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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Sunday political talkies: Big Media blinkers on Opposition 'problem', not p*ss weak climate Bill?
Mood:  hug me
Topic: aust govt

 Picture: Like concrete figures the Big Media are frozen in their paradigm of two party adversarial hegemony which lazily applies a win/lose dichotomy. In reality given a lousy climate Bill from an insincere ALP under PM Kevin 'science' Rudd before parliament we all lose. But that takes hard work and courage to report in the land of King Coal and revolving door employment and our big media are not up to the job.


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. Turnbull 3 strikes trying to buck the Big Media discipline via the ABC? Shown on abc website talking to Jon Faine in the ABC. Follows whining about Kerry Obrien 7.30, and spelling bee on Fran Kelly abc RN. Talk about ‘everyone can learn, no one is perfect’ as per Abbott on 7.30 last Friday. 

2. On the other hand the Big Media paradigm is about ‘the leadership problem’ but that is also just as revealing of a lazy and worse, captured big media, in the revolving door sense with big govt jobs and sinecures. The government has the treasury and big media won’t attack the King Coal, anti renewable energy reality as distinct from rhetoric of the ALP. King Coal is both Govt and Opposition, ignore The Greens as much as possible and talk about Sienfeld style leadership squabbles. As we said lazy, craven, compromised big media. And Uncle Rupert thinks Old Media are victims of Google. Hard to feel sympathy. 

 2A. We received this invite to a phone briefing recently:

Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 5:36 PM
Subject: Register for a personal briefing on the Safe Climate Bill

The Australian Greens Senators

A message from your Australian Greens Senators

Join the campaign online

Dear friend,

I'm very excited to tell you that on Monday Bob Brown and I will be launching the Greens' Safe Climate Bill at Parliament House in Canberra.

Be among the first to find out all about it with a phone briefing from me

With Labor and Liberal playing political games, Australia has lost sight of the goal. This is not just to pass a bill about climate change. It is certainly not to compete over who can hand over more billions to polluters. It is not even simply to reduce carbon emissions.

Our true goal must be to deliver to our children, and our children's children, the safe climate that has nurtured us and made human civilisation possible.

From the 100% renewable energy vision to a national very fast train link; from comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades to forest protection; from sustainable infrastruct ure planning to a real polluter-pays emissions trading scheme, the Greens' Safe Climate Bill package is the first time anyone has set out what we need to do in Australia if we are to achieve that goal.

I'd love to tell you all about the bill right now, but we have to wait until Monday for everything to be ready for the launch, for the bills to be printed and all the documentation finalised.

Straight after Monday's launch, I'll head back to my office and pick up the phone to brief as many people as I can to tell them what we're doing.

Register for our national phone briefing at 12.45 pm on Monday

Spots are strictly limited to 50 people, so do register now. You'll want to hear about this bill! While we can't take questions over the phone, you'll be able to post questions on the comments page of our website and I'll do my best to answer as many as I can.

All the best,

PS: If you are as fed up as I am with the political theatre of Kevin and Malcolm, neither of whom have policies that will actually deal with the climate crisis, I'll be giving a few tips in the phone briefing about helping us get our message out through letters to the editor and talkback calls.
Click here to register


3. We watched State of Play last night re Old versus New Media themes. Not a bad show, though an obvious rip of many before like The Paper, West Wing a touch, Three Days of the Condor, All the Presidents Men. Not quite up to that but we liked it.  


4. Advert for CEO of WWF as “independent” global conservation group: p4 SMH 10 Oct 2009. That’s a breach of s.52 of the Trade Practices Act for misleading and deceptive advertising in our legal opinion as somewhat of an expert analyst on the green movement. They get big govt and industry grants. What is independent about that???? A simple google will show endless WWF conflicts with the real green movement globally, and here too. A google of this phrase "WWF criticised for industry grant" first hit is:


It's not pretty. They may well be conservation but it's demonstrably not independent. For instance to quote the website

Corporate Funding

WWF Australia receives funding from a number of large corporations. Controversially, it received $1.2million from uranium mining company Rio Tinto, prior to publicly taking a strong pro-uranium mining stance. [10] [11]

In November 2006, WWF Australia announced a 3-year, $1.5 million alliance with ANZ Bank, under which WWF Australia will reportedly provide advice to ANZ on incorporating environmental principles into its operations [

5. Today is festival of the brrm brrm at Bathurst after the festival of the boot part 1 and 2. Slaughter, err sorry cull, of 100 plus kangaroos ‘for safety’ around the track. As if they would hang around such loud cars. Barely a drop in the ocean of 50,000 ‘cull’ per year in Australia. 


6.  Murdoch is right and wrong at the same time about Google advertising “parasites”: They also publish Google Video like Enron: Smartest guys in the room, and race justice satire as referred to here recently, after the Blackface controversy: 

·  Tom McLoughlin

Posted Friday, 9 October 2009 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

There is a pretty good piss take by Aboriginal folks in a movie called BBQ Area or something like that - about 20 years back I think.

Actually here it is: BabaKiueria, made in 1986. Just google it. You will get it on Google Video rather than YouTube as such about 30 minutes long in3 parts. All power role reversals. Pioneering conceptual stuff.

And it’s a bit rich for the billionaire to sledge Google as "kleptomaniacs". Stingey they may be (we have about $25 to show for 2 years hard slog) but far more democratic greed in a sense. What Google really need to do is pay more for quality web pages at a differential rate to shallow seinfeldism and celebrity junk which no doubt have higher ratings but lower content? Just think ABC versus Channel 10 in old media terms regarding A1 advertising value. 


7. Our word “clever” (we wish) seems to be circulating in the Oakes and maybe Carlton column yesterday in Telegraph and Herald respectively, not that they borrow from moi. The term is referring to “Machievalian Rudd” who “swallowed The Prince at 4 years old” says Alison Carabine. On the other clever is not far from “mean and tricky” despite the huge polling and a mere slip between heaven and hell.


8. Costello's departure from parliament shows the Howard years really did bend the guy out of shape permanently and suck him dry. (And there was Mark Latham calling Tony Staley "deformed". Tsk tsk.) In that sense Costello retiring is surely just being realistic. Worse Howard tainted him with the Iraq war disaster and that’s a lifelong confidence breaker surely worse than Godwin Grech could ever be: Costello’s glass jaw not so much shattering as dropping fragments slowly piece by piece in the weather ever since the 2005 report of no WMD.

9. Who is the Rex Crane of the NSW green movement? Refer penultimate SAM post for discussion of such concerns. 


10. Office of NSW AG responded to our report of dodgy LEC mining expert witness issue, and barely within 47 minutes of our email, only to ask for a street mailing address to respond. Actually it was there obscurely in the end of the document so we sent it on again.  

11. New word from Victoria "dash" as in pep, spunk, initiative, bravery, pizzaz. Or as applied to underworld types - whatever. As we said in jaundiced disapproving tones to actor Gyton Grantley who lived in a pal's unit block in Bondi "So the fame hasn't destroyed you yet?" He was astute enough to look sheepish.

12. Crikey deleted our submission on the Rooted environmental blog, arguably the policy area we are best qualified to contribute. Go figure, discussed on SAM earlier this week, with a twist given their John Hepburn of Greenpeace was formerly with Brisbane FoE group as we were 1995 to 2002 in the Sydney branch of that family, with some messy legal laundry revealed there. No confidentiality agreement, absolutely not, we refused their big city law firm pressure point blank. There’s plenty more grist to say about that Sydney based branch of FoE, subject to the fact it was rebooted in recent years and we trust fresh idealistic honest personnel.

This was always our strategy – to quietly kill the parasites there by killing the group temporarily, in order to reboot with a clean slate. All the quality had bailed like John Denlay, Stuart White, Mim Bucchorn, David Vincent (not namesake fraudster in news recently, Dietrich Willing, ally group Stevie Bee, and finally myself.  

As the American Indians say – when a teepee gets fleas it’s time to change teepee. Job done no regrets, though the new Sydney branch is presumably under the heel of the Melbourne head office which carries it’s own ideological Left issues. Our witness of FoE Sydney dysfunction 20001-02  involving staff porn addiction and misuse of public computers, failure to advertise AGM etc, chronic abuse of resources and inequitable work practice, is gentle spirit Frances Thomson. 7 years is nearly enough time to tell the real story there.   

 Picture: Spot Wilson Tuckey (far left bottom corner). Mal Turnbull is the one with the swag and billy. This amateur blogger might even one day figure out how to take pictures without the over exposure!

 13. Stop press, we actually agree with Lisa Carty in her column today, Sun Herald following ripping yarn on 4 Corners last Monday night, with our fact checking clarification posted here on SAM as well next day, regarding North West Sydney traffic woes. You pays your money and you takes your chances, leavened with suitable cynicism about the NSW Govt capacity to govern.

14. Very finally, SAM started with 2 media backgrounders on our list, and ended with 13? Tragic.


Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 


Grab of Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey avowed loyalty to leader Turnbull (MT), weave in interest rate jump with Swan grab. Press round up re yacht tragedy, Turnbull in WA re ETS climate bill.


Q to talent Nick Minchin, Coalition neuter ETS no signal to polluters? Jobs answer, wait, insist to proceed with wedge, jobs focus. Leader question jibe by NM ‘didn’t get up early’ suggesting SA or WA time for him ‘to gossip about the Liberal Party. Moderate (for a change) voice of Tuckey grab. [Obviously sees his pre-selection going south]


Great question about ETS bad strategy, virtual concedes should be about excessive debt [as per Ross Garnaut p1 last Friday]. First humour out take is MT reference to JH ‘as very approachable’ which is true, gracious and deferential [more of that direct honesty might work for him, funny how career mortality increases honesty]


Panel is Van Onselan News Corp broadsheet and tabloid, Louise Dodson of …….


Grab of Ken Henry being interpreted [like Arbib and Brandis last Friday night Lateline/Leigh Sales in good form]. Ross Garnaut claimed as backup. Broadband question re scrutiny of NBN Bill, 1.4 million shareholders. NM says every super fund makes it even more millions – all have a stake.


Back on ETS, Costello grab says any global scheme will always be varied in future.

Priceless quote – we do support a ETS because a global approach and no one country can act alone on climate so have to cooperate. Humour out take is Costello leaving capt MT with leaky ship looking a lot like (a P&O cruiser).



Jolly [meddlesome!] priest Frank Brennan sporting a bit of second chin these days but in good form and likely make a better AG than Opposition Brandis would (no slouch himself). [The line encapsulated on Lateline last Friday, human rights not Bill of rights per Arbib and Brandis].


No evidence disillusion with “unelected judges” in NZ, UK, Vic, ACT. Not elitist with 6,000 participants in consultation [and Arbib noted this serious public outreach on Lateline]. Children in gaols tester and notes this.


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


Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am Unlikely given Bathurst coverage. Dinosaurs rule OK. http://www.seven.com.au/sunrise/weekend   


9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

Talent is MT loyalist Chris Pyne MP. Says MT will be stronger from this forged in the fire. Deals with Hockey alleged rivalry – not challenge [not his time]. Abbott question also distinguished as not challenging as ‘problem is the electoral cycle not the leader’.


Reform parliament – good line, getting traction re question time.




Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Video package of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader and Emissions Trading System.


Panel is Crabb (looking holiday refreshed?), Marr, Bolt. She fluffs birthday cake line but it’s good  point – question was to John Hewson, not John Howard. Bolt notes never asked of Rudd – also a fair point. Bolt gets shirty and goes off topic re climate denialism instead of press roundup re WA coverage of Liberal conference.


Tension on couch centre left to right. Story from Marr about Rudd sly meeting with Kerry Stokes re fate of Foxtel subject to govt policy decisions.


Grab about debate in WA Lib party [strong hold , State Govt], atmospherics are respectful for MT.


Talent is Julie Bishop – strong interview as the Deputy Opposition Leader. Looks like stabilizing the ship, which is a turn around of sorts from the heartland of the WA stronghold. A lot of boilerplate in there but firm.


Vox pop about Lib leadership at ACT floriade family scene with kids on jumping castles etc.  Panel chats more. Paul Kelly on same topic. Panels chat more re ETS etc.


Talking pictures of ex leader Nelson [spinning for all he’s worth in a pathetic makeover of War for Oil ex Defense Minister. Emoting etc. All is forgotten by hopeless big media.]


Gillard, and Chaser sketch re Hey Hey dodgy blackface sketch.





Inside Business with Alan Kohler  


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


Posted by editor at 11:25 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 12 October 2009 12:17 PM NZT
Saturday, 10 October 2009
Documents imply NSW greenie 'leader' in $221,000 cash grants to pull ICAC Woodlawn complaint in 2000?
Mood:  sad
Topic: nsw govt



The first time this writer ever spoke to Dr Judy Messer, chair of the Nature Conservation Council was about 1995. This was soon after we bailed out of The Wilderness Society Sydney office (which is a ripping yarn itself about s*xual harrassment of this writer by a co worker - hell hath no fury etc - and other impossible working conditions) when we moved into a quite dormant Friends of the Earth Sydney office. At least it was close to a clean slate was the thought.

The good doctor said "Where is your money from?" I was a little gobsmacked having worked 3 years on the successful NSW wilderness protection campaign on a shoestring up to the March 1995 election of the ALP. No greeting with 'how are you going', or 'what's new'. No 'what campaigns are you working on', or 'where is your office' or the like. Messer we soon understood was a power player at intimate levels of NSW politics and that meant for her knowing the money trail. A member of the Sydney Water Board as govt appointee for 10 years on a bursary of some kind.

(It was an experience similar to the one conversation with Opposition Attorney General Smith former Crown prosecutor some 10 years later. In a similar power dynamic his first question - "where is your money from?" he wanted to know. It's a fair enough question to ensure bonefides but it is also so very NSW. No trust, grasping milieu.)

Last evening 9 October 2009 we saw director of Total Environment Centre on (now also web cast) NSW Stateline on the debacle that is waste policy here (available in due course from ABC here) but not Angel's likely role in that outcome. It jogged our memory. We don't trust Angel but compere Dempster gives him credit. So why the reservations here - well the list is substantial but sticking to the waste policy area for now it involves Messer and waste and now dead Frank Miller and Angel coming in over the top of the real campaigners - as usual.

But first we need to introduce yet another policy wonk - John Denlay, guru on waste issues. He was our mentor for this writer's time 1995 to 1997 in closing the dioxin spewing Waterloo Incinerator: Opposed by Greenpeace, South Sydney Council, Eastern Suburbs Greens (including this writer then Bondi councillor) and Friends of the Earth Sydney (Denlay's group). But not opposed by Total Environment Centre advisedly according to John Denlay and my own experience as Bondi Ward councillor elected to close the old monster. They wanted an upgrade and an effective escape hatch for waste burnt into the atmosphere and toxic ash. A very bad idea. They called it "waste to energy".

This TEC record is instructive for what follows at Woodlawn too given Angel's pre-eminent role in the green group interface with the NSW ALP ministry from 1997 onwards.

Above is a NCC conference resolution from 1995 from our file from JD to me to present over two pages from our file about how to really address land fill. During this time Angel was a nobody on waste policy. It was all John Denlay's leadership.

By 2000 Denlay had married and left NSW. Despite high hopes of the Carr Govt wrestling waste volumes down with innovative 'extended producer responsibility' and industry plans and metropolitan waste boards, including closure of notorious waste escape hatches (Waterloo incinerator simply gasifying the refuse), by 2000 the wheels were falling off.

The NCC had an expert working group called Waste Crisis Network. Frank Miller was on WCN. FM was a rural land holder at Braidwood, esteemed member of local Green Party, and FoE Sydney rep on WCN following the Denlay pioneering work on policy. The other members are mentioned below in this explosive letter to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. Notice the date 6 June 2000. The folks on WCN were the cream of the green movement on waste and probably had 100 years of experience amongst them hands on. They weren't light weights by any measure. The handwriting at bottom left is the SAM editor's writing in a telephone file note confirming who authorised the letter for WCN (old lawyer habit):

Independent MP Richard Jones pushes this controversial development here 2 days later in NSW Parliament and apologies for the faded image off old fax paper:


Now notice the date of this letter by Messer countermanding the reference to ICAC dated 14 June 2000 duly signed:


There is no doubting Messer wanted to destroy the credibility of the ICAC referral by the cream of the waste campaign of the NSW green movement, indeed the NSW Environment Minister quotes the letter in parliament 29th August 2000 in making their excuses:


The so called "junior officer" Frank Miller in the Minister's reply was at leat 70 years of age and backed by his whole committee.

Notice this line item in the NCC budget papers of that year up to June 2000 - $37,500 for "water reform process", that is main business of the Sydney Catchment Authority, and Messer's own Sydney Water Board, in papers prepared by Geof Lambert as treasurer (a very credible professional scientist/psephologist), with this writer an elected NCC executive member who resigned that year in disgust at anti environmental decisions being forced through the executive.

And this additional amount of state grant:

And notice this record of nearly $150,000 1999 to 2000 on forest assessments work. All serious money for desperate NCC:


The policy back story is here: Having failed after 5 full years to wrestle down waste volumes as promised the Carr govt wanted an escape hatch - Woodlawn mine site near Goulburn according to out of sight, out of mind tradition that has got western civilisation where we are today. The more greenwashing by the operator the better as here regarding methane harvesting April 2007:


Back in 2000 via minister Refshauge a friendly was appointed to an inquiry to locate and assess Woodlawn mega tip. This is waving the white flag, creating the notorious escape hatch not so different conceptually to the Waterloo Incinerator issue mid 90ies, this time a hole in the ground and water table problems, previously toxic ash and dioxin air pollution:


Notice from the sender details at the top the draft has been forwarded to both NCC and TEC head office in a deliberate strategy to sideline the NGO expert working group within their own Waste Crisis Network:


What a coup in divide and rule by the Carr Govt - leveraging their grant money and the wages to the NCC head office?

NCC then issues a friendly, green tinted, grotesquely naive press release.


Unduly friendly once you read the context: Veteran campaigner Miller can see the work of the WCN being dismantled and shafted:


The expert working group has not been consulted on the press release yet he is being listed as approving the release. That's a fraud actually:

The allegation to ICAC for one is being sanitised. See this background from Miller as spokesperson for WCN on the real policy reality of an industry/govt capture in the inquiry announcement:


and this


And what does this have to do with Jeff Angel at Total Environment Centre? Well Jeff a well known confidant of the NSW Government is copied in to the Miller memo of 15 June 2000 so he is very much involved.

Angel writes to Miller later that year cutting him down even further with something to do with a media spot by Angel on an REP - regional environmental plan - for the catchment (?):


Angel has a reputation for speaking over the top of the real campaigners on the coal face on diverse policy areas from forests (just ask ChipStop convenor Harriet Swift), to waste (here), to Snowy River (Carl Drury) to Lake Cowal (Ruth Rosenhek) and on and on it goes. SAM here was puzzled what this REP for this waste matter is all about.

But today we googled and found this explanation in Hansard regarding  the issue of conflict of interest within the model for the Sydney Catchment Authority for regulator/operator model. The very issue that came up with the msyterious submission to the Woodlawn Commission of Inquiry from the SCA against Woodlawn and then changed by SCA midstride to grudging acceptance.

Presciently Ian Cohen MP refers to the relevant REP in his speech in parliament in 1998 here, and notice all the players are mentioned in his speech on the SYDNEY WATER CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT BILL Second Reading, 1 December 1998 and see bold:

The amendments have been drafted with the assistance of longstanding water campaigners such as Dr Judy Messer, a board member of Sydney Water; John Connor from the Nature Conservation Council, a peak body in the environment movement; Keith Muir from the Colong Foundation; Graham Douglas and Noel Plumb from the National Parks Association; and Michael Mobbs, the only person in Sydney who can credibly argue for a more sustainable existence in that he lives in Sydney’s only sustainable house. Many people should follow Mr Mobbs’ example. I have not yet visited his house but I have heard a great deal about it. His home reflects the attempts being made in non-urban areas to achieve sustainability and no run-off of pollutants from living areas. Michael Mobbs has certainly achieved that.

I also commend Kathryn Ridge from the Greens’ office, who has worked long and hard on preparing the necessary material. She has done an excellent job. Both the ministerial representatives and the Opposition acknowledge that this bill was the product of extreme deadlines. I have received copies of correspondence from Dr Judy Messer, who has been a director of Sydney Water for almost 10 years. She indicated her concerns about this bill directly to the Premier. She stated:

I wish to express my strong concern that, in terms of its powers, functions and scope as outlined in the Bill the Sydney Catchment Authority will not achieve the admirable outcomes that you wish to see eventuate.

The Greens share the deep concerns expressed by those who have had a long history of involvement with this issue. For example, John Connor from the Nature Conservation Council sent a letter to the Premier expressing similar concerns to those of Judy Messer. Mr McClellan spoke on a number of occasions about the need for any legislation to establish a completion date for a regional environmental plan [REP], which is a prescriptive instrument that controls the actions and decisions of State agencies and local government authorities; the incorporation of water quality objectives set by the Environment Protection Authority or the Healthy Rivers Commission; consent authorities not approving a development application unless it has a neutral or positive impact on water quality; and the development of amelioration or action plans to address existing developments which are causing pollution.

An REP which incorporates these elements will be groundbreaking,
but there is no confidence that this vision will take shape if it is not clearly outlined in the bill. Such articulation is crucial to ensure that the Sydney Catchment Authority [SCA] has no role in setting the catchment water quality and environmental flow objectives for its operations. Such a conflict is untenable and must be addressed in the bill. Later I will give my recommendations for addressing the regulator-operator conflict that is inherent in the SCA. That conflict relates to the setting of objectives, the financial framework, the role of the board and the contract of engagement for the chief executive officer.

In relation to ending the ad hoc political decision making in relation to Sydney’s catchments - and certainly that is an issue of ministerial discretion - the Minister for the Environment should be the Minister responsible for Sydney Water, because the SCA is to have primary responsibility for protecting the catchment and catchment water quality. As Dr Judy Messer so aptly put it, there is not only considerable conflict of interest but also an inordinate amount of ministerial authority. She said, "This allows virtually unfettered powers to the Minister without imposing adequately defined duties and responsibilities". The ministerial discretion powers must be subject to the operating licence, which needs to be mandated and created following a period of public exhibition within a specified time frame.

at http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LC19981201043


So what was Angel's performance like in that 'interview opportunity' back in the day in late 2000? Did he sanitised the Woodlawn ICAC issue, did he go soft on the Carr Govt, his mates who confided in him and appoint him to various committees? We don't know but Frank Miller had some choice words to say. We would love to know what the "offensive" fax is that Miller sent to Angel. We can guess it's a doozy.

Dr Messer in particular, and Angel as well, have some profound questions to answer regarding their style of 'leadership' of certain peak green groups this last 10 years given the flow of big grant money while allegations of corruption are raised against state departments. Their greenie record of environmental protection is a dismal failure once you get behind all the PR and mates network. These two are an eloquent argument for "grassroots democracy" in a Green Party to subordinate compromised sclerotic small g green leadership.

About 7 years ago if vague memory serves Cohen MP said to this writer in exasperation on the telephone 'what is it with NCC, I'm telling you Tom I won't work with them anymore'.  No wonder given all of the above.

Frank Miller died broken hearted a few years ago, and this is just another inadequate apology to him from this writer: For failing to run sufficient political protection for his sound and idealistic work in the snakepit that is Sydney politics, green and otherwise. We were as beaten as he was.

These are his words, as if from the grave but actually from October 2000, and worth a read despite the prose style, and very wise:


On Stateline last night Angel complained about insufficient proportion of waste levy hypothecated to recycling and waste reduction. But 9 years ago he had nothing to say about his ALP Government setting up a policy framework "to secure the future of the multi national mega tip industry for the next 100 years" which provides an escape hatch at government and industry level and no real pressure to innovate waste reduction. Thanks for nothing Mr Angel.

The serious allegation is that both Messer then and presumably Angel were out of their depth when they betrayed in 2000 the trust of the real waste campaigners at the coal face in 2000 to sustain their relationship with the Carr Govt, and stay on that drip.

Posted by editor at 11:59 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 11 October 2009 10:35 AM NZT
Friday, 9 October 2009
'Single parties expert witness' in world heritage sandmine case alleged deception? Part 2
Mood:  sharp
Topic: legal

We have been in correspondence with the NSW Dept of Environment, Climate Change and Water since a court decision in mid August 2009.

The Land & Environment Court registry advises that their CD tape of the hearing is still unavailable despite a ordering same over a month ago. Something about a backlog.

Here is the second part to troubling material which is a little complex but important because this guy will be giving evidence on mining cases in NSW in the future. All this and more will be shunted off to the NSW Attorney General later today, as suggested should happen by the senior solicitor for Hawkesbury City Council, one of the parties in the litigation. Our role was as pro bono legal agent for two objectors Diamond and Sneddon, backed morally by several peak and local environment groups. If we had the bucks we could have cross examined the 'single parties expert'.

That is, in this jurisdiction the single expert is paramount with no other expert being allowed, though expert evidence can be presented for their comment:


Sent: Wednesday, September 09, 2009 6:00 PM
Subject: Tinda Ck Blue Mtns WHA - evidence of complex deep burial breach

Dear DECC......, ......
Tinda Creek proximate to Blue Mtns WHA, fallout of Birdon v HCC 11133 of 2009 decision of C'er Brown
I refer to correspondence yesterday at point no. 2 re complex facts of failure of miner Birdon to effect deep burial of dangerous dredge fines (14-20m) to date, and maybe forever.
Today we have clarified for ourselves the relevant diagrams in the 1996 consent/approved plans verifying where the obligation for deep burial (14-20metres) of dredge fines specifically arises. Given Birdon as below specifically claim they did 'complete stage 1' by 2002, and admit they have never buried at depth, they effectively admit their own breach. 
It appears this illegality regarding deep burial may continue despite the recent approval modification all the way to 2021 by C'er Brown in the LEC recently. The evidence follows:


Picture A above: Approved rehab plan April 1996 with stages 1 to 6 shown, especially stage 1 top left obscured (and see enlarged further below)


Picture B above: Point "F" of the rehab plan schedule at left to "shape ponds". What does this mean for stage 1? Refer next.

Picture C above: Stage 1 in the 1996 approved plans: The ponds are to be shaped as above, and notice especially "CLEAN WATER POND (CWP)". This plan is for ground level, while depth of a CWP follows:

Picture D above: Plan 3 of 3 shows the profile of a 'Clean Water Pond' at 14 to 20 metres depth (crown land from 15.26m).
Note too by former condition 3 and Part B of the 1996 consent (now repealed by the LEC decision) other stages can only follow completion of stage 1. Refer next:

Picture E above - staggered approval in Part B condition of consent in 1996, effectively repealed from August 2009.

Here is the Birdon/Bruce letter with the wrong claim to HCC dated 1st May 2002 that they have 'duly complied with stage 1' despite no burial of dredge fines at depth:

Picture F above: Bruce for Birdon wrongly claims compliance with stage 1 of the development without any burial of dredge fines as required.
We think our analysis above and Birdon's admission to the LEC they have never buried the dredge fines at depth 1996-2009, not only proves a non compliance with 1996 DA conditions all the way to 2009, but also risk of present or likely future breach of [Protection of the Environment Operations] Act: This is because of the likelihood of relatively shallow dredge fines leading to future collapsed dam walls and water pollution incident as per the 1989 $10K court penalty - the original motive for the deep burial given concerns of EPA and HNCMT etc in the mid 90ies.
Regrettably we suspect the effect of the decision by the LEC's C'er Brown (still to see final conditions signed by LEC, available at counter at HCC, and not on web: pers comm 9 Sept 09) is to compress all 6 stages of the original approval into one continuous stage to 2021.
Now we fear the promised safe burial of dredge fines at depth in a final water body  now only requires compliance some time approaching the year 2021, and probably never: This timeline follows from a HCC legal document (we obtained off their planning file) re proposed draft consent conditions - deletion of conditions above  namely 3 and part B of the 1996 approval, combined with proposed condition 35 granting 25 year period of approval starting from 1996 to 2021, or if 2m t volume exhausts first. That last tonne will never be mined.
We understand some 350,000 tonnes of tailings remain at relatively shallow levels for what is proposed to be a 10 ha final lake water body.
A regulatory debacle? We think so. But perhaps DECC or Dept of Mines can take a constructive role better than HCC in addressing Birdon's failure to bury at depth for the last 13 years and bring some discipline on Birdon for the future?
Please feel free to respond by return email, or tel. 0410 558838.
Yours truly,
Tom McLoughlin legal agent objectors in Birdon v HCC 11133 of 2008 (approval by C'er Brown 18                                                                                                                                 August 2009 with changes to consent conditions)

Posted by editor at 1:00 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 9 October 2009 1:06 PM NZT
'Single parties expert witness' in world heritage sandmine case alleged deception? Part 1
Mood:  sharp
Topic: legal

We have been in correspondence with the NSW Dept of Environment, Climate Change and Water since a court decision in mid August 2009.

The Land & Environment Court registry advises that their CD tape of the hearing is still unavailable despite an order over a month ago. Something about a backlog.

Here is the troubling material which is a little complex but important because this guy will be giving evidence on mining cases in NSW in the future. All this will be shunted off to the NSW Attorney General later today, as suggested should happen by the senior solicitor for Hawkesbury City Council, one of the parties in the litigation. Our role was as pro bono legal agent for two objectors Diamond and Sneddon, backed morally by several peak and local environment groups. If we had the bucks we could have cross examined the 'single parties expert'.

That is, in this jurisdiction the single expert is paramount with no other expert being allowed, though expert evidence can be presented for their comment.

Sent: Tuesday, September 08, 2009 5:30 PM
Subject: breach of cl283? - re alleged 'confusion' on approved plan, masking no deep burial of dredge fines breach. Umwelt Feb 08

Dear .....,
CC DECC .......
You will have our latest community media link on 'the wrong EIS' that was submitted to the LEC in Birdon v HCC 11133 of 2008. What a sham.
Here is a brief of evidence I promised last week on the deceptive s.96 application document given to council as consent authority in 2006. There is a simple aspect to this and a more complex aspect.
1: Simple issue: Wrong allegation over which is the approved plan
See the highlight in yellow [of the extract of letter below]:


This claimed confusion above as part of their s.96 application (directly cross referenced attaching application form) is given the circumstances a calculated fraud: The approved plans were always known but inconvenient. Here are some images of the approved plans they were in breach of for years. They are 3 large format April 1996 plans by Port Stephens Design Services with a reference number:




The hammer blow in terms of evidence may be this: A memo by senior planner Greg Hall noting the approved plans are exactly what they are, implying that owner Tom Bruce/sandminer Birdon just doesn't like them:


No confusion. Just hard to comply with after cascading effect of non compliances especially re deep burial of dredge fines (below). This brings us to the more complex aspect of the deception regarding avoidance of requirements of the approved plan.
2. Complex deception: Cover up of miner failure to comply with deep burial of dredge fines in the approved plan to date, indeed also council failure to regulate compliance
Of particular problem for the miner has been their failure so far to comply with the approved plan (as shown above plan 3 of 3) with the burial of dredge fines 14 to 20 metres deep - possibly because too hard in engineering terms, certainly no crown land consent from 15.24 metres 1996-2009.
Umwelt's supplementary s.96 application letter of 24 July 2007 states at page 3 "The area under the existing Silt Pond [not to be confused with Stage 1 Dredge Pond] is not proposed to be extracted due to the depth of silt that exists in this area."
But they would be obliged to under a clearly identified "approved plan" April 1996, 3 of 3 as above. That's why it had to be airbrushed?
Birdon finally make the concession August 09 here in highlight below, even when legally they needed crown consent years ago:


We believe this failure to bury at depth, raised by the objectors only,  has forced Birdon (and council) to the negotiating table, to strengthen any consent orders. (Also the Jewell 07 water report of high evaporation effect supported by DECC has been influential.)
So only in August 2009 does Birdon reveal publicly a March 2009 Dept of Lands letter of permission to apply to extract and bury at depth using crown land, and still no commercial licence yet (?).
Another problem for the sandminer is they have placed silt up to 10 metres deep all over the main "stage 1 dredge pond" (they now call "stage 5") which was till this year the major (high evaporation) dam on the site. We estimate about 350,000 tonnes of silt there. This means they can't bury dredge fines at 14 to 20 metre depth without moving that difficult clayey tailings overtopping the sand resource. 
In their August 2009 response to issues in the case Birdon/Umwelt say they will decide later whether to mine below relatively shallow silt fines in a new "stage 5" overtopped with clayey silt - see bottom of page :


(We have a letter in the files we put into the court exhibits, signed by the managing director Bruce dated around 2002 that stage 1 of the quarry is "complete", so more evidence there never was any real intent to comply with the deep burial condition. )
Birdon clearly don't want to comply with the deep burial requirement since 1996 -2009, or now in 2009 or in the future. And especially in stage 1 dredge pond because there is so much of it.
What status is the 1996 obligation to bury at depth now, after C'er Brown 18th August 09 has waved through a new surface area plan and this latest uncertain 2009 EMP???
A recent letter from chief planner Owens 4 Sept 09 to objector Diamond suggests this non compliance re dredge fines burial is "temporary". As if, another 13 years? What indeed is safe for the environment, wildlife, people including bushfire workers using the lake for water resource? What islikely to be a stable landform, with dredge fines at the surface batters of a big lake?
No doubt the regime in the original approval was designed that way to keep dangerous silt away from the surface to avoid another $10K water pollution fine as happened in 1989 against former business partner Poyneed Pty Ltd/Jan Stout and sons.
This situation with deep burial of dredge fines is all very uncertain and unsatisfactory regarding lack of progressive rehabilitation requiring deep burial of dredge fines.
Nor have we even quoted yet the EIS which requires 30% only of site disturbance at any one time at section 5.1.2. Not affected by the new plan or new EMP either.
On another aspect we have the full water report now by Umwelt 08 for the miner as of last Friday attached. By way of contrast we have the Council report by Jewell 07 showing ostensible breach of water license volumes to 2007 due to evaporation effects. We don't believe Jewell 07 is wrong or that Umwelt/Jamieson have contradicted him on the real evidence. If DECC could corroborate this understanding by comparing the two reports maybe the miner could still be held to account for bleeding the creek dry for about 2 km.
I believe [deleted] at DECC has background on the Jewell 07 report and may be able to assist with a comparison of Umwelt for efficacy.
We will email the Umwelt report to DECC separately as it's a large electronic file given the diagrams.
Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin legal agent for objectors.


Posted by editor at 12:37 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 9 October 2009 12:44 PM NZT
Censored on Rooted blog out of Crikey Big Blog, sigh
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: independent media

Censorship is a curious beast. It appears amongst surprising folks you would never think for good or ill motives.

Yesterday we had cause to correspond with the Crikey editor re this irregularity below, and today our entries on Rooted are deleted, not simply 'awaiting moderation'. We give one paranoid explanation below - but if there is a more ethical explanation we would be interested to know. By the by we have that deed of settlement in the NSW Supreme Court in reserve for a suitable time, never web published and it's a cracker given we doubt any individual has successfully sued their own peak green group before in the history of Australia for maladministration if not corrupt behaviour. Embarrassing? You bet:

From: Ecology Action To: Jonathan Green
Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 4:47 PM
Subject: Rooted blog, blocked comment 1st Oct story - unwarranted

It may not be great grammar but the gist is there October 1 article.
Any chance of unblocking my comment (?) which was also copied onto a Bernard Keane string already - no worries there. What is the problem with Hepburn I wonder? Or is he wanting to use the intel and not spill the beans to the enemy?
For your information - on the paranoid side of things - I quit FoE Australia after busting my guts 7 years when he was still involved in Brisbane FoE about 2002.
I had cause to sue FoE Sydney Inc for trying to bully me out of my residential/commercial lease in 2003 and failing to honour their financial debt to me. It was in the NSW Supreme Court and I kicked their lazy dishonest backside where they paid my costs, backed off my lease and agreed to a derisory $50 a week rent - the savings I sent to a green campaign in Chile - $15K worth. Indeed the cheap rent was essential to that public interest agenda that FoE Sydney wanted to sabotage. A campaign that stopped a US $3B hydro smelter disaster for coastal fjordlands, 3 rivers a lake and 10K ha of virgin forest. Pathetic worms.
They wanted a confidentiality agreement. No way. They didn't even submit evidence despite having a big city law firm on pro bono while I was self represented. Never were such a perverse rump of by then backwater of the green movement so undeserving of legal help.
Hepburn however is a talent and industrious. It would be a shame if he is prejudiced on your public forum totally unrelated to past discipline.
On the other hand if he is going to censor me I might as well know.
Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin


Here is the post as it appeared on another section of the Crikey discussion list but which was most appropriate in the dedicated environmental sub section called Rooted. People should know and judge for themselves:
  • Posted Friday, 2 October 2009 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    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 [rogue] sectors ‘ 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].




    Posted by editor at 11:11 AM NZT
    Updated: Friday, 9 October 2009 12:09 PM NZT
    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

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