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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 29 September 2008
Comment: Premier Rees didn't learn from that side swipe obviously
Mood:  blue
Topic: nsw govt


Lord, I aint’ goin’ down to no race track
See no sports car run
I dont’ have no sports car
And I don’t even care to have one
I can walk anytime around the block.

- Bob Dylan’s Blues


What's a few hundred trees when between 2500 and 3000 native eucalypts are being fed into the Eden Chipmill on the far south east NSW coast every day?

That's the environmental damage at the Olympic Park precinct at Homebush with Premier Rees approving some mindless V8 car races apparently.

He could have bought into a solar car race perhaps. Or some other more forward looking style of event. But like the ALP, and society more generally he just doesn't get it.

Like Paul Kelly who writes for The Australian he obviously thinks the growth fetish is just fine as the Murray Darling carks it, as rental in Sydney turns oppressive, as native species head south, and the rate carbon emissions escalates. How wrong can leaders be. We should be exporting teachers to help educate the people of the world with alternatives so they can reduce the global population. Instead we escalate exports of coal.

Keep going this way Nathan and we will all be living "in caves" as a result of dangerous climate change. The symbolism really so stinks.

The irony is that Rees was a competitive cyclist who was seriously injured when some redneck car driver took a U-turn and wiped him out broken shoulder and all (so he says somewhere in the Big Media).  But he still didn't learn much from that it seems .....like cars and people are a poor mix.

Posted by editor at 8:00 PM NZT
VP candidate Palin levers Aaron Sorkin's Charlie Wilson's War movie for picfacs
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: big media

September 25, 2008    

Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska met Wednesday with President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan at the Intercontinental Hotel in New York.  

We don't run a story category for the USA presidential elections. We feel it would be impertinent from this far away for a 290 million population 'democracy'.

But we can't help noticing that the author of the Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts movie 'Charlie Wilson's War' based on a true story as set out in the DVD special extras package was the same guy who wrote the West Wing first season or two. That is Aaron Sorkin. Really excellent writing it is too. All based on a true story too.

The real womanising drug taking Charlie Wilson (as he confesses on the DVD special extras) is here:

Charles Wilson (Texas politician)

 The real Joanne Herring played by Roberts is here in Afghanistan via Pakistan:

Joanne Herring in Afghanistan with the mujahideen,  how Joanne Herring won Charlie Wilson's War
Joanne Herring in Afghanistan with the mujahideen

And though Sorkin was gone by the time the later seasons ran with the coloured Matt Santos candidate in West Wing tv series modelled on the real life Barak Obama, one gets the feeling there is a fair bit of life and art merging here. After all visual mass communication is what tv drama and election politics have in common.

Sooo in the Wilson movie the Julia Roberts character - who is a real life oil billionaire or something like that - holds a banquet and presentation of the president/dictator of Pakistan namely General Zia. Scary huh?

Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq 

In a brutally blunt line in the movie the Roberts character asserts her guest in the USA 'had nothing to do with the hanging judicial murder of Mr Bhutto', father of Benizir Bhutto. As if.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

Sooo now Sarah Palin, another right wing fantasy character from real life, is meeting another Paki leader in the news recently, this time democratically elected. Thank heavens for small mercies.

And if you think this reference to Charlie Wilson's War movie and Sarah Palin is a reach then how come this story ran 8 September here, via Sunday Times?:

8 Sept 2008 Charlie Wilson's new war against 'sniffy' academics | The Australian

It's all part of the same right wing sticht: "... reinvigorated by a recent heart transplant" says the article of real life Charlie, which is sort of like what Sarah Palin is to John McCain.

Posted by editor at 5:59 PM NZT
Coca Cola Amatil to make declaration to the stock exchange any day now?
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: legal



Coca Cola Amatil have written to the Land & Environment Court regarding the hearing of Sept 3 and 4 in Kettle [agent for CCA] v Gosford City Council and Diamond (Intervenor) 10429 of 2005 seeking extra information on when a judgement might be forthcoming.

Notice the reference to water volumes allowed: Basically they have DA approval for 25 ML/YR which is likely used up by now or soon will be, and have had a temporary license up until Dec 2007 for 66ML/YR under their DA approval.

In other words until the decision one way or the other from the Land & Environment Court in a quite complex and tricky case, hotly contested by neighbouring agricultural land users, community group and the green movement, Coca Cola are faced with running out of their license allocation for their Peats Ridge water bottling plant.

And as their barrister Peter Tomasetti stated/implied in the court on Sept 4, as a public company they have obligations to declare to the market place what their trading situation is. At that time they suggested they had some 3 weeks supply available under their license which bring us to about now 25 late Sept 2008 if not already passed.

One local writes to SAM micro news today that he believes CCA have only themselves to blame as the local staff at Peats Ridge were having their water resource bulk exported by tanker to the CCA Smithfield plant which could have been kept back for the licensed water bottling at Peats Ridge:

Sent: Monday, September 29, 2008 10:20 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: LEC No. 10429/05 David Kettle Consulting v. Gosford City Council

> Dear Tom.
> Thanks for CCA letter to L&EC This confirms my understanding of the licensed allocations to be 2 seperate amounts
1@25ml & 1@41ml.PRS has reached their 25ml limit for this year. The 41ml subject to the trial conditions is not available to them due to the refusal by GCC to convert the status from temp to perm.The temp / trial period expired Dec 2007.The DWE docs Fraser [counsel for GCC] produced at court don't alter the fact that PRS [Peats Ridge Springs Ltd subsidiary of CCA]  is currently restricted to 25ml. Access to all or part of the 41ml is subject to the courts decision.
> CCA have been aware of this restriction of 25ml since GCC refused their application in Feb 2008 however they chose to use up part of their limited allocation for bulk removal to their Smithfield processing plant therefore putting at risk having enough water left to keep the PRS plant operating as a bottling plant.
> In the last paragraph of the letter they are using economic blackmail on Comm Moore to try to gain access to the 41ml . This should be pointed out to Council so that Council make it clear that CCA put their PRS plant in this position THEMSELVES and it is not acceptable to try to now blackmail the Court.


Nor is the Court's judgement quite the official end of the controversy in this current phase going on for many years now. There are a whole lot of thorny questions being asked in NSW Parliament about how CCA managed to get a state govt license increase in water from 25 to 66 ML/YR (subject to a DA approval for the same amount via the court) compared with neighbouring landholders routinely rejected for any increase. As well as a cognate Water Bill also before the parliament.

One begins to suspect why former minister Nathan Rees preferred to jump up the ladder rather than stick around in this problemmatic portfolio:



Posted by editor at 4:58 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 29 September 2008 5:43 PM NZT
Della Bosca goes News Corp alcohol advertising, Scipione gets the collateral damage?
Mood:  party time!
Topic: nsw govt

NSW political watchers know it's a pretty big dynamic here. Sometimes it takes alot of study to join all the dots resulting in the 130 coppers with convictions on the beat story today in the Sydney Daily Telegraph today:

So try this chronology:

1. Kevin Rudd's dad tragically dies from after effects of a car crash - driving under the influence like thousands of Australians tended to do in the 60ies and 70ies. Kev nurses a grudge for 40 years and not just on his own behalf but every victim of booze 

2. PM Rudd announces campaign against binge drinking generally and 'alcopops' in particular. Teetotal NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione echoes the theme as does every other non addicted Australian with still half a brain left to preserve, or career ambition to nurse

3. Just for fun SAM micro news site here starts collating the highly prominent and expensive full page alcohol industry adverts in the press (as pictured below), particularly but not just News Corp press like the Sydney Daily Telegraph

4. Della Bosca gets caught swearing at a News Corp journo for losing his license for excessive demerit points (for speeding) and suffers frighteningly negative PR featuring cartoon of a bicycle disappearing up his ample backside. We at SAM counter intuitively encourage big bad Della to make lemonade as it were by going the exercise option.

5. Spouse Belinda Neal gets caught applying traditional ALP Right emotional violence in the parliamentary chamber, then denying that she even mentioned "devil child" or whatever it was

6. Neal gets into a high profile fracas with endless 'he said, she said' innuendo, eventually dismissed by the coppers, but providing hectares (!) of News Corp (and other big media) press about 'fragile' (not) Belinda. Alcohol plays a significant role in the proceedings, consumed by her or served to juniors by the staff, or none of these, as you please.

7. Della meanwhile goes the exercise option with a vengeance - as suggested at point 4. Turns up with a new ministerial job some months later half the girth, after 'the smoking sword' as it were of Nathan Rees doing a good renditiion of Macbeth on the colleagues. It's a rough tough business this real politik to be sure, to be sure.

8. New Health Minister Della Bosca calls for a serious consideration of ban of alcohol advertising ... which just happens to be a significant income earner of the sworn enemies at Sydney Daily Telegraph, as well as being a worthy public policy idea.  Teetotal Scipione echoes the concern as per 40K hospital alcohol related admissions a year as way out of control. Too right DB, too right. Hard to implement  an advert ban but like smoking bans a sensible measure to curb the carnage out there.

9. Which all brings us to SDT running their front page blowtorch '130 cops with convictions on the beat' story today. Mostly minor convictions, some maybe quite serious, but out of a workforce of say 10,000 we have to ask, well derr? Is this the editorial/management at News Corp saying to NSW Govt and Police Commissioner to back off with a little real politik tickle up via bad PR? We do think so. It all just hangs together, plus the fact the NSW Police have been cutting off big media direct access to the police radio frequency with all those useful news leads.

In conclusion all we can say is: Keep going Scip, keep going Della Bosca, keep going Ruddster. We like it. And a ban on advertising booze will do more for the economy than alcohol advertising has ever done given the opportunity cost, injury rates, stupified afternoons after a liquid lunch etc. True alcoholic drinks in moderation can be mildly socially beneficial while cigarettes have pretty much no redeeming features but hey we still think it's the drug dealers versus the rest. Will it actually happen? Not this side of a Green Party Govt it won't.

Posted by editor at 3:56 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 29 September 2008 4:57 PM NZT
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Sunday Political talkies: Cool hand Mal or 2 bit Hussler on pension policy? Likable goose on Festival of the Boot.
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt



Author’s general introductory note


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.


For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.


Media backgrounders


Caught the last 30 minutes of Obama v McCain debate which the latter was winning, but Bruce Wolpe says the voters would’ve been trending to Obama on the economy after the last week of financial markets turmoil.


Cool hand Luke dies – vale Paul Newman, what a guy. Slapstick. Colour of Money.



10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


Pensions theme – footage of Macklin Nelson-Turnbull Bill ignores 2 million pensioners.


Paper round up ignores booze attack lead front of Sydney SunHerald. Deborah Rice in chair – Jenny Macklin ignores first question could you live on $270 a week. Ignores it a second time.


$1000 interim payment? Macklin hair looks blonde green, with koala eyes, that droning nasal voice. Waffles on, footage of Senator Joyce.


Out take of Swan sledge of Turnbull re Roosters in AFL [which was a SAM story headline actually and maybe possibly the first to use the line – them’s the breaks big Mal – without fear or favour, repeated in full below].


Panel – Glen Milne news corp looking pudgy but healthy, Louise Dodson AFR rare appearance these days.


Helen Dent Australian Shareholders Assoc. Bit clunky, drags something over the mike, good message on corporate crime, verbal handwringing. Chunky jewellery drags on bench top again. Executive payrate question – blows ASA trumpet. But ASA have rep of weak attitude in light of Stephen Mayne. Rhetoric on reward for failure. Hand action chunky jewellery. Deborah Rice mimics the hand movements.


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



Riley Diary 7, 8.35 am


Kevin 747 prime tourist theme. Missy Higgins also in New York. Footage of Rupert Murdoch and many nameless folks. Roosters, Swans, AFL, Ricky Ponting for Brownlow etc. Quite a goose but all very shallow.


Talkies with Riley not a lot achieved on Kyoto etc. Cuts into Oakes on 9 switch. Discusses $4 billion non bank lending segment.





9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am


Talent is Lindsay Tanner as Finance Minister. Gets to the hard issue of pension benefits [to share in wealth of resources boom]. Won’t rule it out before next year’s budget.






Insiders 2: 9- 10am

Panel is News Corp heavy with Mal Farr and Piers Akerman from the same Sydney paper Daily Telegraph, and Annabel Crabb from Sydney Morning Herald Fairfax.


Press roundup only caught Pat Farmer living in Mosman trying to serve seat of Macarthur, who completely failed to stand against racism in Camden school issue.


Humorous footage of Gillard and Turnbull at AFL grand final breakfast. Gutsy for Malcolm to turn up and take the gibes. Boilerplate on international financials. Under pressure on IR delivery for union backers. Claims ACTU adverts at Liberals and called out on that.


Talent is Julia Gillard.





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






Tues 23 Sept 08 8.05 am

Turnbull an AFL 'rooster', League 'swan' .... and an everyperson 'goose'?!
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: aust govt


Funny to hear Mal Turnbull with Fran Kelly abc radio national just before 8 am this morning in the shadow of the higher rating 7.45 am local radio news on sister abc station.

After cutting strips with a sharp box cutter blade off the Rudd govt "bungling" over timing of bans on naked versus broad short selling vis a vis international market bans on some or all of these, he gets the usual September festival of the boot question.

If he had not been saturated with media engagements all this week he might have had the energy to listen to Barry OFarrell his NSW Liberal Party counterpart answer the same question only half an hour earlier on 702 abc Sydney.

And sure enough Big Mal stuffed it saying he barracked for the Roosters in the AFL which are actually a League team. And Swans in League which is actually an AFL team and then fully correcting himself.

Proving what exactly? That like most mature minds he doesn't give a stuff about big business sport anyway unlike say the amateurs above? That he never earned his sporting component of the Rhodes scholarship after all and he's faking it? That he is only an everyman like bookish Bob Carr isn't? That questions about sport is stupid for political leaders worried about a financial meltdown comparable to the 1930ies great depression. And dangerous climate change comparable to nothing else in recorded history?

Anyway we just wanted to use swan, rooster and goose in the same headline.

Posted by editor at 10:53 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 28 September 2008 12:26 PM NZT
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Bob Carr in $1 Billion play for privatised plantations in NSW mini budget?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: nsw govt

Picture: poster in increasingly marginal seat of Marrickville on Carrington Road in the 2005 by-election won by then upper house MP now Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt in move to the NSW Lower House.
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 10:52 AM
Subject: forests: mini budget is the dynamic? Re: [chipstop]

Carr's posturing is likely about the mini budget in say 4 weeks re BIS Shrapnel valuation of nsw plantation assets at $1 billion which annual revenue income cross subsidises the native forest woodchipping industry:

More here

Plantation sell off in NSW for $1 billion in public revenue?

He's very manipulative like that. Carr like Keating is a master of conflicted self interest, as consultant to Macquarie Bank.You can't privatise the plantations asset without a political framework for curtailing or shutting down native forest woodchipping.

One ought not get too polly anna about Carr's environmental credentials as Ian Cohen seems to be doing here  below in the attached media release to create some space for a mediator/profile role for himself as a deal maker.

Here is a quite accurate history of Bob Carr on the environment when it mattered:

  • Carr ALP dodges 1999-2003
  • Carr ALP dodges 1995-99

  • as well as Carr logging legacy for south east NSW (let alone East Gippsland):

  • Having said all that I do support implementation of the bipartisan 1990 Public Accounts Committee report to sever financial ties between plantation and native forests, further that the only likely way that can be done is through an asset sell off process where the public actually gets something for their plantation assets instead of being bled dry by the native forest/woodchipping/conversion sector in a cross subsidy.

    I know The Greens, academic Judith Adjani, TWS and no doubt the CFMEU and nominal Lefties like minister Carmel Tebbutt don't agree but then I don't think they've consulted or understood the 1990 bipartisan PAC committee report recommendations (which TWS elder Rod Knight showed to me in 1992), or in Adjani's case understood the land baron political economic dynamic of state forest agencies - a critique the former chief of CSR wood products made about her Forest Wars book - on stage at the launch of her book at Gleebooks in Sydney.

    In any case I would say it's all about the mini budget process - not Bob Carr's commitment to the environment per se. Just as his seed donation to the Climate Institute was about the real politik of wedging the Libs and Nats on Kyoto for election of the Rudd Labor govt, then backsliding on coal mining after that. If his politiking on the environment is seen as virtuous then that's just an added bonus as far as Carr is concerned as one of the 4 amigos with Brereton, Richo, Keating.

    Also of interest is that Rudd recently stiffened his resolve on climate re Garnaut modelling here:
    SMH 20 Sept 08 Rudd delivers a low blow on Garnaut modelling Stephanie Peatling
    KEVIN RUDD has told industry and environment groups it is necessary to support an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target, in an apparent reference to the more cautious approach advocated by his climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut.

    Mr Rudd's statement was made after a briefing of industry and environment groups on the Federal Government's plan for a $100 million international institute to spearhead research on capturing and burying greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

    Mr Rudd nominated the lowest level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere modelled by Professor Garnaut as "necessary" but did not say any more.

    That level was 450 parts per million, which scientists say offers a chance of avoiding dangerous levels of climate change but which Professor Garnaut said "reluctantly" this month was almost impossible to reach.

    Maybe the PM is getting really scared about the implications of all this, as he should be.

    Yours truly,

    Tom McLoughlin principal ecology action sydney, editor

    4 attachments

    ................................. Attach #1

    Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 8:44 AM
    Subject: [chipstop] penny wong on bob carr letter

    From Senate hansard for yesterday. Note that Penny Wong does not answer either of Christine Milne's questions other than with platitudes about the RFAs.

    QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE - Emissions Trading Scheme
    Emissions Trading Scheme

    Senator MILNE (Tasmania) (2:27 PM) ­My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Water and relates to the large volumes of carbon captured and stored in Australia’s native forests and vegetation. Does she agree with former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr that protecting native forests is fundamental to fighting climate change and that keeping carbon locked up or sequestered in Australia’s native forests instead of logging them not only will slow Australia’s rising greenhouse gas emissions but will also have biodiversity benefits?

    Senator WONG (South Australia) (Minister for Climate Change and Water) ­I thank Senator Milne for the question. I know that this has been an issue that the Greens have previously raised. As you would be aware, the government does recognise the importance of Australia’s forests in terms of both their biodiversity values and also because they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as part of a comprehensive effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are committed, and this is something that was made clear prior to the election, to maintaining a robust system of regional forest agreements.

    Senator Bob Brown ­They destroy forests.

    Senator WONG­I understand, Senator Brown, that that is not a position with which your party agrees, but that is the position that was made very clear prior to the election. The 2008 State of the forests report shows that there has been a 1.5 million hectare increase in the area of forest added to the reserve system since 2003. I am advised that 23 million hectares of native forests are now in formal reserves. We welcome the ANU research on carbon storage in intact natural forests in south-eastern Australia. The government’s national carbon accounting system does draw on Australian research from peer reviewed scientific studies and encourages research in these fields.

    The senator would also be aware that the government’s proposal in the green paper is for a voluntary opt in for forestry which would enable landholders who wish to enter the CPRS to do so subject, obviously, to the maintenance and permanence of such forests. That is currently the proposal in the government CPRS green paper. I do understand that Senator Milne and Senator Brown may have a different set of views on this issue.

    Senator Bob Brown ­Well, you are wrong.

    Senator WONG ­I meant from the government, Senator Brown, not between one another. As I said, we do recognise the importance of Australia’s forests. We have a clear commitment to maintaining a robust system of RFAs and I again reiterate through the green paper that the government is proposing in its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme a voluntary opt in for forestry. That is important and it is predicated upon the recognition that forests can form an important part of our fight against carbon pollution and our fight to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed opt in through the green paper would enable landholders to voluntarily opt into the system to establish a forest and to generate a credit as a result of entering the system. That obviously creates an incentive for sequestration where it is appropriate for forest activity for the establishment and maintenance of forests. I make the point that once landholders are in the system then in accordance with the Kyoto accounting rules they would have to remit a permit to remove those forests.

    Senator MILNE (Tasmania) ­Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I thank the minister for her answer although I noticed that she studiously avoided answering whether or not she agreed with former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr. I also note that in her answer she focused on the opt in for plantation forestry, not talking about native forest as standing stores. So I ask: can the minister explain why the forests of Indonesia and PNG are carbon stores and must be protected from logging to save the climate, but the forests of Australia are not? Is this a case of Australia hypocritically saying to the world, ‘Do as I say on the protection of your forests, but do not do as I do on the logging of ours’?

    Senator WONG (South Australia) (Minister for Climate Change and Water) ­I reiterate, Australia, as the senator knows, does have a system of management of forests that has been through an extensive process. Obviously there is the matter of historical record and I note that this is not actually my portfolio, but we have been very clear about our support for the Regional Forest Agreements. I understand that some in the chamber have a different view about this. But very clearly, we do have not only forest management practices and regulation in Australia, but also extensive land clearing legislation at a state level and the green paper goes through that in detail and explains that we do believe there is regulatory management there in terms of land use, which is appropriate. In terms of the senator’s question about Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, the government has made it clear that we do see­(Time expired)

    .................................Attach #2

    Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 4:13 PM
    Subject: [Greens-Media] Tebbutt has a lot to learn from Carr

    Media Release from Ian Cohen MLC                                       
     22 September 2008
     Tebbutt has a lot to learn from Carr
    Greens MP Ian Cohen has today recognised Bob Carr for his role in
    supporting the environment movement when he was Premier and his
    continuing support for the environment. 
    “Bob Carr was the first Labor premier to work well with the Green
    movement,” says Mr Cohen.
    “He took environmental and greenhouse issues seriously.  When he was
    Premier, Bob Carr acknowledged the importance of environmental issues and persued parliamentary pressure on his government to achieve
    “This was reflected in his strong conservation initiatives but people
    may remember Carr for his relationship with Milo Dunphy, one of
    Australia’s leading conservationists.  Carr also pioneered the
    permanent protection of forests under his premiership.”
    “It is a relief to hear Bob Carr’s comments after dealing with a
    Labor government that has turned decidedly brown", said Mr Cohen. 
    “Carmel Tebbutt could follow in the footsteps of Bob Carr and lead
    the charge against climate change.  The federal government isn’t going
    to make the changes and take the necessary risks in order to avert
    dangerous climate change”, said Mr Cohen.
    ‘Why can’t the NSW government set the standard for all state
    governments and put laws in place that protect old growth and previously logged forests.  Every time a tree gets logged under the existing regional forestry agreements we are a step closer to disastrous climate change”, says Mr Cohen.
    “The new Minister for Climate Change Carmel Tebbutt would do well to
    listen Bob Carr”, said Mr Cohen.

    .............................Attach #3

    Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 8:44 AM
    Subject: [chipstop] Fwd: [forest_alliance] SMH: Carr targets PM on logging

    How many years did Bob Carr have to do something about the forests?

    To: forest_alliance

    They're logging at Bermagui? wtf?

    Carr targets PM on logging

    ...................................................Attach #4

    Sent: Sunday, September 21, 2008 9:09 AM
    Subject: [chipstop] chipmill vigil and truck count this thursday

    Walk Against Woodchips Chipmill vigil and truck count this Thursday
    To mark Keri and Clover's passing through Eden, the birthplace of woodchipping in Australia, we will hold a one day vigil and truck count at the chipmill corner (Edrom Road/ Princes Highway approx 20 kms south of Eden) on Thursday 25th September.
    A few of us will roll out our swags there overnight on Wednesday 24th so that we don't miss the first trucks going in from 4.30am.
    Keri, Clover and supporters will spend some time with us before heading on down to East Gippsland. If you can spend all or part of the day with us, you will be most welcome.
    The trucks counts are an extremely useful exercise. We record the type of load, companies, the direction from which they arrive and various other useful data. This information has been immensely valuable over the years , allowing us to follow trends in the and counter some claims of the industry (eg; they do not take logs over 60cms diameter).
    This is a great opportunity for East Gippsland forest supporters to meet Keri and maybe walk for a time with her along the difficult stretch between Eden and Orbost.
    We have had an excellent weekend with the Walk Against Woodchips arrival in Bega on Friday, successful public forums on native forests and climate change in Bega and Bermagui and a fantastic music/ fundraising gig in the Tanja Hall last night.

    Between 2,500 and 3,000 trees from SE NSW and East Gippsland are cut down every working day to supply the Eden chipmill
    CHIPSTOP campaign against woodchipping the SE forests, 02-64923134, PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia, http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au
    CHIPSTOP on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vJuZya1X00

    Posted by editor at 12:52 PM NZT
    Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2008 1:28 PM NZT
    Costa resigns after the SAM blowtorch!?
    Mood:  on fire
    Topic: nsw govt

    Well we wish. Here was our derivative wrap on the weekend which did indeed look grim for the infamous blatherskite:

    [21 Sept 2008 Posted by editor at 10:27 AM EADT] Ex treasurer's '$500M risk' to AAA rating for NSW is stupid say Walkers
    Mood:  irritated
    Topic: nsw govt

    Here is the big news media reference today of Costa's resignation by fax to the Governor NSW:

    23 Sept 08 Costa resigns from NSW parliament - Breaking News - National ...

    Certainly Costa already made it clear he would quit soon enough, and he suggestively passed his qualification time for a cosy pension for life recently. (Accrues at 55 years of age according to colleague Peter Primrose on abc radio just now.)

    But we would like to think that Stateline work last Friday ventilating the Walkers' financial expertise building on their work earlier this year in cooperation with such as Greens MP Dr John Kaye including citizen's right of reply, finally finished the guy's political career:

    There is a big big difference between $500M and $14M in annual interest exposue in a AAA to AA+ credit rating and a NSW Treasurer has to know that difference or to quote Costa look "like a joke".

    Posted by editor at 10:42 AM NZT
    Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2008 1:32 PM NZT
    Turnbull an AFL 'rooster', League 'swan' .... and an everyperson 'goose'?!
    Mood:  cheeky
    Topic: aust govt

     Grand Final 2008 - Match report and scores

    winners are grinners

    Funny to hear Mal Turnbull with Fran Kelly abc radio national just before 8 am this morning in the shadow of the higher rating 7.45 am local radio news on sister abc station.

    After cutting strips with a sharp box cutter blade off the Rudd govt "bungling" over timing of bans on naked versus broad short selling vis a vis international market bans on some or all of these, he gets the usual September festival of the boot question.

    If he had not been saturated with media engagements all this week he might have had the energy to listen to Barry OFarrell his NSW Liberal Party counterpart answer the same question only half an hour earlier on 702 abc Sydney.

    And sure enough Big Mal stuffed it saying he barracked for the Roosters in the AFL which are actually a League team. And Swans in League which is actually an AFL team and then fully correcting himself.

    Proving what exactly? That like most mature minds he doesn't give a stuff about big business sport anyway unlike say the amateurs above? That he never earned his sporting component of the Rhodes scholarship after all and he's faking it? That he is only an everyman like bookish Bob Carr isn't? That questions about sport is stupid for political leaders worried about a financial meltdown comparable to the 1930ies great depression. And dangerous climate change comparable to nothing else in recorded history?

    Anyway we just wanted to use swan, rooster and goose in the same headline.


    Posted by editor at 10:05 AM NZT
    Sunday, 21 September 2008
    Sunday Political talkies: PM Rudd 'concludes visit to Oz', returns to UN. Turnbull sharpens axe
    Mood:  chatty
    Topic: aust govt

    There’s talk on the street, it sounds so familiar.
    Great expectations, everybody’s watching you.
    People you meet they all seem to know you,
    Even your old friends treat you like you’re something new.

    Author’s general introductory note

    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.

    For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.

    Media backgrounders

    10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am

    Golf. Waste of broadcast airtime.

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

    Riley Diary 7, 8.35 am

    Missed the first section. About Nelson getting a duck in bowling picfac with Kevin Rudd to adopt our cricket metaphor about Nightwatchman Man Nelson batting too long without making any runs. Food theme regarding ALP (poor) judgement re priorities.


    9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am

    Interesting interviewing with new Opposition Leader Turnbull on 28% preferred PM already. Tone of interview is most noticeable thing. MT feels the love and is deeply gratified and relaxed about where he has arrived.

    Opening question says it all – how does it feel to not have blood on your hands. Exactly. [He didn’t pull on the vote, he didn’t actively undermine while Costello appears to have done so even if unintentionally. He won on merit and he is actually humbled by the choice freely made by majority of his Party.] Hence the picture here.

    Not a harsh pose, rant or acid gibe. Quite a gracious presentation.

    Prime Tourist rather than Prime Minister. Cute line LO takes him to task on this but in mild tones.

    Turns to economics, confusing “motion with action” is a cutting line. Doing the spade work on need to consult and accept the wisdom of others in a complex very challenging world.

    LO tests him out on problematic Nelson policies re cut in fuel excise and pension boost etc. Says it all fits into the lower tax philosophy of the govt while arguing less than .5 of 1 % of Govt revenue, or something like that. Only vaguely convincing.


    Insiders 2: 9- 10am

    Press roundup Panel is KA Walsh, Meglogenis, Milne.

    Chris Bowen assistant treasurer is talent. Funny comment Greens more economic responsible than Liberal Party in the last week. Who is more arrogant Rudd or Turnbull – suppresses a smile gives boilerplate answer about in touch.

    Every person segement – the famous pole dancing in suburbia. Distracting. All about who is better Lib leader.

    Lots of footage about MT taking and Nelson conceding Lib leadership. What folks who think the Eastern Suburbs are so rich and privileged should check out country town Warrnambool. Air is cleaner. House blocks as big or bigger. Little traffic. In short it’s all an illusion folks based around social tribalism.

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

    Posted by editor at 12:33 PM NZT
    Updated: Sunday, 21 September 2008 12:47 PM NZT
    Ex treasurer's '$500M risk' to AAA rating for NSW is stupid say Walkers
    Mood:  irritated
    Topic: nsw govt

    Bob and Betty Con Walker, public finance champions have revealed the truth about the bogus interest claims of ex treasurer Michael Costa. All the tub thumping, posturing, positioning and stampeding by Costa has turned out to be economic rubbish according to the Walkers.

    Here was the claim paraded in all the 'serious' press courtesy of loud mouth Costa:

    Quoting AAP here 5 Sept 08

    "The loss of the AAA credit rating would add $500 million to NSW's interest costs over the next few years, he warned, and called for a "push out" in major projects to prevent the need for savage cuts to health and education budgets." at LIVENEWS.com.au > National > Rees rules out returning Costa to cabinet

    5 Sept 08 Business Spectator - NSW credit rating future hangs in the balance

    On NSW Stateline last Friday 19 Sept 08 had the reality - a AAA rating which is very atypical for a sub national government to a AA+ rating would amount in NSW case with our low debt levels to a mere $14M increased interest payments per year.

    To put that in context that is 1/10 of the money thrown at the World Youth Day corporate welfare for the Catholic Church earlier this year.

    Here is the referencing:

    19/09/2008 Saving NSW  Is it true the AAA rating is endangered?

    Over the last two weeks, Premier Rees has been warning of the consequences of that in these terms: a massive cost in interest payments on borrowings of $500 million extra a year.

    DAILY TELEGRAPH EXCERPT (voiceover); The main priority was to avoid losing NSW's triple A credit rating, which would mean an interest payment blowout of $500 million a year, Mr Rees said.

    QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Are you saying that that figure is inaccurate?

    BOB WALKER, SYDNEY UNIVERSITY: That figure is wrong and I think it's unfortunate that Mr Rees was advised in that manner. It's even more unfortunate that he was - repeated it three days later. The NSW Treasury has got a lot to answer for for not intervening and correcting him and giving him the proper advice. I think they've left him exposed in making somewhat exaggerated statements. Now he's the new boy on the block. He needs time to get on top of those facts. But it's the responsibility of the public service to protect their minister, not leave him exposed.

    QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Professor Bob Walker is Professor of Accounting at Sydney University and a former chairman of the council on the cost of government, appointed by the Carr-Egan Government. What would it cost the state if the credit rating was downgraded?

    BOB WALKER: The standard reference to this is a publication of NSW Treasury by former assistant secretary Don Nicholls who estimated that the cost of a downgrade from triple A to double A plus would be 20 basis points - that's 20 per cent of one per cent. Now, the interest rates currently being paid by the state are only six per cent, roughly. So if we increased that modestly to 6.1, it would have a very minor impact on the state budget. In fact, not all the debt in the state would rollover at once; about $7 billion might rollover in the next year or so. That would increase the interest cost to the state of a modest $14 million, not $500 million, as has been popularly reported.

    QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Fearing the public was being misled by the Costa analysis and rhetoric about the state's possible loss of the triple A, Professor Walker's wife Betty Con-Walker, an economist and former State Treasury official, has extracted the budget figures on net debt of the state.

    At June 2008, the net debt was $22 billion, or 6.2 per cent of gross state product.

    With infrastructure borrowings, including the north west metro, net debt was projected to rise to $41.76 billion, or 9.1 per cent of gross state product, by 2012.

    BETTY CON-WALKER, FORMER TREASURY OFFICIAL: And remember, it compares with international developed countries at more than 40 per cent. Some of them are as high as 80 per cent of their gross state product. It's going to rise to, according to the budget papers, to $41.8 billion over the next three years. Now, that will still only be nine per cent, 9.1 per cent of the gross state product. Still a very modest indebtedness ratio for the state. And these figures have been there and available to the credit rating agencies.

    QUENTIN DEMPSTER: We've got a cash flow problem with declining property tax revenues and a blow out in the health budget.

    BETTY CON-WALKER: Well we have Mr Costa's word for that because he's claiming that on the basis of two months figures - that's July and August - figures that have not been published, not available to anyone to analyse, and he's projecting those two months figures to the whole year, and we're still talking about less than $200 million in a budget of $48 billion.

    QUENTIN DEMPSTER: The Walkers believe State Treasury has a responsibility to the public to publish accurate figures about the state's fiscal position and a realistic assessment of risk to the triple A. They say the Treasury website, usually giving monthly status reports, has not been updated since May.

    Under the Iemma Government, the north west metro became a showpiece of propaganda designed to show everyone the Government's new found commitment to borrow money for much-needed public transport. At his exit new conference, Michael Costa confirmed there'd been an almighty row in Cabinet over the north west metro; he'd been rolled.

    MICHAEL COSTA: We've got to push out our capital program and it's no secret that I'm not a fan of the north west railway.

    QUENTIN DEMPSTER: So we have to wait to see if the north west metro survives the mini-Budget process. There's no doubt Michael Costa has softened up the public for its axing or radical modification.

    Bob and Betty Walker believe that while some reprioritising of capital works projects may be necessary along with some economic stimulus, the state's triple A credit rating is not at risk.

    You, I take it, would be surprised if the state does lose its triple A credit rating?

    BOB WALKER: I'd be rather shocked because there doesn't seem to be any justification for it and nor have the credit rating agencies indicated that is even a likelihood.

    QUENTIN DEMPSTER: So, what do you think's at play here?

    BOB WALKER: Oh, it's a common practise when there's a change of government, change of minister for some bureaucrats to wheel up their pet projects and their pet scare stories. I mean, a case in point is this talk about a decline in state revenues. The fact is the Government publishes monthly figures about its revenues, but for some reason, nothing's been published since May.


    Back on 24 June 2008 we notice this Citizen's right of reply to Michael Costa then Treasurer of NSW who has the smell of dead cat about him now in the politics of NSW, via largish PDF file off the parliamentary website (at least with Explorer brower if not Firefox):

    Citizen's Right of Reply (Prof Bob Walker and Ms Betty Con Walker ...

    Appendix 1

    Response by Professor Bob Walker and Ms Betty Con Walker, agreed to by

    Professor Bob Walker and Ms Betty Con Walker and the Committee, according to standing order 203(4)(b)

    We seek a Citizen’s Right of Reply regarding comments made by the Hon Michael Costa MLC in the

    Legislative Council on 6 March 2008 regarding the proposed privatisation of the State's electricity industry and issues relating to public sector financial management.

    We believe that Mr Costa’s statements under privilege are wrong and that they have adversely affected our reputation; and have the potential to injure us in our occupation and/or trade (Bob Walker as a Professor of Accounting with expertise in government finances; Betty Con Walker as an economist with experience in both the public and private sectors).

    Mr. Costa was asked a question by Dr John Kaye on the basis of the contents of our jointly authored book, Privatisation: Sell off or sell out? released with a New Introduction that morning at Parliament House.

    Dr Kaye specifically referred to two pieces of information contained in the New Introduction, namely:

    the more than 25 per cent rate of return on equity of the six electricity agencies being considered for privatisation, and the 93 per cent of the electricity retail market served by the three Government agencies with 7 per cent being served by privately owned retailers.

    Dr Kaye asked Mr Costa why the Government’s submission to the Unsworth Inquiry referred to a much lower rate of return of 5 per cent and a much higher proportion of 20 per cent of electricity customers as being served by privately owned retailers.

    The rate of return on equity of 25.2 per cent rate, reported in the New Introduction, was calculated on the basis of detailed analysis of the audited financial statements of the six agencies for 2006-07. Data regarding the market share of state-owned retailers (Energy Australia: 44.1%, Integral Energy: 25.0%, and Country Energy: 23.8%) and of privately owned retailers (7%) was sourced from the Standard & Poor’s, Industry Report Card: After Weathering A Stormy Year, Will Valuations Hold Up For  Australian Government-Owned Energy Utilities Facing Privatization?, 12 February 2008.

    Mr Costa did not answer Dr Kaye’s questions. Instead he attacked the content of our book, and did so by referring to one of the authors – Bob Walker. Since the book is a joint publication, we believe that any attack on its content is an attack on both authors.

    In particular, Mr Costa accused Bob Walker of being wrong on four separate times without providing a single example. He stated variously:

    Bob Walker is wrong.

    Bob Walker has been wrong on a number of issues.

    Bob Walker is consistently wrong.

    Bob Walker gets these analyses wrong because he assumes that State governments and some national governments can borrow at some preferential rate.

    Mr Costa also stated:

    One problem Bob Walker has regarding his economic and financial analysis … is that he thinks that governments can borrow for nothing. That is his fundamental problem.

    These statements are false. Neither of us has ever made such claims. A reading of our book or of several submissions prepared to various Parliamentary inquiries will show that to be the case. The differential between the cost of public sector and private sector borrowings and the impact of that differential are reviewed in our book at Ch 5 and elsewhere, while a 22 page technical appendix examines the related concept of the 'cost of capital'.

    Mr Costa also asserted a lack of understanding on our part of key financial management issues (which are our areas of expertise) on a further four occasions. The assertions focused on our understanding of credit ratings, and their impact on interest costs.

    In response, we note that that the use of credit ratings began in NSW in the 1980s. Before then, governments were able to borrow without the benefit of credit ratings.

    Contrary to Mr Costa's assertions that we believe that government borrowings are 'cost free or at a very low cost', our book provides an extended discussion of yield differentials between differently-rated securities. That discussion was based (among other sources) on information presented in the 1994-95 NSW Budget Papers, which reported that during 1993-94 the average yield differential was only 0.25 to 0.35 per cent, and that a downgrading of the NSW credit rating by two notches - from AAA to AA - would have added less than $20 million to the NSW Government interest bill in the first year (at a time when Gross State Debt was reported to be almost $31 billion).

    Further, our book acknowledged that governments with high levels of borrowings relative to Gross National Product or Gross State Product, may have to commit a high proportion of their expenditures to interest costs. However it also pointed out that this was not relevant to Australian federal or state governments, because of their relatively low (and historically low) levels of debt.

    We also noted that on 11 October 2007, the credit rating agency, Moody’s Investors Service, in confirming its Aaa credit rating of the State and describing the outlook as ‘stable’, reported that the State has the capacity to take on more debt, and that State Owned Corporations, such as water and electricity utilities, are capable of funding new infrastructure investment since their debt is selfsupporting.

    In summary, each one of Mr Costa's defamatory statements is contrary to evidence.

    Posted by editor at 11:27 AM NZT
    Updated: Monday, 22 September 2008 2:38 AM NZT

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