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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Public energy: Keating, Easson fail to declare financial conflict in Big Media, ABC today?
Mood:  down
Topic: nsw govt

As best we can tell Paul Keating has failed to adequately declare his direct financial conflict of interest in the public energy sale plan going to NSW caucus, as has the Sydney Morning Herald generally in his opinion piece today about public energy assets. This guy and Michael Easson are talking their corporate book. It's an outrageous breach of journalistic standards to downplay this reality:

Stephen Mayne has the story, as did the AFR previous to him: [bold,  text sizing added]

Crikey - Conflicts aplenty in NSW power privatisation debate ...

However, no one has yet mentioned the conflicts of interest involved, especially for key players such as Paul Keating and Bernie Riordan.

Riordan has a double act as ALP President in NSW and secretary of the Electrical Trades Union. He’s the Dean Mighell of NSW but rather than being expelled by the ALP he’s President of the whole show.

Riordan is a solid lefty who has led the campaign against energy privatisation. But how can a bloke who represents a special interest group known as electricity workers dictate the policies of government as they relate to those same workers?

Riordan’s conflicts go to the very heart of the ALP’s gerrymandered structure which guarantees unions 50% of the votes at party forums, irrespective of how many members the unions or the party has.

The heavily conflicted Riordan is exploiting that gerrymander for all it’s worth right now when surely the ALP would have a code of conduct that prevents individual union leaders influencing party policies that relate directly to their industry.

Such a conflict would raise plenty of eyebrows in the corporate world. Then again, this is NSW and Riordan’s left wing supporters point to conflicts amongst his right wing pro-privatisation critics.

The biggest is this: Should Paul Keating be holding meetings with Unions NSW secretary John Robertson and Riordan when he is the international chairman of Lazard Carnegie Wylie, the advisory house which landed the lucrative energy privatisation gig with the NSW Government?

John Wylie is Australia’s leading energy privatisation exponent, as you can see from this list of power deals over the past 15 years.

He led the $30 billion worth of energy sector privatisations for Jeff Kennett and his old firm CS First Boston collected more than $100 million in fees. Wylie’s share is thought to have been well over $20 million.

Wylie left CS First Boston to establish the boutique adviser Carnegie Wylie with his old Oxford mate Mark Carnegie shortly after Kennett lost office. They then came together with Lazard last year which was led in Australia by Paul Keating’s long-time mate Mark Burrows.

If Keating stands to personally profit from NSW belatedly following Jeff Kennett’s lead, then surely he shouldn’t be using his ALP connections to get involved in the lobbying ahead of Saturday’s conference.

In the interests of full disclosure, perhaps the parties should place all the cards on the table. What is the nature of Lazard Carnegie Wylie’s contract with the NSW Government and what is the nature of Paul Keating’s contract with Lazard Carnegie Wylie?

Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au, submit them anonymously here or SMS tips and photos to 0427 TIP OFF.



Here is Michael Easson - a long time out of the NSW union movement - and deeply in the construction and property side of the industry, none of this declared on ABC 702 morning show at 7.15 am, or a letter published in the Herald today:


Pentacle Property Funds Management - Board Of Directors 

Mr. Michael Easson, Non-executive Director

Michael has professional experience across a broad range of industries, is the founder and chairman of the EG Property Group as well as currently a business consultant to Allens Arthur Robinson Lawyers. Michael's directorships include ING Real Estate, InTech, Stadium Australia Management Limited, ACT Electricity and Water (where he is deputy chairman). Michael is a former director of Macquarie Infrastructure Investment Management Limited, the managers of the Macquarie Infrastructure Group.



Posted by editor at 9:16 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 May 2008 10:56 AM NZT
Sunday, 4 May 2008
Sunday tv talkies: PM to help Premier Iemma as ALP NSW conference reject him on energy 7-1?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: aust govt

NSW Treasuer, for now, Michael Costa.

Author’s general introductory note (skip this bit 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 backgrounders


Refer penultimate post. Also Future of Journalism conference.


9 Sunday 7.30 – 9.30 am


Features prefaced, news roundup relegates public energy. Good feature on bulk retailer Cosco, bigger version of Aldi but also like what Campbells were but this one open to the public.


Story about hot street cars ‘their side of the story’.


Coulthard feature on Dr Reeves – grim, looking more and more like a sociopath in professional garb. Scary. Deaths of patients. Escalating crime investigation.


Adbreak is expensive spin advert by NSW govt promoting this website waterislife.nsw.gov.au which is a PR rerun of the 2002-3 electioneering agenda “It’s a living thing” fronted by Christine Anu to run effective interference on damning critique of Carr failings on the environmental promises made and broken. A premier who had run out of puff on sustainability.


Laurie Oakes interview with Robert Ray retiring building on Saturday telegraph column interesting 6 years as taxi driver, great life education, looks like he’s in grieving a little, but truth is he’s been out of the top level of power for maybe 4 years now:


Factional daleks speech – must expand it’s pool of talent. Numbers man is needed but must have wide range of talent still. Leaving national executive, left 8 years, called back 6 times. Leaving to such as Arbib. Re NSW public power assets. Synchronisation of party and membership and parliamentary party. Very difficult issue. Politics is not all bliss. Centralised distribution not generation is his view. Won’t damage Rudd, doubt wreck NSW govt. Would’ve 40 – 50 years ago. Does the national executive have power to over rule state conference. Can over rule but only if contradicts national platform. Both points of view have strongly been argued. A Govt can’t completely ignore its party.  Compare various Prime Ministers. Great in different ways.  Rudd cabinet similar in Hawke re consensus on many things. Keating invective as treasurer done without malice. 5th columnist approach in late 1991. Not so inspired by Keating. Main enemy was inside. Hawke could have won.


Why support Rudd over Beazley. Not certain but more likely. Missing generations never get to serve scared him. Beazley 1996 took on the job thinking he would never be PM. Politics is partly cyclical. Same for Brendan Nelson.


Regarding Rudd - Be aware of problem of hubris, don’t talk about natural party of govt. Get out of currency. Always be available. Not indulge in generational jealousy.







10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


Press round up Iemma leaves conference with Costa shouting at delegates who vote against him. Sounding hysterical. [lead story SMH also very damaging, displaying strong investigative journalism parallel with Future of Journalism conference].


Mal Turnbull is the talent – 700 to 100 – huge margin, why call it on. He is a broken premier. In office to 2011. Rudd backed Iemma “very strongly” as much a rejection of Rudd. Work in progress for a long time. Politics is art of persuasion – got to think again. Turnbull leaving to OFarrell leave to his judgement. As a matter of principle generality these businesses owned by the private sector. As a citizen and shareholder looks like a distressed seller. Kennett sold at the top of the market. Selling at the bottom of the market.


Chat about baby bonus debate re middle upper class welfare. Etc. Federal budget 9 days away.


Out take first adbreak is Troy Buswell re stock standard ALP emotional violence attack about character. How senior ALP minister exposed as involved with Bourke Inc is not higher in the news is a mystery to this writer as tacky as Buswell admit to have acted.


Panel – Jennifer Hewitt Australian News Ltd, Glenn Milne ditto. Grab from Tony Abbott. Cult of St Kevin. Lucky not leader, Turnbull glinty smile says yes, due loyalty on parade for Nelson. By election in Gippsland. Prefers to not be a “commentator”. “We should hold that seat”.


Internal grassroots democracy in Lib Party etc. ‘Empower’ is very important. About leader maybe not. Healthy debate.


Economy, inflation is a problem over 4%. Agrees. Good question by JH but also looking sharp and relaxed in answer.


JH asks “Good news politician” now?




Carr fronts MTP 10 as well on the pretext of books segment and no one speaks about that.

It's all about public energy assets. Carr gobbles up the attention in his relevance deprivation syndrome - the man who said the internet was irrelevant to politics no less in 2005-6. Carr urges Iemma drive it through - like cannon fodder for Big Business which is Carr's meal ticket and loyalty to Macquarie Bank on $500K per year.

His advice is totally unsafe. Carr laps up commentary role on Premier Iemma's policy issues. Carr conceds Obama huge fundraising on net, in other words Carr got it WRONG. Alot of talk about donations as per excellent donations story front SMH yesterday (how investigative journalism is done).

Carr talks about forcing police royal commission - really John Hatton (Independent) leveraging Carr's desperate ambition but he didn't really want to do it. Claims education and health capital works programme. Also claiming vindication - on carbon trading scheme.

Not one question about books. How bogus Carr is.

Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.




Riley Diary 7, 8.35 am


Looks like on holidays again, or different time slot? Usually at 8.35 am.







Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Casssidy leads in with federal budget when the big news surely is the rebuke to Iemma on privatization. Seems curious lead in. Valid though regarding budget in 9 days. Compare MTP lead in.


Sunday papers – re federal budget Meglo Herald Sun, Sunday Age.  5 minutes in and no mention of public power $15B issue. [this is very poor editorial focus]. Ripp off of Obama marketing song re Rudd.


Bolt on unions “dictating” to govt. “Just insane”, that’s the take out for the public says Misha. Wrong.


Emma Griffiths abc tv back from Russia, Iemma left the building, and Costa. Mussolini style flurry, shouted and jeered. More about clash of egos. His ego’s versus everyone else. Iemma crushed in the middle. Morning after, night before. Waiting to hear how Iemma will respond. Damage, opponents in party, and outside the party will exploit. Classic lose lose situation.


Wayne Swan federal budget. No question lead in about NSW power. General discussion on national issues.


Morris Iemma situation, Labor caucus will meet later this week. Iemma should be admired, not finally resolved for a few days. Entirely for the NSW caucus and their leader.


Paul Kelly blah. Meglo struggling to find narrative in this budget. Bolt duly skeptical too.


Discuss Liberal leadership re Nelson sucking up the pain. Press keen for change. Bolt not keen on Turnbull, as not ready.’ Refer to Rudd in Time 100.


Costa footage going like a vaudeville mad man at the microphone, which is “ugly” given he is treasurer and meant to be an authority figure. Totally unsuited to the job. Meglo says the vote 7-1 was about who is unfit to govern. [Cassidy is quite clearly pro privatization of the public’s energy assets. ]


Winnie the Pooh images at campaign headquarters for libs last federal election.


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

Posted by editor at 12:00 PM NZT
Wentworth Courier in $ydney's eastern suburbs on public energy
Mood:  energetic
Topic: nsw govt


This cover story image above reflects the significant Liberal Party opposition to the sell off. It might be opportunistic. It might be sincere. But the ALP rump led by Iemma claim that the Liberal Party are universally for the sale may be as shaky as their grip on control of the ALP Government itself and the merits case for the sell off policy which was defeated by about 700 to 106 on the ABC tv news last night.

The Carr-Iemma image in yesterday's Saturday Telegraph is from the 2020 Summit gathering only 2 weeks prior showing their real big business alliance. All the same Morris Iemma is looking personally fairly relaxed. Our impression/speculation this is a man who misses his young kids and won't mind if the job is taken off him. If he goes, his kids will surely be better off for it, like young Nathan Albanese/Tebbutt. And if Morris steps down Costa will go too.

By our reckoning former leader Debnam above (who lost his own privatisation policy election and seems to have duly adjusted his thinking), and former NSW attorney general John Dowd (Liberal Party) have both publicly declined the sale policy now. Mal Turnbull on MTP 10 this morning has similarly praised the theory and stood off the practicality of "a distressed seller".

We also notice in terms of commercial tv coverage both Ch9 and 7 are not covering this story as nearly as prominently as the ABC or SunHerald Fairfax today:

Iemma loses power battle Premier Morris Iemma suffered an embarrassing defeat in his bid to settle power privatisation dispute.

Carr fronts MTP 10 as well on the pretext of books segment and no one speaks about that. Following is real time comment typing:

It's all about public energy assets. Carr gobbles up the attention in his relevance deprivation syndrome - the man who said the internet was irrelevant to politics no less in 2005-6. Carr urges Iemma drive it through - like cannon fodder for Big Business which is Carr's meal ticket and loyalty to Macquarie Bank on $500K per year. In other words Carr is talking his book, not the ALP's best interests.

His advice is totally unsafe. Carr laps up commentary role on Premier Iemma's policy issues. Carr conceds Obama huge fundraising on net, in other words Carr got it WRONG. Alot of talk about donations as per excellent donations story front SMH yesterday (how investigative journalism is done).

Carr talks about forcing police royal commission - really John Hatton (Independent) leveraging Carr's desperate ambition but he didn't really want to do it. Claims education and health capital works programme. Also claiming vindication - on carbon trading scheme.

Not one question about books. How bogus Carr is.

Posted by editor at 9:21 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 4 May 2008 10:40 AM NZT
Monthly readership figures for SAM micro news site April 2008
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media

As they say in business and government 'if you don't measure it you can't manage it'. Here is our April (to May 3rd inclusive) pageviews screenshot with trend figures and a little comment* below:

 * We peaked about April 30 2008 with 23K plus montly pageviews for April which has as much to do with reader figures around the same time of month for late March which presumably was quite high. So why the down swing to $19K plus? Well it could be variable content - though we feel it doesn't change in character or quality that much. Or it could be the niche audience (political folks media and party etc) majorly distracted with another event (say this weekend's NSW ALP conference, or indeed Future of Journalism conference hosted by the ABC et al). 

And there is another factor - the power of links: As explained at the FoJ conference a link at say Drudge in the USA skyrockets the web traffic for local News Ltd or Fairfax online operations but it's a shooting star effect (and of no commercial value either they say with USA readers beyond local advertisers catchment - though Time.com say it's good value to them). We don't suggest a Drudge link to SAM which would be fantasy but there may be a micro parallel going on locally with a link back to SAM from another prominent blog in March that we didn't get in late April.

As we always say, we have faith in growing readership from  discipline, endeavour, honest effort, natural creativity. That kind of thing. We don't believe in shooting stars. We do believe in turning up for work every day not least improved grammar and writing with practice. We feel okay about the trend line which does indeed go up.


Previous monthly reader pageview figures for 2007, 2008 verified by screen shot (web host provider monthly pageview account details) posted on or about 4th day of the month found in this thread:

  • April 08 - 19,250 
  • March 08 - 20,803 
  • February 08 - 13,109
  • January 08 -  19, 898
  • December - 11,627
  • November - 10,220
  • October - 9, 100 
  • Sept -  8,100 (roughly, no screenshot)
  • August - 8,845
  • July - 7475
  • June - 9675
  • May  - 9, 059
  • April  - 12,087
  • March  - 6,684
  • February - 5,372
  • January 07 -  2800 (3rd Jan - 3rd Feb 07)

Posted by editor at 8:54 AM NZT
Thursday, 1 May 2008
Future of Journalism conference in Sydney Australia #1
Mood:  chatty
Topic: big media


Picture (above):  A blurry Mark Scott managing director of ABC gives a lively opening speech alluding to power players Eric Beecher (Crikey etc) and David Kirk (Fairfax) in a cage fight, best man wins. Scott was 2nd off the block from Chris Warren of the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (ie journo union) but as you can see we had technical problems with his picture too.


As prefaced in our penultimate post we are no journalist though we have interacted with them a good 16 years now. This might help with reportage on their sector with our ngo, legal and science smarts.

We cycled into the registration desk at ABC building from Marrickville on our 150 year old technology which somehow seemed ironic given the online superhighway discussed for the rest of the day. In equal measure interest, fear and loathing it sounded to us.

We revealed our amateur status further by misjudging camera exposure on 'no flash' setting hence the blurry image above (with a somewhat artistic effect we feel). Actually we were overcompensating being nervous our flash would disrupt the tv cameramen but they assured later of no probs either way even if just sitting just behind them.

 Chris Warren as federal secretary of the journalist union noted the "frisson of unease" about the online changes and "pause" after job shedding at New York Times, and Newsweek of 100 in each case in the USA.

Mark Scott as MD of ABC launched straight away into 'where we report the news we don't make the news'. Resonating that - given power games regularly on display in the private sector. Referred to need for 'understanding between newsrooms and boardrooms' and "post proprietorial world" and challenge to find a 'sustainable [financial] model'.

[This echoed our side conversation with USYD academic Fiona Martin just prior.]

Scott reckons cost of Oz drama or telemovies at $1-2M per hour to make is a good parallel with cost of 'quality journalism under threat'. This industry sector run by media industry 'aggregators' are now 'fragmenting' and this is manifesting as 'market failure' which is a nice line for a publicly funded organisation holding out the hat to federal govt. It also rings true.

We found this a little confronting in the reflection stakes - given we at SAM are a fragmentary force here too one presumes - bringing legal, science and ngo skills, combined with vocational zeal, all out of Whitlam's free education of the 70-80ies.

On the other hand later on author/media analyst Meg Simons referred to the 'great gig traditonal media has been for so long'. The implication is that it has become vocationally flabby and needs to get its fitness regime back.

 Picture: Professor Jay Rosen doing a damn fine impersonation of Norman Jewison who directed pseudo dystopian (1970ies anti corporation/hegemonic) action thriller Rollerball. Made after the Munich Olympics (mid 70ies) in a disused (1936) Olympic venue in Germany. Talk about gutsy guy. Also made classic Fiddler on the Roof. Rosen's thesis is "migration" to the online future for the journalism profession "some are there already", some "don't want to go", not at all interested in 'the commercialisation of the emerging online sector' rather to study 'the problem'. Rosen had a charming tone of vindication/hubris/compassion/burning intellect and was a highlight by satellite with brightly lit Empire State Building behind.


Picture: Display by the Walkley organisation of 50 years of coverage of their profession with some very amusing covers, also sponsoring the 2 day conference with ABC and MEAA.

We owe an apology to Chris Warren for no picture here. We enjoyed his discussion/interview with 'Meg' Simons author of "Content Makers". Their Q & A threw up themes around 20C political economy shifting and media with it. MS pushed the notion 'the gift economy' online is here to stay [like this blogger on say 20K readers per month] as a feature of 'wealthy societies' [actually a feature of Aboriginal society for 60K years too] noting such as 'wikipedia based on kudos/satisfaction'. But such as these projects are 'not sufficient' though not going away given academics and others behind this action.

CW and MS noted the press in late 17C [eg pamphleteers in England?] were like bloggers today finding it 'fun and empowering' to give voice to their knowledge. True. Journo skills are still great value but not really trained up on 'having conversations and building community'.

[Quite right, more trained up on the infamous 'little betrayal' news gathering, and haughty disrespectful attitude mode of operation living high on the hog we feel.]

MS corroborates our comment just now with need to be 'more humble' in the profession and this theme is echoed by Scott and other captains [eg Uechtritz, possibly Reid] about the 'audience knowing more than the journo who then mediates these sources'. What is published is thus 'provisional' [and this 'evolving story construction dynamic' is teased out later, much like our little postscript device sometimes here on SAM].

The 'gatekeeper role is reduced'. Blogosphere is 'still derivative' to a large degree and there is still a great need for trade skill..

MS: 'Niche media will increase versus mass media, perhaps not even the main thing in future'. Crikey.com.au is an example of niche 'on a sustainable model'. CW noted localism has not been done well by the Big Media. Niches include buinsess ezines by Kohler/Bartho/Gottliebsen for 'insiders' like Crikey too. Also say technology specialties.

Interesting discussion of ABC taking steps to commission content - is this risky asks CW regarding separation of the state from the free press with increased dependence of the latter? MS refers to academic Phillip Myer view that not for profits will sustain standards until this massive transition is dealt with.

[This reflects directly the experience of New Matilda functioning via philanthropist, competing effectively with ABC's Unleashed, unleashed to the extent of being a great service and outlet to the 'Friends of the ABC' affinity but perhaps not really sufficiently independent of the ABC corporate self interest to as Scott has said 'manage and mediate the national conversation'. The implication is 'on our terms' as a job creation scheme.]

CW refers asks about ethics pressue? Yes, says MS must keep these to protect their media 'brand'. Refers to The Age internal frictions as systemic more than personalities. Rather more about 'the model'. Hopes for a negotiated outcome there and support for journalists there.

Amusing reference to Mark Day projecting his relations with Rupert onto MS relations with her boss/employer Eric Beecher. MS notes News Ltd may be overtaking Fairfax now online.

We wanted to ask in the question time how Simons felt in hindsight about declining the federal govt invite to participate at the 2020 Summit, maybe we will in person today. She did mention the mushrooming significance of social networking sites, and Chris Nash and academic (from UQ) highlighted the temporal disjunction, that is previously decades to manage revolutions in platform ('radio and tv still happening' says MS) compared with 'financial urgency now'. [This all sounded like the Chinese leader response to the French Revolution being an experiment still in progress. Talk about philosophical perspective.]

[7 more pages of notes to follow roughly with these pictures below, time to get on the 150 year old technology to enjoy day 2].


Picture: Battleship, or is that fully armed navy frigate, Margaret Simons (Simmons?) talks to former UK editor and now 'for media' blogger at The Guardian there, union member 43 years (resigned over demarcation 'farce' of UK unions). Pithy, alternatively bouncy and gloomy, veteran long view, with a hint of crust (!?).

Picture: Cover from about 2005 - the industry saw the future, and this writer having northern European maybe viking in the genes, and blogger, was amused by this metaphor. Indeed we were pretty much 'the enemy' in some ways in the conference, albeit friendly and on good behaviour rations. 

Picture: Wise owls to borrow a phrase Quentin Dempster (ABC), John Cokley (UQ), Eric Beecher (Crikey.com.au), Trevor Cook ('Corporate Engagement')

Picture: Another profound cover. Online is 'as profound as the printing press' says Simmons and others because at low cost one can publish to the whole world the first time in human history. 'This inevitably will bring systemic change - just as the printing press created the journalism profession.' 

 Picture: These guys are the online "conquistadors" from one (cynical?) perspective as online editorial for News Ltd, Fairfax, Ninemsn interviewed by Dominique Schwartz at right (ABC SA). Two at left were in particular very understated and impressive in their tone and 3rd from left no slouch either. Presented like De Castellas running a marathon every day, hardly a layer of fat on them (like Beecher too above and Campbell Reid below). We commented to another in the audience 'hope they get paid alot because they look like whippets' - cross referencing SMH TV Guide article a fortnight back about US based bloggers stuck on 24 hour obsessive work schedule from home on 5 figure incomes dying of heart attacks. Whoa - it's supposed to be a fun vocation here, not death.


Picture above: As reported in press recently and noted on ABC TV Insiders, Cheryl Kernot is back in Australia post Rudd election. But here she is on a cover back in 1997-8 or so after expose she'd had the mother of all conflicts of interest having bedded a former ALP Minister while in another political party.

 Picture above from left: Hard men all. Campbell Reid (News Ltd), Max Uechtritz (former ABC, NineMSN), Mark Scott (ABC MD), Roy Greenslade (The Guardian, ex editor Daily Mirror). Interviewed in turn at right by very accomplished, brainy Helen Dalley of Sky News (previously Nine).

Picture: A young David Brill still reporting in 2008, recently from India on Free Tibet democracy protesters on SBS Dateline. That's one hell of a career David. Great report from Darfur too in recent months.

Posted by editor at 11:22 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 November 2008 8:25 AM EADT
Future of journalism - is non journalists too?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media


We are off to the Future of Journalism event partly hosted by the ABC and other big wigs in the journalism profession. We even shaved.

We at SAM blog on 20K readers per month (down 3K overnight - damn!) are not journalist trained. But we are enthusiastic, with legal and science smarts. And we are likely part of the future as a committed blog slogger some 5 years in one form or another.

Gratitude to ABC News Marketing for the nod. We will do our best to justify the entry with constructive attendance and faithfull feedback back to the slogosphere. In other words no disruptions to Big Mark Scott or similar VIP presentations. God forbid. It's enough for us to wear Glen Milne on our T-shirt as per crikey.com.au promo fame.

Here are more details here;

The Future of Journalism summit

How will quality journalism survive will be the question on everyone's minds when some of the leading news media experts gather in Sydney next month for a landmark summit on the digital revolution.

The Future of Journalism is hosted by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance and The Walkley Foundation at the ABC's Eugene Goossens Hall at its Ultimo headquarters on May 1 and 2.

Guest speakers will include Roy Greenslade, the provocative media writer for the UK's Guardian newspaper, and Michael Elliott, the International Editor of Time Magazine.

Giving the Australian perspective will be online entrepreneur Eric Beecher, new media guru Margaret Simons, Google Australia's Karim Temsamani and a cohort of senior journalists and academics.

Subjects under discussion will include economic models for the survival of journalism, citizen journalism, the integrated newsroom, the future direction of advertising revenues, what makes "digital natives" tick and Search Engine Optimisation and its implications for quality journalism.

The summit will break new ground in the discussion of the changing media landscape in Australia.

According to Eric Beecher, it is long overdue.  "Why, when almost everyone in journalism in other self-respecting democracies is talking about almost nothing else, is there no substantial discussion about the future of journalism in Australia?"  He has written in the current issue of The Walkley magazine.

The Future of Journalism is an Alliance initiative and will comprise the Sydney summit, followed by a series of state-based roadshows through the year, and an ongoing research and training program which will roll out over the next 12 months and aims to equip Australian journalists for the pace of change that is affecting the news industry.

"Today's journalists are living the digital revolution everyday of their working lives," said Alliance federal secretary, Chris Warren.  "This is a conversation the industry needs to have if we are to prosper through the years ahead.  The time has come for co-operative thinking and an industry-wide approach to research and training.

"The Alliance, in partnership with The Walkley foundation and in co-operation with the leading journalism schools and our major media organisations, is well positioned to provide that leadership."

Posted by editor at 9:24 AM NZT
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Austrian tragedy imitates Oz arthouse movie Bad Boy Bubby?
Mood:  sad
Topic: world

We were a little freaked out by this art house 1993 movie by Australian director Rolf de Heer we watched several years ago. Now we are hearing of life of this awful abuse case in Austria tragically imitating art: As explained by wikipedia

Bad Boy Bubby (1993 Port Adelaide, Australia) is a black comedy and drama film written and directed by Rolf de Heer. It stars Nicholas Hope and Carmel Johnson.

Bubby became notorious for pushing the boundaries of good taste with its strong scenes featuring violence, incest and atheism amongst other taboo topics. In the UK it was cut for cruelty to a cat.[1] The film was released on DVD in April 2005 by the Blue Underground company, and a special Two Disc Collectors' Edition was also released in June 2005 by Umbrella Entertainment.

Image:Bad boy bubby.jpg

YouTube clip here (adult themes, pretty confronting)



Posted by editor at 6:10 PM NZT
Open file policy at Waverley Council in the great freedom of information struggle
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: legal

Building on a 702 abc story today about access to local government files, Waverley Local Government Area does set the standard with an "open file" policy. We can confirm our recollection of that from time as a councillor Bondi ward 1995-99. And we think Waverley can be duly proud of that culture. As the planning duty officer told us: "Isn't that how it's done everywhere?". Sadly no.

We will add alot more about the interesting history later. We are advised by the planning desk at Waverley the logistics now are a $75 processing fee and 2 week turn around from storage. Previously up to 1999 the files were kept in the same building (which has moved from Bondi Rd to Spring St in Bondi Junction) and staff would literally walk out and grab the file and bring it to the counter, no fee by the sound of it.

Query how this measures up with cost of a formal Freedom of Information request under that legislation.

Other councils are much less transparent and quite probably not as honest e.g. Hornsby.


The history of the open file policy relates to what Barbara Armitage (Waverley ALP Mayor till 1997 or so) used to refer to as the vanquishing of the "forces of darkness". Too true.

What she was referring to was a regime of gung ho developers under the stewardship of the Markhams as Mayor, a husband and wife team apparenty, which culminated in chief planner Don Stait having an adverse legal finding against him for corrupt behaviour. We recall one story told by Cr Norman Lee (RIP, father of Ben Lee, pop singer) that he had a muscle bound security guard in the public gallery for his own protection as the heat on the corrupt forces escalated in council meetings, Lee having been a strong ally of reformer Barbara Armitage.

The ALP thus removed control of the council from the Liberal Party ever since.

We have no doubt an open file policy subject say to narrow concerns of privacy, safety, and other common sense is closely aligned to honesty. That's why we feel quite nervous about other Local Govt areas with a default position of no access unless forced by say by FoI legal pressure.

Posted by editor at 11:50 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 30 April 2008 5:39 PM NZT
Local newsman Stephen Dupont's luck holds in Afghanistan
Mood:  lucky
Topic: big media

Front page in SMH today regarding rugged photographer Stephen Dupont and others. SD apparently was a contact of local leader Massoud, until the latter was assassinated by the Taliban just prior to 9/11. The killers in that case 9 Sept 2001 exploited a subterfuge posing as foreign media with bomb in camera (and we heard more recently that Massoud's ego might have made him reckless given the ethnicity of the fake 'media' was a real warning).

Here is our retrospective of that exhibition June 2007, with a sample of many other pictures at this link:

Tuesday, 26 June 2007
Stephen Dupont's lovely photographs on show at Redfern gallery till July 14th
Mood:  smelly
Topic: culture

Picture: Stephen Dupont photographer (centre left) is framed by a pregnant Liz Tardic of SBS Dateline [we first met supporting the Timbara gold mine protests in 2000 including our donation of some $2K for expert's airline ticket from USA] last Saturday afternoon at Byron McMahon Gallery, 88 George St Redfern, and in turn by the SAM news reporter's camera.

Posted by editor at 11:13 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 30 April 2008 5:45 PM NZT
Monday, 28 April 2008
Premier Iemma's one billion $ consolation prize in privatisation struggle with unions?
Mood:  bright
Topic: nsw govt

As written on many previous occasions we here at SAM don't support privatisation of an essential services like energy assets and we think dangerous climate change increases that imperative not weaken it with union social capital/goodwill/co-operation, and expertise even more a premium for essential industry restructuring.

On the other hand we strongly support sale of the $1 billion public plantation estate out of the hands of the corrupt anti science state forestry bureaucracy. This will cut off the secretive cross susbsidies from that profitable sector into the loss making native forest woodchip sector which is a glorified mechanism for devastation of public heritage (and carbon storage) facilitating privitisation of the land ... for more plantations for private profit. It is a dirty racket (as implied by the cross party 1990 Public Accounts Committee -  NSW Parliament - report of 1990 into the NSW Forestry Commission) that must stop in a carbon constrained 21C political economy.

In this respect we copy again this previous article here on SAM and sister operation Ecology Action:

Plantation sell off in NSW for $1 billion in public revenue?


  • ................................................

    This email below responded to an article the same day in the Daily Telegraph renewing speculation on a sell off by the Carr government.

    From: ecology action
    Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 1:49 PM
    Subject: support for conditional sale of NSW $1 billion plantation asset

    For the record this author strenuously opposed privatisation of the NSW electricity assets in 1997:

    - as a real essential service that should be in public ownership, unlike the plantation estate
    - which would lead to monopolisation effects at the expense of massively increased costs for poor consumers as happened in the UK. There is no consumer benefit in public operation of the plantation estate. On the contrary it will benefit the consumer to have plantation timber replacing native forest timber.

    This writer has also worked for various peak groups on forest conservation since 1992 including Total Environment Centre under Milo Dunphy, The Wilderness Society with director Karenne Jurd, and Friends of the Earth in Sydney, and represented the NSW Greens 1995-1999 at local government level.

    On reflection I do not find the objections of some in the green movement, though arguable, to be pursuasive particularly on the broader ecological strategy for reform of forestry in NSW given the 'land baron' trail of destruction in the hands of the State Forests in collaboration with the pro woodchipping NSW division of the logging union since at least the mid 1970's and even earlier.

    This author has no party affiliation for five years.

    Your truly,

    Tom McLoughlin, principal ecologya action sydney
    Backgrounder early 2005
    The traditional (and we say ignorant) opposition to sale of the public plantation estate (eg The Green Party) is that the private sector are less partial to environmental regulation in how they operate these plantations compared to the government. But that's a pretty hard comparative case to argue when the public sector does such as this below just over the border in East Gippsland in active collusion with the NSW Govt support for woodchip mill at Eden in NSW:
    Picture: file picture taken from this website 
    And this again by the NSW Govt licensing at Badja, NSW South Coast:

    Then when you consider the logging of these public forests thus trashed are at a financial loss, dependant on the profitable plantation revenue to break even, then it becomes obvious the best way to cut off the money financing the vandalism is to remove the plantation asset out of the hands of the systemically corrupt state govt logging agencies. We say corrupt because they are effectively conspiring to transform public forest into plantation for private profit with or without actual land tenure using public revenue to keep their jobs in a loss making enterprise (native forest logging). Better to ban native forest logging altogether and transfer profitable plantation land tenure to private interests (at a healthy upfront price) subject to public environmental regulation just like every other agricultural crop and break the corrupt cross subsidy.
    Press release follows:
    Media release 15th Feb 2005

    $1 Billion public plantation asset sale* supported with conditions e.g. ban on woodchipping of native forests

    Ecology Action (Sydney) renewed its call for the Carr govt to keep its infamous 1995 promise to end native forest woodchipping by the year 2000 [see quote below], which is already 4 years overdue, as part of any sale of public plantation assets. The green group also called for strict regulation of sustainability issues for any new private owner.

    Principal of EAS Tom McLoughlin with 15 years experience as a conservation forest policy analyst both in the office and on the front line said

    “Up until now NSW public ownership of plantations has not prevented the now 130 log trucks a day into Eden’s woodchip mill, or woodchipper at Tea Gardens on the central coast. This eco destructive activity by State Forests in collaboration with the pro woodchip logging union in NSW is a financial loss making exercise grotesquely cross subsidized by the profitable plantation side of the business. This positive revenue has propped up a corrupt State Forests bureaucracy, and NSW Forestry Commission before it, acting as a land baron with scant regard for the public interest.

    “To cut this gross subsidy by realizing the plantation asset, while allowing for strict sustainability controls and employment and fire management issues, will be a positive for the environment and the funding of NSW public services like health, transport and education.

    “Secondly, if the NSW government are going to sell off this massive public asset, significantly downgrading public control, it must do the right thing by the environment and also ban native forest woodchipping forthwith according to its 1995 promise. Surveys regularly show 80% of electors across the board support this reform.”

    “It is also far preferable that the new owners are strenuous competitors with the native forest sector. This is best served by a company with no commercial investments in the industrial native forest sector. Otherwise we will see bogus competition instead of head to head replacement of dinosaur wood production from old growth and native forest logging generally. This highly mechanized activity promotes fires, damage to water catchments, ferals, weeds and loss of biodiversity”

    Mr McLoughlin concluded.

    More: Tom McLoughlin 0410 558838, ecologya@telpacific.com.au, t. 02-9599 8499

    * Refer page 16 ‘Chip off NSW block’ story in Street Talk column, Australian Financial Review 17th December 2003 referring to

    “The NSW Government could be a whole lot richer after a final report from adviser ABN AMRO recommended the sale of its plantation forest assets. The bulk of the assets are pine plantations spanning 205,807 hectares, with a book value of $1.07 billion, and 30,000 hectares of hardwood plantations.”

    ** In March 1995 Bob Carr was elected on this promise and I quote: “We will end export woodchipping by the year 2000”.

    For more on the slide in Bob Carr’s green credibility over woodchipping and other green issues since the 1995 election refer to [this web page]


    [Report and discussion paper dated 12/5/04]

    Privatisation of nsw plantations likely, disbanding of State Forests into other agencies critical, Green Party exaggerated ideology re non essential service? Possible sale conditions for domestic processing and other public concerns

    Tom McLoughlin, convenor ecology action Sydney 12th May 2004.

    The following is my report and now discussion paper after the event:

    Forum 11th May: Selling off NSW Timber Plantations
    6.30 pm Tuesday 11 May 2004
    [Waratah] Room, Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney

    Hosted by Greens MP Lee Rhiannon. Chaired by John Kaye, Greens NSW Lead Senate Candidate. Speakers: Dr Judy Clark, Forestry Expert, ANU, Craig Smith, Secretary, Forestry Division, CFMEU

    Comment re speakers and attendance

    The undoubted expertise of the first two speakers Clark and Smith was apparent with lots of statistics. The third speaker was Gerry Watt (tbc) the South East Forest coordinator for The Greens who was also good: Apparently retired teacher and organizer from the Teachers Federation with a good grasp of politics and economics though obviously ideological too. Gerry fully supports in principle opposition to privatization.

    Suzanne Russel, NSW spokesperson for the Greens on forestry and Ian Cohen proxy was in the audience as was 10 or so idealists from The Wilderness Society (TWS), general manager of Tumut council, Mayor of Tumbarumba, two councillors from Bombala. There were perhaps 30 people in the room – a good turnout and a hot issue.

    A cfmeu indusrial officer in the audience perhaps unwisely confirmed that ‘a cast of thousands’ of MP’s and ALP stakeholders were given a briefing on the privatization proposal of this ABN AMRO valued asset of a shade over $1B about 6 weeks ago and Gerry Watt said he had a copy of this ‘confidential’ report. TWS have said they understand it’s on within the next 3 months perhaps after the Federal election.

    I also noted the tone of voice of experience and indeed cynicism at question time of Russel regarding the anti conservation interests represented at the forum now cosying up to the Green Party in their quest for a unified anti privatization ticket similar to nsw electricity assets. Read below why that struggle is highly distinguishable. I noticed the seating arrangements of unionist with Rhiannon, and Russel quite separate. Rhiannon said Cohen was also anti privatization – I wonder. I notice Smith corroborated that there was no common ground on closure or relocation to Portland of SEFE/Daishowa. Smith also said the power brokers in the corridors of the ALP machine were thrashing this out right now.

    What they said

    First to say thankfully with all speakers the rhetoric factor was pretty low putting their strong points forward to a broad based audience. Rhetoric returned full bore in the question session.

    Judy Clarke unprompted promised to put her speech on the web – which web? Perhaps The NSW Greens NSW at: ….

    Craig Smith similarly said he would though again unclear how committed to this or where.

    All said they were against privatization [and TWS have similarly stated this as recently as Sat 8th May at campaigners forum Mystery Bay], though I still remain unconvinced and I notice another old head in the ngo conservaton movement seemed to agree with me there was an inordinate amount of special pleading as we walked away from Macquarie street last night. But why unconvinced? Read on.

    [also interestingly Tumut and Tumbarumba local govt Local Govt support signing of Kyoto for carbon credit trade.]

    : General economics and finances of nf woodchip cross subsidy

    As I heard and interpreted the speakers State Forests (SF) has 1.1 Mha as operational native forest land, with another 1.3Mha dedicated/informal reserves (Smith) with 207Kha softwood (sw) plantation (pl), 29Khardwood (hw) pl.

    That is 85Kha sw pl Tumut, 65Kh sw pl Tumbarumba, Monaro 35Kha sw pl Monaro (Bombala), Dorrigo 24Kha sw or hw?.

    Age classes of sw pl 0-14 yrs is 61Kha, 15-30 yrs 103Kha, 31 yrs+ 28Kha.

    But here is the fascinating information about sw pl cross subsidy propping up SF [and presumably the SF well known activities involving corrupt red neck empire building land control involving eco terrorism against forest fauna and conservationist defenders – end rhetoric]:

    Smith says its almost impossible to separate pl from native forest (nf) revenues on the SF balance sheet. Best estimates via Green Party (Kay, Watt) is $120-140 million revenue per year, and Smith says a [pitiful] $5M per year is paid to Treasury thus Kay asked where is this $120-140M going?

    [The clear implication is that its going to three places:
    - back into the hw pl establishment business
    - back into the sw pl business operational costs
    - cross subsidy of nf read woodchipping industry

    This third point needs to be teased out. The cross subsidy is basically funding for SF to control large tracts of land and regionally based equipment and all that implies for rural political influence re fire prevention etc. Ownership of plantation itself is not as socially influential across regions. Thus they can use plantation revenue which should be going into Treasury - to benefit all taxpayers -into their narrow policy games which include:

    - stealth conversion of nf to defacto hardwood plantation
    - ideological nf woodchipping (95% of trees in SENSW) with sawlog figleaf despite out competed by sw/hw pl

    Thus taxpayers collectively lose in several ways from SF ongoing control of 1.1Mha of operational nf (and probably higher given ‘informal reserves’ euphemism) re:

    1. onging loss of nf water catchment and biodiversity which properly belongs to all citizens. [This compounds the massive loss of environment from original plantation establishment in 1950’s onwards]
    2. large undefined fractions of sw pl revenue improperly directed to nf management and infrastructure and other costs means this income is lost to Treasury or even processing/ employment investment/development and landscape corrections in sw/hw pl estate. The irony is that money is directed to nf woodchipping for conversion to hw pl which must be exposed and stopped as corrupt, contrary to public interest.

    The best way forward probably is to break SF up as soon as possible and transfer staff to NPWS control or other agencies. This transfer will be necessary to keep up public service regarding fire safety and other matters of prime concern to communities and local government in those regions regarding social capital. However it is blatantly clear the objects of SF regarding nf wood production are now economically redundant thus failing to outweigh their dangerously contrary activities re water and conservation public interest and in fact involving siphoning off scarce funds for ethical pl industry and employment development in a bureaucratic survival strategy involving liquidation of a large chunk of our natural nf estate. ]

    Clark made some profound big picture points – the timber industry is the plantation industry (67% of all timber products plantation based). Plantation is mostly processed here and a big job generator unlike nf (read woodchips). From memory she said 80% of economic activity was pl 20% nf and thus ownership issue of the pl stockpile was more important than all the NSW Regional Forest ‘Agreements’ (RFA) put together.

    [By way of corroboration her graphs amplified the song I have been singing for ten years that plantations are the economic gorilla in the corner and were disgracefully ignored by the SE and NE RFA’s].

    Why is she against privatization? What I heard between shrill voices from the Chamber/corridors and voting bell was that in her view investment in processing is the main game for jobs and local economic benefits (I would like to check these points from her web posted speech).

    1. A sale now is the wrong time and means the buyer will export unprocessed logs or chips rather than increase and improve processing which is already very substantial (corroborated by Smith’s longish list of mills and plants).
    2. She said something about govt avoiding responsibility in processing investment (?)
    3. Also govt will lose chance to control policy over movement of loggers/transport workers etc from nf into a publicly owned industry.

    I tackle these points below. Smith similarly opposed privatization on the basis its wrong morally and debt in the nsw public budget is okay and will affect unionists with CFMEU, PSU, AWU. Local govt not on the speakers list said they would lose a lot of social services from SF if large chunks were privatized or it fell over.

    The ethical approach for conservationist non govt, non party political green groups focused on ecology.

    I can’t help noting that I have no knowledge of forest blockading or in situ forest activism of the two or three most prominent anti privatization Green Party representatives at the above forum ie Dr Kaye, Lee Rhiannon MLC or Gerry Watt. They clearly support forest conservation but probably have greater ideological commitment to public ownership/anti privatization.

    This author is also a member five years of the ASU too but with lots of forest activism.

    For green ngo’s as distinct from Party, why should conservationists care that the govt is not involved in pl wood business just as it is not appropriate for govt to run non essential industry sectors like beer, paint, food, cars, etc etc. This is not like the electricity sector and is not an essential service as such. A somewhat fraught resolution was passed at the south coast forest campaigner forum 8th May against privatization for which I too voted but the most experienced forest campaigners (say 5 of us) were mostly being diplomatic (re two wrongs don’t make a right) and were more committed to the resolution of restructure out of nf “regardless of ownership” also carried unanimously. I submit this latter remains the main game.

    Gerry Watt, SE Greens argues annual revenue (gross?) of $120-140M should not be lost as privatized windfall to corporates getting major profits after only say 10 years then forever. [I worked strenuously against privatization of the electricity sector in the late 1990’s which succeeded.] Yes there are public policy moral issues about loss of a great public asset, but what value is it when large fraction of the revenue is corruptly diverted to nf woodchipping land control/conversion agendas, and lost to reinvestment even in the plantation sector let alone the general budget of NSW? Frankly SF are siphoning the sw pl revenue into influence peddling that comes with large scale nf land control and destruction. The reality is revealed by the paltry $5M dividend to Treasury despite that massive annual revenue. Something is rotten here. At least with a divestment of the asset a large financial value is realized to the Treasury and the broad citizenry and the cross subsidy to nf woodchipping is broken.

    Gerry Watt also argues woodchipping increased in Victoria post sell off, but they didn’t have the 350 new national parks to foreclose on that depradation. But the point is well made. A sell off of sw/hw pl MUST include concurrent break up of a systemically corrupt SF control of public nf into other agencies.

    Smith/Union also counters that after sw/hw pl sell off the nf public estate would be next sell off. This doesn’t ring true as nf even in the hands of SF is critical public resource for water, biodiversity, recreation etc etc. That is a fight the public will win to keep its public forests distinct from non natural tree farms.

    Kay and Rhiannon and Greens generally argue loss of policy control means less chance of restructure of nf workers into a publicly owned pl sector. Sadly history proves this is wrong. Despite 50 years of plantation development no government has ever supported this overtly despite public ownership over that period, despite even Keating at one point saying this was the future and Button saying woodchipping is a “bastard”. History says they won’t support this though right without major change in political landscape like replacement of the social/political component of the SF function in regional and rual NSW. Which is quite do-able within govt umbrella.

    This concern MUST be dealt with by conditioning the sale to include mandatory redeployment of nf workers component on the buyer into that plantation sector.

    More serious objection to a sell off is Clark’s point that it’s the wrong time for job and local processing investment/development and that the buyer will realize new asset with low value export cashflow like whole log exports. This MUST also be subject of condition of sale regarding domestic processing and probably requires many kinds of industry, policy, legislative and economic measures and instruments that frankly are out of my league.

    Another important argument from Kay, Greens, is public ownership allows greater environmental policy control referring to sale of brown coal electricity generator in Vic leading to greater greenhouse and weaker political influence. However the argument is two edged. Govt financial interest in a sw/hw plantation may be a nasty conflict of interest. Witness Transgrid clearing of bushland along their transmission line in recent years. It may be govt less able to regulate in an even more direct corrupting financial influence than say political donations from corporates which at least are known for what they are. In other words there is no guarantee public ownership leads to better environmental performance. It still comes back to politics and public agitation and the law.

    Again any sale must be conditioned by serious environmental regulation concurrently and almost certainly legislatively post sale for ethical plantation management and with regional planning instruments as per recommendation of Commissioner Cleland into the Visy plantation and pulp mill Commission of Inquiry at Tumut for stage 2 of that project.

    Conclusion and strategy for green ngo’s

    Keep slamming the 1995 Carr promise to end nf woodchipping by 2000, 4 years broken. Carr must deliver to save his historical legacy and reputation on environmental policy. A former NSW MP Labor staffer asserted recently “Carr will go down as the worst premier in NSW history”. Not a pretty thought for any politician’s life work.

    Keep pushing for the above conditions to any plantation sell off for good public policy. At this point with these conditions privatization with concurrent break in the cross subsidy and disbanding of SF may well be in best interests of the environment.

    Alternatively done badly a wounded and smaller SF will escalate woodchipping like they did in Victoria with disastrous consequences for public nf over 1.1Mha (and probably more).

    Extract: Oz Forest & Woodland # 4 24th May 2004

    quoting Judy Clark, obscure prose demanding careful attention but important as Clark wrote the original academic study in 1990 proving there are adequate plantation resources to completely phase out native forest logging:

    "9. Privatization of the plantation economic gorilla in NSW.

    "OF&W criticize the Carr govt for failing to address the plantation sector in its forest conservation reforms in 1995-2000 period. Now with the $1 billion public asset on the chopping block in a cash needy state resource economist Judy Clark, an acknowledged expert on resource matters has written to say her paper can be found at:


    and she adds

    “Whilst I concentrated on the eco[nomic] issues, I think there are important environmental issues for plantation ownership. In particular, the planting was pretty full-on over the 1960s to 1980s and some areas planted would not be planted today. After they are logged, it may be the land should be rezoned or subjected to specific management requirements. I'm talking in particular about steep slopes and water buffer zones and corridor linkages. These issues are just as important in the north as they are in the south, possibly more important. The process for making these adjustments (and keeping log volumes up - ie through productivity improvements on the next rotation and maybe replanting on more suitable land) will be MUCH easier if the plantations are in public hands.

    ”I was surprised about the comments on the native forest subsidy identification with privatization. If government wanted to know the extent of the subsidy, they could force this work. The issue is how would the NSW govt react with this information. I think some people are too quick in making conclusions - wishes - here. If they argue that the NSW govt would react in an economically rational way (ie lift native forest log prices and maybe close some regions), they need to explain why the NSW government is different to every other state government in Australia - even the WA government that is at the cutting edge of forest policy in Australia.”

    In response to Clark, OF&W has made some tactical observations evidencing public ownership does not guarantee good environmental management e.g. State Forests itself and the infamous Transgrid clearing episode in NSW not to mention financial conflict of interest of legislative and executive arms of govt. Her point on lazy accounting is valid calling up the dusty 1990 Public Accounts Committee bi partisan report into then Forestry Commission which report went the way of the dodo. As for differences in NSW [from other states who have done nothing to increase pricing in native forests]: Carr and his familiar refrain on greenhouse and 350 new national parks? But OF&W agrees to this extent that it’s a very arguable situation. Certainly Carr could retrieve an awful lot of bad vibes environmentally and generally by closing down the cronies in State Forests for good and cleaning up the plantation sector as the bright future for loggers in a sustainable landscape.


    The official state Govt position on privatisation of the public plantation estate is here, that is to corporatise only which surely is a prelude to privatisation:

    18/2/05... latest govt position to corporatise public plant

    Posted by editor at 3:55 PM NZT
    Updated: Wednesday, 30 April 2008 10:45 AM NZT

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