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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Coalition to scoop the pool of 5% hard right bigot vote ..... lose 95% decent vote?
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: election Oz 2007



Posted by editor at 11:04 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007 11:22 AM EADT
ALP under Rudd into massive corporate welfare for Gunns pulp mill
Mood:  down
Topic: election Oz 2007



[Direct lift from Crikey.com.au of 21st November 2007 follows]

4. Kevin Rudd’s $110 million gift to Gunns pulp mill

The Tasmanian Times' Lindsay Tuffin writes:

Richard Flanagan in his Stop the Pulp Mill rally speech last Saturday in Hobart, here on Tasmanian Times, seems to have been the first to notice the extraordinary subsidy Kevin Rudd’s ALP has given to Gunns pulp mill, hidden in the form of Martin Ferguson’s recent announcement of a supposed transport package to Tasmania, but which on close examination would appear to be yet one more extraordinary gift to Gunns in excess of $100 million.

What was missed by all the media was that Martin Ferguson had simply given Paul Lennon exactly what he had asked the Federal Government for back in June, all in order to get logs by rail from the southern forests to the northern pulp mill.

While the improvement of the rail network may arguably make it a more viable alternative to roads for a range of freight, there is no doubt the aim of the package is to help Gunns. The commercial viability of Gunns mill is often publicly questioned, but with subsidies like this (on top of the $1 billion of subsidies the Tasmanian forestry industry has already received over the past twenty years), Gunns could be running a T-Model Ford factory and still making a fortune out of taxpayers’ money.

This gift to John Gay and Robin Gray is known to have caused consternation privately in some parts of the ALP, which are concerned at the increasing public outrage at the proposed mill. As Flanagan argued, "How can Kevin Rudd claim to be fair dinkum about climate change when he is promising more money to support a pulp mill that will burn half a million tonnes of forest a year in the monstrosity of its electricity generator?"

The total cost of improvements to the rail network to benefit Gunns is $110 million, and it is revealed in an examination of the following articles and media releases.

  1. This article from the Mercury June 2007 establishes, out of Paul Lennon’s mouth, that the primary aim of his proposed Brighton Transport Hub is to transport logs from the south to the north by rail and that the proposed Karanja - New Norfolk rail improvement is to access by rail the logs from the southern forests.
  2. This article from the Mercury 2 November 2007 details Federal ALP’s Tasmanian Transport package. Out of the total of $203 million promised, $30 million is to rebuild the railway line from Karanja to New Norfolk; $24 million to straighten and re-align the main north south rail track; and $56 million for the Brighton transport hub, a total of $110 million.
  3. Under the revealing title "Labor Announces $303 Million To End Southern Tasmania’s Logjam", Martin Ferguson’s media statement details how straightening the north south rail track "will allow increased speeds, longer trains and bigger loads, cutting turnaround times, delivering greater efficiency and the ability for rail to compete with road for a greater share of the freight task."
  4. This Tasmanian Government document details the proposal for the "Removal of tight curves on steep grades on the approaches to Rhyndaston tunnel and two other sections south of Antill Ponds. Remove around 50 tight curves on a steep 1:40 grade between Rhyndaston and Antill Ponds. The project will increase the pulling capacity of northbound trains by at least 40%."

It also spells out that the increased loads likely (as opposed to simply desired) are because of log freight going north for Gunns. It states that: "The use of rail to transport logs from the southern forests to the proposed pulp mill and other processors will see a significant reduction in log trucks on the public road network, but will require upgrade of the rail network to cater to this task."

At the largest public rally since the Franklin River protests of the early 1980s, 15,000 protesters raised their hands when asked if they would they be willing to blockade the pulp mill site in the Tamar River Valley and if necessary go to jail.

Like Kevin Rudd’s gift to Gunns, the prospect of the largest civil disobedience campaign in Australia’s history failed to rate a mention in the national media.

Posted by editor at 8:23 AM EADT
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
Perfect (hail) storm of bad luck for Coalition as Rudd strides forward on economic credentials?
Mood:  spacey
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: No regrets in a life with Kevin.Therese Rein looks up with admiration at her 'partner in life', at the Press club (lifted off abc tv news last night and online). Sue Dunlevy of Sydney Daily Telegraph referred to Therese not hubby Kevin, as clearly qualified to be Australia's economic manager (cue laughs). And if Therese admires Kev, this implies safe hands too? Cue next front in the economic credibility battle for Kev in the last critical election days:

Picture: Rudd does the Kerry OBrien Rap last night on 7.30 re the GST ('you can't unscramble the egg') and other economic concerns. Note what we call 'the death glare' Kerry applied equally to John Howard the night before. Also, where can you get those '7.30 lamps'?


10 tv news carries Bernie Banton on his death bed, a hero of tradies everywhere for getting the bastards who spread asbestos through society. Goodbye blue collar vote for the big business candidate John Howard? More here:

Banton's pact to die at home 3:43pm | Asbestos campaigner Bernie Banton only has days to live, his doctor says.

The Blue Mountains (a marginal seat) cops a belting from unusually punishing hailstones reinforcing the dangerous climate perception.


At least Julia Gillard was similarly caught in a rain storm and embarrassingly late for a public debate on radio with Peter Costello.

Australians on a big ship observing a boat load of ostensible refugees, including a bunch of kids, are reported 'as too scared of draconian immigration laws to rescue the poor blighters'. The company officers later rebutts the claim by the Greens. More here:

Boat people's rescue delayed - National - BrisbaneTimes ... 

Overall not such a good look for PM Howard's hardline agenda. On the other hand rival candidate Kevin Rudd did look good in front of the Press Club today:

I'll end secrecy: Rudd 3:51pm | Kevin Rudd pledges to end the culture of Howard government secrecy.

Mark off another crucial final day for the ALP versus the Coalition?

Posted by editor at 5:08 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007 5:40 AM EADT
7.30/ABC and Insight/SBS do us proud in this democratic feast
Mood:  special
Topic: election Oz 2007

Some classic political reportage on the 'idiot box' last night:

A quiet lyrical deadly serious interview by Kerry OBrien of PM John Howard (that everyone sees as on the skids, though no one really knows) was enthralling for the unusual rapport between prey and quarry. Which was which we will only know after the vote on Saturday.

Insight with Jenny Brockie was a pseudo version of the Insiders show with so many heavy weight press gallery staff (Taylor, Hartcher, Middleton) as well as the impressive academic Steven Keen and articulate swinging voters.

The possibility of Turnbull replacing Costello at the top of the Liberal Party came up in the to and fro: Yesterday we wrote this on the Dani Ecuyer website comments section on some of the curious possible permutations and combinations:

Well it would certainly help if Howard lost the election. And if Wentworth helps with that result then well and good. On the other hand there is an even better outcome in our humble opinion being Rudd victory and Turnbull victory, which I hasten to add no one this side of the election can possibly quarantine one from the other. So yes, its important to work for George Newhouse to win in case Wentworth is the decider on getting Kyoto ratified. You never know.

Why would Turnbull be a useful victor too and in what circumstances? Because Turnbull winning IN A LOSING SIDE (which is too clever to play for I admit) would be a ferocious advocate for Kyoto, decimation of the Howard Clones and a complete reorganisation of conservative side of politics not least a Republic. And he would be a very effective opposition on a tricky ALP. Peter Costello - kiss your political *rse goodbye if Mal wins in a losing election?

Turnbull has enormous talent and quite some good aspects which presumably PROF (not Mr) Flannery respects. On this aspect I tend to agree with Overington while ignoring her disrespect to the ALP’s Newhouse in terms of talent. Turnbull is a towering figure in Australian politics really right back to his Kerry Packer, and Spycatcher litigation. He could do alot of good on climate change.

But the reality is ML is simply on the wrong side of a Howard operation (”that f*cking c*nt Howard” quote is probably true) and ecological history being made right now. Big Mal even seems to know it with his philosophical sad tone these last few days, and resort to fairly desperate nomination quibbles/ byelections (the coalition would lose) or not. He seems to get this climate change thing is bigger than all of us, and in that he would be right.

Another subtext - Howard has footsies on 7’s TT with Costello not just for rah rah pitch for more votes - ALSO IN CASE HE LOSES (election and/or Bennelong) COMBINED WITH A TURNBULL WIN because even Costello is preferable to Turnbull taking over ‘his’ Party.

Methinks Howard tried to finish off Turnbull’s vaulting ambition and capacity parking him in the death’s head portfolio of environment in a pro resource extraction Govt (not least Coalition partners the Nationals). Didn’t work. Will Turnbull survive this next hurdle?

In the absence of a Green or indy Ecuyer winner no.1 vote, we have to consider the merits of either major. I do tend to agree this side of the vote in the game of chance we have to work to take Wentworth off the govt and Prof Flannery surely gives too little weight to the prospect this seat could turn the whole result. There is no doubt he wants Rudd to win in my estimation so he is being a little contradictory with his endorsement in case Wentworth is the cusp. He [Flannery] used to flirt with nuke power ([read]Turnbull) quite a bit too over the years (his tours in PNG were grants via the mining industry I recall), but seems keener on geothermal these days.

Yep this election is a doozy alright. It’s already trespassed into just about every other aspect of my working life like big ones will do.

And there is no doubting the willingness of the fight in Wentworth with a blowtorch front pager in the fairly low circulation The Australian today (but a favourite paper for conservatives in Wentworth) about ALP young star Rose Jackson being 'anti Zionist', like probably 50% of the student body in Australia over injustice in Palestine. Rose Jackson no doubt is fair game but she is still early 20ies raising the question "Is this child abuse by the Turnbull campaign?"


This indirect test of obvious Yid Newhouse and his dedication to the State of Israel, is likely a balancer for this damaging attack on Turnbull for throwing $10M of tax payers funds at a dubious so called 'local rain making' company at the expense of an Israeli backed competitor for similar grants .... which story with Jewish angle ran, wouldn't you know it ... on the 7.30 Report the night before. And a very interesting twisty turny story it was with an electoral supporter of Turnbull getting a leg up with our money. Ouch:

19/11/2007 - Turnbull under fire for $10m water deal

Posted by editor at 7:59 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007 8:44 AM EADT
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
Ex NSW Liberal leader and MP for Vaucluse worried about dangerous sea rise too?
Mood:  bright
Topic: election Oz 2007
Gregory Peck as Captain Horatio Hornblower from the 1951 film Captain Horatio Hornblower
Gregory Peck as Captain Horatio Hornblower from the 1951 film Captain Horatio Hornblower


Peter Debnam MP is a  retired navy man. He's a bit like the CS Forester novels of the fictional hero Hornblower  - a humble midshipman, wist champion,  navigational genius like Cook, implacable foe like Nelson, to become Admiral Hornblower - because Peter Debnam likes a dip at Bondi Beach every morning as part of his fitness regime, just as Hornblower would have the bemused crew hose him down with fresh sea water: Forester had his character dance around like a scolded Native Indian under the force of the bilge pump.

In the swim ... Peter Debnam.

In the swim ... Peter Debnam.

We find Debnam's commitment to rude good health at his age damn impressive while the slovenly (!?) big media generally preferred to satirise (presumably out of envy) the nakedness of the then Liberal Leader in the March 2007 state election.

Debnam holds the local seat of Vaucluse in the heart of much bigger marginal federal seat of Wentworth held by his colleague Malcolm Turnbull. The ex Liberal leader appeared to us of moderate and reasonable disposition (if not policy) at a polling booth way back in the 1996 federal contest. He pulled into line some nasty jackals on the booth from his side of politics, just a pity it was needed. He gave this writer a hearing about these low life perhaps because we took 10% of 'his' vote for a minor party in the 1995 state election and had since become a local councillor.

Picture: Ripples of Cyclone Wati reach Eastern Suburbs beaches some 1,000 km south of the big storm. Taken by this writer 27 March 2006

Yesterday Debnam is reported like this [Greens media release follows]:

NSW minister and shadow agree: clean coal is an oxymoron
Media Release: 19 November 2007
NSW Opposition Energy Spokesperson Peter Debnam has joined Environment Minister Phil Koperberg in stating an important but self-evident truth of climate change. It is time for their state and federal leaders to listen, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Dr Kaye said: "Last week when Peter Debnam called clean coal an oxymoron, he was echoing Phil Koperberg's condemnation of the technology in September.
"With the future of the electricity industry in NSW hanging in the balance, it is time for the debate to be driven by the realities of low emissions sources, instead of a bunch of convenient untruths peddled by the coal industry.
"Even the most enthusiastic clean coal technologists agree that carbon capture and storage technology is highly unlikely to be available for commercial applications before 2025, if ever.
"The Iemma government cannot now use the clean-coal excuse to build a new coal-fired power station.
"Two 700 MW coal units would pump out 122 million tonnes of CO2 between  completion in 2012 and the first possible date at which carbon capture and storage might become commercially available.
"Even then it would be difficult if not impossible to convert the plant into a clean coal power station, if the technology is ever proven to work cost-effectively.
"Peter Debnam and Phil Koperberg have unmasked the myth that clean coal is relevant to the current debate about new energy sources for NSW.
"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released this weekend makes it clear that this state must act immediately to reduce emissions.
"Premier Morris Iemma and Opposition leader Barry O'Farrell should listen to their colleagues and reject the clean coal oxymoron," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455


Given Debnam is effectively thwarted in his ambitions at State level we responded, perhaps too cynically, to his latest surprising political 'dance' routine reinforcing savage criticism of NSW Liberal Party leader PM Howard (for not supporting the Kyoto Protocol) as follows:

"Debnam is deliberately shoring up Turnbull's vote and as insurance for his federal colleague [in] this part of the city against [a] post election bloodbath [in the Coalition]? And maybe as a jump to the federal sphere in some

In terms of influence on local Liberal aligned voters in Wentworth we wonder if Debnam may also be seeking to gazump this apparent spoiler front page cover in the most recent Wentworth Courier (bottom right hand side of this collage) re Mal Turnbull's predecessor and rival Peter King, a refugee from the same party who may be implying Mal, the govt party and the ALP have all been lazy on local issues:



Posted by editor at 6:57 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007 3:16 PM EADT
Getting Up the nose of PM John Howard in last week over Iraq war tragedy
Mood:  sharp
Topic: election Oz 2007

[mail out of Get Up follows who also interviewed former UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix recently]


Dear friends,

When Sam McMillan and Louise Barry - two young Australian women who know the real cost of war - began their quest for answers, they were only two people. Then, GetUp members joined the call and suddenly we were 40,000 strong. Last week, Sam and Louise personally asked you to join them for this final push, and we grew to 60,000 in 48 hours. But still their calls to meet the Prime Minister remain unanswered - and the Foreign Minister last week merely brushed them off.

But the stakes are far too high to just give up. So Sam and Louise will travel back to Canberra this Thursday to make one final attempt to deliver our petition and get some answers. And to help them put peace back on the national agenda, we're planning an online media blitz with a powerful new web ad to get the message out to hundreds of thousands of more Australians.

How far can we spread Sam and Louise's message? That is up to you. Just $50 can show the ad directly to 3000 Australians, $100 will double it. Please click below to see the ad and give what you can:


We've seen throughout this election how effective the internet is in framing the national conversation - now we want to put Iraq right where it should be: on webpages viewed by voters and in the forefront of Australians' minds on the eve of the election and before Sam and Louise take their message to Canberra. For good measure we've also booked a full page ad in the newspaper read by the very people who can really influence the PM - voters in his own electorate.

Not only could this be the last opportunity to hold the PM accountable for taking us to war on false pretenses and without parliamentary or popular approval, it is also an opportunity to tell Mr Rudd if elected that he has a mandate for peace. This is our opportunity to change the course of history for the better, propelled with Sam and Louise's ambitious message. Donate now to take their urgent message directly to hundreds of thousands of Australians who can vote us out of this war on Saturday:


Sam and Louise simply want the man responsible for dragging Australia into this conflict to hear from the Australian people and provide some answers about how he intends to end it. Mr. Howard can ignore two Australians. And he can try to ignore 40,000, or maybe even 60,000. But at some point, if we keep adding new voices, we become too many Australians for even Mr. Howard to ignore. And what happens then? Our voices are heard. We get some answers. And we take one giant step closer to restoring accountability and ending this war. Please give what you can:


Thanks for making it possible,
The Get Up Team

PS - Want to see what happened last week when Sam and Louise tried to talk to the Foreign Minister? You'll see why we need to go straight to the top. Click here to see the video.

Posted by editor at 6:45 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007 2:58 PM EADT
Corporate welfare alive and well in Tasmanian logger industry: Green Senator
Mood:  irritated
Topic: election Oz 2007


Another regional rort:  Abetz must explain
Hobart, 19 November 2007: 
Forestry Minister, Senator Eric Abetz, has overseen a massive taxpayer-funded slush fund that has dished out more than $32 million in the past year to a series of questionable projects under the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement (TCFA).

Greens Senator Christine Milne said, hot on the heels of a nationwide expose of the Coalition's regional rorts' program, details revealed under Freedom of Information (FOI) expose the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement as another rort, with evidence of poor accountability, apparently ineligible projects funded and a total lack of strategic co-ordination.

"The Minister for Forests needs to explain why, for example, funding has been given to big businesses to fund new equipment and mill upgrades which any other company, in any other industry, would regard as the cost of doing business.  The Minister must also tell Tasmanian taxpayers
why a total of $964 250 has gone to N.E. Victorian timber company, Buffalo Valley Logging, and what is its relationship if any, to CK Forest Management and its $91 625 grant.

"Why did the Howard Government have a special column for 'electorate' in its grants' application table? ... A whiteboard by any other name.

"The Community Forest Agreement has become a slush fund.   Under the TFCA program, grants totaling $32.2 million have been paid in full.  Of these, seventeen should have provided audit reports by now - only three did so on time, and seven have provided no reports at all. 

"The Greens will refer its administration and outcomes to the Commonwealth Auditor General for investigation.
"We also know the TCFA funds had not been fully allocated as at 1 October this year, and it is our firm understanding that, just before the election was called, Senator Abetz wrote to forest business operators, recommending they rapidly access more public money out of the Commonwealth's TCFA funding pot. 
"Is Senator Abetz effectively urging contractors and others in the timber (LOGGING!) industry to squeeze more public money out of the $250 million TCFA funding pot, without proper justification or purpose?
"We want to know, and Australian taxpayers are entitled to know, if this allegation is true.  "In the interests of accountability and transparency, Senator Abetz must release details of the letter and the select group to which it was sent.
"Announced by the Prime Minister with great fanfare in May 2005, the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement was always intended to be a multi-million dollar, pro-logging package which has locked in continued old-growth logging of Tasmania's carbon-sink forests.
"The TCFA was nothing more than just another political fix to get John Howard re-elected with the assistance of the CFMEU, and to bring in Work Choices.
"There was nothing in the Agreement to proscribe a transition from native forest logging into the plantation sector, into genuine value adding and job creation that protects our spectacular forests into the future.   There was also nothing in the fine print to make sure the money set aside for the Agreement was being expended in the most appropriate, legitimate way," Senator Milne said.

For more information:  Cassy O'Connor (Hob) 02 6224 8899 or 0400 628 939
Tim Hollo (CBA) 0437 587 562

Cassy O'Connor
Communications' Adviser
Senator Christine Milne

Posted by editor at 6:37 AM EADT
Monday, 19 November 2007
Marginals like Wentworth, Grayndler in play, final quarter
Mood:  party time!
Topic: election Oz 2007

















Posted by editor at 8:15 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007 8:47 AM EADT
Sunday, 18 November 2007
Sunday political talkies: Rupert/Hartigan let loose their editors' discretion in the last week
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: election Oz 2007



Picture: Sculpture by the Sea, ends today Sunday November 18th 2007. The electorate is  not so much blinded as blue like the giant blue man here about dangerous climate change threat looking one way while the govt and big business represented by the pleasure cruiser (with follower) steams ahead 'the wrong way'. Blue as in depressing.





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

 - Incredible theme of dangerous climate change concern, perhaps metaphorically symbolised by the Sculpture by the sea above, blue man and people looking one way, the turbo liesure cruiser and follower going the 'wrong way' on energy policy:

- Fabulous half page colour advert in The Australian shown in penultimate post, paid for by The Wilderness Society.


- Fair bit on regional rorts on quality media as per National Audit Office


- Cricket national radio coverage will have zoned out alot of the voting public reprising a Garrett quote - sport is the opiate of the masses while big companies rip the guts out of the planet. Howard knows that too, ever the sportsman and big company sell out.

- national launch speeches on abc tv prime time. Didn't bother watching either as tedious rhetoric. Both did "well" by press reaction but the ALP is defending a structural lead.


- commentators note Insiders pissed with Rudd 'who prefers Rove' or is it posturing so Rudd turns up?


- Marian Wilkinson, serious, talented, sticks by George Newhouse campaign last Friday in Sydney Morning Herald noting ALP "doubling" efforts.


- lots of attack adverts on unions on commercial free to air. Also noticed a few flyers in Wentworth beachside suburbs - Labor 'can't manage money' vibe based on States debt but ignores reality of Commonwealth disproportionate financial resource.


- Last quarter of football match metaphor of Rudd and to don't let up at all.


Picture: Rudd supporters coincidentally (really) drop by our information stall about forests, raising the implication with the polls in the major Sunday press next day favouring their side, that the public are indeed thinking of Kevin 'the cuddly koala' this weekend, but will they next weekend when it counts? And given ALP support for the pulp mill, is it even justified the weekend before? ALP too slick for their own good?







10 Meet the Press


Steven Smith looked hard worked. Good line about Howard experience led to climate Iraq water non policies.


Tuned out on other work for rest of it, but mostly standard rhetoric.


Nicholson animation about excessive bidding on Kirribili House thow in Harbour Bridge con artistry. Funny, sad all in one.


Get Up advert about fearmonngering in empty box.


Second half with panel Steve Lewis, Jennifer Hewitt both of News Ltd, tabloid, broadsheet respectively both sharp and tough.




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



Myspace web address: www.myspace.com/meetthepeople




7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary  -


 Missed start but Gene Wilder side kick afro american comedy artist buying votes theme like Nicholson animation on MTP. Funny. Long Q & A with Mark Riley but deferred to 9 early coverage of politics especially Greenwood feature on Rupert Murdoch interview.


New attack ad re Howard on diverse stuff "won't" but "will" build reactors at 9.15 am.








Insiders 2



Laurie Oakes on 9 with treasurer set against intro by Cassidy:  Final show before election: ALP looking at historic lead.


Grumpy BC notes Julia Gillard as stand in, Rudd won't appear first leader in 3 elections.


Gillard against Treasurer on 9 in the ratings at 9.10 am. Looking very goomed and hard worked too.


Gillard uses union slang - "chop out" ie to help a MUA campaign back in waterfront days of lawyer Josh Borshman, a good friend.


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





Sunday 9


 Pre 9 am Peter Van Onselan (spelling wrong) and quick talker ALP snot nose like out of West Wing from Qld on political panel.


 Ross Greenwood has brief footage of Rupert Murdoch in Australia saying Australian's too highly taxed (which is why we are actually fairer and more stable you nitwit), both sides of politics are making people too dependent on the state which means less aspirational , and commercially no difference obvious between ALP and Coalition, which in itself damages Howard's case really.


Longer sit down with John Hartigan of News Ltd. - look to their website for transcript probably - upshot is that nationally News Ltd will play it 'straight' - no leaning on editors who will exercise their own readership discretion. That is agnostic.


Given that News Ltd is notoriously conservative this shows that Rudd is very conservative and also that Howard has lots of traditional advantage and thus the green light to News Ltd papers to editorialise for Rudd.

Laurie Oakes on 9 with treasurer set against intro by Cassidy.  Peter Costello looking upbeat, maybe lost a bit of weight too. 


Gillard against Treasurer on 9 in the ratings at 9.10 am.


Oakes bowls up toughie about hospitals boards not in the Govt costings. PC sledges Rudd not following schedule of Budget Honesty - is it true?


Laurie gets very riled about differentials on Julia Gillard as union lawyer when PC was a bosses lawyer.


Feature on flight safety in south east asia


Feature about corruption implied in Victorian Police involing "people's lives".






Posted by editor at 8:45 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007 7:43 AM EADT
Friday, 16 November 2007
Wentworth: Local Greens ideological alliance with the ALP may still be best default outcome for our ecology
Mood:  sharp
Topic: election Oz 2007

Who can say whether the Greens have done the right thing tactically or in principle as regards the alleged split with their national parliamentary leader Bob Brown in the press today (front page no less Sydney Morning Herald)?:

Greens caught up in the Newhouse net

Trouble ... George Newhouse's nomination may be invalid. THE Greens have split over the controversy surrounding the Labor candidate for Wentworth, George Newhouse, as they fight off accusations of hypocrisy and betrayal.

We have thought deeply about this as it's this writer's vocational core business of ecology action. We decided it would take the wisdom of Solomon which we don't have but do aspire to, to know if it's a wise approach. 

Thus we have decided to remain agnostic about this state of affairs in the Eastern Suburbs Greens known to us for over 7 years after breaking the story here on SAM months back about the strangely very, very early preference deal to George Newhouse of pro pulp mill brand ALP: 

Greens in Wentworth release their preferences very early (14th August 07)

Strange because it crueled any negotiation power over policy like opposition to the pulp mill when it counted pre approval. And isn't that what elections are supposed to be about? Policy?

This writer has an informed opinion having been the Greens candidate in Wentworth in 1998 with a humble 5% vote - at least we got the parties roughly $500 or so bond back. We are now non aligned a good 7 years now when our membership lapsed (knowingly) in 2000.

We remain agnostic because time will tell whether the green (ie ecological action) in Green will best be served by a Newhouse victory. Factors to weigh up in the moral calculation from a vocational green community media activist perspective include:

1. In our judgement Howard has a covert agenda for nuclear weapons, not just reactors. It works like this - USA pressures Iran, and maybe even invades one day. Iran may or may not declare nuclear weapon capacity. North Korea already has them. The USA seeks to boost its military industrial complex in the JK Galbraith sense by turning Australia into a link not only in it's Star Wars 'defence shield' (which doubles as a first strike pre emption device) but also with nuke weapons on 'aircraft carrier Australia'.

This is a recipe for a nuclear apocalypse via weapons proliferation, goodbye ecology, with Australia under ideological hawk Howard playing a serious role in the end of the world in shorter rather than longer term.

2. On another serious ecological policy problem Newhouse "accepts" the criminal pulp mill in Tasmania. This was always going to be the case under the pro logger/woodchipper CFMEU controlled national executive ALP policy on natural heritage me toosim of Howard. That's the price to be an endorsed candidate (Mayor Pearce now MP paid same to get endorsement for seat of Coogee after the Olympic stadium on Bondi Beach Affair of 2000). We know George having spent possibly as much time with him at interminable Council meetings for 4 years as maybe he did with his family. We know enough of his character that in his heart he supported closure of the very controversial dioxin producing Waterloo Incinerator. We noted when and when he didn't vote, how soft or sharp. He is of a certain younger generation and greener tinge but the NSW ALP is not.

3. The role of the leftish/centre ALP branches like Waverley is to deliver progressive votes to the dinosaur Big Business Right of the ALP party that could never hope to get them in a naturally indepedent milieu (like State seat of Manly for so many years). This is why George and his professonal friends in the Eastern Suburbs Greens are dupes of that cyncial vandalistic ALP machine by throwing in their lot with Sussex St, when they could take the truly independent road and build a true community voice. That was how I did my politics for 4 years there as Chair of the Environment Committee, ex officio co director of the Incinerator I helped close, member of the Finance Committee, and Bondi Beach Ward councillor, and also how I ended up with the numbers to be the Mayor that George did in fact become. We preferred to retire than be so harnessed, preferring freedom from Party and Local Govt hackles. Those interminable meetings. It was that rock the Greens built on with the tripling of Green Party councillor representation in Sept 1999 elections. I was the pioneer which was built in turn on my work with The Wilderness Society 92-95. But these Greens haven't learned the value of fair dinkum independence as one can read front page of the Herald today.

4. So on domestic ecological policy Newhouse is crueled and captured but trending to green personally. On covert policy he at least is no Howard barracker for nuke weapons proliferation or Iraq wars.

5. Will Wentworth help decide the government? It might but unlikely. But an early preference approval can also play a role in building momentum for a broader campaign of removal of the Howard led govt. And it's perhaps this cranking of the early momentum with the 'moral' vote of approval for Newhouse as brand ALP so far out that was important in regime change in Australia. We think the motives of the Eastern Suburbs Greens (including Rhiannon and Kaye MP as their local group) are likely ideological and narrow socialist (like faith in public ownership of everything it seems) rather than ecological in calculation. But the preferencing of Newhouse so early might well be the right one by default for the ecology.

However it would be quite foolish to think that local Green Party group are deeply motivated by ecological concerns. We didn't observe that in 6 years membership after 3 years with The Wilderness Society, the last 2 as State Campaign Coordinator leading to the election of the Carr Govt in March 1995.

To such people climate change, like forest to Carr back then, were an expedient wedge of the Liberals from the Nationals Coalition. But history tells us neither the ALP or some opportunists in the Green Party are commited to ecological sustainability. They are committed to their own political career first and foremost. That's the brutal truth, and that's why this writer got out. To save our sanity upon realising Green was not really green in 2000 in NSW.

Now it's mostly a moot point because climate change is such a scary reality everyone is coming back to the real green position of "ecology action" just as the national Green party slogan is "Green Action" pictured above. Gotta love that.


Feedback and response

A long time writer, researcher, campaigner writes:

Sent: Friday, November 16, 2007 10:42 AM
Subject: Re: Wentworth

tom you use the word 'crueled' in this piece below. methinks you
might mean corralled, which essentially means herded into an enclosure.
yours in the interest of clearer communication
with respect

ps. seems newhouse's campaign might have gone off the rails for the
moment, or so he's behaving that way (having, it seems gone to
ground). i'm not sure i'd say wentworth is a defining electorate.
it'll still be the outer metro marginals, although i suspect there'll
be a few surprises: seats considered safe will likely become marginal.

[I actually meant cruelled. But thanks for the feedback. ALP definitely
corrals their endorsed candidates but in this case it would be highly
popular for Newhouse to oppose the pulp mill and he would like to I don't doubt
it, but he can't for Tas election purposes and nasty Oconnor on the national
executive. The Waverley Council and him specifically has voted symbolically
against destruction of forests. So the ALP have in fact cruelled his natural
leanings. If he was a redneck (and there have been some ALP rednecks at
Waverley (like Norman Lee RIP, father of Ben Lee) then there would be no way
to justify the Greens preference to him.

Cheers Tom.]


Postscript #1

To give Senator Kerry Nettle of The Greens her due they are punishing Turnbull in the week it counts here:

Sydney pulp mill protest at Malcolm Turnbull's office

Who: Greens Senator Kerry Nettle and Greens members and supporters

What: Sydney pulp mill protest part of day of action on pulp mill, with
protests from London to Hobart.

When: 1 PM, Saturday, November 17, 2007

Where: Office of Malcolm Turnbull, 5 Bronte Road, Bondi Junction.

For more information: Damien Lawson 0419 253 342

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: "No Pulp Mill" triangles in front of Minister for the
Environment's office.

Help retire John Howard by volunteering to help the Greens  at
Kristian Bolwell
Office of Greens Senator for NSW Kerry Nettle
T:(02) 96902038
F:(02) 96902041


Posted by editor at 7:23 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 17 November 2007 7:05 AM EADT

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