Articles

Inside Operation Boring, the LNP’s strategy to reclaim Queensland

John Harrison, Senior Lecturer at The University of Queensland. Photo: Len Matthews, Flickr.
30.01.15 10:59 am

Image for Inside Operation Boring, the LNP’s strategy to reclaim Queensland

If Queensland’s Liberal National Party reclaims government at this Saturday’s election, you can be sure the politicians will be quick to take the credit. But behind the scenes, much of the credit for the LNP’s political revival belongs to the strategists driving a remarkable rebranding strategy, dubbed “Operation Boring”. It’s been all about keeping the government and Premier Campbell Newman on message and out of unnecessary fights – though in recent days, that strategy has seemed to waver.

Read more

0 comments

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

The serious jeopardy of the Rockliff plan ...

Dr Andrew Lohrey, TQA Board Member. ABC pic of Jeremy Rockliff. Pub: Jan 29
30.01.15 5:30 am

Image for The serious jeopardy of the Rockliff plan ...

Tasmanian Year 11 and 12 students will be seriously jeopardised by Minister Jeremy Rockliff’s plans to abolish the Tasmanian Qualifications Authority (TQA) and then to decide how and what Tasmanian senior secondary students will study.  The current education standards in Tasmania are well below where they should be. The completion rates for year 12 remain low: less than half our year 10 students go on to finish year 12 while less than half achieve the Tasmanian Certificate of Education (TCE). Now Minister Rockliff is proposing a policy direction that will lead to lowering standards further. It includes a reduction in spending, fewer teachers, no pathway planners to guide career choices and the abolition of the TQA, which will mean less independent scrutiny of accreditation, assessment and quality assurance.  Tasmania is withdrawing support of education at a time when we should be lifting standards and retention rates.

What he has to offer is a political and ideological perspective on education issues. It is not too fanciful to say that his policy of determining how and what students will study is not too far from the one taken by radical extremists who object to the education of girls, for both seek to politicise school education.

Michelle O’Byrne: Criticism of Rockliff’s decision grows

Read more

14 comments

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

Former corruption commissioner fears for the future of good governance

ABC TV 1. 7.30 Report. Broadcast: 28/01/2015. ABC pic of Fitzgerald. Pub: Jan 30
30.01.15 4:25 am

Image for Former corruption commissioner fears for the future of good governance

On the eve of tomorrow’s Queensland election ...

Reporter: The man who headed the Commission of Inquiry into corruption in Queensland politics 25 years ago, Tony Fitzgerald, says he’s concerned the foundations are being laid for a return to the bad old days. Transcript ...

• Tony Fitzgerald, ABC Drum: “Queensland must put a stop to the political rot” “I am simply unable to understand why a government elected in 2012 would disregard the lessons of the state’s dark past or why the state’s largest circulation newspaper would encourage the government’s follies.”

Read more

2 comments

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

Former Tasmanian premier Lara Giddings refuses to commit to full term

ABC. Pic of David O'Bryne
30.01.15 4:06 am

Image for Former Tasmanian premier Lara Giddings refuses to commit to full term

The former Tasmanian premier Lara Giddings is making no guarantees she will serve out a full term as the Labor member for Franklin.

Read more

3 comments

Politics | State | The Psephologist | Economy | Society

TasNetworks $1.65 billion debt Shock

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader Media Release
29.01.15 4:30 am

Image for TasNetworks $1.65 billion debt Shock

… “When the Liberals said there were massive opportunities in dairies, no one realised that they were talking about turning Tas Networks into a massive milking cow to rip money out of families and small business’s power bills to prop up failing GBE’s such as Forestry Tasmania and Hydro Tasmania. Mr Gutwein’s audacious weasel words on this issue are breathtaking. It was the Liberals whom supported Labor in buying the rusting relic of the Tamar Valley gas station which the Greens said at the time would drive power prices through the roof.” …

Bryan Green: Time for a jolt of reality for Gutwein on energy

Read more

9 comments

Politics | Local | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

Abbott, Credlin, Murdoch ...

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ Pub: Jan 19. Pic*
29.01.15 4:30 am

Image for Abbott, Credlin, Murdoch ...

Il y a une femme dans toutes les affaires ; aussitôt qu’on me fait un rapport, je dis : « Cherchez la femme ! Dumas (There is a woman in every case; as soon as they bring me a report, I say, “Look for the woman!”)

Rupert’s tweets have done all Australians an immense favour. They have shown where the power lies when it comes to Liberal governments. Such public tweaking of the strings of his puppet politician Abbott is really an enormous act of public service. Abbott must take the heat; do what Rupert wants or get out of the kitchen. Similarly the use of identical phrases in his tweets to the words used by Miranda Devine, the doyenne of his Australian tabloid press helps clarify the power relationship. Rupert rules the Liberal Party by force and very little if any finesse and is completely unafraid to put his instructions on Twitter for all to see.

• Phillip Coorey in the Australian Financial Review: Prime Minister Tony Abbott takes Rupert Murdoch’s advice (Paywall) “Tony Abbott dumped his senior communications adviser and ­overhauled his media team over Christmas after being lobbied directly over dinner by media mogul Rupert Murdoch ... Mr Abbott and Mr Murdoch dined together in Sydney in December after what had been a messy end of the year for the government. During the dinner, the pair broke away for a private conversation, during which Mr Murdoch complained to Mr Abbott that the government’s ­communications strategy was poor and failing to sell the right messages, and that he had “the wrong people” in the job. Similar criticisms were being made by columnists and editorials in the Murdoch press. Just before Christmas, Mr Abbott’s press office director, Jane McMillan, was let go and replaced by deputy chief of staff and former media adviser Andrew Hirst. ABC Canberra correspondent Mark Simkin was recruited as chief press secretary.”

Guardian: No filter: Rupert Murdoch’s Twitter feed provides a new take on the editorial

Read more

1 comments

Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | National | Economy | History | Media | Society

Hicks, Brandis, Guantanomo ... and fear

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ Pub: Jan 29. ABC pic of George Brandis
29.01.15 4:15 am

Image for Hicks, Brandis, Guantanomo ... and fear

“Hey, my name is David Hicks,” he shouted, as Senator Brandis wrapped up his address at a Human Rights Awards function. “I was tortured for five-and-a-half years in Guantanamo Bay in the full knowledge of your party. What do you have to say?”

Read more

3 comments

Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | International | National | Economy | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society

Unlocking the potential of Industrial Hemp

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water Media Release
29.01.15 4:00 am

Image for Unlocking the potential of Industrial Hemp

The Liberal Government has a long-term Plan to grow the value of our agricultural produce tenfold by 2050 to strengthen the economy and create jobs in Tasmania.

TFGA welcomes government moves on hemp

Lara Giddings: Tasmanians push for inclusion in interstate cannabis trials

Kim Booth: Belated action on hemp welcome

Read more

0 comments

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

Hobart Baroque? No. Brisbane Baroque

Martyn Goddard. Pub: Jan 28. ABC pic of Leo Schofield
28.01.15 4:00 am

Image for Hobart Baroque? No. Brisbane Baroque

Leo Schofield’s renowned baroque music festival ‒ which began in Hobart but was refused adequate funding by the Tasmanian Premier ‒ has moved to Brisbane. The dates, 10 to 18 April, and the main program for the nine-day festival will be the same as those planned for Hobart before the government pulled the plug. The festival will be launched by the federal Arts Minister, Senator George Brandis. ‘The Queensland government, and Senator Brandis, have a much better grasp of arts policy and cultural tourism and what those can do for a state,’ Schofield said. ‘But I felt no sense of allegiance to the Tasmanian Premier as he has shown us nothing but disdain. Put bluntly, he just didn’t get it. ‘And it’s nonsense to suggest that Tasmania is too small or too poor to afford such “luxuries” as a baroque music festival. As an extreme example Salzburg, a city smaller than Hobart, has one of the most renowned festivals in the world with a budget of $65 million. And even that investment has repeatedly been shown to contribute many times that to the Austrian economy.

Nick McKim: Queensland gets Baroque Festival that Liberals refused to support

• Tom Bailey, in Comments: No 9 Again not very gracious. Why should Mr Schofield continue to butt his head against a vision-lacking brick wall?  It certainly will be Brisbane’s gain - long-term vision is recognised there. Now for your comments on lack of funding and worthiness of artists.  As Tasmania has more artists per capita of population, then, of course, there will be ‘lots of artists’ unsuccessful with grant applications.  Perhaps you are one of them. Regional Arts Fund successful applicants undergo the Peers and Peer Assessment panel selection - very inclusive and just brimming with social justice.  I have heard from unsuccessful artist applicants that you have to be good buddies with at least one of the panel to ‘progress’ and that it is often the same ‘artists’ who, year after year, continue to get funding - another form of living off the ‘government welfare drip’.  You gotta have maaaates.

Read more

13 comments

Writers | Martyn Goddard | Politics | State | Arts | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

Something in the Water ... An urgent need to re-evaluate

Dr Alison Bleaney. Pic* Pub: Jan 26
28.01.15 3:30 am

Image for Something in the Water ... An urgent need to re-evaluate

… In light of these findings those Government Departments responsible for ensuring the safety of drinking water to Tasmanians urgently need to re-evaluate the risk assessment and management from human-induced changes to these water catchments substantially converted to Eucalypt monocultures to ensure the safety of water supplied to water users. …

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ... a long and tortuous history ...

• Karl Stevens, in Comments: I suspect there has been a systematic cover-up concerning clonal tree plantations. For example: How many people have seen a flowering e.nitens or e.blugum tree in a plantation? How many people have seen a young or sapling e.nitens or e.bluegum in a tree plantation? How many people have seen young trees after the harvesting of a tree plantation? Plantations have also trashed the landscape of Northern Tasmania. I traveled from Holwell to Exeter on Nettlfolds Road and Rookery Road yesterday and saw how an amazing landscape has been ruined by this mono crap.

Read more

20 comments

Politics | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Health | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

More pie-in-the-sky in The Huon?

Bob Hawkins. Pub: Jan 27
28.01.15 3:15 am

Image for More pie-in-the-sky in The Huon?

Huon Valley Guessing Games Cargo-cultism — from time immemorial a chronic tribal condition found mostly in what are termed undeveloped or developing regions, and a misled faith still doggedly persistent in the Huon Valley — will almost certainly again bubble to the surface when council meets on Wednesday evening in Huonville.

• John Hawkins, in Comments: … With his magnificent concept in mind I have decided to put in a planning application for a very fast train from Deloraine to Chudleigh with an underground branch sub- line to service the proposed epicentre at Chudleigh North. I will require little or no local funding, I am willing to donate the station to the village in the interests of putting Chudleigh in the forefront of development here in Tasmania. The Federal Government, who need the votes of the 12 Tasmanian Senators, can buy them by funding this short length of Mag Lev track in the interests of tourism. The cost will be minimal when compared with the political benefits of being able to pass their dud legislation through the Senate. …

• Martin Hawes, in Comments: Interesting that you were unable to find any trace of your submission on the council website. I can’t see any sign of mine either, submitted by email on Nov 14. Perhaps some submissions have been mislaid? If so this would be a corruption of due process, particularly since submissions are also to be considered by the Planning Commission. Is anyone else having trouble spotting their submission? The link is: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0Bz5Xzg9his-zNk9xdmhlS2dVUDg&usp=drive_web

• Bob Hawkins, in Comments: After last night’s split decision (4-4) by council not to approve its staff recommendation relating to the proposal for a barge-serviced “marine bulk loading facility” at Surges Point, Waterloo Bay, it took ABC radio until 8.30am today to end its talk of applicant Dennis Bewsher considering his appeal options. What the ABC seemed to have missed earlier was that no appeal is available (or necessary) in response to this council decision. As I understand it, council’s debate last night was no more than a step along the way towards a Tasmanian Planning Commission (TPC) hearing at which it will decide whether or not to allow the “planning scheme amendment” (PSA) that would allow Bewsher’s company, Telopea Pty Ltd, to construct such a facility on leased crown land. (The TPC has set the hearing for February 17, 18 and 19, commencing at 10am, on Level 3, 144 Macquarie St, Hobart).

Read more

27 comments

Writers | Bob Hawkins | Politics | Local | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society | Transport

Drug regulator must put patient safety ahead of Big Pharma profits

Michael Vagg, Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine & Pain Specialist at Barwon Health, Victoria.
28.01.15 3:00 am

Image for Drug regulator must put patient safety ahead of Big Pharma profits

One of the much-heralded platforms of the Abbott government is its promise to business to reduce red tape and burdensome regulatory obligations. Pharmaceuticals are a multi-billion dollar global industry, so it’s not surprising the national drug and device regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), is a key target. A committee tasked with investigating the options for red tape reform has released its first discussion paper to canvass the options. The paper raises some important implementation problems and potential reforms. But we need to be wary of commercial interests derailing drug approval and advertising regulations that protect patient safety and ensure products are evidence-based.

Read more

0 comments

Politics | National | Health | Science

Mathematics rock star stirs the debate on whether maths should still be taught at school

University of Tasmania media and communications officer Lana Best
28.01.15 2:26 am

Image for Mathematics rock star stirs the debate on whether maths should still be taught at school

Read more, Comment here

Read more

0 comments

Sea Shepherd to spend $12m award on ‘dream ship’ to patrol Southern Ocean

Guardian
28.01.15 2:00 am

Image for Sea Shepherd to spend $12m award on ‘dream ship’ to patrol Southern Ocean

Money presented at Amsterdam gala is the largest donation the conservation group has received to date

Read more

4 comments

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

Climate warning: PM Abbott leads Australia down a withering garden path

Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne Media Release
27.01.15 3:15 am

Image for Climate warning: PM Abbott leads Australia down a withering garden path

Greens leader Christine Milne says dire projections for Australia in the new CSIRO climate change report* must be a wake-up call for the Abbott government and big business, which are harming people and missing huge economic opportunities by refusing to minimise global warming. “If the natural world is in trouble, then so are we, and the Abbott government’s climate denial and policy destruction has got us in serious trouble indeed,” said Senator Milne. “Just getting on with it would unleash enormous amounts of innovation and creativity, but the Abbott government is stuck playing knights and dames, pretending global warming isn’t happening, and digging bigger and bigger holes as part of a growth agenda that undermines us even further.

Resilience: Wood pellets; Green energy or new source of CO2 emissions?

Read more

29 comments

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

The revealing facts on bikie laws and crime in Queensland

Terry Goldsworthy, Assistant Professor, Criminology at Bond University.
26.01.15 5:00 am

Image for The revealing facts on bikie laws and crime in Queensland

Queensland’s Liberal National government has made law and order – particularly its anti-bikie laws – a key part of its re-election pitch. The government recently claimed that “Criminal Gang laws (are) keeping Queenslanders safer” and that they have driven a general decrease in crime. Yet when you compare those claims against Queensland’s crime statistics, something soon becomes clear: the spin and the statistics tell two different stories.

9MSN: Bikies snatch focus in Qld election Debate over policy is being overshadowed in the final days of Queensland’s election campaign following Premier Campbell Newman’s repeated claims of a link between Labor, unions and bikie gangs. Mr Newman has defended his allegations that ALP rivals were backed by unions linked to criminal motorcycle gangs, saying it’s a hot topic with Queenslanders. The debate has taken centre stage over the final weekend of the election campaign ahead of Saturday’s poll. On Sunday, Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk again called for Mr Newman to show some evidence to support his claims and stated she had “zero tolerance” when it came to criminal organisations.

Guardian: Bikies donate money to LNP to rubbish Newman claims

Guardian: LNP losing out in regional areas

Psephologist Dr Kevin Bonham’s latest analysis (Jan 15) here

MEANWHILE in elections elsewhere ...

Paul Mason, Guardian: Greece shows what can happen when the young revolt against corrupt elites

Read more

4 comments

Politics | National | State | The Psephologist | Kevin Bonham | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

NATION: Manus; We must act ...

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ Pub: Jan 19. Pic*
26.01.15 4:45 am

Image for NATION: Manus; We must act ...

No words could ever describe life in Manus Island Detention Centre, but imagine you are trapped in a makeshift, overcrowded, run-down camp of peeling weatherboard cabins, tents and shipping containers sweltering and festering in the jungle on a hot, humid, far-flung island amidst some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the world.Your only company is that of other wretched unfortunates like yourself. Should you be ‘processed’ and found to be a genuine refugee, you may be freed but only to be settled locally. The local people, however, resent your presence. Your sense of entrapment is suffocating. Blend in the isolation, disease, and heat and you have Manus Island’s mission to deter.

Force is integral to Manus’ brutal regime. Whilst Immigration Minister Peter Dutton may deplore the demonstrations, he appears as oblivious as his predecessor, Morrison, to the institutionalised violence of the prison camp itself, to say nothing of the coercion involved in the parent policy of offshore detention itself.  When pressed on the issue, Dutton also follows Morrison’s lead in taking refuge in denial and hair-splitting semantics. …

The Age: Australia accused of ‘surreal hypocrisy’ over Bali 9 executions

Read more

8 comments

Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society

NATION: Australian of the Year; Rosie Batty. Abbott mocked over Prince Philip ... Tom Uren ...

ABC. Pic: ABC, Peter Williams
26.01.15 4:28 am

Image for NATION: Australian of the Year; Rosie Batty. Abbott mocked over Prince Philip ... Tom Uren ...

Rosie Batty has been named Australian of the Year for her campaign against family violence in an award ceremony that saw four women take the nation’s top Australia Day honours for the first time in history.

STATE: Australia Day honours; Ultra-marathoner and scientist among 15 Tasmanians recognised

Don’t celebrate January 26 petition launched

Kim Booth: Unfinished business; Time to Treaty … “Unfinished business with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community is holding back our reconciliation journey,” Mr Booth said. “Its time to Treaty.” “We need to negotiate a formal Treaty which acknowledges the sorry history that has occurred on this island, and which seeks to address the current pattern of exclusion and discrimination inherent in our current state legal and policy-setting framework.” …

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

KIm Booth: Call for alternative Australia Day date

SBS: Tony Abbott mocked over Prince Philip knighthood Tony Abbott’s decision to honour the Duke of Edinburgh has sparked mockery on social media and condemnation from some fellow politicians. Prince Philip was announced as one of two men honoured as Australia’s next knights today, almost a year after Mr Abbott reintroduced the honours. The news sent “Philip” trending on social media, ahead of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s comments that the decision was outdated. Mr Shorten told Fairfax Radio that he originally thought the news was a hoax. He said he didn’t understand the government’s priorities in nominating Prince Philip, when they could have “picked someone who is Australian in character and activity”. “It’s a time warp where we’re giving knighthoods to English royalty,” Mr Shorten said.

Guardian: Flags to fly at half-mast to mark passing of Labor Elder Tom Uren

Read more

15 comments

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

A request for the removal of an Eric Abetz ad

John Hawkins, Chudleigh. Pic: of Eric Abetz
26.01.15 4:15 am

Image for A request for the removal of an Eric Abetz ad

Tasmanian Times received the following letter from Walter Abetz, brother of Eric Abetz.  Senator Abetz is Leader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Employment. Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Liberal Senator for Tasmania.

Read more

8 comments

Writers | John Hawkins | Politics | National | State | Economy | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

Dear Eric Hutchinson ...

Mike Bolan, Disaffected citizen
26.01.15 4:00 am

Image for Dear Eric Hutchinson ...

Drop this discriminatory co-payment idea now. We are taxpayers and we are already paying for everything else!

Australia’s systems of government have become a rent-seeker’s paradise that cost us dearly, but instead of fixing it, you just want taxpayers to pay more while politicians enjoy the considerable fruits of office and bureaucrats continue to expand their empires. This is classical rent-seeker behaviour.

Read more

5 comments

Writers | Mike Bolan | Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Health | Opinion | History | Society

Building resilience in an era of limits to growth. Greece ...

Big Ideas, Radio National
26.01.15 3:50 am

Image for Building resilience in an era of limits to growth. Greece ...

We are approaching many limits to growth over the next decades: Economic contraction, peak energy and geopolitical stress. Nicole Foss - Canadian system analyst and expert on sustainability, energy, and finance - explains how the deflationary dynamics that always follow finance and property bubbles will rapidly impact individuals and communities, while the longer acting forces of peak oil and climate change will limit the nature of any economic recovery. So how can we adapt?

Guardian: Greek coalition talks under way after Syriza’s election victory ... live updates

COMMENT ...

Paul Mason, Guardian: Greece shows what can happen when the young revolt against corrupt elites

Read more

0 comments

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

Removal of Schulim Krimper commission from St Mary’s Cathedral, Harrington St, Hobart

Warwick Oakman B.Des. Architectural Historian, Battery Point
26.01.15 3:45 am

Image for Removal of Schulim Krimper  commission from St Mary’s Cathedral, Harrington St, Hobart

Schulim Krimper (1893-1971), was a Rumanian modernist cabinet maker,  arriving as a Jewish migrant to Melbourne in 1939. He was to become in the words of Terence Lane, former head of Decorative Arts at The National Gallery of Victoria “the first cabinet-maker in Victoria to demand - and receive - for his craft the respect which had previously been accorded only to painters and sculptors” …Guildford Young commissioned for St Marys Cathedral, Harrington St Hobart an extensive, high modernist work of art: a vast screen, throne, cover, cupboards, seating from Krimper, completed in 1961.  It is one of only two public commissions ever made and of great importance to modernism in Australia. And particularly Tasmania. It is the Catholic Church in Tasmania’s intention to remove this pre-eminent work of Krimper’s art, separate the elements and take to Melbourne to be sold by Leonard Joel Auctions in April of this year.

Read more

4 comments

Arts | Opinion | History | Religion | Society

Mother Mountain: The Symphony of Birdsong (47)

Don Knowler, http://donaldknowler.com/ Pic*
26.01.15 3:16 am

Image for Mother Mountain: The Symphony of Birdsong (47)

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

Read more

0 comments

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

Saturday Soapbox: Council must ensure Huon plan meets its Waterloo

John Huckerby, businessman and Huon Valley resident, in Saturday's Mercury Pic*
26.01.15 2:48 am

Image for Saturday Soapbox: Council must ensure Huon plan meets its Waterloo

DENNIS Bewsher’s plan to change Waterloo Bay from public open space to a permanent mooring area for huge barges for transshipping woodchips and quarry products to bulk carriers moored downriver comes before the Huon Valley Council on Wednesday.

Read more

2 comments

Politics | Local | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

After the Bang

Photo: NASA
25.01.15 9:30 am

Image for After the Bang

An expanding shell of debris called SNR 0519-69.0 is left behind after a massive star exploded in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to the Milky Way. Multimillion degree gas is seen in X-rays from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, in blue. The outer edge of the explosion (red) and stars in the field of view are seen in visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Read more

8 comments

Environment | Science | Society

Call for State and Uni to dump Taib Mahmud ... and Ta Ann

Jenny Weber Campaign Manager The Bob Brown Foundation Media Release. Pic* Pub: Jan 24
25.01.15 7:00 am

Image for Call for State and Uni to dump Taib Mahmud ... and Ta Ann

Conservationists call for swift action by Australian university and politicians to dissociate with Sarawak’s Taib Mahmud Five years after Sarawak Report first exposed Taib Mahmud’s questionable links with Adelaide University, the university’s Vice-Chancellor has recognised that there are problems with association with Sarawak’s ruling elite.  Australian and International campaigners in solidarity with the indigenous people of Sarawak are calling for swift action from the University and Australian and Tasmanian Governments. In a letter received today by the campaign group Bruno Manser Fund, Adelaide University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Warren Bebbington acknowledged that Adelaide University is reviewing the name of Sarawak’s Governor and former Chief Minister Taib Mahmud Court, bestowed in his honour in 2008. Switzerland-based advocacy group, Bruno Manser Fund had forwarded a copy of the book Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia by Lukas Straumann to Vice-Chancello Professor Bebbington and it was this that had prompted his response.

“Sarawak Report are hugely encouraged that Adelaide University is now recognising the problems with this major donor and are prepared to take appropriate action.  We have worked hard to bring a serious wrong-doing to public attention and sometimes it takes time to get a response, but we believe that wheels are beginning to turn and other institutions in Australia ought to follow this example.  A priority must be the Tasmanian government, which has been prepared to do business with Taib-connected companies for far too long, both in the Tasmanian logging industry and in the Sarawak energy industry. It is time to stop turning a blind eye to the corrupt and highly damaging environmental and human rights situation in Sarawak, before Tasmania is tarnished by association.”

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

The Truth about Ta Ann. ‘The biggest environmental crime of our times’

Sarawak Report: Taib made persona-non-grata by Adelaide University

• Tim Thorne, in Comments: Re #4: Imagine if $42 million of Tasmanian dollars went into the pockets of a New York based investment company which contributed nothing to our economy and employed not a single Tasmanian. Imagine if hundreds of millions of dollars of our money was handed to a company which then went belly-up and we got not a cent back. Imagine if all three of our political parties and the independent Upper House all let this happen. OK we’re not quite Sarawak, but we’re getting there.

RELATED ...

Emma Lee, Mercury Saturday Soapbox: Green glitter hides cultural truth The “wilderness brand” is mainly from non-Aboriginal interests, and Aboriginal rights, cultural access, economic development, heritage protection, tourism and the joint management narrative of the three Outstanding Universal Values of the World Heritage Area will not be denied for the sake of environmental business or campaign models. Don’t be dazzled by the green glitter on a bare ethical tree.

Read more

6 comments

Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society

Call for Alternative Australia Day Date

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader Media Release ABC pic
25.01.15 6:30 am

Image for Call for Alternative Australia Day Date

Political leaders need to be serious about moving Australia Day to a date other than the 26th of January if they are serious about working towards genuine reconciliation with the Aboriginal community, Greens Leader and Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.

Read more

8 comments

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

Nyrstar and State Government in talks over ‘hand-up financing’

Matt Smith, Mercury. Pic: Nyrstar's Lutana plant. Pub: Jan 24
25.01.15 6:00 am

Image for Nyrstar and State Government in talks over ‘hand-up financing’

A $500 million deal between the South Australian Government and minerals giant Nyrstar appears to be a catalyst for the company’s approach to the Tasmanian Government.

Read more

5 comments

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

The fall and fall of The Mercury

Bob Burton. Pub: Dec 18, 2014
25.01.15 5:15 am

Image for The fall and fall of The Mercury

The Mercury – Tasmania’s largest circulation newspaper – is in deep, deep trouble. A leaked News Corporation Australia’s financial report from July 2013 provides a stark insight into the rapidly deteriorating finances of the Murdoch empire’s three Tasmanian newspapers:  The Mercury, the Sunday Tasmanian and Tasmanian Country.

• Mark, in Comments: As was written in one of the sidebar sites: Out in the boonies the media is a rough deal. The reporters have an average age of 12. The editors are crusty and conflicted. And the money is running out. They report what they want to happen. Potential mines. Potential pulp mills. Potential farms. Potential developments. Potential money drops from Canberra. Potential Chinese buy-ups. News is all about crossing fingers. At best, 5% of the potential comes true. If you dig through old newspapers you’ll find stories about the same mines and the same “100’s of jobs” they were going to create. Five years ago. Ten years ago. Fifteen years ago. Convince people something’s around the corner and you might convince someone to advertise. You might keep your newspaper alive. Sadly, you don’t inform anyone of anything. http://www.idiottax.net/2014/11/my-abc.html

• Bob Burton, in Comments: … It is also worth pointing out that in the last five years, according to ABS population data, Hobart’s population increased by over 8,800 (2008 to 2012). In spite of this underlying population growth, readership of hard copies of The Mercury continues to fall. The trends affecting The Mercury aren’t unique to Tasmania. However, as the smallest state, Tasmania’s media may well be hollowed out so quickly that it becomes the exemplar of a failed media state.  Sure, we will still have media which cover sport, car crashes, major court cases, major events and some political debates initiated by existing parties but more probing journalism already largely seems to be a quaint thing of the past. Which is why the question on who will cover hard local news in Tasmania remains a critical issue. Ironically, this topic is one which the existing outlets are wary of covering, perhaps because to do so would require an acknowledgement that there is a significant problem. Self-reflection tends not to be a strong point of most media outlets.

Read more

30 comments

Writers | Bob Burton | Politics | Local | State | Media

Tasmanian achievement a matter of national pride

Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne Media Release
24.01.15 3:50 am

Image for Tasmanian achievement a matter of national pride

Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne is congratulating fellow Tasmanian Rodney Croome on his courageous and persistent activism for gay rights and his long overdue recognition this Australia Day as Tasmania’s Australian of the Year.

Read more

0 comments

Writers | Rodney Croome | Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society