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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 31 January 2010
Power plays in The Wilderness Society (Australia)
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: aust govt

 Picture (top) The author in office shirt and tie (centre) listens to Karenne Jurd, then national Director of The Wilderness Society outside NSW Parliament around 1994. (Bottom). $5000 banner opposite the Opera House erected by the author, others like Fiona McCrossin, Jules McMahon etc in 1994, with Milo Dunphy, Tricia Caswell, and this writer on a unity ticket to save native forests here rapdily being converted to dry schlerophyll regrowth.


Posted recently on this string in New Matilda here:


A lesson from history:

Karenne Jurd was national director of TWS in 1994 when a vote of no confidence was passed against her. I was at that national meeting as embattled NSW campaign coordinator for TWS. KJ didn’t like me much and indeed suggested she would "smash me" for some cultural infraction or other. But what people don’t recall is that PM Keating put the skids on her in The Bulletin conservative press because she attempted to save wet forest types across Australia. Not piecemeal. KJ had Judy Clark now Adjani socio economic analysis "homework" and the guts to take on the ALP cronies.

She had some weaknesses professionally but her national real politik analysis was right. Since then the logging industry has created a wildfire bonfire replacing wet with dry schlerophyll landscapes (an audit anyone?)… and they know it deep in their whispering heart. So why go to this? Because Alec Marr with similar broad uncompromising agenda in Tasmania and nationally also knows the truth of the ALP cynicism. Replacing him won’t change that reality. Alec no doubt pushed the button on Wild Rivers deal in Cape York against the Howard/Pearson alliance because he is so independent of both major parties.

The irony is that the main push against KJ came from the TWS Tas ‘boys’ including Alec. But they are all working in the same direction. The real opponents are the loggers and miner corporations and their govt toadies. Always have been, always will be. Back then the Tas TWS were also very fiesty and indy of the national body.


By the way Malcolm Turnbull was sniffing around TWS for cooperative project in the late 80ies - time that was out in national affairs.

We have written elsewhere that TWS really ought to consider a new name The Ecology Society, because of Indigenous sensitivities about 'wild' suggesting the toxic policy of terra nullius, which has never been the intent of the modern green movement. Indeed we have archived alot of our files and analysis under this term "ecology action" for seven years now. Here is  the unrelated forerunner in Sydney from August 1975 which might be about the time TWS was first formed after the Lake Peddar debacle:



Posted by editor at 11:28 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 31 January 2010 12:02 PM EADT
Pengo fan hits the metric tonne after a week of grovel
Mood:  energetic
Topic: local news



As previously reported here, Rod Day aka Dimmy, an Australian has the world record for arcade game Pengo, now available since 2004 as a PC game. Dimmy has 1M plus if you go to wikipdedia, and refer down the bottom of the listing.

Adding to the difficulty is keyboard directional keys instead of a retro joystick from those 1980ies dissolute student days. Not sure if our chuckles are nostalgia or the current sport of the game.

After a week or so we have a score board of 50K plus, not counting all the crash and burn. With a top of 102K above (this morning listening to the news, Macca Australia All Over radio show - our version of Prairie Home Companion. Notice the speedo turns over at 100K but our top score really is 102K. Shoulders and hands have had a heavy workout offsetting swimming laps at the local pool to offset the screen time.

Posted by editor at 10:19 AM EADT
Friday, 29 January 2010
The real meaning of magic password for big business 'going forward'
Mood:  lazy
Topic: corporates


In another life we rubbed shoulders with corporate litigation lawyers. Then we read the business news for 2 years as a reader analyst for Media Monitors, particularly during the infamous tech wreck.

Tonight we saw in a forum on 7.30 Report (about population growth) Heather Ridout of the Australian Industry Group again drop in the membership password of her big corporate club, namely the words "going forward".

So what do these two words really mean apart from a coded declaration of membership of the corporate club? No doubt it is supposed to reveal a can do positive attitude. But the other side of that coin is problemmatic.

It has struck us  for a long time now it means -

'don't look back because that way involves complex issues of social and environmental accountability which will hamper momentum for future profits, at any cost.'


'don't look back, because reflection is a luxury economic winners can't afford because the guilt would be too great. It's climate change, it's sixth great wave of biodiversity extinctions, it's killers in suits making calculations about share price over people's survival.'

So big corporates 'go forward' to destroy the planet like  a cancer for some centuries now as per the thesis of the great documentary The Corporation.  



Posted by editor at 7:57 PM EADT
Updated: Friday, 29 January 2010 8:05 PM EADT
Asbestos landfill in Hawkesbury river state rail land, ex oyster lease at Brooklyn?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: health


SAM has obtained photographs of what look like for all the world asbestos offcuts into a former oyster lease at Brooklyn just north of Sydney, apparently on State Rail land. We have also inspected the site briefly.

We understand the CFMEU (ie building union) have been notified about the safety issue. We don't have the expertise to say if it is definitely asbestos or not but we can say it's vintage fibreboard, in a fibro shelter locality and the shoreline looks to be reclamation of river bank.


If it is the wicked stuff the implications are very serious: The offcuts are widespread and layered in the mud, exposed at low tide, subject to all weather erosion. The cost of safe clean up, if ever, would be substantial.


Then who did the dumping? Did anyone in State Rail know about it? Did the former oyster lease operator conspire or were they a victim of illegal dumping. It's a sinister mystery.





Posted by editor at 10:53 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 29 January 2010 7:59 PM EADT
Thursday, 28 January 2010
Responding to the tired 'terra nullius in Cape York' slur in crikey today
Mood:  sad
Topic: indigenous


This ran in the crikey comments today, and we responded narrowly on one aspect below regarding the alleged terra nullius slur: 


Wild Rivers not so “wild”:

Richie Ahmat, chairman of Cape York Land Council, writes: Re. “Abbott braving the rapids over Wild Rivers legislation” (14 January, item 10). The extraordinarily distorted rant about the Wild Rivers declarations on Cape York by the Wilderness Society’s Tim Seelig cannot pass without comment. It’s not worth addressing every libellous and malicious charge against Noel Pearson, but the following statement needs a response.

Seelig claims (wrongly) that Tony Abbott and Noel Pearson “cooked up” Mr Abbott’s Private Member’s bill announcement. He goes on: “Abbott and Pearson are suggesting we can only address indigenous disadvantage by allowing unlimited and unrestrained destructive development in our natural environments, trashing our pristine rivers and landscapes in the process”.

Mr Pearson and all Cape York indigenous communities are on record stating they want a river protection system that boasts no in-stream mining, excessive water pumping or new dams. The only difference between conservationists and our communities is we don’t want to be airbrushed from the landscape.

Even the term “wild” tries to sell an abhorrent “terra nullius” message that our communities haven’t existed or lived in harmony with our lands and waterways for tens of thousands of years. Seelig’s “pristine rivers” are in that condition because of the environmental stewardship of indigenous people for many generations.

To suggest we’re about to change those historical environmental habits, and that whitefellas need to now charge in and save our pristine waterways from the very people who have cherished and tended them for thousands of years, is racial paternalism of the worst kind.



We responded there as follows based on some political research: 

Regarding ‘Wild Rivers not so Wild’ I’ve just been searching my files for the feature opinion piece by Noel Pearson for the Cape York Land Council circa 1996, in the Sydney Morning Herald. No luck, but the message was strong and memorable referring to “Indigenous Wilderness” with all parties putting humanity in the landscape in alliance with The Wilderness Society who helped save Starcke holdings earlier that decade from US investors for traditional owners. No doubt that was then, and this is now but it’s big history.

This was in the context of a reconciliation document between peak green groups and Cattleman’s Union for a joint World Heritage nomination in light of the Wik legal decision. To avoid protracted litigation. In light of an approaching election and a shaky ALP government. Mr Pearson should hold to his word and call off Mr Ahmat in relation to this rhetorical slur about “Even the term “wild” tries to sell an abhorrent “terra nullius” message that our communities haven’t existed ..”.

No one in the green movement proper in modern times argues critical ecological areas are not original Aboriginal Land. It’s how it is managed today and the future that counts.

So Mr Ahmat for the CYLC is opening up a tired f(r)iction regarding cultural slights about humanity out of the landscape. What I did find in the dusty files pre Howard was the “Historic Land Agreement Cape York Peninsula” media release by these parties TWS, Pearson for CYLC, Cattleman’s Union and ACF dated 5 February 1996, with backgrounder chronology, and “Heads of agreement” as a first step under “Section 21 of the Commonwealth Native Title Act”.

Pearson in his own separate media release for the CYLC “welcomed the top priority that the two national conservation organisations, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and The Wilderness Society (TWS) have put on the Cape York regional land use agreement as a federal election issue.” No suggestion of terra nullius complaints there from Mr Pearson working with TWS.

Attached to the media kit is a statement by PM Paul Keating 5 Feb 1996 stating “Today’s announcement of an historic landuse agreement on Cape York represents a watershed in the reconciliation process and a major boost for environmental protection of one of our most pristine regions. / It lays the foundation of consensus for the creation of one of the world’s truly great protected areas ….”

Then John Howard was elected. I also relocated two big fat files of news clippings 1996-7 promising bucket loads of extinguishment of native title under Wik by the new regime - in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act. Who doubts Howard and Deputy PM Tim “bucketloads of extinguishment” Fischer poisoned the creek in Cape York right up until 2010?

What is apparent is that item 19 in the 1996 Agreement has failed, and here I smell Coalition cynicism, broken $40M election promise to fund same:

The nomination for World Heritage listing of any land on Cape York Peninsula shall proceed only where there is a management arrangement which is negotiated with all landholders who may be affected directly by such listing.”


This leaflet above from a file otherwise stuffed with news clippings from 1996 and 1997 to extinguish and limit the High Court decision in the Wik Case, tells the story of how the Howard regime did as much as possible to unravel reconciliation. Hand in glove with that aggressive redneck agenda has been the desire to vandalise the environment, not least in Tasmania's forests. Other Howard Govt agendas include converting the North to a new agricultural development zone as the Murray Darling Basin literally crashes.

In this context several Qld green groups supported state legislation to prevent a Howard Govt attack on unregulated rivers in the Cape York, with a World Heritage listing a forlorn hope at national and international level. Now Howard is gone it's may well be time to pick up the pieces of the former Cape York Land Use Agreement. Regretably Rick Farley as gifted mediator has since died but perhaps there is another in the wings?

This will not be easy:

Cape York group to fight World Heritage bid  Posted Fri May 22, 2009 9:37am AEST



Posted by editor at 5:45 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 28 January 2010 6:26 PM EADT
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Minister Gillard, where are the league tables on doctors, lawyers on public money? Politicians?
Mood:  lazy
Topic: aust govt

In our view school league tables are Deputy PM Gillard's way of pushing her big business "choice" credentials in her overall campaign to be first female prime minister. Whether they have educational merit or not we leave to others, and there seems to be some compelling criticism of one size fits all type politicking.

The first hint of Gillard's pandering ambition was revealed when she adopted the McDonalds food chain 'M for maths' computer programme about a year ago.

Here's McDonalds leveraging a NSW public school reported previously on SAM here:

Criticisms of league tables are apparent from the US and UK experience, as per the clip from the respected The Wire HBO series season 3 above off youtube. Ken Boston similarly former NSW education chief on NSW stateline in 2009.

Gillard's pandering ambition is also revealed by the fact there are no web league tables for other professions proposed like doctors (GPs or specialists like surgeons) all highly subsidised by the taxpayer, or lawyers on legal aid subsidy.

The obvious answer is that a league table is nonsense in these cases because it doesn't relate to the clients of said doctor, surgeon or lawyer : Are they the tougher cases, the smokers, the quixotic legal crusades? The proverbial Charlie Teo brain surgeon who only takes the "hopeless" cases? 

Same with children and schools each in their own unique socio economic circumstance? Which school is in a pollution plume? Which school has NESB?
Which school just had local steel factory close? Uranium mine just open up (proposed for Alice Springs)? One really does wonder.

Nor do we trust Gillard's ambition to address the inherent crudity in a league table.

What about league table on the web of politicians? Metrics like:

 - how many constituents did you and your office meet (both)?

- how many concerns resolved?

- how many days did you attend sitting in parliament?

- how much payment of extras compared to other MPs?

 and so on.

Don't hold your breath with this last example. It sure looks like appeasing big business wanting children churned out as the proverbial widgets with the 3 R's (reading writing arithmatic) and nothing else? Better to be kept in their socio economic place as factory fodder?  A classic boomer control agenda of the younger generations?

Does the current diagnostic test of children test their ability to google? Probably a better measure of future learning capacity in the 21C?


Here is the Green Party media release here in NSW, we have just noticed after writing the above:

Gillard's website will damage all NSW schools

Media release: 26 January 2010

NSW Education Minister Verity Firth should revisit her decision to
hand over school test results after her federal colleague Julia
Gillard said that they could be used by parents to attack teachers.

Commenting on a story on page 1 of today's Sydney Morning Herald
('Tell off deficient teachers: Gillard',
http://tinyurl.com/smh100126), Dr Kaye said: "The years 3, 5, 7 and 9
literacy and numeracy tests were not designed to rank students, let
alone teachers or schools.

"The tests are crude measures of accomplishment in spelling, reading,
grammar and maths.

"The results say nothing of the quality of teaching in these areas or
achievements in the rest of education.

"The federal government's website will undermine confidence in schools
that have low scores, even though many of them are doing an excellent

"It will force teachers to sacrifice time spent on other important
curriculum areas to boost scores.

"Julia Gillard is apparently unaware of the realities of schools. She
is telling parents to attack teachers for low school scores, even
though the test is conducted in the first half of the year before many
teachers have had their full impact on a class.

"She apparently does not know that in many schools there are several
teachers in one grade year and that the test is a statistically
unsound measure of educational progress.

"State and territory ministers allowed their federal colleague to
indulge her obsession with name-and-shame websites and reducing
schools to a set of numbers.

"Handing over the state's school test results to the federal
government has pushed education to the brink of a crisis.

"NSW Education Minister Verity Firth should take a look carefully at
what she and her colleagues are about to do to schools, students and
communities," Dr Kaye said.

Posted by editor at 9:14 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 January 2010 9:48 AM EADT
Monday, 25 January 2010
Is James Woodford a compromised, moral light weight?
Mood:  sad
Topic: big media
What the green movement in NSW actually thinks of author James Woodford  free of the Syndey Morning Herald moderator...
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 6:41 PM
Subject: Re: [chipstop] Mumbulla koala story in SMH today

Thanks, ...I am sure that his lack of interest in logging issues would have nothing to do with his wife being ex-Forests NSW officer.

At 04:17 PM 25/01/2010, EcologyAction wrote:
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 4:17 PM
Subject: Re: [chipstop] Mumbulla koala story in SMH today

Notice James Woodford has an opinion piece on philosophy of greeness taking a decidedly apathetic and casual line, with nothing to day about ... logging of rare koala habitat on his own NSW south coast. What's the bet there is nothing on his web blog either. The 'real dirt'.
That's what I call blatant careerism, making his money out of the environment movement as an environmental reporter with access into the green movement then forgetting his roots. Big time.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 1:50 PM
Subject: Fw: [chipstop] Mumbulla koala story in SMH today

Well done to all those involved in the development and lobbying that went on to get this article up in the SMH. There was a front page "lead in" to this article on page 5 of this paper as well.


Logging plan poses threat to precious koala colony


January 25, 2010


There is  now a facebook group following the far south coast koalas plight:

Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 11:00 AM

Subject: [chipstop] Save the Mumbulla & Five Forests Koalas on Facebook

Hi all
I have set up a cause on Facebook:

Save the Mumbulla and Five Forests Koalas from logging. http://apps.facebook.com/causes/438225?m=10453d7c Please sign up if you are on Facebook. If we get a good number of members, it will add strength to our campaign to save the forest.

Please pass on to anyone you think may be interested.


Between 2,500 and 3,000 trees from SE NSW and East Gippsland are cut down every working day to supply the Eden chipmill
CHIPSTOP campaign against woodchipping the SE forests, 02-64923134, PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia, http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au
CHIPSTOP on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CmofsL8xhg

Posted by editor at 10:33 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 January 2010 9:53 AM EADT
Pengo Appreciation Society inaugural posting
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: local news

We have discovered a free download of Pengo onto PC format, first discovered around 1984 at our university residential college as a video table game. 

It actually requires a retro joystick via USB socket to really appreciate (not available in any modern computer store it seems). We have been madly teaching our selves the directional keys of a standard keyboard to kill those carnivorous snow bees. And we even played around with some home made toggle assemblies but its just not responsive enough.


It's a superior maze game for so early in the arcade genre. For those new to the experience, kick the wall, it freezes the snowbees temporarily. Kick the blocks around. Kick a block to crush it. Extra points for squashing multiple bees with one block. 10K bonus for 3 diamond blocks in a row. 5K if on the side. 

Just think of them as politicians.

We are pleased to see one Australian fellow Rodney Day, whom we recall as Dimmy way back at Ursula College, Australian National University, in the official wikipedia entry as the world record holder at 1 million points plus. Given we are struggling to get 20K on said keyboard set up that's a big score.

PS Special note for Mr First Dog OTM - we know there is no such thing as real snow bees.

PPS Curious that freeware Linux operating system developed around 1991 also features a ... penguin as the hero. Could these disparate factoids be connected?


Posted by editor at 10:37 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 25 January 2010 11:14 AM EADT
Monckton twit polluting the airwaves, like a true whingeing pom
Mood:  irritated
Topic: globalWarming

Lord Twit is here to 'teach' us about the science of global warming.

Hello, we have our own Nobel prize winners and world class scientits. Lord Muck apparently is a mathematician.

Hello, we are talking about the geological record and climatology led by NASA's Professor James Hansen. You know the guys who do rocket science, not puzzle games for a living.

The ABC gave the twit a platform earlier this morning on Sydney radio and he oozed sophistry and dishonesty about glacier melt - given Kilimanjaro is disappearing yearly. All cheap shots about a typo in the IPCC report.

Monckton makes Prince William, son of an avowed greenie, look like an angel of sunlight and truth, and this twit a slippery cur from the other place.

Posted by editor at 9:31 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 25 January 2010 10:53 AM EADT
Bernard Tomic 17 gets it right - 2am is not a 'professional' sport
Mood:  rushed
Topic: local news

Precocious talent and upstart tennis player Bernard Tomic says it's "rediculous" to be playing competitive tennis at 1 or 2 am in the morning during the Australian Open. 

Bingo. You are so right young talented Mr Tomic. You may be a brat. You may be loud. You may be a star.

But children say many true things. The emperor has no clothes: Professional tennis and camp followers want us to believe that tv driven tennis events are in the category of ocean yacht racing, and mountaineering, where the sport dictates night time action. (Yachting because there is no clock off in the middle of the sea, and mountaineering because the ice is more stable and safer in the cold of night, less avalanche danger).

Every other sport, Olympic, World Cup, AFL football here, and so on  don't do this. No one schedules for the middle of the night. Get over yourself Big Tennis.

What a joke. Tomic gets our vote. It is rediculous. And the big media who joined in the press conference scorn are w*nking and honking like gooses.

Don't you love democracy. Now the accusation has been levelled by 17 year old Tomic the words can't be unspoken, mainly because its true.

We did get on talk back radio and suggest it's agist and bad form to be promoting 17 year olds up at 2 am in the morning, but on reflection comparison with other world sports tells the real story.

Posted by editor at 9:12 AM EADT

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