Max Atkinson* Pic: Bob Burton. First published July 20
24.07.16 7:00 am
In a previous article ( HERE ) I noted that Labor, the Greens and two-thirds of the public were calling for a royal commission to fix long-standing problems with banking and other financial services. The government agrees the problems are serious but insists that ASIC can do the job at less cost. But ASIC is a poor choice because its primary role is to enforce existing law - not preside over a public inquiry to see how well this law works.
• Ron-william Wijnhoven in Comments: … They move quite freely within the colour of law and then some, pushing legal boundaries against the little man while turning a blind eye to the fraudulent activities of the big end of town. But in my case, and I’m sure many others, they operate quite blatantly outside the laws of Natural Justice for their own chest beating and financial gains. They are a criminal corporation assigned by the Public system corporation to keep an eye on the criminal activities of the Bankster Corporations. What a travesty of justice for the Natural man who just wants to get ahead Lawfully, provide for his family and help his friends to do likewise without any unLawful interference by the big end of town, both sides of the Law.
23.07.16 5:53 am
Dear Chilliwops, Life sometimes seems really tough. Joseph P. Kennedy, the father of John F. Kennedy, former President of the United States, once said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Madeleine Wedesweiler, Domain. Pic: of a Tesla Powerwall
23.07.16 5:45 am
A new suburb being planned in Melbourne may take out the much coveted title of Australia’s most environmentally friendly.
Mike Seccombe, The Saturday Paper. Pic: from Pauline's website
23.07.16 5:30 am
Pauline Hanson is back exhorting the same old message: fear and racial intolerance. And once again she’s set to change the political landscape.
Ben Lohberger* Pic* First published July 20
22.07.16 7:30 am
The University of Tasmania’s northern campus relocation is supported by all levels of government and both major political parties. But why is everyone so happy for taxpayers to give UTAS more than $300 million to abandon two existing campuses worth hundreds of millions of dollars?
Instead, they are blowing more than $300 million shuffling perfectly adequate university campuses from one site to another. With no real justification, other than the flow-on benefit of unnecessary construction work. All based on heroic, secretive estimates from the institution that will receive the money …
Greg James* Pic*: blair_25, Flickr. First published July 21
22.07.16 6:45 am
Australia is changing and changing rapidly from the country One Nation voters call ‘A Christian Nation’. It is now something completely different and unrecognisable. Within my extended family, I have a majority Atheists, two Catholics, two Buddhists, a token Muslim, a multitude of remnant Greek Orthodox and the odd C of E and United Church claimants. Yet I know that not one of them attends a regular, religious service, a few meditate and some ruminate …
ABC. Pic: of Lisa Singh on Q&A. First published July 19
22.07.16 6:15 am
Tasmanian Labor senator Lisa Singh is poised to pull off an unprecedented victory, claiming a seat ahead of fifth placed John Short, who was listed above her on the party’s Senate ticket.
• Chris in Comments: Wed 20th July 4.30pm. Lisa Singh 12,542. Seems to be the highest vote cast in the Senate in Tasmania. Congratulations, Labor ignore her honesty and popularity at your peril, next time there is no doubt that she deserves top spot on her ability to get the 5th seat for the Labor Party. Six year term for her too - Senate, take note, we are watching. As we know ABBA (Any Body But Abetz) had great influence along with the hatred and dislike that everyone had for this manipulator of the Liberal Party in Tasmania BOTH state and federal, where he is well past his prime and influence …
• Matt Denholm, The Australian: Tasmanians defy major parties’ tickets in Senate vote Tasmanians have delivered a significant slapdown to the Labor and Liberal party machines, voting in large numbers to circumvent party Senate tickets and potentially deliver upset results. Labor senator Lisa Singh is on track to retain her seat, despite being dumped by her party to the usually unwinnable No 6 spot on the ALP ticket, after receiving at least 12,542 below-the-line votes. … On the Liberal side, former federal tourism minister Richard Colbeck — demoted to No 5 on the Liberal ticket after an alleged preselection clash with powerbroker Eric Abetz — received at least 8105 below-the-line votes …
Mark Temby* Photo: Mid Winter Fest (Mark Temby)
22.07.16 6:01 am
Another boom year for Tasmanian tourism in the winter is drawing to a close with the usual politicians and government funded spokespersons in line to tout their achievements.
Jarni Blakkarly, Crikey. Pic: of Taib Mahmud
22.07.16 5:27 am
Australian universities have been confronted with a new cautionary tale about the perils of accepting donations from potentially corrupt foreign officials.
Tony Orman* Pic: NASA
21.07.16 5:45 am
Another in our series on New Zealand ... with whom Tasmania shares so much, from Gondwana to 1080… New Zealander Tony Orman, former town planner, journalist and author, muses over the uncontrolled race for growth and more people
John Cook, The University of Queensland. Pic*: Bernard Staehli, Shutterstock
21.07.16 5:30 am
The fossil fuel industry has spent many millions of dollars on confusing the public about climate change. But the role of vested interests in climate science denial is only half the picture.
Rosemary Bolger, ABC. Pic: Pic: of Peter Gutwein from his website
21.07.16 5:15 am
Tasmanian councils have been urged to forgo more revenue from TasWater to fix failing water and sewerage infrastructure but they have warned the move could push up rates.
21.07.16 5:07 am
Huon Valley Mayor Peter Coad has admitted his council is in “excellent financial shape,” less than two years after claiming during his close 2014 election victory that the council was going broke.
Kim Peart* Pic*
21.07.16 5:00 am
Ask many people if they remember the Moon landing, and they will tell you, “I wasn’t born yet.” As each year goes by, fewer remain who remember that moment. It was my first year at work after high school, when we downed tools and went to the next business along the street to see the event on TV …
Bob Burton. First published June 6
20.07.16 6:37 am
AMP, one of Australia’s largest wealth management companies, has revealed it became one of the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s major donors because the party “began a public policy forum” which it considered “relevant to our business.” However, AMP, Premier Will Hodgman, Senator Eric Abetz and the Tasmanian Liberal Party all remain tight-lipped about what the “policy forum” does, how often it meets and who attends.
• Kathryn Barnsley in Comments: Well researched Bob Burton. My preferred title for this behaviour is crony capitalism. Just as Quentin Beresford wrote about forestry and crony capitalism in his wonderful book the Rise and Fall of Gunns, I published a paper last month in an international journal (Evidence and Policy) about the tobacco industry and crony capitalism in Tasmania. Crony capitalism is endemic in this state. Until Tasmanians become aware and concerned about it,, and prepared to do something about it, cronyism will roll on forever. Unfortunately the slash and burn to investigative journalism in all media means there is no public exposure of this behaviour. Thank heavens for the Tasmanian Times and Bob Burton.
• Jacqui Lambie media statement in comments: Independent JLN Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie has demanded that all political parties adopt the JLN’s system of open and transparent real-time disclosure for political donations – and show the people of Australia exactly who has given them money, and how much - before election day. “ Everyone in Australia knows that our political funding system is broken. It’s not right, decent or fair that Australian voters will only find out in approximately 18 months who donated - and how much was donated to our political parties or candidates - for this historic and critical double dissolution election.
• Cassy O’Connor: Democracy demands Transparency on Donations First the ACT and now Queensland have committed to the real time publication of political donations rather than making voters wait up to 18 months to find out who gave how much to which party in the lead up to an election. It is well past time Tasmania did the same. Under current Federal law and in Tasmania, voters went to the poll on 2 July having no idea who was seeking to buy influence with political parties or candidates. Political donations at the State level are entirely unregulated …
John Hawkins*, Chudleigh. Pic: of Eric Abetz from his website. First published July 18
19.07.16 6:30 am
... just ask the Three Amigos ... If below the line voting is how thinking people, rather than form fillers, indicate the relevance of those who represent them, then the following results as of yesterday morning are of great interest ...
… So Abetz by his patronage has gifted three no-hopers a six-year job at a $250,000 a year; deadbeats who could barely muster a thousand votes between them …
• John Hawkins in Comments: AEC today (July 18): Singh 8762. Colbeck 5872. Lambie 4770. W _ Wilson 3546. Abetz 2839. McKim 2328. Now Colbeck has lost his job in Cabinet. So it now looks as though the Liberals have lost all three of their Lower House MP’s and their only Cabinet Minister who may even have lost his seat. Now that is a result. Where to now Senator Erich Abetz? Or is this all Malcom’s fault?
• Ben Lohberger in Comments: Eric Abetz has claimed during an interview on ABC Radio National that Malcolm Turnbull should listen to Abetz’s post-election advice, because backbenchers such as Abetz doorknocked “hundreds, if not thousands” of homes during this year’s federal election campaign. Doorknocking takes significant time and effort, and to doorknock up to 2000 homes would have taken the Senator more than a month of full-time work. So where did Senator Abetz doorknock in Tasmania, when did he doorknock, and can he actually prove it? Surely someone in the state must have seen him at their door? …
Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic: of Eric Abetz, from his website. First pub July 18
19.07.16 6:00 am
Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz fearlessly leads the charge of the Right brigade this week into a stoush between his beloved team Abbott and the Pollyanna faction led by tub-thumping, sub-stumping $50 billion dollar man Christopher Pyne. Eric is out to keep the bastards honest …
Pity us poor Liberals, Julie Bishop pleads on ABC’s Insiders, “we don’t have the rivers of gold that come from the union movement.” AEC ALP records do not match the Foreign Minister’s fantasy, showing instead a broad set of donors. In 2015, the CFMEU donated $50,000 yet WestPac gave $1.5 million. No-one challenges Bishop. Most likely, however, Turnbull’s party was just caught short as its uber-rich supporters; fearing penury if super rules were to change, withheld donations.
In the real world over 31,000 people have lost their disability support pension in the past year, the biggest annual drop on record as several years’ worth of government crackdowns begin to bite. 90,000 may expect to undergo a medical review in the next three years. More “savings” are promised as Mad-Dog Morrison has promised to find another $3.5 billion.
• Richard Colbeck: Ministry Announcement I am extremely disappointed to have to relinquish my portfolio but I have to agree with the Prime Minister that the need to finalise a new team and the uncertainty relating to my Senate seat made it impossible to wait – the business of Government is much bigger than any individual …
• Ben Lohberger in Comments HERE: Eric Abetz has claimed during an interview on ABC Radio National that Malcolm Turnbull should listen to Abetz’s post-election advice, because backbenchers such as Abetz doorknocked “hundreds, if not thousands” of homes during this year’s federal election campaign. Doorknocking takes significant time and effort, and to doorknock up to 2000 homes would have taken the Senator more than a month of full-time work. So where did Senator Abetz doorknock in Tasmania, when did he doorknock, and can he actually prove it? Surely someone in the state must have seen him at their door? …
ABC. Pic: of Damien Mantach
19.07.16 5:50 am
Disgraced former Victorian Liberal Party director Damien Mantach has been sentenced to five years’ jail for stealing more than $1.5 million from state party coffers.
David de Burgh*, Wattle Grove. First published July 16
19.07.16 5:30 am
The Huon Valley Council has put the Huon D’Entrecasteau Boundary Adjustment out for public comment via an online survey. The survey is accompanied by the Felmingham Report 2015 which the Council commissioned to provide an economic analysis of the proposal. The Huon D’Entrecasteau Boundary Adjustment involves merging that part of Kingborough south of and including Margate (MS in the report) with the Huon Valley Council and is termed M1. It was compared against Huon Valley remaining as it is and against M2, a merger of Huon Valley with all of Kingborough except for Taroona …
• Bob Hawkins in Comments: Thanks David for your expertise in penetrating and exposing some of the smoke-and-mirrors crap that we have to live with in the Huon. That useless M1 “boundary adjustment” report — flimsy in the extreme and costing us taxpayers thousands — is another example of HVC bleeding funds by chasing shadows and fantasies. Council management told us recently that the better part of $60,000 had been spent on legal advice to counter the findings of the Gutwein inquiry that decided council was, indeed, dysfunctional. Yet no one in the general public is allowed to see what kind of tricky arguments council made that persuaded LG Minister Gutwein to reject his own BoI report (compiled over more than half a year of careful sifting of evidence and interviews) and place greater credence on scores of pages of legal argument that, as if by magic, were produced within a couple of days of being commissioned by HVC. It appears council (or, rather, Heart of the Huon councillors) had not at that stage formally approved the commissioning. (Must have been something to do with the enormous authority “delegated” to management to handle matters for which our elected representatives have abdicated responsibility.) What it adds up to is that HVC, having spent scores of thousands of dollars of our money, won’t show us what it was we paid for. Why aren’t tax/ratepayers demanding to see it? …
• Dr Bruce Felmingham is invited to respond to these observations ...
• David de Burgh in Comments: For those who have been seeking feedback from Dr Felmingham, I can confirm that the Huon Valley Council contacted Dr Felmingham prior to publication of this article and asked for his comment on my criticism. He replied that he saw no reason to change his position and that he did not understand my claim. Apparently his wife is quite ill and he said he would give it more thought when she was better. Thanks to those who have uncovered earlier criticism of other reports he has been involved in. It makes interesting reading. Please don’t forget to take the 30 seconds necessary to complete the Council’s online survey. You owe it to Margate residents to vote NO but please yourself.
Professor of chemistry, Frances Separovic, University of Melbourne
19.07.16 5:25 am
On 30 March 2016, the Faculty of Health and Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania hosted a gender equity forum, “Inciting Inclusion: A Conference and Conversation Engendering Equity in Health, Science and Academia”. Professor of chemistry, Frances Separovic, from the University of Melbourne, was a speaker. This article is an edited version of her address.
Chris Clarke, Examiner
18.07.16 5:30 am
FIVE scats featured in official fox evidence records were shown to belong to completely different animals in 2009, but the items remain listed as “physical evidence of fox activity in Tasmania” by the government to this day.
• Comments are not permitted on this thread ... The allowance for comments was on ... It is not now ... TT apologises to all who have made comments ...
Bob Brown, The Bob Brown Foundation
17.07.16 11:26 am
The Australian’s ‘Environment editor’ Graham Lloyd, fresh from his recent tirades against Australian scientists’ claims that the Great Barrier Reef is being damaged by climate change, has ( Friday ) written about that fraction of Tasmania’s World Heritage value forests which has been protected. Here are a few notes on Lloyd’s article …
Lindsay Tuffin*. First published July 15. All Pictures: Amanda Sully
17.07.16 5:29 am
Promenade des Anglais, Bastille Day 2016 ... From Amanda Sully’s Facebook page: ‘Long live Liberty, Equality & Fraternity’ … Hobart’s Amanda Sully was in Nice at the time of this appalling attack which has left so many dead. They were on the boulevard when son Elliott, 13, sensed they should leave. They did. Partner Geoff Law was climbing in the Alps ... Her mum was in Milan. • Amanda says ... (on Facebook) ...
MEANWHILE ... Perhaps (and life is complex and the perpetrator seems to have been an unhinged violent nutter) it all began with George W, Tony Blair and John Howard’s INVASION of Iraq ... Certainly Tassie’s Andrew Wilkie wants Australia to have its own Chilcot Inquiry ...
• The Saturday Paper: Andrew Wilkie and the Chilcot inquiry … Late that year, Wilkie decided to betray his government. The more intelligence he saw, the more he realised that the strategic, legal and moral basis for invading Iraq was dubious. A pivotal moment was his preparation of a report on the possible humanitarian consequences of an invasion. This was positioned against humanitarian – and strategic – advantages. Hussein was, by any measure, a capricious and murderous thug who had committed genocide against the Kurds in northern Iraq. But to Wilkie, the calculus seemed clear: the consequences would grimly eclipse any benefit. The whole venture appeared doomed. And yet Wilkie felt none of this was slowing the path to war.
For leaking against the government, Andrew Wilkie received death threats and lost friends. “I’d do it all again,” he tells me. “Even if I hadn’t won the argument, I’d do it again. The decision I made at the time was correct.”
Claire Gilmour. Pic: of Claire Gilmour
17.07.16 5:15 am
I been down the road you talk about Terry James ( Comment 8, HERE ), many times.
• Kym Goodes, Mercury: Turnbull’s second chance … If he has learned anything from the election result, he will have a focus on the most critical players of all, the Australian people. This should be the turning point, where the new Government sees the opportunity in a policy and reform agenda that truly listens to people and shapes a system that works for everyone. In Tasmania the election campaign started with the former Member for Braddon Brett Whiteley talking about jobless people on Newstart being “off their heads” on drugs. It ended with the Coalition’s proposal to take funds out of the welfare system. Tasmanians clearly rejected what was on offer from the Coalition. They didn’t buy the promise of tax cuts for those earning over $80,000 a year, or the cut in the corporate tax rate. This is because these proposals are a million miles from where most Tasmanians live. Fifteen per cent of Tasmanians live in poverty and that rate is higher in the electorates of Bass and Braddon. If you are fortunate enough to have a job in Bass, you can expect to earn an average salary of about $45,000 a year …
• lola moth in Comments: Around ten years ago I was visiting a friend north of Sydney. Although she worked full time she was struggling with the mortgage so rented a room to a friend who was on a disability pension. On day three of my visit at 6:15am there was a knock at the door and two policemen and three Centrelink workers pushed their way into the house with a search warrant stating they believed the pensioner was in a defacto relationship with the home-owner and would be searching the house for evidence. The police were there because the pensioner had a firearms licence and they did not search the premises but stayed for four hours while the three Centrelink staff turned the place upside-down. They went through every drawer, read every personal letter, touched every photograph, piece of jewellery and underwear in that house. Nothing was left without their fingerprints spoiling otherwise cherished possessions. They went through our wallets and photographed the contents. I was so distressed I ended up in the backyard being sick. The pensioner, a lovely gentle man in his forties, sat on the kitchen floor with tears streaming down his face crying” I’m sorry, I’m so sorry” to his landlady. My friend, who had never been on a Centrelink benefit in her life, ended up on stress leave for a week. She said it was the second worst day of her life, the worst being the day her mother died. In the end Centrelink dropped their investigation due to lack of evidence. I have never forgotten that day. I can no longer work now due to ill health so I sold my home and bought the cheapest house I could find. I live on $144.00 a week that I earn in interest until I can get my super in four years time. I will never go to Centrelink to be whipped and cowed by them just because I am unable to work. I would rather live in poverty on my own terms than allow them to go through my underwear again.
• Kim Peart in Comments: … The 1950s was a decade of hope, when there was a Fair Go in Australia, when we were working with the Dutch toward the freedom of the whole island of New Guinea. Then the US told us in 1962 to sacrifice the West Papuans, like so many slaves, to buy peace with Indonesia, which I suspect is the action that changed the moral heart of the nation. It was a cruel act and it made us mean. After 1962, the Fair Go was steadily replaced by competition for wealth, in part driven by automation, leading to the present …
Bill Benfield* Pics*
17.07.16 5:00 am
Another in our series about New Zealand ... and its parallels to Tasmania, whether industrial farming or 1080 ... It is easy from just a simple travel map to tell where “dirty dairy” is ( TT HERE ); easier still from Google Earth. Any river with few or any towns and a vast hinterland of dairy farms will be a candidate. All the major Canterbury rivers, such as the Rakaia or the Ashley, fit the bill. But not all our waterways problems can be laid solely at the door of dirty dairy. Looking at three other river systems where other factors are at play …
Ted Mead* All pictures: Ted Mead
15.07.16 6:30 pm
After a brutal year of fire and flood, the tide has gracefully turned for the Tarkine as this noble land becomes cloaked in the subtleness of winter. Snow in its pure brilliance, falls almost to sea level over the vibrant greenery of Tasmania’s grandest rainforest.
• Dr Nicole Anderson in Comments: What graceful scenes, utterly gorgeous dusted rainforest. Thank you Ted. It was lovely to witness the snowfall clad areas where they were burnt. Almost like nature now soothing the wounds.
• Kevin Kiernan in Comments: Thanks for the pics Ted. Re your comment #13,it is indeed a sad fact that there is a cohort of Tasmanians who never seem to be able to rise beyond their internalised misery to see anything without bitterness. But don’t let it get to you Ted, though they are a bit sad. I am reminded of an episode a couple of years ago when the Mercury published an article about a young Tasmanian …
Cr Peter Coad, Mayor of the Huon Valley Council Media Release Pic*
15.07.16 6:23 pm
Cr Peter Coad, Mayor of the Huon Valley Council, said today that he would not be taking part in what he sees as the flawed mediation process adopted by the controlling councillor voting block. Mayor Coad said: “I entered these negotiations in good faith and was hoping that an outcome would be achieved for the benefit of the Huon Valley community in general. “However, in my view, council management and certain councilllors have failed to grasp the opportunity that the Minister for Local Government, Peter Gutwein, provided in the seven directives he announced on June 15. Mayor Coad said: “I have written to the Minister advising him that I believe that Council has failed to comply with his first Ministerial Direction directing me and the General Manager to mediate …
The mayor said: “At no stage was I invited to make any recommendations to Council about the person to be appointed as mediator. Instead, I was presented with a pre-prepared list of mediators commissioned by the General Manager. “A belated attempt to cure this flaw came in the form of a two-day EOI (expression of interest) process that was entirely unsatisfactory and represented extremely poor governance …
• Bob Hawkins in Comments: … By the way, the large-type headline on the Mercury’s HVC article on Saturday (July 16), which read ‘Mayor rejects mediation’, was completely incorrect. What the article below it said was that the mayor was rejecting the mediation process being imposed on him by the Heart councillors on the recommendation of the GM. For goodness’ sake, how can two people enter into mediation if they cannot agree on who should be the mediator? All of the mayor’s very reasonable olive branches relating to mediation have been spurned by the Heart councillors.
Martyn Turner, Irish Times, used with permission. First published Juy 15
15.07.16 5:00 am
• Guardian: ‘Monstrous’ and ‘a liar’ – Germany and France lead criticism of Boris Johnson Europe has reacted furiously to Boris Johnson’s appointment as the UK’s foreign secretary, with the French and German foreign ministers respectively calling him “a liar with his back to the wall” and someone whose behaviour has been “monstrous” …
Katharine Viner, Guardian. Pic*: myrealnameispete, Flickr
15.07.16 4:45 am
Lindsay Tuffin: This is an incredibly important story ... with immense implications for a free and fair society. Please read it ... I’ve picked the most important bits ... but the whole dang thing is worth time digesting properly ... Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism
• Simon Warriner in Comments: You are right, Linz. This is an important story, and an important issue. Real journalism costs real money, and if it cannot be done in the commercial realm then it needs to be funded through the collective mechanisms of government. To get that to happen we need a representative government that is, first and foremost, concerned with serving the common good. Hands up those who can see one of those anywhere close?
• Prem Saraswati in Comments: It is now too late, the proverbial horse is down the road and in the next county. This article omits the major impact of the Neo-Conservative agenda world wide and led by Uncle Rupert to misguide and dumb down the first world in the pursuit of more and more wealth domination by the elite of societies everywhere. It is then no wonder that people are turning en masse away from mainstream traditional journalism.
ABC Science. Pic: Bill Benfield ...
15.07.16 4:30 am
… Professor David Bowman of the University of Tasmania said the research is significant because it provided a global estimate and it harmonised with what conservation biologists were seeing in ecosystems. …