008: the perfect time to be in Washington DC. Cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The Pope is in town. A lone Aussie young lawyer makes the trek out there also.


click here for more




What's On


What's On is your guide to conferences, workshops, seminars and other events of interest to the Australian legal profession. Items for What's On are welcome and should be submitted to the editor on the details provided.


click here for more

Posted by editor at 5:47 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 8 May 2008 7:01 PM NZT
Grog pushers in the Sydney press today, Denton/ABC leverage social concerns
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: health

The ABC are running a tv show promotion with the angle of 'adverts' on the public broadcaster. It's an Andrew Denton viral marketing tactic by this advertising agency Three Drunk Monkeys:

 Fury at spoof advert on ABC | NEWS.com.au

and the Sydney Daily Telegraph are running a straight story (above) today as if by way of interference as they take the big advert revenue for retail grog. As they do over at the Sydney Morning Herald. 

The whole alcohol impact on society is getting a thorough dose of salts at the moment, and we wonder indeed if alcohol is actually promotes political apathy amongst voters by dulling the senses (all the better to keep worker bees in their place?).

We also had a dig at News Ltd there for being surrounded by pubs yesterday which we feel is not their fault but might cloud their judgement so to speak. More power to Andrew Denton we say and his Gruen ditty as per Adam Spencer abc 702 radio show this morning not so far away from the sex advert juxtaposition above in the SDT.

7 May 2008 News Ltd HQ in Sydney keeping afloat 10 pubs all within 500 metres?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: big media

Apparently only 2 alcoholic drinks a day increases one's chance of cancer fo the throat, breast, liver, bowel, stomach. It's all pretty awful really. The trouble with alcohol like most drugs is that it's a great deceiver, so most will probably brush off this warning as not real in part at least because their judgement is damaged by the alcohol itself. We know prohibition is dangerous to good government too but more effective education is always welcome.

8 May 08 Even two drinks a high cancer risk

ALCOHOL is one of the most well-established causes of cancer and there is no safe level of consumption, the Cancer Institute NSW has concluded after an extensive analysis of worldwide research.

The state government agency will today release a new report on the strong link between alcohol consumption and cancer, highlighting alarmingly high rates of risk from just two drinks a day.

The institute says alcohol is particularly linked to cancer of the upper-aero digestive tract, breast, colorectum, liver and stomach.

Its report, Alcohol As A Cause Of Cancer, says the risk of cancer in the upper-aero digestive tract is increased by 40 per cent (voicebox) and by 75 per cent (mouth and pharynx) from two alcoholic drinks a day.

The risk of breast cancer is 11 to 22 per cent higher in women that drink than in non-drinkers.

Four drinks a day increased a man's risk of bowel cancer by 64 per cent.

The institute said there was convincing evidence that heavy consumption increased the risk of liver cancer, starting at about 17 per cent from two drinks a day. There was a modest increase of 7 per cent in the risk of stomach cancer from two drinks a day.

High alcohol consumption, of about eight drinks a day, increased the risk at any site by 90 per cent.

"This report … presents the results from a systematic review of the world's literature on alcohol and cancer and clearly shows that the consumption of alcohol, even at moderate levels, is associated with an increased risk of several cancers," the chief executive officer of the institute, Professor Jim Bishop, said.

Bowel and breast cancer are the second- and third-most common cancers in NSW.

Posted by editor at 1:59 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 8 May 2008 2:39 PM NZT
Visit to the land of volcanoes, Chile's X & XI regions, 2002
Mood:  spacey
Topic: world

A volcano dormant for at least 2000 years has blown recently as per Sydney Morning Herald reportage here today. And here

Picture above: image lifted off Sky News of Chaiten Volcano, Chile.

Spitting lava ... One of the few remaining residents of Chaiten gestures at the volcano that has forced most from the area.

Spitting lava ... One of the few remaining residents of Chaiten gestures at the volcano that has forced most from the area.
Photo: LA Tercera [Sydney Morning Herald]


It is literally 8 km from the town of Chaiten in southern Chile known as the 11th region as shown by our Google Earth screen shots below. 

Picture above: Google Earth of the surrounding region, main town Puerto Montt at the top of the picture, Chaiten middle right, Chiloe Island middle left (accessible by tourist bus and car ferry).

Picture above: Chaiten volcano at top right like a giant oval, dormant for 2000 plus years, but no longer.

It reminds of the editor's travels in 2002 to nearby town of Puerto Montt and Chiloe Island which are just north in the '10th Region'. This is all great volcano and earthquake country as per this picture below.

Our interest in this part of the world was for tourism, but also regarding this local controversy of a US $3 billion hydro smelter scheme by Noranda, a Canadian multinational mining company. It would have caused untold damage to the marvellous fjordlands, lakes and original forest and wildlife of the 11th region and we played our role in stopping that vandalism (including employment of 2 staffers costing $15K):

Patagonia ecology solidarity project

Picture above: Campaign poster with provenance to Australia because the hand prints were spurred on by Jabiluka campaign handprint stickers shown to the locals, while also noting the Chileans had their own Indigenous rock art to take their inspiration.





Picture above: Editor with local environmental leadership in Santiago 2002.

Note the website address for no alumysa has been superceded by www.ecosistemas.cl and in particular this page

Picture above: Images of Puerto Montt and surrounds taken in 2002 by the editor. Notice puma raised from a cub let out to breed but always returns according to owner. Also winter woodsmoke pollution evident. Lovely estuary scenic areas. Ship heading south called 'Navimag'. Ferry over to Chiloe Island opposite Chaiten including township of Castro. Spectacular local mountain parks, and inland lakes. German-Swiss style house construction.

Picture above: The trip left such an indelible mark we kept the tickets.

Picture above: Bus crossing of the Andes to Argentinian city of Mendoza. Top left shows the switchbacks ascending. Blizzard conditions soon after closed the crossing for 3 days. In Mendoza protests were breaking out over the collapsed currency, and police with shiny double barrel shotguns guarded the bus from opportunistic cirminals, and to keep safe their country's reputation, while we visitors from Chile were stranded in a traffic jam.



Posted by editor at 1:01 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 8 May 2008 6:37 PM NZT
Comment: Ex PM Howard rages against the dying of the light* .... like Burma's afflicted
Mood:  sad
Topic: aust govt

Picture: 27 March 2006, Sydneysiders flock to the coast to witness dramatic Cyclone Wati ripples travelling 1000 km south west, to the shores of Sydney. 

We wrote last night of evidence of former Liberal Party parliamentary deputy leader, Peter Costello MP, engaged in real politik in an effective way again: A Laurie Oakes' column in the Sydney Tele, a Dennis Shanahan front pager in The Oz.

All in the federal budget season which Costello prepared every year since 1996. One feels Costello as former federal Treasurer would indeed be twitchy at such a time another has got his harness now.

So now ex PM John Howard is reported last night at a dinner for nostalgic 1,200 fans calling for his party to 'rage against being in opposition' and to 'not take cheek from the other side' or words to that effect. But this all sounds like raging against the dying of the light of literary fame.

But we are at a junture in Australian politics far more serious than these shallow concerns of self respect or image. If Al Gore is right about intensity if not occurrence of cyclonic impact in Burma, and other storms despite the predictable ridicule or red herrings (?) about mangrove removal, and Howard is indeed in generational and political economic denial, which we think he is, then dangerous climate change is stalking large population centres now.

Can't happen here? Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane, even Sydney in 20 years with tropical and sub tropical weather patterns?

And apart from meteorological/science debate there is the political reality of perception, with not a hint of scaremongering involved. 

Then federal treasurer Peter Costello MP, with his electorate in Melbourne, took serious climate change to Cabinet apparently in 2003 and apparently was rebuffed:

 20.2.2007 - Winds of climate change stir cabinet consciences Katherine Murphy The Age.

Cabinet dumped a serious emissions trading proposal brought by the Treasury and Environment departments in 2003 because of opposition from coal and aluminium interests. But by early 2005, the issue was back on the move.

In February of that year, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, then environment minister Ian Campbell and parliamentary secretary Greg Hunt sat down for a meal to talk about how to bring China and India to the table on a post-Kyoto framework. Government insiders believe the Foreign Minister's influence has been critical in bringing Prime Minister John Howard around from his previous doubts about global warming.

Twelve months after the three ministers' discussion, the Government had engineered, with like-minded souls in Washington, Beijing and Delhi, the AP6 group. This small burst of momentum continued. Around the middle of 2006, Mr Howard was making his own inquiries about policy options. Sources say last year's nuclear energy inquiry was born of the PM's sense that some kind of public shift on energy and climate was in progress.

But while the shift was there in nascent form, the Government badly misjudged the politics, ridiculing former US vice-president Al Gore's environment warnings, and appearing to be dragged to the idea of emissions trading.

Divisions, coupled with a lack of decisions on all major policy issues, have made it hard for the Government to show that it has a clear sense of where to take the country.

More or less consistently on the side of carbon abatement has been Mr Downer — under pressure from Greg Hunt, to whom he is personally close, Ian Campbell (and his predecessors Robert Hill and David Kemp), new Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and Peter Costello.

Mr Hunt did his university thesis on carbon pricing. He believes the firming of the scientific evidence has been critical in getting the Government to the table on the issue. "The science through the International Panel on Climate Change has moved from likely but still conjectural to pretty much lock-down. The cabinet has moved and the Prime Minister has led the move," he says, adding that there remains a legitimate debate over the timing of policy changes and the mechanisms required to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Ian Campbell had been talking about global warming since 1990. Visitors to his office were always greeted with a chart showing the steps required to reduce greenhouse gases.

He took up the fight consistently in Government ranks, gaining a few enemies along the way. Ironically, he was dumped from his position just as the Government finally accepted his message.

Costello reportedly did not attend the dinner for Howard last night with video messages from both VIP's GW Bush (climate change denier) and Tony Blair (climate change campaigner).

Putting all of these factors together Costello has a political future of some kind. And that Howard endorsement of Brendan Nelson as leader is more a kiss of death. Time will tell, but according to the best science time is also against us, all of us.

* Do not go gentle into that good night,  by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Posted by editor at 10:11 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 8 May 2008 11:12 AM NZT

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