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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 7 December 2007
Chinese dictatorship to free press: There's our way or no way
Mood:  sad
Topic: independent media


Posted by editor at 9:08 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007 9:16 AM EADT
Thursday, 6 December 2007
NSW Law Society President warns about errorism erosion of civil norm of client confidentiality
Mood:  not sure
Topic: legal


Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 3:18 PM
Subject: From the President - December 2007 .....

Client Legal Privilege

As issues of national security continue to dominate the political arena, preserving the rule of law is becoming increasingly challenging as executive government seeks to increase access to various sources of information. Of particular concern is the current discussion with regard to expanding the range of powers given to investigative bodies allowing them to probe into all aspects of lawyer-client relations.

The Law Society maintains that full and frank exchange between lawyers and their clients is fundamental to ensuring the appropriate carriage of justice. Legal privilege is the client’s privilege and citizens’ rights must be protected against expedient, fear-based, legislative incursions.

It is important that laws are reviewed in a manner that does not lead to an erosion of confidentiality and privilege. The Law Society will co-operate with relevant bodies to maintain an ethical and independent legal profession and provide strong protection for the exchange of confidential information between lawyers and their clients.

The Society’s submissions on the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Discussion paper on Client Legal Privilege and Federal Investigative bodies are available on the Law Society’s website at www.lawsociety.com.au/15434. Similarly the Law Council of Australia submission can be accessed at the Law Council’s website. The Society’s recently formed Ethics sub committee on The Rule of Law will also be looking at issues of confidentiality as part of its brief. You’ll find more about this sub committee in the December issue of the Law Society Journal.


Hugh Macken
Senior Vice President


Also of interest is this initiative of the Law Society to enforce ongoing ethics training for solicitors at least once every three years: 


The Council of the Law Society of NSW proposes to amend Rule 42 of the Revised Professional Conduct and Practice Rules by the insertion of a new 42.1A requiring a practitioner to complete, as part of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirement, one (1) unit of ethics education every three (3) years. The Council also proposes to make various other amendments to the Rule including .... The current rule is set out at: www.lawsociety.com.au/page.asp?partID=722

The Law Society invites comments and submissions on the proposed rule. These should be forwarded to the Secretary, Law Society, 170 Phillip Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000 or emailed to ethics@lawsocnsw.asn.au by 30 November 2007

.[proposed new ethics training rule] 

42.1A If the holder of a practising certificate is required to undertake a course of continuing legal education, that continuing legal education must include a component relating to legal ethics that deals predominantly with the role and responsibilities of legal practitioners where:

42.1A.1 the component is to be undertaken at least once in every compliance period, or such shorter period as may be determined by the appropriate Council, and is to comprise at least one unit in the units of continuing legal education that the holder of the practising certificate is required to undertake.

42.1A.2 "compliance period" means:

(a) in relation to a person who was the holder of a local practising certificate at 1 April 2008:

(i) the period starting on 1 April 2008 and ending on 31 March 2011, and

(ii) each further period of 3 years ending on the third anniversary of the expiration of the previous period, or

(b) in relation to a person who became or becomes the holder of a local practising certificate after 1 April 2008:

(i) the period starting on the next 1 April after the person became or becomes the holder of a local practising certificate and ending on 31 March in the year that is 3 years after the start of this period, and

(ii) each further period of 3 years ending on the third anniversary of the expiration of the previous period.

Posted by editor at 4:58 PM EADT
Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007 8:32 AM EADT
Spooky world of multinational espionage keeps idealistic activists nervous
Mood:  hungry
Topic: human rights


A BAE Harrier GR.9


In this age of multinational corporate "greenhouse mafia" prosecuting their agenda by fair means or foul, ie to protect their obscene profits, comes this cracking, intriguing story in UK's The Guardian of Dec 4 2007 : Martin and me (which may well be a title satirising the famous slummy fictional movie Withnail and I).

The Guardian story is no joke for idealistic activists who want peace, love and sustainability via democratic grassroots group process. It's a fair dinkum story of broken trust and espionage and infiltration by BAE Systems - Europes largest arms company - of a non government peace group called CAAT or Campaign Against Arms Trade. This gives the flavour of the serious sh*t they get involved in


CAATnews 200 February - March 2007 490kb or webpage version Includes: Legal challenge to ending of SFO investigation; Shut DESO - the big push; using local media; Tanya Tier interview; local campaigns news; arms trade shorts.

The Guardian story is the latest sad, dangerous, unnerving thread in a long line of govt and corporate trickey to protect multinational interests from civil society attempts at moral accountability in the western economic system.

Sydney Indy Media here carry a reaction from local well travelled activist Ciaron O'Rielly to the 2003-2007 BAE/CAAT expose :

The memories begin for me in mid- '96, when I arrived in England for the first time in 17 years. I came primarily from East Timor solidarity activism in Australia to support a friend, who I had met at the Washingon DC Catholic Worker and who had been active in solidarity with me while I spent 13 months in prison for disarming a B52 on the eve of the first Gulf War. She and 3 other women (using one of the hammers we had used on the B52 and New York and would later use at Shannon in 03) were in Risley Prison (England) following a £1.5 million disarmament action on a BAe Hawk fighter at BAe, Warton, Lancashire. The Hawk figther was already painted in Indonesian Air Force markings and was due for immediate export to the genocidal Suharto regime to be used on the people of East Timor. "Seeds of Hope Ploughshares".... http://www.plowsharesactions.org/webpages/weba.htm 


As you can see Soeharto sponsored terrorism of East Timor with BAE hawk jets puts our own region in the picture as regards the santised history of UK based BAE whether you approve of taking a hammer to private property or not. We have to admit we find it hard to condemn in light of the mass murder in East Timor for decades. Not our way but you can see the logic. And the logic of BAE instituting asset protection strategies.

This documented espionage of CAAT reminds of the recent John Pilger movie War on Democracy which apparently carries a very disturbing direct quote from a CIA senior officer who effectively concedes 'sure it's all about keeping the USA financial interests on top by any means possible' with reference to the dirty war in South America in the latter 20C against it's people via local foul dictators such as Pinochet. Ugly ugly stuff. You can catch the video in parts on YouTube starting here.


None more ugly than this one via the BBC referring not to Chile but Argentina in this case while noting Nixon/Kissinger's Operation Condor aggregated all these countries:

       A court in Argentina has convicted a former Roman Catholic police chaplain of collaborating in murders during the country's military rule.
Christian Von Wernich 

Von Wernich showed no emotion as he was sentenced

Christian Von Wernich, 69, was convicted for involvement in seven murders, 42 abductions and 31 cases of torture during the 1976-83 "Dirty War". Survivors say he passed information he obtained from prisoners to the police. As he was sentenced, Father Von Wernich showed no emotion. Protesters torched his effigy outside the court. The trial in the town of La Plata, 60km (35 miles) south of Buenos Aires, had lasted for three months. Father Von Wernich initially avoided prosecution by moving to Chile, where he worked as a priest under a false name.

We recall seeing a movie on SBS made in Spanish and perhaps set in Mexico where the radical lecturer mentored the idealistic students in their activism, not fully realising the security agency had their hooks into their teacher and were blackmailing him for the activist details. Of course all the naive idealists were turned in. We took mental note of all this - if a script writer could think it and actors could portray the scenario realistically I got to feeling it was probably quite possible.

We take the view in progressing community media and ecological sustainability concerns one should maintain reasonable transparency and avoid violence in order to best avoid the fearful and over zealous govt agents who do make fatal mistakes at times. For instance the poor Brazilian man shot dead for being in the wrong place and wrong time in the age of errorism on the London Tubes, may he rest in peace:

BBC NEWS | UK | Shot man not connected to bombing

Similarly we take the view best to not trust anyone too much, admittedly a fairly depressing road to follow.

Interestingly we noted these thoughts on the Sydney Indy Media news post linked above 12 hours ago and they were censored off the site. In fact contrary to usual form there are no comments allowed on that particular feature story. We are not sure if it means there are too many inflammatory comments or just mine.

Posted by editor at 1:07 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007 4:21 PM EADT
Bah humbug! Who cares about the global situation really?
Mood:  special
Topic: world

Earth Status report - 2007

If the population of the Earth was reduced to that of a small town

with 100 people, it would look something like this:


57% Asians

21% Europeans

14% Americans (northern and southern)

8% Africans






52% women

48% men




70% coloured-skins

30% caucasians




89% heterosexuals

11% homosexuals




6 people would own 59% of the whole world wealth

and all of them will be from the United States of America


80%  would have bad living conditions


70%  would be uneducated


50% underfed


1 would die


2 would be born


1 would have a computer


1 (only one) will have higher education


When you look at the world from this point of view,

you can see there is a real need for solidarity,

understanding, patience and education.

Also think about the following -
This morning, if you woke up healthy, then you are happier

than the 1 million people that will not survive next week.  

If you never suffered a war,


the loneliness of the jail cell, the agony of torture,


or hunger,


you are happier than 500 million people in the world.
If you can enter into a church (mosque) without fear of jail or death,  

you are happier then 3 million people in the world.   

If there is a food in your fridge,


you have shoes and clothes,


you have bed and a roof,


you are richer then 75% of the people in the world.





If you have bank account, money in your wallet and some coins in the money-box,


you belong to the 8% of the people on the world, who are well-to-do.


If you read this you are three times blessed because:   

1. somebody just thought of you.


2 . you don't belong to the 200 million people
that cannot read.


3 . and... you have a computer!


As somebody once said:  

" - Work as if you don't need money,


- Love as if you've never been hurt,


- Dance, as if nobody can see you,


- Sing, as if no one can hear,


- Live, as if the Earth was a heaven."


If you like, send this to people you call friends.
If you don't send this, nothing will happen. But,

if you send it - someone will smile




So start living & stop worrying, You don't know how blessed you are!


Posted by editor at 10:52 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007 11:09 AM EADT
It's time for News Limited & PM Rudd to ditch Piers/loggers' anti science rhetoric on climate
Mood:  bright
Topic: globalWarming


Picture: Clips from News Ltd press in Sydney Dec 5, 6 has a confused line on dangerous climate change, even allowing for diversity of opinion, despite owner Rupert Murdoch earlier this year acknowledging 'the planet deserves the benefit of the doubt'. Indeed it does.

A contact of ours sells (organic) fruit and veg in Sydney. He recently sold his farm near Young in the family for three generations because of desperate lack of rainfall. It took him years to walk away but his wife is 'overjoyed' not for the miserable loss but the fact he has survived the highy rational decision, environmentally, emotionally and financially.

But according to Piers Akerman today it's far better for Australia's new government to continue to keep its head in the sand as to the scientifically verified urgency: To continue down a blind alley and send our population to the wall with stubborn denial and inflexibility. To fail in the adaptation stakes. Akerman's has no insight to the cruelty of his rhetoric.

Well that's okay for near retired journo hacks who have made their whole career hating the environment and greenies generally. They've had their go.

News Ltd seem to get the quandary they are in with their neurotic coverage as shown by the contrast above. Opposite Akerman is the other view about drowning Pacific Island cultures. Meanwhile some 4 - 7 million depending on who you reference (World Vision here, ReliefWeb here)  Bangladeshis are struggling with massive cyclone disruption on their low lying areas. Over 3,000 died directly. More will.

Fairfax also seems to feel the turn of the tide. In the Sun Herald Miranda Devine's toxic anti ecological views are being balanced by a younger hip bloke on the facing page with about equal space and cogency most weeks. Devine has seniority but she is stalling.

Which brings us to PM Rudd's approach to Bali UN Climate conference. He may take comfort from front page picture embarrassment's to Indonesia showing devastated forest there compared with so called natural harmony here (see front page image below that last month, same newspaper).


But arguing selective hypocrisy of Indonesia's governance only gets you so far in Australia itself: The same destruction is happening in Australia - legally ....in East Gippsland


 ....in Tasmania

 ....in South East NSW

In Rudd's own delegation to Bali is a Howard machine fixer and apologist for logger political terrorism Catherine Murphy


(6th Dec 2006 - New paper: Logger terrorism under the Howard federal government) representing the National Association of Forest Industries (read woochippers of native forests) who issued this political rhetoric dressed up as (junk) science on carbon storage:

            Dec 3 2007 NAFI represents Australian forest industry at Bali climate change meetings

NAFI’s CEO and Deputy have been appointed as members of the official Australian delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Bali

NAFI’s CEO, Catherine Murphy, and Deputy CEO, Allan Hansard, have been appointed as members of the official Australian delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Bali. .....“In fact, when a tree is harvested, the wood products created store carbon, while the new trees grown in place of the harvested trees continue to capture carbon. " [bold added]

In reality about 2% of native forest harvested in Victoria and we presume nationally has a life cycle  based on quality appearance grade wooden products, most of the rest is sawdust, woodchips for short lived paper products, or forest trash which gets burnt, and destroys humid canopy. Yep you read that right. About 95% plus is destruction of the carbon store. Why do they do it? We say for the privatisation of high rainfall public land transformation to higher profit plantations that really do produce high value appearance grade timber. Just like Indonesia. But they are so brutal over there? Like this attack on Adrian Whitehead in Victoria Australia in 2000, who is over at the Bali conference representing the civil society group Zero Emissions Network?




Rudd on Dec 3, 2007 the morning of the swearing in of his new government stated he was feeling "chipper". Unfortunate choice of words that. Not so coincidental from our point of view.

 We interpreted this turn of events like this:

Subject: Rudd feels "chipper" on govt swear-in day last Monday. Re: [Greens-Media] Rudd takes loggers to Bali

When PM Rudd was taking early interviews on Monday Dec 3 2007, his big day for the swearing in of the new government he said words to the effect of "I'm feeling chipper." What does one make of this? A coincidence. A throwaway line. A freudian slip?
 For what it's worth I've never heard Rudd use that particular word before.
He is a workaholic and almost certainly in this period was working up his prep for Bali which was well understood mid last week of being the next big real politik dynamic.
Methinks he was indeed thinking forests, whether to the good or the bad.
Certainly the weekend press had a two page feature in the Sydney Morning Herald about the pulping of Indonesian forests:

Stopping the rot in logging industry - Environment - smh.com.au  [not listed in the archive index, which is a caution to me]
Related story here: 
Up in the trees, the boss hangs on for a miracle - Environment ...

The head of NAFI as I recall is Catherine Murphy an ex  Howard staffer. What this means I have no idea. A naively hopeful view might be that he knows Murphy is no ideologue only a fixer and with change in govt she simply trims accordingly, a bit like a communist satellite pre and post Berlin wall, or pre and post Saddam Iraqi bureaucrat in the Dept of Energy. Same forelock different tug.
But my guess it's all negative just as Senator Brown states below. The only strand of hope seems to be that Qld outlawed the woodchipping industry, and if that approach could be rolled out to the rest of the country would a hope
against dismal expectation.
> Wednesday, 5 December 2007
> Rudd takes loggers to Bali
> Brown again calls for 10% cut in Australia's emissions by ending native forest logging
> The inclusion of the CEO and deputy CEO of the National Association of Forest Industries in the Rudd government's delegation to Bali is a signal of no change from the Howard years, Greens Leader Bob Brown said
> in Hobart today.
> "The fastest way for Australia to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent is to stop logging and burning native forests. NAFI, which fronts for Gunns and its pulp mill proposal, is there to agitate against this
> prudent move by Australia," Senator Brown said.
> "How can Rudd join calls for Indonesia, Papua New Guinea or Brazil to end logging when he has a loggers' lobby group in his own camp?" Senator Brown asked.
> "Instead, Mr Rudd should show he means business by announcing Australia will dump Gunns' pulp mill which will produce 100 million tonnes of greenhouse gases if it is built," Senator Brown said.
> Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

Rudd's pulp mill for Tasmania is under constant legal barrage. His friend and colleague Peter Garrett is bleeding to death in the public credibility stakes over such forest vandalism at home.

Meanwhile the planet is going down the gurgler at a rate of knots and no amount of double talk or diplomacy can fool all the people.

What we need is some Bernie Banton style straight talk of which PM Rudd is so admiring, and rightly so. Because if dangerous climate change is going to destroy western civilisation as a result of runaway momentum, maybe people have a right to know their dismal fate and some JUSTICE? That would be common decency. As Winston Churchill said

"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

Get it? If you don't have the courage to deal in scientific reality get off the platform.

Meanwhile Adrian Whitehead writes from Bali UN conference directly on the issue of science of natural forest carbon storage:

New Australian Forest Science - Released at UNFCC Bali Conference

From Adrian's Zero Emission Bali Blog. For more blogging see: www.zeroemissionnetwork.org.au

"The last event of the night was run by The Wilderness Society. It included a presentation of the excellent work by Brendan M Mackey from ANU on determining the natural Carbon Carrying Capacity (CCC) of different forest types in the South East Australia. His work builds on the previous data for the forests of SE NSW and the E. ragnans (Mountain Ash) forests.

Prof Mackey stated that Natural CCC was underestimated everywhere because foresters and forestry data is used as bases for calculating natural CCC. This is shown in the significant difference between between CCC calculations by the IPPC, 60 t C ha-1 yr-1 average for a temperate forest and Mackey's work which produces an average of 670 t C ha-1 yr-1.

This work relates directly to one of the key focuses of the Bali meeting which is the debate around reducing emission from deforestation and degradation (REDD).

Prof Mackey makes the point that current GREEN carbon (living terrestrial biomass and soil carbon) is not accounted for, unlike BLACK (fossil fuels), BROWN (agriculture and plantations) or BLUE (atmospheric and ocean) and that we must have definition of green carbon so we can actually see it in the context of action on climate change and REDD. Prof Mackey defined degradation of a natural system as any action that reduces its CCC.

One exciting bit of work the Zero Emission Network has been doing with Prof Mackey's previous data, was showing that if the forestry sector was included in a carbon pricing mechanism (either tax for trading) with a minimum price of $10 or more a ton of C the native forest industry would collapse over night. This new research seems to support this.

The report is currently only in limited release, but people interested in it should contact 

The second part consisted of a talk about the challenges of protecting one of the world's last natural substantial tropical rainforests, the forest of Aceh, protected for many years by a succession war run out of the jungle. Here the main drivers of destruction are palm oil plantations destroying lowland peat swamp forests, and illegal logging. However there are some positive programs including the elephant patrol which consists of former Acehnese fighters that patrol the jungles looking for illegal logging on the back of elephants."

Adrian Whitehead
Zero Emission Network
Level 2, 140 Bourke Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000

0403 735 118

Posted by editor at 8:34 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007 12:31 PM EADT
Wednesday, 5 December 2007
Asbestos and the struggle for redemption of spin merchant ex premier Bob Carr?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: health

Bernie Banton — the public face in the successful battle on behalf of asbestos victims against James Hardie —  with his wife, Karen, and son, Dean, after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma last August.

Picture: Working class hero, Bernie Banton who died recently after a winning battle over many years against corporate criminal James Hardy, flanked by wife Karen and son. What lessons will be learned in terms of  political and corporate governance as a result of the heroic efforts of Mr Banton and others?

Later today we will visit Addison Rd Centre with at least 5, and probably more, buildings with corrugated asbestos roofing.

The community land at 142 Addison Rd Marrickville has been through the hands of the Dept of Defence as a recruitment base in WW2, and Vietnam War, Immigration centre in the 70ies, and diverse cultural centre for the last 30 years.

Only this year 2007 have these signs been going up:



The president of the ARC Board Andrews said at the recent Annual General Meeting that she didn't "want to be alarmist" but they were taking action as required by the legislation.

Such action has been reinforced by the enormous struggle and effort of one Bernie Banton (SMH Slideshow: Bernie Banton in his own words, Video: Tributes flow for Bernie Banton (7.30 Report) ) and his supporters. In our activist career we can truly say we have not seen such a deserving winner of a State Funeral as Banton at Homebush Bay today. The details of the event are here 10.30am. We thought of him many days in our part time gardening work at the ARC this last 4 years finding scraps of asbestos in the landscape a bit too often than is really comfortable.

(We recall the day in 2007 a tenant there at Sidetrack Theatre encouraged us to clean out his hopelessly jammed gutters below one such corrugated rooftop. No thanks.)

We note the big wrap given recently to the ABC's Matt Peacock for urging the activist groups to push Bernie Banton forward as the public face of the campaign against James Hardy.

We noticed in the lead up to this State Funeral that Bob Carr - who we say was forceably retired after his 10 year reign as premier - has an increasing role in the memorial 'Bernie Banton research facility' into asbestos diseases at Concord Hospital.

We feel a jarring disjunction given Carr as Premier, as we understand it, or at least his regime well knew of the legal proceedings that permited cunning asbestos purveyor James Hardie to restructure via an order of the NSW Supreme Court in 2001. The actual court decision is here. We say a regime that well knew but failed to act given it's legendary lack of rigour and triumph of style over substance that the Carr regime became synonmymous with. Sure enough the federal regulator ASIC and Judge Santow accepted the woeful assurances of James Hardy they would fully finance projected compensation claims and the NSW Govt dropped the ball too.


We note this highly suggestive quote by Andrew Ferguson a well known union leader in the NSW construction sector made in November 2004 about the findings of the Jackson Inquiry earlier that year (made in an international conference in Japan) apparently referring to the 1995-2001 period that prefaced the 2001 creation of the so called Medical Research and Compensation Fund (part of the James Hardy asset offshoring strategy):

 "Peter Macdonald (CEO), Greg Baxter (VP Corporate Affairs), and Steve Ashe (VP Public Affairs) implemented a ‘communications strategy’, in relation to the creation of the MRCF, in which the fears of key stakeholders, including the NSW Government, were allayed by misleading statements." [bold added] in  

James Hardie – US Multinational versus Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union of Australia (CFMEU), Australian Trade Union Movement, asbestos victims and Trades Union International of Workers in the Building, Wood, Building Materials and Allied Industry (UITBB) Speech delivered by Andrew Ferguson, NSW State Secretary Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union Global Asbestos Conference Tokyo, Japan November 2004 Special thanks to Australia Legal Firms Slater & Gordon and Taylor & Scott for background material for this presentation. In PDF version, and HTML version here.

Ex federal treasurer Peter Costello seemed to be wise to this reality as we recall him in federal parliament over the official radio broadcasts in recent years targetting the Carr Govt failure to keep a check on James Hardy legal skulduggery. Costello didn't appreciate being drawn into the whole affair in relation to taxation and other corporate regulation. On the other hand Costello and the federal agency ASIC have alot to answer for too for the 2001 debacle in the NSW Supreme Court.

 Picture: Ex premier of NSW Bob Carr now chairman of the Concord Hospital Asbestos research facility opened in 2007. Within weeks of retiring in 2005 Carr joined big capital in the form of Macquarie Bank.

So though the NSW Govt were not a formal party to the Supreme Court proceedings of 2001 before Santow J it defies belief they were not aware of the factual matrix of the slow motion legal disaster unfolding, only rectified in 2007.

By 2004 the NSW Govt under Carr were backpedalling under the ferocious backlash of the assembled unions and civil society broadly based. Whether left or right, green or brown, rich or poor, young or old, we have all been exposed and some of us will die of the toxic stuff. Bernie Banton knew this and told us straight.

Bob Debus as then Attorney General of NSW also knew it and pushed hard for reform of defamation laws which in effect allowed the civil society groups to defame the James Hardie Corporation without fear of SLAPP suits. The national and other state govts fell into line with the law reform: It was James Hardy v Australia. This law reform is another ongoing legacy of Bernie Banton's fight and of those who most actively supported him.

We expect to hear Bob Carr on the mainstream media today. He may or may not mention his own Jackson Inquiry made necessary to sort out the mess of the Supreme Court wave through of the JH offshore corporate restructure farce: The corporate dance intended to shift their assets out of reach of what became a $4 Billion compensation fund for systemic industrial manslaughter. The legal trickey of Allens, the no.1 corporate legal sharks in Sydney, on behalf of their client James Hardy in 2001  had failed.


Images of the State Funeral today following the speech by widow Karen Banton:



We loved you here Bernie Banton, no fear of that.

Posted by editor at 6:48 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007 8:14 PM EADT
Silly season shaggy reindeer stories kick off with a vengeance
Mood:  silly
Topic: big media


We have been taking careful note of the change from an ever so serious (post) federal election phase with change of govt and leaders all over the place, to now a well earned rest from full on power politik.

A symptom of the wind down seems to be the traditional silly season stories, the more surreal the angle the better (like our image above of the ants that ate the merc from this years Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.)

Silly season seems to have come early this year, along with the subtropical storms that have blown through Sydney, even if PM Rudd doesn't seem to want a holiday by pushing hard as he must at the Bali Climate Change conference (more from Adrian Whitehead of Zero Emissions here.)

Here's our tally:

- Xmas thieves help themselves to 16 tonnes of bacon, ham | The .... A serious theft but that's not why it led the news.

- The transcendental levitation of pilots onto the wing tip of their own plane - no seriusly the first of no doubt many nuggets from your quality ABC World Today show yesterday.

- The World Today obviously couldn't resist with this happy hunting of Rudolph the Reindeer to feed the hungry while taking pot shots in gun happy urban areas, ain't that so lovely and folksy?

- We even feel the Mohammed Teddy Bear story with it's deadly undertones had a degree of opportunistic madness about it, either from opportunistic Islamist street protesters, to barracking for the teacher by outraged western media, to the stupidity of the teacher not so much transgressing a cultural taboo herself but unintentionally aiding a school room of Muslim kids to also transgress that same taboo. No wonder her teaching career in Sudan came to a thudding halt. Imagine a Muslim teacher telling a bunch of Catholic school class that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalen and never actually rose from the dead?  That being said we thank the Christian God blashemy is not a death sentence in Australia. Over reaction all round? You bet.

- Chimps outsmart uni students (ABC Science Online). Say no more.

- Birth date can affect personality - National - smh.com.au, the old nature/nurture one again with a surreal madcap astrology undertone.

We think with this 'admirable' start to the silly season story file we might see a bumper harvest this year. A journalistic balancer to the disastrously low crop of cotton and rice due to failing Murray Darling river system.

And who can blame the Big Meeja for wanting some light relief. It's been a doozy of an 8 week stretch. Not to mention the very real threat of dangerous climate change bearing down on all those coastal mortgage economies. We need our sleep more than ever.


Postscript #1:

- late entry Nunnery doubles as marijuana plantation | The Courier-Mail, and the rivals are fully into the 'spirit' too Holy smoke! Cannabis found in nunnery - Breaking News - World ...

and on the silly season goes, with a vengeance ....

- The World Today - Family's shock after canoeist returns after 5 years, but there is talk about insurance fraud, and hurried trips by the spouse to Central America. Chalk another one up to Big Meeja funny business.

Posted by editor at 5:30 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007 5:53 PM EADT
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
Default judgement in NSW Supreme Court against Chinese Commerce Minister
Mood:  sharp
Topic: human rights



The Falung Gong lobby have sent through this irritant to the 2008 Beijing Olympics PR machine with a local legal twist:

Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 8:41 AM
Subject: Torture case Won Against Chinese Commerce Minister in Supreme Court

I am writting to forward you this recent news: Torture case Won Against Chinese Commerce Minister in NSW Supreme Court.
Please read the news below, and see the Judement Order from the case 11474/06.
It is a significantly victory of human rights and justice.
I send you this as I think you might be interested in this important news.
Also, you may be interested in the current event of Global Human Rights Torch Relay videos:
or search HumanRightsTorch for more information.
(For information of what is Falun Dafa (Falun Gong), please visit
http://falundafa.org, different languages are available for option;
for information of why CCP persecutes Falun Gong, please visit
http://TheEpochtimes.com or http://ninecommentaries.sohnetwork.comm
for "9 comments on CCP")

Thank you. 


On Monday (5/11/07), the Supreme Court of NSW issued a default judgement against Chinese Minister of Commerce,
Mr BO Xilai recognising his failure to provide a defense for the torture case brought against him by
Sydney Falun Gong practitioner and Chinese labour camp survivor, Mr PAN Yu.

This is the first won in a case against Bo Xilai, 58, who had been sued in over ten countries, including the USA,
the UK, Canada, Germany, and Ireland for his role in the persecution Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Bo was served a Statement of Claim in person on 4 September 2007 in Canberra prior to the APEC forum. 

Another two similar cases are in the Supreme Court of NSW and are progressing towards similar judgements against
former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, the 6-10 ´Gestapo-like´ office and its head Chen Shaoji. 

"This is a win not only for all Chinese people and Falun Gong practitioners, but also a potent reminder of the
currently opposing legal sytems between Australia and China, as still to this day, no lawyers in China are allowed
to take on such cases. We are another step closer to the event of the perpetrators of the persecution of Falun Gong
in China being brought to justice at an international level," said Mr Newton XU, legal assistant for the case.

"As soon as the [40,000 watt electric] baton would make contact [with] me, I would lose control of my bodily functions,
rendering me incontinent. They also applied the electric baton to my face and my head, which made me feel as 
though I wanted to die, but I would just hold on. In the end, they applied the baton to the most sensitive spot on my
inner leg. The pain was indescribable," said Mr PAN in a testimony of his ordeal. 
As Governor of Liaoning Province in 2000, Bo Xilai played a pivotal role in the campaign of eradication directed against
Falun Gong practitioners. The persecution of Falun Gong in Liaoning is severe, with at least 373 known cases of deaths
of Falun Gong practitioners confirmed - the fourth highest of Falun Gong deaths in Chinese provinces. Liaoning also houses
the Longshan Forced Labour Camp and other labour camps where some of the most brutal human rights violations aimed at
Falun Gong have taken place.

Posted by editor at 10:24 AM EADT
T-card farce, new Iron Cove bridge, CBD poor amenity: The problem is not technical
Mood:  irritated
Topic: nsw govt

The transport tragedies in Sydney were inevitable from the time of the M2 motorway in 1994-6 onwards (we were arrested opposing treefelling at Devlin's Ck). We hear about:

Media Release
4 December 2007

Greens urge Premier Iemma to scrap Iron Cove Bridge upgrade

Greens MP and transport spokesperson Lee Rhiannon has called on Premier
Morris Iemma to scrap the $150 million upgrade plan for the Iron Cove
Bridge upgrade and to remove Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal as the key
driver of this project.

“The RTA expansion plan for the Iron Cove Bridge will deliver more
gridlock and air pollution. It should be scrapped,” Ms Rhiannon said.

“Premier Iemma needs to downgrade the role of the RTA to ensure local
and city wide sustainable transport solutions are created.

“The Iron Cove Bridge upgrade is only one part of the RTA’s grand
but dangerous plan that envisages more motorways and tunnels for the
inner west and Port Botany.

“In the era of climate change and peak oil major city road expansion
plans are highly irresponsible.

“Any bridge improvement needs to be integrated with plans to reduce
traffic on Victoria Road and that means better facilities for
pedestrians, bike users and public transport commuters.
“The government’s Iron Cove Bridge expansion plan has already
increased in costs by one third and the complexity of the project
indicates that the final costs could be even greater than the latest
figure of $150 million.

“This money should be put into a light rail service travelling from
the city under Victoria Road to Parramatta. This service would take tens
of thousands of cars off the road and reduce travel time to Parramatta
to 20 minutes,” Ms Rhiannon said.

For more information – Lee Rhiannon - 0427 861 568

We hear about:

NSW Tcard by 2009, contractors vow - Breaking News - Business ...

We hear about

Iemma says city plan uncosted 

We hear about

Port Botany winner an ALP donor - National - Home - brisbanetimes ...

The 'Public-Private-Partnership' revolving door between Big Politics and Big Business for road construction and operator profits has gutted the political and bureaucratic classes in NSW and Australia. There are no government champions or leaders in ethical transport. There are plenty outside of govt but its all flapping gums.

Ex unionists, ex MP's, financiers etc. NRMA fops and spivs. They all rejoice at the intensification of the private car fleet because they are personally enriched, and air pollution for little people be b*ggered. NSW Govt really is as corrupt as this.

The problems of transport congestion and air pollution in Sydney is deeply misconceived as a technical problem. The big parties are playing you dear reader, idealist and apathetic alike, for mugs.

All the motorway expansion M2, Eastern Distributor, M5, M7 etc has the public chasing it's tail over lost city amenity. Those damn Critical Mass cyclists are the only ones with any integrity in this tragedy of public interest.

It's straight out big money politics to destroy the public transport competition for corporate car based revenue dollars. It's as simple as that. Corrupt duopoly major party politics. Keep voting Green Party.

Posted by editor at 9:31 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007 9:59 AM EADT
Koperberg takes an enforced holiday as bushfire season approaches
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: nsw govt

Imre Salusinszky of The Australian is chatting to Trioli on abc 702 radio this morning. It's all about 'Phil' Koperberg Minister for Minister for Climate Change Environment and Water. He's been stood aside over 20 year old allegations of violence. Looks grim for big K:

New enemies knife Koperberg

New enemies knife Koperberg

TWO more people have come forward to accuse tainted Labor star Phil Koperberg of wife-bashing - not his ex-wife and stepdaughter - as Morris Iemma's credibility lies in tatters over the scandal.

(It was curious to hear Imre refer to "trainwrecks" and "house of cards" which sound familiar terms to us from recent articles on other diverse political stories here on SAM. Methinks the old Imre has been slumming it at the down market blog (?). After all who do wonks have to talk to?)

Of interest is Adam Spencer on 702 deferring to Trioli coverage of the issue. He's perceived as too friendly to the ALP by some. Revealing too that Trioli pitches to Imre not Simon Benson (with an arguably friendly story to the big K in the News Ltd Daily Telegraph sister paper to Imre's The Australian yesterday).

Last Sunday we theorised about some of the angles,

- from Coaliition revenge on the Left Sisters over their Ernie awards post federal election loss, Prue Goward MP Opposition spokes on status of women would be up for it, no doubt.

- Or simply to damage K's 'go to' status with the bushfire season approaching being a legendary Bushfire commissioner previously. This has real potential to damage good governance in NSW.

The claims in the press today are that it's in house ALP power games, which is highly consistent also with post federal election quarrantining of brand ALP from scandal, which would backfire on any ALP aligned source pre election. Who really knows?

We still tend to think Koperberg is essentially a good man, while noting good people may conceivably do bad things in their past. Other than that we can't say what is fact in this specific case or in NSW politics very much generally, it's that kind of 'Hunter S Thomson' kind of milieu, surreal and dangerous all at once with the capacity to corrupt .... even the well intentioned observer if not very cautious. This was our take out last Sunday:

- Koperberg gets a big media kicking today in the press as a proxy for Iemma from News Ltd, not least as we head in to the fire season, always the big story from December onwards. K is the ALP's bushfire go to man. Could be an ugly strategy of the state Coalition to pick off K's credibility wings re climate change in causing mega fires as here on Robin Williams Science Show yesterday, so the loggers/National Party can avoid accountability for destroying humid canopies which are fire suppressant across huge areas of old growth this last 40 years of woodchipping in NSW. And coal miners won't mind an emasculated Koperberg either after his 'clean coal' honesty/backflip. This so called "shock" story in fact is a reheating of an alleged domestic violence story from ......1987? Are they going to go back to his high school days too? We are literally talking 20 years ago. For all we know the man might be a closet Budhist by now?

 As serious as domestic violence is there just isn't enough weight or nexus to his current public service to kick this along. Maybe if he was minister for DOCS or Status of Women (never likely), or even Health. [We notice Iemma is sticking by him on abc tv prime time news tonight and he runs some of these lines and that he has declared much of this previously at his pre selection.]


On further reading and reflection there is another real politik angle to this: Selective (?) outrage of the ALP Left sisterhood a la the Ernies, admittedly based on a dinosaur unionist but more recently a misconceived (?) attack on Joe Hockey ex federal Howard Govt minister which greatly annoyed the Shrek (for claimed disrespect to his hard working wife but actually a failure he says to note the irony in his tone.) Is this attack on the Big K a revenge on the Left Sisters for saying nothing about an AVO in their own NSW Cabinet? In any case it is trench warfare emotional violence (or as Christian Kerr would call it "wet work") and a very corrosive acid on the social fabric, not just the Big Parties, especially in the fraught territory of personal morality amongst career politicians. They are hardly known for consistency one week to the next let alone decade to decade.

Posted by editor at 8:58 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007 9:26 AM EADT

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