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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 29 March 2010
Is this an immigration scam via the plane load?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: human rights

Picture: Screenshot for www.rapidvisa.com.au

Perhaps Scott Morrison (Lib), Opposition Spokersperson on Immigration might be better served in terms of alleged illegal immigration numbers to look at this possibly unregistered business, either in the legal or immigration agency sector (?). One suspects this is a much bigger issue than humanitarian boat people asylum seekers.

How indeed can this service guarantee immigration to Australia at the price of $699? Are clients using  this service already cutting corners to jump the queue?

This business was commented on at  recent Community Reference Group meeting organised through the Law Society of NSW as an item of interest, and not just because of the cut price.


Posted by editor at 10:45 AM NZT
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Sunday tv talkies: Come see Big 'Muscles' Tony and Little 'Frothing' Barnaby in media circus
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.  

- Bob Carr has more credibility on trans fat than on ‘300 new national parks’ given he condemned a much larger area of public forest heritage to the woodchippers in NSW as proven by internal govt maps obtained by SAM.


- All this talk of Abbott as a gay icon seems tohave followed an obsequious interview by radio legend Alan Jones, understood to bat for the other team. Cut and Paste in The Oz ran quotes of Jones blather.

- Is it true as Bernard Keane reported, that Glenn Milne is no longer with News Ltd – missing from the Sunday Telegraph today?

- The local freebie Hills to Hawkesbury Living p15, 19 March 2010 states via Ray Williams MP (Lib) and a Sydney Morning Herald article that a long time ALP loyalist Mr Tom Forrest formerly chief of staff of Premier Iemma but also other roles back to 1995, now RailCorp's general manager of executive business, directed deletions from an adverse report on the $5.3B Metro, including:

"questions the basis of the governent's claim that the $5.3 billion seven-kilometre line between Central and Rozelle would relieve congestion in the CBD, especially during the morning peak hour. It is also noted that the CBD Metro project project alone servies no recognised [or planned] areas of high population or employment growth. ... The CBD Metro does not serve these journeys".

- Recent SMH on March 19th last had coverage of air pollution from the mining/coal industry in NSW perhaps relating to the infrequent spruiking for nuclear energy in it's opinion pages. Sure enough a letter was published calling for nuke energy. Only trouble is these also are known to promote lethal pollution as revealed by SAM recently quoting a 2002 US study of 8 reactors closed down in New York State, resulting in a marked reduction in childhood cancers. So it may be a case of choose your poison to keep the lights on.

- SAM's editor is going back to the law, as per family tradition. Not sure yet sure what that means for the SAM blog averaging around 35,000 pageviews per month these days. Well except for the obvious. Certainly we will be bound by total confidentiality so no stories from that source. And oversight of the big media will fall by the wayside especially as we do endless reading to pick up the threads. We can see some big charity donations coming up to salve our democratic conscience. (SAM in another life was known to send $15,000 to Chile to employ a journalistic and visual artist to help save 3 rivers, Ceurvo, Blanco and another one, a lake, 10,000 hectares of mature forest and adjacent fjordlands. The threat came from a proposed US $3 billion hydro smelter called Alumysa. ) And so the wheel turns. 

10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 

Lead in PM Rudd success in first debate “may be decisive” for election year. Humour footage of Pyne MP and chamber. Press round up re Earth Hour event, more (failed?) asylum seekers to Sydney, Abbott ultra triathalon day ‘putting his health at risk”.Pyne is talent as Education Opp minister and leader of Opp business in Reps.Pyne answers refugee compassion point with itinerant via 3rd country [Sri Lankans by boat?]. Humour out take Abbott falling worm sledging Rudd.Panel is El Hall abc World Today. M Kenny Adeliade Advertiser (News Ltd). Re BER education school halls. Adbreak.Abbott fitness [fetish] with grab of Swan – where does he get the time? Pyne makes crack about Bonge going for a jog. 2nd guest – Dr Sally McCarthy 


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

Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am 

Worms in the health debate against Abbott. Much focus on his ultra triathalon today with Joyce demotion woven in. Parallel with Oakes interview. Riley refers in Q&A as a form of “madness”.



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

[pre interview large wrap of Abbott triathalon adventure, Barry OFarrell advert for NSW election for Liberal Party]


Opening line by LO to Joyce – you just said off air that after 3.8 km swim Abbott looked like “a gutted rabbit”. [Joyce lacks discipline just like in Finance.]


Barnaby Joyce as now shadow minister water, regional development and some other things. Getting into froth mode again. Frothing about Toorale station [furphies]. “Metaphor” used regularly. Rapid talking style.


Joyce “four and half thousand people have come into the country illegally” this year. [Sums up his understanding of the international treaty obligations for asylum seekers.]


[Joyce looked terrible in our view, in real politik terms, not personal preference.]





Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Riley style worm package to Lenny Kravatz hard rock. 71% ch9 for Rudd. Press round up with panel Mal Farr (News Ltd) says it’s a profile build, does have enough time. David Marr (Fairfax) – its flagellation. Grab of Wayne Swan – too little time. Grab of Gillard PM with a plan on health, and ‘fitness instructor with an attidude’ re Abbott. Akerman runs pro Abbott line, raised lots of charity money and Labor has similar picfacs.


Grabs of Joyce and Pyne on other tv shows re Abbott fitness.


Roxon as Health Minister says lack of policy is the problem. Too much time to develop policy.




Inside Business with Alan Kohler  .


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


Posted by editor at 3:59 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 29 March 2010 7:43 AM NZT
Friday, 26 March 2010
Peter Woof makes contact after Abbott student politics story
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt


Picture: Intrepid Sydney sider Peter Woof at left, lifted from the Paul Watson website.

We wrote recently asking "Why did Tony Abbott assualt Peter Woof?" a few weeks back here:

 It was about Sydney Uni student days in the 1970ies in those heady days of youth. The story referencing Peter as a colleague of Paul Watson of the famous Sea Shepherd got got over 2000 hits:


We called Peter's relatives for a follow up and they passed on our mobile number. He sent a text recently with email address to reach him in Guyana.

Correspondence goes as follows:

Hi Peter, Guyana sounds fascinating and a little scary. Trust you are well
and doing good works as always.

When I did that interview with you 3 years ago, in fact in first week of
my community news blog January 2007, I didn't know it would help fashion
prime ministerial politics now. The blog indy news now pulls around 35K
readers per month which is okay. Regular Sydney Indy Media has folded for
a while.

The issue of Tony Abbott as Opposition Leader in prime ministerial debate
on health policy is leading news today Tuesday 23 March 2010. He has had
some limited success in polling lately hence necessity to address him as a
live contender.

About a week ago, I republished the interview here:

  Tuesday, 16 March 2010
  Why did Tony Abbott assault Peter Woof?
  Mood:  loud
  Topic: aust govt


Like the picture on Watson's webpage too.

With federal parliament sitting it got 2000 plus readers which is high for

Next day (what a coincidence - not) PM Rudd had the confidence to assert
that "It's good to have Mark Latham back in the Parliament" in Question
Time in a comment on Tony Abbott as leader. This was an allusion to
volatile aggressive personality as part of the real electioneering contest
to be called later in 2010. Others in the ALP had used the line but now
the PM was signing up - based on .... evidence on SAM micro news blog (?).
Well done Peter!

So it seems that incident all those years ago has managed to reflect on
the character of a leading politician today, admittedly a long time ago
and he does refer to the youth defence, which has fair degree of traction.

We received direclty a broadcast email from Mr Abbott which we also
published in terms of balance about health policy:

  Thursday, 18 March 2010
  Opposition Leader Abbott email to SAM on '$1B health gouge' claim
  Mood:  quizzical
  Topic: aust govt


If you want to add anything or comment about this state of affairs then
the voters, but especially the big media, would be likely to read it off
my news blog and weave it into their thinking if not actual specifics.
Hence my call to check in with your father who does sound proud of you

Also I have forgotten name of corroborating NSW govt public servant that
knew about the incident, as referred to in the story. Probably doesn't
matter now.

Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin mobile 0410 558838

PS I tried to call by mobile, return button got the international beeps
but no ring tone. So hung up. Perhaps text message not sent by handset

Peter Woof:

Hi Tom,

Message sent by me. I received your call and the mobile rang.
Not the first time that I have tried to answer a call with no success.
Telecommunications periodically dodgy in this part of the world.
Sometimes even a text takes a day to send. Texts can also arrive out of
time sequence.

When Mum calls, it takes her two goes. I then call her back on the skype.
So, I text, or if you have an office phone, I can use skype to call. That
costs 3 cents per minute, not 28cents. Emails are free, of course.

In Guyana I am training would be chemistry teachers, as part of
http://www.cuso-vso.org at the Cyril Potter College of Education

Also trying to finish my M.Ed. - up to now, it was computing in education,
but this time - globalisation and the curriculum, for the final unit. ....

Anyway, just to confirm - well, this is my email.
My skype name is ....and my phone in Guyana .....and we are UTC-4, so mentally add 9 hours and make it a day earlier, to
get the time here.
You would be 10:36am Tuesday 23/03 and here it is Monday evening, 19:36pm,
at time of writing.

Lots of fresh tropical locally grown fruit here, I can hear the mangoes
ripening 'as we speak'. A whole pineapple for 50cents equivalent. My pay
is equivalent to $270, per month, although it may be 3 months before I see
any of it. So, the "100 mile diet" is easy to implement here.


Peter's comment on the now famous Abbott health budget graph found at the story http://www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog/index.blog/2000394/opposition-leader-abbott-email-to-sam-on-1b-health-gouge-claim/:

Tuesday, 23 March 2010 - 12:20 PM NZT

Name: "Adjusted for inflation"

Tony is playing optical illusions again.
Solidly recommend calculating the percentage increase each year and then
reduce by inflation. Looks to me like there has been no "real" increase,
except in the year before the election 2007 - but I am not about to hunt
for figures.

In brief - 03-04 to 04-05 Increase = 6.1%
4.7%, 6.0%, and, in the year prior to the Rudd win... you guessed it - 10.7%

This is a typical trick of governments thinking that they will lose, it is
called "expectation setting". Others call it 'pork-barrelling'. Still, on
Abbott's figures, one can hoist him on his own petard, and show just how
he spends money in the year before the election.

 [And in response to SAM's comment about skin cancer risk, the following ...]

The loss of melanin in white people is now thought to have been caused by a mutation in just one letter out of 3.1 billion letters of DNA.[5]


Posted by editor at 4:16 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 29 March 2010 9:35 AM NZT
ABC friendly Noel Plumb indy candidate for Liberal seat of Ryde?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: nsw govt


Picture: Noel Plumb at left being ejected from a logging industry event inside Federal Parliament November 2009

We noticed an unusually long abc talkback earlier this week by "Noel" from "Ryde" on the ABC Deborah Cameron Morning show.  He waxed lyrical about why ratepayers should pay their fair share for council services. Fair enough.

And he went on, and on, and on. Not so much talkback as open line, take as much air as you like. It was average sort of radio, neither good nor bad, but why so long?

This was the same Noel who waxed lyrical a week or so earlier about being a sailor on Sydney Harbour for 30 years in relation to concerns over the Barangaroo - Keating /Lendlease - monster. Fair enough only it went on and on. Very generous I thought. And we don't remember him sailing (?).

We do know Noel, a little too well, active in the conservation movement in NSW on and off since the mid 90ies. Here he is earlier this year out front of federal parliament again after haranguing the National Association of Forest Industries, photo taken by this writer, and sorry for the lack of red eye on the camera setting :

Now Noel has an interesting provenance in NSW politics. As we understand he helped deliver preferences to ALP Deputy Premier John Watkins in a usually Liberal area for the seat of Ryde until he retired earlier this year. This is in the same area as Maxine McKew, a well known former ABC presenter, in the federal seat of Bennelong. As far as we know Noel didn't run in the seat for the Watkins related byelection and it is now held by Victor Dominello (Lib).

Noel previously ran for the Australian Democrats, has been a staffer for Ian Cohen MP of the Greens and we are not sure who he is affiliated with now.

He leads a small but active Sydney affinity group called Chipbusters relating to woodchipping in south east NSW also this last 6 months or so, especially the koala habitat there. We remain concerned that name is too similar to ChipStop organised by Harriet Swift based in Bega already of 10 years standing but she doesn't seem to mind.

Of significance in the upcoming election is that as we understand it Noel was part of a narrow local lobby, including Dr Judy Messer former chair of the Nature Conservation Council, and contrary to public transport activists across Sydney, that successfully prevented a rail bridge over Lane Cove River at Epping which arguably resulted in major delays and perhaps $1B in extra cost for the new Chatswood to Epping line. That blowout arguably prevented the line ever reaching Parramatta as well as a saga of noise and gradient problems.

Watkins can be very deferential to Plumb as we have observed, and we notice the former Deputy Premier was on abc segment Partyliners a week or so back complimenting Premier KKK, from his perch as CEO of Alzhiemers Australia. A silent machine to quote fixer Eric Roozendaal MP (ALP).

We emailed Noel and asked him his plans in the seat of Ryde, as well as some dorothy dixers, and we wait patiently for an answer, as follows:

Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2010 9:10 AM
Subject: Community media re Noel Plumb as state election candidate in Ryde?

Dear Noel,
Given your increased public profile recently including quite long soliliquy on abc 702 yesterday morning around 9.25 am, as caller from the public on local council issues in Sydney broadly, some questions for community media publication:
1. Are you intending to run as a candidate in the seat of Ryde now held by Liberal Victor Dominello?
2. Will you run as an independent, or Greens or Australian Democrats, or even pre-selection for the ALP given John Watkins has retired?
3. If as an independent, or minor party, what chances do you think you will have in influencing the final outcome in Ryde, and the state if it's a hung parliament scenario, with your preferences, including any relevant statistics from past elections?
4. Given your role as convenor of Chipbusters around forest conservation will preference negotiations include for instance policy promises on
(a) closure of the Eden Chipmill as promised by Bob Carr in the 1995 election?
(b) Similarly rejection of power generation using native forest feedstock?
(c) Protection of koala habitat on the NSW South Coast?
(d) Protection of all NSW forest identified for comprehensive, adequate, representative reserve system given barely 10% of Australia has forest land cover with rare quolls, gliders, owls, possums, frogs and other wildlife live in these landscapes?
(e) A ban outright of logging of any wet schlerophyll forest types as natural bushfire fuel management, which logging converts to dusty dry flammable regrowth?
Look forward to your response in due course.
Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog tel. ....
[current readership 35,000 per month]

Posted by editor at 2:51 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 26 March 2010 3:02 PM NZT
Big sister Clover in ALP inspired conflict of legal duties in Barangaroo controversy?
Mood:  chatty
Topic: legal


SAM's editor in a previous life campaigned hard for Clover Moore as Mayor of Sydney City Council first election with active envelope stuffing and poster runs deep into ALP turf.

And we did gladly second election, more subtly, overlapping with the existence of SAM: By noting that ALP rival Burgmann was compromised by such as her own profile/tourism piece in New Matilda ezine by airbrushing the horror of North Korea's death camps; and also a tricky co-author colleague avoiding public hiring protocols at Addison Rd Community Centre. All matters of fair comment, and viral emails. The ALP got only one seat at the second outing against the Clover locomotive (partly due to ICAC Wollongong scandal too).

Clover is criticised by some as a career opportunist, says rival Cr Chris Harris of the Greens in a telephone conversation with SAM. Yet SAM's view like the owner editor of the City Hub, Lawrence Gibbons, has been: 'half of Clover as state MP doubling as mayor, is worth a whole Michael Lee' (referring to her ALP rival first election, former federal minister). Clover has credit as a community independent.

Indeed in the first election Larry Galbraith as organiser for Clover had us dressed up on town hall steps for the ABC tv camera as former Sydney City ALP Mayor Pat Hills MP of post war boom era as a precedent.

Today we have another contribution in relation to Mayor Clover Moore who says she signed a confidentiality agreement on radio this morning. This in effect restrains her from fully carrying out one of her duties under the Local Government Act 1993 in NSW in relation to the Barangaroo $5B development:

Mayor denies conflict of interest on Barangaroo MATTHEW MOORE AND JOSEPHINE TOVEY March 26, 2010

We know about these councillor duties because they came up in a comparative situation when this writer was ex officio co-director 1995-97 with about 16 other board members on Waverley Woollahra Process Plant Inc (aka Waterloo Incinerator owned by Waverley and Woollahra Councils). Ironic because we were elected onto Waverley Council Sept 1995 on a staunch platform opposing a $40M rebuild of the dioxin spewing monster, and to close it down. We represented the Greens as a pioneer into local government (though membership is now lapsed). We left most of the incinerator files with the 3 new Green councillors when we moved on to other projects, but we did find this from the EIS company Maunsel:

My membership on the Board was designed by the ALP to shut The Greens and the community voice down or at least quarrantine it. I was having none of that. In 1996 we were both a director of the Incinerator and sending a media release to chief of the Environment Protection Authority Neil Shepherd to close the polluting monster down just as council leadership were meeting the EPA boss. I rang the secretay to Shepherd so she would take the presser into the meeting! This brought howls of outrage from the ALP leadership at council. Threats to report us to the Dept of Local Govt to show cause why we should not be dismissed for breach of director and or councillor duties to the WWPP Inc. (Keeing in mind Cr Plummer ALP was employed by same LG Dept, working for LG Minister Ernie Page MP for Coogee which itself overlaps with Waverley council area). In short a choreographed stitch up led by Incinerator supporter ALP Mayor Barbara Armitage.

My quasi legal political response was to rapidly research the Local Government Act 1993 objectives and duties of councillors (in the offices of the Environmental Defenders Office actually). These statutary obligations include communicating with the ratepayers, informing the public, and leadership. These are balanced against other concerns like act in best interests of the council which is a subjective beast. 

Here is an extract of section 232 of the LG Act here with some highlighing:

What is the role of a councillor?

[section] 232 What is the role of a councillor?


(1) The role of a councillor is, as a member of the governing body of the council:
to provide a civic leadership role in guiding the development of the community strategic plan for the area and to be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the council’s delivery program
(2) The role of a councillor is, as an elected person:
• to represent the interests of the residents and ratepayers
• to provide leadership and guidance to the community
to facilitate communication between the community and the council.

The incinerator union delegate even came to our workplace at Friends of the Earth Sydney in high emotion that the workers were being shafted by "a mole". He was invited in and we talked about the open campaign against the facility, agreeing to disagree, and he talked about the work processing often disgusting waste of the Eastern Suburbs. He left unhappy but alot less angry. Perhaps he could see the writing on the wall and that we also were human beings.

Cr Norman Lee as an ex ALP indepedent was quite acidic at the special meeting early 1997 where this writer was meant to be the main course, roasted. He soon realised I was going to buck their interpretation of the legal obligations by relying on the LG Act provisions above as a community independent councillor. Even if it was arguable as a conflict of laws situation, it was sufficient political cover and they dropped their proposed reference to the Local Govt Dept. (As a footnote, we faced all this alone, with the Green Party local branch including such as Lee Rhiannon, Jeff Ash, councillors still to be elected all no where to be seen busy no doubt busy elsewhere.) The incinerator was closed by State Govt decision later in 1997.

Which brings us back to Clover on the Barangaroo 'Delivery' Authority, bound by confidentiality. As a community media person and high consumer of mass media we did note this last few months the apparent silence of the City Council leadership as the developers and govt, effectively represented by (self interested?) Paul Keating, were all over the Herald and the ABC radio. Silence of the Mayor as consent?? That was the unresolved question in our mind, and presumably in most of the general public's too. Obviously this concern has boiled over in the press today.

Now Clover says this morning on ABC radio she has been fighting the good fights behind the scenes and "reasonable people" will understand this. The jury is still out on how true that is. Cr Mallard (Lib) was impacting in his critique on abc radio that councillors in the broad have been kept in the dark by Mayor Clover over an historic upscale $5B redevelopment.

To paraphrase Cr Harris by phone earlier today regarding Clover's achievements so far at Barangaroo:

1. the light rail concession is not really integrated into city transport being more of a tourist detour Central to Circular Quay possibly along Sussex st. 'That's not integration' presumably referring to the junked metro.

2. the tri-generation sustainable power plan for the buildings are now virtually standard practice e.g. condition of consent on the CUB site due to Cr Harris and Michael Mobbs litigation, as well as in place for SHFA building at Workplace Six, so this is not a Mayoral achievement as such.

Now Clover similarly might wish to reconsider her duties under the Local Governmnent Act and whether that provides sufficient legal and or political cover to go much much harder on the Barangaroo developers, and in a much much more public way. And the question of silence in the past remains to be resolved. No doubt Mayor of Sydney CBD is a tough gig, as always.


We had enough of the 'paper avalanche' after 4 years as a mere independent councillor on a suburban munipality, and here is our parting leaflet personally delivered to 4,000 letterboxes late 1999 endorsing our successor Dominic Wykanak, who is still going strong in Bondi Ward:



Posted by editor at 10:53 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 26 March 2010 12:29 PM NZT
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Vale Mark Blecher, important forest campaigner in NSW history
Mood:  special
Topic: nsw govt

Sadly we hear Mark has died of leukemia after a long illness. We only knew him as a hearty and hale forest campaigner working inside the system in the 1990ies, as much as practical, as indicated by extracts in this 1996 NSW Govt newsletter referring to Mark. But not pictured unfortunately.

This writer however can be seen top right hand corner of one image in the Govt PR glossy: Sceptical, overlooking as usual with caffeine in hand.


We wrote some words earlier today as befits the important place Mark played in NSW forest politics, and as a good hearted intelligent man:

Subject: [chipstop] vale Mark Blecher loved forests Re: [chipstop] .... very next day .... Re: [chipstop] Todays SMH page 3 re Save Koalas

Some thoughts about an important forest campaigner in the modern history of NSW, feel free to repoduce:
Mark Blecher as respected local teacher and as leader and public face of South East Forest Alliance in the region, in Bega was the NGO rock upon which the Carr Govt relied for it's conservation forest policy having regional credibility for southern half of NSW from about 1994 all the way to 2000 or so. In the north Dailan Pugh/John Corkill played that same real politik role via leadership of NEFA.
In the city Jeff Angel was the SEFA authority figure for the Carr conservation forest policy, (first as junior co director to Milo Dunphy then sole director of TEC) but only because Mark Blecher was in alliance at the regional level for SEFA providing democratic credibility to small TEC, Jeff leveraging off that utilising TEC go between Fiona McCrossin (previous housemate up here) sister of more famous Julie. This suited Carr to offset the much bigger and more hard line Wilderness Society forest reform policy.
In this sense Mark played a critical role in NSW forest politics. On a personal level he was always very dignified and intelligent and indeed very diplomatic. I would hazard a guess that he was appalled as Dailan Pugh and others were subsequently at the way the high hopes of the Carr Govt tended to unravel by say 1998 -1999 when the luke warm promise to Ian Cohen, later MP, in the lead up to the 1995 election to close the Eden chipmill failed to materialise.
One can speculate that failure to privatise the multi billion energy sector in 1997 had a significant role in Carr's settings resulting in barely half the forest recommended for protection being saved, as borne out by official RACAC maps of the time since published by the writer. Carr talks often of the 300 parks he created but not the broader reality. Rather the industry achieved 20 year logging RFA resource security - even in koala habitat - and the new as distinct from existing National Parks are significantly smaller than the logging areas - all on public heritage land.
One can see a refusal to be duped again in the current Redgum compromise and controversy.
The privatisation of energy agenda 1997, again 2007, failed not least from a broad democratic view about corrupt corporations in the USA like Enron. In that sense everything is connnected.
Mark loved forests. And harmony in his local community. I can't help thinking his illness and death is a metaphor for irreconciliable differences of the public and the government over the Eden chipmill  May he rest in peace. God bless him - his part in our struggle is over.
Condolences to his family and close friends.
Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin.

Posted by editor at 1:48 PM NZT
News Ltd take down request to SAM micro news after apology to top barrister
Mood:  cool
Topic: independent media



We recently received an email letter from Blake Dawson Waldron above with a CC to their senior partner on media matters, with an invitation to take down a story - because an apology was now in place and the matter legally resolved between the parties which does not include SAM here.

We have decided not to take down the 2 year old story but simply add the relevant apology by News Ltd to Ms Tania Evers, Barrister. Not least because Ms Evers has advised us our stories are fine with her, and we already published the official News Ltd apology here:

Sunday, 14 February 2010
High class barrister Tania Evers wins defamation case against News Ltd?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: legal

On re-reading the story in 2008 invited to take down we do think there is a broader interest in where the infamous blowtorch by The Terror has failed to achieve it's grim purpose of reputational destruction. Indeed Ms Evers appears to us be made of forged steel:

Thursday, 17 April 2008
Sydney Daily Telegraph lead story frozen out by tv big media peers as dodgy?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: big media

 Image:Its A Wonderful Life Movie Poster.jpg

A fairly incredible white knuckle ride in the 'back story' to this report here:

Wednesday, 16 April 2008
According to our media monitoring yesterday the Sydney Daily Telegraph story applying it's (in)famous (melo)dramatic blowtorch on a pillar of society hit a brick wall of incredulity. Did the story ramp up through the day and onto the nightly tv news bulletins? Were peers in the relatively bigger TV news sector of the Big Media willing to back the trashing of a legal professional's reputation? Put themselves in the line of fire of a defamation action on the strength of the journalism of Janet Fife-Yeomans, and editor David Penberthy?
No, no, and no, they declined. What's  more the ABC TV prime time news sunk the slipper in to the SDT agenda with another legal angle altogether, which might be sobering discipline on both the Tele and the "popular authoritarianism" of the NSW Govt [to borrow a phrase of Quentin Dempster].
In summary as best we could tell:

- all the tv nightly news ABC and commercials stood off the story. So did the current affairs and 7.30 Report;

- what was most profound was the lead ABC 7pm flagship tv news led with an incredible repudiation of the Daily Telegraph agenda by

(a) ignoring the story totally, and

(b) running as no. 1 lead a related story about lack of safety/resources at Newcastle Family Court precincts - which is NSW AG Hatzistergos's ministerial responsibility and VERY embarrassing.

The Telegraph runs a smallish story today Thursday 17 April 08 well into the paper, no picture, cleaning up loose ends,  as if by way of belated 'balance' sourcing the instructing solicitor. Only it's way not proportionate or contemporaneous with the damage of their front page story against the barrister the day before. This might only mitigate fertile defamation action for the day before.

The blowtorch story against the harried barrister is virtually all over next day: It's not many people who survive the Telegraph blowtorch in such good shape. It's usually a one way street like John Brogden, others before, others no doubt in the future.  
We are impressed. Like James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life the civil rights lawyer Tania Evers obviously has got alot of social capital goodwill out there, including from such as this writer for her pro bono support of a disabled volunteer/friend of ours, at least within reasonable limits.
We can't comment on the facts of the legal case in the screaming front page headline because we don't know them well, and as a lawyer we are bound like everyone else by the court gag order. But we do note with a great deal of irony this other story running yesterday about the bad, sad fact of sexualised children being given implanted contraception in Qld:
The World Today, ABC - Wednesday, 16 April , 2008  12:20:00 Reporter: Annie Guest
[with this concluding extract following]
ANNIE GUEST: But how do you decide whether they are making an informed decision about having sex given that they are needing to have this contraceptive implant? Perhaps it would indicate that they’re not making fully informed decisions?

MATTHEW BOWDEN: Because of guardianship laws. They would not be able to make that decision independently.

ANNIE GUEST: An anti-child abuse campaigner says she's shocked to hear young girls are being implanted with contraceptives, but the executive director of Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston, says she also gives the practice qualified support.

HETTY JOHNSTON: It has to have some sort of tattered support. It’s horrifying to think that those words are even coming out of my mouth but the last thing we want is 12-year-olds pregnant. But look, it could only be with education, it needs to get … we need to get some education into these communities.

LISA MILLAR: Hetty Johnston from Bravehearts ending that report from Annie Guest. 
We simply add that one reason things end up in court is because the facts are contested, and sometimes related to social situations quite out of the experience of normal reasonable people, which the courts and legal professionals are then given the frightening job of wrestling with into a framework of justice and truth - it's a hard job to be respected not trashed.
Postscript from mid February 2010

Posted by editor at 1:23 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 March 2010 2:08 PM NZT
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

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