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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 7 November 2008
Coach Carter Obama, Big Media colour coded observations of US election
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: big media


We guessed 296 to Obama needing 270 electoral college votes. And how wrong we were. He stormed into the 350ies or so. Yet it seems most New York Times readers were also "nervous" on election day. And the story of race surely is the basis of those nerves.

We did our own little vox pop the afternoon of the awesome McCain concession speech and the even more awesome victory speech by Obama.

One South American buddy sent a text of jubilation, the Persian or maybe Arabic guy in the corner shop was excited and told me later he stayed up all night watching the news till 3 am. Another very jaded South American buddy said nothing would change or jobs would be lost poor countries in a US protectionist policy.

My 30 year old female neighbour said only half joking "until they shoot him" while the shop keeper also said he was in danger.

Even so you can tell in this very mixed race suburb of Sydney a certain bounce in the coloured residents. A bounce in everyone. Even as we spied a notorious white supremacist incognito in the main street early on election day.

What strikes us is how stark the claim in the Big Media that Obama is the first "Black" president. How did it come to this of defining people by their colour rather than the content of their character as Martin Luther King would have it? Or is the colour simply an artefact.

One defensive journalist said his parentage has been well documented. But maybe it's my post racial attitude that just ignores the colour and finds much more significant that:

1. His mother had a Phd (in anthropology)

2. His dad was an economics graduate from Harvard

As Oprah has said "it's because he is brilliant". On a trivial level we recall that Obama is what we call coffee not black, while this writer is pink not white, and one of the guys in my neighbourhood surely from North or Central Africa is indeed coal black. The Indigenous in Ten Canoes are somewhere in there again. But the Big Media in particular simplify and stereotype because they can.

There is no doubt that Obama is adopted by the civil rights movement from Jesse Jackson crying on tv, to 95% of African Americans voting for Obama. We shed a few tears and punched the air too. But did Obama represent their struggle? There is no doubt he provides blessed inspiration but we are not convinced he was the civil rights candidate per se even as he is adopted across the globe by minorities. As he says himself he was the mainstream candidate.  He needed voters far beyond the relatively small proportion of African Americans which he demonstrably did receive.

His biographer was on the 7.30 Report last night pointing out that he was raised by his caucasion mother, adding to pictures of his 'white' western grandparents who obviously loved him to bits. That he had to learn in 2000 how to connect with struggling 'black' voters. That his friends in school were 'white'.

By chance we watched a quite inspiring sports movie based on a true story  2 weeks out from the US election. It's called Coach Carter and good value:

Here is the wikipedia entry for Kenny Ray Carter:


Carter gained notoriety in 1999 when coaching the Richmond High School Oilers. He canceled all of his undefeated basketball team's games and practiced for eight days -- forfeiting two games (one non-conference game and one alumni game) -- because fifteen team members had unacceptably poor academic performance. This event was known as "the lockout", and his actions were criticized by the school, players' parents, the community, the schools where his team was scheduled to play, and media commentators.

Carter maintained that his athletes must take their studies seriously as good academic performance would give them access to college and other opportunities in life. Public opinion eventually changed, and he was praised for his determined emphasis on encouraging proper life priorities for his team.

The story of the 1999 season is in the 2005 film Coach Carter, with Carter played by Samuel L. Jackson.

The DVD dramatisation carries an interview with the man himself with emphasis on close knit family and high expectations for African Americans.

It was a good window into that community about a pioneer for success against a backdrop of psychological victimhood. It echoes commentary how Obama avoided victimhood growing up outside the 'black' community. Just as Colin Powell is said to have Jamaican roots longer emantcipated from the historical slavery grievance.

Many writers here have spoken about Obama as president elect being in effect very 'white' in his upbringing and even of 'white' guilt motivating voters to pick Obama. What worries us is this approach just doesn't get the true message of MLK that it's irrelevant. Colour blind is the way to go and judge a man on "the content of his character".

And I can add one other piece from my genetics course in a zoology degree. A healthy combination of diverse genes will throw up hybrid vigour above even the two already superior parents. And that I think is the true nature of Obama. A superior human being from the union of Africa and European humanity. This is stock standard good breeding in The Man. That indeed is a message of hope for humanity in a complex world.

The biographer on tv last night said he was driven by ambition to resolve the "failure" of his father. But I think that too may misunderstand that Obama is just a better mind with that hybrid factor than either his mother or father which is a great credit to both regardless.

Meanwhile in the damaged and sick eddies and currents of humanity some one wrote some weeks back in a public toilet at Addison Rd Centre Marrickville: "the only good black man is a dead black man". So there is no doubt the sickness of racism still exists out there. We didn't see it, an Irish chap I was chatting too warned me so it could be painted over as quickly as possible. I hope it was.

Posted by editor at 8:43 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 8 November 2008 7:24 AM EADT
SAM micro news pageview stats for October 2008 stable at 20,343
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media

For some curious reason we have taken a structural dip of about 5,000 reader/pageviews. We don't really know why. It correlates with the Global Financial Crisis so maybe less people had internet accounts they could afford to pay?

It's been the usual thrills and spills in NSW politics: Another MP took a fall possibly on behalf of ex PM Paul Keating. We serialised the highly dubious environmental record of the sandmining industry adjacent to the World Heritage Blue Mountains, with still part 6 of the serial to go.

We also provided background to the culture in Media Monitors in 2000-2001, logging of Koala habitat in Bermagui which ran on ABC TV news last night (but not it seems the Woodford blog), explaining the links between a mini metro rail project and the new Fairfax office in Pyrmont, Libs stalking Nats at Tooralie, Ken Henry being too green on climate for the Coalition, and so on.

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:

  • September 08 - 20,746
  • August 08 - 25,344
  • July 08 - 22,855
  • June 08 - 27,440
  • May 08 - 25,046
  • 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 8:14 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 7 November 2008 8:41 AM EADT
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
ALP machine disciplines Keating via dumping of state MP for Bankstown?
Mood:  energetic
Topic: nsw govt


We made hay last Sunday in our Political Talkies headline and coverage leveraging a comment of Ms Jodi McKay MP, NSW, Minister for Tourism:

 Sunday, 2 November 2008 Sunday Political talkies: Ms McKay's 'weird aggressive' mates in NSW ALP?
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt

In effect it was a culture jam of her (or the journalist's?) allegation of "weird aggressive" folks in national parks. Her implication was a clumsy smear on all mainstream bushwalkers using national parks that you would never want to share a night with in a hut.

In our experience of huts in conservation areas - admittedly mostly in New Zealand's mountain country as we generally camp here in Australia - the people you meet in huts in remote areas are self selecting. They are generally the healthiest, most sensitive, most sociable, and interesting people, often from foreign lands with cute accents (like the Swedish folks on Mt Aspiring near Wanaka). They are also usually so tired from a day's walk the last thing on their mind is making trouble.

It was too much for McKay MP to be smearing national park users in general as an entre for developers like Packers 5 toasters proposed for Thredbo in Koscuiszko National Park only a year or so back, with all the sewage load on the park that implied: Refer Colong Foundation [PDF] Bulletin 205 (Good work by Fiona McCrossin, sister of media identity Julie).

But we digress - in our list of arguably 'weird aggressive' people we thought Ms McKay might have been projecting onto bushwalkers from her own milieu included ... Tony Stewart MP facing allegations of bullying.

Now the loyal ALP female blonde attractive staffer has decided to press her complaint about bullying, and MP Stewart has been stood aside.

But is it as simple and brutal as that? We do wonder. As written late last week in another piece here on SAM, Paul Keating seems to have got an attack of the political vaudeville deliberately calling up a "divisive" argument about the role of Gallipoli versus Kokoda. As if there is a competition, with him as self appointed judge and jury. The story is here:

Friday, 31 October 2008

Not surprisingly PKwas sidelined by PM Rudd as raising a can of worms that interfered with the ALP Govt(s) messages and clear air. We thought the timing so curious we wondered if Keating was actually running cover for his mate in NSW Cabinet Tony Stewart, MP for Bankstown. Paul Keating was MP for Bankstown for all those years too.

As Premier Rees has said his and deputy Tebbutt's ascension have been a tectonic shift in nominally Right to Left factional politics here in NSW. Stewart and Keating are in the Right. Keating has no entre into the Pineapple Mafia out of Rudd and Swan's Qld machine at federal level. He needs Tony Stewart MP in NSW Cabinet on such sinecures as design of Barangaroo east Darling Harbour.

But Rees, Robertson, Bitar, Foley/Thistlewaite, Arbib, of the NSW Machine, and by extension PM Rudd too, don't need ex PM Paul Keating, or his proxy Tony Stewart MP. That was the tectonic shift after the blue over public energy privatisation

When Keating ran this impudent letter via Alan Ramsey's column last Saturday we felt it was crazy brave: It's worth extracting in full because in a way it's Keating swansong regarding real political influence, like Morris Iemma is so ex Premier:

What you get for having a shot at Keating - Opinion - smh.com.au Alan Ramsey November 1, 2008.

Paul Keating took dead aim at Kevin Rudd yesterday. He did not miss. Keating has never taken a backward step to jingoism, let alone posturing at his expense, and yesterday afternoon, very deliberately, he gave his successor as Labor prime minister a verbal thumping such as Our Kevin has not experienced publicly by a Labor colleague in his 10 years in national political life.

The words, by email from Keating's office, were headed simply: "PJK rebuttal of K. Rudd's remarks on Gallipoli." Here is the full text:

"The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said today that I was wrong to reject the popular view that Australia was redeemed at Gallipoli. I should have thought the Prime Minister might have noticed I have spent most of my political life rejecting so-called popular views. A political leader's true task is to interpret events and reality to a conscientious nation. It is not to wallow in jingoism in the hope this might find some harmony with an old chord.

"Had I, as prime minister, accepted Kevin Rudd's view of today, that 'I am absolutely proud of it' - that is, that he is proud of having Gallipoli as the focal point of Australian remembrance of military service abroad - then I should never have turned that focus back to Kokoda as the one true 'Battle for Australia', as I did in 1992.

"The Prime Minister recently declared an official 'Battle for Australia' day, though without any reference to the fact, unpopular at the time, that I had sought to redress and rebalance the country's wartime history by calling Kokoda the 'Battle for Australia' to reflect the strategic truth. The truth and not the jingoism.

"Or the stylised and rote remembrances by the RSL's leadership.

"Yesterday I was commenting on what the historian and author Graham Freudenberg had written in his outstanding history, Churchill And Australia. Freudenberg said that owing to 'Australia's own ambivalence about itself and to prove the British race in the Antipodes had not degenerated, in an almost theological sense, Australian Britons had been born again into the baptism of fire at Anzac Cove'. Yesterday I was agreeing with Freudenberg's imputations in that extract: that we had no cause for ambivalence about ourselves in 1915, that left alone in the Antipodes we had not degenerated and, therefore, had no need of being 'born again' at Anzac Cove.

"After federating in 1900, by 1914 the country was doing quite well in the first great flush of Australian social and economic nationalism. We had no need of sacrificing Australian men to prove we were legitimate, any more than we needed to earn our nationhood. But none of that went on to diminish the bravery of the Anzacs at Gallipoli, whose sacrifice did deepen our understanding and sense of ourselves, including subsequently, our national identity. The pity was our enhanced identity cost them so much.

"This was the point I was making yesterday, making it in such a way as to endorse, and make explicit, the view Freudenberg had expressed.

"There is another point the Prime Minister should grasp. The possession of the prime ministership does not automatically invest anyone with wisdom; this has to be displayed upon the conscientious consideration of facts, moments and events. Kevin Rudd says Paul is 'completely wrong on that, completely and utterly, absolutely 100 per cent wrong'. Well, that is Kevin Rudd's view. But on this subject that cuts no ice with me.

"I suggest he could do the country a greater service by taking the long view of history, from now just on a hundred years ago, to reflect on the world then and what we now know about the 20th century, especially as it relates to European history and to the history of Australia within it. Whether Kevin Rudd decides to give young Australians the appropriate lead or otherwise, they will work it out. But what they will most appreciate is some direction for their thinking based on substance and truth and mature reflection which, in this case, a century of hindsight provides."

No, PJK did not miss.

We demur here Alan. Keating may not have missed but he's seriously miscalculated. Keating came a cropper in the pages of the SMH earlier this year, falsely conflating two different financial proposals in his opinion piece seemingly biased by his position with investment banker Lazard Carnegie Wylie . Indeed he left out accounting of $10-15 billion of value in power assets between a different proposal in 1997 to 2007. It was cute rhetoric by ex PM Keating but hopelessly misconceived financial analysis. It smacked of conflicted self interest and the Greens seized the error as loyal opposition in NSW.

One problem for Keating is that he might (as Imre Salusinszky has written) believe the script writer of his namesake musical. We did enjoy the show too, impressed pre federal election by the full house at the Seymour Centre, but we did notice it wasn't an historic document. It left out Keating's trashing for woodchips of the "Deferred Forest Areas" - best forest in Australia released to the loggers in 1993-4 contrary to his own government's National Forest Policy Statement. This was Keating's way of diverging from Hawke's Resource Assessment Commission (people like Clive Hamilton).

This is still have it's consequence today:

We still have the filing cabinet of those historic documents of the DFA selling out our environmental future. Interestingly Senator Faulkner was  done over by Keating as then Environment Minister. Faulkner was at the book launch last week where Keating launched into the Gallipoli issue. Rudd calls Faulkner "a wise owl".

Also notice comments in crikey.com.au ezine last Friday 31 October in the unsourced Tips & Rumours to the effect (subject to correction by them) that only one sitting MP, Senator Faulkner, was at the function of former ALP Right luminaries Carr, Brereton, Keating, Wran etc:

Graham Freudenberg's much-awaited book Churchill and Australia was launched in the Jubilee Room at Parliament House in Sydney yesterday by former Prime Minister Paul Keating. The launch was attended by a glittering band of Labor identities, academics and media. They included Senator John Faulkner, former Premiers Neville Wran and Bob Carr, former Treasurer Michael Egan, Channel Nine's Laurie Oakes, broadcaster Mike Carlton, Tony Whitlam QC, Foxtel's Kim Williams and Blanche D'Alpuget. Extraordinarily, not a single sitting Labor MP bothered to attend. It raises the question whether any of them can read.

Or it raises the question of who is being frozen out? Generational change anyone? 

Now Keating has arrived at true real politik irrelevancy courtesy of his own machine. Sure Tony Stewart MP is the collateral damage via a staffer's vexed complaint but it's Keating who is being given the message and it's a serious one. There is an irony and symmetry to this result - live by and die by the machine.

Rudd beat Howard by transcending divisive politics and the "Howard haters". Howard mirrored Keating's penchant for wedge and division which people have grown leery of with such genuinely serious and worrying issues to tackle cooperatively like dangerous climate threats. Keating's model of doing politics is broken, even when it's for an ostensibly honourable goal like the Republic, just like the Barak Obama inclusiveness has found fertile ground and is increasingly ascendant.

Alan Ramsey said Keating didn't miss with his email to Rudd's people. One might call it's Paul's Pearl Harbour: Awakening the giant of the federal ALP machine's anger. We know how that ended.

An epithet for Paul Keating: "Bring back the biff" well describes Rugby League of the 1970ies in your formative stages, indeed the flower of your youth, but it's not how we do things in the 21st Century.

Posted by editor at 5:42 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 4 November 2008 8:53 AM EADT
Monday, 3 November 2008
Media Monitors email scam echo of an earlier email gambit ... at Media Monitors
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: local news

A big page 3 story last weekend in the Sydney Morning Herald brought back some interesting memories of our 2 years at Media Monitors 1999 to 2001 inclusive of the 9-11 disaster. We had the night shift and what an unhealthy work cycle it really was.

The recent story was about email mischief by two staffers with a right wing shock jock:

1-2 Nov 2008 The naked truth of a shock jock duped - National - smh.com.au

But back then it was about an email to all state and federal govt politicians about a Media Monitors manager. But we get ahead of ourselves.

We met Bernard Rooney there at MM and we raised some $4,000 for East Timor in the inaugural 100 km charity Trailwalker in 2000 via workmates. In 2001 we went in the event again as pictured below middle shot with Bernard 2nd from right. Or on his back in the top photo.

And what was the email about? Well if memory serves a certain MM manager was doing a spring clean for the CEO, in one of those company wide job reviews. Now we quite liked Bernard. He was a solid kind of a worker but he'd been targeted for the chop.

The word on the shop floor was that he was being told to do work he hadn't been trained for and then told he wasn't performing to standard.

Then on the night of 9-11 we had our leverage. Seems this ruthless manager by the name of JH was seen watching the live coverage in the 2nd floor offices in the old Cleveland St Building. They were still a few years from moving into the Federal Police building a few blocks down the same street.

Our hero JH was heard to say "It's all dead news, no one wants to buy it." This was in house talk - the newsworthy importance of a story - often disasters like earthquakes or volcanoes - doesn't correspond necessarily to any of the big business and govt clients wanting to buy a copy. In short the people who run society want things directly naming them, or impacting their business in order to organise their PR and strategy.

As it was happening it was 'only' a criminal disaster story in a foreign country that no Australian client needed to get. No one knew who the companies inside were. Or how it would change the world.

We don't mind saying doing the Media Monitoring of every newspaper published in the country over that period, especially the Fin Review front page of The Falling Man, probably took it's toll and may have affected our thinking.

It was not so long after that that one of the readers died of a stroke as well, a disabled guy known to his workmates and friends as Skip.

So anyway if Bernard was about to get the boot (to restart a new career as a Greens Councillor at Canada Bay) a certain employee at MM thought the govt clients might like to know what ruthless managers were thinking as literally 3 thousand people were being murdered in the workplace at the World Trade Centre: "It's all dead news, no one wants to buy it".

There's no accounting for moral perspective, or tactless use of language.

The workers will have their satisfaction even if by internet cafe. 

Posted by editor at 6:04 PM EADT
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Sunday Political talkies: Ms McKay's 'weird aggressive' mates in NSW ALP?
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt


Author’s general introductory note



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.


For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.


Media backgrounders


* Oliver Stone film director with a very mainstream capitalist pedigree with a father who worked on Wall Street describes Senator McCain like this in Weekend Review in The Australian 25 Oct 2008, at p21 in film review of W about the current US president:


"I think McCain's a very special story because he was never a soldier," Stone says coldly. "He's said he never saw the results of his own bombing. I saw the damage we did [in Vietnam], I saw the corpses, the decay, I smelled the flesh, I saw the people  who'd been napalmed, people who'd been killed by shrapnel, mutilated, I saw horrible things.


"McCain was a prisoner and he has a siege mentality. He doesn't see a balanced portrait of cause and effect; there's something missing in the man, mentally."


* Today’s Sydney SunHerald - Rudd warning on global recession hit on Australia – and blaming NSW for economic failures. Looks like return of fire on Keating's ‘culture war’ over interpretation of Gallipoli .


* Rudd's bold attack on NSW ALP politics possibly informed by Imre Salusinszky's piece this weekend  p31 of  The Australian that the PM can go to the election after NSW because he convenend parliament in Feb 2008 giving him until after March 2011 when NSW must. Not sure if this is true but very important if it is, in "Forcing polls may save Rudd".



* Rudd is also emboldened by China releasing a report saying they recognise the challenge of climate change as evidence that in terms of international momentum it's a happening thing to get on board the climate change expres, via ABC China correspondent here -

China warns of more natural disasters 30 Oct 2008 ... The Chinese government has made dire predictions of increased disasters due to global warming. China correspondent Stephen McDonell reports ...

* Sunday Telegraph - Minister for Tourism Jodi Mackay, who took the NSW seat of Hunter in the wake of the creepy ALP MP Orkopoulous arrest and conviction for child abuse and drug use, worries about “weird aggressive” hut user with a “fetish for conspiracy theories”. McKay says this justifies developers being greenwashed into national parks with commercial tourism to guarantee “safety”. The story is "National parks face a fork in the track" by Claire Harvey p37 2 Nov 2008. 


Who is she worried is stalking around in national parks?: Former or current ALP MPs and ministers

- Orkopoulous, convicted of child sex and drug abuse? 

- Matt Brown MP, alleged harrassment?

- Paul Gibson MP alleged domestic violence?

- Belinda Neal MP, alleged bullying?

- Tony Stewart MP, alleged bullying?

- Steven Chaytor, ex MP alleged domestic violence, overturned on appeal?

- Paul Keating ex PM with his famous (political) aggression?

- Joe Tripodi MP with some scandal there about alleged harrassment.

- Nathan Rees who was maybe 'weird' cycling 1000 km in a week', and preferring V8 revheads at Olympic Park?

- Or maybe Mal Turnbull who is known to have a few conspiracy theories about Treasury chief Ken Henry and has an explosive temper (at least when he was younger)?.  

Or is Ms McKay MP worried the Shooters Party MPs and their Game Council/Sporting Shooters mates with their Deliverance style pig hunting and their guns will stray out of the 1 million hectares of State Forest gifted by the ALP Govt. Stray into national parks and get their skinning knife out and “stab” innocent campers?


Picture: Hunters during the bird shooting season in Victoria intimidate a conservationist/animal rights protester, image taken several years ago.


The irony is that lead greenie Andrew Cox of the big conservative NSW National Parks Aassociation, opposed to commercialisation, is about the most mild mannered NGO rep under the heel of this aggressive weird NSW ALP government. Let’s see Ms McKay argue her case against the Greens Lee Rhiannon MLC MP on Stateline – I’d like to see that. The fact is there is huge opportunities for development of commercial tourism next to and outside national park boundaries and the rest is greenwash:


The Greens say a developer contributed more than $50,000 for Jodi McKay's printing.

The Greens say a developer contributed more than $50,000 for Jodi McKay's printing. (ABC TV)


Jodi Makay MP might do better resolving issues of her own about developer donations and internal ALP corruption:

14 April 2008 We haven't declared all donations: NSW ALP - ABC News (Australian ...

with spin off into the Sydney City Council elections where the ALP were reduced to a rump of one only (Cr Burgmann who has left for the US elections):

Labor election funds tangled in development August 25, 2008 by Malcolm Knox

And then we notice the corporate sponsorship of the Sunday Telegraph to the tourism awards from the new minister with probity questions about developer donations:

* Range of pre-emptive efforts by rivals of John Howard ex PM Howard years in 4 installments out on Nov 17 by Fran Kelly, and 2 other ABC veterans. Good summary in the Weekend Australian today by John Lyons. Pre-emptives as follows:


* Mal Turnbull "The Opportunist" charging "bull" last weekend's front colour mag Weekend Australian,


* Peter Costello flying flag on his financial credentials as a statesman ex treasurer here 15 October smh

We must not sow the seeds of the next crisis - Opinion - smh.com.au

 * George Brandis damns Howard with faint praise, not least for marching away from Menzies social liberalism, and economic Deakinism leading to an inevitable neurosis and collapse of the Party.

23 Oct 2008 The Howard paradox | The Australian


* John Robertson pictured at his squatters homestead like home at East Kurrajong, who walked with the greenies against climate change pre federal election.





But what about the forests John? Record levels of woodchipping at Eden for trees like this?


Just one tree


It's true it's not just one chair, in the propaganda in the Good Weekend here this weekend, it's whole forests including giants like this of which say 50-80% will be woodchipped, or burnt on the forest floor:


 * Keith Orchison of the energy industry in various veteran capacities is throwing his lot in with the CFMEU coalminers and woodchippers as climate change denialists or more accurately sophists, as per this quote last 1/5 of his column in the climate change denialist The Australian:


The "unintended consequence" risks of emissions trading to the economy are well illustrated by the pulp and paper mills. They have virtually no capability to pass on extra costs to customers because they are exposed to vigorous international competition - from countries such as China, Brazil and Indonesia - within Australia as well as overseas. Overseas suppliers have managed to grab 40per cent of the Australian papermarket.

As the sector is striving to get across to Wong and her colleagues, if the domestic mills become non-viable and close in the medium term, there is a flow-through effect to tree growers and sawmillers.

Overall, the forest industry employs more than 80,000 Australians. Ultimately, argue the millers, if they fail, fewer trees will be planted (because the growers have less income), less timber will be available to the construction industry (because the sawmillers will be less viable) and more concrete and steel will be used in buildings, involving an increase in carbon emissions.

How much of this information will be on the table when federal cabinet finally comes to make a decision about emissions trading - not just when to introduce it but, even more important, how to support emissions-intensive, trade-exposed domestic industries against global rivals - is anybody's guess.

Wong's focus is transparently on positioning the Government on the high ground for the critical negotiations on a post-Kyoto Protocol treaty at a meeting to be held in Copenhagen in 14 months.

Who in the cabinet, therefore, has responsibility for ensuring that this ground is not made up of the rubble of the Australian manufacturing sector?

Keith Orchison is director of Coolibah energy consultants and editor of the Powering Australia yearbook. He is a formerenergy industries association chiefexecutive.

in 22 Oct 2008 Climate plan pulps employees downstream | The Australian


* Sad to read ex ex ex Treasurer Michael Costa trying to crawl to revive his destroyed reputation in The Australian with the most ironic of titles "When principle gets left behind". Not the guy you would go to for moral guidance. In 24 Oct 2008 Deep green elitists in charge | The Australian


* Minister Tripodi et al pull off the electricity privatisation policy mark 2, in the last 36 hours, and wait to see fireworks with the United Services Union. He is also moving to annexure all executive political power in the NSW ports sector as per this low key but important article: 1 Nov 2008 Joe Tripodi's bill is a ports power grab | The Australian



* The highly praised First Australians can be veiwed again on the net apparently and see this profound advert adapting what looks like a real historic document only 60 years ago, as Obama leads the US presidential race. How incredible.


[Media Watch reveal that the document is an advert gimmick, it's not historically accurate but claims to reflect the actual implementation in the 1950ies behind the actual bureaucratise of an official White Australia policy.]



10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


Press round up re Age Rudd warns of global recession impact on Australia.


US election round up.



Panel is Jennifer Hewitt with dodgy deposit guarantee story in The Australian labeled as WRONG. Also Phillip Coorey of Fairfax.



Out take is joke cracked by Mal Turnbull – something about nude bathers on the beach as the tide goes out.


Talent is Chris Bowen as Assistant Treasurer.


Classic out take of McCain ‘winning’ by one vote.


 2nd guest is


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




Riley Diary 7, from 8.30am


Riley who did a tour of duty in the US previously is back there and saying it's like Disneyland for political junkies.



Really good traverse of the campaign in summary leavened with some understated humour, with comic Tina Fey meeting the real Sarah Pallin complete with Deliverance soundtrack etc.







9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am


Talent is Foreign Minister Stephen Smith - mostly about US election and pretty general and competent if not a bit boring.





Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Panel Dae Levine Essential Media, Bruce Wolpe of Fairfax and ex foreign minister Alexander Downer.


Chris Uhlmann re Rudd on global recession in the Sunday press, and attack on ‘sick man’ of Australian politics namely NSW.


Discussion of phone call with George Bush ‘re G20?’ Was it Chris Mitchell the editor of The Australian who leaked the story?


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




Posted by editor at 12:31 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 4 November 2008 8:08 AM EADT
SAM website delay via US server in lead up to US election?
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: independent media

We seem to be experiencing a major delay in posting from here in Australia as the electoral process reaches a frenzy there in the United States. It's no secret that Obama's campaign has leverage the internet to historic levels in the last year and it may be that both Democrat aligned and Republican aligned forces are saturating the web to the exclusion of foreign folks.

We noticed too it was virtually impossible to watch the video of the day from say the Daily Show as posted via crikey.com.au, and we presume the traffic was simply too high.

Posted by editor at 10:25 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 3 November 2008 10:06 AM EADT
Friday, 31 October 2008
Keating's bait and switch on Stewart MP scandal plays Big Media for fools over Gallipoli?
Mood:  down
Topic: big media

 Rees Minister 'abuses woman staffer'

Accused of abusing female staff member ... Small Business Minister and Bankstown MP, Tony Stewart.

We've watched Paul Keating's career quite closely since about 1992. But he's been playing politics as one of the 4 amigos (Carr, Richardson, Brereton, Keating) since at least the mid 1970ies, standing next to ex PM Whitlam on his dismissal in 1975.

No comment … the Assistant Health Minister, Tony Stewart, during question time in Parliament yesterday.

No comment … the Assistant Health Minister, Tony Stewart, during question time in Parliament yesterday.
Photo: Ben Rushton

Now his mate Tony Stewart, numbers man for the ALP Right, is on the skids with the nominally Left Rees Govt for some abusive treatment of a staffer. (This follows a ramp up of equity and justice claims for pollie staffers by the crikey.com.au ezine about l0 days ago.) 

Both big press in Sydney are after Stewart now today in a career ending sense.

What's a guy, in this case an ex PM mover and shaker, to do? Dependent as he is on the ALP right for any number of NSW Govt sinecures? The Pineapple Mafia are runnings things for the ALP federally so no joy there.

Keating, or as we like to call him - TMCSI, The Master of Conflicted Self Interest - needs such as struggler Tony Stewart MP, chip off the old block. Needs his numbers and his favours in the future. Stewart needs the PR interference and cover, and he needs it today. Right effing now.

So the King of Political Vaudeville does "a Henson": He pulls on a highly sensitive emotionally charged topic of debate for which there are multi-factorial perspectives and issues all of which are essentially moot, and of tangential or marginal significance with a GFC, a climate package, a brown coloured US Presidential nominee. A moral panic by any other name. Where many many people of good faith but who are not so cunning or political will think it's a genuine posture by Keating that demands engagement. It's Keating at his usual highly manipulative, very corrosive, and essentially a mind f*ck waste of time by all concerned with good public policy and integrity in government.

Thus we say ABC 702 breakfast show this morning were played like a fiddle by the Keating 'Gallipoli debate' effectively running interference and cover for Tony Stewart, loyal foot soldier of the ALP Right here in Sydney. They even had a highly expensive violin on the show. And that's a pretty fair metaphor for Paul Keating, a multi million dollar, polished, squeaky fiddle.

Not for nothing, notice in the smh picture below this is the Jubilee Room in NSW Parliament where they hold estimates. It's the sandpit of the ALP Right. In attendance were several amigos Carr, Keating pictured, Brereton, honourary amigo ex Premier Neville Wran and a range of others. Plenty enough to cook up a PR gambit. It's what these folks know.

Signing up … Blanche d'Alpuget and Graham Freudenberg.

Signing up … Blanche d'Alpuget and Graham Freudenberg.
Photo: Nick Moir .

Posted by editor at 8:32 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 2 November 2008 10:12 AM EADT
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Stephen Mayne, shareholder activist, goes Toll hunting in AGM season
Mood:  energetic
Topic: corporates


The Mayne Report has just lobbed into our inbox. It's the next vehicle for former News Corp business reporter Stephen Mayne. Previously he founded then sold the Crikey.com.au web based news service.

The share holder activist business ezine refers to rousing skirmishes over $55M in executive bonuses at Toll Holdings, if I have the gist right, with this invitation:

Feel free to click below for the web version of this and send the link around because this scandal really does need maximum public exposure. And let's hope the papers give it the full treatment in the morning.

Do ya best, Stephen Mayne

Posted by editor at 7:35 PM NZT
Diamond Diary Part 5: Illegal works on crown land intercepting Tinda Ck headwaters
Mood:  blue
Topic: legal


This is the 5th part of the serialised Diamond Diary quoting the 60 year old activist's sworn affidavit in proceedings in the NSW Land & Environment Court 40733 of 2008. His case Diamond v Birdon Contrcting Pty Ltd & Anor was lost recently on technical grounds such that the substantive issues of illegal environmental vandalism have not been tested. He consents to his affidavit being reproduced here.

There are some deletions as marked based on legal considerations. Diamond's main grievance has been damage to Tinda Ck which crosses the Old Putty Rd aka Singleton Rd. The private land is sandwiched between Wollemi and Yengo National Parks which are both World Heritage listed and listed wilderness areas under the Wilderness Act 1987 (NSW).

In June 2007 a hydrological expert Chris Jewell working for Hawkesbury Council reported that the watercourse into the world heritage area has been cut by 37% and this will increase to 53% if the sandmine is expanded.

Neville Diamond's story continues:


Attempt by Birdon/staff to smear me over their illegal works on crown land intercepting

Tinda Creek headwaters, s.94 contributions refund proposal

52. By way of request to admit facts Birdon wrote 10 September 2008 and we responded as follows:

1.That during his ownership of Lot   DP a diversion channel was constructed along the northern boundary of such without any approvals to divert the northern arm of Tinda Creek into a dam that was built on Lot which was also constructed without any approvals.

Point 1, no DP number included. But to anticipate, during Diamond's ownership of Lot 1 a dam was built by a contractor working for Stout/Poyneed in about 1984 with Diamond's permission. This was lawful - for instance RFIA legislation didn't apply until amended in 1992. Then the west to east, northern diversion channel was built just north and parallel of the boundary of Lot 1 on crown land by Mr xxxxxxxxxx working for Stout/Poyneed and/or possibly Birdon around 1988-89 in Diamond's absence when he was living in Londonderry.  Diamond had nothing to do with this channel.


2.That the diversion channel and the dam restricted the flow of Tinda Creek.

Point 2. Diamond is not an expert on this but his view is that the diversion channels could not effectively restrict the flow of Tinda Creek because the hydrology of the valley there is like a sponge as set out in Paul Bourne's/DLWC officer's memo of around 1995. And as set out in the 1984 and 1996 EIS. In other words the land is all permeable and channels and dams don't hold water unless they are clay lined. The connecting diversion channel diagonally across Lot 1 connecting the dam to the northern interceptor channel to drain excess water threatening the sandmine was built soon after around 1989. It was built by xxxxxxxxx again for Stout/Poyneed/Birdon with the knowledge of Diamond under duress from the sandminers.


3.That he approached me with a proposal for Birdon to be able to claim a refund of all of the section 94 contributions it had paid to Council for its operation of Tinda Creek upon condition that he received 50% of any monies recovered.

 Point 3. It is admitted that in about 2006/7 Diamond provided advice about potential refund of s.94 contributions (estimated at around $200-300K) on the basis council had breached the s.94 plan by not handing it over to the RTA ever since the 1989 Donges v BHSC decision in the LEC required them to. There was an additional precedent case about handing back s.94 contributions not applied to their purpose under the relevant plan [Engadine Area Traffic Action Group Inc v Sutherland Shire Council no. 2 (2004)]. And that Diamond sought commercial benefit for the advice by way of negotiation to set off the compensation he continues to claim against Stout/Poyneed and their business partner and successor Birdon, for instance the stolen assets of $88,500.  


A further basis for seeking the refund was [to persuade] Birdon they had a lapsed consent since 1999 and payments since then were misconceived. Such a concession would involve instituting a new EIS [by Birdon] and bringing about rehabilitation of Tinda Creek with modern management approach.




Legal tests regarding security for costs


– professional approach to the pleadings in  Amended Application in Class 4

56. I was in the middle of the Coca Cola water bottling case as public interest intervenor with help from my court agent and the EDO when the HCC released their final report on the Tinda Creek s.96 moodification for a meeting of 29 July 2008. As said above Liberal councillors and on past voting behaviour were going to vote for approval against the advice of their staff for refusal. So in short time I drafted an application in class 4 with my agent and put together a substantial affidavit – running out of time to number the pages for the evidence, and filed and served it just hours before the council meeting.

57. The original application has two sections with

·         paragraphs 1-5 seeking declarations regarding breach of the planning laws - lapsed consent with consequences of that, and

·         paragraphs 6 to 13 seeking declarations for a logical and practical method of rehabilitation for Tinda Creek at the expense of the sandminer over 2 years and 9 months.

Part of the supporting evidence was Council’s own report of 29 July 08 agreeing with the EDO and no doubt their own legal advice that consent had lapsed.


58. My agent faxed the stamped Application to Council the afternoon of 29 July 2008 and Full Council deferred the whole matter pending my case. As I understand it this ws their own legal advice, though they could have voted to refuse the DA according to council officer’s recommendation.



59. In preparing my evidence on the interlocutory security for costs hearing of 21st October 2008 I have organised with help from my agent other compelling evidence of unlawful activity by Birdon such that I have drafted an Amended Application with help of my agent and EDO seeking new declarations from paragraphs 16 to 25 regarding

·         para 16 – out of approved area

·         para 17 and 18 - lack of Crown consent as part owner for the Das

·         para 19 – breach of clause 283 of the EP& A Regulation 2000 for false and misleading statements regarding misleading plan submitted with s.96 modification DA

·         para 20 – legal question for testing by the court as to whether a s.96 modification can justify a new EIS as designated development

·         para 21 – failure to implement “a series of monitoring bores” in the 1995 EIS plan, at page 23, supported by expert reports Ecowise (2005) and Jewell (2007)

·         para 22 – failure to obtain a water license sufficient to cover the volume of water use for the sandmine.

·         para 23 – failure to submit water use figures to DWE under the water licenses

·         para 24 – failure to submit annual compliance reports under under consent condition A.33.

·         para 25 – failure to obtain various permits for clearing of trees in “proposed stage 2a”


60. With the help of my court agent and the EDO I am now proposing to particularise the declarations sought according to usual court process in the next week. This is regardless of whether I win or lose the security for costs hearing because I know the community and green movement will be able to use these documents in a new litigation which likely will have someone like Peter Waite OAM, or combined green and community groups, willing to initiate new proceedings against Birdon to see the WHA.


Cronulla Precinct Committee Incorporated v Sutherland Shire Council

by Pearlman J, unreported 29 July 1998:


To avoid a security for costs order Pearlman J referred to various factors which constitute “special circumstances” beyond public interest:


- proceedings involve no private gain – yes in our case

- contribute to the proper understanding of the law – yes regarding false use of s.96 modification for a designated development

- the basis of the challenge is arguable – yes given all the supporting evidence against Birdon from both experts and local and state government documentation and circumstances of the case

- the purpose is clearly to protect the environment – yes the adjacent WHA includes Tinda Ck




- Cable Investments Pty Ltd v Meltglow Pty Ltd (1995),

61. The tests in Cable are addressed as follows following the summary of Lloyd J in Diamond v Birdon & Anor (2007) judgement 40900 of 2006:

(1) application for security by Birdon is brought promptly

– yes

(2) the strength and bone fides of the case in which security is sought:

Yes, the HCC officer’s report agrees the consent has lapsed, as does the EDO written advice that the consent has lapsed, the voluminous material to show Birdon are operating illegally (outlined further below) and have done so for a long time and the declarations/orders sought are justified. There is very substantial public interest for the welfare of a World Heritage Area demonstrated. The WHA is at some risk of dangerous climate change threats as per expert CSIRO evidence raising the precautionary principle. See further below regarding the strength of this case under a separate heading.

(3) whether impecuniosity of the applicant results from the respondent’s conduct, the subject of the claim

Yes in part as pleaded above from menaces and intimidation destroying a property management asset at Tinda Creek. And from theft of substantial assets by staff of Birdon. And from gross intimidation rendering the Applicant a pensioner suffering from stress.

(4) Whether security for costs is oppressive by denying an impecunious citizen or organisation a right to litigate

Yes because the Applicant has a special interest as a former neighbouring land holder whose property rights and quiet enjoyment have been adversely affected such that

(5) Whether there are other persons behind me likely to benefit to provide security

There is no other person likely to benefit except the general public interest. The court agent is acting pro bono. The community groups are only interested in protecting the waterway and the WHA.

(6) Any person willing to undertake a security for costs for the plaintiff

Not in the current circumstances of another threshold issue outstanding regarding estoppel of the previous consent orders.is resolved in the Applicant’s favour.

(7) “Whether the applicant for security is in substance the plaintiff or the proceedings are defensive in nature”

The applicant for security is being highly defensive to avoid legal accountability regarding illegal sandmining operation.


- strong evidence for the declaratory orders sought in the Amended Application


62. This section of my Affidavit of Evidence in Reply amounts to a first draft of the points of claim to support the declaratory orders sought in the Amended Application filed and served the same day. Following the order of the Amended Application:


1. A declaration that the consent for development application 134/95 (the “DA 134/95”) granted by Second Respondent to the First Respondent retrospectively formalising the existing sandmining at Lot 2 of the property described in Schedule 1 at Tinda Creek (the “Property”), operating from 1991 to 1996 without consent, has lapsed.



(a)   Letter General Manager HCC to Birdon dated 15 January 1996 showing unlawful operation ‘for several years’

(b)   Memo dated 29 Dec 1995 by Paul Bourne DLWC to file CC Mr Radcliffe Legal Branch, “An unauthorised extractive industry is currently operating at the site”;

(c)   Letter of consent dated 23 December 1996 – found at annexure 1 pp 7-11 of the bundle (numbered from first page) of the affidavit of Neville Diamond filed and served 29 July 2008 (“First Diamond Affidavit”).

(d)   Council’s chief planner Owens by report to full council 29 July 2008 at pages 64 and 65, and recommendation to cease operations on page 70 regarding mandatory consent condition 4. Refer annexure 20.

(e)   Consent condition A. 4 reads  

·         “Details of [erosion and sedimentation control devices] shall be submitted and approved by Department of Land and Water Conservation prior to any works commencing”.

There is no DLWC approval.

(f)     Evidence of no DLWC approval obtained under consent condition 4

1.      Letter Marwan El Chamy for DWE 17 Sept 2007 to GM/Greg Hall/HCC, copy at p49 of the First Diamond Affidavit

2.      EDO letter of advice to Diamond dated 27 Sept 2006

3.      Letter dated 26 June 2007 by Greg Hall Town Planning Co-Ordinator HCC to Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd: “Council has now received correspondence from the Department of Water and Energy …in respect to condition 4 and this has been referred to Council’s Solicitors for comment and advice.”


(g)   Evidence suggestive of dishonest claims of DWLC/DWE approval under consent condition 4

1.      Letter of 3 March 2008 Marwan El-Chamy Manager Licensing, South for DWE to General Manager of Hawkesbury City Council: “the Department reiterates the advice contained in its letter of 17 September 2007. / Notwithstanding claims made by Mr Bruce in his declaration, the Department is unable to locate any documentary evidence to support Mr Bruce’s claims. / Discussions with staff involved in the Tinda Creek matter at the time in question have also failed to substantiate Mr Bruce’s claim of a verbal approval by a Departmental Officer”.

2.      Letter dated 6 June 1996 by (Birdon consultant) Port Stephens Design Services  to HCC re documentation for sandmine DA including detailed drawings sedimentation control, stockpile protection, diversion drain, nth creek stabilisation etc’

3.      Letter 15 July 1996 Marwan El-Chamy DLWC [DWE] to GM-HCC re ‘design sediment basin’

4.      Letter dated 22 April 1997 John Pye HCC Development Control Officer to Tom Bruce-Birdon to address “Sedimentation control devices  to be installed within the drainage channels …..”

5.      Pye to Bruce dated 30 June 1997 – ‘address environmental management plan ....erosion and sediment controls

6.      Pye to Bruce 21 August 1997 re letter of 7 July 1997 – ‘environmental management plan is insufficient ....should demonstrate sound environmental practice during establishment operation and rehabilitation and end use …. s.94 contributions not paid 3 months’

7.      Letter Bruce to Pye 22 Jan 1998 ‘we believe our environmental plan of 7.7.97 cover this’

8.      Letter dated 15 Dec 1998 Birdon to Pye-HCC “Erosion & sedimentation control devices  were installed and are maintained. Dept of Land & Water Conservation approved system designed and council has approved devices installed”

9.      Letter dated 1 May 2002 Birdon to Pye-HCC “Erosion & sedimentation control devices  were installed and are maintained. Dept of Land & Water Conservation approved system designed and council has approved devices installed”

10.  Evidence Tinda Creek at or near the sandmine site fall under the jurisdiction of the River & Foreshores Act 1948, and therefore required permits under Pt 3A to disrupt the creek which in the normal course would require documentation of the type in approved “Erosion and sedimentation controls” under consent condition A.4. The failure to obtain such permits is highly suggestive of avoidance of an approved details under consent condition 4

11.  Memo 3 January 1996 by Paul Bourne of  DLWC “Subject: Tinda Creek sand extraction EIS …..The status of Tinda Creek at the site has been reviewed, and the Creek is now regarded as a “river” for the purposes of the Rivers & Foreshores Improvement Act 1948 (refer p7 of the EIS)”

12.  Undated memo DLWC re inspection “12 December, 1995  …..obvious that Tinda Creek (under the Water Act definition) starts to develop definition and stream characteristics immediately downstream of the sand extraction operations”

13.  Memo 29 Dec 1995 DLWC copy to Mr Outhet Riverine Corridor Unit “I agree that the site is part of a lake and is also within 40m of a river under the RFI Act (due to the presence of the “existing” diversion channel as shown on the plans) David Outhet Senior River Scientist 29.12.95.

14.  Memo W. Conners 25 jan 1996 “regulation of the site be carried out under the Rivers & Foreshores Act”


Some of these documentary materials not in the First Diamond Affidavit are at annexure 31.



Previous posts in this series are here:

Tuesday, 28 October 2008 Diamond Diary Part 4: Attacking the messenger, not the vandalism Mood:  don't ask, Topic: legal

25 October 2008 Diamond Diary Part 3: Getting to grips with the costs regime in the NSW Land & Environment Court, Mood:  not sure, Topic: legal

Thursday, 23 October 2008 Diamond Diary Part 2: How I went bankrupt 'doing litigation for Dixon Sands' Mood:  accident prone Topic: legal
Wednesday, 22 October 2008 Diamond Diary Part 1: Amazing career of environmental litigation Mood:  on fire Topic: legal
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 World heritage vandal gets technical win in Land & Environment Court ...for now Mood:  accident prone Topic: legal

16 October 2008 Hawkesbury City Council public duty to protect their World Heritage park in court Friday 9.30am Mood:  blue Topic: legal

Friday, 10 October 2008 Misleading plan and letter by sandminer in threat to Blue Mtns World Heritage Area? Mood:  sharp Topic: legal

6 October 2008 Google Earth reveals illegal drain intercepting Tinda Creek to World Heritage area? Mood:  sharp

Posted by editor at 5:04 PM NZT
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Bermagui South Coast koala forest: Protest update from Harriet of Chipstop
Mood:  hug me
Topic: ecology


Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 6:58 PM

Subject: [chipstop] Bermi logging today

Hi chipstoppers

Bermi logging continued today, with the same heavy police presence as previously this week although it appears the Riot Squad may have been having a day off or even gone home..

  • We discovered today that the logging contractor is Bruce Mathie and Sons. This adds to our conviction that this logging has been carefully planned to limit conservationist protests.
  • Mathie is the logger who successfully sought a Supreme Court injunction against the Wandella 8, activists who formed the core of a blockade against the logging of Peak Alone (Wandella State Forest) in 2005. Injunction http://thebegavalley.org.au/4159.html
  • This injunction imposes a lifelong ban on the 8 experienced and skilled activists, who are largely associated with South East Forest Rescue. ForestsNSW obviously believes that by engaging this logger to carry out the Bermagui logging, it will minimize the effectiveness of protests.
  • Other developments: after some argy bargy, the police are allowing protest gatherings to continue in the mornings at the bus stop, provided various banners are moved.
  • The school bus driver with the anger management problem was prevented by police from leaving his bus this morning, but this didn’t stop him shouting some gratuitous advice to the police about how they should deal with us.
  • The "Harvest Plan" is finally available, although at first glance not very illuminating.

Chipstop has a new page on the website to collect together some of the information about the logging. If you think there is anything useful that could go up there, pls let me know.


Between 2,500 and 3,000 trees from SE NSW and East Gippsland are cut down every working day to supply the Eden chipmill
CHIPSTOP campaign against woodchipping the SE forests, 02-64923134, PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia,
CHIPSTOP on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vJuZya1X00


From NSW Police website


Friday, 03 Oct 2008 09:07am

Police on the Far South Coast are warning protestors that activities during forestry logging operations which are illegal and dangerous will not be tolerated.

The Far South Coast Command has been advised that NSW Forests are to commence logging compartments of the Bermagui State Forest in late October 2008.

Superintendent Michael Willing, Far South Coast Local Area Commander said "police from the local area command and various sections, including the Public Order Operations Support Group, Highway Patrol, and Rescue Squad will be part of an operation which will be conducted in the area of the logging and will focus on ensuring the protection of persons engaged in lawful activities."

"We have received information which leads us to anticipate that a number of protestors will converge on the area. Our message to them is clear.

"We are committed to maintaining public order, and anyone who engages in unlawful or dangerous activity in or near the logging operation will have action taken against them.

"This action may be the issuing of on-the-spot fines or Court Attendance Notices, but where offences are continuing and are dangerous police will where necessary arrest and charge people," Supt Willing said.

NSW Forests advises that the state forest in which the logging operation is taking place will be closed to unauthorised persons. Entry into those closed areas is an offence.

Likewise, interference with the free movement of equipment or people within, or to and from the logging operation is also an offence. If any such offence is detected, police will be taking action.

Police have also taken the opportunity to remind everyone of some of the offences which attract On-the-spot fines.

" Trespassing into a prohibited forestry area start at $100.
" Being near harvesting or hauling equipment on-the-spot fines start at $1000.
" Intimidating Employees by preventing the free movement of equipment or people attract a fine of $5500 and or 2 years imprisonment.
" Other offences associated with disrupting a workplace also attract fines starting at $5500.

Police said they will attempt to facilitate protest requests in order to minimise the disruption, but if a hard core minority are intent on disrupting or hijacking genuine protests swift action will be taken and those involved will be removed.

Superintendent Willing said, "anyone who intends on protesting is encouraged to contact police to discuss their intentions so we can facilitate lawful activity,

"Our policing operation at the Bermagui State Forest is not focused at preventing lawful and peaceful protest as we respect people"s rights, but rather at unlawful and dangerous activity, Supt Willing said.
Bermagui State Forest Koala Survey
Extract from NSW Legislative Council Hansard and Papers Tuesday 28
October 2008 (Proof).
Page: 27
Mr IAN COHEN: My question is directed to the Minister for Primary
Industries. Can he explain the process behind the new koala survey
method used in surveying Bermagui State Forest compartments 2004 and
2005? To what extent did the survey find evidence of the presence of
koalas, which of course is koala droppings? Can he advise what actions
he or Forests New South Wales will take against contractors if they
failed to halt logging upon the sighting of koalas?
The Hon. IAN MACDONALD: I thank Mr Ian Cohen for his question. Over a
period the honourable member has raised issues relevant to forestry, and
basically his position seems to be that we should cease native forestry
activity in many parts of the State. I point out to him that round the
turn of the century, a number of agreements were struck which led to a
massive 5.5 million hectares of State Forest land being incorporated
within the National Estate, so there has been a significant transfer of
native forest.
The Hon. Marie Ficarra: What about the koalas?
The Hon. IAN MACDONALD: I will come to koalas in a minute. I will
answer the question my way, thank you. The issue is that there is a
relatively small percentage of that former State Forest estate held by
Forest New South Wales to meet 20-year wood supply agreements under a
Forestry Industry Structural Adjustment Program [FISAP] entered into in
recent years. Those agreements have led to the regeneration of the
industry and considerable improvements in the technology employed in
activities of the region. In relation to the Bermagui State Forest, it
is a 183-hectare forest. It was logged selectively 20 years ago and
clear-felled some time before that. It is not an old growth forest.
Secondly, an extensive survey was undertaken by Forests New South Wales.
I believe it is a very scientific and well-balanced study and it shows
that there was no permanent colony of koalas in that area.
In relation to the spotting of koalas, the practice would lead to the
assessment of that colony, and I believe that would be checked out and
monitored. The point is that we need to supply in accordance with wood
supply agreements. They are 20-year agreements and they have a fair
amount of time left. Many workers are involved on the South Coast and
indeed on the North Coast in this industry. If we were to pull out from
providing this hardwood, given that the demand for timber is not
decreasing despite the economic downturn*there is still a lot of
demand for timber products in New South Wales*it would lead to
increased importation of timber. That timber most likely would come from
South-East Asia or Brazil, or one of the countries the environmental
protocols of which are far inferior to protocols that are available and
enforced in New South Wales in relation to the selective harvesting of
We are committed to sustainable harvesting of the remaining forest. We
do not believe the koalas are under threat. We believe that that is a
furphy that has been put about by people who have no evidence. I have
seen their statements relating to the south-east forests. There is no
scientific evidence. Forest New South Wales is right. It has done the
work, and
I believe the forest is being sustainably logged.
Mr IAN COHEN: I ask a supplementary question. The Minister clearly said
that the department is committed to logging in that area. Does the
Minister agree that the export of woodchips, described by a former
Federal Minister as "a bastard of an industry", is absolutely
overcommitting the resources of that area?
The Hon. IAN MACDONALD: Again, the member states an inaccuracy. These
forests are valuable saw logs used for a number of different products
that are in high demand.
Mr Ian Cohen: It is the wood chipping*
The Hon. IAN MACDONALD: Wait a second! The woodchip component of it is
in the field of residues, and that is created in the process of felling
these trees. No timber company would convert saw logs to woodchip. That
is just economically insane.
Bermagui State Forest Logging Protests
Extract from NSW Legislative Council Hansard and Papers Tuesday 28
October 2008 (Proof).
Page: 25
Ms LEE RHIANNON: I direct my question to the Minister for Police. Did
officers stationed at Batemans Bay police station in collaboration with
Forest New South Wales hold a meeting at the Bermagui Country Club in
September to warn locals associated with calling for forest protection
not to protest when logging commenced in the Bermagui State Forests?
Does the holding of this meeting reflect that Batemans Bay police
officers have adopted a zero tolerance policing approach to forest
protesters? Considering that since logging started in Bermagui State
Forest on 27 October with a group of about 40 protesters gathered in the
vicinity, about 15 police cars, more than 20 police, including members
of the Public Order and Riot Squad, a mobile police command bus and two
police rescue vans have been in attendance, will this level of policing
continue for the coming six weeks of logging in this area? What is the
anticipated cost of this operation?

The Hon. TONY KELLY: The Far South Coast Local Area Command of the New
South Wales Police Force has been advised that New South Wales Forests
is to commence logging compartments of Bermagui State Forest later this
month. As in the past, protests are expected. As always, the New South
Wales Police Force is committed to maintaining public order. For this
reason, local police and various commands, including the Public Order
and Riot Squad, Highway Patrol and Rescue Squad will join together to
conduct an operation. This operation will focus on ensuring the
protection of persons engaged in lawful activities. Local police have
made it clear that anyone engaging in unlawful or dangerous activity in
or near the logging operation will have action taken against them. When
offences continue and are considered dangerous, police will arrest and
charge people as necessary. Police respect people's rights to protest
during these times; in no way are they looking to prevent lawful and
peaceful protests. Police have asked anyone who intends to protest to
contact them so that they can attempt to facilitate lawful activity,
minimise disruption and focus on protecting the safety of everyone
27 October 2008

Logging started in Bermagui State Forest compartments 2004/5 today.
1. The arrival of the logging crew was preceded by at least 12 police vehicles, one a sinister looking black "riot control" vehicle, one an 18 seater bus (empty), several paddy wagons (empty), police rescue, a police communications bus to, inter alia intercept our mobile phone calls and various other police 4WDs. There were possibly others which came from the Cobargo direction which we did not see.
2. About 50 conservationists assembled at the bus stop on the corner of the Wallaga Lake Rd and the Cobargo Rd from 7am. This central point was selected because we did not know exactly where the logging was to start.
3. The roadside boundary for the 2 compartments is 12 kms long, with multiple entry points. It was next to impossible to predict where they would enter as ForestsNSW had failed to:

  • mark up any areas other than visual protection strips
  • erect any "prohibited zone" signs, as required if they are to invoke SF security Regs.
  • release a full Harvest Plan, explaining in detail areas to be logged. Only the maps had been supplied to members of the Biamanga and Gulaga NP boards.

4. Police vehicles assembled at Box Flat Road, off the Cobargo Rd near the council water tank, on which some thoughtful person has recently painted a large "no woodchipping" message.
5. At about 8am semi-trailers were observed entering Box Flat Road carrying logging machinery. We were not able to tell which contractor has been engaged to do this logging.
6. One of our people went to the Box Flat Rd corner on his motor bike to investigate and to film, but was told by police to leave "as he was in a prohibited zone" (not true because there were no signs, as required).
7. By about 11.30am some "prohibited zone" signs had appeared along the roadside boundaries of the logging compartments.
8. No chainsaw or tree felling noises can be heard from the road as they have started at the far end of Box Flat, closest to the river and furthest from the road.
9. As loggers left this afternoon two private security guards arrived to camp overnight near logging machinery.
10. Another highlight: the school bus driver stopping to pick up a couple of kids left his bus in a rage, grabbed several of our placards and threw them towards the road. Shouting angrily, he tore down and damaged a banner attached to the bus stop, using words that had attracted a $150 fine for one of the activists in Bega Local Court two weeks ago.

MEDIA STATEMENT 26 October 2008

NSW and Victoria collude to limit forest protests
Conservationists have accused the NSW and Victorian Governments of colluding to limit forest protests in south east NSW and East Gippsland.
"The two states have timed highly controversial logging operations to start at exactly the same time," according to the convener of the forest activist group, Chipstop, Ms Harriett Swift.

"We learned on Friday that the long awaited logging of Bermagui State Forest will start on Monday within hours of hearing that bulldozers were moving onto Brown Mountain in East Gippsland.

The Bermagui logging has been the subject of pro-active preparations by the NSW Police who have threatened a zero tolerance approach to protesters.
Brown Mountain is part of the Snowy catchment and much prized by conservationists for its 'valley of giants'.

"Forestry agencies clearly intend that the simultaneous logging operations will ensure that skilled activists from one state may not be available to assist colleagues in the other," Ms Swift said.

"It may be no coincidence that these logging operations come hard on the heels of widely reported attacks on conservationists attempting to save Tasmanian forests last week. NSW and Victorian forestry agencies may also expect these attacks to have drawn some activists away from this region," she said.

Ms Swift said that it is a pity that NSW and Victoria can"t manage this level of co-operation on useful activities such as saving the Murray River.
26 October 2008

Posted by editor at 8:33 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 29 October 2008 9:08 PM NZT

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