Articles

Jeremy Rockliff, anti-government student organiser

Bob Burton
27.11.14 7:46 am

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Today the Minister for Education, Jeremy Rockliff, should make a brief addition to his official CV: ‘anti-government student organiser.’

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Writers | Bob Burton | Politics | State | Education | News

Is this the beginning of the end of the ABC as we know it?

Brian McNair, Queensland University of Technology and Adam Swift, Queensland University of Technology.
26.11.14 12:50 pm

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Scott is articulating the only viable strategy for all public service media organisations – no retreat to the cultural ghetto demanded by the big private interests and their supporters in the News Corp media, but in the avant garde of digital innovation, harnessing its vast potential for public good.

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Politics | National | Media | News

Parents rally against cuts to state school staffing

Margie Law, South Hobart
26.11.14 12:02 am

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Our kids and our families have been caught up in the politics at play here. The 2 hour stop work would have caused us all some inconvenience but the Minister’s sudden decision to close schools for the whole day [on Thursday] appears to be a political decision rather than an issue of safety as the Minister knew about the 2 hour stop work for almost 2 weeks but waited until the last minute to announce the school closures.

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Politics | State | Education

A gamma-ray burst

Photo: NASA/Swift/S. Immler (Goddard Space Flight Center) and M. Siegel (Penn State University)
26.11.14 12:01 am

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Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous explosions in the cosmos. Most are thought to be triggered when the core of a massive star runs out of nuclear fuel, collapses under its own weight, and forms a black hole. The black hole then drives jets of particles that drill all the way through the collapsing star and erupt into space at nearly the speed of light.

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The Psephologist | Science

Tasmanian Liberals polling slide continues

The Editors
25.11.14 4:25 pm

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The latest EMRS Tasmanian voting intentions poll is mostly bad news for the Liberal Party. Their vote continues to slide. The only bright spot for them is that Will Hodgman is ranked as the preferred Premier by 50% while Bryan Green languishes at 22%.

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Politics | State | News

Very little made sense … apart from crowd control and money-making

Dr David Obendorf, Veterinary Pathologist.
24.11.14 5:00 am

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Before the March 2014 State election the State Liberals indicated they would stop the wastage of public funds directed to the fox program. In May the Tasmanian Legislative Council unanimously passed a motion that effectively ended the political underwriting for Tasmania’s fox eradication program. Not unsurprisingly, in the circumstances, this was a silent finale that contrasted to the years of fox media. The end was not covered in any Tasmanian media.

The heavy reliance on the local media to highlight fox stories, the dismissal of well-reasoned criticism and the absence of genuinely independent scientific review seems to have led to its own form of lingering embarrassment. There were important lessons to be learned for Tasmania from this Cry Wolf program. Unless Tasmania accepts the defective processes used in the conduct of this costly attempt to eradicate an invasive species that remained intangible and changes its approaches to its biosecurity responses, a future high-risk invasive incursion might not be taken seriously.

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Writers | David Obendorf | Politics | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

The Wedding Hiatus ...

Lindsay Tuffin
24.11.14 4:45 am

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The Principal Editor’s beloved daughter is getting married this week from Howrah Flats ... so TT will rely on the good offices of Bob, Jimbo and Peter. Articles and Comments will still be posted but the normal ‘Newspaper of Record’ elements - Media Releases, Arts, Plate/Grape, Travel, etc - won’t be happening ... Blessings, Linz!x

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Media | Personal

Devil disease: I wish I was a scientist

Garry Stannus
24.11.14 4:30 am

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Devils:  It might have begun with atrazine, 1080, or even with tree cloning experiments, but the scientists say it’s transmitted by biting…

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Politics | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Health | Opinion | Personal | Science

Wine! You know enough ... to know what you like!

Hilary Burden* https://hilaryburden.wordpress.com/ Pic: of Hilary Burden
24.11.14 4:30 am

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As part of making a living where I live, I work casually at a cellar door in Pipers River, an area long regarded as Australia’s “little Champagne”.  Much of what I know about wine has come from being in the wine room and vineyard, rubbing up against passionate people who work there, as well as those who come to taste.

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Writers | Hilary Burden | Opinion | Personal | Society

Feminists please don’t shut up ...

Josie Young*. Pic*
24.11.14 4:15 am

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There are those who say that feminism has gone too far, those who claim “I don’t need feminism to protect me - I am not weak. And perhaps in some way they have a point. While there was once a time in Australia when a woman could not vote, instigate a divorce or own her own house, a woman in contemporary Australia can theoretically do all of these things. One might argue that the days of a woman’s place being in the kitchen has passed, existing now only in the memories of our mothers and grandmothers. Today, women are doctors, lawyers, MPs and CEOs. Surely this indicates that in contemporary Australian women can have it all? Assuming of course that “it all” refers to professional success.

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Writers | Josie Young | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Opinion | History | Philosophy | Legal | Personal | Society

They are failing us miserably ...

Fiona Stocker*
24.11.14 4:00 am

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Last Friday I had the privilege of watching children from northern Tasmania’s public schools play at the annual Esk Band Extravaganza, and wondered how many more years I would be able to do so before the present government ‘comes after’ the program with its cost and opportunity cutting scythe.

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Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Education | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

Crikey says: Abbott’s ABC pledge must be taken in context

Crikey Editorial. Satire: Kudelka, used with permission: http://www.kudelka.com.au/
24.11.14 3:45 am

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Defending the Abbott government’s decision to cut more than $300 million from the public broadcaster budgets yesterday, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the Prime Minister’s election eve commitment to make no cuts to the ABC or SBS must be taken in “context”. Here at Crikey, we agree. Below is just some of the context we found while searching online this morning:

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Media | Society

The Moral Irrelevance of Christian Doctrine ...

Chris Sharples* First published October 21. Republished with Updates
24.11.14 3:40 am

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... How – exactly - is anything better if Jesus died for our sins? First published 2013. Updated today Christian doctrine says Jesus came to ‘save us’, and that his (temporary) ‘death’ redeemed us from our sins. This sounds somehow wonderful and heart-warming, so much so that it almost seems churlish to suggest that there is something very odd and dubious about the notion.  Yet on closer consideration, the idea starts to look deeply troubling.

Greg Ray, Newcastle Herald: The Ocean is Broken ... BACK in Newcastle, Ivan Macfadyen is still coming to terms with the shock and horror of the voyage. “The ocean is broken,” he said, shaking his head in stunned disbelief.

Newcastle Herald: Ocean’s horror tale gets global audience

The Age: Clear link between climate change and bushfires: UN adviser warns Tony Abbott A senior United Nations climate change official says there is ‘‘absolutely’’ a link between climate change and bushfires and has warned that the Coalition government will pay a high political and financial price for its decision to scrap carbon pricing. In an interview with CNN’s Christine Amanpour on Monday, the head of the UN’s climate change negotiations, Christiana Figueres, said there was a clear link between climate change and bushfires such as those raging in New South Wales. She noted that the World Meteorological Organisation had not yet established a direct link between the NSW fires and climate change. “But what is absolutely clear is the science is telling us that there are increasing heat waves in Asia, Europe, and Australia; that these will continue; that they will continue in their intensity and in their frequency,” Ms Figueres said. The highly unusual intervention by a senior UN official in a domestic climate policy debate comes three weeks before the next major round of UN-sponsored talks in Warsaw. The negotiations are aiming to reach a global climate treaty by 2015 that would take effect by 2020. Ms Figueres described the NSW fires as an ‘‘example of what we may be looking at unless we take actually vigorous action’‘.

• Sue DeNim, in Comments: However I would argue with Leonard that the Enlightenment, often touted as the death knell for religion, was our saviour. Certainly it was for philosophy, thought, scientific endeavour etc. but it was also the time when we discarded our love and fear of the unearthly, and became firmly enamoured with our own achievements and plans. Along with mysticism and superstition, the enlightenment discarded our fear of meddling. Though at first sparking a side shoot of reverence and worship of the natural in all its power and beauty (Romanticism), it ultimately led us to view everything through the cold harsh, and myopic eye of the microscope. It was all reductionism and cataloguing. Regardless of whether a freak occurrence of physics or bestowed by an omnipotent deity, we have lost the reverence and awe for our only home and replaced it with our own smug self satisfaction at the myriad of ways we can manipulate it to our own ends. Very sad.

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Writers | Chris Sharples | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | History | Personal | Science | Religion | Society

Afghanistan: ‘A Shocking Indictment’

New York Review of Books
24.11.14 3:30 am

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Ashraf Ghani, who has just become the president of Afghanistan, once drafted a document for Hamid Karzai that began ...

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Politics | International | National | Economy | Opinion | History | Society

Mother Mountain: The Symphony of Birdsong (39)

Don Knowler, http://donaldknowler.com/ Pub: Oct 21
24.11.14 3:15 am

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The “Respect the Mountain” forum ( here, here, and here ) at the Hobart Town Hall earlier this year prompted Don Knowler to return to a diary he compiled after daily rambles on Mt Wellington during the previous year. In what promises to be a momentous year in the modern history of Kunanyi, the weekly diary gives the mountain and its wildlife its own voice. All Don’s Mother Mountain columns - and much more by this superb writer - can be found under the Category, Don Knowler, here

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Writers | Don Knowler | Politics | Local | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

Flight MH370: Emirates chief Sir Tim Clark believes information is being concealed

Fairfax
24.11.14 3:00 am

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The head of the world’s largest international airline believes information about missing flight MH370 is being concealed, calling into question who was in control of the doomed aircraft and the role of the Malaysian military.

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Opinion | History | Society | Transport

Support Séralini Team for New GMO & Pesticide Risk Research

via Dr Alison Bleaney
24.11.14 2:45 am

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Your health is at stake !

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Health | Opinion | History | Society

Buy Martyn’s book ...

Editor
24.11.14 2:30 am

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Turner’s Taoisigh by Martyn Turner Martyn Turner made his way from Essex to Co. Kildare via Belfast in the 1970s. When he landed among us, Jack Lynch was Taoiseach, soon to be followed by Liam Cosgrave, then Jack again – then the Napoleon of Kinsealy. And so on up to Enda Kenny. Turner has drawn them all – all nine men (alas, no women) who have been head of government on his watch. In Turner’s Taoisigh, he reproduces representative samples of his work on each – aggregating to more than a hundred brilliant cartoons – together with a commentary (all his own work) on the technical problems each man presented for the struggling cartoonist.

HERE

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St Andrews - Home of “Golfe”

Evan Whitton @EvanWhitton1 http://netk.net.au/whittonhome.asp Pic*
24.11.14 2:00 am

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Background: This was a background piece for the 1984 British Open. Ian Baker-Finch, 23, was a tall, nice lad from Nambour, Queensland, with looks a Hollywood star would give his boots for. He had the Open sewn up going into the fourth round; all he had to do was clear Swilcan Burn on the 376-yard first hole. The Burn is a creek about eight feet wide and 105 yards from the green. His second shot went into the drink. Baker-Finch blew up; he took 79 for the round, and finished 10th to the Spaniard, Severiano Ballesteros (1957-2011). Golf is a pursuit played largely in the mind. I suspect that if Baker-Finch had cleared the burn he would have been one of the great golfers. I also suspect he was haunted by Swilcan Burn. He did win some tournaments but by 1994 his confidence was completely shot; perfect in practice, he often missed the cut in the real thing, and retired at 37 in 1997. Swilcan Burn yet again sadly confirms Eliot on the effect of chance in our lives:

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage we did not take
Towards the door we never opened  
Into the rose garden.

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Writers | Evan Whitton | Media | Society | Sport

Iceland shows that a UK constitutional convention should involve politicians as little as possible

THORVALDUR GYLFASON 10 November 2014 Open Democracy
24.11.14 1:45 am

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The people of Iceland drafted a new constitution. But their parliament has essentially ignored it.

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

Neuroscientist warns young brains being re-wired by digital technology

ABC
24.11.14 1:30 am

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The use of digital technologies is reshaping human brains and the impact on young people must be considered by their parents and educators, a neuroscientist warns.

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Education | Health | Opinion | Science | Society

Unique Plan a Recipe for Secret Deals for Liberal Mates

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader Media Release. Pic: Bob Brown. Pub: Nov 20
22.11.14 5:30 am

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Greens Leader Kim Booth MP today slammed the Hodgman government’s proposal to establish a secret new development process, saying it fails modern transparency and accountability expectations and opens the door to a corrupted process.

TT Media HERE for other perspectives ...

What Matthew Groom says: Government open for innovative business ideas

Luke Martin: Tourism industry welcomes Unsolicited Proposals Policy

• ABC Radio is reporting there are 100 expressions of interest in developing in or around National Parks ... ABC HERE for updates ...

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Politics | State | Economy | Environment | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Society

The Devil Disease: The Counter Argument ...

Greg Woods*, The Conversation
22.11.14 4:00 am

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Tassie devil facial tumour is a transmissible cancer On Monday this week The Conversation published a story under the headline “What’s killing Tassie devils if it isn’t contagious cancer?” ( TT HERE ) The article suggested evidence that the Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) is a transmissible cancer is inconclusive and instead, environmental chemicals could be to blame. This misrepresents the state of the science.

• Dr David Obendorf, in Comments: Going back over 10 years and knowing what we know about the science of the devil facial tumour today I am certainly disappointed at how politically controlled this disease in Tasmania’s largest carnivorous marsupial became.  In my opinion, the opportunities for ground-breaking research caused a feeding frenzy no less comparable to the competitive fighting bouts between hungry feeding devils that are regularly displayed to visitors to this island; so many skerricks and bits of knowledge about the beginnings of this malignant cancer were gobbled up before science could do them justice. The importance of knowing the genesis of this index event was discussed by credentialled scientists at the first science conference on the facial cancer in October 2003. The State government in 2003 did not want to explore the causal links for this unique transmissible cancer and that’s regrettable. I guess Tasmania being seen as Clean, Green & Clever’ precluded any official approval of research on the genesis of such a devastating, transmissible cancer. PS: There are other fatal cancers affecting free-living devils which have received lesser attention than this malignant Schwann cell sarcoma [aka DFTD].

• Steve Biddulph, in Comments: I’m with A.K. and Richard Kopf. Its not even an either/or situation.  Most human cancers are lifestyle and diet related, thats the core message of cancer prevention in the western world.  We’ve caused the diet of Tassie’s peak carnivores to be seriously contaminated both from water sources and the dead marsupials they feed on.  At the top of the food chain is the place to see environmental harms accumulate first and most strongly.  Thats a place we and the devils share.  Cancers still mutate and occur frequently in all mammals but are dealt with by their immune systems when in good health.  Compromise that, and it gives diseases a foothold.  Nothing in ecology has a single cause or pathway. But keeping the environment free of non-understood new chemicals or genetics is a no-brainer.

Andrew Ricketts, in Comments, HERE Tasmania is not clean or green. Killing quolls with 1080 fox baits was dumb. Proposed clearance of 2,000 Ha of high quality Devil and Quoll habitat in Welcome River catchment where there are healthy devils will, if it goes ahead, (and regardless of who owns it) never get a social license. If Chinese are buying VDL they should simply reserve that important natural forest under a Private Nature Reserve gazettal. Would gain much good publicity.

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Writers | David Obendorf | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Health | Opinion | History | Science | Society

Forestry Poisons implicated in devil disease ... as President Xi strokes baby devil ...

Jody Warren*, Brian Martin* The Conversation. Pub: Nov 17 ABC Pic*
22.11.14 3:45 am

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What’s killing Tassie devils if it isn’t a contagious cancer? … Even though the panel agreed with EPA that the epidemiologic evidence does not strongly suggest a link between atrazine and cancer, the panel did not agree that a lack of strong evidence justifies a conclusion that atrazine is not likely to be a human carcinogen. Also of concern is the poison 1080, used to kill native species that are a key part of the devil diet. The Tasmanian government says devils have a relatively high tolerance to the poison but it also concedes there is a risk of secondary poisoning with three poisoned pademelons likely to be fatal to a 5kg devil. Plantation forestry pesticides contaminate 44 of 48 river catchments in Tasmania. So a role for pesticides and poisons seems plausible, because the devil disease is found only in parts of Tasmania where there are extensive forest plantations. Furthermore, because devils, as carnivores, are at the top of the food chain, toxic chemicals in the environment are concentrated in their diet.  …

• Kev Rothery, in Comments: The geographic correlation between DFTD and plantation forestry couldn’t be more obvious really, could it? I know I’m not alone in having suspected a causal link for years. I’m not holding my breath waiting for an impartial investigation of course. There’s too much interest vested in the forestry debacle within this state, and our government is therefore blindfolded to the risks to public health and the demise of an iconic island species.

• Dr David Obendorf, in Comments: If nothing else Tasmania lost an opportunity to become research hub for important cancer research when the scientists in UTAS were cowered by the control from DPIPWE and the State Labor Government; the University that lost its independence.

• Dr Alison Bleaney, in Comments: 10 years of a new aggressive cancer in a marsupial that has relatively little known about it (immune system, cell signalling, endocrine and reproductive sensitivities, chemical sensitivities) which lives in an environment of increasing chemical mixtures. The toxic ‘soup’ of pesticides, dioxins, PCBs etc etc present in the water catchments with DPIPWE not knowing what is being used where in what quantity and the legacy of the ‘soup’ remaining in our soils, water and waterway sediments and constantly being added to. There has been no research done on chemicals and DPIPWE reluctantly introduced a raw water sampling programme for pesticides only in 2005; now cancelled after some pretty damming evidence of consistent pollution with highly hazardous pesticides. And still no research on Tas Devils related to chemicals/ toxins in their environment; chemicals they are regularly exposed to as are the ecosystems and Tasmania’s raw drinking water… So the questions have to be asked..Has the toxic soup or some of those chemicals really compromised the ability of the Devil to stay healthy?  Are we all at risk? How would we know? As there is very little data on the ‘soup’ and its effects and absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Peter McGlone: Warning to Chinese investors: investing in Van Diemen’s Land dairy company may result in destruction of Tasmanian devil habitat As the Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Tasmania, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust is using the opportunity to advise potential Chinese investors that by investing in the Van Diemen’s Land company dairy expansion they may be financing the destruction of endangered species habitats and threatened forest communities.

Premier Will Hodgman: Welcome President Xi and Madame Peng The President will be introduced to three baby Tasmanian devils.

ABC HERE: While the Tahune Air Walk and Cataract Gorge did not made it onto the president’s five-hour itinerary, he will get to meet three Tasmanian devil joeys.

Ted Cutlan, Residents Opposed to a Cable Car: RESPECT   尊重

• What Christine Milne says about the President Xi visit: Xi_Tas_visit.MP3

ABC: Chinese President meets Tassie Devils

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

Dr Alison Bleaney: Tasmanian Water Monitoring – another casualty of State Budget cuts

Nick Mooney: Not everyone likes devils ...

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Writers | David Obendorf | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Health | Opinion | History | Personal | Science | Society

NATION: Reef will be ‘slaughtered’: scientists dismiss Julie Bishop’s claim reef not at risk

Peter Hannam ENVIRONMENT EDITOR, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
21.11.14 5:35 am

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World-leading scientists say the Great Barrier Reef will be “slaughtered” this century as seas warm and become more acidic, dismissing comments by Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop that Australia’s natural icon was not at risk.

NOT EXACTLY NATIONAL, BUT SURELY, RELATED ...

New York Times: Obama moves ahead to reshape immigration system

AND, ALTHOUGH LESS RELATED ...

ABC 7.30 report: Man labelled ‘budding Australian terrorist’ ...

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Politics | International | National | Environment | Society

Ferguson Cops Out on Medicinal Cannabis Reform

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Health spokesperson Media Release
21.11.14 5:15 am

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Despite promising to take seriously the recommendations of the Legislative Council inquiry into the decriminalisation of medicinal cannabis, the Hodgman government has copped out at the first opportunity, Green Health spokesperson Cassy O’Connor MP said.

TT Media HERE for other perspectives ... including Libs’ Michael and Labor’s Lara

What MLC Leonie Hiscutt says ...

• ABC Radio is reporting committee chair Ruth Forrest MLC’s astonishment at an apparent backflip by Leonie Hiscutt ...ABC HERE for updates ...

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Politics | National | State | Economy | Health | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

The questions around a Vice Principal ...

Anonymous*
20.11.14 4:00 am

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Did the late Vice Principal of Taroona High School, Kenneth (Ken) Haines, sexually abuse the troubled boys that he took under his wing while working at the school?

• Richard Atkinson, in Comments: Just note that the url in the article is an ‘unofficial’ link to a lawyers’ website. The official Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse link is: http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/share-your-story

ABC: Child sex abuse inquiry: Ex-headmaster admits failing to question staff, pupils over paedophilia claims

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Politics | Local | National | State | Education | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

ABC, SBS: Another Broken Promise

Andrew Wilkie, Independent Denison Media Release. Pub: Nov 18
20.11.14 3:50 am

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The announcement that the Federal Government intends to cut a further $50m from the ABC represents another broken promise and is clearly not in the public interest.

Crikey: Dateline purge as SBS hunts down traitors and dissidentsBS yesterday told almost all the staff employed by Dateline that it would not need their services next year, as the multicultural broadcaster continues its radical shake-up of the program. Almost all the program’s video journalists were yesterday told their current ...

ABC Friends: Phone a Coalition politician day – happening today for the ABC

Fairfax: Christopher Pyne’s ABC petition attracts ‘protest’ signatures On the same day the government announced a 5 per cent cut to the ABC over five years, Mr Pyne launched a petition on change.org to protect the ABC’s Adelaide production unit. The petition quickly gathered signatures from detractors who used the “reasons for signing section” to savage Mr Pyne for what they saw as a NIME (Not In My Electorate) approach.

Tony Wright, The Age: Tony Abbott, the ABC and SBS: when election promises become lies

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Opinion | Media | Society

Decimating Tasmanian Solar ...

John Thirgood, http://www.saveoursolartas.org Pic: Bob Burton
20.11.14 3:30 am

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The Tasmanian Government should stop ignoring the embedded rooftop solar energy installations. Anecdotal evidence from within the industry reveals that the reduction of the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) by 78%  has decimated the local Tasmanian solar industry by more than 85% and diminished the annual GST revenue to the State by from some $4 Million dollars to near $400,000 instead.

Read more HERE, where you can also comment

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NATION, STATE: Self-harm, suicide rates soar. Jacquie junked. Ackland’s spray at Morrison

Guardian
19.11.14 4:44 am

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Report card finds patchy progress at best on narrowing the gap with non-Indigenous Australians

Guardian: Jacquie junked ... FOFA foiled

Richard Ackland, Guardian: Scott Morrison thumbs his nose at Indonesia, and sets back the only humane solution for refugees

What Dr Kevin Bonham says on The Lambie/PUP Split If you want to comment on Dr Bonham’s analysis, comment on his website ...

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Politics | National | Economy | Environment | Health | Opinion | History | Personal | Society