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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 19 March 2007
Newcastle politics in last panicky sprint
Mood:  smelly
Topic: election nsw 2007

Our contributor Lynda writes:

Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 5:13 PM



 Hi All,

Spoke to a contact in Newcastle on Friday who had the good grace to say 'IF'  they expand Port Botany. Can only hope that there is a backlash from them. Cheers, Lynda

In full swing


 March 17, 2007  The Newcastle Herald


Both Morris Iemma and Peter Debnam know that their chances at next Saturday's election may well hinge on their fortunes in the Hunter Region, Jason Gordon reports.


BLOOD spilled, fresh blood injected, sheer bloody-mindedness. Welcome to  the bloody Newcastle election.


The most talked-about, moaned-about, smack-you-in-the-face election campaign in the Hunter's history will enter the home straight this week in much the same canter that it started in five months ago.


Only Dan Brown could have written a better script, although The Da Vinci Code's subtle conclusion could have been more easily picked.


At least four Lower Hunter seats could change hands next Saturday, significantly changing the region's political landscape, and that of NSW.


For anyone harbouring doubts about Newcastle's importance to the  Government, consider that Premier Morris Iemma is expected to kick off the final week of his campaign by joining the Blue and Red Army at EnergyAustralia Stadium tomorrow, raising hopes that the second half of the stadium might finally get a fully funded guernsey.


Strange things happen in marginal seats.


Posted by editor at 11:38 AM NZT
A sea of yellow hats and head lamps an election bribe or just damn good timing for Morris Iemma?
Mood:  lazy
Topic: election nsw 2007

Picture: images lifted off the Fairfax web site this morning, with thanks for this important public interest aspect to the cunning politicisation of an icon.

When is an election stunt actually a breach of the electoral laws against inducements to buy votes?

We wrote in late 2006 on Sydney indymedia

(and here it is 14th August 2006 Easy being green washed as huge coal loader destroys credibility of free light globes PR at inner city electorates? )

of the free light globes Easy Being Green programme http://shop.easybeinggreen.com.au funded by the NSW Govt in marginal green shaded seats of Balmain and Marrickville in 2006. Were these effectively buying votes on March 24 2007?

Well those give aways suddenly stopped theoretically two months after our IMC article (with credit due to Sydney Indy Media function and this writer), what a coincidence, after an audit showed (to paraphrase) 'the budgeted take up has been filled': 'Lightbulb giveaway is switched off' The Australian - 14 Oct 2006.

Or the threat of prosecution for election corruption looming against the Iemma Govt?: Compare Qld with very draconian penalties for any hint of corrupting influence on the integrity of their democratic system after the bad old Bjelke/Fitgerald Royal Commission days. Mike Kaiser who is a senior election organiser for Iemma, and from Qld, has come a cropper for the same strictures up there in Qld. Similarly witness the overkill jailing of Pauline Hanson in recent years for alleged misdemeanours reversed on appeal.

And notice the sensitive Marrickville seat was still being duchessed in November 2006 with freebie give aways via NSW public purse as per this PR froth Marrickville householders get help to turn their house green free ... again presumably funded indirectly by the NSW Govt public budget. This is the seat where the ALP has lied about a Marrickville Truck Tunnel plan both in the 2005 byelection lead up, and similarly exposed front page of the Daily Telegraph recently.

Now we see the brilliant PR free advertising for the Iemma Govt around a visual feast of yellow hats on the big meeja last night and today. Clever. Costing say $100,000 (?) in free hat ware and a reward for those who took the trouble to register and be organised to assist in the worthy goals of safety in a crowd, and to promote sun smart behaviour especially for kids. The free night time head lamps purely decoration?

 Picture: Our ugly but lovable toll gouging coat hanger because in the end it is indeed ours, but is it ALP Premier Morris Iemma's? Image lifted from tourism company http://www.bridgeclimb.com/

So you might think giving away hats IS justifiable and good public policy, but you might also call it very cunning leverage of incumbency to the morning and night political tv news bulletins. A real triumph of PR positioning all at taxpayer expense like those water adverts, and green light globes.

Iemma's team can all refer to the 75 year chronology as simply good luck one week before the vote that festivities precede the state election. A schedule, we say, that has been cynically exploited to this writer's impression by the incumbent government to throw a free party, the PNG version of killing and cooking pigs for a free feed for the voters.

This event in fact was so highly choreagraphed it has been revealed it was 'months in the planning, involving hundreds of people to organise' according to the Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk: 75th Anniversary spokeswoman on Adam Spencer 702 abc radio morning show this morning: How calculating and very unsurprising. It might even explain why bureaucrats took their eye off the ball with recent transport stuff ups when big ships visited here and unlucky failed maintenance caused a melt down. A bureaucracy under pressure to deliver the political premium rather than bread and butter daily competency?

A good party with a free yellow hat or headlamp for maximum PR visibility but a lousy provider? We think so.

Indeed the Opposition acknowledge just how political the event is by having  their big ticket roads policy on today Monday 19th March 07 in an attempt to meet this orchestrated PR coup.

Even an apparent suicide at North Sydney station yesterday according to radio reports was unable to stop the Iemma PR juggernaut, he is that 'good'.

The Herald today in its wrap around went with a front page equivalent of the manipulative PR yellow sea of hats being the headlamp hats for the night walkers (another $50k plus?),  but the tv bulletins dwelled on the daylight yellow caps yesterday, and this carried over to the wrap the Daily Telegraph. There's heaps of votes in that free coverage. Paid for by .... you the taxpayer: Politics won't be denied on Bridge's big day | NEWS.com.au

How cheap are peoples votes in our NSW Democracy - the cost of a yellow cap, or a little head lamp? Probably.

Posted by editor at 9:21 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 19 March 2007 11:35 AM NZT
Sunday, 18 March 2007
Our work ban on errant community centre tenant
Mood:  sharp
Topic: local news

All this muck in state and federal politics, as well as dodgy financial reporting by CEO Fletcher in Coles retail business giant as here The World Today - Coles accused of misleading shareholders could make one believe the community sector are surely above this moral corruption.


Alas not. Only the stakes are so much smaller. The emotional investment seems just as obsessive.


Example: A tenant at the local ARC wants special treatment. Reverse Garbage, Ethnic Child Care, The Bower, Art Studios, Sunday Markets all have visitors by car who on some occasions park on the grass degrading both the turf (which heaven knows is knocked around in the drought) and compacting the roots of the trees.


It’s usually a simple matter of the garden staff on the job politely but firmly asking the driver  to get ORFour grass and use the very adequate car park areas. And they usually are quite happy to. Almost invariably because they actually support and respect the shared objective of a successful community centre.


But not last Friday. Our imperious visitor was too important to bother with that. Then our anonymous tenant refused to take any responsibility for their ignoble guest plonked on the median strip, indeed was instantly and emotionally and verbally abusive, dishonest, aggressive and indeed corruptly seeking special exemption virtually threatening our employment for simply doing our job.


A real big shot as per the Billy Joel song.

Picture: Sunday market (left) at ARC yesterday. It's success depends on wise management of car parking (at right), instituted after fully 10 years of cheap talk and chaos, in 2004. Some closed shop types seem to think theatrical melodrama, and bully ragging, not to mention pandering, is a replacement for equal rights and responsibilities. Not on SAM's watch, not ever.


It was all so small and yet indicative of possibly a much greater and unsafely corrupt mind set. Certainly of arrogance and snobbery in this case. To be called a “nice boy” at 42, a part time solicitor with two degrees is quite hard to take really.


Fortunately we did not reciprocate and the General Manager who employs me treated this particular tenant with the merit s/he deserves. He merely required a file note to evidence the situation and helpfully there were witnesses.


And we all have our own power and can chose to exercise it in a proportionate and transparent way in what might be called upward management. It’s mainly a matter of careful analysis beyond the impertinent melodramatic histrionics where to insert the knitting needle.


So now it’s a work ban on this tenant at least by this worker. No removal of rubbish, no weeding or mowing, no special favours with mulching the back yard or pigeons in the roof, indeed no web updating of the fast improving  Addison Road Centre - ARC Home website which we have been seconded to assist with until we receive satisfaction.


We will win in the long run as night follows day. That's my version of accountability for low level corruption in a community centre: Qualitatively no better than other bottom feeding federal or state politicians or big business corruption but quantitatively an order of magnitude smaller. Indeed we will not be sidetracked.


The human condition, ain’t it lovely?



Postscript #1:  We have received correspondence disputing our version of events described above and now publish this record verbatim:


"Excuse me.....Can you not park there please [still 30 metres away walking down the front drive]....We don't want people parking on the grass and it's an [bad] example to all other people who drive into the centre. ....[no response].... I work here as a gardener at the centre. ....."


[sentence finishes next to the woman walking into Sidetrack Theatre looking increasingly scornful and totally not intimidated. I notice the back of the stationwagon is largely empty or maybe a few small items with blankets.]

"I am just unloading." she says with total confidence.

"It doesn't matter, its a matter of getting help with carrying something."

"Okay I will" [walks away in the other direction proving she is simply lying]

"Okay I will wait" [wait lamely as she wanders off to the main theatre, and give up after a minute knowing I've been lied to, and not very gullible.]

Then I put my head into Sidetrack front door and say to X politely but firmly -
"X can you take responsibility for your guest. She is parking on the grass and hasn't moved when I asked her."

[No answer, I then went away and did work for 5 minutes emptying the bin at the bus stop. Car still not moved.]

I go into X's office and ask politely "can you tell me the name of the woman parked out the front", then X launches into tantrum shouting and tirade. I leave his office with him shouting at me. I go outside and ask her politely "Can you tell me your name?"

[X grabs my arm while I try to ask my question again. I say ...]

"Keep your hands to yourself" What is your name please?

[X] "Her name is Sue Smith"

[I walk away at these insults to my work and my intelligence.]

[Me walking to the front office to do web page updating] "I will take it to the board."

[X] rushes over to the main office.

[X shouting at Ian Laird, ARC centre manager]

"Stop him harrassing my staff. He's in a bad mood for some reason. He's a nice boy. We are friends"
[me] "Not anymore..... You're drowning..... You aren't going to win." [by which I meant by shouting or bullying]
In point of fact I am 42 year old part time lawyer and community activist with 2 university degrees and I do my job without fear or favour.

Ian Laird, the centre manager, was completely bemused but also not that surprised at the tantrum by X. But I was.

Witnesses include artist Jeff Wood who was working on his chess set project nearby, who said "Tom did nothing wrong" to Laird. Quite true, I didn't do anything wrong. I was doing my job in a well tempered way and conscientous way and I will continue to do so while ever I have the confidence of the centre management.
Postscript #2: And when we say pollie muck, and big business muck (at Coles), and community sector muck (above), we note too Big Media muck (!) at that bastion of free press Fairfax with a cracking story today 20th March about Ron Walker ... of Fairfax no less ....conflict of interest jab in the ribs by top in house journo David Marr. Ouchy, ouch: Fairfax chief spreads blame for inadvertent Liberal link

Posted by editor at 12:27 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007 5:50 PM NZT
Sunday political talkies: 'specifically Pacific' focus not geo politik adventurism, as Rudd suffers 'altitude sickness'
Mood:  hungry
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: Mount Aspiring  in New Zealand (via google earth, photo by Kevin Bracy Knight http://www.panoramio.com/user/3821, ) Climbed by this writer in 1988/9 and what a hoot it was. Not the highest but perhaps most beautiful peak in our region of the world, just as Opposition Leader Rudd aspires to his own beautiful peak, PM of Australia, but says the ALP are still "at the base camp" despite good polling causing 'altitude sickness' (Mark Riley, 7) . And Kevin beware allegations of 'deceptive conduct' on the journey Aussie arrested for illegal guiding in Mt Aspiring - New Zealand ...

This aspect of Aspiring shows a 1,000 metre final pitch from base to summit at 3,033m above sea level , comparable to any  European peak for hardship I've been told, a 6 hour time warping 100% focus. Rudd will need similar to wrest control from the Coalition and like this writer's ascent that lovely day you only get one chance no reverse gear. Not least because it will melt (if not already) in the age of dangerous global warming.

Author’s general introductory note (skip this if you know this regular weekly column):


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. ]


Indeed it’s the tv version monitoring task similar to what Nelson Mandela refers to here in his book Long Walk to Freedom (1994, Abacus) written in Robben Island prison (where he was meant to die like other African resister chiefs of history in the 19C), at page 208


“..newspapers are only a shadow of reality; their information is important to a freedom fighter not because it reveals the truth, but because it discloses the biases and perceptions of both those who produce the paper and those who read it.”


Just substitute ‘Sunday tv political talkie shows’ for "newspapers" in the quote above.


For actual transcripts go to web sites quoted below except with Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.


Picture: Mt Aspiring from another angle. Still 'at base camp' says 'saint' Kevin Rudd  to his ALP congregation with the climb all ahead despite 'high altitude' polling according to the Riley Diary today.

10 Meet the Press 8-8.30 am

Deborah Knight presenter, looking smart and also gorgeous, a fine combo. Paul Bongiorno don’t stay too long on holidays.


Khaki headlines in “all press” with footage of panicky PM in smoke filled RAAF flight emergency in Afghanistan. [A footnote to a fizzling twilight political career?]


Robert McLelland, shadow minister (Foreign Affairs?) fields diverse questions from Steve Lewis (The Australian) and Tom Allard on the panel and Knight also re govt  minister Santo Santoro self destruction, politics of smear, international security questions.


Rubbery figures intensely funny honeymoon metaphor with right wing voter snogging Rudd enthusiastically but implying it’s a temporary affair until thee rednecks return to Howard’s arms.


Pro Debnam attack advert on ALP in 2nd break.


Ethics expert Simon Longstaff (getting pudgy) correctly identifies opportunistic blood sport about character test of federal pollies many are failing. Not a noble process of accountability if the goal is not to win with integrity, [not simply to win (as per Gandhi dictum)]


Allard on Rudd in religion? SL says it’s a virtue for politicians to have good personal convictions, yet secularism is necessary for public interest representation by elected politicians, not crusading personal faith.


Transcript in due course www.ten.com.au/meetthepress


7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary


Humourous, quite edgy as usual.  Andrew O'Keefe and Lisa Wilkinson co-hosts and other media express implausibility of khaki PM moment in the press filmed running from the plane, but how did the cameras get out first in position, they ask. They know the public are bored with the PR tricks and the group laugh and skepticism is more revealing than the subject matter itself: Howard has a big credibility gap on a former policy trump.


[The knowing poise of Lisa staring right down the barrel of the camera unflinching as Andrew guilloutined the group cackle before it got risky said a lot. Normally she makes diversionary twitches when it’s a no go political risky area. This time its Andrew who does the reining in for a change with “Thanks kids”. Speaking of which Howard’s son doing “strategy” for 7 will be watching a tape of this for daddy O with consternation.]


Footage of vaudeville theatre by Abbott and Bishop federal north shore pollies diversion from woes of Santoro sacking for breach of share investment code of condust.


Riley slums down to NSW politics with Debnam satire as Frank Spencer physicals but not intellect which is out of his scope usually being Sydney not Canberra. But it does underline that there is really significant crossover of the two fields of power play in the Australian polity especially this double election year.


Amusing metaphor of Rudd with “altitude sickness” being so high in the polls.


Same attack advert for state election runs. Just as Debnam speech ran on ABC tv last night (just before West Wing on my tape). Live footage at Harbour Bridge 75th Celebration. More credibility gap about crowds and transport.


Web page here but no transcript usually: http://www.seven.com.au/sunrise/weekend


[2 and 9 shows to follow later this morning]


Picture: Mount Aspiring / Tititea Beware the ice shoot Kevin. Keep those ice screws, snow pegs, harness, safety rope,  carabiners and climbing partner close, and not least ice axe (bad taste Leon Trotsky  jokes aside.) And if you do get there remember its just as dangerous coming down Mt Aspiring rescue - 12 Mar 2007 - National News - New Zealand Herald

2 Insiders (abc) 9-10 am,  http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/ 


Talent is firstly Wayne Swan seeking to consolidate Santoro sacking to PM’s incompetence or worse.


Paul Kelly (News Limited’s The Professor) says Santoro sacking is “red hot”.


Panel is Misha Schubert (bleeding heart lefty Fairfax?), Malcolm Farr (moderate but edgy News Ltd Sydney based), Andrew Bolt (unreconstructed hard Right News Ltd Melbourned based).


Generally good show and light hearted vibe (as I trawled for Mt Aspiring images for the Rudd metaphor above) presumably shared relief they are not Santo Santoro a ruthless critic of the ABC network for one thing and credibility now destroyed.


Every person segment: (missed it).


Talking pictures looks at NSW electoral situation just as panel do, with Mal Farr effectively trashing Peter Debnam for lack of financial/budgetary policy substance (which is ironic being Coalition traditional strength).


Obligatory footage of Abbott and Bishop as per other two shows above.


9 Sunday 9-10.30am (to follow) http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/


Taped show to be viewed in due course, and perhaps commented on here.


Gillard as Opposition IR spokes with Laurie Oaks.


Feature is panel of heavy duty ministers state and federal and Premier Beatie etc at Ch9 of about 20 people. It’s a very impressive lineup of real politik with traffic directed by Ellen Fanning.


Ross Coulthard does field reportage for the panel discussion.


Norma Khoury literary constroversy covered.


Debnam attack adverts run against the ALP as per 7 and 10 already in the final week sprint.


Transcript at web link above should be good.

Posted by editor at 9:53 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 19 March 2007 2:36 PM NZT
Saturday, 17 March 2007
NSW voters have a 'ludicrous, ridiculous' choice: Frank Sinatra's gangsters, or the Ku Klux Klan racists
Mood:  down
Topic: election nsw 2007

Either way the NSW Public are facing 4 more years of bad governance under the influence of either major party, ALP or Liberal- National Coalition. Democracy is effectively broken here as illustrated by this sorry image:

Picture: ALP’s moral credibility: Huge sandmine hole next to Wollemi World Heritage national park on one side and Yengo NP/McDonald Wilderness on the other, 40 km west of Sydney next to the Singleton Road. The sand "pulled out" goes into the ALP controlled construction sector. The mine by Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd was illegal 1986-96 then given retrospective approval by Hawkesbury River Shire Council, and proceeded without valid development consent from 1996-2007 according to Environmental Defenders Office written legal advice. It is due for takeover by Adelaide Brighton Pty Ltd and most likely will be expanded to 270 ha and approved by Minister Frank Sartor in due course. It is killing the water flow in Tinda Creek into Wollemi natural heritage area. There is no real restoration of these huge sand mine sites. They are usually left as quicksand slurry pits (called 'lake' in the spin). Photo by SAM editor 14th March 2007.

Mark Colvin the veteran reporter and presenter of the ABC PM show last night posed the question: What if they held an election and no one came?


This apparently was in response to Peter Debnam's press conference earlier that day posing his own rhetorical question to the effect of: Why are NSW voters in the latest marginal seats Galaxy poll such masochists to still prefer the ALP 58:42 two party preferred? : Debnam throws in the towel


Good question Peter.


It’s a devastating answer in the headline above: Frank Sinatra was a Sicilian* and many other things too: An apologist for mobster killers in the mafia (like the ALP are killers of clean government and good public interest policy with their family cronyism devoid of merit), but the crooner wasn't racist, he loved his black brother entertainer Sammy Davis Junior. Similarly the NSW ALP bruvvers are not white supremacists but they are corrupt as the day is long:

Picture: Premier Morris Iemma, leader of the NSW ALP and reportedly an expert ethnic branch stacker.

But you can’t say that about the NSW Coalition. There are a thousand examples of their cunning subtext trawling the 5% racist redneck vote once rusted on to Pauline Hanson's One Nation, the latest being exchange of preferences with Fred Nile MP the so called ‘Christian’ Democrat.

It’s also worth remembering Nile has voted for every forest destroying legislative instrument ever presented since at least 1992 to this writer's memory. Nile has just targeted a Federal policy question proposing a ban on Muslim immigration in a state election no less:

Nile wants Muslim pause - State Election 2007 - smh.com.au,


and notice this demolition of the crackpot Nile election policy:


Crikey - Politics Etc - Fred Nile’s step-by-step guide to spotting ...


If the hood fits Fred, and by the shape of the head it looks like it would:

Thus young Australians are flirting with neo Nazi policies, like this convicted criminal who should have been sent to jail: Cronulla rioter guilty and free


But if John Robertson of the NSW Labour Council is right yesterday interviewed on radio there is a bigger cohort of voter concern than racial intolerance, namely 7 or 8% out there supporting the Your Rights at Work campaign against Debnam’s sponsor, PM John Howard and his “extreme industrial relations” turning our society into a ruthless Darwinian jungle.


Even allowing for posturing by unionist Robertson to claim electoral credit (who interestingly also spoke at the Climate Change Rally late last year 2006 in person with more here Climate march gallery 3.12.05), Robertson is surely right to a degree. Worker rallies of 40,000 last November 30 in the Sydney CBD with many more across NSW show that his point is fair.


Yet as a result of a systemic money politics, incumbency and diverse gerrymanders by the two party sleaze bags, 30% or more voters still feel there is nowhere else to go than Coalition or ALP despite racism,or corrupt policy (see examples listed below).


At least this election the rise of the Independents is being seriously discussed as per this candidate out in Windsor the othe day:


Picture: Steven Pringle resigned from the Liberal Party after losing pre-selection allegedly to the Christian Right of the Party in the seat of Hawkesbury and is recontesting in what is said to be an interesting contest 2007 New South Wales Election. Hawkesbury Electorate Profile ...


Quentin Dempster on Stateline last night 16th March posed yet another question: Will Peter Debnam, who presents as already defeated here resign a week out from the election so his more moderate rival and deputy Barry O’Farrell MP can go to the polls for the Liberal Party?


Debnam chuckled with hollow bravado at the impertinence of that question, just as Iemma and his Minister Tebbutt chuckled with arrogant assurance on the screen last night during the main ABC News bulletin.


And then there is the painful rise of the third force in politics: The Greens Party. They copped it again last Wednesday and Thursday in the 'Daily Idiot' as Leunig accurately cartooned last weekend, meaning The Sydney Daily Telegraph over their “liberal” drugs policy. Here are their sister News Limited papers chiming in:


Greens drug policy 'absurd, disgusting' - The Australian - 13 Mar 2007
Nile calls for MP drug tests - Melbourne Herald Sun - 14 hours ago


[Interestingly David Penberthy, the editor of the SDT running most strongly on the drug issue against the Greens is related to another Penberthy in the newspaper game of yesteryear at the Nationwide Review which crashed and burned.]


Indeed the Greens are portrayed by sleazy Iemma for the ALP as “ludicrous, ridiculous, unscientific” for their policies on harm minimisation. For years now the ALP have sought to position the Greens as pro drug use possibly to project their own guilt over huge donations from the clubs and pubs lobby. The Coalition are green baiting as usual via their Daily Smelly mouthpiece as much as possible possibly because their ex Premier Nick Greiner works for Big Tobacco. The hypocrisy surely is that more people are killed and hurt by alcohol and tobacco in society than other problematic drug use.

Picture: Fortune favours the brave? Lee Rhiannon MLC who is leading the Greens upper house ticket, gave a strong defense of rational drugs policy with fortunate back up by world class expert Dr Alex Wodak on ABC Trioli show recently.

The Greens up till 2003 have been too little and naïve to meet and demolish this stereotyping but I heard on ABC Trioli show late this week the policy bullies hit the wall, and the bigger they are the harder they do hit: MP Lee Rhiannon for the Greens stood and faced the attack and beat the ALP/Coalition policy thugs pointless.


The Greens don’t condone drug use but they do support reallocation of resources into harm minimisation and health approaches. Funny that, just like the scourge of prostitution was taken out of the hands of corrupt police and politicians into the decriminalised health and planning sector.


The truth is the Law and Order Industry (humorously called LauraNorder) need illegal drugs to run their huge budgets, power, prestige and jobs for the boys and girls.


Sydney does listen to Trioli in significant measure and she started out harsh and sceptical but she backed off good and proper as Dr Alex Wodak  of St Vincents Hospital slam dunked the major parties with this, to paraphrase:


'Q. Alex Wodak is Lee Rhiannon of The Greens right?


Ans. Yes. All the evidence internationally says they are’.


What was that about expert, scientific, public policy Morris? Who are the honest politicians in the election? Who have the proverbial courage, so often associated with voter shyness for being ahead of their time? Who indeed are ridiculous, preposterous, ludicrous and indeed liars? The ALP and Coalition, demonstrably so.


Dr Wodak even quoted the hero of right wingers (like shrieker Miranda Devine) for his case: free market economist Milton Friedman abhorred the prohibitionist failed polices over 8 decades in relation to unhealthy illegal drug use.


The Greens are in favour of criminal sanctions for all dealers of drugs, says Rhiannon. Rhiannon is also quoted in the news bulletins as not taking alcohol or other drugs herself personally. And another difference this election is that Jamie “horny goatweed” Parker (who by the by more than anyone haughtily encouraged this writer in person to get out of the Green Party in 2000, literally in the office of Lee Rhiannon in Macquarie Street), is not a candidate in Balmain.


Indeed Horny Goatweed got mugged 3 days out from the vote in 2003 while the Daily Smelly has shot its bolt a premature 10 days out with time for such counter attack by The Greens on the real facts and real expert advice.


Therein is the difference 2003 to 2007 apart from Parker losing his preselection (jumped or pushed?) and keep in mind politics is all about timing. Indeed I was moved to call and congratulate Rhiannon’s performance on Trioli's show with the advice – hold fast, its tough with black and blue bruises inevitable, but you are turning the corner on critical public policy reform.


Indeed Trioli doesn’t "have children" but Rhiannon does and criminalising youthful idiocy/despair into a life of crime is no way forward for any political analyst with half a brain. On the the Daily Telegraph's own biased terms over 25% of NSW voters agree with the Greens already and it will grow.


But the last word on drugs surely goes to liberal minded Democrat, Arthur Chesterfield Evans MD who fronted the drug test stunt by Fred Nile MP in state parliament press room calling for “a mental health test” as well. Laugh out loud. If it’s anything like the character test re stewardship of God’s creation that Nile has already dismally failed then Nile has no chance.


Truth is Iemma/Carr’s ALP majority this last 12 years have never been worried about “scientific” policy for the welfare and good government of NSW. Nor were they in the lead up to the Wood Royal Commission into police corruption. This writer worked in parliament and witnessed the ambition and shame that forced both major parties to go along with independent John Hatton MP now retired.


These major parties have always preferred feather nesting 'ludicrous ridiculous' policy to quote Premier Iemma back at himself, whenever democracy was asleep or apathetic. Here's one current list of such tragedies but it's only limited by space not examples:


1. East Darling Harbour site has toxins apparently:


Sartor told of toxic site 5 years ago


We hear the ALP’s excessive development plan is a bastardised version of architect Phil Thalis’s design (pers comm Sydney City Councillor) and he is really not happy. Jack Mundey famous for Green bans and on the government advisory committee rejected the bogus plan that ex ALP PM Paul Keating (that old developer mate from Bondi Junction) defends, and Jack the old unionist has gone very quiet since Maritime Union boss Robert Coombs was given a choice preselection into State Parliament via seat of Swansea. The whole thing reeks.


2. Legal and illegal land clearing in the millions of hectares with duchessed greenie Jeff Angel on the government’s peak advisory committee during this time 1998-2005, for more see report 27th Feb 2007 here: 


Revealed: legal land clearing's savage toll - Environment - Specials


The fact ex ALP Premier Carr mitigated this unfolding disaster just prior to his buckle in mid 2005 to the incoming Iemma forces puts the ALP ahead of the Coalition on land use but only barely, with Debnam way ahead on water policy. The Desalination Plant is just just more ALP construction industry cronyism it seems. Indeed The Greens identify Iemma’s “unscientific” policy on land clearing with this:


“ The government’s mapping does not pick up clearing where canopy is less than 20%. As a result it does not recognise clearing of open woodlands or grasslands. These areas are responsible for around 60% of all legal clearing in NSW. I challenged [Minister] McDonald about this technology in a meeting we had late last year. He promised to provide evidence that would support its effectiveness. Nothing has been forthcoming.”


Ian Cohen MLC, Green Party press release 28th February 2007, doing Jeff Angel’s job 10 years late but better than never.


I explained these facts of life about Green Party preferencing to the ALP in some parts but not others (say Monaro or Blue Mountains) due to Coalition support for land clearing last Wednesday to Riverstone Liberal Candidate Kevin Conolly outside Windsor Railway station at 7.15 am. Conolly supports his Party's repeal of 330K ha Goonoo Pilliga conservation reserve because of lack of park management funding.


Picture: Future MP Kevin Conolly? Former Catholic school teacher, presumably from the intolerant Christian Right faction of the Liberals. Conolly is after an upset from the ALP on about 11% margin Riverstone - State Election 2007 - smh.com.au. His federal Counterpart Kerry Bartlett is also doing it tough on minus .5% in the seat of Macquarie (and was out leafleting the commuters) after a federal westward redistribution taking in ALP strong holds of Lithgow, also more neutral Oberon etc.


We saw a ‘picfac’ of another rural regional Liberal Party candidate too, chubby Prue Goward in the Sydney Morning Herald 15th March 2007 Pushing Prue: can she speed into leadership? with alternative headline Goward seen as Libs' saviour on the Fairfax website:


Did she get her inspiration from this other biker political animal "Randall Nelson OAM AKA Animal" as described on his business card?


Picture: “Animal” is a Christian preacher in Kings Cross whose business card reads prophetically “When we do Right No-one Remembers When we do Wrong No-one Forgets.” Is this why the primary vote of the ALP and Coalition is going south and will continue to do so until the dam breaks?


Coalition candidates should read this letter from an enlightened farmer to save our animals so to speak: Letters: Farmers' argument comes down to reserves versus reserve fodder



3. Matthew Moore the Freedom of Information editor for the Sydney Morning Herald reveals 15th March 2007 the cheating over a hidden document preparing the way to bulldoze Beacon Hill public school on valuable land for developers. Simply more corruption. See


Ohhhh you wanted That document!!???


4. Telegraph report March 5th 2007 p17 that BHP-Billiton’s Appin Area 3 mine, southwest of Sydney has indeed cracked the Upper Cataract River as predicted by critics, 5 months after approval:


“Last October, The Daily Telegraph reported that the [Sydney Catchment Authority] had advised the State Government the mine should go no closer than 350 m to the line of the river. The operation, however, was permitted to go within 100m.”


Simply corruption.


5. Hundreds of thousands or even millions of feral critters live in our rural areas both national park and farmlands. Iemma has appeased cowboy shooters by allowing them into public recreation reserves like the USA where hunters take over. There probably is a place for professional full time efficient sharp shooters following a scientific kill program, accountable to government employers, but Iemma in a sleazy deal has the whole community


“Living in fear of stray bullets” (p26th March 4th 2007 The Sydney Sunday Telegraph),


says Robyn Gregg with toddler on knee, from Kulnurra north of Sydney regarding shooters in McPeherson State Forest. This is corruption of public policy and anti science and frankly outragous pandering..



6. Our climate change friend John Robertson, an ALP crony above all else, is described thus by profoundly likeable and good planning writer Elizabeth Farrelly as follows:


… to list Currawong [heritage area next to Kuringai NP] after so controversial a sale [by the NSW Labor Council] would be to invite damages. Why didn’t [Minister Sartor] do it when it was easy? The answer may lie with the Heritage Council. A public body with very private meetings, it is chaired by property type Mike Collins and lists among its members none other than Comrade John Robertson, an electrician who is also, as luck would have it, secretary of Unions NSW. See what I mean? It’s that cosy family feeling. Cosy nostra. Full circle.


 in Currawong is still oriented towards family ...2st Feb 2007.


That’s res ipsa loquitur (the matter speaks for itself) a perception of corruption in the governance of heritage land by this NSW government.




All of the above criticism risks offending Gandhi nonviolence when he says, as for politics so in life,


"10. Avoid exploiting weakness in your opponent. Aim for integrity, not simply to win. "


meaning adversarial point scoring in a race to the bottom, muck raking negativity, is not a sound basis for good governance. But the point about peaceful but confronting Gandhi was that he did still aim to win for the public interest with integrity and that is the way forward to reform NSW politics.


* this writer is 1/8 Italian and proudly so.

Posted by editor at 7:49 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 17 March 2007 1:04 PM NZT
Friday, 16 March 2007
Sydney Harbour Bridge walk: Intersection of politics, real safety concerns and Laura Norder
Mood:  rushed
Topic: election nsw 2007

Picture: Police on foot and on horseback widely seen as overkill at anti Forbes protest in Sydney in 2005 over rich elites taking over our Opera House venue in 2005 to make plans about our future (more pictures of rally at the end of this post).

SAM's editor even as a sometime legal adviser has never heard of a joint police force chasing down protester charges from another state to here in Sydney:

Anti-Terror Squad Raid and Arrest Protestors in Dramatic Swoop 

Picture: Anti G20 radical protesters in Melbourne in November 2006. What exactly is the problem with free speech, and who really is the danger to our society?

It may have happened but even up in Jabiluka (Northern Territory, hundreds arrested 1998) the authorities just wanted to evict the protesters back to the South or where ever.  This bespeaks deeper analysis on behalf of the activist community. Read on.

Harbour Bridge walk of 200,000 planned for Sunday March 18th 2007.

All ungated and frankly irresponsible organisation given bag checks at such as the BDO and similar events, cricket etc for public safety reasons (use your imagination in the age of errorism, and I don't mean lefty anti capitalists breaking a few McDonalds windows or similar, more the London Tubes) but nothing for this crush of people on Sunday.

The whole event this Sunday is designed as an ALP party stunt to impress the voters prior to the vote on 24th March. A flavour on abc adam spencer show this morning on location at the Bridge with allegations it is an ALP stunt.

BUT if something goes wrong, and we hope and trust it doesn't, it turns the voters into punishers of the ALP.  Already the ABC Glover show yesterday afternoon is alarmed 'it won't be safe' maybe, and Police Minister Watkins scolded Glover on air: "Richard ...Richard" it's all going to be fine says nice face on the jackboots Mr Watkins. Read on:

Iemma goes on the radio yesterday arvo too admonishing 4,000 unionists to NOT turn it into a protest event all wearing 'Your rights at work'. Get it? Stick to the 'party, vote ALP' vibe, not protest, especially if other causes like anti G20, anti Cheney leftists want equal protest rights in front of an audience.

Picture: Police push into a crowd that was trying to hold a peaceful street march February 2007.

Picture: More democratic protesters in Macquarie street Sydney CBD June 7th 2006 against Iemma Govt repeal of planning controls on developers

So what is exactly going on these last few days to our democracy. Our conclusion:

Picture: Friendly relations. ALP organiser at Morris Iemma's election launch in early March 07 in Hurstville shakes with senior policeman supervising public protesters out front of the Civic Theatre.

Police are shaking the social and democratic tree ... again....in preparation of the big ungated Sunday walk, and to avoid what Simon Santo abc state tv political reporter, and others (Sue Cato, spin doctor) are saying will be the next BIG transport test for the Iemma Govt, after 4 hour schmozzle on Wednesday night last: No excuse, says former rail boss

Any problems and its 'unhelpful PR backlash in the last week before the vote for the Iemma government', to paraphrase his machine man Mark Arbib on radio yesterday. That's the police agenda for their 12 year now ALP political masters - to keep it smooth, keep it orderly and quiet and bully anyone who wants to be loud agitators which actually is their democratic right ... at least in a democracy.

SAM's edtior being a middle class well educated type has written before at the time of the G20 footage from Melbourne of concerns about illegal vandalism in those protests. We much prefer the Gandhi style of activism:

 Gandhi nonviolence

Nevertheless we have very little doubt there is a political dimension to the timing and exagerated posturing of the 'anti terrorism police' indeed the Law and Order industry who don't want to solve 'the drugs problem' ever, or be done out of huge budgets and jobs.

We don't agree with aggressive protest tactics but are even more concerned about the anti democratic and oppressive tendencies of the police and their political masters. Premier Iemma leveraging the status of his office says the labour movement shouldn't wear T shirts in a block with the slogan "Your rights at work" like this rally November 30th 2006 part of a 300,000 strong group of rallies that day across Australia:

There is a word for opposing free speech - it's called fascism and was the guiding philosophy of another famous Italian who died at the end of a noose:

Benito Mussolini - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

People talk about the Aboriginal industry, but far far more is spent on the LauraNorder Industry metaphorically painting rocks and using protesters as punching bags: The anti WTO protesters in 2000 have just been paid some $750,000 by the Victoria police for illegal brutality back then:

Radical protesters receive secret payout By Natasha Robinson March 05, 2007 02:00am Article from: The Australian

A SECRETLY negotiated $700,000 compensation payment to S11 riot protesters who sued police for damages has been branded a "good outcome" by the Victorian Premier amid fury from the state's police union and the Opposition.

A group of 47 litigants blamed heavy-handed policing for injuries sustained at a riotous anti-globalisation protest outside the World Economic Forum at Melbourne's Crown casino in September 2000.

Premier Steve Bracks yesterday defended the $700,000 taxpayer-funded settlement - which comes after the public spent a reported $600,000 on the Government's legal bills - and said it would not set a precedent for future litigation by protesters. " at http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,21323913-1243,00.html

That's the legal truth of the police excessive force tactics, as reported by the right wing press, as much as any G20 anti corporate criminals protest. And the multinationals are criminals as the mass poverty and excessive affluence of the select few quite clearly shows. That's why a great range of Sydney folks including this writer attended the anti Forbes protests in 2005 as per this collage:

Posted by editor at 8:30 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 16 March 2007 11:35 AM NZT
Wednesday, 14 March 2007
Tony Abbott getting punchy again .... just like 1978?
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: election Oz 2007

Tony Abbott should be a little more concerned about his own checkered history than worrying about Kevin Rudd's "character" in his column in the Sydney Morning Herald today. We reported this back on 8th January 2007 about how aggressive boxer Tony punched and assaulted our friend Peter Woof, which shows you the intrinsic violence in the man now senior politician. Apparently there are plenty more stories like this one about Tony Abbott with the log in his own eye:

Monday, 8 January 2007 [some minor edits in this March 15th 07 version, but the overall story is the same]
Why did student activist now minister Tony Abbott punch Peter Woof?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: election Oz 2007

By Tom McLoughlin, solicitor in NSW, editor www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog 

The editor had an interesting interview recently with long time qualified high school teacher here in NSW, and Canada, Peter Woof, a long time supporter of environmental causes.

He tells an interesting story from his parents lounge room in Killara  (a pretty exclusive north shore suburb of Sydney):

In 1978 25 year old Woof stood up to student politician, now federal government health minister, Tony Abbott who he says was allegedly caught doing unethical or perhaps illegal things (the allegation involves various things including changing the locks on student union offices).

Woof says Abbott, a well known boxing enthusiast today if not then, punched Woof in the face. Woof was a technician employed at Sydney University.

The date can be corroborrated by reference to civil assault suit documentation against Abbott presumably created for Woof in the Glebe local court at the time. Woof represented himself but was totally out muscled financially, he says, by 'half a dozen' barristers and lawyers who turned up at the preliminary hearing turning the civil suit into a high risk of huge legal costs against the alleged assault victim Woof.

Woof assumes these expensive lawyers taking a student activist dispute to another level were paid for by Abbott's 'rich father'. (It also suggests a serious fear of a  blossoming conservative political career almost destroyed at birth.)

This legal bullying tactic arguably at the expense of justice has the echo of the vexatious legal suit by Gunns Ltd bullying of Tasmanian environmentalists in the last few years.

Woof withdrew the civil suit he says under financial duress.

Peter Woof is a very experienced and qualifed person. He has an engineering degree. He is a qualified radio operator and mechanic who was driving an LPG 4 cylinder car in the early 1980's years before LPG was so popular. He owns his own house.

Woof is no shrinking violet. He is a friend and colleague of anti pirate whaler Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd fame.  Woof has participated in environmental protests including conviction for entirely peaceful protests against a nuclear warship in Sydney Harbour and the docking of a rainforest timber ship in the 1980ies and 90ies. In 1986 Woof held down a high school teaching job in Bombala, a well known 'Timber Town' in NSW.

The Canadian teaching accreditation authority are aware of this lively history and have endorsed Woof's employment as a talented and committed non prosletising high school teacher. He is flying out today to continue his teaching job in remote Saskatchewan Canada


Woof notes that global warming has massively contracted the viability of traditional 'winter roads' (over frozen swamp and bog) in remote Saskatchewan, such that only one month mid January to mid February is now safe for high volume road transport during winter. This is too small a window he says to properly provision remote areas prefacing a depopulation of large swathes of North America in the future.

Peter Woof can be contacted by email on:


Woof whose eyesight is suffering long sightedness in middle older age is no longer able to do much close work but obviously has some very interesting tales to tell still in his career of environmental advocacy back to the Franklin River blockades and earlier.

The alleged assault by Tony Abbott was openly discussed at a recent reunion of the Sydney Bushwalkers Club in 2006 and there are likely to be several sources to corroborate this version of student activist history of the 1970's here in Sydney.

One such witness in the 1970's approached Woof (attending with his elderly parents) at the dinner and said words to the effect of "It's a pity Peter you didn't knock Tony Abott's block off when you had the chance."

Obviously the student politics back then was very willing. Woof's social companion who made this comment unprompted is now a senior executive with a NSW Govt agency (details held by the editor).

Posted by editor at 10:34 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 15 March 2007 6:34 PM NZT
Sunday, 11 March 2007
Sunday political talkies: Combet to serve his country not personal ambition, hawk Howard goes nuke weapons
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: election Oz 2007

Chifley Research Centre: Greg Combet


Author’s general introductory note (skip this if you know this regular weekly column):



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. ]


Indeed it’s the tv version monitoring task similar to what Nelson Mandela refers to here in his book Long Walk to Freedom (1994, Abacus) written in Robben Island prison (where he was meant to die like other African resister chiefs of history in the 19C), at page 208


“..newspapers are only a shadow of reality; their information is important to a freedom fighter not because it reveals the truth, but because it discloses  the biases and perceptions of both those who produce the paper and those who read it.”



Just substitute ‘Sunday tv political talkie shows’ for "newspapers" in the quote above.


For actual transcripts go to web sites quoted below except with Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.



10 Meet the Press 8-8.30 am


Paul Bongiorno has a lay off, good presenter off the news desk Deborah Knight . 


Panel Phillip Clark 2gb radio afternoons ex abc 702 sellout, looking fit and sharp. 2nd guy Mathew Franklin (?) looks experienced.


IR advert is very strong re corp bonuses e.g. corrupt greed.


Greg Combet talent, still says no to recruitment to federal ALP election team to replace Kelvin Thompson who lost his front bench seat.


[But it’s the wrong answer in the long term, if wise in the short term, to quote:


There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
Greatest English dramatist & poet (1564 - 1616)


And it’s not about Combet’s personal ambition at all but Australia’s best future. Happily Combet's promotion is highly compatible with the high road in politics. For Ten’s MTP to ask the question is to answer it. Time to step up Greg Combet diplomatic kindness to effective MP Kelvin Thompson notwithstanding. It’s time. Don’t kid yourself it’s not. Out of your comfort zone. You are called to serve. As Jose Ramos Horta said to Xanana Gusmao “Stop this bullshit.”]


Rubbery figures animation of yesterdays man Paul Keating


[ignores the fact Keating did a successful diversion for 24 hour news cycle via story in The Australian and then abc radio (Trioli from memory), when Rudd was in some bother last Monday and needed some breathing space, and even longer to the Sunday talkies here.]


Peter Harberson Airport expert on Garuda tragedy on safety and

Transcript in due course www.ten.com.au/meetthepress


7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary


Humourous, quite edgy as usual. Riley’s own ‘lazy hazy crazy dirty mucky etc’. Laugh out loud stuff especially with obligatory Keating diversion as Pythonesque.


[underlines both major parties are blurring with criminal crooks]


[Riley echoes astute Combet quip of ‘silly season’ on 10 above. See Greg you are the right stuff, get on with it.]


Very moving section on the “sombre” loss of their mates in the Garuda airline crash. “A very tough week … threw us for a loop down here”.


Web page here but no transcript usually: http://www.seven.com.au/sunrise/weekend


2 Insiders (abc) 9-10 am,  http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/ 


Talent is Alexander Downer mostly on Garuda crash, but then goes into Rudd’s character judgement. Downer goes into AWB “Royal Commission”: This is Downer’s first sleazy fudge  – it wasn’t a full Royal Commission, it was a tightly constrained ‘RC like’ judicial forum.


Mentions “Royal Commission” at least 6 times. Uses Latham line on Rudd ‘not a conviction politician’ but Downer says “believes in nothing", then justification for Iraq War claiming Rudd really agreed with Liberal Party re fears of WMD held by Saddam.


[On this debate of nuke WMD threat to the West as a valid reason for going to war in Iraq, notice fascinating article in The Guardian (lefty UK paper, extracted in SMH, not usually a Pentagon/White House leak mechanism):


Nuclear chief suspected of selling uranium

re uranium for a dirty bomb if not a weapon, from Congo not from Niger at all as per Valerie Plame/Scooter Libby/Dick Cheney scandal. Just like Saddam had no nuke based WMD, but Libya did in fact have them or close to it via AQ Khan of Pakistan. So the West led by Bush and Howard got it wrong:  Libya instead of Iraq with AQ Khan’s nukes-R-us distribution to the Muslim countries, and Congo  not Niger was the security leakage of old nuke material.


Is this evidence of incompetence or well founded fear by Bush/Cheney Whitehouse with little Howard echo re nuke proliferation from say 2000 onward via AQ Khan (Pakistan's Dr Strangelove)?


Alternatively, is this revelation of uranium out of an old reactor in The Congo simply designed to mitigate  the Libby/Cheney scandal over Niger falsehood and now conviction of Libby for revengeful security leak?

One thing is for sure, ex Australian chief spook Dennis Richardson (via Paul Kelly p2 The Australian Fri March 9, 2007) got it wrong in


Paul Kelly: 'Long War' has just begun


specifically where Richardson, now our US ambassador, says ‘its business as usual in Iraq whether Democrat or Republican president up to and beyond January 2009 when the USA gets a new President'. The proof of how wrong Richardson is to say no difference between the major USA parties on Iraq is here (oh dear how embarrassing, contradicted the very next day):


Democrats unveil their pullout plan 10 March 2007, THE US Democratic Party yesterday unveiled a plan to withdraw troops from Iraq by the end of August next year, in the strongest challenge yet to President George W. Bush's war policy.


Notice too Howard has gone to Japan just after Cheney visit to discuss ‘regional security’:


Our military ties with Japan worry China

AUSTRALIA and Japan are about to embark on their most wide-ranging military and intelligence-sharing agreement, in a move that is generating concern from Beijing.

Wheel turns full circle


Indeed there is a hell of a lot of paddling under the geo political waters: Blair is buying into Star Wars nuke ‘defence’ missiles for the USA here 26th Feb 07


Missile talks put Blair in firing line - World - smh.com.au


Similarly 7th March 2007 Taiwan tests missile as tension with China flares | The World ...


China has also revealed Huge boost in military spending by Chinese - World - smh.com.au (though no one seems to worry about the percentage change in USA military spending since the Iraq/Afghan wars, a bit more than 18% I suspect).


Who really doubts extremely hawkish Howard in this very fluid geo political security balance is positioning Australia for the same nuke dual use weapons capacity as  implied by defence expert Hugh White here


A road Australia has travelled already - Opinion - smh.com.au


And here


PM's science chief flags nuclear boom


, as will be Japan in talks with the Australian PM, as will be the UK in Blair’s twilight, as will Cheney and Bush in their last 2 years. When you read PM Howard supporting and promoting nuclear energy to alleviate climate change threat, take a grain of salt and instead interpret this to mean nuclear weapons in an Australian version of Star Wars 'defence shield'. As the gutsy Professor Hugh White


Hugh White - Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS ...




"Nonetheless, the [pro nuke energy Switkowski] report [for PM Howard] recommends the Government should not discourage development of an enrichment capability if the commercial prospects improve. It hardly touches on the strategic implications of an enrichment industry, beyond warning "any proposed domestic investment would require Australia to reassure the international community of its nuclear non-proliferation objectives".


That is a bit of an understatement. …. Who could suspect Australia of wanting nuclear weapons?


Well, anyone with a sense of history. In the 1950s and 1960s Australia actively, if sporadically, tried to acquire nuclear weapons. And we were among the last and most reluctant adherents to the the treaty when it was concluded in the early 1970s. At that time, with US engagement in Asia apparently diminishing after Vietnam, Australia was focused on the need to look after itself in Asia. As one classified Defence Department analysis said in 1974, "a necessary condition for any defence of Australia against a major power would be the possession by Australia of a certain minimum credibility of strategic nuclear capability".


The three decades since have been among the most peaceful in Asia's long history, and the idea that Australia might need nuclear weapons has receded into the realms of wild improbability. But what if Asia changes? The growth of China and India, the strategic re-emergence of Japan, and uncertainty about America's post-Iraq trajectory raise doubts whether the next 30 years will be as peaceful in Asia as the past 30 years.


If Asia slips back into the kind of strategic turmoil we saw in the 1950s and 1960s, how sure can we be Australia might not again look at the nuclear option? And how sure could our neighbours be? Here is the real danger to Australia of a flirtation with uranium enrichment. No matter what we think and say, a decision to develop uranium enrichment capability in Australia would be seen by our neighbours as a short cut to nuclear weapons. We would need to think very carefully about how they might respond.


Amid the highly charged debate on nuclear power plants, the Government might want to work out its attitude to enrichment. To endorse the Switkowski report's tolerant approach to the issue risks looking either naive or devious. And it could be quite dangerous.

Hugh White is a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute and professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University. "

in March 1st, 2007 http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/a-road-australia-has-travelled-already/2007/02/28/1172338709545.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1


One very big UK company with speciality in "cleaning up nuclear waste" has decided to set up in Sydney called RPS Group Plc as per p28 March 8th 2007 Sydney Morning Herald left hand column. With a staff of  3000 plus and big profits posted in 2005-2006 they state



"RPS Energy is a multi-disciplinary consultancy, providing technical, commercial and project management support services in the fields of operations, geoscience, engineering and health, safety and environment to the energy sector worldwide. RPS Energy focuses primarily on the upstream oil and gas, the renewable energy and nuclear sectors from operating bases in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Malaysia."at  http://www.rpsgroup.com/content.asp?fl=1&contentid=1948&siteid=29&sessionid=2BDFC36E-8DEE-411E-922A-248C78B4F882&secid=aboutrps]


Insiders continues: Every person segment: oldies all guys, younger fogey not to interested in muckracking against Kevin Rudd.


Panel: Lenore Taylor (AFR), George Meglogenis The Australian (both moderates), Gerard Henderson (Fairfax/Sydney Institute) smooth extreme right.


Paul Kelly solliliquy subject to Big Error above re Richardson column.


Gerard Henderson has half a point about Rudd life story being proper fodder to pick over, but it's indefensible to attack the personal psychology of a 11 year old boy.


Henderson has a real problem now professionally: He says ‘its the media not the Liberal Party’ doing the raking over Rudd's life story. This is a malicious fictional distinction by Henderson (manifested by his own crossover from media to conservative political barracking as an ex federal Liberal Party staffer) in the revolving door of Big Party/Media games. 


From memory Rudd doesn’t even actually attack the farmer/landlord when evicted at 11 years of age, he attacks being left homeless and the traumatic time for the mother leaving the place imprinted with memories of her dead husband  (as if anyone could be objective). Maybe the father worked so damn long and hard on the farm lease like a slave, he cut loose once and died in a car crash? The real problem with Henderson is his insensitivity to the plight of homelessness, including airbrushing the lack of welfare adjustment, and indeed quite likely issues of legal equity in the land for work done, eg implied fixed term lease in the house around the law of representation and course of conduct. Sounds like she could hardly afford a good lawyer either.


Profound footage of the ease of ten year old school children with John Howard on an interview panel.


9 Sunday 9-10.30am (to follow) http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/


Feature on melanoma medical science to date. Looks good lifestyle story but can’t watch it.


Feature with cross cultural exponent Ray Martin on Muslims in Australia tolerance and understanding based on Australia Unlimited forum held in Old Parliament House.


Oaks interview Costello, federal Treasurer, goes the biff as usual calling Rudd the worst in federal parliament for throwing mud, by … calling them liars. What an over reach by Costello.


[Costello’s party are indeed scared about losing power to Rudd’s mob. Given the evidence of moving to nuke weapons above and a world of hawks and nuke MAD, we have to get rid of these guys asap out of government.]

Posted by editor at 6:50 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 11 March 2007 8:58 PM NZT
Saturday, 10 March 2007
Memo Big Media/Government: Don't run your private sorrow through the major dailies and tv bulletins
Mood:  sad
Topic: big media

5 Australians died recently in the equivalent of a very big nasty car crash. By all accounts it was an accident, pilot error or poor maintenance or both. The investigators are looking into it both in Indonesia and Australia. Some 21 mostly locals died over there in Indonesia too.


It is sad, shocking and traumatic especially for the families. No doubt about it. But it’s not unusual. How many people died in car crashes this week here in Australia? (51 have died this year according to this story in a brief google http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/driver-killed-in-threecar-crash-at-altona/2007/03/03/1172868802321.html ]


Did the coverage of our military killed in Black Hawk helicopter accidents fill so many pages? Luckily they all survived in this one

Picture: from The Age and reported further here http://www.defence.gov.au/news/armynews/editions/1091/topstories/story01.htm


But they didn't survive in this one: Remains of SAS soldier found off Fiji - National - theage.com.au; or this one

"MARK BANNERMAN: Gerard Bampton knows first-hand what it's like to go down in a Black Hawk helicopter crash. It cost him the use of his legs, but he survived Australia's worst ever defence disaster when two Black Hawks collided, killing 18 people, in 1996. That night fire was the main danger for him, but he thinks getting out of a sinking aircraft would be just as bad." in http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2006/s1801534.htm


I know this must sound heartless and callous, yet the Big Media revolving door with Big Govt are losing perspective (or even more cruelly manifesting their excessive ego) about the loss of their own. It’s not as big news as they think for the rest of Australia. Yes big enough for some headlines, some bigger than usual pictures of human interest. It wasn’t a car, it was a dramatic aircraft crash. Yes many Australians would use Garuda airlines too but fully knowing it’s the opposite in safety record to Qantas, no different perhaps to millions of Australians driving old cars every day. Yes they were ours doing public service jobs, so it was in the line of duty, but also very well paid, high status, financial security in every case, working in a dirt poor country of 200 million people plus.


For those mourning I apologise in advance for this brutal observation and simply say at times of life and death that raw honesty satisfies far more than sophistry. It behoves this alternative media outlet to make the point they cannot: The sorrow and grieving is properly a private matter so don’t overdo it or the consumers will see the special treatment for what it is, just another ego trip, even at the time of horror and loss.


It does indeed say something about our Big Media culture and Big Government that the loss of these 5 professional people and injury to several others, that the Big Media and PM (desperate for another story doing live Radio National and Trioli the same morning) etc think this story is of such public interest to everyone else here. This may sound cruel but I doubt it.


Of course it’s of intense interest to the families and all their connections, and of course to that employment sector, but it's getting a little voyeuristic folks. It’s getting a little exaggerated. The public consumers of media are being overfed the private sorrow and grief in a quite understandable confusion of news priorities at their time of distress.


How very human (and Mark Riley on 7 Sunday Political Talkies admits the loss of their mates has thrown them for "a loop") but keep in mind the victims of your average Australian car crash. It’s not a competition for sympathy sure, but remember their families are hurting and shocked as much as anyone in Big Media or Big Government: Did these folks think they were different somehow to everyone else? That we are not all fragile flowers? If anything that plane crash proves beyond doubt rich folks at the front are all flesh and blood like the rest of us.


As the profound solliliquy worthy of Shakespeare, but actually appearing in the movie Thin Red Line, goes, spoken by the silent half buried face of a dead Japanese soldier in Guadalcanal war zone: 'Do you think that because you are good, righteous, and kind that you will suffer less?'


Not in real life, I'm afraid. As Jesus makes plain, being good is for it's own sake, win lose or draw.


The real business of Life is indeed Death and the time we are allowed start to finish. They go before us but we follow as night follows day.


May they rest in peace.


Postscript: The above view was written after reading the Friday major dailies The Australian, Sydney Daily Telegraph and The Australian and consuming the press and electronic media earlier in the week. It was written before seeing the Crikey piece by one Thomas Hunter of 9th March 07 in a similar direction. Also of influece was the startling historical footage of Robert F Kennedy last speech and assassination at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968 on YouTube in 7 by 9 minute parts seen earlier this week appropo the reaction of the pro media doing their job on location but clearly in shock too at that horrible event:

Some refinements and links were added Sunday morning 11th March. May they all rest in peace.

Posted by editor at 6:53 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 11 March 2007 8:47 AM NZT
Friday, 9 March 2007
Warning 'sienfeld post' follows: Why washing your hair is probably a good idea
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: local news

Be warned this is one of those low rent pieces serious, or wannabe, writers indulge in when they don't real have anything to say about the human condition, real politik or just how scary the world really is.

It's a post that appeals to the great masses who mostly are intimidated by the big stuff and have never been educated to cope with it really except to stay the hell out of the way if at all possible. As such its exploitative of the them because the serious writer knows they are likely to get bigger reaction from readers about how to make tea, or white versus wholemeal bread than say dangerous sea rise from Greenland and West Antarctic melting (which they are).

It's in essence a 'Sienfeld post' meaning 'a story about nothing' just like the famous tv sitcom was about mudane, inane, quirky individual harmless eccentric daily life, that we all have in our personality but prefer to keep out of view if at all possible for fear of being seen as "irregular". Hence the good laugh at someone else like Kramer getting exposed while we sit safe at home in our mediocre privacy.

This story is about my washing my hair in the shower just now. It's in the photo and feels good. As I did said wash I was mulling over the ABC 702 radio Richard Glover show 6 week experiment of not washing your mop and seeing if your oil glands in the scalp adjust so it's no longer necessary to buy shampoo or conditioner. A pretty fair theory too: Returning to au naturale and sidestepping those greedy corporations making detergent stuff.

Glover is similarly an expert at Seinfeld froth content to fill his weekly column, the odd HSC English exam paper and even books.

But here is where my over education and contrary nature comes in. I did a biology degree at Australian National University. Zoology to be exact. ANU Zoo specialised in the 1980ies in parasitology. Those little bastards in the mammalian gut, the malaria, the sheep and cattle industry etc.

So we learnt a bit about such parasites in the au naturale. It's not a pretty picture either. Just as natural humans only lived 25 to 35 years with their parasite load in the gut or other medical ailments without antibiotics etc, so we live much longer for medical science and yes hygiene, especially washing let alone household antiseptics etc.

So today we don't have parasites in our gut very much or at least usually only the good bacteria, and we don't have critters living in nice non chemical oil balanced unwashed soft bouncy head of hair.

You see the choice may not actually be between making a corporation rich buying their shampoo, or not. The choice may be between prehistoric biological arms race with parasites and modern medical age escape from the boundaries of nature for a longer healthier life. Thus humanity has escaped standard evolutionary pressures applying to all other animals and should stop kidding ourselves we live lives aproximating anything like 'au naturale' as important as nature is to our future lives, not least dangerous climate change!

My tip: keep washing your hair.

Postscript #1 April 30th 2007: Seems Richard Glover of ABC 702 public radio has had the last say on this with '86% of 500 trialists after 6 weeks saying their hair is soft and nice as good or better than when they stopped using detergent'. The key it seems is to still wash but only with water, or possibly conditioner. That's a very interesting result.

Posted by editor at 9:55 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007 6:51 PM NZT

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