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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 22 March 2010
ABC Conversation Hour on nurses and cops
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: legal
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2010 11:34 AM
Subject: Nurses and cops cultural norm fyi

At a ...... last January a Po-lice there got talking in a late night reverie about who he has booked from our class.
He said there is an unwritten rule that police generally will not book nurses for driving offences - presumably speeding or similar.
He said it's because at times of major injury (of police? the public? victims of crime?) nurses are the guardian angels and get major sympathy from the police.
That might be a critical factor for whether dangerous driving from fatigue or whatever might not get proper police attention??

Posted by editor at 12:44 PM NZT
Sunday, 21 March 2010
Sunday tv talkies: Small state election results preface federal health debate
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.  

- Paddy Manning 1st ever reference to glorious, sublime "''first tool'' jump-cut in the opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey" in a serious business story about Gunns Ltd and Forest Stewardship Council accreditation. A scene guaranteed to snatch the breath of any science graduate and many others.

- Astute analysis of Rudd Govt spin machine on nuke waste issues for Australia by Stephanie Peatling some weeks ago now here Rudd buries nuclear waste at bottom of bin February 28, 2010 . That story amongst others encouraged us to post last week a formerly confidential legal document with redactions about the famous Jabiluka protest victory in 1997-1998 similarly about indigenous and nuclear issues.

- We perceive the Tony Abbott pandering to conservative frictions over "Welcome to country" ceremonies hosted by the Indigenous as a deeper question of contested sovereignty from the invading British 200 years ago. Or to put it another way Tony's long known monarchism back to Mother England. Indeed when writing our honours legal thesis A Legal Foundation for Aboriginal Land Rights in 1989 we noted that Australia was of all colonies regarded as "sui generis" or one of a kind - neither conquered/treaty by orthodox military declaration of war, nor empty land simply annexed and "settled". Indeed our feeling racism allowed a creeping process of criminal violence effectively condoned but officially repudiated by the UK Colonial Office and British Govt in the first 150 years of Australia. It is too easy to view history with today's glasses, not least Irish convicts starved out of their land (while UKoverlords ran a net food export) with a million dead, and others shipped to Australia for a lethal competition with Aborigines. Which all makes the visit by the black president Barak Obama delayed to mid year so symbolic again.

- Coalition want it both ways on the whaling issue: Lambasting the Govt on lack of legal action so far against the Japanese, while deploring any damage to the trading relationship. As if the Coalition leadership cared about these intelligent mammals and the cruel slaughter.

- Van Onselen on NSW politics suggests Keneally is puppet still of Tripodi and Obeid, which may underestimate both husband wonk Ben, and Paul Keating as the real influence behind the “popular” premier.

- ASIO have another staff advert in Sunday Telegraph as questions of quality control in young service are aired. One wonders if ASIO are vindictive about refugees who refuse to collaborate in spying for them as argued by Mamdoub Habib. Another cute story about MP Lee Rhiannon with dodgy errors on her ASIO file as daughter of a prominent communist.

- Is Fairfax 'writing against the federal ALP' as The Australian is oft accused? How esle to explain burying the lead on the Peter Costello sledge of Abbott's parental leave economics to the bottom of an even page number on the SNH broadsheet when normally proud as punch on the main opninon page?

- Imre Salusinsky has written regularly on redgum forests controversy there in the conservative The Australian, Murdoch press. But as far as we can see not once mentioning that the logging of public land by private corporate interests has effectively been illegal for 31 years since passage of the Environmental Planning Act 1979. No EIS, no development approval, eventually exposed last year in the Land & Environment Court. Funny how conservative go soft and gooey on law and order depending on their logger friendly constitutency. Imre refers to this illegal political fix as permitting "firewood collection" like it was camp fire stuff while actually old growth logging of publicly owned natural heritage.

- Interesting to see Paul Gibson MP being embarrassed as member for Blacktown living on the Central Coast, currently not registered to vote in Sunday Telegraph today.

- Noel Pearson in The Australian counter intutively spits the dummy at his political ally Tony Abbott in support of welcome to country ceremonies. As commented here on SAM we feel the subtext is deeper questions of sovereignty never surrendered, never agreed. This calls up Abbott’s loyal monarchism to mother England where he was a student. It also calls up Pearson on the guest list to meet black president POTUS this year (?) as an Indigenous jurist with in the ALP choreography. 


10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 

2 minor state election results, ALP in SA holds on, Tas hung 10:10:5.  Redmond in SA is not conceding yet based on postals [often do slant conservative]. Footage of Question Time Abbott sledging Rudd on health “fake, phoney” diatribe.  Minister Emerson on Small Business is guest with footage of his weak vaudeville in QT. Press roundup re elections and Sydney property.


Cross to SAust journo in bright yellow. Emerson looks somewhat preened. Discusses “seamless national economy” deregulation. Humour out take St Pats celebration Rudd and Abbott. Panel is Van Onselen and M Grattan of News Ltd and Fairfax.


Q’s on federal implications of state elections, health package, leadership,  out take Keating and Costello as grouchy muppets cartoon. Senator Xenophon on SA result, health sign up. Scientology inquiry matter for the police? Says growing momentum.


Independents in other states for senate? Not trying. What about a Green Senate. Says Bob Brown and Co are measured, expects to hold balance of power.


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


Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am 

 St Pats day footage of high spirited Rudd and Abbott like a scene from The Departed before the shooting starts.



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

LO with Lindsay Tanner Finance Minister. Moderate competent style on range of issues.





Insiders 2: 9- 10am


State election round up. Long interview with Nick McKim for Tas Greens who is a straight younger version of Bob Brown. Breaking through the credibility gap with a 21% vote. Guarantee never block on supply. Yes , ‘all 3 parties in balance of power’.


Discussion of SAust result and Rann lacking reality or grace even anger in speech. Interview with federal Eric Abetz MP with some snide and cheap claims, and a howler on Tas result suggesting Peter Garrett MP (ALP) [on insulation troubles] shows what Greens Government would be like. Abetz indicates his blind bias?


Vox pop comic MPs and ex MPs. Panel on Abbott – did quite well in Parliament. General chat. Tony Burke speech footage about trust of Abbott [re Peter Spencer self harm speech]. Personal attack on Abbott in parliament.


Talking Pics amusing as usual especially David Rowe eyebrows on Rudd now, Gillard comment as a natural. St Pats day footage. Stutchbury does a soliloquy ‘we were right’ on range of news political stories [ignoring the pathetic barracking on the opinion pages]




Inside Business with Alan Kohler  .

Evan Thorley on electric cars agenda – we know how the movie ends petrol is going up, battery prices are going down. Gunns downgrade lack of director disclosure requirements amounting to reverse insider trading. Senate vote on Telstra NBN split (?) extended 7 weeks to May 2010 sitting.

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


Posted by editor at 12:24 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 21 March 2010 12:26 PM NZT
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Opposition Leader Abbott email to SAM on '$1B health gouge' claim
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: aust govt


Those hip folks at the Australian Liberal Party have emailed humble SAM community news blog about the Labor "lie" in the headline. It's something to do with how to characterise cancellation of funds budgeted in forward estimates, distinct from actual expenditure which rose says Big Tony. 

Should SAM publish Mr Abbott? We published a particularly embarrassing story about Abbott's aggressive student days recently, so it's probably a balancer.  And depending on if it's news and adds to the big media angle on things. Doesn't mean we endorse him. We promise not to parrot the guy, just as we have only reproduced Barry OFarrell's first unsolicited email here.

On the other hand we sort of 'agree' with Big Tony's concern over 'welcome to country' being problematic, as well as the right wing chorus line in Big Media (!) ......because it is about creeping recognition of Aboriginal sovereignty by regular Aussies, deeper than native title, much much longer lived than the relatively brief rein of the British Empire of a few hundred years. Which is all good, bring on Aboriginal sovereignty!

Yes folks that's a rhetorical "agree" in order to disagree - you see like Barak Obama as POTUS we believe the future is coffee coloured and folks, it's okay, don't stress. It's a natural progression in an increasingly hot world as we note the 2 stitches in our chest from a potential skin cancer removed earlier today. If only we did have more of that protective melanin.

Posted by editor at 7:54 PM NZT
Legal anatomy of an anti uranium protest at Jabiluka in 1998
Mood:  energetic
Topic: legal


There isn't time or space here to write about all the SAM editor's experiences in the Northern Territory as a legal adviser and paralegal over 3 intense weeks at variously Jabiru, Jabiluka protest camp and Darwin.

From waking up on a bullant nest, willy willy through the kitchen tent, meeting the cream of idealistic Australian youth, hearing Jeff Buckley for the first time over the radio sadly drowned the day before. We slaved over a legal data base of 400 arrestees or so in the Environment Centre of Northern Territory in Darwin before flying back to duties as a single Green Party councillor at Waverley Council in Sydney. All in the suffocating real politik of the Country Party conservative NT govt. The Waverley ALP Mayor Paul Pearce, now MP, commended our hard work in open council as "brave" and for that we were gratified.

Other kudos came from middle class activists rotting in a Jabiru gaol cell who "loved" the work we did, providing a shield against the harshness of the legal system there until NT Legal Aid got their act together. (McLoughlin is gaelic for shield apparently.) And there were further loose ends back in Sydney due to a s*xual assault complaint by a protester (at the lower end of the scale) against an unidentified security officer (police or mine staff was never resolved).

Now as we hear in 2010 about a controversial uranium dump at Muckaty Station in the NT, and U mine proposed near Alice Springs, and 4th U mine at Honeymoon in South Australia, we think this document is of public interest, as well as nostalgia value. We have redacted (in the legal jargon) the identifying surnames except for the most public of figures like former MP Jo Vallentine.

Suffice to say many of these folks are now serious professionals in Australian society and no doubt hold similar beliefs today and God bless them for that. Now this reader needs more of that goodwill too as we contemplate re-commencing a legal career after an at times bruising phase in the green ngo sector under the heel of a cunning and often cruel, dishonest ALP Govt in place for 15 years in NSW.

The handwritten labels indicating "db" were an accounting device in the  transfer of 118 names and details here into a much bigger computer database of 400 plus arrestees built up by this writer in the next 2 frenetic weeks.)















Posted by editor at 10:38 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 18 March 2010 7:27 PM NZT
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Why did Tony Abbott assault Peter Woof?
Mood:  loud
Topic: aust govt


Interesting to see Liz Jackson on 4 Corners delve into "Vicious World of student politics" at Sydney University.

Note our early story based on a personal interview in the family home below. We rang and spoke to Peter's father and have located Peter in general terms off on another of his adventures doing aid work actually.

We noticed this picture on the web too:



Why did student activist now minister Tony Abbott punch Peter Woof?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: election Oz 2007


The editor had an interesting interview recently with long time qualified high school teacher here in NSW, and Canada, Peter Woof, a long time supporter of environmental causes.

He tells an interesting story from his parents lounge room in Killara  (a pretty exclusive north shore suburb of Sydney):

In 1978 25 year old Woof stood up to student politician, now federal government health minister, Tony Abbott who he says was allegedly caught doing unethical or perhaps illegal things like changing the locks on the student union offices and other things.

Woof says Abbott, a well known boxing enthusiast now if not then, punched Woof in the face. Woof was a 24 year old technician employed at Sydney University.

The date can be corroborrated by reference to civil assault suit documentation against Abbott presumably created for Woof in the Glebe local court at the time. Woof represented himself but was totally out muscled financially, he says, by 'half a dozen' barristers and lawyers who turned up at the preliminary hearing turning the civil suit into a high risk of huge legal costs against the alleged assault victim Woof.

Woof assumes these expensive lawyers taking a student activist dispute to another level were paid for by Abbott's 'rich father'. (It also suggests a serious fear of a  blossoming conservative political career almost destroyed at birth.)

This legal bullying tactic arguably at the expense of justice has the echo of the vexatious legal suit by Gunns Ltd bullying of Tasmanian environmentalists in the last few years.

Woof withdrew the civil suit he says under financial duress.

Peter Woof is a very experienced and qualifed person. He has an engineering degree. He is a qualified radio operator and mechanic who ws driving an LPG 4 cyllinder sedan in the early 1980's years before LPG was so popular. He owns his own house.

Woof is no shrinking violet. He is a friend and colleague of anti pirate whaler Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd fame.  Woof has participated in environmental protests including conviction for entirely peaceful protests against a nuclear warship in Sydney Harbour and the docking of a rainforest timber ship in the 1980ies and 90ies. During this period in 1986 Woof held down a high school teaching job in Bombala, a well known 'Timber Town' in NSW.

The Canadian teaching accreditation authority are aware of this lively history and have endorsed Woof's employment as a talented and committed non prosletising high school teacher. He is flying out today to continue his teaching job in remote Saskatchewan Canada


Woof notes that global warming has massively contracted the viability of traditional 'winter roads' (over frozen swamp and bog) in remote Saskatchewan, such that only one month mid January to mid February is now safe for high volume road transport during winter. This is too small a window he says to properly provision remote areas prefacing a depopulation of large swathes of North America in the future.

Peter Woof can be contacted by email on:

[pwoof dot bigpond dot net dot au]

Woof whose eyesight is suffering long sightedness in middle older age is no longer able to do much close work but obviously has some very interesting tales to tell still in his career of environmental advocacy back to the Franklin River blockades and earlier.

The alleged assault by Tony Abbott was openly discussed at a recent reunion of the Sydney Bushwalkers Club in 2006 and there are likely to be several sources to corroborate this version of student activist history of the 1970's here in Sydney.

One such witness in the 1970's approached Woof (attending with his elderly parents) at the dinner and said words to the effect of "It's a pity Peter you didn't knock Tony Abott's block off when you had the chance."

Obviously the student politics back then was very willing. Woof's social companion who made this comment unprompted is now a senior executive with a NSW Govt agency (details held by the editor).


Posted by editor at 9:51 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 13 July 2012 9:03 AM NZT
Man on Horse in the Snowies actually walked, was black and not in the mountains ...?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: nsw govt



Every few years we have a public debate about preservation of the Snowy Mountain Parks due to wild horse populations. Just like feral camels damage the landscape.

We have been involved in this debate since the early 1990ies when 3 state MPs Smith, Schultz and Cochrane made it their mission to attack the NSW Wilderness Act 1987. The Act passed with bipartisan support but these rednecks believed in logging of public lands, high impact recreation and opposed anything proposed by the green movement. Our job was state organiser with the Wilderness Society at the time.

We caught via excellent local detective work of regional environmentalists Cochrane & Co misleading the Fahey Coalition Cabinet with a diagram showing townships and air strips in so called proposed sterilised wilderness areas. Not that we were in Cabinet, but sharp eyed Tumut residents took a photo of a diagram on local tv news and noted the false map boundaries and briefed us on the alarmist sham. We had a nick name for the land use sleaze "Horse Rorts" (a play on words of the infamous federal Minister Ros Kelly "Sports Rorts" scandal).

Cochrane MP in particular has been associated with horse riding commercial tourism interests in Kosciuszko National Park ever since.

We have kept the above cartoon and letter that ran in the News Ltd paper The Australian  from15 years ago because it tells another side of the colonial story, when you remove the white arm band view of history.

That is that most horseman in the bush were Aboriginal blokes on low or no wages, and they weren't in the moutains but the plains. Second that "in the ranges horses had a very limited role" and the pioneers mostly walked. This puts a whole different view on the legendary fiction of the poem called The Man From Snowy River.

Horses, it appears, were never an integral part of the Australian Mountain heritage, they are a modern popular construct of film and literature not real history.

Posted by editor at 9:06 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 March 2010 9:14 AM NZT
Sunday, 14 March 2010
Sunday tv talkies: PM cold shoulders yankee shmoozer from NSW ALP Right
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt

Picture: Premier Keneally (bottom right) gets in some early practise fronting scary slick back, fleshy brown boofy blokes with goggle glasses. Here it's her proud father on first communion day in Ohio, while today it's Sussex St Labor administrative committee and ALP parliamentary party: Indeed her MPs were described on ABC public radio this week as "muppets".

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.  

- away from Canberra beltway it’s been a boring as batsh*t week with the big media defaulting to Lara and Clarky trivia on the front pages selling vicarious sex as news, as if.

Lenore Taylor is right in her piece this weekend it’s been “scatty” “even sillier”  and about “season’s bleatings” this last week.


 - A Qld contact asked us in the first few weeks of the first 100 days, what we thought of new premier Keneally - I ummed and ahhed and then said what I really thought - A red ribbon around a box of sh*t. By the look of PM Rudd in the press over health reforms for NSW he doesn't like the smell in the box.

- Claire Harvey nails it – without quite using the word misogyny in her Sunday Telegraph column this week. The sexism in the big media this last 2 weeks, let alone invasion of privacy, is making web 2.0 look decent, which takes some doing given the plethora of porn there.

- Is Tasmania going to an election soon just a glorified local council borough with barely 500K residents?

 - SMH played for suckers early this week on an otherwise important story about western Sydney air/ozone pollution in green fields north and south west Sydney (Richmond to Camden). The signs of choreography were all there with controlled leak to SMH journo and trusty dial a quote greenie Jeff Angel, with EPA wonderboy Simon ‘inventor of ‘land bribe’ policy’ Smith, also quoted for the government.  The leak had manipulative Sartor’s fingerprints all over it in service to the NSW Right Cabinet.  The SMH were played  because it was a preface to a much bigger story from the Govt later that week of compulsory acquisition of land around rail and other transport links to service their corrupt record level economic immigration/political donation agenda. Money politics driven by the high rise development sector for high rise – which is not financially viable away from govt public transport developers will never pay for.

- We wrote to state hot shot Andrew Clennell of smh about the previous item and his story this weekend seems to have added spice this weekend about the state govt in first gear, spinning wheels going nowhere. Says polling shows Keneally is likeable – which was SAM here story in her first week via local observer from Laperouse, Lynda Newnam. And her husbands policy smarts is also in evidence – like PR at Lake Cargellico to offset noise of redgums conservation decision.What people in Big Media seem to forget is that most US white middle class kids are trained in public speaking way beyond usual Australian standards. As Vietnam war correspondents used to say of the US military PR machine – they were so good at verbalizing you always needed a reality check on what was the truth on the ground. Same in NSW politics with Premier Keneally.

 - The so called interactive ABC 702 Cameron Morning show blog has minimum comments, like 3 for last Friday. Our comment was blocked. Making the same points as here at previous post quoting developers Triguboff and Lowy of Meriton and Westfield respectively on record for 100M population in Australia. Our point we should quadruple refugee intake and slash economic immigration. To break the big money politics racket destroying planning now. The censor, err sorry, moderator making a mockery of interactive dynamic audience participation? Do the ABC realize that annoying people with censorship does more damage to goodwill than not hosting a blog in the first place?

 - Good feature about Paul Watson/Sea Shepherd in today’s Sunday Herald who former housemate of this writer and Australian citizen ‘George’ used to work with (and how). ‘George’ had a photo on his wall taken through a port hole of a ship in the distance, with barb wire in the frame. The other ship – Canadian Govt gun boat seeking to prevent anti whale protest in the chilly north sea. The barbwire through the porthole was actually wrapped around George’s own converted offshore trawler to prevent boarding of the Sea Shepherd in international waters by the Canuk govt. ‘George’ always was an under the radar kind of guy. It was ‘George’ in Europe in the 1970ies who helped sink two pirate whaling boats in a Spanish Port, with no injuries. He rode his bicycle via many countries without a passport back to England. Just pause for a moment there – pirate ships, under no flag. Acting illegally. Even so it puts the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in some kind of context.  ‘George’ always was very intrepid. Another anecdote: ‘George’ is walking along a snowed out deserted road in the depth of winter in a northern hemisphere country over 20 years ago. The public phone on the street starts ringing. He picks it up. A calm voice announces “Hello ‘George’ we just wanted you to know we are keeping an eye on you.” What is the technology that can do this at that time? A well calculated reminder with George being very technically minded. This was in a time before mobile phones were ubiquitous. Such is the international business of saving whales and treading into the realms of foreign relations, spooks etc.

- We’ve always been impressed with Stephanie Peatling in the Sun Herald, apparently right back to research assistant to Alan Ramsey. We wonder if she's influenced by the ALP governing party more recently. Her pieces in the Sun Herald this weekend (Carr on redgums, Greens wrong to block parental leave of Govt) are friendly for Labor, right or wrong. 

10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 

Press round up, talent is Greens leader Bob Brown, with Hugh Riminton in the chair. Social welfare policies in focus – dental, parental leave, support from the Greens.


Brown – we need a population policy after 430K increase in one year without an [official] govt policy [what a scandal] Brown is staunch again saying this “is not a green government’ whether it’s forests, climate etc. Humour out take is cartoon of Abbott from The Australian.


Panel is Stanley 2UE, Stephanie Balogh Courier Mail/News Corp.


Second guest is Heather Ridout, lampooned by the Coalition in previous times as Heather Sellout, but she picked the winner of the 2007 election. Waffles on about parental leave. Ridout waffles about nuclear, and energy security in northern hemisphere. [Highly ignorant about safety issues of nukes after child cancer study in New York State of 2002 proven by 8 reactor closures].


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


Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am 

Alice in Wonderland theme.



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

Julie Bishop on so called people smuggling. Missed a chunk of it. Increasingly looks like the talking skull.


LO takes a mild tone – softly softly catchee monkee on complex tax, parental leave.





Insiders 2: 9- 10am


“Fascinating week” says Barry. [Actually away from Canberra beltway it’s been a boring as batsh*t week with the big media defaulting to Lara and Clarky trivia on the front pages selling vicarious sex as news, as if. Lenore Taylor is right it’s “scatty” “even sillier”  in her piece this weekend about “season’s bleatings” this last week.].


Film package has terrible shallow pop music.


More interesting discussion and footage of tense atmospherics with Premier Keneally. Her personal popularity is noted by Fran Kelly, says definite rudeness by PM. [Might be misunderstanding PM on right side of people view of NSW Govt.]


Swan is the guest by remote screen and conceptual discussion of Henry Tax review, sophistry about refusing to release the Henry Report.


Amusing package of Groucho Marx on Abbott oppositionism. Talk about Julia Gillard heir apparent. Ruddock and Howard still in profile pulling strings, Ruddock in particular angling for one of his daughters to go into politics.




Inside Business with Alan Kohler  .

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


Posted by editor at 10:34 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 March 2010 10:01 AM NZT
Friday, 12 March 2010
Dear Kevin, politics is like a surfboat race*
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: aust govt


True there is no insulation in an old style wooden surfboat.

But there are many possible metaphors to draw from the sport of surfboat racing. Earlier today Adam Spencer abc 702 amplified a story about state parliament being like The Muppets. It was funny.

This got us thinking in some tangential creative fashion about those days of rowing (not paddling!) a 415kg tub around the bay in Warrnambool. Indeed PM Malcolm Fraser dropped in one day to have a go in the same seat as ours 2nd stroke oar, as per the pictures in our old scrap book above and below.

Now the boats are 210kg speedsters out of fibreglass and hollow carbon fibre oars, apparently including women's crew. Not in my day but it's all good moving with the times.

We went to a 29th year school reunion (not 30th, go figure) and recounted with pleasure an anecdote of the 1980 Austalian Titles - the only junior boat crew to finish our heat. And this is where the prime ministerial metaphor kicks in:

There we are at Wanda beach, Sydney, all the way from the Bass Strait, South West Victoria. A young crew with 2 years left in the age bracket. It's all good experience. The surf is running high.

Bang goes the starter pistol. Leap over the gunnel like jumping a barb wire fence, feet to land on the foot straps on a diagonal board. Easy to say, hard to do. Slide on the seat with your togs wedged up bare arse. Dig in hard to overcome the monolithic inertia of boat on shallow water, like a cockroach with 5 legs: 4 rowers and 1 sweep oar to steer.

Only - as rarely happens - Lee the sweep calls out "DIG IT IN" abrupty. It's all on trust.  Our backs are to the waves. We know the drill. If a wave is breaking in front of us, we have to stop to avoid being crunched, then start again which lifts the bow safely over the theshing whitewater and on again. In this sense it's a race of skill with ourselves never mind the other 5 crews.

We trust Lee as only teenage lads can investing in our sports coach. And he delivers us out of the jaws of the thrashing broken wave. Off we go again with "PICK IT UP!". But in seconds  he screams "DIIIGGG IT INNN!" a second time. Uh oh, not good. Never done this twice before. We are in the crunch zone now. It's pure faith. We should be rowing hard not making like a sitting duck. The curling water smacks the ocean surface, like a low mortar round deep in earth going "WHOA-UMP". As it breaks just in front we manicly pull on the heavy oars simply to hold position and prevent being swatted all the way back to the beach - the ulitmate embarrassment - going backwards. Teenage forearms and fingers strain to hold the boat in place. Not a word though. In the moment. It's bodies and training, and trust and teamwork. And Lee screams over the din "PIIICCKKK IT UP!"

We peek at the crews at left and right struggling beside us as we raise the blades out  of the water and literally point them at our rivals before dipping them back in. One at least is blown away as the line of surf varies along the shore line. But the real foe of we puny human beings has not finished with us yet.

Can't remember if Lee called out. Can't remember if we cried "Come on" 20 years before Leyton Hewitt ever won a grand slam. Probably we did like all those times before at 1/4 time and 2 goals down in local VFL (later AFL). The time was now, the players were us.

The biggest wave in the set was now heading straight for us and there was only one way out, forward, and over the top. And we pulled frantically short choppy strokes to get momentum. Not enough time or open water. Already sweaty. Breathing hard. And up we turned.

The body knows what the eyes can't see behind us. And up. And up. The length of a 25 foot boat at 45 degrees and then air. Like forever with oars swinging useless in mid air but only really a second or two.

Like a race memory it flashed before us, first time out in novice C grade seniors at Jan Juc carnival year before, relocated from Torquay because the surf was too big. We flipped, with oars flailing wildly. We knew what to expect when it all turns to custard.

And then another THUMP more wooden this time of boat and ocean reconnecting.

We look around to see if arms, legs, boat, crew were still intact. Lots of shouting. Some scrambling going on at first stroke oar. What the f*ck? Ricky is jumping into the sweep position with his curved blade. Where is Lee? The horror dawns on us - we lost the sweep in the deluge. Goodbye Captain! More shouting. There are no other boats either side. Smited. Everyone of them, and good riddance too. The Victorian wannabes were in town!

Was it schadenfreude that spurred us on? Was it crazy brave? Off we went, like a side winding crab, 2 versus 1 imbalance in the oars and Ricky steering. I rowed alone on my side the rest of the 500 metre course. Half way to the bouy we realised there was a time limit on each race. And we had to navigate the swell back onshore too. We made it in a race of one.

I had a photo of our boat flying over the 3rd cruncher wave but it got spoiled by spilled coffee a few house moves ago. I will always remember a comment back on the beach - "you guys are too smart to be boaties". This is a sly variation on the old self mocking boast of boaties around the club "we're not very smart but we can lift heavy things".

We got eliminated very next race by bigger older rowers in crews out of the central machine of the surf life saving movement in NSW and Qld.  But it didn't matter. We had a memory we could hold dear for decades, at school reunions and blogs and stuff. The beer tent was looking good, another thing that's changed over the years.

Which brings us to Mal Fraser PM and Member for Wannon going for a row down on a flat, flat day at Warrnambool beach with the senior boat crew in 1982. He copped a rogue wave which even made the cartoons.

It seems to us insulation is like a big wave set. Getting wet is okay, just don't let it wash you onto the beach going backwards.

* This story dedicated to Lee Oakley (sweep), Ricky Clissold (1st stroke),  Lewis Atkinson (2nd bow), Tom McLoughlin (the writer, 2nd stroke)), and  Peter Ryan (bow), Victorian State Title holders junior boat crew 1981-82 for Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club.



Posted by editor at 11:08 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 12 March 2010 11:44 AM EADT
Even tame green lobby upset over koalas ... you won't read on 'dirty' Woodford blog
Mood:  energetic
Topic: independent media

What wicked ways the state ALP have with their financial, access and careerism hooks in the NSW green movement. But even umbrella groups dependent on govt grants spit the dummy every so often.

Here is a letter you won't read on the unreal, sanitised so called "real dirt" blog of James Woodford based on the south coast of NSW. It was forwarded via a non signatory (ironic) being the convenor of ChipStop being Harriet Swift, an authentic regionally based (Bega) authority figure on forest conservation, former journalist, tree changer, artist with blowtorch (literally). H confirms just now that the omission was incidental and it's "a good letter".

And so it is, only it's somewhat hypocritical too, in varying degrees, given the same lead green group (former staff and board) and Jeff Angel still current mentioned in the letter, were financed by the Carr Govt to reach exactly this corrupt "resource security" outcome for industry in publicly owned forests. We know because we resigned from the board of the same Nature Conservation Council over this very issue in 2000, having been elected twice to the position. Notice this sent recently:

Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 6:25 PM
Subject: resource security and shuffling deck chairs ... Re: [chipstop] 40 NGOs ask the Premier to save the Mumbulla koalas

If and when the koalas are saved it will be at the price of other forest and other animals in the absence of broad logging industry reform. It might even be Brown Mountain in East Gippsland across the border depending on how litigation goes there. Or forest in the Upper Deua catchment which was once identified wilderness quality. Or giant brown barrels in Coolangubra. No one really knows. But it will mean shuffling the deck chairs.
People will say you have to make a stand somewhere. I agree. But I know this is no lasting solution either. The loggers will move to the next forest, with quolls, Yellow Bellied Gliders etc. This is the terrible terrible consequence predicted as far back as 1991 by this text in this leaflet here
which was the covert price NSW NCC chair and director of the TEC signed up to with 20 year logging guarrantees as per the Regional Forest Agreements. It was also implied in the peace plan agreed by select players in the 1995 state election campaign. These were pre emptive buckles by the green movement. Under duress no doubt.
According to Dailan Pugh/NEFA quote in The Australian weekend magazine in 2008, only 1/4 of the forest identified by the scientific process for a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system was achieved by the NSW Govt decisions 1998-2000.

So here is the official greenie letter and below that again is a screenprint from the dirty Woodford blog waxing lyrical about in his words "one of the nation's most loved creatures" in the extinct form ..... but not on the Woodford blog when it involves loggers from the spouse's former employer (NSW State Forests as a PR officer).

Below that a speech from Harriet Swift to a public meeting at Tathra town hall earlier this month which is actually the real business free of ALP land use corruption.


[PDF file from ChipStop website]

Woodford ommission of this koala logging furore, yet he dares write about extinct koalas here:

The last word to the admirable Harriet Swift SE NSW town hall meeting last Monday night:

If this hall had a back window, in a few months or weeks from now we could look out from here and see this logging. What are we doing about it?
  1. SERCA reps have met with the State Minister for the Environment, local MP Mike Kelly and advisers to the federal Minister for Forestry and the Environment.
  2. We have approached all Japanese paper companies asking them not to buy native forest woodchips from the Eden chipmill because it cannot guarantee that they don’t come from koala habitat. 13 Australian ENGOs signed. We have a strong group of major Japanese groups approaching Nippon Paper asking for the same thing.
  3. A group of all the major conservation and animal welfare groups in Sydney is making a joint approach to the State Premier and Ministers. For many of these groups this will be the first time they have involved themselves in forests and logging issues.
  4. Those stories about the SE koalas that have been in the national media over the past couple of weeks are not just good luck. They represent an enormous amount of work by many people.
  5. Well over 1,000 people on Facebook have signed on to a group called Save the Mumbulla and FF koalas
  6. Local groups are forming to resist the logging, but – importantly, working together. I’m not one of those who sneers at people for looking after their backyards. On the contrary, I believe we have a special responsibility to. If we don’t, who will? It was logging in Tanja State forest on our boundary many years ago that first got me into the forest campaign in a serious way and I’d like to think I have given FNSW a few headaches in that time. However, as a forest campaigner I have also always been strongly opposed to arguing for my backyard at the expense of somewhere else. My local forest at the expense of the one down the road or Australia’s forests at the expense of those in some other country. It’s not an ethical message. Forests NSW always tries to force us into that paradigm and we mustn’t fall for it. They always offer what appear to be “concessions” in terms of what they call “resource neutrality.” That means the forest must yield the same amount of woodchips whether they get it from one place or another. If they make a provision for a powerful owl, it doesn’t mean less forest is logged, it just means it’s logged more intensively in the places that don’t have a powerful owl roost.
  7. Right now, the industry doesn’t need most of this wood. The woodchipping industry is still suffering from the GFC. In 2009 it spent most of the year on a 4 day week. For weeks at a time it was closed altogether. Its stockpiles of chips and logs were enormous. It was asking contractors to store logs in the forest rather than deliver them to the chipmill because it couldn’t store them. It had to clear bush inside the chipmill to expand its log storage area. Forests NSW has take or pay contracts with SEFE that can force them to keep on taking logs even when they don’t want them. We might even be doing them a favour if we could persuade State Forests not to take any pulplogs from these forests.
  8. One final thing: there has been some suggestion that we will do better if we pretend we are not greenies. I take issue with that. I am a greenie and why should I be ashamed of that? In the longer term, the more politicians realize that greenies are well informed, ethical and energetic and numerous, they’ll start to pay more attention to the environment.
 - Harriett Swift



Posted by editor at 9:10 AM EADT
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Carr's guilty conscience on east coast forests in redgum plea?
Mood:  cool
Topic: nsw govt



Picture: Contrary to NSW govt PR logging intensity as high as ever 2001 Upper Deua wilderness.

Former premier Bob Carr was forced out in 2005 as his polling crashed, allowed by the ALP machine to limp along in the job until his 10th anniversary before resigning.

Not many people have really analysed the net environmental consequence of Carr's main boast of forest protection of NSW eastern division forests. The story is not nearly as good as Carr would have people believe. Carr is known as a thespian so a reality check is again in order.

Especially because Carr has leapt into PR mode in the last few days via Get Up organisation urging protection of redgum forests in south west NSW. A good message from a damaged messenger. And if he is acting out of a guilty conscience, at least it's in evidence unlike ex PM Paul Keating who failed Australia's forests dismally with his initiative of so called Regional Forest Agreements.

We recently briefed south east region conservation groups and Get UP organisation as follows:

Subject: [chipstop] Links re Carr's dodgy green credentials, prior to redgums in GetUp Re: [chipstop] RE: [SERCA] FW: Join Bob Carr: Save the River Red Gums

Yes history of the 90ies is stale 10 years old, but the current ALP is a product of it's past with same habits.
On redgums Carr is surely posturing for the next state election. And he might be well motivated. And he might be riddled with guilt! Who knows. The message is right, but the messenger is damaged goods. 
I remember in harness for TWS in 1994 pre election he promised to save wilderness areas. But his policy actually said 365K ha out of 713K ha identified under the legislative process Wilderness Act 1987 passed with bipartisan support.
Alan Hansen who worked for Opposition Env Minister Pam Allan rang me personally to complain about exposing this detail in the official newsletter of TWS. They seemed to think the green movement were ALP serfs.
This was the best clue the ALP were unreliable later in the 90ies, as I said regarding RFA decisisons 20 year resource security industry holy grail. It was also why the ALP cut me and TWS out of negotiating "a peace plan" pre 1995 election. Too independent, and too honest. They were ALWAYS going to cut forests in half. This regarding the late 90ies decisions:
 "To hide this reality Carr went the big lie PR option - ‘biggest forest decision in the world’. I still remember The Wilderness Society putting out a list of bigger conservation decisions worldwide - about 20 of them - in a brutal lampooning of Carr’s arrogance. With environmental friends like Carr who needs enemies."
Here is that TWS media exposing Carr going the proverbial big lie, which I web posted for posterity years back (at Carr ALP dodges 1995-99 refer "Box 4" breakout item) including this:

Apart from deliberately and dishonestly conflating the notion of "forest protection" with "new national park", the other variation on Carr's boasting was that his government had created one million hectares of reservations in NSW and this was a "world record". The Wilderness Society as quoted in Parliament by Ian Cohen MLC has shown convincingly using World Conservation Monitoring Centre figures that NSW as a unit is still behind 74 other countries in terms of terrestrial protected areas, and just below the 6. 29% of land area conserved on average per country. For the 4 year term of office Carr has made less significant conservation decisions than

  • Brazil (3.5 million ha in 1990, 6 million ha in 1979-82),
  • Indonesia (3 million ha in 1978-81,
  • 2.5 million ha in 1980-82),
  • Columbia (2 million ha, 1977).
  • Even in Queensland in one year 1977 a million hectares of national park was created, and in NT nearly a million hectares in 1990.
  • There is not space here to list other protection decisions in China,
  • USA (4 different states) or
  • Venezuela

that outstrip or equal Bob Carr's "world record" fantasy.

Just as the RFA maps dishonestly conflated existing national park with new national park decisions - in order to dwarf the large swathes of logging area, actually much bigger than new national parks. I have those maps here:
Saturday, 25 July 2009
I have posted an original copy of that TWS leaflet of 1991 this morning about the logging industry holy grail of resource security on public land, initially defeated but back with a vengeance now, regretably:
The Wilderness Society brief on 'Resource Security' 1991
Who knows, maybe Carr is trying to make amends with the Redgums to do the full job? Miracle if it's true.
Yours truly, Tom
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 9:40 PM
Subject: [chipstop] RE: [SERCA] FW: Join Bob Carr: Save the River Red Gums

 We saved the South East forests, the North coast icons and the Pilliga. These were all generous conservation outcomes, and no unemployment resulted.
Im sorry but what the? hes such a liar. still good on him for doin the get up thing & your right sean - great exposure. -still, in case anyone has forgotten whose signature is on the RFAs, Bobs got a lot to answer for.

To: serca_members

This is fantastic.   Can we get the same exposure for our koalas?


To: Sean Burke
Subject: Join Bob Carr: Save the River Red Gums

--- A message to GetUp members from Former NSW Premier Bob Carr ---

Dear GetUp Members,

From the air they are bands of green that emerge from the Great Dividing Range and run along the banks of our major rivers as they snake west. On ground they are stately silhouettes, mighty arms akimbo, hefty trunks streaked red on white: statuesque, unmoving, some hundreds of years old but with the look of eternity. The river red gums are the guardians of inland Australia.

Enter these forests. Set off a mob of kangaroos. Then hear the silence settle. Look around and be filled with the wonder of being in ancient Australia.

Log these? Log them for another 5 years until the old ones are all gone and we are left only with straggly regrowth? Log them when 80 per cent of the landscape along the Murray has already been cleared? When on some stretches 75 per cent of the trees are already dead or dying or stressed because of drought and climate change? Log them for firewood and railway sleepers and fence posts?

Many parts of our country are in flood, but the Murray-Darling, food bowl of our nation, is still cracked and dry. The River Red Gums that stand guard on its banks are a gift to future generations. They are of national significance, and it falls to all of us to protect them.

The NSW Government has announced that 80 per cent of the red gums will be protected as national forest, but reports suggest some 16,000 hectares will be logged for another 5 years. I intend to seek clarification of this, but you may wish to let NSW Premier Kristina Keneally know you think the future of these mighty trees is very, very important:


The most reliable estimate is that there are only 136 jobs in red gum logging on public lands across NSW. Timber jobs are 0.2 per cent of employment in the region. All can be accommodated in new national parks.

How can I be so certain? First, because Victoria has just done it. As of June 30 last year, logging stopped forever in 91,000 hectares of red gum wetlands. The outcome is jobs positive because there are 30 new park ranger jobs in four new parks, 10 jobs in forest management and 24 jobs in the tourism sector.

Second, because NSW offers loads of experience in world-significant nature conservation made possible through industry restructuring without job losses. We have had 30 years of these arguments. Each has ended with decisive conservation victories, and the outcomes have been endorsed at state elections. In my experience - and I was environment minister in the Wran government between 1984 and 1988 - the case made by conservationists starts by looking over-reaching. But it always ends up being vindicated.

My Government led Australia on nature conservation. I am proud of creating some 300 new national parks. We saved the South East forests, the North coast icons and the Pilliga. These were all generous conservation outcomes, and no unemployment resulted. We can do it with the river red gums, but Government need to be reminded that nature conservation has public support:


In their bones country and city people alike know that as the continent's population climbs (to more than 40 million by mid-century, according to the latest estimates) we will count precious every hectare of national park this generation has declared.

Bob Carr

Bob Carr was the longest continuously serving NSW premier.

This message was sent through GetUp.org.au and your personal details have not been shared with Mr. Carr or anyone else.

Posted by editor at 1:38 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 11 March 2010 2:18 PM EADT

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