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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 16 May 2008
New Matilda blocking our analysis on busy Palestine Israel string?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: independent media

At first we felt angst but now more in sadness and puzzlement than anything else we report our utter failure to make an important (to us anyway) contribution on a string on the vexed issue of Israel Palestine human rights and foreign policy. And this in a week we have read or heard about banning of an exhibition at Leichhardt Council Library:

May 14 2008 Exhibition axed after police visit - National - smh.com.au

and melodrama over concurrent events at NSW Parliament as per Senator Kerry Nettle here (Green Party):

 15 May 2008 Parliament fails to acknowledge Palestinian loss

But on New Matilda with their centre left readership and free speech principles? That's a bit counter intuitive. It's taken a full week to nut out how best to approach this blocked feeling. And of course it's by publishing right here.

The string is

israel/palestine 8 May 2008 

Israel at 60: Where Did We Go Wrong? By Mustafa Qadri

Our first comment was fine along these lines and no problem:

I make the same comment as on crikey.com.au today with the Lowenstein article "I still remember a Palestinian lawyer giving a lecture in the mid 80ies to ANU law school though I don’t remember exactly what was said. I imagine about the need for a rule of law per se. Which bring me to a direct challenge to the loyal supporters of Israel - am I correct to say there is no written constitution for the State of Israel? Happy to be told I am wrong, but my understanding is that if there were it would be necessary to codify a non racial and maybe non religous social contract, or at least delimit rights accruing to such race or religion … transparently, and legally enforceable. (It’s true the UK doesn’t have a written constitution but that seems to be the exception in democratic jurisprudence.) Indeed isn’t this all a rotten trick on democratic western allies when as Lowenstein says "including news about the allocation of building permits in the West Bank to only Jewish settlers". In Australia we have the Racial Discrimination Act. What say you?"

It's a busy string of some 30 comments and we made a second comment in conversation with other contributors:

Which is a bit like saying all English speaking westerners are one monolithic nation. Hardly. Quite incredible really to be so cavalier. Paranoid even, which is the psychology of the abused child State grown to adulthood and recently come into great power.

I wonder Denise do you reflect how haughty that reads with the confidence of nuclear weaponry of both of Israel and USA?

So I take it you concede that Israel is effectively an aparthied state.

The sooner Israel gets a written and honest constitution the better off the whole world will be, just as fences can bring neighbours together for the clarity of both the physical and intangible meaning - yes we live close but we want our privacy and quiet enjoyment too.

There is no agreed fence in that part of the world and this is a recipe for confusion and tit for tat that is a damnable spiral of anger and hate, and yes institutionalised violence of thought and deed. And I tell you the whole world is sick to the stomach with it, and don’t buy half the propaganda that comes out of the loyal diaspora Jewry. Indeed we only need to google the local English speaking Israeli press to get far greater diversity of opinion that what can be ‘properly’ discussed here in Australia.

The truth is there are many beautiful Arabic and Jewish people in that part of the world but the rest of the world are constantly prevented from enjoying that potential. Frankly I’m sick of hearing and reading about. Get your house and your neighbourly relations in order for God sake.

And since we were named in fairly mild response, and felt it important to go on the record about some things, we have tried to add this third one, which is blocked for all time it seems:

I tried to make a [third] comment here earlier but it was blocked .... 3 times. It was to say given the carnage of WW2 in the tens of millions it's pretty easy to see why country boundaries were so plastic in resolving the peace dividend in that shell shocked world. In that context one well understands the creation of Israel and the alternative non Zionist/Diaspora approach too, but not the cruel disenfranchisement of the Palestinians from their homes.

Secondly it must be stated endlessly that Israel with some 200 nuclear weapons will ALWAYS exist from here on in the history of this planet, or until they agree to disarm. This is the point of Mordechai Vanunu - as here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordechai_Vanunu

and lastly this link which I found interesting given vexed functions at NSW Parliament, Leichhardt public library and frankly everywhere these days:

"Cordell Jewish Dating Singles Personals @ JLove"


Over to you NM.

Actually the last bit was flippant but it has a meaning. The editor of New Matilda is Marnie Cordell. Whether this is relevant we just have no idea. Should SAM blog ask her on a date to get the comment on the string? No worries. She is attractive. More attractive than we no doubt. The official NM line is shown in red top right. Which is red for stop one presumes.

There are several other readers who have commented way more than 2 times on this string. Which is exactly why we maintain our own blog micro news website with some 20k readers per month (!) - because there is always the risk someone somewhere who doesn't want you to publish something probitive. Otherwise we love New Matilda, swear, and like it when they provide us with a story too as here.

We may have to return our gratis ticket from New Matilda to their sponsored event at the Sydney Writer's Festival because we obviously were not meant for The Simple Life.

Other views on the actual Israel Palestine question can also be found here in the Sydney press:

13 May 2008 A shared land as one state the way to peace - Opinion - smh.com.au

12 May 2008 Survival despite the odds

14 May 2008 Real nowhere land | The Australian

And one can always count on The Australian for some hyperbole on this subject:

14 May 2008 Roll up for the show trial with the Jews in the dock | The Australian


Postscript #1 20 May 2008

Correspondence with NM's editor says it was merely a web code glitch: She says she let the 3rd omitted post through. But it's not on the string all the same. We will try again. Our suspicion remains that there is something particularly controversial or sensitive about the reference to Israel's nuclear arsenal AND in particular the case of whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. But to who exactly? NM, or someone looking over their shoulder? The secuirty agencies have the capacity to go straight through standard website security, at least as we understand.

As to the referencing of that Israeli nuclear arsenal:

Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 4:11 PM
Subject: still waiting .... Israel nuke arsenal, Federation of American Scientists

"Israel could potentially have produced a few dozen nuclear warheads in the period 1970-1980, and is thought to have produced sufficient fissile material to build 100 to 200 warheads by the mid-1990s. In 1986 descriptions and photographs of Israeli nuclear warheads were published in the London Sunday Times of a purported underground bomb factory at the Dimona nuclear reactor. The photographs were taken by Mordechai Vanunu, a dismissed Israeli nuclear technician. His information led some experts to conclude that Israel had a stockpile of 100 to 200 nuclear devices at that time.

By the late 1990s the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 weapons, based on production estimates. The stockpile would certainly include warheads for mobile Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 missiles, as well as bombs for Israeli aircraft, and may include other tactical nuclear weapons of various types. Some published estimates even claimed that Israel might have as many as 400 nuclear weapons by the late 1990s. We believe these numbers are exaggerated, and that Israel's nuclear weapons inventory may include less than 100 nuclear weapons. Stockpiled plutonium could be used to build additional weapons if so decided."



"The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) was founded in 1945 by scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs. These scientists recognized that science had become central to many key public policy questions. They believed that scientists had a unique responsibility to both warn the public and policy leaders of potential dangers from scientific and technical advances and to show how good policy could increase the benefits of new scientific knowledge."

Posted by editor at 10:43 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 3 June 2008 8:30 PM NZT
Sydney press burns opposition leader Nelson after federal budget reply speech
Mood:  on fire
Topic: aust govt


A 5c cut in petrol price will have 'a meaningful reduction in inflation' by reducing cost of transport for all goods? And there we were thinking lower prices meant increased demand which demand feeds back into inflation again?

Yet this is the centrepiece of Dr Nelson's economic credentials. Gross populist rubbish says just about everyone who you might think actually knows about such things.

And the Sydney press have cruelly burned Nelson in their subtle and also blunt way. It's all in these pictures - juxtaposing a terrible case of a victim of an attempted murder by bashing and dousing in petrol. Get it? Nelson's petrol policy pitch associated with petrol as killer of beautiful young Australian womanhood. Ouch. The press can be so cruel.

And if you think this was just a coincidence have another look at the Warren cartoon at top with speech bubble "I'll just make this quick" pictured disappearing through an hour glass. Ouch again.

Never has Dr Nelson looked more like the night watchman in cricket terms.

In the sport of cricket, a nightwatchman  is a lower-order batsman who comes in to bat higher up the order than usual near the end of the day's play. This nightwatchman's job is to maintain most of the strike until the close of play (remaining in overnight, hence the name) and so protect other, more capable batsmen from being out cheaply in what may be a period of tiredness or in poor light. The theory is that losing two top-order batsmen in quick succession would be worse than losing one top-order batsman and a tailender.

A hallmark of such a player (between a leader like John Howard defeated at the last election and another top order choice of leader) can be sticking around too long after the danger period has passed, literally sidelining the real stroke makers. Which according to most coverage is Malcolm Turnbull.



Posted by editor at 9:41 PM NZT
NSW public energy: Spiv ALP sell off plan to China Inc was underway in 2006? Angel does ALP work?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: nsw govt

As Premier Iemma flies off to China today as mentioned here:

 16 May 08 Electricity dissidents face expulsion from party: Iemma

we read Alex Mitchell in crikey.com.au here:

16 May 2008 Iemma tries to crash through electricity privatisation

Which sent us on a flurry of online research of incredible manipulation and manufacture of consent:

Tom McLoughlin
Friday, 16 May 2008 6:34:28 PM
John Garnaut article in Farifax press (get this editorial contrast - Age headline "NSW power play stirs up a giant of global warming", SMH headline "More to gain and less to fear from China power giant ") last Monday pointed out: "Sooner or later some anti-privatisation activist will start doing background checks on China Huaneng Group, which is at the front of the queue to bid for $15 billion in NSW's power assets. They'll see that Sydney might soon be powered by the world's biggest corporate contributor to global warming." Now the Bob Carr/MacBank lobbying trips to China, and Beijing Austchina Technology sponsored trips for politicians are all becoming clearer. Iemma flew out of Sydney today for ... China.
Tom McLoughlin#2
Friday, 16 May 2008 6:47:25 PM
On Oct 24, 2007 Dr John Kaye MP (Greens) said in a media release (online): "In NSW parliament question time yesterday I asked the Treasurer if he had attended a meeting where privatisation of NSW’s electricity assets was discussed with a company owned by the government of the Peoples Republic of China. “Three times the Treasurer refused to rule out having had such meetings.// “Again in his media release this morning, he failed to deny the suggestion that the NSW government has begun power privatisation discussions with a company owned by the Chinese government.// “All he needs to say is ‘no’ and the matter would come to an end."
Tom McLoughlin#3
Friday, 16 May 2008 6:52:33 PM
SMH 23 Jan 2006 in "Like a bull in a China shop" ...."Macquarie Bank's executive director, Warwick Smith, a former federal government minister and former chairman of the Australia China Business Council, says the key to success is "start early and be patient" ...// "Their system is a top-down system. There are 60 million members of the Communist Party. The chairman of the party in Beijing is more important than the mayor of Beijing … So the party has a prominent position in their structure," says Smith.// The former NSW premier Bob Carr has joined the [Macquarie] bank as a consultant and will focus on China. [Warwick] Smith [of Macquarie Bank, ex federal Liberal MP, 2020 Summit Rudd appointee] concedes that being seen to hold domestic political clout has helped Macquarie open Chinese doors.// "It has worked to our advantage, so people in China can better understand what various skills we bring to a problem," he says.

Meanwhile "prominent" environmentalist Jeff Angel is mentioned in this article in Fairfax today as proof positive he was always a figleaf for the sell off agenda, and in effect prostituted to that cause (and not for the the first time):

16 May 2008 NSW attacks climate report

The relevant quotes are here:

".... The NSW submission calls for coal-fired electricity generators, including those about to be privatised in NSW, to get substantial compensation, or receive free permits to emit greenhouse gases, under the scheme, despite Professor Garnaut's strong advice to Mr Rudd to reject this.

The NSW Government's position will be a boost to private electricity generators, like the Chinese owned TRUenergy, that are large emitters of greenhouse gases. These companies may be bidders for NSW's generators when they are privatised." ....


The submission's arguments reflect the strong views of the NSW Treasurer, Michael Costa, a climate change sceptic. However, they are, at times, at odds with public statements by the Premier, Morris Iemma, and his Climate Change Minister, Verity Firth.

Last month a leading environmentalist, Jeff Angel, lent Mr Iemma his support for the electricity privatisation on the basis that the State Government agreed not to lobby for free permits for coal-fired power generators.

The emissions trading scheme is designed to limit the amount of greenhouse gases by setting a cap on what Australia can release.

Professor Garnaut says that when the European trading scheme was initiated, free permits given to power generators were sold for windfall profits. Electricity prices rose regardless and emissions did not fall.

The point about Angel is that he doesn't represent the green movement, only about 700 members of the Total Environment Centre with a long pedigree to be sure back to 1972. Milo Dunphy as founder of TEC never trusted Angel, and nor does this writer advisedly.

Dr John Kaye MP (Green Party) said this about Angel's collaboration with an 'independent' committee for public energy sell off:

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 9:04 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 16 May 2008 9:36 PM NZT
Thursday, 15 May 2008
PM Rudd biographer echoes Joan Jara on mortality of famous spouse Victor?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: aust govt

PM Rudd's biographer Robert Macklin stated on abc 702 recently some psychology about Ruddbot (over) working through the emotional reality of outliving his father who died at 50 in a car accident. From drink driving.

Our gloss would be you see it in the alcopops tax policy, and concerns about binge drinking. You see it in the manic workload as if there is no tomorrow. Well there will be no tomorrow in a self fulfilling prophesy at this work rate. A high class problem for the federal ALP, and maybe unavoidable.


We have read of this parental related fatalism before, from the world of politics too.

There is not a South American Spanish speaker who does not know who Victor Jara was. All 250 million of them. Try him on Youtube or wikipedia though Pinochet's thugs did their best to destroy his master tapes.

Better than Bob Dylan musically, ideologically, and possibly more influential politically and socially, and most of it in a non English paradigm.

His widow biographer Joan Jara makes a profound point in Victor: An Unfinished Song (1998, Bloomsbury Press, London) about the prescience of his own death, at an age we observed as roughly around the time of his own mother in her early forties (dead from overwork in poverty stricken Chile in the 1960ies):

One day at breakfast, for some reason I was cross with him, and Manuela and Monica sided with me against him. It was a women's club against the only male in the house. I think that Victor said that it wasn't his job to make the toast and we all joined in telling him off for having macho attitudes. Suddenly he said, out of the blue, and only half-joking, 'You'll be sorry later. You should make the most of me while I'm here, because you'll be a long time without me! I shall never get beyond forty.' We all laughed at him, but I knew that he meant it. 

It was Pinochet's thugs that killed Victor Jara around 15 Sept 1973, not bad health 13 days short of his 41st birthday. It seems to us it was Victor's choice to stay or go and face the neo nazi Pinochet thugs, never reconstructed after WW2, shamefully endorsed by the USA govt.

That's the point - it's PM Rudd's choice whether or not to devolve and delegate, more so after the recent first budget. There is a growing consensus that the guy should take a week's holiday and stop being so arrogant about his indispensibility.


Young Lachlan Harris running media surely had his wings clipped this last week. Swan has delivered a reasonable budget, as per Michelle Grattan this morning on abc RN.

Maybe PM Rudd should listen up. It is a democracy after all and 7.30 Report's Kerry O'Brien is not such a fool to be making a weak point about over work. Maybe the voters prefer a longer lived PM Rudd, not a wooden box.

Posted by editor at 11:29 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 17 May 2008 2:21 PM NZT
Public energy sale plan in NSW: Comment on 'gullible' Gittins
Mood:  rushed
Topic: nsw govt


Costa as NSW Treasurer correctly stated at the recent ALP conference that Iemma won the "unwinnable" election, which conversely is another way of saying Bob Carr left an indefensible NSW Premiership: A flaky dishonest premiership that always wanted to privatise public energy assets since 1997.

Yet it's the same policy flake, ex premier, Macquarie Bank carpet bagger, in Bob Carr who is still pushing the same spiv Labor agenda 10 years later. And not declaring his financial conflict as often as not too on 'our' ABC. Such advisers are very unsafe for NSW Labor to place their trust in. And much of the democratic institutions of NSW are a wake up to this reality. It's hardly a union monolith against public energy selloff. And it's going to get rough given the issues at stake: MP bullies 'reduced Lynda to tears'

The most influential press has been SMH's John Garnaut re China Inc stalking the $15 billion NSW public assets - see front pager last Friday -and Monday follow up: Looks to be offline, omitted from 8 day archive index, but here's a mention from the pay per view listing:

More to gain and less to fear from China power giant
Sooner or later some anti-privatisation activist will start doing background checks on China Huaneng Group, which is at the front of the queue to bid for $15 billion in NSW's power assets. They'll see that Sydney might soon be powered by the world's biggest corporate contributor to global warming. 
Sydney Morning Herald 12/05/2008     Cost - $2.20     957 words

 The same story runs in The Age under a very different headline spin:

NSW power play stirs up a giant of global warming | theage.com.au

[What is strange is that a May 15 story called Emboldened China won't be bullied by the West any more is on the May 12 archive index (where the John Garnaut or Ross Gittins story might be) and as best we can tell never appeared in the print copy until today!]

Then combine with Gittins same Monday 12 May business press (again cutely omitted from the archive index but found here "Why the unions fight so hard to keep electricity publicly owned") in the SMH that deplores alleged union feather nesting in the public energy sector. True to his expertise he completely ignores the pressing environmental dimension.

Gittins says it's "gullible" to ignore this stodgy union inefficiency. Only we saw the unions deliver on asbestos justice. We saw in late 2006 John Robertson as chief of Unions NSW marching in alliance with the NSW Conservation Council and the Rising Tide Coalition against global warming on Ch31 community tv (we vetted the legals for the programme too).

Then Garnaut junior points out China Inc's massive carbon emissions is so 20C political economy, but that (last paragraph p20)

"Most importantly, however, inviting leading Chinese corporations [vertically integrated as Garnaut admits to CPC central govt] to work within Australia's regulatory system will assist their transition into globally responsible players."

Now who is being gullible Ross Gittins after reading that? SMH or the anti privatisation alliance including former Liberal Party NSW leader, ex navy man, Peter Debnam as reported here, and his own statement here?:


Call us economic nationalists but why don't you put those western biases aside and take defector Chen Yonglin's word that it is "suicide" to let China Inc/CPC exercise full influence here in Australia.

Don't assume we are any different to Tibet, or East Turkistan, Burma, North Korea. Believe Amnesty International not the Beijing Olympic Committee. And the clues are Garnaut's own reportage anyway with this tickle up of an Australian mining house in China by the looks.

All this is true even as Garnaut junior is also right surely to say :

"The Chinese leadership knows it has a social, economic and environmental disaster on its hands and needs to act fast to reduce pollution and greenhouse as emissions."

Notice the same China Inc power company runs nuke reactors for energy production but is well known as a dual use sector for weaponry in an expanding military with eyes on Taiwan, the Pacific and Africa resources.

And NSW public energy assets are in the picture and you want to devolve all that policy balance to a foreign investment review board and deal Parliament out?

We say get real and who exactly is gullible? The truth more likely is we are seeing the beginnings of the transformation of the 20C political economy into a 21C one with some major changes in priorities and true representation of the public interest. It is increasingly clear Iemma is from the last century.

Posted by editor at 10:44 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 16 May 2008 12:18 AM NZT
Della Bosca's bright political future on two wheels?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: nsw govt


NSW Minister John Della Bosca is in a bit of bother over his low range serial speeding record.

Cie la vie. There wouldn't be a delivery driver in the state or the country who doesn't feel his demerit pain.

But not as much pain as Della will feel cycling from Leichhardt inner west suburb to Macquarie St for Parliament. It's short enough distance for a fat man to make the distance and long enough to hurt, and require recovery time. Not least from the fumes.

He may be shown as cranky and "foul mouthed" in the Daily Telegraph today getting their strips of flesh off the proud political fixer.

But the take home message is that if Della sticks with the exercise it will be the best thing that has ever happened to him. By facing up to the penalty and the physical discipline this is what he has to look forward to:

- a better respiratory health, which means better speaking voice, already no slouch

- faster brain work

- much better sleep

- a more relaxed mood at least after rehydration and sunburn

- a better marriage (read sex) life for greater physical fitness.

It's always good to see a politician on two wheels and though he won't be looking for our endorsement we embrace the rough hewn Labor bruvver's effort to burn fat not oil.

The next step is to give up the grog totally, and reduce the caffiene. We will be very interested in checking Della Bosca's profile in say 3 months to see if he has made lemonade out of lemons with his driving suspension.

Posted by editor at 10:27 AM NZT
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

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