"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Rob Messenger Media Release
01.03.15 8:14 am
Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie has vowed not to be intimated by a letter claiming to be from a supporter of Islamic State and the Sydney siege perpetrator, which sentences her to death (see above). “My office received this death threat letter last Friday. It was accompanied by 3 glossy photographs, one of which showed a close up shot of a man’s head being cut off. Obviously someone is trying to intimidate and scare me. I will not be intimidated or scared.
01.03.15 6:00 am
It’s the First Day of March 2015 ... here is a photographic celebration ...
Urban Wronski http://urbanwronski.com/ Pub: Mar 1. Pic: of George Brandis
01.03.15 5:00 am
Australians were shocked this week to discover Attorney-General George Brandis appearing to act as if he were above the law in joining the attack on Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission.
• Mike Moore, in Comments: By his words and actions, George Brandis has defined himself as a political grub. He distinguishes himself from his grubby boss only by the colours of his ties. And he, like his boss, will never apologise. He will lose his job soon after Abbott loses his. Mike Moore, Hervey Bay.
Vica Bayley Tasmanian Campaign Manager The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) Inc. Media Release Pic*
28.02.15 9:06 am
Prime Minister Tony Abbott ignored senior ministers Barnaby Joyce and Greg Hunt as well as ministerial advice in steamrolling ahead with his 2013 election commitments to tear up the historic Tasmanian forest peace deal, axe part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA), and stop the creation of national parks, according to government documents obtained by the Wilderness Society under Freedom of Information.
• Kev Rothery, in Comments: Have Forestry Tasmania failed their recent FSC Certification audit I wonder? According to SCS Global Services, the auditing body, the results were due to be communicated to FT within February ( see http://au.fsc.org/newsroom.257.185.htm ). The announcement also states the following:- “The results of the audit team’s assessment of FT’s conformity to the FSC/SCS Interim Standard for Forest Stewardship as well as the FSC Controlled Wood Standard will be made publicly available only in the event that FT were to achieve certification.” So if the results are out but we’ve heard nothing, is it now safe to conclude that certification was refused? If so, when we will find out about the non-conformities, or will FT keep the audit findings under their hat?
• Gordon Bradbury, in Comments: “The results of the audit team’s assessment of FT’s conformity to the FSC/SCS Interim Standard for Forest Stewardship as well as the FSC Controlled Wood Standard will be made publicly available only in the event that FT were to achieve certification”. That is just amazing! So much for FSC transparency, accountability and stakeholder engagement. As a stakeholder I feel thoroughly pissed. Clearly FSC still has someway to go to achieve community credibility. Kev (#1) you are likely correct. If FT had been successful we would have heard about it ASAP. No doubt the strategists are now working out how best to wedge the Tasmanian community even further on the forestry issue.
Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ Pub: Feb 26 Pic: of Gillian Triggs
28.02.15 5:29 am
The attack on AHRC President, Professor Gillian Triggs marks a dark new chapter in the descent of the Abbott government as it prosecutes every means available to get its own way.
• Hugh de Kretser, The Age: Attacks on our Human Rights Commission are part of a broader disturbing trend The federal government is actively undermining a range of vital checks and balances and stifling criticism of its actions. This is corrosive for democracy and human rights.
• Richard Flanagan, Guardian: Triggs was attacked for defending the powerless – and one day another PM will apologise for it: “Gillian Triggs’s real crime is that as human rights commissioner she spoke up for human rights with a government that has no respect for them.”
• Hal Wootten, New Matilda: Why I Signed Up To The Open Letter In Defence Of Gillian Triggs.” “Once again Mr Abbott has proved a loose cannon, but this time his wild firing threatens grave pain and injustice to a courageous and honourable public servant, and the undermining of a much needed national institution, as well as obscuring the terrible effect of detention on innocent children.”
GUARDIAN Friday ...
27.02.15 5:15 am
On Tuesday last week, a poacher was dropped off about 4.30pm. His drop-off vehicle was seen ...
WARNING: The images to follow are confronting ...
• Ian Rist, in Comments: … One terrible experience I had was with Ian Dickinson at ‘Elverton’ at Blessington (my neighbour). We caught some poachers that had shot does and spikies and had left dead and dying deer writhing around in the paddock. We rang the Police but by the time the Police got there the crims had gone ... after threatening us with firearms and man-handling and assaulting us. The Police did catch them and charged them. We were to go to court but the criminal that shoved the rifle in my face blew his brains out in a ‘phone box in Invermay some weeks later, spaced out of his mind on drugs.
27.02.15 5:00 am
A British man has been identified as the knife-wielding militant who appears in Islamic State videos claiming responsibility for the beheadings of US, British and other hostages.
TFGA director Greg Bradfield Media Release
26.02.15 5:40 am
The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) applauded today’s state government decision to impose a five-year moratorium on fracking following a government review of its implications.
• Jon Sumby, in Comments: It will be interesting if a permanent ban is put in place at the end of this five year moratorium. The Trans Pacific Partnership is being negotiated between governments and corporations in secret - so secret that we, the citizens - won’t know what is in it until after it is signed. One thing that is known, via leaks, is that provisions that allow corporations to sue for lost profits if a government puts in place laws that stop a business plan going ahead. Laws like banning a substance because it is dangerous, or public health initiatives like plain packaging on tobacco products, or bans on mining. It is quite possible that if Tasmania bans fracking in five years or so, the government will be sued by the mining companies that are exploring here. Like in the below example from Canada. It would be better for Tasmania to ban fracking now, before the ISDS provisions are in force (if they are in the final TPP agreement), as afterwards we won’t be able to stop fracking by any legislative means.
Jenny Weber Campaign Manager The Bob Brown Foundation Media Release. Pub: Feb 23
26.02.15 4:20 am
Warning of Groom’s Wilderness Construction Boom Tasmania’s leading environment organisations are campaigning for local, national and global support for Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area as the State Government pushes ahead with their plans to weaken protection of the globally significant area.
• VICA BAYLEY, Wilderness Society Opinion ...
• Download submission writing guide ...
• W. Woodpecker, in Comments: Lumber (10). There’s no point flaming your own team. I’m on the record supporting tourism in the WHA on one condition only. That ALL the revenue is used to prop-up Forestry Tasmania. Let’s not split hairs and only allocate 80% of the revenue to FT? They need every last cent generated in the WHA to help Chinese paper launder the losses FT are making. How can Chinese paper make a profit if Forestry Tasmania is also making a profit? Something has to give and with my plan we use tourists that are mostly from China to subsidise the residue supply through ARTEC and out the back door to China. The Chinese think they are getting residue at 3rd World prices but really they are paying for it themselves. Apparently backloading the chip carries is on the table. I’m probably closer to the action at Forestry Tasmania than you are Jack and I understand China will be appointing a new CEO to run Forestry Tasmania. Get used to Yum Cha Jack because you will be seeing a lot more of it?
Cameron Hindrum* ABC pic Pub: Feb 19
26.02.15 3:30 am
Letter to the Editor of the Examiner, published Wed February 18 2015. Full text. TEACHING degrees are an easy option ...
• Jack, in comments: Thanks Jean (#15) What Finland does prove is that education standards are not limited by population size, GDP, isolation of communities, harsh environments, difficult transport issues, prior economic reliance on rural industries, public funding, existence of ethnic diversity (Lapland, Swedish culture etc) etc. Many of these arguments are used to promote the idea that Australia can’t really be compared and it is impossible for us to attain similar success. Finland made the decision to give priority to education prior to entering the EU and boy, did they deliver. We were to be the ‘clever country’, remember that? The principle and most important difference is that Finland’s culture and state values education as one. The nation decided that their future was dependent upon it. To our north Asian countries are rapidly catching up to this model after being way behind. The smug Australian hare slumbers on the track as the Asian tortoise is about to pass it. While some nations walk the walk, we dog paddle with strategies for encultured differently abled persons who should be empowered, validated and valued to an inch of their lives as the English language is water boarded with weasel words. Its called managerialism. We have thousands of cooks in the kitchen, flogging each other with a different recipe books, but not one who’s able to fry an egg.
• Jean Walker, in Comments: Has anyone else read the two-page spread on Education in the Mercury this morning? Paragraphs from a variety of educators, politicians and business people who have been appointed “ambassadors of education”. Nothing really wrong with what most of them said but it’s all been said before but nothing changed. Why should it this time? What i said above in 7# was mainly in response to the original post and not the entire picture. Has it occurred to critics that many, many kids come out of our schools brilliantly educated, go on to tertiary education and do extremely well for themselves. I once taught at an all-girls high school where almost every girl left having reached or almost reached their potential. I’ve taught in schools in low-socio-economic areas where some amazing achievements with deprived kids were made. I would, however, acknowledge that not all those high achievers had the level of literacy skills that we, the older generation, would expect. This is considered heresy and blasphemous in the DoE but I have always stuck to my opinion that the main cause of our failures in education come down to these ...
Matthew Groom, Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage Media Release. Pic* Pub: Feb 24
26.02.15 3:15 am
The Liberal Government has a goal to transform Tasmania into the environmental tourism capital of the world to create jobs for Tasmanians and help reach a target of 1.5 million visitors a year by 2020. We want to give more Tasmanians and visitors the opportunity to experience our unique, world class wilderness areas.
John Powell, Myrtlebank
25.02.15 4:30 am
The Minister for Resources, Paul Harris, and the Treasurer, Peter Gutwein, are the two Forestry Tasmania shareholders who hold their shares in trust for the Crown.
Sometimes I think the world has gone mad, and my research into roadkill for my soon to be launched book, Riding the Devil’s Highway, more or less confirms this view.
One hundred and eight thousand brushtail possums, nearly 30,000 pademelons, 15,000 wallabies, more than 3300 Tasmanian devils. At least 300,000 mammals and birds are killed on Tasmania’s roads every year. That’s an average of one animal killed every two minutes.
• Riding the Devils’ Highway will be launched by Nick Mooney at the Hobart Bookshop, at 5.30pm on Thursday, February 26.
• Ros Barnett, in Comments: I would not miss this for the world. Oh bugger, I’ve got a committee meeting that night. Solution: delegate. If other half comes home without a signed copy I shall turn him into a fur frisbee on the side of the road.
• R. Middleton, USA, in Comments: I always thought the old days of Van Diemen’s Land, when helpless and hopeless prisoners were treated with brutality, depravity and inhumanity, were long gone. Not true! It’s the native animals that are the new generation of “convicts” that are being punished in the true spirit of old VDL. Their crime? Simply existing. Anybody care? No! Too many of them - doesn’t mean a thing if you kill one of the silly buggers. Their punishment? To be “skittled” by angry men in 4x4s who have just had a poor “customer service” experience and have nowhere to go but are running late to get there, and don’t have time to slow down so a bloody “brushie” can live a little while longer.
Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ Pub: Feb 25
25.02.15 3:45 am
Six Australian flags arrayed behind him, a squadron of assorted spooks and security operatives before him, the Prime Minister summoned all the statesmanly gravitas he could stage-manage when he took the podium at AFP headquarters in Canberra on Monday to ‘deliver’ his hugely over-promoted ‘important ‘national security statement.
• Clive, in Comments, quoting the AFR: “People out there are scared of baddies,” said a senior strategist when attributing the rebound to the national security emphasis. … He’s a drowning man,” said one Liberal MP. “The best thing is to stand and watch. If you reach out, he’ll pull you under with him.”
Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ Pub: Feb 23. Pic: of Scott Morrison ...
25.02.15 3:30 am
… you can’t go around with unfunded empathy here,” Scott Morrison told ABC radio beginning the coalition’s second week of ‘good government’ on a cautionary note during a whirlwind of media interviews.
GILLIAN TRIGGS ...
• Guardian: Gillian Triggs says she was offered role if she quit human rights commission post The president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, has raised serious allegations that the federal government offered her other work in return for her resignation from the key independent role. Triggs told a Senate estimates committee hearing on Tuesday the request to resign was conveyed to her by the secretary of the attorney general’s department, Chris Moraitis, who was acting on behalf of the attorney general, George Brandis, at a meeting in Sydney on 3 February. She said she was “certainly very shaken and very shocked” at the resignation request and immediately rejected it. Triggs said she was part way through her five-year term, noting that the position was protected by legislation from political interference, and she believed the move would undermine the independence of the Human Rights Commission. The Labor senator Penny Wong said it was a “very serious allegation” that the resignation “was sought and it was linked to the offer of some further unspecified work with the commonwealth”. Triggs replied: “There’s no doubt in my mind that the two were connected … I rejected it out of hand. I thought it was a disgraceful proposal.”
Matthew Denholm, The Australian. Editor
24.02.15 4:00 am
TASMANIA’S Aboriginal Land Council wants to make it tougher for people to claim Aboriginality, warning that established indigenous groups may soon be overrun by “wannabe” and “tick-a-box” Aborigines
Daily Mail, via Field McConnell*
24.02.15 3:29 am
Flight MH370 may have been deliberately flown off course by someone in the cockpit, a new documentary claims.
Brian Austen* Pic: of 'President' Tony Abbott
23.02.15 4:30 am
In Spin, fictions undermine faith in system ( Talking Point, Mercury Feb 10, Read here ) Richard Herr provided a timely and accurate clarification of the Westminster principle of Cabinet solidarity as an obligation of Government to Parliament.
Peter Oborne, (ex-Telegraph) OurKingdom. Lindsay Tuffin
23.02.15 4:00 am
Ed: This is an extraordinarily important article. It is about the inexorable decline of Print in the Digital Age ... and the thrashing-about lengths to which Print goes to accommodate boosterism in all its forms, whether the Cargo-Cult bleatings of The Pulp-Mill Examiner to the rampant boosterism of all things Development, ‘Open for Business’ or Tourism (Mercury) ... The coverage of HSBC in Britain’s Daily Telegraph is a fraud on its readers. If major newspapers allow corporations to influence their content for fear of losing advertising revenue, democracy itself is in peril.
• Columbia Journalism Review: Anybody there? Why the UK’s phone-hacking scandal met media silence
• Download Print’s latest ABC circulation figures, including for Mercury, but not Examiner or Advocate ...
• don knowler, in Comments: yes, the telegraph was “a significant part of Britain’s civic architecture” as were the other great newspapers like the guardian, representing their own political views in editorials but keeping the news straight. there was a wonderful balance across fleet street. all gone now, of course, and i lament the demise of Britain’s “dead tree media”, if not empire.
Gideon Haigh, The Age. Quentin Beresford, The Saturday Paper
23.02.15 3:30 am
Pulp mills stink. To convey how badly, in 2007, a former CSIRO scientist, Warwick Raverty, smuggled a sample of the odour, soaked into cotton wool and contained in a wine bottle, into Tasmania’s Legislative Council.
EARLIER ... on Tasmanian Times ...
Hilary Burden, https://hilaryburden.wordpress.com/ Pic: of Hilary Burden
23.02.15 2:50 am
Recently I spent an afternoon with my teenage niece. Our plan was: high tea, high street shopping and then high-tailing it to the Queen Victoria Art Gallery. It would be good to balance our hedonistic consumer frenzy (gold sparkling high heels, you bet!) with a visit to some of my current, favourite things I like to share. Like, Philip Wolfhagen’s ‘Night Beacon III’; the Guan Di temple; Fred Williams’ Flinders Island paintings ‘Potboil Shoals’ and ‘Ti-tree Swamp’; and, to try on a Lola Greeno bracelet in the gallery shop.
We need to think this big. Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art got hot when a café was built on top, as did London’s Tate Modern, housed in a former power station. Each location opened up the best city views and proved a great meeting spot for students of culture, tourists and city-workers alike. In these places it is possible to sit and be, even study or arrange a meeting, while absorbing the cultural life of a city. When used in this way, they need to be open. How good would it be to see the current director’s vision realized: view the city of Launceston – its river, Gorge, and splendid heritage streets – literally, from the QVA rooftop. Alongside its dungeons, where the once popular art of taxidermy is housed (there’s even a Tasmanian tiger), the roof top terrace is one of Launceston’s best-kept, under-used secrets.
Spot on Urbo! As to the unprecedented powers to the “intelligence” and “security” agencies, he’s…