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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 2 April 2007
It's official 6,684 hits for the month of March 2007, first legal threat received
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media

We are gradually growing as a  www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog

 The figures for 2007 are now


January 2800

February 5,372

March 6,684


For this we are pleased.


And if the axiom of good reporting is that it's a story that someone somewhere doesn't want published then this received today should fit the bill:


2 April 2007 

Tom McLoughlin



Dear Tom,


Re: Public Comments about the Addison Road Centre 


The Board has directed me to write to you about your comments on your blogsite. I am asked to officially warn you about making public comments which undermine the reputation of the Addison Road Centre.  


The Board instructs you to desist from making public derogatory comments about the Centre and its members. 


The Board further understands that you have concerns you wish to express. The Centre has adopted a Grievance Procedure, which is available to you, or any other staff member, or member of the Centre, which you should follow to air your concerns. The Grievance Procedure has been circulated to you. The appropriate step in that process is a formal complaint which can then be investigated.


This is an official warning. If you engage in further public comment in this vein, then the Board may consider disciplinary action.  


Yours sincerely,  

Ian Laird, General Manager



We have responded to refute the assertions in this letter with various legal argument and feel pretty good about our position in this situation.


The two stories complained of are here:


Saturday, 31 March 2007

Building Addison Rd Community Centre healthy democracy* beyond influence peddling, self interest


under topic local news and


Sunday, 18 March 2007

Our work ban on errant community centre tenant


again under topic local news



We stand by both these stories for being soundly in the public interest as well as our personal interest, and well sourced based on our lawyerly instincts for evidence based assertions. We are happy to apply a corrections policy where it can be shown we have strayed from any fact or reasonable comment.



We reject outright in the strongest possible terms that this damages the reputation of the ARC - which has a certain reputation all of its own and it would be dishonest to suggest otherwise. Also we include many positive aspects about the ARC which is we are not only happy to report but also have helped actively to achieve.


Further we note the precedent of the Local Government Act (NSW) which positively encourages outreach, information and education of the public about the situation regarding public bodies (in that case local councils) which we think the Addison Road Centre is quite comparable in terms of community service function.


Lastly we were always employed as an independent contractor until recently at the ARC when the centre urged this writer recently to become an employed staff member, with a pay rise. But that can't be at the cost of my democratic right to  free speech.

Postscript #1 3rd April 2007:  We don't compare ourselves with the gag order on David Hicks, or Mr Peek of Tristar allegedly sacked for speaking to the meeja, but we think the community is heartily sick of authoritarian bully boy censorship tactics.

Lawyer Greg Barnes wrote this in ezine crikey.com.au today of the implied constitutional right to political communication as here in the context of the abused Hicks:

"Since 1992, in a case involving the former Labor MP Andrew Theophanous, the High Court has determined that there are implied rights to free speech and communication when it comes to discussion of issues about government and politics, particularly in the context of elections. This is known as the implied freedom of political communication.

Surely the circumstance of the detention of Mr Hicks is a matter concerning politics or government. His arrest and detention has been the subject of heated political discourse. If the media publishes an interview with Mr Hicks about these matters are they simply not utilising that implied freedom? "

Amen to that as regards this humble blog reporting background to an ARC general meetings under their constitution. The attempted gag letter from the ARC board should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

Posted by editor at 10:00 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2007 3:52 PM NZT
The Iemma self described 'good government' staggers .....again
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: nsw govt

Picture: Phil Koperberg MP, Senator John Faulkner, ex MP Sandra Nori, Paul Gibson MP

Just as


- the Burnely road Tunnel tragedy in Melbourne the day before the recent election here in Sydney underlined the high risk road tunnels built or planned by the NSW govt ,


- then a couple of days later 3 die in a government ferry collission literally under the Harbour Bridge,


now we have more so called "good government" self described by Premier Morris Iemma on election night, as per the article in the The Australian today below regarding police probe of Paul Gibson MP.


Only trouble is, it's not very good and this is likely to be only the start of a long and grim 4 years on Planet ALP aka NSW. We also seem to recall MP Paul Gibson in the story below, known to be a favourite of the legal drugs industry (hotels, gambling), is apparently an ex football jock and has also been linked to ex wife of Senator John Faulkner (aka the Governor General of the ALP) the recently retired Sandra Nori MP ex member for Port Jackson now Balmain.


This looks like an intrinsically unstable dynamic to this writer:


 Police probe delays Iemma minister appointment

April 02, 2007


NSW Premier Morris Iemma says Blacktown MP Paul Gibson will not be sworn in as a minister today because he is being investigated by police.


It was announced on Friday that Mr Gibson would be promoted from the backbench to become minister for sport and recreation, Western Sydney and road safety


Mr Iemma today said Mr Gibson would not be sworn in today along with the rest of the cabinet because of an allegation that had been made against him.


“On Friday evening, a member of my staff was informed of a serious allegation involving Mr Gibson,” Mr Iemma said in a statement.


“This allegation has now been forwarded by me via the director general of the Premier's Department to the NSW police for full investigation.


“It is not appropriate for there to be any further commentary on the nature of the allegation.”


Mr Iemma said incoming Gaming and Racing Minister Graham West would temporarily take on Mr Gibson's allocated portfolios while the claims were investigated.


In 1998, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) dismissed allegations by convicted criminal Louis Bayeh that he had corruptly provided money and other benefits to Mr Gibson.


Mr Gibson's planned inclusion in Mr Iemma's new-look cabinet alongside former NSW Rural Fire chief-turned-MP Phil Koperberg attracted attention because of bad blood between them.


Mr Koperberg, who will become the minister for climate change, environment and water, last year publicly revealed his former wife Katherine had once applied for an apprehended violence order against him and accused Mr Gibson of being involved in a plot to smear his name.


Mr Gibson and Ms Koperberg were romantically involved for several years after the Koperberg marriage ended.


Mr Koperberg and Mr Gibson last week insisted they could work together.


Posted by editor at 3:33 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007 4:01 PM NZT
Logger union effectively working for Howard's work choices agenda?
Mood:  down
Topic: election Oz 2007

This is the newsagent banner for The Australian newspaper October 7th 2005. It refers to a $4M sweetheart deal with the logger union in Tasmania and the Howard federal government, as a pay off for their support in the 2004 federal election.

This is the union that Michael O'Connor in the news today says deserves the right to log where ever and whatever they want despite the urgency of climate change, the urgency of threat to biological diversity in an increasingly exhausted natural world, as per this report:

Rudd facing union backlash on forests

KEVIN Rudd is facing a backlash from the union that helped sink Mark Latham's 2004 election campaign, amid fears Labor's new forestry policy will cost Tasmanian jobs.

This is the same logger unionist who is implicated as an apologist for political terrorism at Wandella near Cobargo on the NSW South Coast, and in Victoria before that:

6th Dec 2006 - Logger terrorism under the Howard federal government

Posted by editor at 2:15 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007 2:37 PM NZT
Fran Kelly on RN in the 7.45 am news shadow exposes Hicks gag perverting legal administration, as Visy goes for broke per 702
Mood:  special
Topic: big media


Picture: The super bright Fran Kelly matches wits with big thinker Mal Turnbull MHR this morning.

The serious political analysis from Michelle Grattan (AO, Adjunct Professor ) every morning on radio national abc radio (576 AM on your dial in Sydney) is usually just before the 7.45 am news on the higher rating 702 abc radio.

It usually clashes with the classy simper of Virginnia Trioli, the thinking man's crumpet prefacing her morning show. Suffice to say I turn to Michelle's probing reminiscent of a George Smiley guru, because she has the real JUICE on federal election prep.

But even Big Michelle gets it 'wrong' sometimes - Hicks gag is in the context of a criminal style legal process whereas confidentiality provision is far more appropriate to a CIVIL matter. So to quote a legal saying res ipsa loquitur - the matter speaks for itself the gag is a civil mechanism for political protection, not administration of criminal justice. The Howard/Bush regime are guilty as charged of perverting the administration of justice because it should be seen and heard to be done, not gagged.

So sorry Michelle your ad lib misfired there. Indeed Fran Kelly tackles Mal Turnbull MP on this very gag - Turnbull who in an earlier life was involved in the  famous in the Spy Catcher free speech fight: SPY CATCHER by Peter Wright which we once found dumped outside the old Surry Hills library and devoured



Mal sidesteps the free speech issue and as Kelly points out he will be free before 1 year sentence here in Australia.

Robert Richter QC a defence and human rights advocate says its unique that USA Bush regime agent Susan Crawford of their Defence Dept cut the Hicks deal rather than chief prosecutor Mo Davis. In our view that's in effect perverting the administration of justice like the whole rotten operation.

Another broader concern for the long suffering ABC consumers is that Fran Kelly does her cutting edge media work in the shadow of the 7.45am news on the sister station because it seems it's not safe to be heard at a higher rating time on these critical issues.

Indeed as I write Richter confirms my view commercial contests often have confidentiality, but not the Hicks type of case: An illegal gag in the USA legal system. So are the Australian and USA government's saying his witness will actually damage their intellectual justification for the War on Terror. It sure looks like it.

It is true you can go to the the Radio National morning show website to download the story,


as wonk Christian Kerr of ezine crikey.com.au is also known to do but its not quite the same and damn annoying switching the dial between two stations.

This morning I missed most of the story about (dodgy process for?) a  Visy plantation fed pulp mill stage 2 at Tumut (a $450 million expansion, state significance wave through by Minister Sartor) set to expand pine plantations by 30,000 ha or so, with very serious landscape and water catchment implications, we having attended the first Commission of Inquiry for stage 1 in the late 90ies:

27/3/98...Visy pulpmill Commission of Inquiry for the NSW Planning Minister based on exotic plantations in the local region.

 A quick few phone calls and I found that it was advertised locally for a month in February in the shadow of the state election prep, and got a very few submissions according to Moira Shields of ABC Wagga. I referred her to the Environmental Defenders Office and quickly gave a brief to principal solicitor Jeff Smith too - good to see him at work at 8.15 am on Monday.

 This is what recently retired and highly respected Commissioner Kevin Cleland said in his prescient final report in 1998 on the stage 1 Commission of Inquiry process regarding stage 2 in the news today 9 years later:

"The pine plantation resource in the Tumut region will require supplementing to ensure timber is available to the mill over the next 60 years. This is not part of the development application for the mill. Nevertheless, an additional area of 30,000 hectares is required  for the Stage 1 and a further 40,000 hectares for stage 2. These areas  are substantial and compliance with the relevant Codes of Practice will be essential to ensure adverse environmental impacts do not occur. To accord with the National Forest Policy Statement these additional plantations need to be established on largely cleared land with only incidental clearing. Some parties [eg local property owners, green groups] are concerned for the social implications of changing land use from agriculture to forestry monoculture  over such large area. I recommend preparation of a strategic plan."  [bold added]

: Kevin Cleland, extact of executive summary of report to NSW Planning Minister June 1998.

Here's betting London to a brick, there is no "strategic plan" for massive regional landscape change in the political shadowlands of the Southern Slopes of Tumut, Cootamundra, Wagga area during the incompetent and corrupt Carr-Iemma government.

Here's betting the critics like local property owners are being bought off (according to advice) as the defacto method of good land use governance here on planet ALP aka NSW, and other civil society voices like this one are being studiously ignored.

Who indeed will even take the bet?

Posted by editor at 9:44 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007 2:32 PM NZT
Sunday, 1 April 2007
Sunday political talkies, earnest federal election policy prep
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: election Oz 2007
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.

NSW post mortems (one off round up from last week):


Re Carmel Tebbutt standing down from NSW Cabinet, under pressure from the Greens and Port Botany expansion/Truck tunnel plan


-         Enter, the minister for Nathan SMH p7 27/3/07

-         Tebbutt shock, Cooks River Valley Times p1 29/3/07 “I will continue to play an active role in the government and do all I can to secure a fifth consecutive term in office …I will also be working hard over the next four to repay the trust of the people of Marrickville have again placed in me” (carries big advert for Earth Hour symbolic lights off public demo involving some 65,000 households, sponsored by Canterbury Council).

-         ‘mum and member for Marrckville’ Four Years Hard Labor

-         Son’s love brings Tebbutt back home Sydney Telegraph Telegraph 27/3/07


Re Prue Goward narrow winner of seat of Goulbourn


- Heavies are going for Pru - Kate Askew CBD business column Sydney Morning Herald Fairfax


- Goward covering her flabby neck with her dainty left hand Stateline footage Family Unfriendly


- Goward sledging the independents as dangeorus to society and our economy on Glover 702 abc radio, said with ideological fervour, as the votes are literally being counted in her seat (Monday? 26th March 2007). 


Re Michael Duffy, arch critic of the green movement, votes Green Party:


"One of the pleasures of going on the electoral roll has been to discover how this money is used by candidates to lie to voters. Just this week I received a letter from my local Labor member assuring me "the Liberals would bankrupt our state".

Our taxes at work.

Actually, I'm looking forward to voting today. Often there was no one I would have wanted to vote for anyway, but now there is. Developer donations to political parties are corrupting and distorting our democracy, and I intend to vote for the Greens because they oppose this and have put so much effort into exposing it, not least through their excellent website democracy4sale.org.

It's true the Greens also have some deplorable policies on the environment, but none of us is perfect.

For the same reason I'll be voting for Save Our Suburbs in the upper house. The group's president, Tony Recsei, has done more than anyone to alert us to the horrors and intellectual shoddiness of urban consolidation.

On a different note, this election sees the resignation from state politics of Peta Seaton, the Opposition spokeswoman on finance. She is leaving to spend more time with her daughter, who was born in the year Seaton came into Parliament, 1996. Seaton has been the major source of good policy for the Opposition in recent years, and will be sorely missed"  Saturday March 24, 2007 No compelling argument for compulsory voting


10 Meet the Press 8-8.30 am

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

Ch 10 Paul Bongiorno is back Turnbull reacting to ALP Rudd climate change forum in Canberra with heavy science hitters and ‘serious’ business people.


Panel is Michelle Grattan Sun Herald/Age of Fairfax, Brian Toohey Financial Review (Fairfax).


MG – bouncer re equity richer countries do the main action. Blah blah blah answer.


MT calls ALP religious picking up this cartoon attack theme (itself a balancer to big Fairfax PR Sydney Magazine glossy on Thursday PR for Garrett):


Picture: Moir in yesterday's Herald echoes the religious dimension to Garrett's public  presentation, compared to his policy rival Turnbull actually pressing the heavy intellectual buttons, of a global climate problem about actual mechanisms of cause and solution. Turnbull is wrong but Garrett is not meeting him with ALP rednecks tying one hand. This cartoon critique can resonate because Garrett is known as a 'convert' to 'non denominational Christian, anti communism'  and convert to ALP Big Party politics, so he better get his policy skates on, and take on the ALP red neck thugs too, or he will be just another flaky brand.


2nd guest Human rights law Julian Burnside QC admit involved in researching prosecution for rendition for torture (possibly Mamdouh Habib in Egypt)


7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary

Humourous, quite edgy as usual. Web page here but no transcript usually: http://www.seven.com.au/sunrise/weekend

Focus on federal election related personalities, Carmen Lawrence retires, Costello waiting for PM to shove off, Kevin Rudd persona with the hair flick mannerism, and drinking black beer (a good PR). Great soundtrack as usual. True it is a jewel.


[Intriguing reference to punch ups with the ALP Left given this writer’s experience on election day avoiding same.


Also intriguing reference by Ramsey in Herald yesterday Stop the presses: the story Rudd tried to kill (last line) to Rudd’s glass jaw - a term I use to describe a power broker at the Addison Rd Community Centre, associated with … the ALP Left). The Ramsey story could have been headlined “Let Rudd be Rudd” to borrow a phrase from "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet" the 19th episode of The West Wing:


Meaning the PR spin merchants that concocted Bob Carr’s political career also destroyed his currency until he simply fell over as a laughing stock and ran to daddies arms (Macquarie Bank). It would be a tragedy for Australia/Rudd professionally and personally to let such as over weight spinner Walt Secord etc do that to our country. The lesson is contained in Leunig's rather beaut cartoon also yesterday in Fairfax press - the pies of life - can't obtain a copy, but it reads "


The pie of life

Is hurled into your face

Every day,

But that is no disgrace. 

A life worth living

Gets splattered on your shirt -

And though you're shocked

And rather hurt;

These pies of life

Which fly out of the blue

You're made for them

And they were made for you.]


Very odd legal gag on David Hicks discussed [especially from the land of free speech, govt politicisation of legal process is an attempt to pervert the administration of justice?]


Insiders 2



Cassidy leads in with ‘does Rudd have a glass jaw?’ as per Ramsey story, Cassidy being in that story text.



Costello treasurer is guest of honour. Sounds pretty flat and tired. Lacks ‘virility’ to borrow Ruth Ritchie description of Vinnick character in tv review yesterday again from West Wing series. Shows a bit more vigour on hypothecation of tax repeal with GST payments.



Creepy Costello quietly laying the foundations for raised GST risk of ALP hegemonic governments state to federal. “kicking a goal from fullback”? asks Cassidy with wit.  No within 10 metre square says Costello. [Time will tell.]



Costello right about Rudd packaging being unsustainable, [let Rudd be Rudd is the longer term sound strategy, minders trying to over engineer his media coverage is fundamentally undemocratic].



Every person focus group in little tinny ie boat re climate credibility gap for govt, for science, for the future.



Bolt lies about destruction of old growth helps greenhouse by planting a tiny seedling.



Senator Bob Brown on live, sounds earnest, shut out of ALP forum yesterday. Setting the agenda says BB. Handles the googlies from Milne very deftly too on energy/climate change. Saint Bob again.



Strong debate by panel, and good tv actually honourable mention to Karen Middleton. Milne says Hicks subject to perjury in USA if returns with different story.




9 Sunday



9 Sunday – cover story on Islamic radicalism Multiculturalism: success or failure?, Oaks interview of Garret as per glossy Sydney magazine last Thursday PR gift by Big Media co option of green movement.


Laurie Oaks is losing weight and looking a bit (only a bit Laurie) healthier (and good luck to yer, keep going, give up the booze too). Intro refers to Morning Mr Garrett, in chilly formal tones. It’s going to be a mugging….


LO mentions Rudd going to China to discuss climate change etc. [a great political move like Whitlam and the Vietnam war]


Garrett faces the curly how reduce 60% emissions by 2050 (notice Oaks accepts the necessity implicitly, which is very significant in itself). Notes business community onside to develop solutions, Pacific Hydro etc. [convenient article my Hogarth ‘the business of greening Australia” in Sydney Morning Herald review p28-29]


Garrett rhetoric wears thin under pressure from Oaks about job losses from emission targets.


Forests question: Tas govt bypass of planning laws. PG says he is disappointed, look at the new process of the Tas govt. LO: ‘You can’t have conscience in the ALP’ re Tas MP who crossed the floor there.


LO quotes PG: ‘ALP policy RFA’s flawed and discredited process in 2005’ Today? Garrett endorses the ALP policy support for RFA’s, that is his direct sellout of his principles. PG claims caucus policy allows for ethical principles going to the national conference of the ALP.


LO actually uses the “sold out” accusation, on US bases, on uranium mining. Very “elastic conscience isn’t Peter” A devastating question in those terms. PG blah blah blah road to hell paved with good intentions kind of answer to get a change of government (and promote his lead singer persona, the clear implication).


“Can’t pretend to be a conviction politician, can you?” Fast pace blather by PG doth protest too much. [PG  the lead singer for someone else's songs then and now.]



Q & A with Laurie Oaks: Notes Hicks resolution removes from the federal election.


On climate change, Howard making ground? Ans: Rudd ahead in synchrony with Al Gore, Howard running hard to catch up. Key agenda item. Never look as green as the ALP but working hard to neutralise it.



Feature on wikipedia or wackypedia: Pretty good tv too, 1 billion net users. Projection of another 1 billion in 5 or 6 years especially from non western countries.




10 Meet The Press extract transcript 25th March 2007 lifting CBS America morning after NSW election day – secretary of defence of USA Robert Gates:


25/03/07 - Joe Hockey and Robert Gates


CBS EVENING NEWS PRESENTER BOB SCHIFFER: Is there any indication so far that this latest addition of troops is making a difference or having an effect?


US SECETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT GATES:  I think that the way I would characterise it is so far so good. It's very early. General Petraeus, the commander out there, has said that it will probably be summer before we know whether we're being successful or not. But I would say that the Iraqis are meeting the commitments that they have made to us, they have made the appointments, the troops that they have promised are showing up, they're allowing operations in all neighbourhoods. There is very little political interference with military operations. So, here at the very beginning, the commitments that have been made seem to be being kept.


BOB SCHIFFER: But the violence seems to go on. While there has been something of a downturn in the violent events in Baghdad, where we're putting these additional troops, we're seeing more violence in the outskirts. Obviously we've changed our strategy but it appears the enemy is changing its strategy as well?


ROBERT GATES:  Actually, General Odierno, the ground forces commander out there and General Petraeus, the overall commander, both warned that as the surge took place into Baghdad and as we cleared people from Baghdad that there would be kind of a squirting effect, that some of these people, particularly the al-Qa'ida and the insurgents, would begin to operate in other places and try and still bring off spectacular attacks in Baghdad and so that's why we have to wait and see what kind of trendline appears over the next weeks and few months.


BOB SCHIFFER: This week in the House of Representatives there'll be another vote on a bill that will seek to put constraints and set up some sort of a timeline for bringing the troops home. You have been against that. Give me your best argument about why we shouldn't do that.


ROBERT GATES:  Well, first of all I think it's very important for people to know that I believe everybody involved in this debate is patriotic and looking for the best thing for America. I think most people agree that across the political spectrum, that leaving Iraq in chaos would be a mistake, a disaster for the United States, and so we're all wrestling with what's the best way to bring about a result that serves the long-term interests, not only of the Iraqi people, but of the United States, and I think everybody is wrestling with that problem on all sides of the issue. With respect to the specific bill in the House, the concern I have is that if you have specific deadlines and very strict conditions, it makes it difficult, if not impossible, for our commanders to achieve their objectives and, frankly, as I read it, the House bill is more about withdrawal regardless of the circumstances on the ground than it is about trying to produce a positive outcome by incentivising the Iraqis. The issue that we're all trying to figure out is how best do you get the Iraqis to reconcile their differences because after all this is not going to be solved by the military, it has to involve political reconciliation in Iraq among Iraqis. We're basically buying them time, that's the whole purpose of this strategy, and they're going to have to step up to the plate and we can help them by giving them the time to do that and to make their military forces able to carry the burden by themselves.


BOB SCHIFFER: Let me just challenge the conventional wisdom here. The President said that if we leave they're going to follow us here. This appears to me to be a civil war. Why would they stop fighting each other, which is what they seem to be doing now, why would they take a break in that and decide to try to challenge America somewhere down the line if we leave?


ROBERT GATES:  This Washington game of "Is it a civil war or isn't it?" I think is a problem - this characterisation is a problem, because it oversimplifies. The reality is that stoking sectarian violence is a very specific strategy on the part of al-Qa'ida and the insurgents. That was behind the bombing of the Samara mosque, it's behind their efforts today, and they make no bones about the fact that it's their strategy, so you don't have thousands of Shia and Sunni falling in on each other or attacking each other. You have hit squads going around the city. So this is a purposeful strategy. It seems to me that there is the opportunity to create a political environment in which these issues can be sorted out among the Iraqis themselves and that's basically what we're trying to do.


BOB SCHIFFER: I want to shift just a bit. I read that you are now writing personal letters to every family who has lost someone in Iraq. Why did you decide to do that? It must be a very difficult thing.


ROBERT GATES:  This is what I do, unfortunately, virtually every evening, and I guess it's because I feel a personal responsibility for each one of these men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and it's just - it's a small gesture to the families that I personally am involved and that I personally very much care and have great sorrow over the sacrifice that their son or daughter or husband or wife has made.

Posted by editor at 10:49 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007 12:27 PM NZT
Saturday, 31 March 2007
Building Addison Rd Community Centre healthy democracy* beyond influence peddling, self interest
Mood:  energetic
Topic: local news

* dedicated to a humble gardener and my hero Eddie Mabo.


The ARC is 3.4 hectares of prime inner city land the majority of which is open space, dedicated to the community with 35 tenancies of theatre, arts, non profit recycling, markets and cultures. It’s a genuine jewel of social capital in this city:




Like most people who work there I loathe the ARC and love it as well. It’s like one’s own family really. You can’t stand being in the same room at times but you know they are your own blood and tissue as well and there is no escaping the emotional ties not in this life, and probably not the next. A real quandary cie la vie. From the whimsical feministas at Reverse Garbage to the old dog at The Bower with Hansonite tendencies. Certainly honest effective communication is a big part of the challenge at such a place, with emphasis on honesty.


Stephen Mayne has written of this default fraught nature of community politics in his People Power party in the Victorian elections via ezine crikey.com.au, and in that case it ended in tears


Crikey - Politics Etc - Stephen Mayne’s farewell campaign diary


, and it’s no different in many social capital organisations we presume, whether it’s the Greens, Democrats, Greenpeace, The Wilderness Society or ARC. The key to avoid the tears is a healthy dose of humour, real moral courage, moderate expectations or less, in short healthy civil society, open debate and norms of behaviour, or as Gandhi says – to aim for integrity not simply to win (note Gandhi did aim to win too).


The ARC as most people will admit has suffered some intractable management problems in its 30 year History  Indeed the fact there was no 30 year anniversary celebrations in 2006 tells a story in itself. But in our view the dawn is rising and some of the nightmares are well behind us. There are 47 years to run on the community lease from the NSW Government (originally the Commonwealth Govt) and everything to play for to strengthen social fabric. We see a recent moral contest with the Sidetrack Rogue as a late breaking bad dream but it likely will pass too and generally the place is gathering a more honest vigorous and effective democracy and management.


This has not always been the case at the ARC. Dark mutterings of


-         “a tarantula in every draw” (attributed to the gallery curator),

-         “can of worms” (experienced Greens councillor)  

-         “grooming Meredith Burgman’s replacement” (elderly tenant),

-         “referring the bastards to ICAC” (not this author!),

-         “forces of darkness” (staff member)

-      "nothing ever happens" (veteran local council outdoor worker)


are giving way to

Picture: Kerry Lindberg, long time resident caretaker with his wife also named Kerrie.


-         new safe pedestrian access path,

-         open tender for community spaces,

-         objective rental formula (!)

-         transparent grievance procedure,

-         outdoor chess set,

-         nursery demonstration garden,

-         viable Sunday Market, and

-         functioning website portal.


Like lines in the car park achieved by retired manager Neil 2 years ago

after literally 10 years of cheap talk at board level, and who sadly had a heart attack soon after, and cute pocket garden of native plants (deliberately mowed over 3 years ago), the chaos is being sorted into healthy form and structure. There is hope where there was little in this depressed part of Marrickville. But there is also oh so much more hard work to do and still plenty of fluid creativity. Like a bastard political child born out of Whitlam’s anti Vietnam war policy the ARC has become a rather appealing adult with some adolescent rough edges still.


Recently we at SAM ran up against the old boy/girl network at ARC. Our job this last 4 years (at least until recently) involves part time gardening, but also website builder lately, and according to our sense of public duty we pinged a driver parking on the median strip out of area.

Picture: some of the 25 advanced aloe vera plantings by this writer last Thursday at the ARC frontage.

This is a humdrum if delicate matter usually. Please don’t park there, sets a bad example, etc. It’s usually met with responsiveness and cooperation.

But like the Marcus Einfeld saga/tragedy


Einfeld faces jail over $77 ticket - National - smh.com.au

a simple matter of a polite request to move blew up into disturbing old style issue of abuse of power, fraud, defamation, hierarchy and smear by a long time tenant and their political backers, potentially up to the Board level, and there is plenty of water to go under the bridge yet, as our correspondence attached below shows.


In Einfeld’s case a mere $77 parking fine may well see him end up in jail for a quite a time. (I personally find this very sad given my first big (winning) case was before the ex beak in 1991 in the Federal Court as a corporate litigation lawyer.) In the Sidetrack case a trivial parking ‘offence’ (not illegal, but certainly unauthorised, and damn disrespectful)  may yet turn into a case study of (ALP) cronyism and fraught community centre politics which might have a much bigger impact on society and democracy than the Einfeld Case will.


On the other hand it is just as likely to be an opportunity at educating the long suffering tenancies in how to assert honest vigorous democracy and equal accountability for high and low, from humble gardener to long time power brokers Don Mamouney or his alleged cipher Stavros Economidis on the Board.


The ARC as most people will admit has suffered some intractable management problems in its 30 year life. Indeed the fact there was no 30 year anniversary celebrations in 2006 is revealing. But in our view the dawn is rising and most of the nightmares are receding to ancient history.

 Picture: Terry Cutcliffe curator of Addison Road Gallery in January 2005 and his provocative signage in the style of Image Gallery - Collections - United Colors of Benetton - S/S 2007 ...

But that low scale furore as described in the letter attached below, narrowly avoiding criminal proceedings of the Local Court, is only part of the latest growing pains:

There is this from Max Burgess of the Law Consumers tenancy


, in combo with one of the several anchor tenants Greening Australia (NSW) Ltd (this latter it might be noted is a significant federally funded body but also one of say 4 or 5 anchor tenants):




I note that in the absence of any challenge to the validity of the Notice served on the Secretary on 26 February, 2007 and the expiration of the time (21 days) in which the Directors must call a meeting in accordance with clause 9.2.4 of the Constitution, Greening Australia Ltd and Law Consumers Association Ltd reserve the right to call a meeting of members in accordance with clause 9.3.1 of the Constitution.”


But what is the point of this agitation for what otherwise might be thought of as an 'EGM' or extraordinary general meeting, but technically is a simple general meeting aimed at gazumping a narrow Board meeting as has been the case in the last several years?


[Significantly the centre did have a Board of all tenants but this was changed around 1998  because it was found to be way too big and cumbersome:


"In 1998 it reformed its governance structure, replacing a management committee comprising a representative of each member organisation with a smaller Board that includes 4 Directors elected from members, 2 Directors elected by members who are honorary members (community representatives) and Marrickville Council [This structure itself has also been amended and refined in 2005]." ARC website quoting open source backgrounder by the centre management at History ]


There probably is a case for a hybrid process of formal general meetings of all members, and narrow workable Board committee. That is, not just an “open forum” one of which was held in the hyper busy 3 days before the 24th March state election, perhaps to out flank the above (?), and not attended by this writer for lack of notice, prone to accusations of cynical timing (?) .


The notice handed to this writer yesterday by accomplished democracy activist and dedicated Law Consumer stirrer Max Burgess reads as follows:


“The general nature of the meeting’s business is (clause 9.8.2):

  1. GALLERY / To adopt a policy for the long term management of the Gallery having regard to its development and the income which can be generated for the Centre.
  2. ADDISON ROAD SIGNS/ That the Board affirms it’s ownership of the signs at the entrance to the Centre and adopts a policy in which these signs can be made available to members of the Centre.
  3. ASSOCIATE MEMBERS/ That the Constitution of the Centre be amended to accommodate the needs of the Associate members. [we don’t know what this status involves: SAM editor]
  4. RENT REVIEWS/ That the Board adopts a policy where all members pay the same rent having regard to, but not limited to, quality of premises, location, services available, the circumstances of the member and utilisation.


Further notice is given that other business may arise”

Picture: Sunday markets are doing okay Addison Rd Centre lately, day of the Sydney Bridge Walk March 2007


Who knows, my own part time job at the ARC possibly on the skids might come up?


A potential can of worms indeed, but also an opportunity to take the high road. To reach for integrity not simply to win, to do good for the ARC generally and not for individual interests, for fairness and objectivity in all dealings with no fear or favour, to transcend influence peddling and dishonest postures.


Yep, plenty of water to go under the bridge building a health democracy at the Addison Road Centre. Cie la vie. The key is effective and honest communication like this blog article (we hope and trust).



Declaration: We have an fiduciary solicitor client relationship with one of the Board members on unrelated media matters (John Reynolds, Art Resistance) who has not been consulted on or  authorised any of this article (indeed he may be critical of this writer). As stated we are in the paid employ up until this week at least of the ARC for part time gardening and website building. We have never campaigned for/nominated for the ARC Board or applied for a tenancy at the ARC. The ARC accept our snail mail (ecology action sydney) for us via the front office (no letters to date in the age email) for personal security reasons.




From: ecology action australia

To: Yvette Andrews ; Stavros Economidis ;Robert Morrison; Rae Owen ; John Reynolds ; Geoff Hague ; Natalie McCarthy

Cc: gm addison rd centre; office admin arc

Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 7:41 AM

Subject: building more honest democracy at the ARC



Dear ARC Board members



I will meet with Ian Laird today see how you are progressing with my complaint about abuse of power and emotional violence by the Sidetrack manager(s). I will also be progressing the ARC website build which is about 80% done and worth visiting here






Ian Laird  foreshadowed this discussion yesterday while I was planting about 25 advanced aloe vera plants into the street frontage pocket gardens which I obtained for free from some building renovators earlier in the week. This was my initiative like many other things at the ARC and elsewhere in the community sector.


At first I was feeling a little nervous anticipating your views, and then I came to a realisation about our relative roles in the community sector and I feel alot better about where to from here.



Here are some ground rules (good pun that) from my perspective before I hear from Ian Laird today:



1. There is no way whilesoever I am employed, or indeed otherwise,  I will be giving special treatment to any rogue tenant or pandering to their loud aggressive histrionics or indeed concocted or fraudulent theatrical smears. That's the bottom line the ARC Board have no real say in.



2. The Board can choose as it likes whether to support one of its staff simply doing their public duty, or not. That's a matter for your conscience. Your job is really not that important in the scheme of things. I simply remind you I have legal rights of A. natural justice (to be heard in a fair process) B. to confront Abdi directly within the framework of an ARC grievance procedure I have been promised in lieu of an AVO type legal process. I understand Abdi is posturing and demanding I be gagged etc in my gardening work or interaction with tenants or visitors. In this regard refer to point 5 below.



3. I don't have anything to prove to the Board. On the contrary as a community leader of some 16 years experience and ample qualifications, the Board has to prove itself to people like me, not the other way round. I won't be judged on my moral integrity or professionalism in the community sector by a Board that are only now getting to grasp with their actual responsibilities at the ARC. I've seen what plays for good management there over the last 4 years and learnt enough about the previous 10 years to know what's what. When I first came to work at the centre as a humble gardener the grounds were a disgrace - it was a symptom of the management culture and dysfunctional tenancies itself. I decided to tackle that MANAGEMENT dysfunction in a subtle and indirect way, not by powermongering through board elections or tenure or whatever but by cleaning the place up. One of the first threats I faced was the deeply cynical Gerry playing power games while handling a machete. Do you really think I would be so worried about a Board and its words after that?


Now that this external physical cleanup process is gaining momentum of it's own (only took 4 years) and reaching a natural conclusion regarding my pump priming,  it's time to address the root cause of that physical ugliness of 4 years ago, which is the ugliness of influential figures at the centre itself at the management level. This is indeed why this symbolic matter with Abdi goes beyond the trivial car on median strip. It goes to the heart of a balkanised history of emotional violence at the centre.

4. I know what happened with Abdi and that car owner on Friday 16th March. I know I was professional and polite and the request was scorned arrogantly.  I know that when this was addressed Abdi launched a disgusting tirade of abuse at myself but also Laird. I know that when I complained a fiction was concocted by Mamouney to cover up for Abdi and the car owner. And I have a useful witness in Jeff Wood proving pretty much my version of events. I'm not for turning, and I'm not for pandering to a politically constrained or influenced Board either. That's not how this works for me. You may be the power at the ARC, but I have my share of influence in the Sydney, NSW, Australia and even a small international degree also with my sister group in Columbia and a few other contacts.. So you have a real balancing act to deal with.



5. Depending on how this plays out I reserve the right to pamphleteer under each and every door at the centre, with or without a paid job, along the lines of my views above.  I will have my justice in this situation and the centre's tenants will be educated in honest democracy and they will learn and be responsive to that and take their issues forward. This is all to the good. And then my work at the ARC may well be completed after 5 years and I can move on to more important projects like John Howard's agenda for nuclear weapons in Australia.


Lastly, I have nearly finished updating the centre web site with one reservation, and I have notified about 5 different tenancies of their updates (ACV, Bower, CSC, CCCC, Bush Club, and others are vaguely aware like GA, RG, even updates of Sidetrack including latest event though they are particularly undeserving managers (as distinct from the acting crew). There is the latest clipping on the Food Forest volunteer drive also.



The reservation about the website follows: The website is an overly ambitious interactive tool and no wonder it's rollout stalled. On the other hand it is now a very powerful asset and the portal effect will now be synergistic creating much more profile and publicity for each of the individual groups via internet based society, further enhancing traffic to their own main websites as well. I have yet to work out the method of individual log in/sign on for each tenant  (I have been given Ian Laird's password). But it's all in the user manual and I will have worked through that by the end of today all being well (Friday 30th March).



I look forward to hearing Ian's advice (meaning your advice) today. Be assured whatever it is I won't be boxed in by such as Abdi via the politics of the ARC Board. I hope you get it right for the sake of the ARC.



Yours truly



Tom McLoughlin, principal ecology action sydney






Posted by editor at 11:18 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007 11:50 AM NZT
Thursday, 29 March 2007
More suffering at Villawood detention centre
Mood:  sharp
Topic: human rights
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 11:47 AM
Subject: Hunger strike ot support the detainees, today from 12 30 pm - Villawood detention centre, Bermengham Ave, Chester Hill

As the situation deteriorated at Villawood detention centre, with 2 detainees were taken to hospital in the last 2 days and more than 50 detainees are on hunger strike for the second day, we will be on hunger strike outside the detention centre from 12 30 pm today in solidarity with them. The detianees are demanding in writing from DIMA that they stop these violent actions and better treatment. We are demanding that the detention centre be closed and asylum seekers be released to the community until their applications processed.
To support the action or to join it, you can contact me on
0413 467 367
Jamal Daoud

Posted by editor at 6:28 PM NZT
Sydney Ferries job advert a week ago 'Injury Management Coordinator'
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: nsw govt

We noted this advert last Wednesday March 21st, 2007 in our pre election coverage:

"As if to balance the Herald shock horror story [about sundry State Govt failures] is a chunky advert p12 from Sydney Ferries Corporation in their rival The Sydney Daily Telegraph for an "Injury Management Coordinator". Which surely is a horse that has bolted?: Man dies after ferry collision - National - smh.com.au"

Tragically it looks like there is too much work to do again:

Three killed in ferry crash

Ferry crash BELLINDA KONTOMINAS 5:40am | Three people are dead and a 14-year-old girl is missing after Sydney ferry hits private boat.

The unions were keen to lampoon Opposition 'Leader' Debnam's national service in the navy but it looks like the ALP's navy man at http://www.sydneyferries might be the one who is out of his depth in delivering good safety systems on public ferries? Here is a report of his background: Admiral steps in as ferry boss quits - National - smh.com.au

Rear Admiral Geof Smith has the January disaster on his watch Sydney Ferries 'deeply regret' fatal accident. 14/01/2007. ABC ... which presumably is why the above advert was placed just prior to the election. Now he has this one too. We feel confident the Big Media will go the full work out of Government responsibility, if any, on this tragedy.

At least that's the perception until a full investigation is forthcoming.

Take care folks, its getting dangerous out there in Sydney transport land, and may they rest in peace. Condolences to the families at this awful tragedy.

Posted by editor at 9:49 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007 11:35 AM NZT
Tuesday, 27 March 2007
Bob Carr 'spivving' his atrocious record, Big Media 'Opposition' correct to thrash ALP
Mood:  down
Topic: corporates

Bob Carr is no longer chief spinner of the NSW ALP Government. He is now chief spivver for big corporations leveraging his political contacts to make money and salve his public relevance deprivation syndrome.

The Hon. (Bob) Robert John CARR,

He is on the front of business friendly The Australian yesterday which is appropriate because he is now a "spivver" for Macquarie Bank and Big Business generally with all those road building PPP projects in the bag.

Here are some of Carr's dishonest claims on radio in denial of why he was airbrushed from ALP history this last 18 months and especially election period by the real NSW Iemma ALP Govt, based on his whining to Adam Spencer 702 abc yesterday:

- Carr stopped land clearing in his term. A lie: Refer Revealed: legal land clearing's savage toll - Environment - Specials It was no real virture to be better than the redneck National Party driven Coalition by a few less hectares of destruction. In fact its arguable the ineffectual and vague enforcement criteria corruptly greenlighted panic clearing during Carr's last 5 years taking clearance rates up to a million hectares or more. Carr has no credibility on land clearing with one mitigating belated factor in 2005 as we got rid of the bastard - the 330,000 ha Goonoo Pilliga conservation decision that Iemma has ratified and the Green party treats as a serious commitment from Iemma, not Carr.

- Carr claims a so called "disjunction" of  Big "media bias" against the ALP government's record versus voter actual intention to return the ALP. Really? Carr quickly narrowed this biting of the hand that fed him his whole career by narrowing it to 2GB's "electronic pamphlets" for the Liberal Party. But then he showed his broad contempt for the sector again with "I've never seen such print media bias" cross referencing Neville Wran who feels the same (no surprises there - Wran blacklisted then journo Mike Bailey, the elite abc weather man today, for failing to follow Premier Wran's arrogant instructions).

In reality most political observers and likely voters actually saw the print media savaging of Carr's record as the defacto Opposition doing its job with an ineffectual and untrustworthy Debnam Liberal team failing to cut through. Nor should Carr take comfort from Wran quoted in the Herald meaningfully  26/3/07

"The newspapers had been feral in this campaign. I've never seen it's like in Australian politics. ....This is probably one of [the party's] greatest victories in history because Iemma inherited a grab-bag of problems and liabilities and he faced up to them". [bold added]

 Liabilities. That's you Bob. 

This 'attack the media' phenomenon is a cliche of ex pollies also exhibited by the slightly bitter Arthur Chesterfield Evans MLC who is likely to lose his seat for the Australian Democrats, as interviewed by the sceptical Fran Kelly, abc radio national early Monday 26th March 07. ACE complained about the "are you dead yet?" treatment he got during the campaign. Commisertions ACE, congratulations John Kaye (Greens).

As Monday's Daily Telegraph "Campaign Confidential" correctly implied

"where was Emperor Bob Carr, the man who built Rome Morris Iemma now defends? It appears Bob developed some kind of serum which means he is invisible to everyone except Peter Debnam. And so we dedicate this catalogue of sightings and fightings to a man who's so there he's not even there. We salute you, Bob - wherever you are."

Ironically Carr was front of their sister News Ltd broadsheet same day but no one doubts the ALP would have lost if Carr had been leader at the election. That's why he and his cabinet colleagues Knowles, Refshauge, Egan and finally Scully were drop punted out. Remember Bob? You were destroying brand ALP and that's why no one is actually listening to you now, or only to express disgust at your vain tragic record.


Postscript #2  A brief clarification that we wrote this article above before reading a day later this article by Big Piers Akerman of the right wing Sydney Daily Telegraph with much the same gist re Carr's vain delusions about his role in Iemma's recent victory: Claims on an empty victory

Postscript #1: Courtesy Stevie Bee

'Yesterday we were campaigning, today you voted'

While walking down the street, a politician is hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven, and he is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see such a high official around these parts, you see, and so we're not sure what to do with you."? "No problem," says the politician, "just let me in."

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from 'on high.' What we do is have you spend a day in hell, and a day in heaven.? Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Okay, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the politician.

"I'm sorry but we have our rules."

And, with that, St Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a club, and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who'd worked with him.

Everyone is happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they'd had, while getting rich at expense of the people. They play a great game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne. Also present is the devil, who's really a very friendly guy, who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They're all having such a good time that, before he realises, it is time for him to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator closes. The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven, where St Peter is waiting for him.

"Now it's time for you to visit heaven," Says St Peter. So, 24 hours pass, with the senator joining a group of contented souls, moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp, and, before he realises it, the 24 hours have gone by, and St Peter returns. "Well, you've spent a day in hell and a day in heaven. Now choose for eternity." The politician reflects for a minute, then answers: "Well, I never would have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I'd be?better off in hell."

So, St Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open, and he finds he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and debris. He sees all of his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash, and putting it in bags. The Devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

"I don't understand," stammers the Politician . "Yesterday there was a golf course and a club, we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, danced,? and had a great time. Now there's nothing but a wasteland full of garbage, and my friends look miserable. What happened??"

The Devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning; today you voted . . .

stevie bee

61 +2 9567 4006?

Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible. ? Thich Nhat Hanh

Posted by editor at 9:47 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007 10:33 AM NZT
Monday, 26 March 2007
Tebbutt declines cabinet confidentiality on road tunnel plan of "a good government" to raise her 6 year old instead
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: election nsw 2007

On Saturday we met then Education Minister Tebbutt as pictured here at the Warren Rd booth in Marrickville

and raised the horror scenario of a container truck accident in any of the Sydney motorway tunnels, as happened last Friday in Melbourne’s Burnley Tunnel.


Question: "Tom McLoughlin, SydneyAlternativeMedia news blog. On the record Minister, in relation to the terrible truck accident in the [Burnley] Tunnel in Melbourne, do you think that could happen here in Sydney with so many motorway tunnels?" Answer by Carmel Tebbutt local ALP MP for Marrickville: "I don't know anything about that. I really couldn't say."


The question required no answer. The point was all in the asking: We knew she was not the responsible minister for transport, emergency services, treasury or any other possibly related portfolio.


The point of the question was the subtext: Carmel Tebbutt as local member knows that the massive expansion of Port Botany will result in a road tunnel under Marrickville unless the politics are radically changed. All those containers can’t go on rail (40% maximum) and even the rail is disruptive already as per this recent letter to the editor:

Indeed local MP Tebbutt has been fighting off fiesty local Green Party members in the local Cooks River Valley Times March 8th 2007 front pager "Road tunnel"


"Labor MP for Marrickville Carmel Tebbutt, said the Minister has made it clear that there are no proposals before the NSW Government to build the M4 East or any such thing as an inner west motorway."


and from same paper apparently quoting her unchanged 2006 statements:


"While the $500 million investment in Port Botany will benefit the NSW economy , Sydney Ports Corporation must make every effort to ensure this proposed expansion does not adversely impact on the quality of life of local residents ..... I will continue to advocate the concerns of local residentsto Sydney Ports Corporation and ministers for Planning and Ports. As usual the Greens Party are offering no solutions".


In her February 2007 colour brochure Carmel states


 "Johnstons creek corridor abandoned/ The Johnstons Creek road corridor will be abandoned entirely between Parramatta Road and the Illawarra rail line. Road reservations on those roads which would have fed into Johnstons Creek road corridor, including Llewellyn Street and Addison Road, have also been abandoned. "This decision gives certainty to residents worried their properties may still be affected," said Carmel Tebbutt MP. " pictured standing next to colleague Minister Eric Roozendaal.


And then an expose of exactly what the minister has strongly implied won't happen, happened: $5b secret road under Sydney | The Daily Telegraph that is a secret RTA plan for a tunnel under Marrickville because anyone who has studied the Port expansion knows it's part of an overall scheme to deal with the 3 million plus containers, a tripling of volume.


And Tebbutt has form in the art of political double talk, and it would be very naive to think she is some kind of feminista political saint. Life is not like that:


"Ms Byrne [Greens candidate said] Ms Tebbutt "blatantly misled the public" about Greens preferences at the a climate change forum in Marrickville last Tuesday night. Ms Tebbutt told the forum that the Greens had preferenced the Coalition before Aboriginal Labor MP Linda Burney in the seat of Canterbury during the 2003 election ...This is false. The Greens have never preferenced the Coalition ahead of Labor in any state or federal electorate in NSW." in Valley Times p6 Thus 15th March 2007.


This is a direct accusation of electioneering fraud by Carmel Tebbutt at a public forum being levelled by The Greens.


Who knows if there is more to her move to the back bench? Maybe she saw those school kids late last week protest against the unfiltered Lane Cove Tunnel (Families protest against lack of filtration in Lane Cove Tunnel ...) which is in her portfolio. Maybe she considered our unexpected mortality as per those poor victims literally incinerated in the grim prophetic Burnley Tunnel and decided ‘no way am I going to miss my kid growing up’. On Friday we emailed to the local community this story on our blog:


 23rd March 2007

Container truck tunnel crash is Sydney's future too under ALP transport policies

As the three major dailies today editorialise to remove the ALP government in NSW in the vote tomorrow, and Ch9 prime time news ruin Opposition Leader Debnam's last pitch due to technical problems with a live cross, a tragic tunnel crash involving container trucks in Melbourne today (Road catastrophe: Tunnel crash kills three) underline everything wrong with the Inner West Motorway tunnel exposed by the press during this election for Sydney: $5b secret road under Sydney | The Daily Telegraph

Container truck numbers from the Port are set to skyrocket under the ALP (Task force to oversee Port Botany expansion. 25/11/2006. ABC News ...) to 3 million per year  at least (Port Botany - NSW Department of Planning) but likely even more than that (NSW Ports Growth Plan - Summary Sheet) with massive impacts on the Inner City congestion and suburban amenity from the Port Botany Expansion - 10/11/2005 - ADJ

The ALP over ruled an independent planning Commission of Inquiry (Port Botany expansion plan unwarranted: inquiry. 14/10/2005. ABC ...) and tried to stall the release of that report for 3 months (Port Botany Report - 15/09/2005 - QWN REP) making a new motorway tunnel an inevitability under the Iemma ALP Govt. One can assume fatal truck accidents like this today will also be an inevitability as above.

On Sunday another insecure road tunnel will open as the result of the election is finalised: Children at Lane Cove Tunnel protest - The Australian - 21 Mar 2007

Noxious road tunnels are indeed a powerful symbol of this ALP government as we go to the vote tomorrow as per The Greens last PR event for the day

The way Carmel tells it her son made it clear a couple of weeks ago she was needed at home. Morris Iemma says she told him on election night. Curious timing. Kevin Rudd is quoted pictured here The Glebe March 22nd 07 p3 presumably with no notion of Carmel’s intention to bail out to the back bench:


“When you’ve got Carmel as a senior minister in this government and as an effective local member, you are really getting double bang for your buck and I think that’s really good,” : Kevin Rudd

That’s false election advertising in reality.


In the same paper Tebbutt states “I think I am feeling nervous and anxious at this point” but in another local press article (a bit hard to locate now) she said she was a lot more relaxed than at the byelection 18 months ago, and that was the view of Deputy Premier Watkins too on ABC tv coverage last Saturday night. If the Greens were going to win it was going to be at the byelection. Only they suppressed the Commission of Inquiry report on the Port Expansion until 2 weeks after that byelection as well.


Indeed Tebbutt has moved from the comfort of an upper house seat with ministerial portfolio free of managing the needs of an electorate to a lower house seat with all the cost and expense for the ALP that implies and has decided to bail out to the back bench now?  And all the expense of a hard fought general election now to keep it?And she wants to bail out to the back bench?


Indeed Treasurer Egan virtually anointed her as a future Treasurer or Premier when he resigned with Bob Carr. Mind you who would like to look like the increasingly exhausted and aging Anna Bligh Deputy Premier and Treasurer (Queensland Treasury). Or pack on the kilograms as Chubby Morris below, or indeed Jodi McKay with increasing girth (pictured in the Telegraph) from all that worry contesting the seat of Newcastle.


That’s one hell of a conversation with your six year old for Carmel whose child has already grown up in a political family. (Sure enough, she is pictured with child in the press Tuesday 27th March.) That sure is enlightened parenting but lousy political organisation unless there is just a bit more to the story.


As a minister she could never defend Marrickville from toxic exhaust stacks from the inevitable push on to build a road tunnel under her electorate. Cabinet confidentiality would only be the start of her predicament. She would have to endorse the cabinet decision just like Gary Punch was expected to over the 3rd Runway at KSA and resigned instead.  Those shipping containers are coming as night follows day and her people and indeed family are in the firing line. She would never be re elected anyway after that in 2011 if she was seen to have betrayed her electorate. This is a fight she has to take on just like the Greens she has been sledging..


Also her husband federal MP Anthony Albanese is in real strife. If the ALP national conference supports expanded uranium mining as they will, Anthony will be stranded in a rampantly green voting area of Sydney. He will be lucky to survive the federal election and will need all his spouse’s help there.


So it's not only Mr Debnam whose “work here is done” to borrow the phrase from Two Weeks Out episode of the West Wing last Saturday night which cartoonist Warren must also have been watching by the look of this in the Telegraph today:

It looks like Carmel Tebbutt MP's work in covering up for the boys in Iemma's so called "good government" is over for the time being too as regards their Truck Tunnel. And that's a good thing. Bravo.


One last thing Morris: Go on a diet

Posted by editor at 9:51 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008 11:18 AM EADT

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