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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Nasty real politik on Turnbull in 'Wright was a crank' broadsheet report
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: aust govt


There was a cruel picture of a goofy looking 30 something lawyer Turnbull in the broadsheet press earlier this week in Sydney. Might have been The Australian, indeed yes here:

Spycatcher was mentally ill | The Australian
6 Oct 2009

From left Malcolm Turnbull, and author Wright in folksy hat seated on a city bench with Gough Whitlam no less, former ALP Prime Minister.

There was a real politik subtext of the report about Peter Wright being regarded now 14 years after his death, 24 years after his book, by MI5 et al today as "a crank". Especially the claim Roger Hollis as director of MI5 was a KGB spy.

Turnbull famously won a free speech case for the Wright publication here in Australia, though it has to be said Wright strongly hints he omitted alot of material anyway being 'a man who knew too many secrets' on the last page of the book. Wright was never in the director promotion stream because he came to the secret service through his science and technical not intelligence/spy training.

The subtext of the article is Turnbull promoted a fraud, a mental case, a crank and so should be marked down in the current leadership "chaos" because he has risen based in part on that cache' of misconceived libertarian free speech record. The addition of Gough Whitlam just twists the knife given the ex PM is regarded as an economic failure though social welfare champion.

The damage was all in the picture rather than the text content, and in the placement in the broadsheet of choice of the conservative intellectual Coalition voter. Nasty.

The book doesn't read like a crank author but then that could be editor intervention too. But putting that aside back in 2003-4 when Turnbull was accessible to the public while seeking parliamentary office, and this writer chatted to him on Bondi Rd (outside Kemeny's supermarket after a feed at 3 Steps and near where my IT consultant lived), and exchanged emails once, he wrote to this blogger saying words like

'it is accepted wisdom that Wright was wrong about Roger Hollis'

How very interesting we thought at the time. We may even have blogged on it on Sydney Indymedia sometime since.

We don't have the email - cleaned out several cycles ago but it's pretty much a direct quote.

So the news article earlier this week sells Turnbull a little short. He was willing to email a mosquito in the political firmament 5 years ago and concede his client Peter Wright's book - remember it's a rule of law society with right to a lawyer of choice - was probably wrong. Does this itself show lack of judgement?

On the other hand what is that old saying about disagreeing but defending to the death the right to free speech?

A cheap shot at Turnbull, no doubt effective given the timing, and as usual anything can happen in politics which is a cruel business to be sure. What did Turnbull himself say recently - 'the Liberal party are unsentimental about the leadership'.

Posted by editor at 9:57 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 9 October 2009 10:47 AM NZT
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
SAM micro news pageview stats for Sept 2009 - 19,132
Mood:  flirty
Topic: independent media

Looks like SAM news blog is back on mains power after going wild for 6 months. Hopefully our productivity, interest and utility for diverse readers will increase accordingly. Time will tell.


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

  • September 2009 - 19,132
  •  August 2009 - 22,072 (host metric, not screenshot)
  • July 2009 - 18,293 (host metric, not screenshot)
  • June 2009 - 29,165 (host metric, not screenshot)
  • May 2009 - 32,125 (host metrics, not screenshot)
  • April 2009 - 23,421 (host metrics, not screenshot)
  • 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 6:19 PM NZT
Fran Kelly gets the scoop: Interview with Prof Elizabeth Blackburn Nobel for medicine
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: big media

The voice of the winner is here this morning 6 October 2009 ABC radio national:

 6:35  Australian scientist wins Nobel prize for medicine


Posted by editor at 5:39 PM NZT
Briefing note from civil society group on 1997 NSW power sale
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt

Mediocre laissez faire economic analysis has grown up around the alleged desirability of the defunct 1997 '$35 billion' (or is that only $25 billion?) NSW power sell off plan, rejected by the union movement and ALP conference. But not just those groups. Civil society groups were also very concerned as per this article in the UK The Guardian in 1997 which was provided to NSW MPs with the package below:


The following documentation has never been web published before sitting in a plastic folder in the SAM archive for 12 years now. But we always knew it was quality information that should be kept for posterity, whether one agrees or disagrees with the weight of the arguments.

As stated elsewhere, this writer slotted a copy of this briefing note under every NSW MP's door. A practice we learned from an earlier parliamentary officer job with cross bencher Clover Moore MP in late 1992, when Moore McDonald and Hatton's influence and power was in their halycon days. The unofficial circular under doorways was banned soon after and we may well have caused that. Certainly the anger in the ALP Right must surely have been white hot after their power sale plan fell over.

As stated in the penultimate post regarding plans for the sale income in 1997:

(b) we know of another $450M via John Connor (now of ALP aligned Climate Institute) which Carr planned to insert into a NSW version of Howard's $1B Natural Heritage Trust package in the sell off of Telstra. Indeed the 1997 energy sale plan was quite a monkey see, monkey do version of Carr copying Howard in 1996 federal election win. In NSW substitute power assets for telco, but it was all about smashing unions and getting the money. And people wonder why Carr jumped directly to Macquarie Bank from the premiership?

The briefing paper from 1997 follows and main credit goes to freelance writer and academic Claire Gerson in Third Opinion magazine edited by Stevie Bee/Broadbent (now out of publication) who often worked overnight because back then internet speeds on landlines were so slow it was the only way to access his international sources. Also to then climate change campaigner Dietrich Willing of Friends of the Earth Sydney:







Lastly here is a poster from nascent  NSW Green party from that time in 1997: 






Posted by editor at 2:19 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 October 2009 4:00 PM NZT
Fact checking 4 Corners push of a falling wall re Sydney transport woes
Mood:  rushed
Topic: nsw govt



While agreeing with the overall thrust of the show last night there are some omissions and clarifications of significance:

1. Obeid MP, hardly objective, quotes $35 B valuation of 1997 energy sale proposal. This figure is also quoted by Keating in (complete with banker consultancy conflict) the SMH in recent years putting the sale at $35B but conflating the 1997 and 2007 sale plans which are radically different. Keating here 6 May 2008 and note his disclosure eventually of financial conflict to Lazard Carnegie Wylie bankers, in


However other literature we have seen from that 1997 controversy puts the 1997 sale figure at $25B not $35B. So we remain agnostic on the true figure. To be sure it's a big number but so is a $10B discrepancy.

 2. In fact the Iemma plan excluded various infrastructure reducing the sale down to some $10-15B. It took John Kaye MP (Greens) to expose Keating's in effect false advertising of the sale on the opinion pages of the SMH. Keating wanted people to think it was the 10 year delay that caused the price reduction from $35B to $15B and '$20B in lost income', when really it was apples with oranges. Tsk tsk. Perhaps this deception related to this:

NSW power sale fees to tip $150m | Business | News.com.au 11 Dec 2007

3. The unfettered market axiom assumed in the 4 Corners view of history behind the 1997 proposal is shallow and potentially very dangerous. SAM will publish material from that 1997 campaign from UK experience which is damning, by academic Claire Gerson, and circulated to all NSW MPs via FoE Sydney green group at the time by this writer by hand under their parliamentary office door. A practice that is now banned.

4. Further to point 3, Argentina privatisations were a disaster. The gigantic Enron bankruptcy in the USA another disaster for social fabric and subject of withering doco on google video - Smartest Guys In The Room. And Lehman Bros collapse more recently in the GFC. In this sense public ownership of essential services has been vindicated big time. These are huge democratic issues beyond a once off sale of the family silver.

5. As per the second episode of the long running West Wing tv show "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc" because a rail project stalled doesn't mean it was the failure of the 1997 sell off that caused it. A whole list of broken promises for rail was mentioned.

The rail extension to Bondi Beach we know alot about (and published source materials here ages ago) as then ward councillor at Bondi, and chair of the council environment committee. Bondi Rail was private public partnership with Macquarie Bank with Lend Lease involvement. So it was off Govt budget not part of the energy sale income. Second it was opposed for high priced ticket, failure of design over lack of mid way station, destruction of public park, cost of excavation in soft terrain for beach front station, and fear of high rise on air space rights (just like Bondi Junction/Gold Coast is today).

6. An irony of point 5 is that 4 Corners last night showed Lee Rhiannon MP (Greens) who back in 1997 was a private Bondi citizen and a strong local voice against the Bondi rail/private capital. Rhiannon and her protege now Mayor of Balmain Jamie Parker, are shown promoting north west rail against the Metro in 2009. Horses for courses: 1997 against Bondi rail, 2009 for NW rail showing just how political the Sydney snakepit really is.

7. Perhaps one of the biggest omissions is the political-economic reality of the disastrous thankfully stalled plan for a $5B secretive truck tunnel from Rozelle to Port Botany with cancer smog stacks in marginal Marrickville (held by Carmel Tebbutt on the Rees team replacing Iemma).  

SAM here posted on this recently with YouTube background on container traffic. And note feature in SMH yesterday business section of container ship gigantism at least pre GFC (and note error in that story re alleged promotion of exports when Sydney has low container exports - it's all imports). Without that construction largesse another project of similar size has been vomited up in the form of the $5B metro in a similar geographical location.

8. Another big ommission is that not all income of the 1997 energy sale was likely to end up in transport. More likely it was intended for a raft of political fixes and boondoggles. The green movement in NSW are as implicated in this as much as anyone:

(a) We know of possibly an extra $billion spent on the Chatwood-Epping rail build (supposed to go Parramatta) due to complaints over a postage stamp of Lane Cove NP, in particular via Dr Judy Messer then chair of Nature Conservation Council and north shore egomaniac. The redesign involved was rejected by leading greens in FoE Sydney, Karen Morrison and others. This wasted $1B possibly more than anything probably cruelled the extension to Parramatta. (But it did boost the need for a democratic Green Party beyond such as Dr Messer, or Jeff Angel, who also championed the deal with Carr to entrench logging in public forests for 20 years 1/4 saved, 3/4 trashed).

(b) we know of another $450M via John Connor (now of ALP aligned Climate Institute) which Carr planned to insert into a NSW version of Howard's $1B Natural Heritage Trust package in the sell off of Telstra. Indeed the 1997 energy sale plan was quite a monkey see, monkey do version of Carr copying Howard in 1996 federal election win. In NSW substitute power assets for telco, but it was all about smashing unions and getting the money. And people wonder why Carr jumped directly to Macquarie Bank from the premiership?

9. We could swear we heard the presenter Wendy Carlisle suggest to ex RTA supremo, now Metro supremo Les Wielinga, that the 'NSW public more in sorrow than anger will see an extended metro when they believe it'. That is transposing the old saying. Just a small slip up but still confusing. Yes, a double check shows the journo fluffed her line, but we knew what she meant and so did big Les Wielinga.


10. The use of press gallery journo Simon Benson of free market News Corp (Sydney Daily Telegraph) ideology is to put it mildly somewhat biased sourcing (and to think he started out as environment reporter). Of course Benson will sledge any attempt to prevent unfettered privatisation and weave whatever smear he can over such an outcome having built his journalistic career on the hegemony of the NSW Right. What else is new.

11. In terms of real politik, voters ditching the NSW ALP as per the vox pop at the end of the show won't mean much in safe Liberal Party seats in the north west sector (where this writer is based 6 months now). That's the cruel real politik of the situation for voters. And perhaps even their own fault since they voted in the M2 tollroad way back in 1994-5 and 1999 when the NGO sector - including arrest of this writer as a protester - called for rail not tollway road  vision for Sydney. In that respect both Labor and Liberal are indistinguishable.

Posted by editor at 12:06 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 October 2009 2:26 PM NZT
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Sunday political talkies: Turnbull leadership on the mend from bad bout of climate flu?
Mood:  quizzical
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. Perhaps the greatest utility is the headline synthesis above of the 3 or 4 shows followed in this session.


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.   

1. We are working on a ‘Labor pimps the environment movement’ story soon. Here is an image for that piece to come before Environment Minister Garrett was pimped, and silent on the huge oil spill of North West Australia recently.


Ironic given his famous performance outside Exxon offices back in the day before financial security as an MP in King Coal ALP.

People forget that Graeme Richardson on the developer shill was formerly federal environment minister. It's all about real politik, nil to do with sincerity.

1A. Laurie Oakes column in Sydney Daily Telegraph yesterday picks up the thread of conservatives for the environment as per Cameron leadership in the UK, likely next UK prime minister. We wrote this about Turnbull's difficult situation here on Crikey.com.au string on Friday here


I commented yesterday on the Rooted blog, which curiously remains under moderation while being very moderate in content. The view underpins the real economic threat to Australia of dithering on climate regarding re-insurance sector, which all business depnends on in a rule of law context:

As extreme weather affects more of the western developed economies the re-insurance industry will continue to ramp up the compulsory costs of insurance for any industry sector not seen to be mitigating climate change. At some point whole sectors or even countries’ balance sheet will be pushed off their insurance profile for just being hostile to long term financial health.

Australia is surely rushing into that scenario and Malcolm Turnbull for one would be smart enough after HIH to know how disruptive that would be for big business behind the Liberal Party or Lablibs for that matter. Neither can afford that to happen in their career span.

So it’s not just the Sarkozy threat of carbon tariffs on foreign (to EU buyer) products and services originating beyond their (my term) ‘credible climate mitigation programme’ (ccmp), but also the global re-insurance industry setting those sectors ‘[rogue] legally adrift so that they can’t get OH&S or public liability or fire or any insurance whatsover. In other words send them into the liability wilderness just like the HIH fiasco did to numerous small business, builders [through no fault of their own].

Sure China or India etc may buy ‘black’ [rogue] coal outside a ccmp, even more so if they buy up the [means of] production here, but who will provide the insurance to operate such a plant? My guess even if China or India buy the local resource with FIRB approval, unless the Australian Govt abdicates sovereignty of select economic geographical zones (and thus application of domestic labour and safety laws), not even a foreign owner will be able to operate WITHOUT INSURANCE.

Indeed nothing happens in business without insurance, not even King coal power stations. Just ask Esso. [Meaning Longford Vic disaster multi million dollar public liability, workers killed etc].

 2. We noticed D Cameron on 702 misconceived the source of federal political concern about executive pay, presuming it was the ALP behind the issue. The innocent mistake was most revealing with Alison Carabine flatly contradicting referring to The Greens as promoting draft legislation, and Cameron without a hint of acknowledgement rapidly moving on to something else, anything else. That’s a certain political bias a la party liners segment always Lib and Lab, never 3rd party Greens with such profile. One assumes it’s about ABC budget from the govt benches tag team. 


3. Excellent interview of Bill Waterhouse rich elderly author by Kerry O’Brien on 7.30 Report last week. The veteran journo has still got it, not least with the seniors brigade. 


4. Keating goes in to bat big time for the legacy of musical genious Geoffrey Tozer. Good luck with that. A genius lacking common sense like his defender? 


5. Someone called Karen Murphy had a great piece about Rudd back office in Canberra as real potential colour writer replacement for Annabel Crabbe who apparently has taken another gig (with ABC?). Murphy has the goods with his astute lines about youth fading in isolation, or as we might say a real politik pokies room with no clock or natural light. 

5A. Great piece by Bruce Loudon on failed investigation of murder of Pakistan politician Benizir Bhutto 2 weekend's ago in The Australian.

6. ZZ Tops song “under pressure” from Eliminator album, on Inside Business just now. How cool. Now if only they can slot in their hilarious song TV dinner. 

7. Speaking of Big Media identities (as opposed to what Tim Blair, aka TB (an illness),  calls ‘sub’ media ones for this writer): Adam Spencer is getting a superficial but far reaching profile build lately. But the platform being ABC is the the real identity, and they make them and replace them just like former Queen of morning radio Angela Catterns back on casual shift at her alma mater and just as competent and effective as ever.  

8. Regarding the big game at 5.15 pm later today. In our experience (!) of big games and watching the same, it’s the extra time for recovery from the previous big game that proves the difference on grand final day. The team from no. 8 (Eels) may be as good, but more tired to one that has rested an extra week, even with the best will in the world. This is the usual story in AFL, not sure about the contest in rugby league today. Which one is most rested? 

9. SAM editor continues to buck the vicious NSW ALP defacto black list, after numerous victories against them in the last 15 years (stay tuned for backgrounder on 1997 energy sell off briefing note to all state MPs – never web published before). The standard smear is cynical innuendo by their apparatchiks including from within sectors of the NSW green movement, much like Jack Mundey was black listed from regular work for years punishment for his feisty independence. Or Noel Plumb for standing up to NSW Govt RACAC forest woodchip/furnace power plant sleaze. A recent Liz Farrelly column in the SMH has the gist regarding healthy values culled at birth in favour of sclerotic inbreds from the tribe. A mains power connection again has seen a consequent jump in productivity in the last week with various stories posted and training up on YouTube posting: A whole world of opportunity, and note other video hosting site engage media here:



 10. SAM readership figures have never dipped much below 20,000 per month and we expect it to increase again maybe up to 35,000 a month or more. Yes we can. We have gone back to jogging and fat free diet which is doing our heartburn/reflux the world of good. 


11. KKK aka Minister Kristine Kershner Kenneally has hitched her career and political credibility to the wagon of planning professional Sam Haddad promoted to director under ex minister Sartor to head up Planning Dept some years back. In our penultimate post we outline via a youtube post the political role, and legally arguable role, played by Haddad in running the clock down on a FoI refusal prior to a sensitive Marrickville by-election Sept 2005. Sensitive because The Greens were hunting now deputy premier Carmell Tebbutt and the ALP couldn’t afford a Commission of Inquiry report to be released evidencing the economic driver of a Port Botany expansion for a $5 billion truck tunnel with consequent smoggy ventilation stacks (like M5 East killer) in …. Marrickville. Evidence from the CoI that may have changed the election result. Haddad prevented the voters from being informed as agent of executive government, which suggests he deserves as much political scrutiny as possible (contrary to Geraldine Doogue comments on Glover Thursday journo forum last week about “lynch mobs”). 


12. Gittins as smh economics editor at same Glover journo forum abc radio goes strong and hard on excessive population growth. God bless you Ross for your policy analysis and ethics.    


10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 


Scott Morrison shadow minister for Housing and Local Govt is talent. Missed first few minutes start due to daylight saving. Discussion of ETS – staunch support for leader Turnbull, q re time to expel Tuckey? Govt hypcrites says Morrison.  

SM is very articulate and confident speaker and clearly talented. At ease in front of the camera. A serious brain. A Turnbull ‘squarehead’ if you like. Humour out take is Gillard joke about primary school birthday age guessing game, [which arguably might be a bit of sisterhood double standard exploiting gender stereotypes]. 

Panel is Hartcher and Grattan of Fairfax Sydney and Melbourne respectively. Kick off on rates issue with RBA governor grab. Real estate chatter.


Move on to refugee, policy “weakenings”. Humour out take re Turnbull lower in polls than


Bruce Baird from Refugee Advisory Board or something. Usual arguments re airtravellers rather than boats. Case for more turnover in federal party like Baird himself. Topic moves on to Indian foreign student education sector.

 Close to credits with old mates chatting – a post Howard moderate broom is sweeping through the current liberal party. 


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



Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am 

Turnbull in choc factory in Adelaide Willy Wonka footage is great. [Echo of dollar sweets case of Costello fame.] Leadership formula, Tuckey rebuttal in cardigan man style. South Park character as Turnbull. Ompa loompas again and again.  Riley talkies in the studio. Leadership in play. Conservative tv engaged.  Polling probably shows Turnbull must stand for something. 


9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

Didn’t start at 8.43 with Riley start in place already. Abbott is in the chair and talking up Turnbull leadership [against the Nats]. Had to jump 9 to 7 and back. Dutton as lost preselection for neighbouring seat as of last night in Qld seat. Abbott declines to play leadership (save the furniture) games of greenhouse policy – shows some integrity I think.


Abbott pitch to govt – if govt don’t co-operate on coalition amendments then it’s the govt problems. ‘It’s about the party and the country’. Come up with a position.


Move onto another milder domestic policy issue.




Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Leadership package. Morrison grab from MTP earlier.


Panel discuss with Middleton sbs, Farr News corp Sydney, Henderson Sydney Institute.


Turnbull is guest. No plans to leave as tenure for Wentworth. Committed to constructive role eg jobs protection along lines of US Waxman Markey Bill there. [So will quit leadership, like Robb from ministry.]


Critical Q& A with compere Cassidy with a lot of cross reference to LOakes earlier, but Turnbull didn’t see all of it. Notes Abbott is friendly. Troubled by Dutton loss future leader, special case.


Vox pop with rugby Parramatta supporters on exec pay and other stuff. Good footage, not very probative though.


Chat on pensioner public housing costs [and note Seniors press this week front page story] Chat on Clive Palmer billionaire blimp re alleged racism to China rejected by panel unanimously with grab of Crean.

 Talking Pics, with Warren in circle work with Rudd ute.   



Inside Business with Alan Kohler  

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

Posted by editor at 12:01 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 4 October 2009 12:14 PM NZT
Saturday, 3 October 2009
Haddad implicated in secrecy around smog stacks threat to Sydney residents, more on YouTube
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt

SAM editor has finally taught ourselves how to upload DVD (VOB file) to YouTube. It involves video conversion programme Super, downloaded for free from Majorgeeks.com,  including working out preferred settings for YouTube upload easily found via google (eg say WMV file, which is also handy in the process for reduction in file size, 30 frames per second etc etc). Finally one must split any file longer than 10 minutes or longer than 100MB in size, via another free download programme Yamb found via google and a nervous download in terms of security integrity. Through all of this a 700MB file 14 minute file has become some 9 and 5 minute files of 78 and 44 MB file size respectively.

Here is our submission in the last 24 hours:


This video from February 2007 shows background to plans of the NSW Government, Australia, to install a $5 billion truck tunnel via marginal seat of Marrickville to a vastly expanded Port Botany for gigantic new container ships. The film is about what is driving the tunnel/smog stacks project rather than the tunnel itself covered in more detail here:

1st March 2007

$5b secret road under Sydney


A tunnel must have smog stacks which will pollute and kill Sydney citizens from air pollution well before their time. More detail here:

28 August 2009

"M5 East pollution harming asthmatics"
"POLLUTION levels in Sydney's M5 East tunnel are so high that healthy motorists who use it daily could develop respiratory problems within two years"


Botany Bay & Catchment Alliance (33 community groups) and local Green Party have been exposing this agenda for several years now, including BB&CA being a party to an official Commission of Inquiry. The CoI report urged minimising Port expansion but was kept secret prior to a sensitive Sept 2005 by-election in Marrickville by then Minister Frank Sartor via (then) Deputy Director of Planning Sam Haddad. The CoI report was released 3 weeks after that vote and ignored with maximalist project announced the same day.

This film reveals many of the arguments put to Commissioner Cleland who retired soon after his work was done. This secretive agenda for massively expensive truck tunnel/smog stacks is still affecting govt leadership dynamics in 2009 with local MP and Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt newly appointed health minister and tipped to take the top job before March 2011 general election. Will she sell out local voters, particularly the young, sick, elderly and democracy itself?

More at http://www.botanybay.info/



See part 2 also on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXbT9dl94Zg

Thanks for watching.

Added: October 02, 2009, 02:50 AM
Time: 5:04


And here is the letter we refer to in the background signed by then Deputy Director of Planning Sam Haddad who also appeared last night in footage on ABC TV Stateline. We say this letter shows a very political agency on the part of Haddad for then Minister Frank Sartor and the NSW ALP given the sensitive timing of the Marrickville by election Sept 2005.



Posted by editor at 10:37 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 4 October 2009 10:27 AM NZT
Friday, 2 October 2009
Don't try this at home: dangerous hilarious hack repair jobs
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: world

Received in one of those emails that does the rounds. Hilarious, scary, and/or dangerous (particularly the water/electric ones):



Posted by editor at 2:50 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 2 October 2009 2:53 PM NZT
Best recycling and 2nd hand shop in greater Sydney?
Mood:  happy
Topic: local news

 Near Hawkesbury City Council Waste Management Facility is a privately run Junkyard also known locally as the Two Trains for obvious reasons when you see the frontage of the place over 4 hectares or more.

After some 15 years knocking about recycling and environmental issues we were very surprised to come across this place recently set in fairly rural location: Go 4 km south west on George St out of Windsor then north westerly on Blacktown Rd after the main roundabout/3 way junction then first left into Bennett Rd.

This place is well known to Hawkesbury and western Sydney type people but not former inner city folks more used to the humble Bower at Marrickville for comparison. The model is obviously different not least rental variations and this place is quite huge by comparison. The 2 Trains place is distinctive for having many sheds and converted buses full of stuff by theme, whether AV entertainment, clothes, kitchen, auto, furniture, then outdoors for mowers, baths etc etc. They pay a scavenger fee by weight to Hawkesbury Council and get fair custom for their sorted throwouts.

Here are a few pics above and below for the recycler and budget hoards to slaver over, with apologies for the glare and shadow effects on some images taken late afternoon into the west.




Posted by editor at 1:05 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 2 October 2009 1:18 PM NZT
Thursday, 1 October 2009
Telstra shock enforced separation follows timing of billing price gouge on public
Mood:  surprised
Topic: aust govt

We wrote on a crikey.com.au ezine string perhaps a month ago along the lines of 'we can feel a class action coming on' regarding Telstra's arrogant attempt to alter their customer contracts unilaterally making a penalty fee of $2.20 admin fee for paying their bill over the counter.

That is, altering the custom for time immemorial to pay cash for a service direct to the service provider unless otherwise agreed specifically in a contract. We thought this could well amount to misleading and deceptive conduct by Telstra given the custom for time immemorial.

We even submitted a complaint to the ACCC competition and consumer authority about the contractual ambush. And we posted it here on the SAM news blog you can see below at the end of this article. Our concerns for instance: What if this penalty would have influenced choosing a different provider of a new service. What if one doesn't trust payment over the web for infamous security reasons? What if Telstra's bills have been inflated and reduced recently after complaints making a direct debit system unwise?

Counter to this have been the green campaigners - for instance on Sydney local abc radio recently promoting the idealistic paperless office as here, who rely on hardship concessions for difficult cases, and good luck with that. Similar to this presentation:

YouTube - Going Paper-Less But as Jon Dee explains, corporate paper dependency is a river of waste flowing through bu... ... The Paperless Office

and the good and worthy John Dee here too:

Putting paper reliance out with the rubbish - environment, Paper ... 21 Jul 2009


Notice the dating of this new payment penalty system as here being 14th Sept 2009 as per notices for the last 2 months in their printed bill:

Now notice the date for the shock defacto enforced separation announced by Minister Conroy, no doubt with an eye to various political factors like this above to millions of Telstra customers, and not least the tens of thousands of unionised workers, present or past.

Here are the terms of the ACCC response to our complaint still curiously unresolved, we posted here on 4th Sept 2009 as a media backgrounder part of our Sunday Political Talkies weekly media monitoring column:

2. Telstra price gouging, with interesting response from the ACCC here especially re unconscionable conduct of Telstra. They say not (see bold added below), but we wonder:

From: ecologya
Sent: Thursday, 23 July 2009 3:39 PM
To: Infocentre
Subject: Complaint form submission [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Dear Mr McLoughlin, Thank you for your email of 23 July 2009 to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regarding the $2.20 fee Telstra is now imposing if customers choose to pay in cash. 

The ACCC administers the Trade Practices Act 1974 (TPA) for the purposes of protecting consumers and encouraging a fair and competitive business environment. 

From the information you have provided in your email it is unlikely that the conduct by Telstra would raise concerns under the TPA. If Telstra choose to increase their fees for services, they are free to do so. The ACCC is not a price setting body for goods and services at either the retail or wholesale levels. It does not have a direct role in regulating or setting prices except in the case of products or services that are declared under Part IIIA of the TPA. Internet service provision has not been declared under Part IIIA of the TPA. In these circumstances Telstra is free to determine its own pricing policies and provided that it does this independently it is unlikely to raise concerns under the TPA. 

Generally speaking, companies are free to set the terms and conditions of their contracts. The issues you raise are very specific matters of a contractual nature. While it is not the role of this office to provide legal advice, I would suggest you put your complaint in writing directly to Telstra in an endeavour to resolve your concerns. Should you still be dissatisfied, you may wish to seek independent legal advice on whether civil action might be appropriate. It is up to an aggrieved party to bring a private action if they believe they have suffered loss or damages as a result of any breach of the terms or conditions of a contract. 

Please note however,  that Telstra have included a clause in their contracts with consumers that provides for changes to rates and charges provided that they give reasonable notice of the changes. Clauses of this nature are sometimes referred to as unilateral variation clauses and are not, of themselves, prohibited by any provision within the TPA.   

That said, this office accepts that unilateral variation clauses can be a factor that the Courts will take into account in determining whether a corporation has engaged in conduct that might be considered to be ‘unconscionable’. In this regard s.51ABof the TPA includes a non-exhaustive list of factors which may be taken into account by the court. It should be noted that unconscionable conduct goes beyond normal harsh dealings and all of the circumstances need to be examined to establish whether a contravention has occurred. The Courts in applying this provision have often stated that simply establishing one of the factors listed in this provision is insufficient to substantiate a claim of unconscionable conduct. In this instance, this office is of the view that Telstra’s reliance on a unilateral variation clause to impose the price increase you complain of would not, of itself, result in the transaction being unconscionable. 

It may be of interest to you that Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) administers a code of conduct for the telecommunications industry entitled “Consumer Contracts Code”. Held within this code is specific mention about unilateral variation clauses and it outlines the obligations of telecommunication providers when applying such clauses. To find out more information about this code you can contact ACMA on 1300 850 115 or by visiting their website at www.acma.gov.au. 

In addition, if you are seeking to exit your contract without penalty, you may wish to raise your concerns with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). The TIO is an independent, non-government scheme which has been set up to assist consumers with speedy dispute resolution with their telecommunication service providers. Consumers should only contact the TIO if they have already attempted to resolve the dispute with the trader involved. The TIO can be contacted on 1800 062 058, or at www.tio.com.au 

I have recorded the details of your complaint in order to determine whether there is a pattern of behaviour by this particular trader or the telecommunications industry which may raise any broader concerns. Thank you for contacting the ACCC. I trust the above information is of assistance. Yours Sincerely,   FraserACCC InfocentrePh: 1300 302 502 

From: ecologya@
Sent: Thursday, 23 July 2009 3:39 PM
To: Infocentre
Subject: Complaint form submission [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Complainant details

Mr Tom McLoughlin
NSW 2756
Age: 45-54
Gender: male

Contact details

Date received: 23rd July 2009

Product provider: Telstra
Product description: mobile, wireless broadband package


I was a commercial litigation lawyer at Baker McKenzie in another life 1990-91. As per my phone message and email to Choice/policy officer Michael Fromme (spelling?) earlier today, Telstra changing their cash payment system adding a fee for EXISTING (therefore no notice) customers [reported on abc Richard Glover radio earlier this week] looks to me like deceptive conduct (breach s.52 Trade Practices Act). How? Because EVEN IF their contracts have fine print to alter these payment systems adding a $2.20 fee for processing casj (I don't know), it's been no fee FOR TIME IMMEMORIAL. It is totally reasonable for people to assume there will ALWAYS be no processing fee for cash. So they should ONLY be allowed to change the payment system for those who enter A NEW contract of service with NOTICE of potential change in payment system and fee. Otherwise the new fee is a deceptive omission to their original contract, and harsh and unconscionable too. For instance I recently took a mobile/wireless internet package, and I like to pay by cash not by the web because I don't trust it's security with account details and want to minimise that exposure as much as possible. If I had known they would change their account payment system with $2.20 fee when I took the contract/s in March 2009 I may well have decided to go with another provider. At least I would have wanted to know their extra fee per month

Additional information

IMPORTANT: This email from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and any attachments to it, contains information that is confidential and may also be the subject of legal, professional or other privilege.  If you are not the intended recipient, you must not review, copy, disseminate, disclose to others or take action in reliance of, any material contained within this email.  If you have received this email in error, please let the ACCC know by reply email to the sender informing them of the mistake and delete all copies from your computer system. For the purposes of the Spam Act 2003, this email is authorised by the ACCC


Earlier we noted 3rd August 2009 a response to a crikey.com.au 'tips and rumours' piece here of theirs on the same day:

Posted Monday, 3 August 2009 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

Regarding Telstra payment fee, as per my complaint submitted to ACCC and Choice, anyone who is on an recent term contract like for ‘broadband free modem offer’ which for wireless is something like 2 or 3 years, the question becomes:

How can a change of conditions of payment now with a fee AFTER the term contract of years (say 1, 2 or 3) has already been entered into, not be a deceptive and misleading form of conduct in the course of business (to quote s.52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Commonwealth))??? No notice of this new term at the time of contract. No way to avoid it without exposure to other consequences like web insecurity with credit cards.

To me it looks like a Big Four Banks try on because payment by cash with no fee has been a A CUSTOM OF CONSUMER TRADE FOR TIME IMMEMORIAL. The extra fee is not foreshadowed in the original contact. You are now locked into an extra fee exposure when you might have chosen a different telco provider if you knew about this oppressive fee arising.

In my view (as ex commercial litigation lawyer) the only way this new fee is not misleading and deceptive conduct regarding existing term based telco contracts with monthly billing is a renegotiated contract or a completely new contract is commenced or an option to cancel immediately is agreed.

That’s not the case with my 3 year wireless supply contract. And I don’t want to pay by credit card online because the web is not secure. I can feel a class action for misleading and deceptive (and unconscionable) conduct coming on say … about 14th September 2009.

Stay tuned.



Posted by editor at 10:03 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 1 October 2009 10:31 AM NZT

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