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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 25 November 2007
Sunday tv political talkies: (delay in transmission) It's a new same ol' same ol'
Mood:  lazy
Topic: election Oz 2007

Stay tuned.

................................advertisement ......................................

Picture: Osti at Addison Rd Sunday Market 25th November 2007 agrees with PM elect Kevin Rudd that "a strong cup of tea" to celebrate all big occasions ...hot chai tea in fact ... is well in order.



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

Last two days press hedged a bit on Howard coming back in the late poll but their real preference was summed up in the front pager of the Saturday Telegraph on Saturday (?) with “Whoa ho ho ho”. As in whoa there tradies, don’t swing back to the old guy, and we all know father Christmas is a fiction and the phrase in the banner headline is subliminally like the laugh of the villain Mwha ha ha ha. There was no serious swing back. Final result 53.4 to 46.6 two party preferred.

10 Meet the Press

It’s a “Ruddslide”. Talent is Mike Rann for his mild tones, don’t scare the horses in a new govt to keep big capital from revolting or sly capital strikes.  Softly softly catchee monkee is the federal ALP game. True tribal nature revealed by this comment “Jackie Kelly in Lindsay was the rabbit punch on the way down”.

Bit of chat about national water deal.

Panel Patricia Karvelis and Mal Farr both ‘News’ Limited hacks.

Get Up with some kind of advert with a kid brushing his teeth, missed it.

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  -

Gushy tedious (?) piano retrospective on Howard ex PM, likely ex Bennelong [in fact so]. ‘People rejected Costello as PM too’ strong line. ‘Libs will have to match New Leadership with new leadership’. Ominous for PC, rings true, and sure enough next day was proven correct with PC resignation [Bolt on Insiders pushes same line].


Insiders 2

- wrap up footage of the election night. Stuck with Downer as guest while Oakes has the juice with Gartrell (below)

- Paul Kelly becomes more interesting than Gartrell after all. But Kelly too over eggs the pudding – saying there was “no” ALP mythology in Rudd’s victory speech re “true believers (wrong ‘toiled in the field and we have prevailed’) missing “union alliance”  – could have fooled me, reference to trade union safety role and Bernie Banton heroism. Kelly argues Rudd calls for a consensus message, unite the country.

[yeah true enough he does as all new PM’s do, BUT really Kelly is projecting his own newspapers thin ice here. They need a friendly rapproachment after their right wing fangs attacked climate change and unions and the ALP for years under Howard. The only word Kelly couldn’t use was “mercy, mercy”.]

Meglogenis with strong insight about Brough repudiated in swathe of seats for single mothers welfare to work. Lost his seat and others turned too.

[Rudd victory speech, joined the ALP 25 years ago which makes it 1982 the height of the Franklin River Dam campaign, how ironic with the massive disgusting pulp mill today. What a shameful eco dunce ALP]

Bolt Costello repudiated too not just Howard. Echoes Gallup from the left yesterday.

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

Sunday 9

Great opening question by Oakes with  Tim Gartrell as ALP national campaign manager ‘You were supposed to be no good, what happened?’ – quotes senate control/work choices in echo of Geof Gallup on abc RN with Doogue morning before re ‘mortal sin of Australian politics is extremism’.

- Gartrell presents as very rhetorical and dogmatic as a tribalised warrior (suggesting the lack of class Keating was referring to).

- Great interview footage with Sinodinis as ex Howard man who got out when Howard couldn’t.



Posted by editor at 11:09 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 10 February 2008 10:06 AM EADT
The 'right' government wins in historic turnover witnessed by Carl Bernstein
Mood:  hug me
Topic: election Oz 2007
Carl Bernstein at the 2007 Texas Book Festival.


Picture: Carl Bernstein of All the President's Men and Hilary biography (Barnes & Noble.com - Books: A Woman in Charge, by Carl Bernstein ...) has in effect been witnessing a 13 million strong poll on the George W Bush presidency for November 2008 national election there: Truth beats the idiot culture, says news sleuth - National ...


We are busy drafting our invoice (!). Should it go to Mark Arbib? Or maybe Senator John Faulkner? Both are well known machine men. About $5,000 for good community media service would be my guess.

A donation of course, not for actual cash for comment. But a valuable contribution to the  ALP federal election win all the same:


Who can forget that 'Uh oh Rudd's vote goes up' headline of ours at 6.30 am one Sunday morning after the strip club front page blowtorch, backfired through courage under fire before Laurie Oakes some 3 hours later?

 [Posted by editor at 6:26 AM 19th August 2007]

Uh oh Rudd vote goes up after NY strip club scandal from Sept 2003
Mood:  cool
Topic: election Oz 2007

Well I'll be horn swoggled as the yankees would say. The Big Meeja have switched to vaudeville at Ruddy's expense, from a Costello barracker in the Press Gallery no less, feral News Ltd journo Glenn Milne in today's Sunday Telegraph who ever regards his role as a player not just reporter:

But here's the kicker - Rudd's vote will actually go up. Eh, how so?

There's one thing about the Christian evangelical vote - it's all about redemption of the sinner. So as long as Kevvy the Silly Lad can grovel and confess and plead human frailty and isolated lapse of judgement, well then he's one of us brothers and sisters in Christ. Even my old man DLP and father of 9 used to watch Alvin Purple, I could hear him chortling across the hall as I drifted off to sleep suffering serious envy.

On the other hand the red neck hard drinking hard working blokes in the back blocks will give a sigh of relief, thank heavens (there is the religion aspect again) he has actually got red blood in his veins. Drinks and likes women. Therese (his loyal wife) get him in the dog house, woof.

The ALP proper will see the ghost of reformed hard drinking Bob Hawke who won his big election star turn in 1983.

The Costello backers will see Rudd's polling go up and get the leadership yet, in a draft from aging sinking but wily battling PM John Howard? Greater good and all that.

The balance of the Right of politics will shake their head knowingly about those free thinking lascivous Democrat towns like New York (the blue (!) ones, or is that red on their electoral maps?).

As for the rest of mainstream society. Well, we all think about such places even if we haven't been there on a 'fact finding tour' as the parliamentary jargon goes.

So we will all have a damn good laugh at his expense but not in a censorious way which is against our Convict heritage of calling a spade a shovel. Sex is another management issue in Australia, not an impeachment crusade. Just as long as he didn't do anything or catch anything to hurt anyone including himself or his sainted wife.

We always said grog was a real problem in society so mitigate your folly Ruddy and do something about the grotesque influence of those clubs & pub lobbyists as per front page of the Sydney Fairfax press same day (story about $150M alcohol driven project for Sydney's CBD).

And for God sake win the election, sooner rather than later too, we are all getting bored senseless (as per Mike Carlton column), and as Max Walsh formerly of The Bulletin stated on Breakfast RN with Doogue yesterday, the polls have stabilised for the ALP. Which probably explains the lurid attack story. Or maybe it comes from malcontented ALP types of the Lathamesque pursuasion annoyed by Rudd's success - a bit of tickle up as the burly crew coiffured one might say.

Our traverse of Sunday political free to air tv talkies later today should be a quite a doozy. Never done a prequel before either.


Or the psychological insight that whatever kernels of grief, genetic id, or emotional confusion of the boy in the man from his farmer dad's sad death in a DUI, Big Kev actually defines his own adult professional character now. Not his father RIP. Not his DLP mother RIP. But this ALP PM in a new chapter of his life. That 80 hours of watching the West Wing straight was quite useful, especially this one when Jed, err Kev, can't sleep combined with some of this writer's own hard won lessons in life.

Picture: 3 snapshots of PM elect Kevin Rudd's victory speech last night with our interpretations for what they are worth:

1. checking his speech notes on the next topic - the terminal illness of Bernie Banton in hospital and his praise of the loyal and effective trade union movement on toxic asbestos. A moment of deep emotion like the impending death of his father all those years ago? Notice Therese also on track with the script over his shoulder.

2. A moment of pause at the rousing sincere loyal trade unionist cheer at this acknowledgement of their successful honourable role of support to dying Banton. Looks like an "I do" organisational consolidation moment of leader and formidable ranks.

3.  A monkey off his back, carried for 40 years? The big break through personally and professionally for the brilliant Kevin? Just prior to this is a  light hearted reference to the death of his father. 'He would be surprised being in the Country Party' was the gist. This shot is a bare moment of reverie. And then what we call the Jed Bartlet stance as Mrs Landringham might say : "You know what? Without family we are nothing". And on he goes like a politician version of Bob Dylan in the sense of a constant work in progress - maybe left, maybe right, maybe green, maybe brown. Sui generis (ie one of a kind). A lonely reality in many ways but the only one he's got so do your best.

During the victory speech if you watched carefully at one point Rudd looks down and we imagine travels back decades, maybe even to his father's hospital bedside. And returns instantly by teleporter and on with the Kevin Rudd Story. Indeed this could be the strong cup of tea reference to avoid the booze on big occasions because it's not for you Kev, just as it's not for me, worse luck. We did like our booze, past tense.

As the senior journos have been noting these last few days: The guy is starting to grow bigger as a personality and indeed grow into the job. In this sense he is ready, just as he calmed the exuberance of the crowd at the set piece victory speech to the ALP faithful with an understated authority.

We might have been happier for the PM (!) except for a few things. Certainly we felt the history of the moment as did no doubt Tanya Plibersek quoting Vaclav Havel. Classy comment.

And Julia Gillard moved to deep emotion before the camera on one station (as all 5 free to air SBS, ABC, 7, 9 and 10 and the ABC radio took the live feed, but not thankfully TVS Ch31) and yes admiration for Rudd her leader, no doubt about that.

Yes even Arbib seemed to evidence some boyish charm with his brash grin over powered by a greater stellar force. Shades of the "f*cked by Keating" glow of pink cheeked lobbyists who lose their script close to the throne.

Nothing exceeds like success but Rudd even seems to get that concern with ironic references to "a strong cup of tea" as a heady extravagance. Which reminds being tea total this last 18 months is just another line item on "the invoice". With the attached credit card statement at $3,972 in the red on a $4,000 overdraft, and underpaying the last monthly rent, no outgoing mobile calls for the last 2 weeks.

Yep we would have felt happy for Kevin, Therese, kids and Aussie Chinese son in law Albert if we weren't so worried about the environment and just so bugg*red since starting this non aligned micro news and political website on January 3rd 2007, writing every day, slowly getting better at it. Re-learning our editing and grammar skills, with plenty more to go.

Only we got called in to Plybers' (aka Flubbers') seat of Sydney at 10.30 am. The AEC had "lost our expression of interest" - unlikely as it mentioned this website in relation to the declaration of neutrality. Seems they had 'a situation' and could I go to the Redfern booth in Albert St pronto. Yep a queue of 150 and a watchful police eye in this humble area.

I wore my "Globalise Love" T-shirt, a bit threadbare now, printed by veteran greenie Peter Schnelbogl (!). They threw me in as queue monitor. Gee thanks. We got it down from 20 minutes to walk through, from chaos to kindness imbued by the democratic buzz like some down market concierge:

"sir, come through please, 2nd from the end lady in the pink top/ black top/ black singlet/ 3rd from the end/ just here/ right at the end on the right".

By 5.30pm it was quiet on a booth of about 2,000. Soon it was down to counting and after a nerve jarring exhausting grovel, leavened by the marvellous provisions via the Greens scrutineer to all the booth workers gratis,  and the working class grace of Jackie of Fairfield uncanny resemblance to Helen Santos character in the West Wing. Cute and smart, 2 kids both with red hair. "It's alll go with the kids" she says with dignity, been doing this since 2001, training to be a nurse. The stern Islander lady Nas with the sharp wit, classy international studies student Ivy, the highly efficient Thai Aussie guy, 'Newtown' Jill and range of others on the absentee table ably led by Cary.

By the wrap at 10.30 pm my teeth hurt. Really hurt. The 30 year old cap punched out by the school bully. The collapsed molar in the upper right for lack of dental care. I'd already spent the AEC cheque in my head. The only question which dentist and how soon I could get there. 6 months of Listerine and sugar free had got me over the line, but only just as we crashed to our bed with an aching headache. [A prescient form of solidarity, read following post.]

We might have been happy for Kevin but we had other things on our mind.

Posted by editor at 6:40 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 26 November 2007 9:50 AM EADT
Saturday, 24 November 2007
Verity's hot air counsel in Grayndler vote as Lib preference Greens, throw money at Wentworth
Mood:  sharp
Topic: election Oz 2007

"I'm sick of them" said our gallery owning 'friend' in the 2005 byelection of the ALP's Ms Tebbutt to the lower house seat of Marrickville. "They [Anthony Albanese MP and spouse Carmel Tebbutt MP] are on $500,000 a year. I'm going to run against them."

But something happened on the way to that place. No nomination. No splitting of the ALP vote in the 2005 state byelection, and the marriage of left wingers and millionaire ALP aristocracy marches on ascendant to the popular Greens in the area ... so far.

Today in this election it's not the state but the federal seat of Grayndler with Carmel's other half Anthony Albanese. "The best you are going to get in the ALP" said one Green voter in his T-shirt last week riding his bicycle who didn't look like he was from the property classes.

Yep there is alot of hot air in Grayndler most of it from the comfort of a big fat political wage leading the poor people to the ballot box by the nose with sophistry. Even the local Liberal Party seem to have got tired of it and preferenced The Greens candidate Saeed Khan conspicuously prominent in the small business friendly indy suburban press The Valley Times.


Upward envy probably is a fertile area of campaigning for the Greens in relation to the ALP leaning poor folks. We didn't detect any rhetoric along these lines perhaps indicating the nice and fluffy nature of the Greens who may or may not adopt the "whatever it takes" attitude of the institutional ALP.

Take for instance the concern over greenhouse gases by Verity Firth in the neighbouring state seat of Balmain some of which presumably falls in Grayndler. The huge issue here as she knows are motorway tunnels and their inevitable smog stacks:

$5b secret road under Sydney | The Daily Telegraph

and massive diesel train intensification where apparently 1 diesel loco equals emissions from 6,000 normal trucks

Trains do the heavy lifting in plan to expand Port Botany - National

to be shepherded through by ALP colleague Albanese as Shadow Infrastructure Minister at the expense of his own electorate's health and amenity.

Verity Firth logically has been promoting the clean air "credentials" of brand ALP albeit from a state govt perch. Here she is 15th November 2007:

Sydney's air 'cleanest in 15 years' - ABC News

The New South Wales Government says an analysis of Sydney's air shows it is cleaner and healthier than at any time over the last 15 years, but says it may crack down on polluting lawnmowers.

The results come from an audit done by the Government.

Assistant Environment Minister Verity Firth says the data shows emissions of harmful air pollutants have decreased significantly during the period.

Ms Firth says the positive result has been achieved in spite of Sydney's population increasing by 23 per cent and 640,000 more cars being put on the road in that time.

"We're doing well but we do know that we have to keep the pressure on, that we need to maintain the momentum towards clean air," she said.

"We know that we need new actions to meet the ambitious goals that we've set for ourselves."

She says while the results are encouraging, NSW needs new measures to deal with the pollution that comes from equipment like lawnmowers.

"The interesting thing about lawnmowers is that a four-cylinder lawnmower pumps out as much pollution in an hour as four cars," she said.

"Lawnmowers are actually quite a polluting instrument so we will be working with councils about lawnmowers."

But Greens MP Lee Rhiannon says the data compiled by the Government cannot be trusted.

"Why we're saying it has been fudged is because we don't have accurate figures," she said.

"When you close down a quarter of the air monitoring stations in Sydney, you don't have sufficient data to be able to make a reliable assessment that the air quality of this city is improved."

So is legally trained Verity Firth BA LLB MP 'horsing' around with our lungs and our minds?


The Hon. Verity Helen FIRTH,  BA, LLB MP


One notices the proxy contest with Rhiannon MP of the Greens already smelling a rat.

And sure enough even Jeff Angel of Total Environment Centre couldn't stomach the hypocrisy. Here he is 23 rd Nov:

Sydney's 'sewer' air quality | The Daily Telegraph

AS the NSW government praises itself for meeting four of six national standards for clean air, a leading environmental group warns the state faces an alarming future.

"In Sydney ... we've treated the air shared like a sewer,'' Total Environment Centre executive director Jeff Angel told the Clean Air Cool Climate forum in Sydney today.

Its air quality assessment has found NSW is "poor'' in several areas and exceeds emissions for ground-level ozone and fine particles.

Mr Angel blamed the breaches mostly on pollution from transport.

"What this means is we are not doing enough and we have to lift ourselves many quantum leaps to improve our investment in public transport,'' Mr Angel said.

The Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water, Verity Firth, disagreed with Mr Angel.

Hot air Verity? Firth strikes back with yet another grab at the air pollution cherry right up to the election day vote with a policy to be implemented by ....2015 .... maybe, with that nice (too?) slick John Watkins at her side, 23 Nov 2007:

NSW petrol stations forced to cut fumes - ABC News (Australian ...

which in 'true' ALP form is a rehash of this of the 23rd August 07

Plan to reduce petrol fumes in NSW - ABC News (Australian ...

Yep Grayndler is a worry.

One thing that will happen way before 2015 is a massive expansion and intensification of traffic via Port Botany with devastating transport impacts on Grayndler. But you won't hear that from the ALP this federal election. That's not in the business plan so reliant on tax revenue into personal income.



As to the overall result we found Crikey.com.au yesterday for the first time this last 6 weeks made redundant by a later Newspoll than their usual middle of the day deadline. But even so we feel this late poll revival by the Howard regime of Thursday/Friday will like every other poll this year be checked by the contrary view or ambivalent big media press of Thursday/Friday/Saturday. In other words the ALP in a canter despite Howard's legendary chutzpah.

In a sense these last few days are a contest of competing Aussie norms: The power of the Big Media (which John Laws recently described as the real power) for Rudd overall, versus the traditional inclination for "right" as in Right governments.

Howard is banking on the second of these. Rudd the former because he is pretty right wing himself. Our faith is on the Big Media power but it probably is a close run thing. If Howard get's back the Big Media know it will not be good for the country and they would be right.


Picture: A red and white theme at the polling booth in the ALP held seat of Grayndler, matching the group's colours, Socialist Alliance, and by coincidence the Christmas theme front page of their enemies in the Big Meeja Daily Telegraph today (in turn echoing our picture report yesterday of an unauthorised "Xmas" signage late 2005). The SA perhaps do not fully appreciate that their creative paper mache can't have any effect in this safe ALP seat (Grayndler, Illawarra Rd/Warren Rd Booth Marrickville), or at most swinging to the Greens, in any case both non Howard results. Bennelong or Wentworth might have been more impacting? The Liberal How To Vote form does in fact confirm Liberal preferencing to the Greens, but not reciprocated.

Neck and neck at the final turn


In Wentworth its busy, busy, busy including this full page State Liberal Party advert p12 Sydney Morning Herald desperately (?) sewing seeds of doubt:


Posted by editor at 6:58 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 24 November 2007 11:41 AM EADT
Friday, 23 November 2007
'Maggot' won't be missed according to signage of dedicated Howard Hater
Mood:  not sure
Topic: election Oz 2007

Uh oh moment of unauthorised signage "incident" of Christmas 2005-6 referred to as somewhat of a joke in a speech by the Honorary President Yvette Andrews of the Addison Rd Community Centre (ARCC) on the occasion of the NAIDOC day celebrations of July 2007.

The reference was in her introduction speech of respected Aboriginal person Linda Burney, local ALP MP for Canterbury. "I think he is a maggot" said Ms Andrews to the packed public event in the gallery. Andrews is also co author of the book about the feminist satirical Ernie Awards with founder Meredith Burgman, former long time MP in NSW.

The signage, which was painted over within a day or so, raises the question of whether this approach really is the best way for left wingers to advocate and wean voters who have favoured Howard 4 times already off their electoral habit


Andrews, current President of the ARCC,  is pictured here below next to recently deposed Mayor of Marrickville Morris Hanna 3rd from right, as the chess play in the lead up to the AGM of November 28th approaches:


Posted by editor at 8:38 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 23 November 2007 9:16 AM EADT
Last day press: Lame duck PM, Rudd the 'assassin', Tele turns, Grayndler vote Green
Mood:  energetic
Topic: election Oz 2007

Where is The Oz in Marrickville? The Daily Telegraph was half an hour late at least at the local newsagent arriving after 6 am. The Australian is not sighted after 7am at the deli either.

Here are some interesting subliminals above. The Herald slyly suggests a lame duck PM with its front page, the Tele has a hammer blow editorial, but a qualified front page image of "half chance" Howard. To get inside the blue collar battler's mind we have an allusion to Kevin 007 as the 'killer' of PM Howard's career in the Drive section cover

A local battling independent related to south end of Grayndler, called the Valley Times has a subliminal green image (geddit?) with the Libs preferencing the Greens who will indeed come third to the Greens then calculate the 2 party preferred. [postscript - correction the Greens polled 3rd, so no great flow of conservative preferences there.]

Apparently they all editorialise for a change to Rudd's ALP but cautious observers like Michelle Grattan on radio national with Fran Kelly in survival mode says "you never know". And indeed that is the essence of real democracy.


Posted by editor at 7:34 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2007 6:36 AM EADT
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud from Dhaka reports on the Bangladesh cyclone
Mood:  sad
Topic: globalWarming

Picture: Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, of Voice Dhaka with Dr Antonio Castillo of University of Western Sydney at OurMedia conference at University of Technology Sydney in April 2007.  Ahmed was sponsored to attend by the conference organisers.

Sent: Thursday, November 22, 2007 5:21 PM
Subject: Sydr hits Bangladesh

Dear Tom,

Greetings from Voice, Dhaka. And hope you are fine.

It's after a long time again just to inform you and seek your cooperation, if any, for the victims of Sydr.

You might know that the monster Sidr one of the strongest cyclones
devastated at least 23 districts of the southern costal part of
Bangladesh last Friday on 16 November. Packing winds over 220 km an
hour, the cyclone demolished houses, crops, trees and shrimp firms
along its trail of devastation over an area of thousands of square

The death toll rose around 4000 while around 3000 people are missing, and 10000 persons are injured.

141 upazilas and 1,119 unions have been affected in the southern region of Bangladesh.The total number of affected families stands at 10.54 lac, representing 40.83 lac individuals.

Crops on 29,374 acres of land have been completely destroyed and on
8,55,525 acres have been damaged partially, according to the
government assessment. The number of completely destroyed houses
stood at 3,00,511 yesterday and the number of partially damaged
houses was 6,26,000. Besides, 3,84,000 trees have been damaged. Some
792 educational institutions have been completely destroyed and
4,393 were partly damaged. Embankments of about 57 kilometers (km)
of length have been damaged, and 58 km of road has been destroyed
completely while 87,948 km of road has been partly damaged.

Spread of diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases and acute water
crisis are the two main problems chasing the survivors. Safe
drinking water has become a major concern because the cyclone has
damaged the tube wells. Sweet water ponds have become saline, as the
tidal surge that swept through the area came from the bay. The tidal
wave entered more than 35 kilometers into the mainland. People are living with untold miseries having no food, shelter, water, medicine.

We feel we all should come forward to support the victims.

Keep fine and stay in touch.

Best regards,


Ahmed Swapan Mahmud
Executive Director
House 67, Level-5, Block-Ka
Pisciculture Housing Society
Shyamoli, Dhaka-1207
Tel : 88-02-8158688
E-mail : info@voicebd.org
Web : www.voicebd.org

              A man sits on a dead cow as he collects cattle corpses from a canal in Taful of Bagherhat district on the south coast of Bangladesh, 17 November 2007, two days after a strong cyclone devastated the southern coastal area of the country. Two boys were among a handful of children to survive on Majher Char island after their cousin tied them to a palm tree as the cyclone roared overhead.  Around 70 children lived on the island and most died in the storm.               Photo:Jewel Samad/AFP
Picture: Man sitting on dead cow after the cyclone, taken from the international press.

Posted by editor at 5:44 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007 6:43 PM EADT
Howard at the Press Club today in denial of ultra right cancer on his watch?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: election Oz 2007

The PM at the Press Club, 2 days from likely defeat, was alternatively

- clinical in creating distance between scandal and his person,

- smarmy,

- cocky, and

- in denial

about the profound underlying nature of the 'Karl Rove style' racist smear in Lindsay electorate that really does infect his Party. He denies outright his Party is so compromised - which in reality given his lawyerly instincts means one must closely examine whether it is in fact so. And the evidence doesn't look good.


We made contact with Noel Plumb who was the campaign manager of the Save the ADI Site Resident Action Group in the 2001 Lindsay contest and 2 other federal seats, and he was not surprised by the bogus flyer tricks in 2007. From his bush regeneration job in the field Noel told us that 6 years ago it was a similarly intense contest ("bidding auction") at the time between the Libs and ALP over the Lend Lease development (formerly Australian Defense Industry land) including use of false advertising in that contest. Noel corroborated the dishonest Liberal advertising also noted by a Liberal booth worker on the World Today programme earlier today (who confirmed false How to Votes were all part of head office toolkit in 2001 in Lindsay.) That sounds systemic.

It is known that senior figures of the NSW Liberal Division were actively involved in the false advertising smear in Lindsay this week, as well as husband of the candidate, and husband of the retiring Liberal MP, Kelly. Kelly being a "favourite" of Howard. Plausible deniability? Was their real sin getting caught?

Howard today said the leaflet accusing the ALP as forgiving of the Bali Bombers was "offensive" but he just didn't sound offended, or upset. He sounded slightly amused, or even bemused at the uproar. He surely has a streak of the White Australia in him, whether it's a generational thing or whatever. He even took the opportunity at one point to wax lyrical at the evils of terrorism.

It is also known Howard has visited Lindsay repeatedly. Which all makes the denials just sound too cute. If Howard's regime was not directly in the loop it is indirectly responsible for the slime mould that has grown and prospered in his NSW machine. A reckless negligence - which makes his strident rejections of direct knowledge quite jarring.

These were not gophers, these were senior operatives in the marginal.

At some points in the lengthy Q&A, notable for interruptions from the audience of Laura Tingle and Michelle Grattan despite being very senior journalists, Howard came across as cavalier and even proud of the moral chaos he has presided over: That he has seen the Trouble and saw that it was 'Good'. Indeed we perceived hints of a sociopathic demeanour in his protestations feeding off the wicked attempt to tear the social fabric of Lindsay. Always denying, but happy as Larry to be in the spotlight to make them, with that supreme confidence that he is the Chosen One. He was still certain "we will win on Saturday". Quite the actor is Howard.

Howard had his supporters at the Press Club breaking into polite applause - especially the sophistry about emancipation of women candidates - applause several times but not the serious journalists of the press gallery who were neutral and highly sceptical as they pursued the issue de jour. The clapping had the feel of a mini stack in the room perhaps of bureaucrats and staffers who have prospered under the Old Man. Sure the spouses might not be guilty like their husbands but it still looks like a strong character test to be associated with these not so much "foolish" as evil characters who have now confessed to what might well be "criminal offences" according to the ALP.

In fact it's a sickeningly divisive and nasty development in Lindsay, which calls up this other advert on another sickening reality which was in The Australian 13th Nov 2007:

Even as Howard spoke in a doting way of his grandson he just didn't sound sincere about the urgency of climate change either. It's almost as if he doesn't really give a stuff so late in the game. It feels intuitively like the voters will feel the same about him.

Posted by editor at 1:41 PM EADT
Updated: Friday, 23 November 2007 9:04 AM EADT
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
Addison Rd Centre AGM next Wednesday 28th Nov has some curious undercurrents
Mood:  sharp
Topic: local news
 22nd November 2007


Dear Addison Rd Community Centre (ARCC) Member

Open letter: directors’ duties, staff grievance July 07, nomination to the Board at the AGM

Directors’ duties for a company including a public interest one like the ARCC include:



1. Duty of care and diligence

Directors have a duty to exercise their powers with a degree of care and diligence of a reasonable person in a like position in a similar company. In this respect, when a director makes a business decision, he or she is taken to have discharged their duty of care and diligence if:

•  The decision is made in good faith and for a proper purpose.

• They do not have a significant personal interest in the decision. …

• They believe that the decision is in the best interests of the company. ….


5. Improper use of position

A director, secretary, officer or employee of a company can not improperly use his or her position to gain an advantage for themselves or someone else, or cause detriment to the company. …



6. Conflict of interest

Directors have a duty to avoid situations in which there is a real possibility of conflict between their personal interests and the company’s interests.




In late July 2007 we lodged a written complaint for alleged bullying by a Board member: Then by Sept we were removed from the ARCC website editing which until that date had been widely praised as very effective (e.g. “you’ve done a good job” to quote Board member John Reynolds, similarly ex GM, office manager and numerous tenants).


Regretably rather than my staff grievance (arising out of a centre website project, refer correspondence of GM Laird dated Oct 07) being mediated it was ignored, and I was victimised. There are now other ripple effects. For instance the centre website is stale for 3 months eg no mention of the upcoming AGM or numerous other activities by diverse tenants. This is the modern gateway into the centre, as much as the physical entrance, and to compromise this asset is poor management.




We understand the website editing which till recently had been done at a low cost by this writer was referred to a friend of the president at substantial cost.

Based on the Board minutes we understand the Board member the subject of the original staff grievance directly participated in my removal without declaring a personal conflict of interest as to the grievance lodged weeks before. We understand in the absence of denials the current president knew about this actual conflict of interest at the relevant Board meeting. We believe this is a clear breach of directors’ duties. Thus the ripples from the misconduct are spreading this last 5 months.

We believe the constructive approach to the current Board is to reinforce the generally positive year by feeding this information into the democratic processes of the AGM both as to the performance of the current Board, for discipline and voter choice at the election. We say let members be the judge.

Secondly we are willing to submit ourselves to the democratic process too and have nominated for the Board in order to offer pro bono legal service. We believe the ARCC might have avoided the $10K in legal fees a year or so back in the Aboud staff litigation by taking the mediation track.

If we are elected we will resign our employment of the last 4 years according to the Constitution.

Please feel free to contact this writer to discuss the above by telephone on 9558 9551 or 0410 558838.

Yours truly

Tom McLoughlin, part time gardener 4 years, solicitor in NSW, editor of newsletter The Composter.


Posted by editor at 7:15 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007 7:58 AM EADT

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