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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 12 April 2009
No Sunday Political Talkies Easter Sunday
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: aust govt

 Tom McLoughlin's picture

No posting today on Sunday political free to air talkie shows.

We noted last week Insiders and Sunday Business begged off in favour of religious programming on our ABC govt funded channel.

Oakes on 9, Riley on 7 were no show. Meet the Press on 10 ditto. All good we say. Can't speak for the pay tv shows etc or nightly fta fodder 60 Minutes, Sunday Night or Dateline.

We can say the forum on quality journalism (another one) debating the death of newspapers seems to have been confirmed by this weekend edition offering from Fairfax. Newspaper it is not. Lifestyle rag maybe.

The Australian from News Corp seems equally shaky leading with a 'farmers are good, greenies are liars' story while hiding the true news story about triazine herbicides including simazine and atrazine are persistant herbicides found to be more dangerous than ever in cooler Tasmanian climates, that's on page 4 down the bottom too. The story notes they are banned in Europe but not here.

It's back to the packing boxes for us in our relocation project, and notice the change in email contact address which is now

Not that we have any great love for Telstra but the other carriers don't do cable or wireless where we are going, and at least with the gorilla you can be fairly sure they are not owned in the case of Optus by Singtel aka Singapore which does money laundering for the organised crime generals of the Burmese dictatorship.

Posted by editor at 12:29 PM NZT
Sunday, 5 April 2009
Sunday political talkies: G20 grip and greet, IMF grin, China grabs
Mood:  lazy
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.


Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.  

 Media backgrounders Preface – been off the coal face latter this week doing farmhouse work at Cattai (just like last week). Quite a few papers, crikey ezines to catchup.  

* Gavin Gatenby/Ecotransit in crikey reveals massive false (?) escalation of rail costings in NSW compared to similar project – apples with apples – in Perth. What  teeth grinding disgrace if it proves to be true. Source of comparison is ex ALP transport minister too. And see twist next two items in this list.  

* We noticed late last week Gawenda sledge News Corp and we took the trouble to comment on the string (as we do) and ring with personal message to head of local News Corp affairs with moral support re Right To Know Coalition achievements making space for a range of intitiatives in democracy building. Which leads us to what happened next …  

* Front page blowtorch on Sydney Daily Telegraph from Simon Benson about corruption in RTA blocking FoI with legal trickey – ostensibly a RTK agenda – but also a profound leverage by the Ombudsman via SDT of the Gatenby story of hyper escalations of rail costings. Which leads to what happened next … 

* Roads minister ex NRMA lawyer road lobby Michael Daly, right winger seat of Maroubra (ex Bob Carr seat) oversight of Macquarie big road rollouts 1996-2007 said ‘pure coincidence that Les Wielinga quitting RTA chief job for new over priced Metro project … just a coincidence. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ABC Local - 'Cover-up': NSW roads chiefs investigated for corruption


* Peter Hartcher on ABC Glover political forum – “why we hate this state government”. Tell us what you really think Pete – not as interesting as Ramsey – Hartcher. Referring to bikie laws after the horse has bolted, lacking substance. But might have been also referring to RTA cover ups above, or power blackout x2 for the protected species of Sydney’s East.


* Obama West Wing style re-run episode of shooting siege in New York State – this time ends badly unlike tv land – 13 dead. But no one much is reporting claim by Pakistani/Afghani militant leader (‘more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden’) claim that it was his instruction to commit the mass murder, heard on ABC RN Doogue yesterday morning. Goes by the name of Baituallah Mehsud . Rejected by FBI, but then they would say that? FBI rules out Taliban claim on New York killings - 10 hours ago


* There is a streak (!) of the Melbourne Truth in every newspaper editors heart manifest by scanty colour page 3 girls as per today’s Sunday Telegraph (bras), as per The Australian (fashion), and Fairfax Sydney Morning Herald too. They are all harvesting the position of falling sales and circulation by which we mean harvesting their credibility. 

 * 200K renters facing eviction – we know 60 days notice no grounds. Echoes much bigger story front pagers today on mortgage freeze from deal with 4 big banks and federal govt for anyone losing their job.  

* Quality journalism forum last week to be broadcast next Saturday abc RN in place of Doogue, probably on abc Fora too.   

* China syndrome continues with strong Milne story today and Henry Tsang MP in NSW ALP loyalist sophistry in SunHerald Sydney Fairfax completely ignoring undemocratic ruthless dictatorship of China. Local Tibetan says every country is the same as here for Chinese influence peddling. What indeed happened to the Tank Man???? Milne supplements with piece today rejecting racism smokescreen to avoid transparency eg “smuggling” in the no.5 Chinese propaganda chief. Big Media journos today showing incapacity for perspective too close to the Govt drip.  


10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


Lead in images of G20 UK Brown, USA Obama, Rudd Australia. “Global statesman thing is working for him”.


Press covers big story of day re mortgage freeze for a newly unemployed. Spin about red meat diet for PM Rudd


Talent is Hockey as shadow treasurer. Claims ‘backslapping’ at G20 misconceived. G20 “Obama moment”. Hock uses “backslapping” echo of my thoughts!  “Rudd is no Obama, let’s get real about this”.


Humour section about meal spat? No for real – Hock leverages to dishonesty of the office about whether it happened – Lachlan Harris [refer West Wing Josh Lyman in the news, not the flak’s role to get in the story].


Humour section – grinding teeth moment footage next to femme fatale Chinese diplomat. [Suitable advert juxtaposition for Andre Reiu shmultz melodrama in local series Neighbours?]


Panel is Steve Lewis/News Corp grey streaks sublimating his inner centrist at Fair & Balanced, Jessica Irvine makes her way for Fairfax brainy younger (?) woman, and a pear in sympathy with Therese Rein.


Hock uses metaphor flash flood to solve a drought. Has some resonance. Simply a loan – have to pay in higher interest rates or increased taxes. [Ignores that rollback effect of GST regressive nature – sweet revenge of lower paid? Arguble as cash splash is also somewhat regressive? Think no.]


Hock misses the chance to make constructive points about the May budget. Should have had some positives to grab the initiative after the effective sledging. Hock seems to suggest Coalition will block the money bill in budget? Lewis asks racism question. “Repugnant” smokescreen says Hock, really about transparency. [agree, it’s emotional violence by the ALP to avoid scrutiny].


Hock claims its one single foreign govt in equity and debt side of the national economic equation. [implicit a dictatorship like China, not just any foreign govt].


Humour out take is Moir on G20 cartoon but really its advert juxta Hogsbreath Café truly weird pink cheerleaders routine. At least 20 seconds too long but made me watch as truly truly weird.


Irvine plays populist line on Peter Anderson proverbial grey man in part 2, from ACC&I. Anderson looks like an ideologue perhaps contact lenses, unblinking, but MTP poll shows tax relief is preferred massively supporting his line. Agrees 2 negative quarters of “recession”.


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




Riley Diary 7, from 8.30am


 - G20 images with London Calling soundtrack. Rudd asking self questions again. Grip and grin. Never mind the bollocks [Robertson says it was almost Never mind the Stones] of revolting (?) protesters. Albanese grovels to the royalty. Good show


- No doubt due to time difference no Q&A with Riles, disappointing. But chatty compares news reader cracks it with ‘how can they rule the world if they can’t organize a group photo?’ Quite. Then Andrew O’Keefe oversteps the mark with a dodgy joke about being “out on the piss” referring to an Indian prime minister Hindu sect. Geddit? OKeefe neurotic about his binge drinking embarrassment telling jokes at the expense of a country of 1 billion people.


Just give up the booze Andrew – it really is as simple as that. Give it up. Said with love.




9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am 

Talent is minister for hair loss with patented drone, with brain almost exploding out of his forehead to keep it altogether for his pretty political bosses. Greyish edges tell the story.


Kicks off with Rudd’s diet tantrum, underlying neurosis about Howard’s fitness walks? Or pear like wifey? The politics of fat are oh so personal.


Tanner refuses to confirm car loans included in mortgage freeze for 12 months in deal with the 4 big banks.


Won’t confirm length of GFC – says small positive signs like USA sharemarket. [Small is right.]


“Difficult choices …. must maintain stimulus as temporary.”


One of the things we have learned over the last year [actually only 6 months] is that we shouldn’t rule anything in or out. [Which is exactly what Julie Bishop as shadow treasurer said  in terms of “wait and see” – how hypocritical to attack her in parliament then.]


Tanner calls Turnbull to nationalism to stop using Senate to govern while in global financial storm, trying to grab the wheel held by captain Rudd.


LO throws to compares who refer to “the fun part of the show” … but you have to say it was better interview than expected at the start, from Drone.





Insiders 2: 9- 10am


G20 backslapping imagery. Nothing contradicts Alan Kohler jibe as spectators.


Barry Cassidy breaks story about links to bikie breach of security at The Lodge for an hour. Assuming it is true might be big or small embarrassment.


Given the comments by Tanner, ironic that Julie Bishop as foreign minister shadow is talent.


Panel is Taylor/Australian News Corp centre, Milne News Corp centre right, Toohey Fairfax AFR centre.


Press round up Rudd in defence damage control in C/Times. Taylor on bank freeze, non bank lenders also shut out implies Hock.  Milne refers to Chinese Optus joint venture. Banned in USA for security reasons, sanction buster in Iraq. Not at arms length. Helps Telstra campaign to bust back into the NBN.


Julie Bishop all white ‘honest’ symbolism. Argues not out of step with world – problems for Rudd didn’t get what he wanted on exec pay, lots of things also not following Rudd script at G20. Constructs a fair claim. China vote in IMF off to 2011.


Leaders at g20 modest outcome – not failure. BC counters – G20 forum was a success as Rudd hoped.


Come back interview for Bishop – goes hard and clear on range of topics with mastery of detail of her case  – Chinese duchessing of Govt, repudiates positioning by ALP of Coalition as dog whistling when a whole list of commentators have adopted the tag “Manchurian Candidate” around “lack of judgement” about China’s influence. Fitzgibbon not credible with lack of transparency of paid trips by China lobby.


Spoils the hard line with exageration about hunger/hypoglycemia temper tantrum by PM Rudd in January 09. Yawn. Bullying of defence personnel?[– obviously all dainty flowers.] Agrees potential international consequences of security breach at the Lodge – earlier hyperbole makes perspective difficult.


Out take shows a steely and ruthless Julie Bishop with fixed smile. Is she human?


Everyperson segment abc reporter in Melbourne at some festival.


Panel chats on May budget, Bradley report, trade figures unexpectedly good (‘green shoots’ jargon).



‘China Syndrome’ topic  – Abbott on AM [pushing our line (?) in crikey comment string about Olympic riots for Beijing, known network of informants, yes trade but show perspective]


Very uncomfortable footage of Rudd almost certainly lying in diplomatese about mate from UK seating arrangement. [Those images are a template and a tell – the slight look away and back as the synapses very very fast construct a line that he believes will work.]


Taylor says Coalition accusing Rudd of putting China first is “a very serious allegation”.


China is NOT  a market economy, is undemocratic. [meaning dictatorship]. China is the pre eminent hackers Milne quoting Downer.


Taylor sucked in about racism allegation. Toohey agrees Bishop hyperbole about Rudd behaving like a member of the Communist Party of China.


Toohey says NSA head and shoulders above China but catching up.


Lachlan Harris, PM press secretary “lied”. Press gallery won’t cop lying distinct from omissions or mistakes.


Panel agree Opposition not helping with sandbags as per 74% man PM Rudd, compare with record of Hawke Nov 1984 at 75%. Need to be far more constructive about GFC to avoid stereotype of Oppositionism.


Talking pics – solid. Profound image of Obama shaking policeman's hand at no.10 Downing St. Heart melting stuff.

Tips - Taylor Jobs Services Australia story to go a lot further. Toohey says Howard has Chinese artist doing his portrait. Milne says inquiry into Fitzgibbon Defence snooping “should be made public”.


Week’s break for religious programming.






Inside Business with Alan Kohler


Feature interview with Rob Ferguson IMF, former BT investment bank


Bris Connections/Macquarie float farce – IMF litigation firm helping small shareholders facing financial ruin. PDS – up for another $2. “Installment warrants” different to partly paid shares, not up for the balance.


Whose fault? Promoter of the scheme Macquarie. Shares worth minus $1.50.


All the worst features of this cycle. Rediculous leverage.


Ran BT in 70ies and 80ies. Agrees G20 is a talkfest won’t make much difference. Sharemarkets go up when people innured to bad news, not calling the bottom.


Talking point quotes Obama re G20 – did OK. IMF is the biggest winner up US$250 to 750M.


No one knows how long or when the bottom of the sharemarket.


Day spa small business feature story. Week’s break religious programming.


Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/


Posted by editor at 1:00 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 5 April 2009 1:06 PM NZT
SAM micro news pageview stats jump 40pc in March 09 off a low base - 34,255
Mood:  special
Topic: independent media


Screen shot above taken on 5th April accurate to the 3rd of that month according to the host metrics, which is our usual time of the month for this post. 10K jump in reader figures this month, that's fully 40% increase - so might pay to analyse which stories took off (when we have the time). 

Our guess Chinese Govt duchessing here which has global appeal, including USA where bloggers are more widely read (we have a USA host server too).

Previous monthly reader pageview figures for 2007, 2008 verified by screen shot (web host provider monthly pageview account details) posted on or about 4th day of the month found in this thread:

  • March 2009 - 34,255
  • February 2009 - 23,208
  • January 2009 - 27,462
  • December 08 - 21,858
  • November 08 - unavailable, host breakdown
  • October 08 - 20,343
  • September 08 - 20,746
  • August 08 - 25,344
  • July 08 - 22,855
  • June 08 - 27,440
  • May 08 - 25,046
  • April 08 - 19,250
  • March 08 - 20,803 
  • February 08 - 13,109
  • January 2008 -  19, 898
  • December - 11,627
  • November - 10,220
  • October - 9, 100 
  • Sept -  8,100 roughly, no screenshot
  • August - 8,845
  • July - 7475
  • June - 9675
  • May  - 9, 059
  • April  - 12,087
  • March  - 6,684
  • February - 5,372
  • January 07 -  2800 3rd Jan - 3rd Feb 07

Posted by editor at 10:27 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 5 April 2009 1:03 PM NZT
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Sunday political talkies: Chinese Govt duchessing of Oz Govt as per defector Chen Yonglin caution, as per local ALP power games?
Mood:  not sure
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.




Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.  



 Media backgrounders 



Preface – been off the coal face latter this week doing farmhouse work at Cattai. Not a comprehensive list probably




* Anna Bligh ALP Qld premier famous win, potentially on the back of scandalous treatment by News Corp of conservative rival to Liberal-National Party of Pauline Hanson, who inspired previously 5 or 10 One Nation MPs who split the Coalition 7 years ago in Qld state politics.



 * Arbib takes a break from Sunday Telegraph gig today after Qld election result stuff up. 


* Echoes of Petrov scandal mongering political strategy over the “affair” the ALP is having with China, at the expense ‘of Australian wealth’. On the other hand the lack of transparency in business dealings with dictator China is very worrying. Sunday Telegraph even quotes Green MP Lee Rhiannon over covert funding. Linda Simlamis fills for Arbib above on the same funding topic. 


* Rudd as PM is cute talking down to Joel Fitzgibbon on Chinese contacts and declarations given no.5 propaganda chief secretive visit to Australia recently. 


* Oz Minerals Chinese takeover blocked on national security grounds – Akerman calls it throwing bone to dog of public concern. [PA would know all about dog whistling too.] 


*  Moral panic over bikie organized crime is a handy distraction from the GFC. Not illogical either because the increased poverty meaning competition is tougher for territory all round, as market forces take their course in recreational drug use too. 


* Earthhour is a cute communication stunt that does help to spread a visible important message – significant reductions in carbon emissions from switch off conservation, also visible vote for deeper action.  


* Another crime against fashion by Therese Rein but hey she’s pitching which is better than stewing. 


  * Lisa Carty reveals a flint heart not caring less if the bikies kill each other off. But also care for the public with a shocking backgrounder of a death by menacing.  



10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


Lead in footage of Obama face time with Rudd. G20 news with Paul Bongiorno in London. Bill th stand in compere is very workman like and tackling the media savvy pollies like Tony Abbott. Good stuff.


Talent is Tony Abbott – issue of Defence Minister, puts it as “sloppy” minister. [Not very compelling argument, appearances, nuisance value]. Says it’s all about lack of disclosure.


Strong line – can’t spend your way out of a recession. Not a single major project re infrascture gone ahead after a year or more of new regime.


Panel is Glenn Milne/News Corp, and Fran Kelly/ABC RN.


Job Network ‘scandal’ – 600K clients of job network large proportion job networks will be closing down, tender for a boom not a recession. Says very very big mistake. [Seems to referring to Salvos and Mission Australia being repudiated, and running emotional scaremonging.]


Turnbull figures go down comparative to Rudd. 2nd out take is Rudd cartoons in USA. Lots of Microsoft adverts.




Prof Clive Williams on security boffin. Lock step with USA in Afghanistan, alliance relationship why we are there. China has “a very large effort” intelligence effort but not illegal, here in Australia, Prof quoting Chen YongLin whistleblower. Politicians should “be wary”. “Any travel paid for by a third party is a worry”.


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



Riley Diary 7, from 8.30am


Wild looking guy recognizes Rudd in Washington as Aussie PM.


Very funny Rudd on “core” message, feeding the media chooks [which side of the microphone is the bigger joke?!].


Nice inside journalism moment about the “cool photo” inside the Oval office for Riles which indeed is “the juice” [but only part thereof champ].


West Wing theme comes through as Riles Let’s Bartlett be Bartlett [refer the wikipedia episodes first season.]


Q&A dig at Riles re Kevin747, his jet actually 737. Getting to the core of it – ha ha from Michael O’Keefe stand in.






9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am 


8.42 start handshake with Riley Diary good scheduling in the national interest. Mick Kelty, the running man,  as Federal Police Commissioner -  LO refers to “panic” this week.  


Softly spoken rough diamond looks image works in PR terms. Sounding very calm and competent. Will he come up trumps under pressure? Jargon Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs [OMC]. [refer David Rowe cartoon today – quite brilliant again of lawyer in the sidecar]. 


Wharves infiltration? Crime on the wharves matter of focus. Overseas visas allies being blocked? Only within the law. Also chair of national crime commission. About 1,500 intelligence reports lodged in the last 12 months. [necessary but way insufficient answer?] Machine guns at airport? Security committees and agencies also.


  Machine guns would be an over reaction. “staffing optimal under the review” but subject to another review. 35% shortage in airports staff nationally. “Only as good as the intelligence you receive”.  






Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Uhlmann smiles at Fitzgibbon controversy. Front pager Sunday Telegraph is shown differently


Panel is Crabb/Fairfax, Meglogenis/News Corp centrist, Bolt/News Corp Right.


Ms Liu Chinese millionaire big donor to politics/ALP, Howard and Rudd connected and with Chinese Govt senior figures. Bolt argues symbolic influence of China.


Gillard spin re lapse, denies character or deliberate, recollection poor. [We wonder about hard drinking beer swilling memory cells at the highest level, catches up with the best and worst every time, refer Latham Diary].


Preface re Tony Abbott on Meet The Press 10 earlier today.


Barry Cassidy goes hard in this interview. No soft touches here. Raises character, why is he still in his job, Rudd spoke to Belinda Neal while OS but not JF this time? Gillard answer sounds good she is dealing with it but spending her political capitals.


Can’t recall meeting Ms Liu but possible in all the functions. Ex pats reporting back to Chinese Govt on any matters. Gillard stone walls about this. [Goes to the heart of the denial as per Chen Yonglin defector report – Senator Bob Brown had to work hard to get his asylum.]


Biggest source of paying students, super power in our region. Opportunism by Opposition. Why give JF a suit and return it? Gillard plays dumb with a cute response. Was he having an affair with her, thus compromised even further as a politician.


Talent is Paul Barrett ‘grey beard’ (not literally) former secretary defence [fell out with Howard Govt via google?] knows a lot about. Great choice of source.


The World Today Archive - Defence Secretary and Government in court



6 August 1999


Says delegated authority of all staff via Secretary and issues go to him re their minister – Defence Secretary refer to PM and ASIO.  Not concede DSC be involved. Chief of Defence Force not really involved ??? missed this point.


Goes on to pay system re IT efficiency, and these computer systems cost


Every Person segment is ABC group in caffeine driven Left Right ‘youf think tank’ in Melbourne refugees from Xavier College perhaps (?) all about young views about “the big issues”.


Bolt refers to Gillard as enforcer, unlike Brian Howe. She is showing she is the next PM says Bolt somewhat mischeviously but also with a Victoria feather in cap.


Bolt refers to influence trading (he would know at News Corp), Crabb arguing where is the evidence versus innuendo, a word she wasn’t able to articulate.


Footage Joe Hockey accused as dog whistling ringing the bell of the red hordes says Albanese.


Panel: Howard just as keen to parade business links to Chinese President at APEC in 2007 when Rudd spoke mandarin there.


LO with Rudd re IMF reform (Keating agenda for ALP aligned business interests?) greater role for China is result. Grab from Jim Lehrer PBS as well re opportunities with China  – keep meetings secret raises real problems says Barry Cassidy.


Bolt says China is different authoritarian regime and strategic competitor.


Meglo says double standards at play. Confusion in discussion symbolic of unusual juncture in politics for the nation.


Talking Pictures good West Wing fodder.


Fallout of Qld election result: Turnbull non committal.


Wind up comments: AC (missed it), Meglo - Greens and ALP combined have polled over 50% since Dec 2006 (??) - Liberal Party should well consider this reality.


Bolt says temperatures plateaued for a decade [ignores particulate pollution of global dimming offsetting global warming but both very dangerous, like car brake and accelerator to the floor … at the same time].  Bolt unintended flattering of success of Earth Hour numbers in force.


BC notes Anna Bligh will likely be president of the ALP during the federal election




Inside Business with Alan Kohler


Considering Chinese taking over Oz Minerals blocked by treasurer Wayne Swan. Chinalco takeover of Rio Tinto is much bigger level.


Ross Garnaut is the talent last half for a feature interview.


Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/


Posted by editor at 11:27 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 5 April 2009 9:39 AM NZT
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Bad air in Sydney causing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and reflux?
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: health

Picture: File image from 2008 taken from Arncliffe to the CBD, and to Kingsford Smith Airport

At just after 6 am this morning the first international long haul flight over Marrickville (Heights) cleaves the dark air overhead. 20 minutes later editing a loosely written piece on this Slog the unmistakeable smell of diesel fumes wafts through the home office.

That's not healthy. Thanks for nothing airport. 

This echoes our vision last evening looking west from the Eastern Suburbs of a mist over the Sydney CBD. Was it natural mist? 10 years ago we recall holding up a sign outside the new Eastern Distributor tollway stating "400 premature deaths in Sydney per year from bad air" or something like that. We also got arrested on the picket line. Our view was that a cheap well organised southern railway should have made an Eastern Distributor redundant. Too many assumptions in there in hindsight.

By coincidence and before we see the day's press the Greens MP Lee Rhiannon comments on an air pollution story running today via the big media:

Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 6:26 AM
Subject: [Greens-Media] Leaked DECC documents reveal extent of Government'sfailure to reduce pollution

25 March 2009

Leaked DECC documents reveal extent of Government's failure to reduce

Greens MP and transport spokesperson Lee Rhiannon has criticised the
NSW Government for its failure to meet its own air quality targets,
following the release of a leaked draft copy of the government's Action
for Air 2009, which reports on measures to reduce emissions from
transport, industrial, commercial and domestic sources.

"The Action for Air report reveals the NSW government continues to miss
its targets for reducing photochemical smog and particle pollution,"
said Ms Rhiannon.

"The report links the government*s failure to meet its targets to the
lack of success in providing adequate public transport, integrating
urban planning with transport and shifting more freight onto rail.

"The top two objectives of the Action for Air plan are to integrate air
quality goals and urban transport planning and provide more and better
transport choices.

"Yet the government refuses to introduce tough policy measures to
reduce the overall number of vehicle kilometers traveled in NSW.

"The leaked report indicates that some pollution types will most likely
increase over the next decade due to climate change impacts and
population increases.

*If these trends are allowed to play out the future economic,
environmental and health costs of air pollution will be enormous.

"Vehicles and fuels might be getting cleaner, but the government has
done nothing to reduce our reliance on vehicles.

"Sydney*s population growth will see increased demand for housing,
transport, energy and consumer goods, which will all drive up air

"There is not one new pollution reduction initiative announced in this
report, nor any time frames for turning the pollution problem around.

"A host of rail and other public transport initiatives designed to
reduce vehicle use have been dropped by the government in the past

"It is crucial that the Government brings forward tough measures to get
people out of their cars and improve air quality," said Ms Rhiannon.

Which brings us to a personal anecdote. At 44 we have been suffering some heartburn around diet issues. Literally millions of people suffer heartburn and it's dangerous if not treated. This personal challenge seems to involve all kinds of changes like more exercise, more balanced diet, exclusion of certain foods, back up zantac tablets on the shelf at some supermarkets, caffeine free lifestyle (really, that hurts) etc etc. Such is mid life.

But we wonder if the story is a bit more profound than that around city air quality: We are taking action to relocate an hour north west of Sydney on a rural block and this involves alot of preparation digging a trench for mains grid, bushfire prevention work, cleaning out the dead rats, etc etc It's turning these soft hands hard.

But here's the thing. We don't get the gastric reflux out on the farm in the fresh air. We do get it in the city. It's not very scientific speaking as a biology science graduate because we are not exclusing limited diet there or exercise from the clean air or even the rainwater tank from the chlorine water supply but we wonder the association of reflux/heartburn/GERD with air pollution.

A brief google reveals this about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and reflux - these things can travel together at least by association:

Role of Gastroesophageal Reflux Symptoms in Exacerbations of COPD

Whether there is a mechanism linking the two or coincidence is another question. But it raises the question in our mind.

We do wonder. For 4 years 2001 to 2005 we lived just on the 400m boundary of the infamous M5 East freeway ventilation stack. Odourless, colourless and very unhealthy one assumes. Though we had an active delivery distribution job getting plenty of exercise you might think, during this time we seemed to go backwards in respiratory health. Invisible particulate pollution under 10 microns in size can do that. So can a lack of aerobic exercise as distinct from power work.

For all those reasons we are now looking forward to getting out to the farm even with the bushfire threat and clearing work needed around the house. Luckily there are two dams near by and we are taking advice on a bushfire bunker ... but that's another story in due course.

Posted by editor at 9:37 AM NZT
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Marcus Einfeld take 2: Big Media ritual humiliation in the dock?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: big media


We wrote last weekend speculating about pride and denial of encroaching age as somehow affecting the judgement of Marcus Einfeld's retired Federal Court judge and legal lion:

Saturday, 21 March 2009
Marcus Einfeld aging disgracefully?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: legal

After watching 4 Corners, hearing of a bashing murder major crime at Sydney airport by comparison, and Media Watch last night condemnation of a local News Corp fake story, we have another takeout. It involves a degree of synthesis about some big media predeliction for ritual humiliation. In short emotional violence rather than light.

The News Corp Sydney Telegraph, in the manifestation of Sunday Telegraph got an extreme bollocking last night on Media Watch:

Tabloid Trading 23 March 2009

They are at risk of a major defamation payout to Pauline Hanson. But what we noticed was the pattern of ritual humiliation this time via fake nude pictures of candidate Hanson. No doubt the go big grovelling apology by the newspaper is to mitigate the damages payout. But what makes the fake story most egregious was the attempt to sully clean politics in the Queensland election 7 days later.

In that State electoral corruption is treated with no mercy and several people have received serious gaol terms - including infamously Pauline Hanson herself - until cleared on appeal  resulting in some soul searching in broader political circles about victimisation of the woman. How ironic. Arguably one upshot of the Media Watch critique last night by implication is that the editor of the Sunday Telegraph ought to be prosecuted under Qld election laws (?).

We can't help thinking the brazen objective was to destroy Hanson's ability to split the conservative vote as she did federally in 1998 - 2001 with 1 million votes as an ambitious right wing third force: The One Nation barrackers certainly think so as here back in 2001:

We can't help thinking too that the dirty story against Hanson had 'a Karl Rove' style of impact: Karl Rove as tactician for GW Bush USA presidency perfected the 'false smear/exposed/voter backlash' manoeuvre. Usually at the expense of moderate centre left candidates. In this Hanson situation swinging (no pun intended) moderate centre right cvoters reading their usual News Corporation press fodder (The Courier Mail in Brisbane), might well have been annoyed by their nude photographs story being exposed as a fraud. In short News Corp almost certainly estranged their own readers. 

Curiously these centre right folks didn't reward Hanson in droves, perhaps realising she was beyond the pale despite the unfair rap. Rather the official female in charge, ALP Premier Anna Bligh was rewarded with a less than expected swing against in the last week. And we can see their logic. Somehow we just know feminist Bligh would never have run a tactic like that against another female politician. Sisterhood. Moral values. Whatever the reason it's not the Bligh style. The swing voters punished the conservatives for a dirty story against a rival conservative in Hanson by rewarding the ALP. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

It didn't hurt for PM Rudd to come in over the top and be quoted all over the electronic news, possibly focus group tested, that Bligh's rival Springborg to the effect that after watching 'Borg for 20 years he "is not up to the job". Does this translate as 'can't control their own side of politics to behave'? We wonder. Shades of Jackie Kelly going rogue and cruelling ex PM John Howard's election campaign in favour of now PM Rudd. 

There are many examples of this ritual humiliation proces by News Corp media. But not many blowing up in News Corp's face. Pauline Hanson last weekend. Back around 2005 - significantly this was before Einfeld's speeding offence in 2006 -  it was leader of the NSW Opposition centre right premier in waiting John Brogden getting several front page blowtorches in a row leading to this:

Shattered Brogden's suicide bid - National - smh.com.au 31 Aug 2005

A long time before Brogden, Einfeld, Hanson, we heard of the famous example of then junior MP John Howard - later good buddy of GW Bush as PM of Australia - refusing to drive down a very short one way street near St Vincents hospital as his wife Janet was in painful labour. Why so scared? He obviously thought it would affect his politician's reputation. That's a weird sense of priorties, but on the other hand it also implies a healthy fear of a culture of big media gotcha reportage that twists humanity out of shape.

For several months now it has been former Judge Marcus Einfeld in the News Corp cross hairs.  They have been revelling in Marcus Einfeld's "lie" as he admitted frankly seeking "forgiveness" broadcast last night on ABC flagship 4 Corners last night.

The News Corp motive to go big is obvious: Einfeld is the very definition of a bleeding heart "activist judge" according to the stereotypes beloved of the News Corp harangue - Piers Akerman, Janet Albrechtsen, related as they are to the traditional US Republican loathing of "plaintiff lawyers" and their allies the "activist judges": These folks damage corporate profits big time, and arguably over reach as well sometimes. On the other hand these crusaders inspire academy award winning movies like Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich . And make shocking documentaries like Enron: Smartest Guys in the Room.

Such 'judicial activists' confront comfortable establishment privilege at every turn. Einfeld was shown in this mode last night on 4 Corners freeing several wrongly accused as a QC and helping poverty stricken Aborigines with real infrastructure assistance.

The centre left side of politics knows well to anticipate the bogus/ritual humiliations of the News Corp/Limited press front page as the local manifestation of Fox News so called 'fair and balanced'. Indeed many politicians are regarded as the proverbial jellyback for their pre emptive buckles. We prefer another approach. The day of the Brogden in distress news in 2005 (above) we thought to pursue some 'gotcha' pictures of their office known locally as the Holt St Harlot. Just to share the embarrassment around. They didn't like it at all:

So now we ask rhetorically, does this history of misconceived and/or dangerous ritual humiliation by News Corporation in a cruel sport of emotional violence encourage public figures to lie about trivial matters? Surely it does. None of this excuses Einfeld's perjury or "mad" coverup of his speeding offence, not least a 20 page piece of legalistic sophistry to the police. A lie that strikes at the heart of the legal system's efficacy regarding honest evidence with which to do their work. 

On the other hand hardly surprising that Einfeld didn't want to give the dogs of ideological war another meal. Regretably he only succeeded in serving up several exta courses.

What this expose' of ritual humiliation masquerading as journalism does help with is explain the undue defensive pose that helped bring a big man down arguably in his vulnerable foolish old age. That's News Corp's speed these days in the democratic age of the internet corroding their monopoly on media power and fearsome emotional violence.

Posted by editor at 10:25 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 March 2009 8:37 AM NZT
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Sunday political talkies: PM Rudd's home province of Queensland re-elects own mummy party
Mood:  surprised
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.

 Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.  


Media backgrounders
* G/greens target Eden chipper outside Carmel Tebbutt’s Marrickville electorate office, a marginal seat. 3 MPs Kaye, Rhiannon, Hale and Cr Keith Hughes of Bega and some Marrickville councillors
 * Mark Arbib fails today in article entitled “Bligh hardly to blame for voter mutiny” to pick the result with column in Sunday Telegraph grovel edition (see next)

 * Sunday Telegraph big apology to Pauline Hanson – but really disingenuous as too late given mainly about killing off her political splitting of the conservative vote as per 1998 federal election, leading to Tony Abbott organized legal harassment.




10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


Stand in compere. Lead in with ALP victory in Qld led by Anna Bligh in her own right. Says she had mandate to navigate the recession.


Talent is Senator Barnaby Joyce MP. Panel is Jessica Irvine Fairfax, John Stanley 2UE.


First out take humour is PM Rudd St Patricks day blarney.


Pushes barrow against Chinalco [tend to agree with him]. Financial sovereignty – if just about money we’d sell South Australia.


Costello – if he renominates then he believes in a long term career in politics.


Out take is morbidly obese CEO cartoon.


Bruce Hawker is second guest. Says LNP petered out in Brisbane. Says positive message about 100K jobs over 3 years. Historical victory for women. Gender imbalance in her favour.


Bonge’s job is safe as compere.


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



Riley Diary 7, from 8.30am


Steve Fielding cross bencher as Ned Flanders character re alcopops with Daryl Melham ALP MP looking seriously chubby.


Serious resonance there as Senator Flanders and his “double disillusion”. [Problem for Fielding is his rivals on the cross bench are quality people and he is the weakest link morally and intellectually off a high base. He could avoid comparison with Howard Govt’s conservative leanings but not so much now].


Triple jive talking talking talking. Very amusing.


Cut from the Q&A to LO with PM Rudd concurrent.







9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am 

 …missed the start.


Rudd crowing about Qld election. Various rationalizations – LO nails it with incumbency in a recession.


Talks up “rapport” developing with Obama as US president. Global leadership from the USA again.


Reforms – avoid sub prime second wave. Member of G20, number 14 or 15 economy in the world. Afghanistan war not working says Obama.


Safe and boring mode kicks in and LO in deferential  quiet mode. [This was always going to be a friendly interview in direct contrast


PM ‘not favourable’ to what LO says is a “mad project” [missed it with plane overhead NSW metro train?]. Rudd much prefers $15 B to 7000 schools nationally.





Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Panel Akerman, BToohey, LTaylor


Qld result. Talent is MalcoPops.


Uhlmann soliloquy says Greens going well. Gillard big winner looking more and more like a PM. Turnbull under pressure.Alcopops was a confusing issue. [no mention of financial consequences.] Raises expense of defence with serious waste problems. Tax and transfer problems. Never waste a crisis.


Big Mal Turnbull looking fairly relaxed, quite a bit greyer too. [Tuned out for the first half of interview right or wrong.] Says Nicola Roxon got it wrong in deal making over alcopops – says should look in the mirror. Quite cavalier attitude. Arbib sledged re property developer donations involved in $4B Rudd bank initiative. ‘Mr Dumb Money Rudd’. Ouch. Q – some viable objects will collapse? Completely untrue – no evidence says MT.  Uses incendiary language about dog returning to its vomit, rerun of an old film.


Says we have to be upbeat  about our comparative economy. Surplus and avoided subprime here due to


Michael Roland everyperson in Washington at Ben’s Half Smoked Chilli Dog place. Looks great with footage of Obama impromptu just before inauguration eating at the place. [Damn this diet of mine.]. Rudd will find Obama a hard arse.


Footage of MT in Parliament in full impacting voice. Gillard looking radiant as if jousting lawyers again.


Panel starts in.


Revealling footage of hectoring by big media of Senator Flanders, err Fielding. Who admittedly did well under fire.


Toohey agrees with Malco that Roxon failed to negotiate it through.




Inside Business with Alan Kohler


Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/




Posted by editor at 11:58 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 24 March 2009 8:49 PM NZT
Judgement reserved in 'illegal sandmine' case impacting Blue Mtns world heritage
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: legal


 Picture: Current image from Google Earth dated around 2003, says one objector. The image reveals silt tailings - which act like quicksand - to the very surface of the tailings pond. The council approval in 1996 of the final lake form is contrary showing tailings should be at 15-20 metres depth for public and environmental safety.


We wrote recently here about the 20 year saga of a 'farm dam' operating really as a sandmine dominant purpose:

8 March 2009 Submission to NSW Govt/DECC lawyer Gordon Plath on fine silt deathtrap in the Blue Mtns WHA, Hawkesbury LGA
Topic: legal

As far back as 1989 the operation copped a $10,000 fine in 1989 for water pollution of Tinda Ck into the Wollemi National Park.

Then Hawkesbury Council in its wisdom approved the illegal sandmine in 1996 after mediation with all private and govt agencies and community. One retired councillor is known to have done the excavation work on the original works.

Since that time various neighbours have reported a string of mysterious and violent events. A home invasion and sabotage of waste tankers. Sheep on a nearby hobby farm all being shot dead. Bushfire mysteriously ignited and burning out fences worth $10Ks. Rave parties and all the recreationals that go with that.

In 2004 an extension of time variation lodged in 1999 was finally approved literally 5 years later with the sand mine operating regardless.

In the current proceedings Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd v Hawkesbury City Council 11133 of 2008 the sandmine is seeking a 1.3M tonne "variation" of the existing mine. Trouble is they need to expand because they have buried dangerous 'silt fines' - the clayey leftovers of washing of sand extracted - at the surface of the tailings ponds instead of 15 to 20 metres deep. So they have breached their 1996 approval. What's worse the final landform 'lake' will be a death trap for wildlife and people as a result of shallow quicksand just below the water surface (as pictured above).

Last week we wrote to the peak green groups following this case:

Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 9:19 AM
Subject: HCC GM instructs council lawyer for inspection to go ahead on first day 16 March after all

Dear conservationists
I'm advised via objector Diamond apparently in conversation with the General Manager of Hawkesbury City Council Peter Jackson last night my letter of concern has caused  Jackson to reconsider - and he has directed his lawyer Stephen Griffiths - a senior partner no less of firm Pikes - to go back to the court and seek the inspection proceed on the first day as per usual court practice.
Lawyer Griffiths has called Diamond again this morning literally as writing this and confirmed this application will go ahead this morning. Fingers crossed.
That indeed was the purpose of my letter: That any orders by consent waving the illegal sandmine through would not go quietly. This is good, assuming it happens by Monday 16th March when the case commences.
Russel Byrnes who is solicitor for sandminer Birdon in response to my letter of concern has made various threats to me about my legal career even though I am acting as agent only not solicitor - as permitted by the legislation of the LEC. I have copied these threats to the EDO for their file.
And lawyer Byrnes denies being a business partner of Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd, the sandminer which was put as a question. But this is what he said in his sworn affidavit sworn 20 October 2008 at para 16 (sub paragraphs 54 and 55) and I quote:
"Mr Bruce also knows that my interest in such a venture [another sandmining proposal] is in partnership with his daughter and son in law who are my partners in other business venture." 
I repeat this is Byrnes own affidavit. Clearly Byrnes is more than just a lawyer in this current matter, with personal and financial ties with the family of managing director of Birdon, Tom Bruce.
It's not at all relevant but I understand Tom Bruce likes to take an annual vacation skiing the slopes of Aspen. He's done very well out of this illegal sandmine to date if not other business. And now he wants to sell this one to Adelaide Brighton Cement and cash out. And avoid responsibility for all the damage done too.
And so the preparation for the case 16 to 18 March continues. We are in the clinches and care and attention to detail is a priority now. Wish us luck.
Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin, agent for the objector Neville Diamond.
As it happens the court decided later that Wednesday 11 March 09 instead to hear a preliminary legal issue on the first day and not proceed with the inspection. In case this question made the whole 3 day hearing redundant. Fair enough too.
Trouble is the preliminary issue became a 3 day hearing last week attended by this writer. There is now a reserved judgment and that's before even taking evidence and objectors submissions with the court standing in the shoes of the council as consent authority. This second half will have to be rescheduled sometime, if at all. That's the normal process of 'a merits' review in what is known as class 1 of the court's jurisdiction with the court as the council reconsidering the whole thing.
We can report that solicitor Stephen Griffiths of Pike Pike & Fenwick for HCC was very vigorous and at times we think masterful in presenting the evidence and legal authorities. The whole argument was about consent condition 4 back in 1996 and whether 'details of erosion and sedimentation control' had been 'approved by the Department of Land & Water Conservation', now the Dept of Water & Energy. No doubt to avoid the very $10K fine for water pollution 7 years earlier in 1989.
Evidence from the manager of licensing from DWE Marwan El Chamy who was the relevant officer back in 1996 gave evidence in person. There was also appearances by owner of the mine Tom Bruce, DLWC/DWE officer Greg Brady and retired council officer John Pye. Curiously this last officer issued a letter of compliance for the sandmine despite admitting in the witness box that sandstone rock barriers were still outstanding.
The case for the sandminer depends on an April 1996 plan which includes limited side notes of erosion and sedimentation control which was in turn scrutinised and then reported on in Nov 96 to HCC, subject of an official mediation conference 4 Dec 96 and then built on later in Dec 96 with official extra condition 4 requiring (additional?) 'details approved by DLWC' . In effect Birdon say they recycled the April  96 plan without anything extra and got verbal approval by a 'phantom' DLWC officer. Manager El Chamy disagrees that a verbal approval would have been given and he certainly personally didn't give approval.
It was at times frustrating being in the court knowing about evidence that has not yet gone before the court given the preliminary nature of this phase of the case. For instance we understand that one retired legal officer for DLWC Ray Jerems wrote a legal advice contradicting the views of numerous departmental field officers that Tinda Creek did fall within the Rivers and Foreshores Improvement Act. That these officers saw that as their statutory approval role and that consent condition 4 mirrored that reality.


We understand from a senior source in the current DWE that the Jerems legal advice is 'rubbish' (actually a four letter word), the RFIA really did apply to Tinda Creek as per the views of variously Wayne Connors, Paul Bourne, John Ross in writing in the mid 90ies. But back at head office according to Jerems if DLWC had to treat Tinda Ck as under the protection of the RFIA with part 3A permits and buffers 'they would have to do it for all of them'.
That is a resourcing and staffing problem to protect smaller NSW waterways. Better to ignore the legislative duty? In other words systemic failure to apply the RFIA. The RFIA has now been replaced by another legislative framework according to senior officer El Chamy speaking to this writer outside the court last week.

Picture: Image from 1995 off the DLWC file of erosion and sediment hazard created by Birdon at Tinda Ck.


Now the decision of Justice Nicola Pain has been reserved in this complex long running factual matter.
However one very revealing exchange came on the second day. Stephen Griffiths for Council stated that if the judge decided in favour of the sandmine on the preliminary legal matter regarding enforcement of consent condition 4, and then also on the merits for an expansion there would likely be proceedings by 'government agencies and/or council' for breach of the Protection of the Environment Act and for non compliance with consent conditions.
One suspects the willingness of Hawkesbury Council to bring rigour so late in the day against Birdon sandmine takes a lesson from the furore over the preventable deaths reported in the Gosford Council Area recently, including here:
Related postings:
Tuesday, 28 October 2008 Diamond Diary Part 4: Attacking the messenger, not the vandalism Mood: don't ask, Topic: legal

25 October 2008 Diamond Diary Part 3: Getting to grips with the costs regime in the NSW Land & Environment Court, Mood:  not sure, Topic: legal

Thursday, 23 October 2008 Diamond Diary Part 2: How I went bankrupt 'doing litigation for Dixon Sands' Mood:  accident prone Topic: legal
Wednesday, 22 October 2008 Diamond Diary Part 1: Amazing career of environmental litigation Mood: on fire Topic: legal
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 World heritage vandal gets technical win in Land & Environment Court ...for now Mood: accident prone Topic: legal

16 October 2008 Hawkesbury City Council public duty to protect their World Heritage park in court Friday 9.30am Mood: blue Topic: legal

6 October 2008 Google Earth reveals illegal drain intercepting Tinda Creek to World Heritage area? Mood: sharp


Posted by editor at 11:24 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 22 March 2009 11:37 AM NZT
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Minutes of Addison Road Community Centre during Board upheaval
Mood:  not sure
Topic: local news


As described in the previous story here are the minutes, as provided by one Sue Paraha, perhaps the new office administrator at the ARC sent noticeably from the email of former General Manager Yvette Andrews:

Subject: Minutes of the Last 3 Meetings
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 09:38:55 +1100

Dear Member,

Please find attached the minutes for the last three

Sue Paraha

We haven't checked them for legals or content yet and publish them as a public service until we also get a chance to read them: 


# 1 of 3


Draft Minutes of Meeting: 4th February 2009Children’s Services Hut 21

Attendance/ ApologiesNarelle Mantle (Pres), Wolfgang Spranz (Sec), John Reynolds, Laurel Draffen, Emma Synnott, by invitation, Yvette Andrews (manager). Apologies: Margaret Carey 

Minutes            Adoption of Minutes, 3 December 2008                                                                                                                 NM/LD                           Carried           

Business arising from the minutes 

That Board minutes will be posted on the website in PDF format once they are adopted by the Board and that financial statements adopted by the Board will be available upon request.                                                                                                ES/LD                           


(I left the meeting briefly and am not sure if the January 29 minutes were adopted or anything else was addressed -YA).          

Sidetrack Lease Don Mamouney joined the meeting at 7:15pm. He requested that Yvette Andrews leave the meeting. The Board did not agree to his request. Don Mamouney then addressed the meeting and took questions from Board members about Sidetrack’s request for a new lease. Don left the meeting at 7:45pm. 

A discussion about the role of the Board took place. Yvette Andrews raised the issue of bullying and harassment in the workplace and presented the Board with a Workcover claim. She read details of the claim to the meeting and asked the Board to ensure that their obligation to provide a harassment free workplace was met. Yvette Andrews left the meeting at 8.00pm. (Minutes to here by YA who then left the mtg.)   

Narelle Mantle resigned from the board and left taking with her ARC board documents. It included a Workcover claim that was lodged by Yvette Andrews.  It was noted that the claim was neither discussed or clarified. No details of the claim were revealed to Board Members. 

A Motion to resolve the Sidetrack lease issue was moved 

“Sidetrack is to be offered a 3 year x 3 year lease with a rental review to occur at the end of the first 3 year period.  The lease will be conditional on Sidetrack conforming to all principles of the Addison Road Centre.” 

Moved by Emma Synnott   Seconded by Wolfgang Spranz 

Carried unanimously It was then noted that the legal advice being sought in relation to the allegation of violence was not received by the board therefore the board affirmed the need to seek that legal advice ASAP. 

Laurel Draffen then resigned from the board.

Emma Synnott also resigned from the board. 

The meeting ended at 8.45pm(2nd half minutes by JR & WS)



#2 of 3

Emergency ARC Board Meeting  8th February 2009 6.30pm

Venue: Addison Rd Centre Office Meeting Room

(Called according to the Constitution rule 17.2 ‘a director may at any time and the secretary on the request of a director must convene a director’s meeting.’)

Called by Directors: Wolfgang Spranz and John Reynolds


Agenda:            Attendence and Apologies

Wolfgand Spranz, John Reynolds, Sam Iskander – Apologies Margaret Carey


                        Minutes last Board Meeting

Approved    Moved:  WS                                                        Seconded: JR


1. This Board appoints John Reynolds as President in accordance with Constitutional rule 17.4.1          

Moved WS                                         Seconded  SI


2. This Board appoints Wolfgang Spranz as Secretary in accordance with Constitutional rule 19.1 and 19.2

Moved  JR                                           Seconded  SI


3. That a resolution be sought to the present conflict situation at the Centre which if deemed neccessary includes seeking legal advice.

Moved JR                                            Seconded  SI


4. Due to the current unavailability of the 3 signatories to the Addison Road cheque account the board appoints temporarily 2 signatories, (John Reynolds and Wolfgang Spranz) to the cheque account to replace Narelle Mantle and Margaret Carey.  

Moved SI                                             Seconded  WS


5. That this Board support the call by Members for a Special General Meeting called for February 25. It is proposed that this meeting discuss a future vision for the Centre. The Board welcome initiatives in this direction towards greater collaboration and information exchange at the Centre so all Members stay informed as well as contribute to the direction of the Centre.

Moved WS                                          Seconded SI


8. To appoint Geoff Hague, representative of Ordinary Member, Ultimo Project as a director under Constitution rule 15.5.1

Moved  JR                                           Seconded  WS

 This appointment is according to ‘subject to this Constitution if a lessee Director’s or an honorary Director’s office as a director of the Company is vacated before the end of their term, the Board may appoint a Replacement Director to hold office for the remainder of that term. A replacement Director must satisfy the criteria in clause 15.3.1 or 15.4.1 (as the case may be).’ 

In passing this resolution, according to constitution rule 15.5.2

‘The appointment wil be effective from the date of the relevant Board Meeting.’Meeting ended 7.55pm


#3 of 3



Minutes of Meeting 16th February 2009

Addison Rd Centre Office Meeting RoomMeeting commenced: 6.10pm 

Agenda:                        Attendance and Apologies

                                    Minutes last Board Meeting

                                    Business arising from Minutes

                                    Resolution 1: Letter to Yvette

                                    Resolution 2: Letter to John Blair

                                    Resolution 3: Elsa Dixon Grant

                                    Resolution 4: Reverse Garbage Roof

                                    Report on Community Gardens

                                    Report on Sidetrack Lease

                                    Report on Toilets

                                    Report on the Great Hall

                                    General Business

 Attendance: John Reynolds (JR) Chair, Wolfgang Spranz (WS) Secretary, Geoff Hague (GH)Apologies: Sam Iskander  

Minutes last Board Meeting 8-2-09

Moved:  WS               Seconded: JR                           Adopted

 Business Arising from Minutes

No business arising from minutes

JR welcomed GH to the Board

 Resolution 1: Letter to Yvette Andrews (YA) tabled

Discussion on the situation of YA who has lodged a Work Cover Claim relating to harassment in the workplace.  She already had taken 2 weeks leave as directed by Narelle Mantle the previous president and is now on 3 weeks sick leave. The Board noted that a resolution for her return to work needed to be worked out. The Board noted that YA has not provided adequate information or an explanation by her of the events that led to her lodging the claim.


GH informed the Board that YA had contacted him last week after he was appointed to the Board to organise a meeting with him for this Wednesday 4pm at building 24 at the Centre. He indicated that he did not know the reason for the meeting and he stated at the start of the meeting with YA, he would inform her that he was going to audo record the meeting so it was clear as to what was discussed between them.

 The Board resolves to send YA a letter requesting a written explanation of the events which led to her Work Cover claim to be in written form by 20th February in order that the Board can adequately resolve the situation.

Moved GH                  Seconded WS   Adopted


Resolution 2: Draft letter to John Blair tabled

Discussion on draft letter

 The Board resolves to send John Blair a letter noting his resignation and requesting a letter of explanation regarding the alleged assault on Don Mamouney.

Moved  GH                  Seconded  WS             Adopted


Resolution 3 – Elsa Dixon Indigenous Grant

At previous Board meetings, there was some confusion about who was responsible for this grant. It has now become clear from reading the project outline that ARC is responsible for the grant. The recent events at the Centre involving YA and JB have put the project in jeopardy. Without consultation with the Board, YA took a decision to end the Indigenous project and prepared a letter to the funding body stating that the project has been terminated, John Blair resigned and the money is to be returned. The question was raised: did YA have the authority to make this decision without any reference to the Board?


Information about the grant was tabled: $20,000 of the project has been spent (largely on JB wages) but there is over $30,000 remaining. The project was due to finish in June 09.


The Board has been in contact with members of the project’s Advisory Committee and they have indicated their willingness to have the project continue.


The Board has been in contact with Katrina Morgan, the DET officer administering the project. She confirmed that YA contacted her to cancel the project citing the ARC Board as dysfunctional. Katrina also informed the Board that she had been approached with the idea that Reverse Garbage (RG) take up the grant and continue with the project.


Yesterday, JR talked to Narelle Mantle (NM) from RG regarding this situation. NM indicated that if ARC continues with the project, RG will withdraw their application and support the ARC project.


Katrina Morgan has set up a meeting with John Reynolds this Thursday, 10am.


All agreed that the project was a good one for the Centre and should be continued. GH mentioned that the website should be promoting this and the Centre should be using the website more. 


Resolution 3:

The Board reaffirms its support for the Elsa Dixon Indigenous Grant and in consultation with the EDIG representative and the Advisory committee work out a suitable plan for continuing the project.

Moved GH                   Seconded JR                Adopted 


4. Reverse Garbage Roof

Report on RG roof. Minutes of a previous Board meeting (July 9, 2009) were tabled where a decision was made by the Board to:


That ARC commit $20,000 to a new roof. RG is committed $10,000 and any additional costs to be split 50/50 with RG.       

WS to investigate the current quote and consult with RG on the details of the type of roof repairs.


Resolution 4:

That the Board reaffirm the necessity of replacing the RG roof as soon as possible. ARC continues to commit $20,000 and RG $10,000 to the project.

Moved JR        Seconded GH  Adopted 


5. Community Gardens

WS reported on the Community Gardens. He has a meeting with them

Leanne informed WS that the money for CG comes out of a special bank account that has members’ fees and plot rental fees which is used to pay costs for CG. They provided a budget for their costs which include: supplies and gardening tools.


At the meeting with CG, WS will explain the changes at the Centre, explain that the expansion of the gardens out the front of the artist huts and El Taller Huts has to be removed. Leanne will provide details and balance of bank account to WS tomorrow. 


Resolution 5:

The Board agrees to pay the CG invoices over the next 3 – 4 months pending money being in bank account.

Moved JR        Seconded WS              Adopted


6. Sidetrack Lease

The February 4, 2009 Board meeting agreed to give Sidetrack a new lease. JR asked Leanne to start to prepare the lease in order for the board to review and discuss it prior to signing. JR mentioned some of the problems with leases and suggested that the Sp General Meeting on Feb 25, at the Centre might set-up a subcommittee to look at the leases and general equity issues.


Resolution 6:

The Board agrees to put a proviso in Sidetracks lease which states that it would be  ‘subject to any changes to leasing adopted through the special general meeting that has been initiated’,

 Moved JR                   Seconded WS  Adopted


7. Toilets

The toilets at the front of the complex are in a bad state of disrepair and are the most used public toilets in the Centre. JR has asked Leanne to get a quote for their repair. JR is approaching SCRAP to get a quote for a rainwater tank which would collect the rainwater from Sidetrack’s roof to be used in the flushing of the front toilets.


8. Great Hall

A meeting with Aerialise last week agreed to undertake repairs to the floor and the roof of the Great Hall as well as build a storage cupboard. Bob Cooney has estimated $5-6,000 for the work. The floorboard wood rot is quite substantial. ARC workers would also be involved in helping get rid of the woodrot where the chairs are stored and concreting that area. Flaps are also to be installed on the outside doors to keep water out and the drains need to be regularly cleared to help mitigate flooding.


9. General Business

a) JR asked the Board members to take responsibility for projects they have a strong interest in. GH volunteered to work on the Front Gate project.


b) Greening Australia: are organising a Business day clean up of the Centre on Tuesday 24th February 2009. The Board endorses the clean up and asks that Leanne email the details to all members, ass. Members and others at the Centre.


c) Letty Scott, an indigenous, black deaths in custody activist passed away on the 14th February of cancer.

 The Board agrees to donate $100 to help defray funeral costs for Letty as they are fundraising in order to get her body buried in Alice Springs.

Moved GH Seconded JR Adopted

 Meeting ended 8pm


Posted by editor at 11:08 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 21 March 2009 11:14 AM NZT
'Peace' breaks out at Addison Road Centre, back slaps etc but to what end?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: local news


And so the next chapter in the patchy history of Addison Rd Community Centre rolls on. It seems the radical film maker John Reyolds behind the nascent festival above is now the new president until the next AGM. We had an email from the Inner West Courier about the ARC but whether they have written any stories about it I do wonder. The local press have been hopeless till now at covering this story it seems:

Sent: Monday, March 09, 2009 3:52 PM
Subject: addison road board

Hi Tom,

Is there a number I can call you on regarding the Addison Road Centre board?Regards,Sam Worrad, Journalist, Inner West Courier.

We received this amongst many emails recently:

Sent: Saturday, March 21, 2009 1:10 AM
Subject: ARC

Peace seems to have broken out at ARC. There appears to be not a trace of Andrews, her husband or Burgmann. As far as I know the ALP has disappeared from the place which was Burgmann's last bit of influence. How quickly things can change. Your efforts played a part in cleaning up the place. Activism does have its place. Keep up the good work.
Best regards
Not so fast! We replied as follows in a somewhat depressing way:
Sent: Saturday, March 21, 2009 6:18 AM
Subject: Mmm ...Re: ARC

Thanks for the comments. Now that it is known (?) I'm moving out of the area mid April I'm getting some 'good on you' type comments. I suspect it's just relief a real activist is moving on. And nostalgia perhaps given the ARC is rudderless.
Peace? Mmm.  I wonder. After so many years of secrets and favourtism and bullying culture and I do wonder.
The key is transparency as an ethos. Circulating the old minutes is one positive step. But it's a very very very low base.
Here are some real problems.
1. Reynolds as president - he installed Andrews and allowed her position to remain without advertising for close to 18 months. That's not an honest broker.
2. I personally have a grievance for bullying against Reynolds which the Board refused to deal with under their so called grievance procedure.
3. Reynolds is proudly militant in his dealings with Ch31 and doesn't believe in Gandhi style social action at all. Good luck ARC.
4. Where [are] the explanations and excuses of the resigned board members to the general public, let alone tenants.
5. The gerrymander against 50% of the tenants namely artists and the like is still well in place with one token vote at an AGM.
6. The grounds are in a bad state - look at the piles of dirt between ChildCare and Conservation Volunteers. They are emblematic of leakage of nutrients out of the system  and poor ground keeping. This returns the centre back to 2003 when I started there - 5 times worse. The converse are the lawn dead/dirt patches being the norm rather than the exception. The attempts at systematic composting are gone to generate mulch for the grounds. Also the mowing too short is dumb. Look out street frontage. Unswept is the norm.Unweeded planters.
7. Reverse Garbage have annexed open space with a shipping container likely without any debate or DA from council. Open space!
8. Mamouney personally authorised the felling of several young healthy gum trees which arguably were a risk to the power lines - a few years ago. Trouble is it was highly illegal. That's why the stumps were ground down and you can't see them. This attitude prevails as does his influence along with dinosaurs like Vivi. The grounds crew knew it was illegal too. I got an opinion from Helen at the nursery - all good healthy trees. No transparency.
9. And to really prove nothing changes - Terry Cutcliffe still has no obligation to provide financial reports for all that free rent and indeed positive rental income from studios.
10. The budget no doubt is still in dire state and Andrews was willing to go because the place was increasingly broke and couldn't pay her anyway. One reason for the state of the budget is poor marshalling of assets  - like the rent free gallery and ancillary rooms over 500 sqm. Also with the grounds looking fairly dodgy there will less interest in events on the grounds.
11. The website which might have been really interactive and a nurtured resource of all tenants has gone dormant or moribund for a good 12 months. Sad since I was instrumental in building it.
All in all the dinosaurs are firmly entrenched and suppressing the next generation from having a genuine role in their own community centre. I put it down to the arrogance of the boomers. And I specifically refer to Cutcliffe, Mamouney, Vivi while you would probably include Burgmann.
Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin
This correspondence builds on 'leaks' earlier this month. Leaks but really just plain old communication about matters of general public interest which should be orthodox transparency which somehow in the 'State of Fear' in Sydney and NSW becomes mystery and shame:

Subject: Re: ARC Steering Committee
Date: Mon, 09 Mar 2009 15:53:10 +1100

To all members and Associate Members
ARC Plan Steering Committee

Following the Special general meeting of last week we are
calling for  nominations from Centre users to be part of the
Steering Committee for  the New Planning process.
The steering committee should have reasonable representation
from the  main interest areas of Centre users. There are 6
main types of interest  areas in the Centre...

Community Service, Educational, Environment, Cultural,
Theatre&Performance, Visual Arts

We would like to get a cross section of people connected to
the major  interest areas of user groups represented on the
Steering Committee. If  you would like to volunteer to be
part of the Steering committee please  fill in the attached
form and return it to us by 13/3/09. Even if you  have
already sent an expression of interest to join the Committee
you  should still fill in the short form. Please note this
invitation is also  open to associate members.

Also please remember that there will be many other
opportunities to  participate in the planning process once
it is up and running.

John Reynolds


One cynic responds as follows:

Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 12:09 PM
Subject: Fwd: Re: ARC Steering Committee

> [Hello] Tom,
> This is all a waste of time and money.  When Don was last
> president of ARC in 2005(?) he produced the ADDISON ROAD
> The report appears to have been professionally done and is
> fairly exhaustive and, of course, very little of it has been
> followed through.  What they are now proposing to do is a
> repeat of the same.

As we always say when it comes to Addison Road Centre transparency is the key, so we applaud these minutes being circulated unlike so many before, and we post them in the next story in full, as per this email:

Subject: Minutes of the Last 3 Meetings
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 09:38:55 +1100

Dear Member,

Please find attached the minutes for the last three

Sue Paraha

We don't know who Sue Paraha is either, presumably a new office administrator amongst a steady procession. We wish her well like all the others .... if they do a good job and act in an even handed and transparent way.

Posted by editor at 10:38 AM NZT

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