"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

Fire Permit Review Needed Now. Dispute over fire season ...

Image for Fire Permit Review Needed Now. Dispute over fire season ...

Rosalie Woodruff MP, Cassy O'Connor MP Media Release
09.10.15 5:00 am

Changing climatic conditions mean that the No Permit period for burn-offs in Tasmania needs to be reviewed now.

Jacquie Petrusma: Greens’ claims part of thinly veiled opposition to fuel reduction burns

• phil Parsons in Comments: The TFS needs to get real instead of following Gutwein’s attack on Greens cue they should base their permit system on some common sense. No permits for landholders fire reduction burns this time should be a signal lesson in how not to manage. If you don’t know who is lighting up or has lit up then how do you relate that to the forecast, fuel load and the available resources. 3 States and Territories have fucked up just this week and one is Tasmania. Time for permits all year round so the Fire Service know what’s going on on the ground.

ABC: Tasmania’s Chief Fire Officer rejects call for overhaul of fuel-reduction permits after early season bushfires … “The only way we can stop fires coming out of fuel reduction burning is not do fuel reduction burning but the consequences of not doing that is far outweighed by uncontrolled bushfire in the summer through an untreated landscape.” …

Bryan Green: Tasmania Fire Service inquiry is crucial

Jacquie Petrusma: Union dangerous and false scaremongering on bushfire safety

ABC: Record Spring temperatures point to ‘difficult’ fire season for Tasmania, forecaster warns … “Mr Freeman praised the fire fighting efforts. He said the fires in the past few days had confirmed the bushfire season had well and truly started …”

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Tasmania’s Farrell family moves up in Australia’s rich list

ABC. Pic* First published October 7
08.10.15 4:15 am

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The Tasmanian family behind casinos and high-end hotels in the state has moved up one place on a list of rich Australian families.


The Tasmanian Politician ... and the powerful will of Mr Farrell ...

• Ted Mead in Comments: Yes Greg your expertise in handling horses is second to none, particularly when it comes to leading our one-trick-pony politicians by the nose around the state. I am still amazed at how Tasmanian taxpayers fully accept you and your crony political mates to roll around feeding in blossoming clover whilst the rest of the peasants seem content on foddering on the chaff and silage of our ignorance.

Ben Cannon in Comments HERE: If the government pandered to David Walsh the way it does to the Farrells, he’d already have a virtually free lease of the rail corridor, state and federal funds to maintain it and a hefty gambling income to bankroll its development.

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Wilkie: A statement regarding the possible bribery of politicians

Independent Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie Media Release
08.10.15 3:50 am

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This afternoon I referred to a range of Commonwealth and New South Wales agencies allegations of poker machine industry bribery of Members of Parliament.

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Loughnane’s departure allows for Mantach truth to come out

Bryan Green MP Labor Leader Media Release. Pic: of Damien Mantach
08.10.15 3:48 am

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The departure of Liberal Federal Director Brian Loughnane presents the party with an opportunity to conduct a thorough investigation into the Damien Mantach affair.

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

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Resignation of Integrity Commission Chief Executive Officer

Vanessa Goodwin, Attorney-General Media Release. Pic: of Diane Merryfull. First published October 2
08.10.15 3:45 am

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The Government has received notification from the Chief Executive Officer of the Integrity Commission, Diane Merryfull, that she intends to retire from full-time work and will depart from her role on 16 October.

• John Hawkins in Comments: Why is it nobody can stay in this job? The poisoned chalice overflows as the pollies legislate to protect themselves from prosecution. The endemic corruption over logging, pulp mills, betting, largesse from the Federal government and the protection of the few must never be allowed to show its face in this your corrupt Tasmania. Thankyou Hall and Wilkinson et al for creating such a toothless beast to protect your endangered race. Thankyou Diane for resigning. Now spill the beans on this collection of shysters and carpet baggers.

• Pilko in Comments: Sepp Blatter is looking for a new job. However my sources inside the Tas Libs tell me Blatter is regarded as a cleanskin & John Gay is still the Libs preferred man to head up the new TIC.

Rosalie Woodruff: Departure of Diane Merryfull

• John Biggs in Comments: The Mercury gave a strong impression this morning that the govt intends to restrict the investigative powers of the TIC and instead focus on “preventative” measure against corruption, not just review them. That would indeed by shameful and indeed indicative of a secretive govt that doesn’t to be caught out in acts of naughtiness. The track record of how both Labor and Liberal govts deal with Commissioners who report honestly—harrass them and make their lives difficult generally so they resign—indicates that they don’t want their naughtiness on record but we the public deserve that in the interests of transparency and good govt. The TIC to be effective at all needs to be both proactive and retroactive.

Rosalie Woodruff: Government Neuters Public Sector Watchdog The government is actively undermining the Integrity Commission. They’ve cut their funding and failed to act on any of the recommendations from the three year review, and now they’re only appointing an Acting CEO. A person acting as CEO would have no mandate to continue the Commission’s strong and probing work.

WEDNESDAY, October 7 ...

Michael Atkin, ABC: Tasmanian senior public servants resistant to change, departing integrity watchdog boss says Outgoing integrity commissioner Diane Merryfull has criticised Tasmania’s senior public servants for having entrenched positions and a strong resistance to change. Ms Merryfull resigned last week, saying in a statement she wanted to retire from full-time work and return to Canberra. She has declined to comment on why she left the position three years into a five-year term. But she has spoken to the ABC about her time in the role. “There is resistance to change here, it’s quite significant,” she said. “But all we can do is continue to press for the change and by our work show why it needs to be made.” That work will now carry on without her. In her three years heading the anti-corruption watchdog, the commissioner has delivered hard-hitting findings about “systemic failure” in the handling of gifts and benefits by the public service.  There has also been a damning investigation into nepotism within Tasmania’s hospital system which had widespread fallout for those involved. Those reports were not always well received, with the commissioner coming under widespread criticism from the Government, the public service and the union movement …

• Elizabeth Viney in Comments: This state govt feels no need to be accountable to the people they serve. Measures are taken to ensure no accountability. The Tasmanian Government Logo should better reflect this view. ‘Explore the possibilities’ is apt but vague in reflecting the culture. ‘Exploit all possibilities’ is a better qualifier.

• OBrien in Comments: … Yep everything’s just fine in Tasmania, no culture of entitlement in the State Service and no need for a real corruption commission, just business as usual. Ms Merryful and her collection of highly remunerated public servants seem to exist in a parallel universe/Tasmania where everything is as it appears, squeaky clean and reputable, just like the taxpayer funded tourism Tasmania/federal hotels advertisements. (challenged. reviewed, edited)

• phil Parsons in Comments: #2. pings it perfectly. This is the latest retiring Commissioner and they tell us repeatedly to move on, nothing to see here. The attrition rate indicates clearly otherwise. A Commissioner that stayed full time now would demonstrate they were chosen for their ineffectiveness.

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Mayors ask: Will Hobart Ever Do Light Rail?

Ben Johnston Hobart Northern Suburbs Rail Action Group Inc. Media Release First published October 7
08.10.15 3:00 am

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The Mayors of Hobart and Glenorchy have again personally called for the Hobart Light Rail Project to be considered a strategic infrastructure priority ahead of Friday’s public lecture by internationally renowned Professor Peter Newman. The Mayors are jointly hosting the public lecture titled “Will Hobart ever do Light Rail: A Global Context” (details below) where Prof Newman will present the compelling case and lay down a challenge to all levels of government to deliver on this project.

• Ben Cannon in Comments: If the government pandered to David Walsh the way it does to the Farrells, he’d already have a virtually free lease of the rail corridor, state and federal funds to maintain it and a hefty gambling income to bankroll its development.

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Removing the democratic right of the people of Tasmania to influence planning approvals

John Green LLB. Pic: Andrew Ricketts. First published October 5
07.10.15 5:45 am

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I am writing to express my concerns about the government proposals to create a new planning system for Tasmania. It was obvious from statements by the wealthy Property Owners Association that the real idea of the planning reform is to remove the democratic right of the people of Tasmania to influence planning approvals.

• Andrew Ricketts in Comments: John Green is absolutely correct. This is an atrocity. However so far only a few people have woken up to the implications.

• Dr Rosemary Sandford, President, South Hobart Progression Association Inc. … The integrity of proper planning procedures and process is being gutted and, from a public perspective, it seems that process is being sacrificed to the vested interests if a narrow section of the community who do not represent the overwhelming majority of Tasmanians, for whom equity, accountability and transparency are fundamental to good governance and planning.  The proposed legislation is a retrograde step. This new legislation removes or reduces any watching brief by independent voices and advocates, like the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO). For the Minister to be both judge and jury is undemocratic and a blatant denial of natural justice.  …

• Ted Mead in Comments: Whilst there may be some sound arguments to produce a state-wide planning scheme, the new proposed planning scheme is simply not about removing Red and Green tape it has more to do with stymieing objectors to development projects. The last thing governments want these days are major projects to be suspended or even rejected through conservation issues, as what is happening with coal mines on the mainland …

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TPP and Tasmania’s GMO moratorium. Corporates can sue. What we don’t know. Positive to Libs

Commentary by Don Maisch. First published October 5. Peter Whish-Wilson Media Release
07.10.15 5:30 am

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… So, what will be the result under the TPP for The Tasmanian Government’s moratorium on genetically modified crops and animals? Under the TPP a multinational, such as Monsanto, may be able to claim that the Tasmanian GMO moratorium threatens its investments and mount an ISDS claim against the state government. Perhaps the US Agribusiness sector will insist that Australia must acquiesce by enacting legislation such as that recently proposed for America by US congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kans.) Known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, it aims to keep American consumers unaware on whether or not their food contains GM ingredients by banning state governments and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  requiring mandatory labeling for GM ingredients.  …

•  Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson’s website is following these developments …

TUESDAY, October 6 ...

SMH: The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Pacific countries agree to historic trade pact Washington, DC: After eight years of negotiations, 12 Pacific-rim nations - including Australia - have agreed upon the largest free-trade agreement in history during a last-minute round of talks in Atlanta, Georgia. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which covers 40 per cent of the global economy, will strip thousands of trade tariffs in the region and set common labour, environmental and legal standards among signatories. …

• Peter Whish-Wilson: Turnbull and Robb give rights to US corporations to sue Australia ... (PWW’s Media Release is below) Excerpt: … Malcolm Turnbull and Andrew Robb have done what John Howard and Mark Vaile refused to do: Via the TPP they have granted US corporations to the right to sue the Australian government over making laws in the public interest. “The United States pushed hard for the inclusion of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in the 2004 US Free Trade Agreement but then Australia refused. Trade Minister Vaille said at the time, “If we had that mechanism in there, it would enable foreign direct investors—if they were aggrieved about a decision taken by a local government body or a state government—to seek a remedy extraterritorially. We do not believe that is necessary in an agreement between two highly developed economies with very transparent legal systems that provide the opportunity for remedy within the state where the dispute may exist…” Senator Whish-Wilson continued, “United States corporations are the most avid user of ISDS and have brought forward at least 127 cases so far. “The majority of ISDS cases are either won by the corporation or settled at great expense to the country being sued. Most ISDS cases from the US have involved disputes being brought by energy, mining, oil and gas companies. “This is a watershed moment for the Liberals and the mining industry in their continuing assault against environmental protections in Australia. ISDS will provide a massive chilling effect against improvements in environmental law at a local, state and federal level. …

Matthew Groom: Trans-Pacific Partnership unlocks enormous potential for Tasmania

TFGA: Trans Pacific Partnership positive news for State

WEDNESDAY October 7 ...

Guardian: What we do ... and don’t know The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, calls it a “gigantic foundation stone for our future prosperity”, but what does the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) mean for Australia? The short answer is that we don’t know for sure, because the full text of the deal has yet to be released. We simply have assurances from the government and various industry groups about the elements of the 12-country trade pact finalised in Atlanta in the US on Monday. Those details form the basis of this summary. … The TPP includes an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism that allows companies to sue governments. The full details have yet to be released, but the Australian government says the mechanism “contains safeguards to protect legitimate government regulation in the areas of health and the environment” …

• Don Maisch in Comments: … HOWEVER what about the GMO industry. Once the dust settles from all this watch Monsanto, Syngenta or some other agri-business use the TPP’s ISDS provision to sue Tasmania to remove the GMO moratorium. It will happen.  For interest see yesterday’s Truthout article …

• John Biggs in Comments: This is appalling. A neoliberal con. The winners are the corporations and losers everyone else. I am disgusted that Robb, Abbott and Turnbull haven’t refused any sort of ISDS clause as have other more sensible even neoliberal countries such as UK and Germany. Not only can any sort of environmental protection against fracking, say, sneak through under the people’s interest proviso, but mining interests and fossil fuel existing structure are now more firmly bolted on. What our politicians have done, Liberal but also Labor, is act against the people’s interests to promote the interests of foreign corporations. That is treason, no less.

Peter Whish-Wilson: Greens call on Government to refer Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement to Productivity Commission “The public and the Parliament have a right to hear the full story about the TPP, not just the spin from the government. “The Treasury has previously said that the ‘benefits of FTAs currently under negotiation have been oversold and the negatives largely ignored.’ The Parliament and the public need to be given all the information so they can make up their own minds about the pros and cons of these deals because you can’t trust the government to tell us the whole truth.

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DwDTas praises Californian Governor for signing assisted dying law

President Dying with Dignity Tas Margaret Sing Media Release
07.10.15 5:07 am

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Your Right to Choose Dying with Dignity Tasmania has praised the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, for signing their new assisted dying law and expressing his compassion and understanding of the needs of people with prolonged, intolerable suffering. The End of Life Option Act passed both houses of the Californian Parliament in September, but could have been vetoed by the Governor.

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Rewilding the Earth ... An Ethical Conviction

Ted Mead. First published October 5
07.10.15 5:00 am

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The whole concept of rewilding the earth makes sense, yet in a reserved view one deeply ponders on its possibility.  In a new, to be released publication, Half Earth – Our Planet’s Fight for Life renowned biologist, naturalist and author EO Wilson builds on his futuristic proposal to set aside 50 percent of the earth for the preservation of biodiversity.

• Nicole Anderson in Comments: I wholeheartedly agree Ted, that Tasmania stands in very good stead to be rewilded. I live in the hope this will be one day a reality. I am however concerned with the persistent push to increase the population - of humans and our commercially profitable livestock - given that it is demonstrated quite well that the population of these we already have has contributed to so much of the environmental degradation. Population control is paramount across the board to limit climate change and pollution. With Tasmania also being so suited to agriculture (which I thoroughly endorse diverse, small scale and carefully planned ventures) I see a looming problem with intensification of industrial agriculture competing with native vegetation and water quality unfolding, not to mention the biosecurity risk which comes with crop monocultures and massive cattle farms. I feel promoting and preserving biodiversity is reaching a critical point, yet the word is barely known up here in the northwest.

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NATION: Everything is on the table

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ First pub: October 5. Pic*
07.10.15 4:45 am

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The Week ... The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative. We can’t be defensive, we can’t future-proof ourselves. “We have to recognise that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility in change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it.’

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The way to stop devil deaths ... ?

06.10.15 4:24 am

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A great idea for Tassie .... ?

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The never-ending madness on Nauru

Independent Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie Media Release.
05.10.15 5:10 am

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… How can a small homogenous society with such limited infrastructure and job prospects integrate such a large number of new and culturally diverse people? How can any guarantees be given for the safety of asylum seekers released into the community when so many have already suffered such shocking abuse at the hand of locals? And what about all the children currently in detention without their families? There is no way the Nauru Government would do this without the encouragement and imprimatur of the Australian Government. The Republic of Nauru is virtually a failed state and the Government only survives with the benefit of Australian financial and other assistance. Another question needing an answer is how much money has the Australian Government offered Nauru for this turn of events? …

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Minister Hunt on the Fish River Mini Hydro Power Scheme Proposal

Andrew Ricketts The Environment Association. Pic*
05.10.15 4:50 am

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Download, read for yourself …

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Who murdered Lulu ... ?

Penelope Young
05.10.15 4:45 am

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Must more dogs die in vain My family will never be the same again, all because of a senseless, unnecessary murder. I know who killed Lulu, this is part of the problem, and this is part of my heavy heart. The Department of Conservation murdered Lulu. The Managing Director of Pest Research and the government and all of the supporters of 1080, killed Lulu, will your beloved pet or stock be next? Will your child be next? Not only are we all at risk so is the destruction of our eco system by this indiscriminate man made killer; 1080! This is my story …

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Underfunded CPS traumatises families

Becky Morgan*
05.10.15 4:37 am

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Families caught in the Child Protection web would agree that staff shortages are hurting children.  It is a terrible thing that children may remain off the radar or un-assessed due to staff shortages.  I have to admit though, when reading about the staff shortages I can’t help thinking about all those families which may be better off without CPS intervention.

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Booklet makes me feel my family is inferior

Martine Delaney*
05.10.15 4:30 am

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UNDER the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act it is illegal to make public statements that offend, insult or humiliate people on the basis of sexuality. I believe the Catholic Church’s booklet, Don’t Mess with Marriage, violates this law. Distributed through Catholic schools this year, the booklet pays lip service to “respect” for same-sex attracted people, but scratch the surface and the message is very different.

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Living with Grandma

Mandy Jackson-Beverly
05.10.15 4:15 am

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When I was a young girl in elementary school, my paternal grandparents came to live with us. I don’t remember feeling anything odd about this arrangement; it seemed perfectly normal to me. My Grandad told me how much he enjoyed being around his grandkids and their friends, he said we kept him young, and besides, the extended audience meant that his well-worn yarns never grew old. We’d watch western movies with him, talk around the dinner table, and when he became ill we sat beside his bed and told him stories.

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Health Roundup ...

Puneet Kollipara, aaas.org via Dr Alison Bleaney
05.10.15 4:00 am

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The list of health problems that scientists can confidently link to exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals has grown to include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, a new scientific statement from The Endocrine Society suggests.

ALSO ...

Institute of Science in Society: Organic Food during Mother’s Pregnancy Reduces Risk of Male Birth Defects

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The Tasmanian Politician ... and the powerful will of Mr Farrell ...

James Boyce. Pic* First published September 28
04.10.15 5:30 am

Image for The Tasmanian Politician ... and the powerful will of Mr Farrell ...

… We were only saved from another couple of decades of subsidising the Farrell family by the fact that David Walsh pulled out (he was to get a high roller boutique casino out of it) and went public on his blog (Read for yourself, HERE). The Government then called the whole thing off. Walsh has given the people, for the first time in Tasmanian history, a chance to have a say on poker machine policy and what we think of the current model.

We need to take it.  …


• That Federal deal, by Rene Hidding …

• James Boyce replies to Rene Hidding …

• Pilko in Comments: In a town where the media industry regarded journalism as something more than an audition for a high paying job in a political media unit Boyce’s courageous investigation might’ve been done by a professional journo working for a reputable media organisation. In a town where ethics & good governance is held as a virtue & media networks weren’t cowed & desenstitized Boyce’s courageous investigation might’ve caused ripples. Head over to Tasmanian politics central on social media & punch the #politas hashtag into Twitter. Not a word on Boyce & Federal, not a ripple.

• Pat Caplice in Comments: Thank you James Boyce for this thorough recapitulation. I went along as a spectator to the PAC in 2003 when Greg Farrell appeared. I went to watch a bloke in a high stakes game and holding the winning hand. I understood Greg’s game, the bluff and the bluster, the East Coast hotel and the trouble with no ANZ funds without the pokies rivers of gold. The promises and threats and Don Challen dealing the cards behind closed doors with strict riding instructions. The game was already won by the time of that PAC session and Greg impressed with his casual dominance. It’s a different game this time. The rules are different. The players are different. Go the skilful punter ...

• Greg James in Comments: The public will soon enough find out that it is firing blanks. Logic, financial acumen and care will all fall by the wayside as politicians of the calibre of Rene Hidding take over decision making. It was Hidding as leader of the opposition in 2003 who gave Federal Hotels everything in return for nothing. Hidding agreed to support the ALP via committee hearings, he could not comprehend that the license had a value, was dismissive of those opposed to poker machines and incapable of independent assessment. When Tasmanians vote they vote for their own, insular, gullible and mislead, expect more. The threat that tourism will be affected is one such gullibility. Tourism growth was crap while Federal Hotels led the industry. Twenty years of nothing happening and then whacko…MONA. The Casino itself is tired and past its use by date, both as an attraction and an industry. It has very little to do with Tourism, as the attractor, it has no outstanding elements that cannot be repeated in any other mid size town with a casino. It is time to recognise that a monopoly is inefficient, uncompetitive and ultimately a drag on tourism. Get moral all you want but it is the economy stupid ...

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Back to Top of Column 2 —  Click to Page 2, 3, 4, 5, The Rest

Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice

Tasmania’s Farrell family moves up in Australia’s rich list 



The total value of imported logs and lumber to China fell ... 



Runnymede Art and Antique Fair 



And the Nobel winner is ... 



Tasting Tasmania: Pointing to food, wine reviews, with latest news, MRs below ... 



Think two weeks on SeaDream to begin Mediterranean Summer 

What's On

What's On

Runnymede Art and Antique Fair 



Mr Groom and the devils 



Yes Karl, surely there must be rather silly persons that allowed this release so close to a much trafficked roadway. A letter…

Funding and Disclosure

Tasmanian Arts Guide

TV Tonight

Daily Kudelka


Martyn Turner



The Automatic Earth

Twitter Feed - #politas

Dr Kevin Bonham

The New Daily

The Saturday Paper


Truth in Media

The Intercept

Blogger Me


Daily Mail Australia

ABC News Fact Check


Bluestone Magazine


No Fibs

ABC Vote Compass

Learn Discover Access

TROVE at National Library

The Guardian - Australian Edition

The Global Mail

The Conversation

Eureka Street

3 Quarks Daily

The Idiot Tax



Tasmanian Food Guide

Tasmanian Bands

Independent Australia

ABC Radio National

David Horton

Failed Estate


Feeding the Chooks

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

The Racket

Paige Loves Books

Don Knowler

Tim Squires


Gazette of Law & Journalism

The Culture Concept Circle