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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 21 September 2008
Activist nostalgia for mainstream ...rich ..... contemporaries
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: culture
Sold for $47m .... this house in Vaucluse.

Sold for $47m .... this house in Vaucluse.
Photo: Louie Douvis

Well it takes all kinds.

In the last several months we have been noticing our cohort in the news. Yesterday (p3 Sydney Daily Telegraph) it was the rather beautiful kind hearted Marina Ritossa of tall slender Croatian extraction and wife of rich man Ivan Ritossa even back then in 1990-91. Marina started out in the local property section of multinational Baker & McKenzie lawyers same year as us in litigation. We remain eternally grateful for her helping carry a brutish bill of costs up Phillip St in 3 copies by 4 volumes we had to file by a deadline one Friday for senior partner Keith McConnell.

We won that one against a Hong Kong developer but the firm gave moi the flick soon after in the property crash of 91, while she is the rich patron of the Royal Flying Doctor Service today as well as purchaser with Ivan of a $47M pad in Vaucluse. Phew.

17 years back Marina knew all about how the "Title deeds" column in one of the property newspapers indicated who was on the way up and who was going down and now she's in the story herself.

Then there is Gordon Plath, class of 1989 ANU law school now manager of environmental litigation at the NSW Dept of Environment and Climate Change in charge of 15 or 20 bods after starting out in criminal prosecutions. He doesn't look any different to 20 years ago to his picture in the professional pages of the Weekend Australian Sept 13-14 08. Just hope Mr Plath is nailing the white collar polluters and rednecks according to his mandate (?).

Then there is Shane Barber, another lawyer starting out at Bakers in 1990 who turned up in the legal pages of the The Australian as some high power IP and technology lawyer as partner at firm Truman Hoyle. Nothing exceeds like success.

We wrote in our penultimate post about whipper snapper at 36 Kirsty Ruddock on her altruistic and acclaimed trajectory in the public eye as principal of the EDO - not strictly this writer's cohort but a contemporary of sorts.

Other sundry folks - Tom Baddeley from the ANU law school in the eighties on abc tv there in WA, or was now some Economic think tank, and handy Aussie Rules player too. We might even have noticed a relative Chris McLoughlin as reporter on abc Adelaide tv news last night.

Then there's the discovery of grandfather we never met Eric McLoughlin, journo, and confidant of Robert Menzies famous founder of the Liberal Party of Australia, not quite my politics but there you go. I do suspect we express alot of his genes - the good ones!?

Bete noire of HIH corporate criminals is another ANU lad Robert Beech Jones now at the Sydney Bar. Tragically we learned of high school contemporay Brendan Keilar's successful legal career in Melbourne only to hear of his foul murder. 

Which in aggregate reminds of a collectivist radical academic in the USA who said it's hard sometimes in the hippie herbal food co-op when your peers are so financially successful and embraced by the Establishment and you are down in the humble grovel as undoubtely the SAM operation is.  Yet it is the life we choose, and that's the point really that constantly reinforces our sense of self. We've done a few things so far and it ain't over yet!

Time stands still for no one so best to play the long game:

Posted by editor at 8:42 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2008 11:35 AM NZT
Kirsty Ruddock a saving grace in Turnbull era as old guys trade sledges
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: human rights
No tension … Kirsty Ruddock, now the principal solicitor in the NSW Environmental Defender's Office, and her father.

No tension … Kirsty Ruddock, now the principal solicitor in the NSW Environmental Defender's Office, and her father.
Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Declaration: We regularly beg and borrow legal advice from environmenal lawyer/EDO principal Kirsty Ruddock regarding public interest litigation, who we understand duly records such phone or in person inquiries as proof of service to the Legal Aid Commission of NSW.


Big bad ex Howard minister Phillip Ruddock is in the press this weekend on his 35 year slog for the Liberal Party as a federal MP. No doubt he is in legacy mode and maybe even pre-selection postures too for his successor. There he is in colour coded tie to t-shirt image with professional daughter and bleeding heart Kirsty: And we can happily say KR is generous with her time and clear in her advice God bless her socks.

We understand on the domestic front she is quite colour blind too.

Being an escapee from a DLP ultra Catholic family history we can sympathise with her situation and wrote to her earlier this year "you can't choose your family ... especially mine" referring to old boozer Eric McLoughlin a confidant of Big Bob Menzies himself as political journo for the Sydney Morning Herald in the 40ies and 50ies. So it's interesting she seems to be in the forgiveness mode in these pictures here in Fairfax SMH and Age:

Time to reflect: Philip Ruddock yesterday with his daughter, Kirsty.

Time to reflect: Philip Ruddock yesterday with his daughter, Kirsty. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

The political synergies become clear in her past role as legal officer with Cape York Land Council led by Noel Pearson not afraid of some tough love on welfare policies in the Howard era. It's not betraying a confidence to mention her anecdote recently of crunching a developer in Cook Town - the same place on the Flannery, Roy Slaven tour of northern Australia on abc tv this week - over impertinent impacts on her blackfella clients heritage interests. She even got a pro bono deal with big firm Freehills and the Local Council folded in 2 days. Yay!

As for the past we notice the human cannon fodder on the other side of the detention centre locked doors in Fairfax here and 4 Corners (which we couldn't bare to watch being of a delicate disposition you know).

This is what Malcolm Fraser says in a piece on wisdom in the Good Weekend/Fairfax colour mag this very same weekend, just so we don't forget, and ask yourself which lawyer Howard or Ruddock he might be referring to:

"We begin to understand a person's wisdom based on what they do, what they stand for. If you take some examples out of recent times, there are people who train to believe in the rule of law, due process, equal application of the law to all people regardless of race, colour, religion; and then you look at what they do and you find they don't mean a word of it." [a page 36 GW 20 Sept 2008]

For his part Ruddock gets some attempted pre-emption on Big Mal (who used to be my local MP in Warrnambool) in too:

"Elected in 1973 in a byelection, he has served eight Liberal Party leaders. For him there are two standouts: Sir Robert Menzies and Howard. Ruddock has little time for Malcolm Fraser, who, he believes, shied away from major reform and stirred up bad feeling.

"The Dismissal changed all the cross-party camaraderie, personal relationships became very acrimonious. It was not until Hawke was elected that the situation in Parliament returned to normal."



And just in case there was any confusion about the values system of older and younger Ruddock about a meaningful career as a opposed to a 'successful' one, old man Phillip says this in The Age this weekend too (in bold):

Much has been made in the past of an apparent rift between the former attorney-general and Kirsty, his 36-year-old lawyer daughter, who held opposing views on immigration. In an episode of the ABC program Australian Story, it was said that Ms Ruddock was so at odds with her father's policies that she left Australia to work overseas.

Mr Ruddock laughs when reminded of the program, saying it was a beat-up because his daughter had already been offered a good position overseas.

"The program exaggerated the situation. There are no tensions between us, there are differences of view, but as I said on the program I didn't bring up my kids to be parrots. I have two daughters, they are exceedingly bright, real achievers, and we are close."

Kirsty Ruddock is the principal solicitor in the NSW Environmental Defenders' Office and appeared against the Federal Government in an anti-whaling case. "Kirsty believes in what she is doing and it's almost charitable work for her because she could be working in the first tier of a law firm on a big salary."

Ms Ruddock will attend a Liberal Party fund-raiser tonight to celebrate her father's 35 years of public service.


This is what Kirsty Ruddock had to say in an ABC Law Report show 31 October 2006 about the issue of our century:

Kirsty Ruddock is the principal solicitor with the New South Wales Environmental Defenders Office. I put it to her that the New South Wales government is current pushing through changes to legislation which will render any challenges, like those of Peter Gray, largely irrelevant.


Kirsty Ruddock: Yes and no. I guess there'll always be innovative lawyers out there looking for ways to challenge things, but essentially what they're doing is, they're amending some of the requirements of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, to ensure that when the minister looks at approving a project, they're removing a requirement to comply with the environmental assessment requirements of the Act. And just requiring the project to ensure that they've made an application and the Director General of the Department of Planning is giving the report to the Minister as the only requirements before the Minister makes a decision.


Damien Carrick: So essentially, the decision-maker can choose to decide OK, the project hasn't necessarily complied with the conditions of the environmental assessment, ie. to lodge some kind of assessment of the potential climate change consequences, but that's OK, I can give you the go ahead anyway.


Kirsty Ruddock: I mean I guess yes, strictly speaking looking at that section in isolation it has taken away the environmental assessment requirements, but there's nevertheless other objectives in the Act they'd still probably need to comply with.


Damien Carrick: This isn't the only case where there's been an attempt by environmental lobby groups to use climate change arguments in environmental planning processes. There was in fact a Federal Court decision earlier this year on this very point.


Kirsty Ruddock: Yes, there was. It was in relation to a challenge that was launched in relation to two coal mines that were in the Bowen Basin in Central Northern Queensland, and it was launched by a group called Wildlife Whitsundays, who are a branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland. And they challenged approval decisions of the Minister for Environment, for his refusal to I suppose assess this mine under the Commonwealth legislation. What they argued is that the Commonwealth Minister for Environment should have considered the greenhouse gas implications of these two coalmines as they affected matters of national environmental significance, in particular impact from the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics World Heritage area. And the Minister, in his decision had said No, he hadn't – or his delegate had said no, we haven't actually considered those matters, and that was how the challenge started.


Damien Carrick: And what did the Federal Court say?


Kirsty Ruddock: Essentially what happened, it was kind of a difficult case because originally when the statement of reasons came out from the delegate of the minister, it was quite clear that greenhouse gas implications hadn't been considered, and he had left that out of the statement of reasons altogether. But during the course of the court proceedings, the decision maker clarified that he had in fact considered them and he didn't think they were significant enough to trigger the Act, and the Federal Court accepted that; they said obviously the climate change impacts from these particular mines were not significant enough.


Damien Carrick: In other words, I think the argument was that sure the Great Barrier Reef is a protected area under Commonwealth legislation, but the impact on the Great Barrier Reef of climate change resulting from these particular coal mines and the CO2 emissions which might go into the atmosphere as a result of the coal mines, wouldn't be significant?


Kirsty Ruddock: That's right, yes.


Damien Carrick: And I believe there was also a case in Victoria involving the Hazelwood coal fired power station; what happened there?


Kirsty Ruddock: Yes, there was. There was a decision that was challenged down there in relation to the terms of reference that were given by the minister to look at this particular rezoning application in relation to the coal mine and the power station. Essentially the minister gave a direction that the panel that were assessing it shouldn't look at the greenhouse gas issues relating to greenhouse gas impacts I suppose from the mining operation, and they did that and they ignored submissions that were made and that was challenged before the tribunal down in Victoria, and subsequently the tribunal found that the panel had created an error because they needed to consider all environmental impacts, and the matter was then remitted back to the panel to do considering those submissions.


Damien Carrick: So at the end of the day though, they considered those submissions and then rubber-stamped the project anyway?


Kirsty Ruddock: Yes, that was I guess the more unfortunate long-term result, that they did actually then consider the impacts, said that they were going to be quite significant, but then recommended the rezoning go ahead.


Damien Carrick: It would seem to me that the legal system isn't particularly receptive to arguments about climate change, because even where you have a victory, and the decision-makers are forced to look at the issue of climate change, they can nod to it, and then choose to ignore it, and proceed?


Kirsty Ruddock: Yes, that is one of the consequences I guess, of a lot of large-scale projects, and also Commonwealth environmental decisions are not subject to what's known as a merits review in most cases, so you can't actually argue I guess about the merits of the decision and the science behind some of these things, it's merely about the process and whether the correct processes were followed. And in a judicial review sense. So that does obviously limit some of the outcome that you can seek in relation to large projects.


Damien Carrick: Kirsty Ruddock, principal solicitor with the New South Wales Environmental Defenders Office. And in case you're wondering, yes, she's the daughter of Federal Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock.

Big Malcolm Turnbull could do alot worse than a pre-selection of KR scion of Berowra given the issue of the century facing all us.

Posted by editor at 7:02 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 21 September 2008 8:05 AM NZT
Friday, 19 September 2008
Gosford Council road tragedy: Subpoena skirmish on planning a partial insight into systemic problems?
Mood:  sad
Topic: legal

Gosford City Council are in for a legal and PR hammering after the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald and other press today on the the awful tragedy of a family of 5 including 3 children killed after driving into a road collapse:

* 19 Sept 2008 Tears as council blamed for deaths Sydney Morning Herald.

Ken and Gaye Holt MALCOLM BROWN | Coroner finds that Gosford City Council had failed in its duty of care to keep the Pacific Highway at Somersby safe.

* 19 Sept 08 Road collapse: Council neglect caused death Sydney Daily Telegraph

Recent legal skirmishing over a subpoena into water and land assessment processes in the context of planning and DA processing at Gosford Council may possibly reveal some insights into how that council is performing, or not, on the related issue of hydrology/erosion affecting roads.

The subpoena to the external auditor consultants retained by Gosford namely Internal Audit Bureau was lodged by the applicant in Diamond v Birdon & Hawkesbury City Council 40733 of 2008 but ruled out on legal grounds of irrelevance to that litigation recently (but only just given the Crown Solicitor filed their strike out documents out of time and were accepted in good faith, perhaps naively). Another similar subpoena to Gosford City Council itself seeking the IAB report(s) was withdrawn for similar reasons of potentially being legally misconceived.

However in the process of the Crown Solicitor's counsel successfully striking out the subpoena to IAB they in turn confirmed in their affidavit the existence of their external auditor's report(s) into Gosford Council staff and systems regarding planning assessments. Which staff are adversely named, if any? Is the IAB report probitive of systemic failure in the organisational culture of Gosford? Is it also of relevance in the coronial inquest on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald and other press today given the common issues of assessment of hydrology and watercourse management? Does it say anything about the State Government department(s) assessment of watercourses and hydrology in the local government area?

Of potential interest regarding the collapsed road tragedy is that the integrity of environmental assessments might just overlap into this other policy work of safety and maintenance issues: Hydrology, and water flow analysis (say in sand mining or bottled water extraction) involves very similar issues of erosion and sedimentation control. Is it the same staff involved in the assessment process? 

We don't really know how probitive the external auditors report(s) are to the collapsed road tragedy but we think it's in the public interest for the IAB reports into Gosford on DA assessments regarding planning assessment of hydrology and watercourses to be in the evidentiary mix in light of the coroner's finding against the Council in the news today.





Posted by editor at 9:20 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 28 September 2008 12:23 PM NZT
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Coca Cola water bottling legal case: Commissioner Tim Moore reserves judgement
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: legal


We appearend pro bono as court agent on 3 and 4 Sept 2008 under s.63 of the Land & Environment Court Act 1979 sitting up at the bar table with the big kids barristers Peter Tomasetti for Coca Cola Amatil, and Matt Fraser counsel for Gosford City Council. The case was Kettle [agent for Coca Cola Amatil] v Gosford City Council and Diamond (as intervenor) 10429 of 2005, which has taken many twists and turns over the last 3 years with this being only the lastest chapter.

We have lots of straight legal reportage of the experience which is appropriate given the judgement has been reserved for several weeks. We notice this report by community objector Peter Campbell not so happy post hearing, pre council elections, with the impact of the GCC legal team which was the thinking behind getting myself to bolster things with an intervenor party participation:

11 Sept 2008 Water extraction row drags on - Local News - News | Express ...

We may return to this web item with some extra reportage of how the the 2 day case unfolded: Some highlights at this stage:

- the inspection at our insistence on the first half of the first day went ahead despite some preliminary diplomatic skirmishes suggesting it should be delayed (or even cancelled?) by GCC's lawyer for some curious diplomatic reason to do with an LEC's judge's ceremony promotion to the Federal Court. My objector Neville Diamond said his piece a bit nervy and disjointed but always doing his best. We saw the monitoring bores tracking water from the chicken farm next door and the watercourse which used to support substantial native flora. We heard from local farmer Mr Hitchcock who acquitted himself very well.

- When it came to the court expert Anthony Lane's evidence Gosford's counsel Fraser quietly suggested to us we didn't need to ask any more questions as he had covered our concerns already. We declined his overture evoking a frown. Cie la vie.

As Fraser finished up his 'xxm' of Lane and the Commissioner's prompting revealed that 30 years ago Mr Lane's first job was working for the original Mt Franklin bottled water company which we understand was taken over by Coca Cola Amatil later on. Commissioner Moore stated 'this was too long ago' to matter now [in terms of actual or perceived bias]

- we questioned expert Anthony Lane on what he understood were the credentials of another expert he actively consulted, namely Dr Noel Merrick of the UTS national centre for groundwater management. Our question: 'He's not a hydrologist is he? Ans: Is he not?" The clear implication of Mr Lane's evidence - who is based in Melbourne - thought he was consulting a hydrologist. [Our advice has always been that he is an expert computer programmer (?!).] Ironically we were the ones who insisted Dr Merrick's 170 page report go into evidence, but then his later verbal advice be read down for working on a joint venture proposal with Coca Cola Amatil.

[What didn't get into evidence is that we are advised the local Catchment Manageement Committee are quite shy of any involvement with any study driven by CCA over concerns of independent auspices such as via the state department DWE.]

- The Commissioner(s) were both quite sympathetic to consideration of climate change as a real factor under a recent decision by the Chief Judge in the Taralga Case (about wind power apparently). Our tendering of a report by the CSIRO of July 2008 - which otherwise would have never been produced - indicating much greater extreme heat and drought events (in fact once every 2 years up from every 20 years) was accepted as important.

Rainfall at Peats Ridge would not be drastically affected argued the counsel for CCA but it didn't seem to cut through as much. Perhaps because we submitted a meteoroligist report for May 2008 as driest month for NSW and Sydney and local Mangrove Mountain on record.

And then there is the extreme heat - demand factor even in good rainfall given the springs feed the local creeks to the local water supply for Gosford/Wyong: People drink more bottled water and for crops and for local water supply when it's hot.

Indeed we asked expert Lane why no data provided to him by CCA to analyse regarding the hot high demand period of Dec 2005 to Feb 2006? He couldn't answer for CCA of course. Point made.

- There was much debate from CCA counsel over whether the hallowed Precautionary Principle was a valid concern in this case. Lane in his report said this:

- The Corporate Affairs Manager Alex Wagstaff was asked in my cross examination if he supported standard bush regeneration principles on the watercourse - putting aside whether it is permanent-intermitent versus ephemeral. He said emphatically "no" but he did still support the idea in principle. Mmm.

- We did our best to press the limitation of CCA to bottled water not bulk tanker export from the site and rehabilitation of the water way under the Pittwater precedent case. Even though strictly speaking only a court agent we were chuffed to be referred to as a "legal practitioner" by Commissioner Moore.

Overall it was a very educational experience and a pleasure consulting with and supporting the concerns of the local landholders and objectors. Crossed fingers. Mr Tomasetti as counsel for CCA said goodbye with "see you next time". If I had to hazard a guess I would say team work won on the day.

Interestingly CCA counsel mentioned as a "public company" they had to make provision if their DA approval for 66 ML/YR was cancelled leaving only 25 ML/YR which would run out in only 3 weeks or so. While at 35ML/YR they could get to November.

Here is a copy of our extensive submissions of which only some sections (eg F1, F2, F3 and documents referred to there) were progressed in the hearing for jurisdictional reaons: Nevertheless they all remain educational to the general public:

25 July 08 Outline of submissions on Coca Cola legal appeal to delete 66ML/YR Trial at Peats Ridge

By the end of the case even CCA agreed there needed to be a formula for discipline on their water use as per their preferred single parties expert Anthony Lane formula here presented to the court:

The trouble with Lane's somewhat academic regime is that it relies on the state dept DWE for its efficacy and there is real tension between the LEC court and DWE state agency over who is really the decision maker. The LEC under the law, the DWE under political masters.

Indeed evidence was given by local community leader and farmer Margaret Pontifix that DWE in the past at least cannot be trusted to be objective over discretionary licensing decisions.

Nor is this saga over with Ian Cohen MP having submitted questions on notice in the state parliament late in August 2008 asking how Coca Cola Amatil got a 41ML/YR increase while local farmers are routinely refused. What was the assessment process, asks Cohen MP on behalf of local objectors. Further we have learned of a secretive external auditor consultancy called Internal Audit Bureau into both Gosford City Council and DWE South Coast Office commissioned by the respective levels of government ... but that's another story on SAM (next).

Posted by editor at 8:53 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 19 September 2008 9:33 AM NZT
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Oops: Coca Cola pushing their non green product in SMH* eco pages
Mood:  sharp
Topic: big media

Oh dear, how did a  celebrity profile of all good green things get Coca Cola's controversial, arguably greenwashed bottled water product into the Eco pages of the Sydney Morning Herald today? Especially when it's inserted under an article about ... greenwashing?!:

17 Sept 2008 Time to learn what's in a name When 'free range' is free for all, green claims can be dubious, writes Keeli Cambourne.

This is what the SMH said about bottled water and cross subsidy to Landcare earlier this year:

23 Feb 2008 Message on a bottle labelled as greenwash - Environment - smh.com.au

Ethics ... Nanette Lamrock has attacked the Landcare Australia and Coca-Cola Amatil deal.

Ethics ... Nanette Lamrock has attacked the Landcare Australia and Coca-Cola Amatil deal.
Photo: Paul Mathews

The story reads (bold added):

Mount Franklin dominates the $544 million bottled water market and is an expert in marketing campaigns that tap into community issues: its pink lid campaign to pledge $1 for cancer research for every wish made through its website is one of the most successful marketing campaigns in recent history.

The chief executive of Landcare Australia, Brian Scarsbrick, said he was aware of "some" concerns about the deal but that the positives outweighed the negatives. "We are a middle-of-the-road environmental organisation and we like to work with big companies to influence them to a more sustainable position," he said.

Its spokeswoman, Sally Loane, said Coca-Cola Amatil was an industry leader in saving water, citing beverage industry figures showing bottled water accounts for just 0.01 per cent of aquifer reserves. "Any individual who claims we 'rape the environment' is speaking from the depths of ignorance. The facts reveal a very different picture. Can we do better? Of course, but we are committed to being a good corporate citizen, particularly when it comes to water," she said.

But the organiser of the Bottled Water Alliance, Jon Dee, said: "One has to ask the question whether Coke has done this deal to distract attention away from the serious environmental questions that are now being asked of the bottled water industry. In particular the issues of water sourcing and the climate, waste and litter impact of bottled water, as well as the extremely low recycling rate for plastic water bottles.

"Given the current level of criticism being levelled at the bottled water industry, even the less cynical could be forgiven for thinking that this is just a greenwash exercise."

And this is what USA based 'Brandweek' had to say about the bottled water market as financial turmoil crosses the land (bold added):

Has the Bottled Water Well Finally Run Dry?

Sept 7, 2008

-By Kenneth Hein

The market for bottled water may be drying up. Despite massive discounting, brands like Aquafina and Poland Spring are experiencing a sales drought unlike any the category has ever seen.

After almost a decade of triple and then double-digit growth, sales volume grew less than 1% for the first half of the year, per Beverage Digest, Bedford Hills, N.Y.

The chief culprit: the economy. Shoppers are less interested in paying for a product that they can get for free.

A secondary reason is that green-minded consumers have become active in railing against buying plastic bottles in bulk because many will end up in landfills. The fact that gallons of fuel are used to transport a product that is available through the plumbing is another concern. Finally, there is a widespread belief that PET bottles leech toxins into liquids if frozen or heated up, a claim which is widely disputed.

"The category has felt the impact of the negative publicity it has been receiving lately," said John Rowan, editorial director at Beverage Marketing, New York.

In addition, the industry's sheer size has made such a slowdown inevitable, he said. "Bottled water is No. 2 in volume behind soft drinks. Something that big can't grow forever."

The industry's response so far has been deeper discounting. The average price of bottled water was down 6.6% at supermarkets for the four weeks through Aug. 10, per IRI. Dasani led the way with a 10% decrease.

A recent report by Brand Keys, New York, based on responses from 26,000 consumers in the first quarter, shows "value" was the No. 1 attribute consumers were seeking in a bottled water, beating out "purity." Such findings, coupled with the widespread price cutting, has raised fears that the category has fallen victim to commoditization. "I was walking home last night and saw a sign with 'water 99 cents' crossed out and replaced with '89 cents.' So there it is. How much is water worth?" said Brand Keys president Robert Passikoff.

One beneficiary of the commoditization has been private label. Sales for such brands rose 17.2% for the first half, per Beverage Digest.

There is considerable trading down to private label and tapping into the cheap 24-bottle case segment, said Gerry Khermouch, editor of Beverage Business Insights, West Nyack, N.Y.

Khermouch said Coke and Pepsi have no one to blame but themselves."To a certain extent, Coke and Pepsi decided not to chase that unprofitable business. This, of course, is ironic as even basic bottled spring water was premium priced until Coke and Pepsi entered and turned it into the latest front of the cola wars."

Coke and Pepsi's solution has been to shift its resources behind enhanced water brands. Ad spending in the U.S. for Coke's Glacéau Vitaminwater was $39.5 million in the first half (excluding online), per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. This exceeded the spend behind all of the regular bottled water brands combined.

Of the top regular water brands, Aquafina led the pack, spending $5 million on media for the first half of the year. Its efforts are directly aligned with its sponsorship of Major League Baseball. PepsiCo more than tripled its budget for SoBe Life Water, compared to the first half of last year, spending $22 million. "Consumers are seeking variety. Flavored and enhanced waters are a great answer to that demand," said a Pepsi rep.

The enhanced water category grew 18.4% in the first half.

Kim Jeffrey, CEO of Nestlé Waters, Greenwich, Conn., acknowledged bottled water was "experiencing slow growth compared to historic levels. Nielsen data shows our category is highly susceptible to an economic downturn."

Jeffrey is confident it will rebound: "Seventy percent [of bottled water consumers] came from other beverage consumption. They didn't come to our category from tap water."

John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest, agrees. "If the economy improves and consumers begin to feel better, we're going to see at least some increase in the growth rate of bottled water again," he said.

Nevertheless, Mark DiMassimo, co-founder of Tappening.com, which promotes drinking tap water, said a cultural shift has occurred: "Instead of being a badge for health and status, bottled water has now become a badge for environmental wastefulness. And, cost sensitivity is coming up fast. It's caught in the same storm as Starbucks is. It felt good to be a little extravagant a few years ago. Now, it doesn't feel good to waste money. [Especially considering that] being charged for water is like being charged for gravity."

* Postscript #1 18 Sept 2008

We left a message yesterday for the SMH environment editor Marian Wilkinson (who we hold in high regard too) about the apparent contradiction above. Today we noticed this in the Business pages media and marketing Thursday page by Paul McIntyre

18 Sept 2008 Steps on the green scale | smh.com.au


 waxing lyrical again about the issue of greenwashing and quoting Jeff Angel of Total Environment Centre on 'the need for a high level of rigour'.

We found this profoundly ironic given Angel was prominent in 2008 in arguably greenwashing - via support for the Iemma Govt's Unsworth Committee Inquiry Report - of a proposal to privatise this state's energy industry. Angel would say it was only qualified support but Angel having been in the lobbying business for 30 years we say he well knew he would be used as a green figleaf, and the conditions he proposed would likely be duly shelved (and they were at least as we understand it).

Dr John Kaye MP of the Green Party famously issued a press release repudiating Angel for collaboration with the Iemma sell off alleging airbrush of climate change policy implications of an otherwise anti green Govt led by ostentatiously brown ex treasurer Michael Costa.

This mainstream Big Media coverage of the green washing issue just gets more weird by the story.

Posted by editor at 3:35 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 18 September 2008 2:54 PM NZT
Burgmann lone ALP voice left on Sydney CBD council?
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: nsw govt

We spied newly re elected Cr Black yesterday at around 11 am whom we also crossed paths with literally in the streets of Erskineville a month back - he leafleting for the Clover Moore team, myself for Botany Bay & Catchment Association. We had a little natter about rival Burgmann's antecedents.

This time it was in the herd of Town Hall railway station. Whippett like middle aged somewhat academic looking Black was walking fast somewhere. We had just been considering whether to drop into Cr Harris of the Greens for an update.

"Councillor, let me walk with you" in my best West Wing voice, trying to mask a shocking head cold. "Tom McLoughlin. We crossed paths on the streets in Erskineville. How are the results looking?"

A spark of vague recognition for man on a mission Black, and conversation to this effect: "We have 5, Shane Mallard Liberals is in, one councillor still to be decided ....

"What about the Greens".

"They have two."

"Oh that's right someone called Doutney. What about the ALP?"

"Meredith Burgmann is elected."

"Is that all? Only 1?" in incredulous tones.

"That's right".

So now the truth is there for all to see. We made sure at the right time the local and Sydney CC stakeholders got a copy of this evidence of local political sleaze. One assumes the convenience of email networking took it's course with barely a nudge from the author here:

----- Original Message -----
To: Yvette Andrews ; gm@addisonrdcentre
Cc: senator.bob.brown marise@marisepayne; Norman Thompson ; senator.faulkner ; Clover Moore ; charris@cityofsydney; tpooley@cityofsydney; pblack@cityofsydney; vfirth@cityofsydney; mhoff@cityofsydney; rkemmis@cityofsydney; mlee@cityofsydney; jmcinern@cityofsydney; smallard@cityofsydney; m.knox@smh; Olive ; marrickville.greens
Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 1:54 PM
Subject: shadow around political mates of candidate Meredith Burgmann in Sydney Town Hall election?

Hi Yvette,

I don't suppose you've undertaken a competitive job selection process since you got the position there as general manager of Addison Rd Centre after being President as well? That would make it December 2007 to August 2008 by now I suppose?

That's the advice I've got from my source there at Addison Rd Centre current to 8 July 2008.

Is this because you are co-author of the Ernies book with VIP Meredith Burgmann or for some other special reason justifying an exemption from normal public advertising of positions in public organisations?

Here is my faithful report to the general community sector, without fear or favour 25,000 readers per month on the micro news website here:

Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin, editor www.SydneyAlternativeMedia.com/blog, solicitor in NSW

The hubris of the ALP in NSW is not just evidenced by gooses like ex Police Minister Matt Brown by the look of things. Suffice to say there was no response from aparatchik Yvette Andrews, or her mentor Terry Cutcliffe in the bcc along with all the tenants there at Addison Rd 'Community Centre' in Marrickville.

And so the scandal of ALP closed shop in my community centre rolls on.

But Burgmann can't hide behind the travails of the ALP at State Govt level - she is part of the problem as evidenced by this successful ALP candidate in Balmain ...against the swing - the numbers don't lie:



Posted by editor at 7:30 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 September 2008 10:16 AM NZT
Rescue the Murray River Redgums: The Wilderness Society
Mood:  cool
Topic: ecology



noun a person using internet campaigning tools to bring about social or political change.

    Dear Supporter

Send your message to the NSW Government asking them to protect NSW's River Red Gums

Take Action:
.Rescue NSW's River Red Gum Forests today!
.Send this to a friend

With your support The Wilderness Society is working hard to protect New South Wales' River Red Gum Forests, but right now I urgently need your help to ensure the State Government does the right thing,

Please take action in one easy step, by sending a message to Premier Nathan Rees urging him to protect our precious River Red Gums.

The health of the Murray River and its River Red Gum Forests are intrinsically linked – a healthy river needs healthy forests.

However, our River Red Gum Forests are not doing well – in some areas, 75% of the trees are already stressed, dead or dying and they are being further degraded by destructive logging and grazing. The forests act as filters for the river – if the New South Wales Government is serious about protecting the health of the Murray River, then it needs to protect our River Red Gums.

Often referred to as 'The Kakadu of the South,' River Red Gum Forests are also vitally important habitat for a threatened and endangered species and play host to many thousands of migratory birds each year. Plus, they attract tourists to the region, who are an important part of the local economy.

Logging, primarily for low values products such as firewood, fence posts and railway sleepers, is destroying the very values that these forests have become famous for.

Replacing logging with well-managed National Parks will protect the forests, ensure that the Murray retains its natural filter system and continue to provide vital income to the region.

The NSW government needs to urgently commit to creating National Parks from our State Forests in full consultation with local Traditional Owners.

Taking action to protect NSW's River Red Gums in easy and only a click away.

Thank you in advance for making a difference for the future of our River Red Gum Forests and for your ongoing support.

Peter Cooper
NSW Campaigner
The Wilderness Society (Sydney) Inc

The Wilderness Society (Sydney) Inc

PO Box K249 Haymarket, NSW, 1240 Australia
Phone: (02) 9282 9553
Fax: (02) 9282 9557

Posted by editor at 7:02 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 19 September 2008 8:46 PM NZT
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Nelson spill motion: It's Costello v Turnbull in late 2009, early 2010?
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: aust govt

Picture: Profound graphic lifted off Sydney Morning Herald in mid 2007 emphasising then PM Howard's obstruction on climate change policies.


Peter Costello, humble backbencher, former Treasurer 11 or so years, keeps his appointment with Fran Kelly on ABC radio national today just before 8am 16 Sept 08. A day late as he cancelled Monday's media appointments to settle down the hysteria perhaps.

Costello has vouched that he 'is voting for Brendan Nelson'. Gerard Henderson in Fairfax and ABC sister station makes the point 'Costello is the best choice to lead and if not running then Turnbull is next best choice'. Yes but in our view that's not the criteria in real politik time which turns on positioning for the prize of prime ministership contest in 2 years time.

Costello is transparently relying on Nelson as his time buffer and blocker. Turnbull has nominated to fly the flag and show his guts, and in our view will likely lose against Nelson, and most MPs this far out will be more interested in their traditional comfort zone of policy and values framework built in large part by Howard-Costello. They want systemic change and serious policy rebuild like a parent wants the flu or a kid likes the dentist. Not at all. The Howard malaise lives on.

Which only means as long as the MP for Higgins remains in the Parliament the significant spill will be 6-12 months out from the next projected federal election not in one hour just after 9 am today AEST. The next election is expected in 2010 sometime, months before the NSW one in March 2011.

So for the ALP the next year or so will be Rudd v slippery Howard proxy Nelson. If Rudd and the centre left of politics slowly crush Nelson as they did Howard, then and only then will it be time for the real change in the centre right of politics on climate change, industrial relations, natural environment, water buy backs in the Murray Darling and so on.

And how has the swing to the right in WA influenced all this? Alot would be our view. It's emboldened the Hard Right to hold fast to the Howard legacy strongest there flush with mining royalties and most infavour of extreme IR agenda, but surely ignores the views of the majority of the population in the eastern states. It's a false dawn for the Liberals and Nats if the ALP and centre Left, Greens based on population spread across the nation, see it for what it is: An artefact of the mining boom.


 Picture: Mid 2007 on the floor of parliament in tense discussion with then PM Howard lifted off the big media websites at the time.

Postscript from 10.30 am: We were wrong!

As it happens the federal Liberal Party have decided to go for real change from the Howard-Costello-Nelson legacy by voting 45 to 41 for sharp blade Malcolm Turnbull. Crikey.com.au say this morning media barracking for Big Mal is simply for better copy (the boredom factor with Nightwatchman Man Nelson). Maybe so. Ominously Nelson has refused any front bench position. Similarly Costello is also back there as lead weight or rival.

The close vote doesn't alter the fact we got it wrong here at SAM. Maybe the blanket coverage of Costello's memoirs in the last week was more surfeit than nostalgia for the colleagues. Maybe there was a critical mass of loathing for the failed old leadership clique and desire for not only clear air but a clean break?

Picture: Shadow Treasurer Turnbull gives his Opposition budget in reply speech to the Canberra Press Club mid 2008. These images lifted off the web feed by SAM at the time.

Turnbull has his chance now to make his mark on the national stage for real and if he succeeds the Liberal Party will be a different creature in 12 months. So will the ALP to meet the Opposition leader's credentials. If he falters or is bested by the Rudd machine Costello in particular may well seek resurrection like Colin Barnett new premier of WA 5 weeks after planning his retirement.

 Picture: lifted off Crikey.com.au in late 2007 (if memory serves).

Here is a collage of the Wentworth 2007 stoush where we could have seeded the electorate with anti John Howard - Not Happy John leaflets from the 2004 contest in Bennelong. We could have but didn't because the ALP candidate Newhouse refused to campaign against the Gunns pulp mill. So I dumped them on Turnbull's doorstep for them to "pulp":

 Picture: visit to the western end of Wentworth electorate in August 2007 by SAM, and then outside the Bondi Junction electorate office same day.

The federal ALP in Wentworth just didn't deserve the help:


And here is one of the victims of Turnbull's 'wet work' as Christian Kerr terms it from The Australian in 2007 pre election - new councillor Rose Jackson elected Sept 2008, wedged over the ultra right in the Eastern Suburbs Jewish community unquestioning support for nuclear armed Israel, with an arguably corrupt Prime Minister:


Posted by editor at 9:53 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 September 2008 9:46 AM NZT
NSW Police Force ramp up secrecy says News Corp, civil liberty folks
Mood:  not sure
Topic: nsw govt

Back on 27th August 2008 we took a call from Chris Merritt. It went something like this:

'Hi, yeah I know your name you're a senior journalist, legal editor with The Australian, used to write for the Fin Review.

Sure I have Oliver's number, I don't want to cramp your style.'

This was all in response to this briefing I sent to the acting editor of The Australian Media Section here in this email string about a civil liberties/right to know/citizen journalism situation involving NSW Police:

Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 12:43 PM
Subject: as discussed, for Lara Acting Editor The Media

Oliver who had his charge dismissed is email at far bottom in the string. Then next back from there is my response to him, then first below is my package to the civil liberties types making out the pattern of 4 different cases I'm aware of brazen police over reaching (even when they have good cause it seems for those arrested same time as my guy Oliver Hopes.)
The hook for the Right To Know folks probably is the incredible invitation from the Police hierarchy as per articles below) for citizens to get involved in citizen reportage (actually dobbing - just not on the coppers!) as below. 
I can't let you have the letter I wrote to the Redferm Command without Oliver's permission due to legal confidentiality as former client (suggesting just drop the charges/it's a waste of time - diplomatically leaving out that it could also result in ....).
But I can tell you the policeman who gave dubious if not outright dishonest evidence and issued the Court Attendance Notice dated 26 May 2008 was Constable ..... Command.
The charge was "Hinder police". It was dismissed last Friday 22 August 2008.
Yours truly
Thomas McLoughlin (solicitor in NSW restricted certificate)
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 10:21 AM
Subject: in confidence, Oliver Hopes hinder police case dismissed in Local Court last Friday! Damn good.

I refer to previous correspondence about pro bono case, which ended up with Slater & Gordon on a fee basis. Also copy to civil rights campaigner Kristian Bolwell of the Fire Brigade Union, nsw solicitor.
Barrister was Mr Crawford Fish apparently. (Bragging rights here: Barrister apparently said my letter to police to drop the charge was "very good". Too bad they didn't - wasted court's time and lost the case. Good show all round by defence team.)
There is definitely a pattern of behaviour going on here by local Sydney police to avoid reportage: See also Matt Khoury story in The Media (bible of the media industry) in The Australian 2 months back as linked below. There was another fairly high profile in the Sydney Morning Herald pre World Youth Day too:
with this extract posted Sunday 13 July 08:

Picture: Saturday 12th July 2008, 10am. The bonhomie was mixed with the heavy security in the tunnel under Central Station . The plods and pseudo plods really didn't like me passing my card to this coloured gent. Nor did they appreciate me standing 10 paces away, nor did they appreciate me taking a picture of them from 40 paces away, and indeed the short blonde copper (Constable Phillips, City Crime - Commuter) made it her business to stalk over to me 40 paces away and officially ordered me to leave the area. "On what legal basis?" I asked and  "Because you don't want a witness? Is that what you are saying?". "Because you are intimidating" came the smooth practised reply. So there you have it - taking a picture of police in the course of their duty is "intimidating".  All under the flag pictured above of our fair democracy you understand. 


Nor is this the first time local inner Sydney cops have tried these tactics over recording of their police work. We are well aware, as is the ABC, of a case yet to be heard in court regarding police confiscation of a camera phone from a witness to a brawl outside a local inner city pub earlier this year, who we understand was then ordered to delete the footage in a police cell while being stood over by two local policemen.


Very very ironic given these two reports here exhorting exactly this kind of citizen media:

As a riposte we told one of the security guards about our readersip figures to which he said with contempt "You only see one side of life." Well actually we did see the aggressive drunk the night before and were glad for the security being present then. What worries us is fare evasion (not that we know the facts) leading to more serious charges for a public transport service that should be near to free anyway on public policy grounds.

Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin, editor www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog tel 0410 558838,
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 8:55 AM
Subject: yeah! you earned it, fortune favours the brave, smart, honest Re:

Hey Olli,
this is great stuff having your charge of hinder police dismissed last Friday. I rang and spoke to your mother earlier this morning sort of by coincidence as I found a story in the press here on the weekend doing my catchup, which is a BIG echo of your experience, and remembered you were about due for your hearing.:
And you know about my experience a month back too during the start of World Youth Day reporting/observing an arrest at Central Railway.
I'm so pleased you kept your nerve, got the help you needed, and have got the charge dismissed, and your mum got a barrister too and you got the result you deserved. You deserved to get costs I think, only fly in the soup.
I would love to do a report on my micro news website anytime. And ....
Kind regards,
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, August 24, 2008 10:18 PM

hey tom, we won the case on friday. we didnt get awarded costs but atleast i dont have a criminal record. thanks again for all your help. many of the things you told me .... helped alot. are you taking on coca-cola? sounds like a david and goliath battle. how were they so rough to you? hope things are well. olli.


[For those eagle eyed you may be wondering why this writer didn't progress the case himself - the reason being after intial correspondence and first appearance our principal solicitor chucked in his practising certificate (or something) end of 07-08 financial year and we couldn't act unsupervised past 30 June 08, hence Slater's took on the case as house lawyer for the family's employer. We remain an out of work 'junior' lawyer though under s.63 of the Land & Env Court Act 1979 we can do pro bono as a court agent in that jurisdiction.]

All this resulted in this article by Chris Merritt here next day 28th August 2008 in The Media section of The Australian in terms of right to know agenda, even though google lists it as Sept 1st for some reason: 

28 Aug 08 Call to reform police powers | The Australian

Chris Merritt, Legal Affairs editor | August 28, 2008

CIVIL libertarians have called for reform of police powers after a Sydney art student was arrested and pressured to delete video footage of a violent clash between 20 late-night revellers and between 30 and 40 police.

The incident has raised concerns that police are sending mixed signals about the value of "citizen journalism" in fighting crime, as well as their treatment of reporters who might film or photograph them in action.

It took place one month after they appealed for the public to send them videos to help identify criminals.

Art student Oliver Hopes was charged in April with hindering police after he used his camera-phone to record them using capsicum spray to subdue violent revellers in April.

The charge was dismissed last week after Mr Hopes' barrister, Michael Crawford-Fish, presented the Downing Centre Local Court with separate footage of the incident that had been taken by a security camera.

"The whole incident has darkened my view of the police," said Mr Hopes, who did not save the footage after he was told by police to stop filming.

He said the deleted footage would not have shown any misconduct by police.

"It's not another Rodney King," he said, but it could have shown the extent of the violence. "They saw me filming and told me to move back, which I did. They then said 'Turn that off' and I kept filming. He said 'Give me the phone' and I turned it off and put it in my pocket. He said 'Give it to me' and I said 'It's off. It's cancelled'. And he then said 'That's it, you're under arrest'."

Later, when he was being held overnight, police entered his cell, handed him the phone and told him to delete the footage.

"They told me it was against the law to film people and there were special provisions covering the media," he said. He explained that the footage had never been saved but he was still charged with hindering police.

The action over Mr Hopes' camera-phone forms a sharp contrast with the launch in March of a scheme in which NSW police had invited the public to send video footage of crime directly to a police website. The scheme, known as Project View -- Video Image Evidence on the Web, had been developed by assistant commissioner Bob Waites.

Last November, NSW police arrested journalist Matt Khoury after he witnessed a raid on a nightclub and made it clear to police he would be filing a story on the incident.

Mr Khoury had been charged under "move along" legislation but police withdrew the charge just before the case had been due to go to court.

NSW Civil Liberties Council president Cameron Murphy said police generally had no authority to order video footage to be deleted. But they would sometimes be justified in seizing footage if it were needed as part of an investigation.

He was deeply concerned about both incidents.

"There has been a steady increase in police powers to stop people, search them and move them along," he said.

"This is very dangerous and it's the sort of thing that over time will lead to a police state," Mr Murphy said.

Nice for Cameron Murphy of NSW CCL to get the quote, truth is they are so under resourced or something they didn't answer ANY email or telephone approaches by this writer over the months of this saga. Nor did NSW Ombudsman. Only PILCH charity referral service responded and then in the negative. And of course News Corp above for the gritty story.

Now we have yesterday a quite serious feature by the Sydney Daily Telegraph about another burgeoning aspect of NSW Police secrecy while keeping in mind the press mainly want to have access to the juicy news stories and therefore mixed motives - as they say in the media game 'if it bleeds it leads'.

The links to this latest unresolved front in right to know/public safety versus good policing practice/operational confidentiality is here:

15 Sept 08  Stalkers preying on our schools | The Daily Telegraph

15 Sept 08 Community alarm over silence of police | The Daily Telegraph

15 Sept 08 [offline] Attacks on children increasing (Sydney Daily Telegraph

15 Sept 08 [editorial] Hamstrung by NSW Police's new communication system Sydney Daily Telegraph

15 Sept 08 Police radio blackout is a concern for civic safety | The Daily Telegraph ...

Posted by editor at 7:46 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 September 2008 6:58 AM NZT
Monday, 15 September 2008
Nelson ... agricultural Nightwatchman Man ...wants to bat on past lunch on day 2
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: aust govt

The ABC and no doubt other big media are reporting a spill motion in the federal Liberal Party room tomorrow morning.

What it shows is the tactical cunning of Nelson with a pair of twos in his hand given Costello while in the Parliament will not contest for now. So Nelson can win on that front.

For the same reason Costello doesn't want to go so very early in the tedious 2 years out election cycle his rival Turnbull will not find the spill tomorrow morning very convenient.

So as agricultural as Nelson is, and mind numbingly determined to survive, so he also can damage Turnbull by exposing him as not having the balls if he also doesn't challenge.

Which only leaves Turnbull to grab the holy grail too early only to burnout in time to fit Costello's timing of a year hence to really make a run within reach of the federal election. Is this the tag team Nelson and Costello have been cooking?

And why would Nelson want to stay in the miserable job anyway at such low polling and drag the party to the destructive divisive Howardista Right? All we can come up with is that Nelson must be a masochist.

Sure while he remains in the middle - to further tease out the 5 day test match metaphor - the scorer has to record him, the crowd have to notice him unless they nod off or leave the stands altogether, which judging by the polls they are indeed doing.

Nelson can't win this test match all he can do is play for time and get a draw by not getting out, even as the crowd and the scorer know in their heart who is the better team. In this sense Nelson is Kevin Rudd and federal ALP Parliamentary Party's best friend.

Sooner or later Brendan Nelson is going to have to face his own Hippocratic Oath in light of his support for the murderous Iraq blood for oil scandal. Until then he will keep batting on in denial. Anything is better than facing that. Facing himself.

Posted by editor at 9:39 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 September 2008 9:29 AM NZT

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