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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 27 August 2007
Better late than never for Get Up on the pulp mill atrocity?
Mood:  lazy
Topic: ecology
[email string sent today follows]
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 10:52 AM
Subject: Re: Stop Gunns' pulp mill madness

yep saw it direct from Get Up, Get Up are a bit slow on this one, only when it got to the front pages of The Australian and on 4 Corners and on 60 Minutes did they start leading from behind. Shows how much they are captured by the ALP actually (who support the pulp mill, pro logging agenda), Brett Solomon of GU advised a public meeting he is funded by Evan Thornley who is a rich IT entrepeneur back from the USA and now in the Upper House of Victorian Parliament ...for the ALP. Better than nothing I suppose.
Also story running into today's The Australian here (not showing picture in paper version of lithe hippie woman because its an earth mother story, and Masked Owl suit):

Pulp mill plan ruffles Greens' feathers

IT is a lovely day in Bondi. The sun is out and so are the crowds. Seagulls are swooping down, stealing chips.

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 8:50 AM
Subject: FW: Stop Gunns' pulp mill madness

From: info@getup.org.au
To: echidna27@hotmail.com
Subject: Stop Gunns' pulp mill madness
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2007 16:21:38 +1000

Dear friends,
While the rest of the world focuses on solving the climate crisis and protecting what is left of our precious natural resources, Australian politicians are hell-bent on approving an environmentally disastrous industrial development in Tasmania - the Gunns pulp mill.

Right now we have the power to stop the development before it's too late. Nationwide opposition has forced the Federal Environment Minister to allow ten days of public comment before making his final decision. You can help stop the pulp mill by voicing your opposition today:


Gunns Ltd's proposed pulp mill will pour tonnes of dangerous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and poisonous effluent into Bass Strait. The expected environmental damage will wreak havoc on the tourism, fishing, agriculture and wine industries in the area, and mean the further clear-felling of Tassie forests.
Tasmania's economic future depends on its clean, green image, not on pulp mills. Independent economic analysis released this week shows the mill will actually destroy more jobs and wealth than it creates. Tell Minister Turnbull there's no good reason to approve the pulp mill in its current form:


The inquiry process into the mill's impact has been fraught with political and corporate interference. Let's put the people back into the process, and remind our decision-makers who they really answer to.

Thanks for being a part of this,

The GetUp team


GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to chip in to support GetUp's work, please click here. If you have trouble with any links in this email, please go directly to http://www.getup.org.au. To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here.

Posted by editor at 12:52 PM NZT
Public Alliance to Avert Desalinastion
Mood:  special
Topic: ecology


Posted by editor at 12:17 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007 12:22 PM NZT
APEC in Sydney: US President Bush not welcome, wife Laura takes the hint, GW & Rice cancel 2nd day, Keating rubbishes the junket
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: peace

In the city that hosted an anti Iraq war, pro peace rally of 250-500,000 in February 2003 it is increasingly clear George W Bush is only welcome by the News Ltd Sydney Daily Telegraph owned by a US citizen Rupert Murdoch, and precious few others: Greens keen to cage Bush, not Sydney

In the last few days God's judgement seems to have come down on the gambling industry horse racers with equine flu but also the police horses traditionally used to bully protesters from on high: Flu threat to APEC security

Now we hear via ABC wife of GW Bush, Laura Bush has cancelled her attendance in Sydney altogether.

Greg Sheridan also writes today that GW Bush was not even very keen to attend Sydney's APEC at all, having already cancelled attendance at ASEAN representing only 600M people and 'huge' US commercial investments, and expecting a critical report to Congress about the Iraq war at the same time.

Similarly Secretary of State Rice prefers to ride 15 hours on Air Force One back with GW than stay a second day. Sheridan states p2 of The Australian today

"This is a sorry reflection on the priorities of the second Bush administration as compared with the first. [Colin] Powell would never have done this."

Paul Keating who we might have watched at the Seymour Centre last Thursday in Sydney but preferred to hear him on PM and 7.30 Report instead (and understand via a roadie backstage Keating similarly left the stage to immediately watch the tv as well) is in The Australian today saying effectively the whole APEC agenda is off the rails after the Cold War ended.

No doubt PK is running interference for ALP leader Rudd to spoil PM Howard's APEC stage but he does it with cred as architect with the first Bush Presidency and Clinton of the forum in the first place. Especially references to China and Japan deep animosity, but great mutualistic opportunities not least on China's troubled environment.

We notice the ambiguous heavy irony in the headline in the Oz:

"Auspicious beginning THE founder of the APEC leaders' meeting believes the forum has the political grunt to deal with regional security."

That is political grunt wasted, and squandered, such as "Paul Keating is frustrated by the failures  of the organisation [APEC] ...."

Posted by editor at 11:20 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007 12:02 PM NZT
Sunday, 26 August 2007
Sunday political talkies: Govt suffers equine flu in the polls, Rudd doing God's work on hospital reform?
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: Busy trade amongst lefties and greenies (not to be confused with aggressive 'Fishes' in great dystopian movie Children of Men) King St Newtown 25th August 2007 as APEC 'world leaders' conference approaches early Sept 07 in Sydney CBD, with ex PM Keating saying its got the wrong agenda anyway, everyone else knowing it's a party to honour vain old man Howard, and Police Chief Scipione (Italian Irish extraction like this writer) ej*culating prematurely saying (Haneef style?) 'intelligence' shows the need for 500 cells for 'violent protesters'. Never mind the entirely peaceful huge anti war protest in 2003 in Sydney by much the same groups (?). But will police present this 'intelligence' to the Supreme Court over protest permits? More like posturing by the $6 Billion a year security industry to justify a $170M/$24M a day security/APEC junket (that ex Premier Carr baulked at in 2005) and waste of money that should have been in Canberra?


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.


Media backgrounder:


- Beazley tugs his forelock for the ALP to the US empire p9 24/8/07 SMH  “Beazley joins US think tank”, only to be outdone in forelock tugging by real ALP leader Rudd “US is an overwhelming force for good in the world” p16 24/8/07 – yeah yeah tell it to millions of ghosts across the world.


- Feared truck blast toll of 400 sets grim Iraq record 17/8/07 p9 The Australian.



- We saw on tv then read only on Friday in The Oz at page 8 24/8/07 “Trainers want Pope’s people off their turf”, and same paper way back something about equine flu scare. Now the surly, pompous racing industry figures at Randwick complaining long and loud about disruption to their gambling business to the NSW Govt - with no plan B for the Popes youth Festival venue – are virtually shut down. Is it God’s judgement? Which reminds us of seeing a stern Joe Tripodi type figure in the blazing sun in full grey suit, on the steps of St Peters (and this is for real lobbying (?) for same youth gig way back in July 2002, or ) maybe just getting confession. It was our fascinating, inspiring world trip Chile to Ireland and back via Germany, departing Rome.


- Pulp mill stories everywhere – including colour pic of Greens candidate Susan Jarnson (above) top p5 24/8/07 in The Oz expected to poll around 11% in marginal Wentworth, a quality left wing candidate, nurse, mother etc. But for our money the real fracture in conservative votes will be local solicitor Alex Tees with a reasonable small business following, saying this far out he won’t direct preferences. Still to find a decent picture of the guy. The Sept 07 (!) issue of monthly Sydney City News page 4 by trooper Pam Walker quotes John Kaye MLC Greens "We're not enthusiastic about George Newhouse ...[ALP candidate in Wentworth]" and the text states it's more about " getting John Howard out". Sure, sure, preferences to ALP announced 3 months out, actions speaks louder than words. In the Eastern Suburbs the Greens are effectively captured by the ALP (and have been since at least 2000 says this ex Green Party councillor 95-99).


Picture 'Live Green' festival Victoria Park Saturday 25th Aug 07 more party then green perhaps with empty bicycle parking rack, but plentiful good quality stalls, great live music, and very busy beer garden. A Clover Moore inspired bread and circuses to outflank the rival Deputy Mayor Chris Harris (Greens)




- Meanwhile the massive issue of pollution stacks in the seat of Grayndler (Truck tunnel to port is back p1 The Glebe 23 Aug 07, spill to page 3) via the Iemma Govt's commitment to a truck tunnel shepherded through by their bureaucratic thug Prof David Richmond, a long time ALP stooge is ignored by Anthony Albanese. The Opposition Shadow on Infrastructure and Water prefers to not talk about this guarranteed cancer source with a picture story p9 of same paper about smelly Ibis breeding in Marrickville and attacking the local council. Albo with grand hypocrisy asks where are the reactors going? We say where are the truck tunnel smog stacks going? (we live in the suburb). And the local councils know its stuffed - adverts for both Leichhardt and Marrickville Council calling for public feedback on the environment p16 The Glebe 23/8/07 and p11 respectively. 

Picture: Howards doing their Family of Blood act at the Living Green festival in Sydney, as per Dr Who later that night? More sinister Dr Who type figures here ('Can I have a cutting?') too

And serious talks on sustainability with Peter Thompson ... err sorry drinks actually ....

- Geothermal use makes more cents to Lihir, p10 Resources section 25 Aug 2007

- Upstart pollster draws fire from the old brigade SMH Aug 23 2007 re YouGov firm from UK.

- Dad's the word as former contender becomes adviser 15/8/07 The Australian p23, re George Williams the legal whiz now stay at home Dad not ALP candidate.

- Wicked pedia: business, CIA edit online entries 16/8/07 SMH p13

- Garrett reinforces his office to repel government attack 9/8/07 The Australian p2, Ryan Heath, Martin Callinan re two snot noses into the ALP camp.

- Iemma Govt failure on open government #1 While we wait, Premier, the gap is getting wider smh p28 16/8/08, and Lesson for Canberra in neighbours attitude p30 23/8/07, both stay in touch section.

 - The shallow world of big media "How the ABC's science guru finally found an audience" 17/8/07 The Australian p13

Meeting the Press 10


Deborah Rice compere. Julia Gillard is the talent, effective makeup job on tired eyes, as articulate as ever. Bats off union hack sledge by Hockey.


ALP wins economic management poll by Ipsos 20-22 Aug 07 39% to 36%.


Interest rate rise in favour to ALP for 24%, most unaffected voter intentions 55%. 4% more likely to vote for Coalition.


Iemma bats off strip club question, turns it on Hill (?),  Clennel (Herald), Spicer (ABC) lots of laughs all round.

Gillard stays away from Grandfather Howard age as an issue.

Overall looking centred, competent, relaxed, balanced, underlying confidence and strong. Good interview even with the hard edged voice.

 2nd half

- David Salter on his book, deserve the media we get?  Bris should have published next day (true), should have been on Media Watch he says, Rudd story not big really.

Reminds of Fairfax protest rally as here some months back

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


7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary  -

Satire about Kevin Rudd more like Ned Flanders than sleazy Homer Simpson. Excuse for showing girlie dancers and Sefton strip club in Sydney which looks like a Liberal Party set up to string the smear along courtesy dickhead Colin Allan.








Insiders 2


Swan as Opposition Treasurer – tax cuts question dodged, pushes responsible investment in infrastructure for next 10 years.


Paul Kelly agrees Rudd health policy is a big play. Howard needs climate change outcome from APEC.


Panel of Bolt (News), Toohey (AFR?) , Taylor (AFR)


All tend to agree polls have stabilised, Bolt 'over for Howard'.


Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/



Sunday 9



News refers to more APEC disruption.


Laurie Oakes with Abbott batting off Rudd health reform plan for hospitals. Sledges Rudd but Oakes counters re Mersey little in one marginal. Abbott boosts as great trial. [Scepticism high and Abbott playing with a pair of twos.] Then the interaction goes into a political abyss for Abbott:

Picture: Laurie Oakes in hushed grave tones at the reaction of Tony Abbott to serious credibility challenge, this image shows his cornered slugger punchy embattled mode, as if with equine flu (?), over Rudd health reform package, which Abbott had proposed himself but was rejected by his Cabinet and PM.


Shades of punching into left winger Peter Woof as a student in the 1970ies over the student association lock out.



Feature story about circle of abuse in one Aboriginal community in the NT. 





Posted by editor at 9:08 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 26 August 2007 12:28 PM NZT
Friday, 24 August 2007
Dishonest Sydney Telegraph runs interference on Rudd ALP health policy, as Iemma ALP run interference on bus pay claims?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: health

Picture: Today's press front pages in Sydney tell a story, with most including Australian Financial Review (not shown) carrying the real news prominently page 1 of a big federal ALP health policy, but the Daily Telegraph aka cartoon book go spoiler on a tangential health headline about sick bus drivers, who probably really are sick, and not joking.

Bus drivers get paid about $20 an hour we hear. We think they deserve danger money too this winter.

70 out of 300 at Ryde depot are reporting 'flu' sick leave (about 23%) says the Telegraph at their page 9 spill over from front page headline here "Sick Joke" when the rival Sydney Morning Herald reported recently 20% flu rates in some workplaces here in Sydney far less exposed to public germs. Indeed there has been an avalanche of such worrying stories here:

Don't soldier on - take a sickie and spare the city your germs ... by shrieker Miranda Devine with this image.

Public health measure ... wearing a mask in Tokyo is a sign of respect.

Public health measure ... wearing a mask in Tokyo is a sign of respect.

And here Toddler dies from flu - National - smh.com.au

and here Sydney flu epidemic kills 150 | The Daily Telegraph

So the poor old bus drivers are being smeared in a front pager, which has the very useful dual purpose if you are conservative Coalition paper of crowding out a big health/hospitals policy announcement, which could be the pivotal election winner for Kevin Rudd's federal ALP.

Meanwhile Virginnia Trioli of abc prime time 702 radio ... is off sick for a whole week now and this writer has delivered vitamin C and vegetable soup packs to our disabled buddy in the Eastern Suburbs down with the same lergie.

Have the Telegraph and stingy Iemma no shame at all?

Posted by editor at 9:08 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007 9:48 AM NZT
Thursday, 23 August 2007
Liberal Party's $1M draw back: Greens
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: health
Liberals should stop taking donations from big tobacco


If the Liberal Party wants to be taken seriously when discussing the
health risks of smoking, they should donate the over $1 million dollars
they've received from Phillip Morris and British American Tobacco to
cancer research, Greens Senator for New South Wales Kerry Nettle said
today outside a Liberal party fundraiser hosted by the Federal Minister
for Ageing, Christopher Pyne in Sydney.

"Christopher Pyne cannot deliver an effective 'quit smoking' message
while his party continues to accept donations from big tobacco
companies," Senator Nettle said.

"Smoking is the single greatest cause of death and disease in Australia.
According to the 2001 National Drug Strategy Household Survey  tobacco
use caused 19,000 deaths and 142,500 hospital episodes were attributed
to tobacco smoking.

"Australian Electoral Commission data shows that between 1998 & 2006 the
Liberal Party has received $697,065.00 from British American Tobacco and
$337,340.00 from Philip Morris.

"The Liberal Party should donate the over $1 million dollars they've
received from tobacco companies to cancer research," Senator Nettle

"There is growing public disquiet about the millions of dollars
political parties receive to run their election campaigns particularly
tobacco companies.

"Today's $1200 a head lunch hosted by Christopher Pyne excludes all but
the top end of town from gaining access to the Howard Government",
Senator Nettle said.

Contact: Kristian Bolwell 0411638320

Posted by editor at 6:03 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 6:35 PM NZT
BHP-Billiton on corporate welfare in South Australia: Greens
Mood:  irritated
Topic: corporates

Media Release
23rd August 2007

16.7 Billion reasons to scrap BHP Billiton special deal

Greens MLC Mark Parnell has called once again for BHP Billiton to give
up its special exemptions from state law on the back of yesterday's
extraordinary record profit announcement of $16.7 Billion.

"Why should a company that earns a staggering $16.7 Billion a year get
special deals from the people of South Australia that mean they save
money by avoiding state laws?            

"The time for special exemptions for BHP Billiton is well and truly
over.  They clearly can afford to pay their own way," he said.

Mark Parnell has a Bill before State Parliament, the Roxby Downs
(Indenture Ratification) (Application of Acts) Amendment Bill 2007 that
will remove special exemptions from the Aboriginal Heritage Act, the
Environmental Protection Act, the Freedom of Information Act and the
Natural Resources Management Act. 

"Every other developer needs to follow these laws - why does BHP
Billiton continue to get a free ride?  It's bizarre that one of the
richest companies in the world gets an easier ride when it comes to
complying with state laws than other miners and developers.

"I urge BHP Billiton to voluntarily give up these special exemptions,
and if they don't, I expect the Parliament to support my Bill to take
them away," Mr Parnell said.

For further comment contact Craig Wilkins on 0434 007 893


Greenpeace in Crikey.com.au today write

7. Nice profit BHP, shame about the environment

Greenpeace energy campaigner Ben Pearson writes:

So BHP has made another bumper profit. Just released figures report a record earnings result of $US13.4 billion, $16.7 million, driven by strong sales of commodities including petroluem products and coal. The press coverage of this has largely been uncritical; a doff of the hat to Chip Goodyear, and a general feeling of contentment that BHP, and Australia, can continue to ride the unprecedented commodities boom.


What is missing is an analysis of what BHP’s profits mean from a climate perspective.

BHP makes money by digging up and exporting commodities like coal. Its 23 coal mines worldwide produce nearly 150 million tonnes of coal a year, and it has major expansion plans in Australia. When that coal is burnt it creates greenhouse gases that fuel climate change, the costs of which will be huge if left unchecked. Australia, in particular, will be vulnerable as a hot, dry continent, and key industries like agriculture and tourism will be devastated.

In essence, therefore, BHP’s record profits now are being made by producing and exporting products which will threaten our economic wellbeing in the future. Yet the coverage of BHP’s profits fails to make this connection and fails to ask a very basic question: if climate change is such a threat, then why is it good that BHP continues to mine and export even more coal and other climate-changing products?


The answer from BHP would inevitably be "we’re investing in clean coal". Rubbish. BHP is spending about $360 million on clean coal over five years, a miserly amount compared to their profits. The expenditure is designed to create the appearance of caring about climate change so it can continue to profit from fuelling it.


Ultimately, reportage of BHP’s profits is just another manifestation of Australia’s current holiday from history. We happily ride the commodities boom while ignoring the inevitable, and severe, consequences of our quarry mentality, and economy. Future generations will look back at us in the same way we look back at Easter Island communities and ask "what were they thinking when they chopped down the last tree?"

Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or submit them anonymously here.

Posted by editor at 3:49 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 3:53 PM NZT
Akerman's Heiner foray raises questions of bipartisan failure on child protection
Mood:  sharp
Topic: election Oz 2007

Piers Akerman reckons he is onto something with two significant columns in 4 days on the scandal of child abuse in a Qld institution from back to 1990, as pictured here bottom left today's Sydney Daily Telegraph.


Rudd may well be in the clear according to protestions of the ALP regarding improper shredding of old Inquiry documents, or not. Certainly Rudd is busy condemning abuse by economic slave merchants treating children as utilitarian widgets in a business/religious cult here: Brethren still a cult in Rudd's book And for that we are very glad. 

To us there seems to be just as much to be sad and sorry about regarding injustice and abuse of children on the Coalition side of politics through unspent Aboriginal welfare budget in a series running in the Herald (top left). We know of the broken election promise to fund the Cape York Land Use Agreement as one egregious example by Howard in 1996 (a promise made and broken again in 1998 by Minister Robert Hill).

Then there are questions alleging sinister behaviour in society generally (front page story Herald top right).

And perhaps the biggest child welfare issue of all is threat to a healthy environment which News Ltd are tuning into as per bottom right hand side full pager above in the press today too, as well as the former investment banker mother, climate change activist on abc talk back this morning.

Posted by editor at 12:51 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 2:08 PM NZT
Howard takes out tree insurance on Malevolent Turnbull via Heff and Cousins?
Mood:  hug me
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: Front page of The Australian today 23rd August 2007. And more here  PM's silence more grist to the mill " JOHN Howard has refused to intervene in the public brawl between confidant Geoffrey Cousins and Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull." Just because I like him won't stop me burying him, Mill may cost state jobs and $3.3bn, Issue set to explode


[Email correspondence follows to local NSW ChipStop network follows]

Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 2:50 PM

Subject: Australian front page coverage Cousins goes Turnbull and is winning the PR so far re Wentworth ding dong smacking

This image [below, 22nd August 07] on front Australian website says alot. Mal Turnbull has a reputation as an enfant terrible earlier in his life that even Kerry Packer felt a little nervous around when he lost his temper (which is saying something with KP known to throw cricket balls at full force across the room). Since those days Mal reckons 'personal attacks only diminishes oneself' but he may be projecting his own real fear of losing the seat of Wentworth with hourly bulletins today having Mal attacking Cousins as "bullying" (irony) and not 'worthy of being on a public company' (Telstra no less) and but Geof Cousins cutting through about not being silenced in a democracy (eg adverts in Wentworth Courier), and calling Mal's criticism "feeble". Yep this is a first class blue blood business breakdown and there's no saying who will win. Turnbull put $600,000 into taking Wentworth in 2003 and doesn't strike me as a guy who throws away his money for nothing - indeed eye on the prize as PM one imagines (and smart - donated $40K personal money to burns unit charity of Mid Year Ball close to heart of Canberra Press Gallery after death and injury in Indonesia). Only Howard has parked Mal in the Environment portfolio for the very fact its an intractable basket case in a Coalition resource driven govt. That's Howard's insurance against overarching ambition, and Cousins is Howard's mate on Telstra Board. Howard was mentioned on radio earlier as praising Cousins as a good bloke, so no respite for Mal (evolent) there (ha ha).
Also Heffernan, a Howard boundary rider on agri industry politiks and cross checker on National Party boondoggles, last Friday on parliamentary broadcast was waxing lyrical about the toxic pollution from the Tamar Valley pulp mill, like throwing a bone to the greenies - but again I would take all that with a grain of salt on behalf of both Howard and Heffernan - both known as cynical pocket pissers, by which I mean only moved by real politik to speak up for the environment with no real belief their whole career.
Amazing what a close election will do to focus the pollies on real environmental policy. (Illustrating how the NSW green movement lost the plot letting the Carr ALP get such a big margin especially in state election 2003. But that's just my opinion ...).
Here is the Australian coverage today (it also ran ABC World Today show as well here 22nd August 2007 http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/default.htm)

[The Australian] Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull, pictured here today at a National Infrastucture Conference. Picture: Graham Crouch More

A FORMER senior adviser to John Howard will personally campaign against Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull in his marginal seat.

Matthew Denholm | August 22, 2007

A LEADING businessman and former senior adviser to John Howard will personally campaign against federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull in his marginal Sydney seat in a bid to reverse federal approval for a Tasmanian pulp mill.


Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 5:44 PM
Subject: Crikey' s Stephen Mayne sees a genuine green streak in Geof Cousins too, lays off hostile motion to Telstra Re: [chipstop] Australian front page
Geoffrey Cousins, all is forgiven Date: Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Stephen Mayne writes:

For a supposedly close mate of the Prime Minister, Telstra director Geoffrey Cousins appears to have joined his colleagues in going native although in his case the issue is Malcolm Turnbull’s approval of the Gunns pulp mill.

As part of a bigger push into shareholder activism, I was literally about to hit the button on a campaign to gather 100 signatures from Telstra shareholders to put up a resolution seeking to remove Cousins from the board at the AGM in Sydney on 7 November.

The deadline was 6 September and the plan was potentially a Machiavellian beauty based on the hope that the Telstra board would maintain its opposition to Cousins, such that he would have been turfed off the board just days before or after the federal election.

Given that Telstra is at war with the government, the assumption was that his close Cousins association with John Howard would make him unpopular with his board colleagues.

Alas, the opposite seems to be the case. The mail coming out of the Telstra boardroom is that they are all getting along very well and now we’ve got Cousins declaring war on both the Lennon Labor Government in Tasmania and federal environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The Australian splashed today with revelations that Cousins will try to unseat Turnbull from his marginal seat of Wentworth.

At one level, this could be interpreted as Cousins establishing his anti-government credentials to save his skin on the Telstra board. It has certainly ended my removal resolution.

The government forced Cousins onto the board last year by voting its 51% stake in favour just days before it sold down to 17%. A resolution to remove him, if backed by the board, would have been a fascinating test of the Future Fund’s independence right in the middle of an election campaign.

At last year’s AGM, Cousins needed the government’s 6.446 billion votes to get elected because he faced an unprecedented against vote from institutions of 1.73 billion shares. I was the best performed outside candidate with 186 million votes in favour and Cousins was only supported by 240 million shares before the government saved the day.

However, Cousins does have a long history of trashing relationships in pursuit of good corporate governance. A 20 year friendship with Nick Whitlam didn’t stop him from turning crown witness against him over some NRMA proxy voting and he also railed against the practices of Crown Casino developer Hudson Conway when he was put onto that board by Kerry Packer.

Maybe the guy really is a genuine campaigner for good corporate practice who also has a strong green streak from his experiences bushwalking in Tasmania.

Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or submit them anonymously here.


Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 2:29 PM
Subject: Gunns to to control Auspine softwood sector on mainland for anti competitive horizontal integration of native forest, plantation

I think that point about breaking the internal corss subsidy within the govt balance sheet from logging of profitable plantation to unprofitable native forest just got more compelling as a result of the private sector finances moving to integrate the native forest and plantation sector, which means there will be even more anti competitive practices between the two sides of the logger operations, in other words more clearing for more new plantation. Quite logical brutal business practice by Gunns. But then that's just my opinion.....based on the NSW Public Accounts Committee reporting to the NSW Parliament in 1990

Gunns' slingers to take 50.1pc stake | The Australian 

Andrew McGarry and Pia Akerman | August 22, 2007

FORESTRY company Gunns is seen as the Tasmanian tough guy of timber, the company that never backs down from a fight.

The company's latest stoush, a $332 million takeover offer for South Australian-based softwood plantation producer Auspine, is not yet over, but later today Gunns is expected to cross the 50.1 per cent shareholding threshold to take a controlling interest. .......


Meanwhile local solicitor Alex Tees is promoting this platform as a likely independent candidate in Wentworth (Tees is our legal sponsor/principal in our pro bono legal work but this platform is all Tees' own work, no responsibility though we did mention Tas forests)



Community Independent Residents such as myself will be instituting the following agenda priorities for the forthcoming election;


In the next few weeks/months a series of public meetings will be called and held to set up an Exploratory Campaign Committee with a view to promoting an Independent campaign and or candidates in the Forthcoming Federal Election for the Federal Seat of Wentworth.


"This may appeal to ordinary local residents  and For those who are not members of BIG POLITICAL PARTIES , BIG TRADE UNIONS OR BIG BUSINESS"


Draft Policy Issues for Discussion


1. A Policy to guarantee everyone who is capable of a job ; with Government if necessary, particularly in these economic boom times to subsidize mobility of job seekers on 100% basis, subsidize jobs with Local Govt, Community organizations and other employers. Such

policy will involve the abolition of unemployment benefits and its replacement with guaranteed net wage of at least that set by the Fair Pay Commission.


2.a) Control of all Health/Education services by the Commonwealth with the Commonwealth to pay for the same ; with same to be paid for by the Commonwealth/Federal Government.ONE NATIONAL EDUCATION AND HEALTH SYSTEM = MASSIVE COST SAVINGS – NO DUPLICATION OF BUREAUCRACY

b) One single National registration system for all Trades and Professions with Common standards = more massive savings for Government and Business.


3. A Further closer integration of all Police Services both Federal and State into one co-operative command ; abolishing all duplicated responsibilities in Policing and law enforcement that currently exists between Federal/State bodies.Further and extra funding for all Police and a National Training system for Police to be set up.


4. The closure of Villawood detention centre and those at Port Hedland/and Victoria and its/their replacement with a scheme where necessary of home detention and a smaller more humane immigration detention centre. No more former criminals or criminal deportees

to be put in such centres with ordinary immigration detainees and no children ever to held in immigration detention.


5. A Proper National environmental audit with particular emphasis on further prevention of land clearance and preservation of natural rain forests.


6. Further Continued Assistance and intervention in support of all Aboriginal Communities in strict consultation with such communities to prevent child abuse in ALL States/Territories with LONG TERM extra resources and funds for doctors, accommodation

and education.


7. Continued National control of the national Communications/telephone and internet network and better government funding of same in all areas of Australia.


8. Enhanced funding and a massive expansion of Defence Reserve Forces to be recruited and trained on a regional basis ; with emphasis on civil defence and natural disasters ; while bolstering national and regional defence preparedness with maximum flexibility etc.


9. Increased Funding and resources for Defence Forces to train local Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.


10. Massive increase in Commonwealth funding for alternative energy sources other than Oil/Petrol ; to Solar, wind, tidal and Oil substitute fuels ; massive increase in funding for Public Transport and Railways with the Commonwealth to take control of one

National Uniform Rail system.


11. A Fair and Equitable National Industrial Relations System that governs all employees ; not the current Federal State Government sponsored mess with multiple coverage and uncertainty for employees and employers in every jurisdiction in Australia.


12. GST ADMINISTRTION COSTS FOR SMALL BUSINESS ARE STILL TOO ONEROUS AND SHOULD BE SUBSIDIZED AND PAID FOR BY GOVERNMENT NOT Small Business ... a GST Stamp system could be introduced whereby users of small business services purchase GST stamps from the

Government and then hand them over physically or electronically to Small Businesses thereby meaning Small Businesses no longer collect Taxes for the government or administer its tax system for it...........

“The cost of administering the GST system should be borne by the Government NOT SMALL BUSINESS “ ( as it is at the moment)


All the above will achieve massive costs savings and significant investment for the future of all Australians for the future.


A public meeting will shortly be held in Wentworth in the next few months to Form a Campaign Committee to promote the above policies.


Further Information :


Alex Tees




A.A.W. Tees


Office :@ ANZIA, Su 3a, Lvl 6 , 303 Pitt St Sydney 2000 ,Australia

Tel  9281 3230/821 10233 ,Email atees@bigpond.com After Hours (02) 820 73122 &

9387 4836/0409813622 ,Mobile (040) 981 3622


Fax (02) 9262 7644 , Intnl After hours 612 820 73122


Web sites: www.legalexchange.com.au, www.cpppcltrust.com

Posted by editor at 11:48 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 3:47 PM NZT
Media Watch's Tim Palmer & co should hold fast, impertinent The Oz still more bullypit than quality
Mood:  sharp
Topic: big media

Picture: Media Watch asleep on the job? Au contraire - The Australian as moral wolf in stylish 100% woollen clothing, reliant on the shill of industry, just as likely.


A judicious and honest consideration of the attack by The Australian editorial today on humble 15 minute ABC Media Watch of 20th August 2007 including:


-         long long ‘doth protest too much’ haughty editorial - Old tricks back at Media Watch - echoing the recent slumming editorial effort against accurate criticism by psephologist bloggers of  their Dennis Shanahan re Newspoll interpretation

-         skinny column by veteran hack David Salter – the only intrinsically convincing article re journalistic career cowardice in the face of a Treasurer's edict Watchdog must bite all hands equally

-         talented but flighty, opportunistic Caroline Overington in their Media supplement Ripping yarns not on the ABC more a plea for a longer more resourced MW than anything


and maybe more (?), must take into account ‘tis the season of electoral emotional violence and ambition'. In the case of relatively new editor of the Oz the ambition s to become the quality broadsheet in Australia with all the cut and thrust and blood that implies, not least poaching staff from the Fin Review, cosying up with Opposition Leader Rudd, and not brooking any criticism no matter how sound.


(Nor is it any coincidence in this stage of the political cycle as nerves fray and excitement reins, Mary Kostakidis is locking horns with dumb bosses at SBS, or ABC have axed the influential natural history unit in this election killing season.)


First, by coincidence we ‘watched’ MW last night on the web, having slept early last Monday night. Big tick to the ABC for their web service there.


Second, we found the line up worthy and competent. True, big sensationalist stories might be the preference of the narcissistic sector but if this writer’s tastes are anything like the usual audience we care at least as much about safe medical drugs coverage, drink driving in society, commercialism masquerading as news, credits ruining our family movie enjoyment and honest reporting of climate change. Sure we want a moderate coverage of ‘pop star’ journalists but keep it in perspective.


Third, on the content of the last story offending The Oz, fifth in the line up, this turns on cunning Matthew Warren an industry hack now ‘environment reporter’ exploiting the well known conservative diplomacy of the UN IPCC paralysed by nth degree consensus to claim Howard’s delay on climate change action is being ‘responsible’. Yet virtually everyone knows the high quality science predicts worse, not less, dangerous impacts not least sea rise, and that the IPCC is hobbled by needing to keep all vested govt interests in the tent. The Australian is being too cute by half arguing Warren, their paper with huge fossil fool advertising supplements, or economic dry denialist industry readership demographic is in any way objective. That’s a Shakespearean farce – hence the 'doth protest too much' projection of their own paper's bias well ventilated by MW in maybe a 3 minute item last in the line up. [On reflection 24.8.07 we agree with Warren's possibly main gist that ALP and Coalition are more similar than different on real practical policy settings, if that in fact is his main point, while disagreeing with his dubious positioning of IPCC chair as pro Howard.]


Fourth, when Salter argues the journo’s at the Water’s Edge should be front and centre in the MW show for failing to report an 'on the record' backgrounding at a dinner about leadership tensions, and then off the record ‘retrospective virginity’ (great line) well yes. But there is plenty of time for a considered view from MW after the dust settles. Nothing turns on rushing in now. No doubt a blogger like this one, who would never get invited to such a dinner, would have published by dessert with no chance for on to off . Salter we say is surely right – this aspect needs a lot more attention not least the operation of 'the drip' to ruin immediate coverage but also we say better to wait for a good solidly researched effort. Including interview with Brissenden (or Daley or Wright) on why they folded, in the chair making his inevitable mea culpa for belated acceptance of the Treasurer's confidence. Just get the grovel confession out Michael, it worked for Kev. Another aspect - re a confidence belatedly accepted then splashing it 2 years later - has been thrashed to death by all other Big Media, so MW could have rehashed but we agree why bother except maybe as a footnote.


Fifth, Overington is no paragon of moral judgement, notwithstanding the AWB outrage she nailed to her great credit. Stuck at The Oz to do their corporate vested interest as above, having tried and failed (?) to get into the ABC, the planks of her argument are not really so strong in the self defined inhouse media bible:


-         we have addressed the Waters Edge which is Salter’s not her point really.

-         The HMAS Sydney wreck that never was – not really false reporting at all, mistaken identity duly clarified, based on views of amateur searchers. It was a big story but a small mistake and all been cured and a small lesson in hedging your bets with a judicious question mark in headlines. Who is hurt by the error? No one, would be our guess.

-         The so called ‘Rudd strip club story’ – well it's still being clarified and embellished with World Today abc carrying the boss of Scores debunking the factual matrix only 2 days ago – after Media Watch’s schedule. In other words the jury and the evidence was still out and excellent editorial decision to hold off on the story at MW, AND for the Herald to not run the story at all. It was bogus. Indeed the real story is how Col Allan leads quality politicians into moral hazard to destroy honourable independent politics. But you won’t read that in The Australian owned by News Ltd.


The Australian with an obvious axe to grind should take it's medicine on misreporting IPCC political endorsement of Howard in an election year via Warren spinning a hobbled, hapless IPCC chief, and stop please stop whining.


Otherwise let's see editor Paul Whittacker publish on the front page that owner Rupert is a fool for also being worried about general delay on climate change policy. I don't think so.


Postscript #1


Low on the inside page of The Media supplement Matthew Warren (and editor Whittaker extract in paper version) of the Oz argue in Storm over IPCC chairman's comments with great sophistry about 'lack of global consensus on urgent strict targets to fight climate change', quoting variability of government positions across the globe. BUT this ignores the firm majority consensus amongst most best scientists inlcuding in the IPCC who do (often despite their governments) want such targets and call for endorsement of Kyoto Protocol which inevitably leads to ... strict emission targets. So its mostly splitting hairs. Only trouble is the Kyoto framework is constantly being sabotaged by Howard and his barrackers in Australia (like Warren, Whittacker), and the USA under GW Bush ... because it leads to strict targets.


Warren, like Gittins at the Herald, can argue cogently there is little practical difference between Coalition and ALP on real climate change policy, and maybe that's his real point anyway positioning Dr Pachauri as Chair of the IPCC, but that's not science or ecological reality, that's duopoly establishment privilege and denial, and certainly not the role of Media Watch.


Also it seems the ABC has shifted some ground on the Water's Edge imbroglio as reported (with glee?) by The Australian here:  ABC places ethics debate on record with no doubt some official grovel there as a concession to critics. But let's not get too coy here - getting a story on leadership tensions provided on anonymous background, then running it in defiance of a request to bury it would be brave and right but also cruel any juicy access. That's the ABC's hard road to hoe, but the commercials surely don't have such scruples and would just balance up value of an immediate story versus value of the drip in future. In this way Brissenden is on a higher relative tax payer funded standard and deserves due sympathy for that heavier burden as a leader in his field, not a follower. It does him credit he feels the ethical pressure now obvious in his interviews. In short a due grovel by a quality journo, no one is perfect, and move on. Scruples should be a virtue not a paralysing obsession. My conclusion, Brissenden probably cured the pre emptive buckle (belatedly, improperly accepting the Treasurer's confidence) by running the story 2 years later and indeed better late than never. Bravo.

Posted by editor at 9:32 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007 11:07 AM NZT

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