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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 14 February 2010
Sunday tv talkies: What a choice - loud mouth Abbott versus burnout Rudd?
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt

  Picture: Barry Cassidy compere of Insiders ABC TV: Call us speculative but BC looked a bit annoyed the PM was on Meet The Press at 10, and ABC's own Q&A but still no show on his premier Sunday tv show. Well not so much annoyed as angry. 


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. Perhaps the greatest utility is the headline synthesis above of the 3 or 4 shows followed in this session.


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.


Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.  


Media backgrounders.  

Some images from last week:  

Picture above: A frothing Sophie Mirabella MP Victoria's redneck answer to Barnaby Joyce?

Picture above: Louise Markus MP (Liberal) at left, outside Windsor Railway at 7 am earlier this week with a Tony Abbott climate 'direct action' pamphlet. And notice the upgrade works - upgrade infrastructure to support Richmond RAAF base as 2nd airport?


And not to forget the egregious Cardinal Pell (below) doing the devil's work hand in glove with the barbarians who drove Leonardo Da Vinci and other champions of science to despair in centuries past:


Just one example from the dissembling articles above: Pell says the globe was warmer in Roman Times, but ignores the much faster rate of change in recent decades as per profound NASA graph below. That is unnatural rate of change. It's sly commentary like that makes Pell a simpleton or a cynic putting millions of lives in jeopardy by promoting dangerous climate change denialism.



10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 

Opening footage Abbott Rudd Garrett re increase polls for Opposition and insulation controversy. Press round up: Brumby holds safe seat, Bligh in Qld on skids. Quotes Garrett scandal story in Sydney Sunday Telegraph – but it’s hidden away in our copy.


PM Rudd is main guest – “industrial manslaughter” raised re Garrett. 138K industrial accidents, 130 deaths per year investigated. Accusation by Abbott extremely poor judgement. Waiting for police, coronial, safety authority.


2 core issues – 2002 standard on foil insulation. Training standards – introduced by Garrett. Prejudging by Abbott. Redesign, good idea gone bad? Huge programme wait for authorities.


ETS on climate – sticks by it like 35 other advanced economies.


Panel is Hewitt and Farr both of News Corp – health compromise with the States. Says wants to get it right. [obviously GFC has crueled the implementation – should just say it?] Farr goes on immigration for mainland processing.


Viewer question homelessness. Earnest response. Farr question about his “credibility problem”. Quotes GFC, hundreds of promises kept. Afghanistan


Overall PM Rudd looks tired.


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


Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am 

Abbott iron man theme. Interesting footage. Garrett “massive botch up” on insulation. Chats after – Garrett keeping his job. Tactically PG has done well. But practically still big problem beyond politically. Sullied the whole industry due to cowboys. [Riley exaggerates ‘4 deaths’ as if ‘foil over bare wires’]. 



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

Winter Olympics so no LO interview. Refer Sydney Daily Telegraph Saturday column.





Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Shabbiest week in Rudd Govt history starting with Q&A PM appearance, business unhappy, Garrett in trouble. [Barry Cassidy upset over PM appearing on Meet The Press earlier today. Everywhere including ABC except Insiders.


Riley style package Rudd getting sledged, Barnaby Joyce sledged, ALP Perrett MP stupidity. Abbott says Joyce hasn’t killed anyone with a policy. [But he wants to by cutting aid budget, as Abbott has with Iraq policy]. Garrett sound track.


Press roundup: Toohey - Conroy story about $250M license fee cancelled for free to air networks. Meglo says bankrupt economy if bailout every company after GFC. Brumby on racism. Middleton on Bligh polls, next election 2012.


Talent is Chris Pyne MP manager Opposition business on Garrett insulation programme. Call to suspend. [Motive to call off stimulus or safety? Opportunism now?] Relies on ministerial responsibility – Abbott record employer employee responsibility. What about Joyce heart of economic credibility. Pyne argues double standard re Keating on US debt [doesn’t wash]. Pyne flip flops on $250M fee cancelled to tv networks.


Panel on Garrett, Joyce, various


Meglo refers to indications of PM Rudd early burnout. [Compared I suppose to Abbott dangerously energetic empty vessel]




Inside Business with Alan Kohler  .

Kloppers on China resources client, CEO Pimco global bond traders.


Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/ 


Posted by editor at 1:54 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 14 February 2010 1:58 PM EADT
High class barrister Tania Evers wins defamation case against News Ltd?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: legal

We received a copy of this recently, which apparently ran on the Sydney Daily Telegraph website late afternoon last Tuesday 9th Feb. It may have run in print the next day but we didn't see it.


Which looks to be an echo of Fairfax blunder 2 years previously here:

Apology to Tania Evers - National - smh.com.au 2 May 2008

SAM was closely following this big media conflict with a leading human rights and social justice advocate about 2 years ago. We may have stayed out of print at the time but recall talking to Ms Evers about the brutal approach News Ltd take to inconvenient facts. It relates indirectly to Evers challenging legal work like this:

Erosion of the Accused's Rights in Sexual Assault Cases by Tania Evers

We first became aware of her through a reference from the Intellectual Disability Rights Service (refer penultimate story) who were most impressed with her competence and honesty.

Posted by editor at 1:02 PM EADT
Saturday, 13 February 2010
When the legal system works to protect the vulnerable ...
Mood:  special
Topic: legal

Picture: Carol and friends have lunch at Wesley Mission in Pitt Street Sydney. Photo by Tom McLoughlin.

By all normal expectations Carol should be dead, according to her own prediction. "When daddy dies I won't be here anymore".

This was the grim conversation we had with special needs greenie volunteer and art lover Carol 4 years ago. It still chokes us up to think about it.

A chronic generally harmless schizophrenic, she still manages to live independently, with an enormous survival instinct that honours both her deceased parents, survivors of the Holocaust.

"No. Carol, listen to me. Your life belongs to you. No one else. You have your own life after your dad dies." Seems no one ever told Carol this before explicitly or implicitly. Seems that's all 'the permission' Carol needed too.

In an early legal skirmish driving to the Guardianship Tribunal another moving conversation "Carol do you trust me?" "Yes". So that's what that oath back in 1990 being admitted as a solicitor in NSW was all about: An officer of the court albeit a shadow of 'The Street Lawyer' as author John Grisham describes them (a talking book on  recent drive to Canberra).

After chucking the suburban lawyer (our erstwhile principal) option we conferred with the good people at Intellectual Disability Rights Service. Who is "honest and competent" in this area? First referral was to barrister Tania Evers who sees us gratis in Martin Place office but she is overloaded. Next stop is Pam Suttor a member of the Law Society Council, currently convalescing from a serious back problem.

When we met Pam first she was in the main office at $450 an hour presiding over the boutique firm in York St like a cross between the Face of Boe and Jabba the Hut - an eternity of experience.

Much evidence and failed settlement conference later we came to the court hearing.

This week Carol represented by solicitors L Rundle & Co, principal Pam Sutter, lawyers Chris Windeyer (yes that famous name), and team, with barrister silk Chris Simpson SC achieved a judgement from Justice Ward in the NSW Supreme Court in favour of Carol. Out of the 12 parties in the Family Provision Act litigation involving $800K in legal costs (for all parties) over a family estate of perhaps $8 to 16M in size, Carol had the strongest case with her special needs.

L Rundle and barrister Simpson are yet to be paid anything for their 3 years of legal slog. They will be properly compensated out of the estate but they took the risk too for several years. I call that above and beyond the call of duty.

As did this writer signing the costs agreement for Carol which could lead to bankruptcy, being struck off etc

Carol was awarded a judgement of around $1.26M yesterday 12 February 2010  and we were honoured to be her pro bono legal tutor/next friend in the legal process. She has always been 'our people' as a greenie even as a conservative reader of The Australian.

In the course of the judgement hard nosed commercial legal veteran Justice Julie Ward, , said "..in Carol's case ... her normal life expectancy ... is around 41 years". Justice Ward then carved up both the legal arguments, evidence and estate of the parties according to their merit and needs and the legislation. In a 133 page double spaced judgement after a 4 day hearing mid December 2009. We guessed earlier this week in writing a $1.5M result for Carol, and perhaps the lower result down from $2M claimed resulted from a reduced "notional estate" around technicalities of survivorship/joint ownership of shares etc. A win for the wealthy step family.

Even so there is provision for current and future aged care accomodation, supervision and medical costs all itemised at paragraph 371 of the judgement. We are very confident there will be no appeal. The fund will be securely managed by the Public Trustee.

The law was moderating the cold dead hand still reaching out from the grave. Rest in peace daddy, the living will take it from here: Friends, legal respresentatives, public trustee, siblings, step brothers, other relatives .... and the law. Justice was done.


Posted by editor at 10:20 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 13 February 2010 11:31 AM EADT
Thursday, 11 February 2010
Uh oh SAM micro news stats counter has gone AWOL
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: independent media

Either our host server or some other bug has intervened in our daily stats counter. We were curious given activity in the last week but a big fat zero is the result. This isn't real because as a lawyer you get to learn that extreme results are usually impossible. A low or high number is more like it, zero is not. Sure enough the menu indicates the counter has frozen at 8th Feb 2010.

One sledge too many of the News Corp mega machine? One hopes not.

Such is life. Here is a screen shot extract telling the story:


Postscript - seems our counter is back after crashing 9, 10 Feb 2010. 1250 page views for 11 Feb 2010. Welcome back! 


Posted by editor at 10:53 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 12 February 2010 8:48 PM EADT
Teenage deaths, public policy and hypocrisy
Mood:  sad
Topic: aust govt

Picture: Shadow minister Greg Hunt MP significantly gets the first question of the day ahead of his own leader Tony Abbott who no doubt authorised the special prominence for his new shadow minister: Did Peter Garrett kill teenage insulation installers with a bad safety framework?


Did Peter Garrett MP, Environment Minister act soon enough and effectively on a billion dollar programme to ensure electrical safety standards on foil insulation? We defer to others on that detail.

Last week we commented both here on SAM and The Australian about the role of government in megafire fatalities through misconceived logging land use policy. More of that below.

Yesterday early morning we broadcast an email to all federal MPs which we argue is indirectly related: It's not about insulation or even Peter Garrett but it is about death and public policy: Failure of the Howard Coalition inclusive of Opposition leader Abbott as junior minister to action the Cape York Land Use Agreement of 1996, in breach of an election promise. That failure to apply $40M implementation funds surely resulted in many indigenous deaths through failed socio economic policy 1996-2007.

Abbott was a junior MP in 1996 but by 2003 Abbott was a favoured son of a PM who hooked up Australia like a rail car to the USA-Bush illegal invasion of Iraq resulting in 500,000 to 1 million death.

Then we have the Australian Building & Construction Commission star chamber process for unionists insisting on tough safety regulation and interventions. An initiative of the Howard Abbott Govt.

Then we consider cutting Australia's aid budget as suggested by Joyce for the Opposition lately: How many preventable deaths would that cause in socio economic terms amongst our near neighbours - thousands?

Token restructure of Australian climate policy by the Coalition which arguably will result in 100 million climate refugees from Shanghai to Bangladesh in the next 50 years. With grim attrition rate in the millions?

Another shocking public policy outcome alluded to above - a 50 year history of systematic removal of wet old forests and their water cycle of sopping wet undergrowth through south eastern and south western Australia to be replaced by dustry dry wildfire loving schlerophyll regrowth. Over hundreds of thousands of hectares and now in climate shift we are reaping the whirlwind.

This analysis pulls the wings off the Tony Abbott / Barnaby Joyce 'angry man' populist juggernaut. They are the problem not the solution. Ironically Garrett too has a reputation in the NSW green movement for being absent without leave on the long running saga of wet old growth forest protection. Because it exposed the ALP-CFMEU complex when he would rather discuss nuclear weapons. As head of the ACF Garrett famously refused to attend a Sydney Town Meeting criticising Premier Bob Carr. The job was left to Green MPs.

Yet how many have died from megafire in dry regrowth schlerophyll - 173 in Victoria Feb 2009 alone. But Abbott and Joyce are just as guilty in a bipartisan fashion. It's called hypocrisy and we believe the whispering in their heart adds the extra grievance in the Opposition Leader's voice on the current issue of aluminium foil insulation.

May they rest in peace - all fatal victims of public policy.

And a true accounting of the insulation rollout to 1 million homes would also consider how many lives have been saved statistically speaking from safer living temperatures in the latest summer heatwave, especially for the most infirm and vulnerable. Because heat is indeed a killer.


We also detect another impetus to the Abbott bitterness toward Garrett - apart from the symmetry of offsetting attention on risky shadow finance minister Joyce: An expert report on northern Australia agricultural expansion has come back very modest which was a big agenda of Abbott on both Indigenous employment and appeasement of National Party big agri interests. He wants revenge and Garrett will do.


We have been wondering about legal causation - as a lawyer here. Are the Government bodies who subsidise every teenage apprentice wage also responsible for guarranteeing a safe work environment or is it at first instance the small business employer? And the small business professional association of employers? Or is it the govt provider of the wage subsidy? Obviously it's the employer at first instance. Then the professional regulators of that trade sector. That seems a reasonable parallel with financial subsidy for a consumer product like insulation. 

What grates a deal with us is the notion of Kelly ODwyer MP in her maiden speech only 2 days ago 'that government can't solve every problem' and yet they are expected to be on the shoulder of every small business insulation installer. Mmm. That's not very consistent by Ms O'Dwyer even if she is a paddy.

The sad conclusion we have come to, without excusing anyone legally or morally, is that government policy deals in life and death every day. There are winners and losers for real and this life is not a read through.



Posted by editor at 8:35 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 11 February 2010 11:45 AM EADT
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Climate danger denialism in federal parliament yesterday
Mood:  sharp
Topic: aust govt

We took these screen prints in chronological order of the real politik drama of ex Opposition leader in parliament yesterday well reported in the big media press today. The images reflect first Turnbill speaking, then longer shot of Opposition benches relatively well attended in respectul silence.

Then clean skin first ever ('maiden') speech of Kelly ODwyer MP in Higgins ex staffer now MP after byelection for her boss and ex treasurer Costello, again with long shot. O'Dwyer said not one word on the dangers of climate change despite the high drama around her and the issue of the day. Quite a Polyanna effort and a cynical expenditure of political capital by the Opposition whip/leader to offset the coruscating words of Turnbull repudiating the new leader as economically irresponsible.

Then finally Abbott in question time first quietly as here and then at his usual angry aggressive self.


By coincidence Crikey.com.au Richard Farmer ran this NASA graphic of escalating global temperature with link embedded:




Posted by editor at 11:07 AM EADT
Sunday, 7 February 2010
Sunday tv talkies: Back to school for federal politicians unvarnished
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. Perhaps the greatest utility is the headline synthesis above of the 3 or 4 shows followed in this session.


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.


Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.  


Media backgrounders.  

1. Memorial for Black Saturday Vic bushfires, and Silly season officially over.


2. Paddy McGuinness – G Biz column continues to blaze the trail for depth of ecological economics business reportage every weekend in the Sydney Morning Herald.


3. SAM has been smacking down loggers in The Australian in the form of Gary Johns and redneck alliance.


4. TWS internal ructions will see a town hall meeting in Melbourne next week (12?).


5. SAM exposed the poisoned water hole creek evil history of murder of Blacks in the 19C, and fight for water in dying Murray Darling Basin as informing the pro development push in Cape York wild rivers today.


6. Even with the various ezines, we renewed our crikey.com.au subscription for 2 years.


7. SAM here pulls 31K January pageview stats (5 stories per page).


10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 

 Bonge in chair, opening is Abbott and Rudd re climate. Detour on economic discred of Opp esp Joyce, ethics of namecalling, twit Monkton, humour out take Abbott “first time nerves” [referring to his teenage years again?]


Adbreak with Irwin kids food product.


Panel Grattan in yellow glow (cool MG), Marius Benson. Opener on debt, says GFC. [really western FC].


Benson on 160 staff on ETS wasteful? LT refers to 1/3 artic tundra melting – have to act. One small fact.  Grab of Abbott re 20B waste given GFC over. LT says equity issue.


MG re population at 36M, says real issue is bad planning. In favour of aiming big? Change migration rate – economics [so does support high immigration, high population].


Humour out take Kudelka climate donkey. Restart Black Saturday memorial day – Premier of Victoria Brumby. Normalcy? Loyalty to 3 levels of govt and reconstruction authority, rejects criticism. Indian victims of crime.


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


Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am 

Back to school, lots of Dr Evil themes.  Hanson Young most gracious. Abbott as direct action man. Bearded lady sledge of frothing Joyce. Q&A re Abbott carbon plan, notes Abbott simplicity approach. Good value.



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

Q&A of Riley cuts into start on climate. Gillard is talent. Notes Obama backing off, senate approach. Notes Abbott “crap” view. Back to senate.


Gillard has grey streak in her hair, and smart enough to know it. Suggesting gravitas, experience. Compensation for families in climate deal.


Rudd verbal sludge, black belt in boredom. Compared to Abbott. Disagrees with premise. Abbott punches through a simple message. JG says economic risk. Notes Costello would never have him as a deputy. Joyce as finance misjudgement by TA. TA Joyce risk all over them in the election.


As Ed minister – loyal to My School – says 110 schools will get more targeted assistance.  On IR runs better than Opposition on Work Choices [3 years ago]. Says it will be the next election campaign too.


Hoist on petard of Rudd PM workers no disadvantaged, JG belt and braces. Gillard repeats guarantee, LO says Rudd flip flopping should be briefed.





Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Riley style action man package. With big hair rock music back to the school. MishaSchubert, Bolt, LenoreTaylor. Turnbull to cross the floor.  Bolt sure this is irrelevant [wrong – 2 Lib senators].


Talent is Tony Abbott looking predatory, Rudd preface footage being very humble. $10B is the appropriate – says enough evidence to be prudent. Problem as conviction politician. Spinning climate is crap comment as scientific  Not vast in terms of overall government budget. Frontier as short to medium term measure. Nothing wrong sensible medium term plan. Worried by Turnbull cross the floor?  Not, everything changed after Copenhagen. Obama has plan B, Rudd doesn’t. Like Obama moving to direct action.


BJ mistakes acceptable – he will be barnstorming marginal seats over Rudd’s great big tax. 65 and 67 retirement ages unrealistic in battlelines – when? Says Lib policy longer productive lives, incentives.


Offshore processing of refugees, deter risky boat trips. Christmas Island over crowded. Strong enough deterent. And so on re climate costs. Barry grateful


Wine tasting Tas group in vox pop. Stupid comments about speedos.


Panel discussion on contrasting climate policy. Taylor reckons Abbott no chance of light green vote. Agreement ETS is problematic without other top 5 adopting, taking other action. Monckton as extremist. Role of media in fair reporting. Bolt agrees Joyce is a mistake. Finance is Mr Sober but Joyce is go for the throat. Damning footage of Joyce mixing billions with millions and trillions. Voter notes his terrible “flippancy”.


Talking pictures. Warren drinking a latte – very funny Monckton Fin Review David Rowe pieces. A toast – not very hygienic.




Inside Business with Alan Kohler  .

Climate policy sharp end – Yallourn brown coal MD for TruEnergy Inc Ian McIndoe is talent. Convert to gas? Pace for 10 to 20 year policy. Capitalism risk – why pay out now? Ans – affect foreign investors in future, need for changeover.

Super resource tax being discussed.

Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/ 


Posted by editor at 10:29 AM EADT
Friday, 5 February 2010
Fran Bailey MP asleep during 50 years of wet forest conversion to dry schlerophyll?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: wildfires


Who plays politics out of a guilty conscience over the Victorian bushfire disaster? As we always say 'the government is the government, .... is the government', and in this we include bipartisan opposition figures who support woodchipping of huge old wet forests.

Main candidates today would be Fran Bailey MP, on ABC RN radio this morning and Sophie Mirabella MP (nee Panopoulos) in the federal parliament Matter of Public Importance motion yesterday.


As per the pictures in the penultimate story we have giant trees in parts of Victoria even today in wet forest types that obviously have lived for centuries without fatal wildfires. Wet areas resistant to wildfire.

But over the last 50 years highly mechanised logging has changed the majority of those landscapes to dry schlerophyll eucalyptus. Same species but hundreds of thousands of hectares of dry hot dusty regrowth that builds up wildfire on extreme risk days.

The question Bailey and Mirabella need to answer is Do you support an audit of logging impact on the water cycle in regional landscapes over the last 50 years?

They never will - because the whispering in their hearts tells them it's one major root cause of bushfire intensity because ..... it's moisture levels that makes the difference between a safe day and a very, very, very ordinary day.

To get a sense of the specific mechanism of redneck logging tradition ripping miosture out of the water cycle converting wet to dry landscape refer diagrams here: Bushfire science

and the tab here wildfires re more recent profound scientific evidence of logging and wildfire problems by Australian Professor Lindenmeyer et al.


Postscript: Will the egregious moderator at The Australian take our comment on this article today, rebutting this piece Black Saturday could happen again this month authored by "Max Rheese is secretary of the Victorian Lands Alliance, which includes the Australian Environment Foundation, Australian Motorcycle Trailriders Association, Australian Trail Horseriders Association, Mountain Cattlemen, Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, Victorian Association of Forest Industries, and the Victorian Game and Deerstalking Association." 

Will The Oz block me today? Let's see? And yes I did pile burns, bushfire bunker etc this last winter and know the feeling of insecurity if not the horror.

This resource industry front refuse to address their own record of trashing huge old wet forest types, ripping moisture out of the ancient forests. Moisture which is the true difference between safety and a very, very, very ordinary day. Hundreds of thousands of hectares over the last 50 years have been converted to dry, dusty, regrowth schlerophyll eucalypt. Thanks for nothing. And that's best science talking, not just common sense.

As the good book says, look to the log in your own eye.

Posted by editor at 8:37 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 5 February 2010 9:19 AM EADT
Thursday, 4 February 2010
The Oz censors comment on Gary Johns bogus climate science article?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: big media

Gary Johns has a pompous climate science opinion piece today:

Don't count your trees, forests aren't that green

But The Australian is blocking our comment that it's stupid and boring because it airbrushes the expert science of Professor Brendan Mackey (not Mackie as we wrote) with the Australian National University about green carbon in forests, as we reference here now via ABC, and use your own search engines: 

AM - Forests have bigger than expected carbon storage

5 Aug 2008 ...
SARAH CLARKE: Its taken 10 years and endless field trips visiting 240 sites scattered across Australia's vast remaining natural forests. But a group of scientists from the Australian National University has for the first time come up with an accurate figure of the role these gigantic trees can play in the climate change solution.

Brendan Mackey is a professor of environmental science, and is part of the research team.

BRENDAN MACKEY: We looked at half of Australia's remaining forests and our estimate is that they can store around 33 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. These are very big numbers I know.

SARAH CLARKE: Very big numbers, particularly if you compare them to what scientists had previously thought. At last count they estimated temperate forests could store around 200 tonnes of carbon per hectare. This study reveals they can store on average three times more than that.

BRENDAN MACKEY: If all those forests were to be cleared and all of the carbon in the biomass in the soil were to be released into the atmosphere - that would be the equivalent of about 80 per cent of Australia's annual greenhouse gas emissions every year for 100 years. So we really have to protect our natural forests.

SARAH CLARKE: The largest stocks of carbon were found in the mountain ash forests of the central highlands of Victoria and Tasmania. The eucalypt trees in these undisturbed areas are up to 80 metres tall with trunks around four and a half metres in diameter.

BRENDAN MACKEY: We've got a big brown barrel here Eucalyptus fastigata.

SARAH CLARKE: These gigantic trees tower above a dense layer of rainforest. Heather Keith is part of the team from the Australian National University.

HEATHER KEITH: It's the big old trees that have a very high amount of carbon and also the coarse woody debris so the dead standing trees, and the dead logs on the ground that are there in the natural undisturbed forests.

SARAH CLARKE: About half of Australia's forests have been cleared in the last two centuries in three quarters of these carbon stocks have been degraded by human activities such as logging. These scientists say it's crucial, what's left remains intact. If trees and forests are to help soak up the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and do their bit for global warming.

Virginia Young from the Wilderness Society agrees.

VIRGINIA YOUNG: It's the forests that enable us to act early and make deep cuts and that applies whether its Australia or globally.
Here is a media release of 2003 regarding the tree identified in East Gippsland shown above

15 December 2003

Biggest Tree in Victoria found

A massive tree has been discovered in a remote area of East Gippsland,
near Bendoc on the Errinundra Plateau.  The tree, a rare Errinundra
Shining Gum found only in parts of the Errinundra Plateau, has a girth
of 18.5 metres.  It is believed to be the largest girth of any tree on
record in Victoria.  The tree is situated in the Bonang River catchment
and is surrounded by rainforest.

Discovered by volunteer conservationists conducting endangered species
research, the tree has been brought to the attention of the National
Heritage Trust, who say that they have no record of a tree that large.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment have also been informed
of the existence of the tree, however, they stated that legislation does
not provide for the protection of the tree, as it does not fall into a
category for protection.  The tree is adjacent to a number of proposed
logging coupes.

One of the discoverers of the tree, Rena Gabarov, is concerned that the
tree will suffer the same fate as El Grande, Tasmania’s largest tree,
which was declared dead last week following a regeneration burn in an
adjacent logging coupe which fatally burnt the tree.

“It would be a tragedy if such an ancient tree remained unprotected. Who
knows how many more trees of this size are out there waiting to be
discovered?  It is time for the government to protect all old growth
forest and ensure that trees such as these can remain as part of
Australia’s natural heritage,” said Rena Gabarov.



Posted by editor at 1:57 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 4 February 2010 2:27 PM EADT
'Ethical products' PR launch for Brisbane based web retail operation
Mood:  chatty
Topic: local news

The blurb sent through reads:

"According to Peita Gardiman, the founder, one of the main aims of Ethikl is to promote and support the ethical consumer movement and encourage shoppers to make positive buying decisions, such as favoring ethical products, be they fair trade, cruelty free, organic, recycled, re-used, or produced locally.  


"One of our goals is to change the way the economy works and begin to change people’s consumption habits. Many people are tired of mass produced, chemically- packed products and want to get back to basics,” says Peita.


“We live in a culture of excess, we want more and more and then throw it away faster and faster. When you buy something from Ethikl, there’s a story behind it. There’s a person behind it. If people start to rediscover handmade, natural products, they will learn to treasure them and become more ethical consumers.”


While there is nothing like the experience of going to a farmer's market, smelling the fresh produce, tasting samples, and interacting with producers themselves, not everyone can afford the time, leisure, or access to do so ,  but now you can explore  Ethikl’s online marketplace and discover handcrafted jewellery, clothing, homewares, unique gifts, specialty foods and more at www.ethikl.com.au"


SAM is agnostic about this commercial enterprise except it does look idealistic (and beyond our humble budget). We do like industrial hemp products as a concept and rainbow coloured nappies are novel (shown above).

Posted by editor at 12:51 PM EADT

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