Articles

A multi-billion dollar disaster in the making

Roger Law Secretary Action for Tasmanian Autistic Children
23.03.15 3:00 am

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In our last 3 newsletters, Action for Tasmanian Autistic Children has carried stories focusing on the NDIS.  The first two of these articles expose how billions of taxpayer dollars are being wasted on a scheme that in its present form has no hope of being successful and solving the problems the disabled are faced with.

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Wotif founder Graeme Wood takes stake in battery storage developer Redflow

Giles Parkinson, REneweconomy
23.03.15 2:54 am

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Graeme Wood, the founder of online accommodation booking site Wotif and a major donor to climate and clean energy initiatives, has emerged as a major shareholder in the Brisbane-based battery storage developer Redflow

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A history of two legal systems in 700 words ...

Evan Whitton, @EvanWhitton1 http://netk.net.au/whittonhome.asp Pic*
23.03.15 2:45 am

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People can lie; circumstances cannot. - Legal maxim

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Writers | Evan Whitton | Politics | Economy | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

From unused pool to ecosystem cool

Ann Jones, ABC RN Off Track. Pic*
23.03.15 2:30 am

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There are over 1.2 million homes in Australia that have a pool in the backyard ...

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Environment | Science | Society

Greedy Californians are almost out of water

David Weidner, MarketWatch
23.03.15 2:15 am

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Residents acknowledge the problem — and the potential disaster it could cause — and then go about wasting more of the precious resource

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Researchers raise concerns over underwater Totten Glacier melt

Mercury. Pic: Esmee van Wijk
23.03.15 2:00 am

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WARM seawater sloshing around the base of one of Antarctica’s largest glaciers could cause sea levels to rise faster than anticipated, according to a scientific report published today (Mar 18). Australian Antarctic Division researchers, in collaboration with UK and US researchers, have been flying over the Totten Glacier using a DC 3 aircraft to monitor conduits that could be allowing seawater to penetrate underneath the glacier to accelerate melting.

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Ever been blocked by an MP?

Jenna Price Journalism academic Jenna Price is sick of seeing Abbott ...
23.03.15 1:41 am

Have you ever been blocked by a member of parliament? Care to send me a screen shot please to my email address on my bio. #blocked

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Saturn’s Groovy Rings

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology/Space Science Institute
22.03.15 3:12 pm

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From afar, Saturn’s rings look like a solid, homogenous disk of material. But upon closer examination from the unmanned spacecraft Cassini, we see that there are varied structures in the rings at almost every scale imaginable.

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Science

Hobart Community Rallies to Support Embattled Pensioners

Stephanie Watson, Westhobart blog: https://westhobart.wordpress.com/ Pic: of Bill Bostock
22.03.15 2:33 pm

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Former customers, supporters and a myriad of well-wishers converged at the Queens Head Hotel today for a special community fundraiser, held in support of former BP West Hobart business operators, Bill and Sue Bostock, who are facing homelessness.

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History | Personal | Society | What's On

Break the Federal Group monopoly

Greg James*, ABC. Pic: of David Walsh from ABC
21.03.15 6:00 am

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The problem with monopolies is that they stifle development, increase costs and have no known benefit, except to the monopoly. Monopolies are certainly a cost to the public and thus to the Treasury. You and I pay extra to allow Federal Hotels (owned by the Farrell family) to exploit the poor.

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NATION: Save the Children staff say Moss review exposes negligence on Nauru

Guardian
21.03.15 4:34 am

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A Save the Children employee accused of encouraging protest and self-harm among detainees on Nauru says the Moss review has exposed the government’s “absolute negligence” in caring for asylum seekers.

AND ... Tony Abbott’s reaction ...

Guardian, ‘Things happen’: Tony Abbott on sexual assault allegations in offshore detention

Guardian: Voters aren’t fickle, just discerning. And they will punish bad governments

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Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser dead at 84

Fairfax. Pic: ABC
20.03.15 4:20 pm

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Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has died.

The Guardian’s Live Coverage

• Use the TT NEWS Drop down menu (top nav bar) for breaking news, analysis, tributes on the passing of Malcolm Fraser

Kim Booth, Malcolm Fraser: A Great Voice for Human Rights

Georgina Gartland: Malcolm Fraser - RIP, concerned Australians - in mourning and in profound gratitude

Jacqui Lambie: I rise to contribute to the condolence motion before the Senate

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Politics | National | History | Personal | Society

Seven per cent can’t afford the doctor

Martyn Goddard, Health policy analyst. Pub: Mar 20
20.03.15 4:30 am

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In a single year, seven per cent of Tasmanian adults were prevented from going to a GP because of cost. And as the federal government’s Medicare cuts bite harder, that number can be expected to rise.

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Writers | Martyn Goddard | Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | History | Society

University deregulation puts northern campuses at risk

Greens Senator for Tasmania, Peter Whish-Wilson Media Release
20.03.15 4:18 am

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Greens Senator for Tasmania, Peter Whish-Wilson is calling on the Government to abandon its plans for university deregulation to prevent further distress and uncertainty for Tasmania’s students.

Michelle O’Byrne: Launceston and Burnie University campuses under threat

ABC report: UTAS regional campuses ‘under threat’ if deregulation proceeds without funding The vice-chancellor of the University of Tasmania, Peter Rathjen, says regional campuses will struggle to survive in a deregulated environment without financial support. The Government remained committed to the deregulating university fees, despite the Senate’s rejection of its higher education reform bill. UTAS’s $450 million proposal to split the university in two, with big developments in Burnie and Launceston, hinges on the passage of the legislation. Vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen told ABC Local Radio that managers would have to make some tough decisions if deregulation went ahead without that restructure funding.

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Jacqui Lambie goes into bat for Diggers

Rob Messenger Media Release. Hansard. Pic: Lambie yesterday at Parliament House Canberra
20.03.15 4:15 am

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Lambie’s Private members Bill linking Defence Pay to CPI or politicians’ pay – whichever is higher – passes the Australian Senate

Burlington Free Press: Military suicides focus of House resolution

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An extraordinary invasion of privacy of an ordinary private citizen. Examiner tale vanishes

Danny Carney* Pic*
20.03.15 4:00 am

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The recent actions of Andrew Nikolic should trouble all of us in North East Tasmania. In contacting the employer of well-respected academic and educator, Dr Michael Powell, in regards to a letter sent to the Examiner Mr Nikolic has sought to meddle in the personal affairs of his constituents.

Fairfax: 120 University of Tasmania academics sign letter berating Liberal Whip Andrew Nikolic for attack on free speech

YESTERDAY on Tasmanian Times ...

Andrew Nikolic: An attack on the long-standing principle of academic freedom ...

AND TODAY ... an Examiner story vanishes ...

Nikolic denies silencing claims ... but click on it and you get .... zilch! ... Well you did ... but the Ex was simply replacing the yarn with a nicer photo of Mr Nikolic ...

BUT ...

The Examiner’s story detailing Dr John Kenny and 112 other staff from the University of Tasmania and their support for Dr Powell has ... vanished!

BUT WAIT ... There’s more ...

Conservative blogger Catallaxy Files: A tale of three academics. Catallaxy says ... … Mr Nikolic is the federal government whip – you’d think he’d be too busy shoring up Tony Abbott’s leadership to be involving himself in these sorts of petty disputes. … I suspect that Dr Powell signed off his letter as being at the University of Tasmania. So what? By definition every academic has professional expertise in the provision of higher education. Some more so than others, yet a letter condemning (Liberal) government university policy from an academic is unremarkable. Getting involved in a brawl like this reflects poor judgement on the government’s part. …

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Andrew Nikolic: An attack on the long-standing principle of academic freedom ...

Dr John Kenny Academic Vice President, NTEU Tasmanian Division. Pic* Pub: Mar 18
19.03.15 6:00 am

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To Tasmanian Times, Dear Editor, As staff from the University of Tasmania, we wish to support our colleague, Dr Michael Powell, who wrote to the Examiner in December 2014 expressing concern about the proposed policy of the Federal Government to deregulate university fees and the likely effect of this policy on the University sector in general and our University in particular.

• Tim Thorne, in Comments: Oh dear!  Oh dear!  Oh dear!  Do the signatories really believe that such quaint concepts as “academic freedom” and “free expression” have any place in today’s Australia? If so, they are grossly out of touch with contemporary political thinking.  Freedom of speech is something our Attorney General believes is the prerogative of bigots, but criticism of the government and its policies does not belong in the ranks of Team Australia.  We must all pull together to ensure that nothing stands in the way of greed, and the commodification of education is clearly an important step on the way towards success. Captain Abbott has recently appointed Andrew Nikolic as assistant to the lad who brings out the oranges at three-quarter time (or whatever the equivalent is in the game of hardball) and we in Bass should be grateful for this vicarious taste of power. I am sure I heard a rumour once that Mr Nikolic had come back from being killed in action in the service of Team Australia in order to represent the people of Bass.  It may be a slight exaggeration, but it shows the spirit and determination of the man, in great contrast to a bunch of academic wusses bleating about principles.  Principles are so out of date.

• Ben Quin, in Comments: I consider the comments from Tim Thorne and others to be unfair and they should be withdrawn. On the one hand, the commentators on TT generally applauded Senator Lambie for pushing to achieve a pay-rise for Defence staff, because “they put their lives at risk to defend the nation”.  On the other, we advertise a cheap shot by Tim Thorne at Nikolic for his service in the Defence Force. I know Nikolic well.  I don’t agree with everything he says and does.  He has a hot temper and does not like to back down.  He is a true conservative in his political beliefs. However, he was elected in an open ballot by the electors of Bass and is doing the job he was elected to do. He is not deserving of the derision that is being whipped up in this forum.  In relation to his “attack” on Dr. Powell, let him have it, but keep it to the point.

• Tim Thorne, in Comments: Ben Quinn (#6), you seem to be either forgetting or ignoring Andrew Nikolic’s track record in opposing freedom of expression.  I am not sure which of my comments you wish me to withdraw, but I genuinely believe that in following what you call a “true conservative” agenda he is consistent and sincere. It is just that I completely oppose what he stands for.  I strongly disapprove of anyone using their military record as a vote-catcher.  I shall continue to mock and deride those who use their position in politics, however modest, to attempt the silencing of those who do not agree with them. You draw. a very long bow in trying to link Senator Lambie’s campaign on behalf of ADF personnel (on which I have never offered an opinion) with the need to show respect to a former career military officer who, since changing jobs, has shown very little reason to deserve it. If a “true conservative” is someone who supports the commodification of education, a lack of economic equity and a very limited concept of free speech, then I shall continue to use all legally permissible weapons (including humour and sarcasm) against such a person.

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Hockey v Fairfax: another strong headwind buffeting responsible journalism

Richard Ackland, The Guardian. Pic: of Joe Hockey
19.03.15 5:45 am

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There was Joe Hockey, confidently strutting his intergenerational stuff on Monday night’s Q&A.

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Israel ...

Martyn Turner, Irish Times, http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/martyn-turner
19.03.15 5:30 am

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Politics | International | Satire

Gunns: The Wall of Silence. Sawmiller cash referred to Integrity Commission

Peter Whish-Wilson, Senator for Tasmania Pub: Mar 18
19.03.15 5:00 am

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… It has been met by a predictable wall of silence from the Tasmanian establishment, the mainstream media in Tasmania and the two old political parties. That is a shame, considering those not willing to learn from the mistakes of the past are bound to repeat them. In fact, this seems to be the book’s overarching message—that history in Tasmania keeps repeating, and no-one learns or is the wiser for this. Professor Beresford also warns that in many ways the rise and fall of Gunns Ltd is a modern warning about governments and political parties generally developing overly close relationships with big business. Yet much of modern politics is built around such a model of government, both in Australia and overseas. …

Beresford himself admits that ‘the alternative to genuine reform is a grim prospect’, with new rounds of what he labels as ‘politically inspired environmental conflict’ already taking Tasmania back to the ‘cronyism’ and the mistakes of the past. This is reflected in the current proposed logging of controversial coupes, such as Lapoinya— Mr President, in your North-west of Tasmania—or the secret, divisive and controversial drive to attack wilderness and World Heritage values under the smokescreen of new tourism development. …

Watch Peter Whish-Wilson’s Speech on YouTube here

• John Powell, in Comments: Speechless. What a book and what a story of the failure of successive governments and their bureaucratic minions and institutions. I will let others comment on that as I do not have the history. However the example that the good Senator referenced, viz Lapoinya, I am familiar with. All in Government connected with this failure of process, consultation, environmental, endangered species, and indigenous history surveys,economic evaluation etc etc fit the bill of those referenced in the Beresford book. If the Shareholder Ministers, and the relevant CEO, and Board members, were true to their respective Corporate Directors code of ethics they should resign immediately. And a mission to China that contemplates promoting Forestry in Tasmania is a nail in the coffin of the FSC accreditation being undertaken by SCS Global. Time for a “Captains Call” Premier Hodgman and declare that Coupe FD053A is hereby annexed to the adjoining Flowerdale Reserve as was recommended in the 1997 Regional Forest Agreement. This post will be copied to SCS Global overnight.

• John Biggs, in Comments: Beresford is right:  a Royal Commission should be called immediately, but as I understand it that has to be done by the government, and I can see no government Labor or Liberal would have the honesty or the guts to do that.  However he also says the people power might work as it is in CSG mining but that requires massive publicity and a lot of work. Perhaps GetUp could take this on board? And keep plugging away at your Federal colleagues Peter. Meantime, if as Barns says the book is biased, then let Paul Lennon, Paul Harriss, Will Hodgman, Evan Rolley or Brian Green or anyone else who thinks that Beresford has got it wrong, come forward and tell us where, with chapter and verse.

Kim Booth: Harriss Blows More Public Cash on Madcap Sawmill Scheme The Hodgman regime’s latest splash with public cash to prop up the native forest sawmilling industry is stupid and irresponsible, Greens Leader and Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today. “This is as close as you can get to a corrupt government process,” Mr Booth said. “On the one hand public money was paid to sawmillers to leave the industry because they were going broke and now the same people are receiving additional public money to stay in the industry.” “Sawmillers took payouts because they were financially unviable businesses in the first place.” “Now in an act of total stupidity, Minister Harriss is offering people two options, without there being any requirement to prove that a viable business plan is in place.” “The first option is for a sawmiller to pay back 10 per cent or less of a payout, keep the mill but be restricted to 100 cubic metres per year.” “That is a joke, its less volume necessary to run a viable portable mill, let alone a sawmill.” “The second option ...

Paul Harriss: Keeping sawmillers in Tasmania

Examiner: Sawmillers’ new cash deal

Kim Booth: Sawmill Subsidies Referred to Integrity Commission “I have referred this matter to the Integrity Commission because they are the only body capable of investigating independently this disgraceful affair,” Mr Booth said. “The Hodgman regime has taken money from hospitals and schools and handed it over to selected private sawmill businesses without any justification, and apparently without any performance requirements or conditions.” “To prop up a select few failing businesses with public money, is a dangerous precedent and a gross abuse of trust and power.” “The abusive response from Minister Harriss in parliament today leaves me in no doubt that the government is hiding something and that the Integrity commission should examine the matter.” … “Most Tasmanians expect better than this and regard this sort of behaviour as corrupt and a return to the bad old days when timber barons walked the corridors of power and parliament was their plaything.” “It is deeply disturbing that it looks like Mr Harriss and Mr Hodgman are dragging Tasmania back to those dark and corrupt days of the past where cronyism ran rife,”

Paul Harriss: Greens shameful attack on Tasmanian jobs

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Media | Society

Entropy ...

Lindsay Tuffin
19.03.15 4:30 am

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It was Bob Burton - Tasmania’s best and most intelligent investigative journalist in my not-so-humble view - who first suggested that Tasmanian Times feature photographic tributes to Tasmania on the first day of every month. I was immediately enthusiastic ... I do have this terrible habit of being a Yes-Man.

REVIEWED! by Bronwyn Williams. TT Arts here Tasmania might be ‘clean and green’, but the shiny veneer sometimes hides a grubby, tarnished underbelly.  Rather than avert her gaze, Ms MacGregor has used her lens to bravely expose this uncomfortable reality.

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Writers | Isla MacGregor | Lindsay Tuffin | Politics | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

WIN ... !x

Otis Beanery
19.03.15 4:00 am

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Otis Beanery is offering two places in this weekend’s Indian Street Snacks workshop to Tasmanian Times readers.  Just send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with TT Offer in the subject line and your name in the email. Winner will be contacted by email mid-day on Friday. The workshop is part of the Entree to the Taste of the World. More details about the various Entree events here:  http://www.otisbeanery.com/taste-of-the-world—-entree.html

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What's On

Tasmania missing $2.8bn opportunity for big clean energy exports

Mike Sandford, RenewEconomy
18.03.15 4:30 am

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Several factors combined to deliver seemingly astonishing reductions in Australian electricity sector emissions over the carbon tax years. With those gains now being reversed, as shown in the figure below, we might ask what we learnt from our experiment with carbon pricing? One insight that has received little comment to date, is the tantalising glimpse carbon pricing provided of the Tasmanian opportunity as a net electricity exporter in a carbon constrained world.

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Another Super Trawler heading to Australia

Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Denison Media Release. Pic*
18.03.15 4:15 am

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The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, is joining members of the Stop the Trawler Alliance to oppose the impending arrival of a super trawler in Australia, and also to receive a 75,000-name petition calling for a permanent ban of large freezer factory trawlers. “The super trawler recently re-flagged and renamed Geelong Star is heading to Australia, apparently with the blessing of the Federal Government but undoubtedly against the will of the vast majority of the Australian community,’’ Mr Wilkie said.

Jon Bryan, Rebecca Hubbard, John Edwards, Nick Roberts, Sharon Lee:  Victorians Join the Campaign as 75,000 call for Factory Trawler Ban

Lisa Singh, Carol Brown: Super Trawler petition

Richard Colbeck: More new science for Small Pelagic Fishery

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Mr Nikolic MP, Dr Powell and freedom of expression ...

Editor, SMH. Pic: of Andrew Nikolic MP. Pub: Mar 16
18.03.15 4:00 am

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EXCLUSIVE it screamed ... well hardly SMH ... Tassie Times had this astonishing yarn weeks ago (Feb 18) and fully expected Tassie MSM to follow it up [ which (of course) they failed to do* ]: Dr Powell, The Examiner letter and Mr Nikolic MP and Liberal Trolls attack Dr Powell again

Karl Stevens Satire

• John Hawkins, in Comments: My efforts to eject Senator Erich Abetz from parliament, he being a dual national, arise from similar behaviour by a Tasmanian pollie to pressure a citizen. Abetz threatened to sue me for defamation over large political donations from Gunns limited before he became Minister for Forests in the Howard Government …

*UNTIL ... yesterday ...

Examiner: Nikolic denies silencing claims

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Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Education | Editor's Choice | History | Legal | Personal | Society

NATION: Most senior Catholic charged. Pyne’s bill axed. Metadata ...

SMH
18.03.15 3:12 am

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Archbishop Philip Wilson becomes world’s most senior Catholic charged with concealing child abuse

The Conversation: Government can’t read the crossbench, or the people: higher ed changes fail again

Wilkie to oppose dud metadata bills

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

Bill Bostock Benefit

Westhobart blog. Pic: of Bill Bostock
18.03.15 2:23 am

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Bill Bostock of BP West Hobart (formerly located on the corner of Arthur and Hill Sts) diligently served our community for 38 years until he was forced to close his doors in 2010 when his lease was not renewed. Through his kindness and generosity, Bill became a much loved and highly respected member of the community whose business became the lifeblood of West Hobart. Serving petrol was not just Bill’s livelihood – it was his life!

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History | Society | What's On

Call for permanent fracking ban

Jen Van-Achteren, Mike Gaffney (in Pic)
17.03.15 3:30 am

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Independent member of the Legislative Council, the Hon. Mike Gaffney, will table a petition in the Upper House on Tuesday, calling for a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing - fracking - in Tasmania. The petition, begun by community group Frack-Free Tas late last year and sponsored by Mr Gaffney, calls for Tasmanian Parliament to pass legislation removing any future possibility of fracking in the state. “The response that I have received from the community regarding fracking has been overwhelmingly in favour of the practice being banned in Tasmania.  I do not believe that hydraulic fracturing is a practice that would be beneficial for Tasmania.  Whilst I am not anti-development or anti-technology, the facts remain – the current process is largely automated and creates few long-term jobs.  The potential risk to our health, tourism, environment and agricultural sustainability is not worth the claimed employment and economic advantages.”

• Mark Ogge, The Australia Institute: The real economic impacts of coal and gas mining Tuesday March 17 at 7pm. Nell Pascoe Room, Criterion House. 108 Bathurst Street, Hobart

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Solar meter problems – let’s get it right this time ...

Jack Gilding, Rob Manson*, Todd Lambert Media Releases. Pic: *Bob Burton
16.03.15 5:00 am

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TasNetworks have today revealed that up to 10,000 customers may not have not been correctly paid for the solar power they have exported to the grid. In some cases the problem goes back to 2011.

• State Organiser Todd Lambert, CEPU Tasmania: Tasnetworks Solar Meter Debacle

Solar Citizens: Have your say on a new rule that will benefit all Australian energy consumers

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Politics | Local | State | Economy | Opinion | Society

Can Tassie devils control feral cats? The devil is in the detail

Bronwyn Fancourt and Elissa Cameron Professor of Wildlife Ecology at University of Tasmania. Photo: Ross Huggett/Flickr.
16.03.15 4:00 am

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We have only just begun to understand how devils, cats and quolls interact in Tasmania. Extensive research is currently underway that will hopefully provide us with some much needed insights over coming years ... Proposals to reintroduce devils to the mainland are commendable and may potentially yield benefits for species conservation. However, our findings from Tasmania suggest that the predicted benefits of such reintroductions may not be so predictable.

• Jack Jolly, in Comments: Great to see another article from Bronwyn on TT. I can’t remember the exact quote, but the essence is that ‘correlation is the worst form of science’. We were once bombarded with little Excel graphs of the decline of the Tasmanian devil being correlated with an increase in foxes. Story tellers even captivated us with tales of Tasmanian devils once eating all those Tasmanian foxes, foxes that turned out to be false positives and hoaxes. The same people assured us that foxes had been released in Tasmania in a conspiracy. Even ernest academics from UTas assured us it was all true, apparently without the foggiest notion of what they were actually talking about. Then along came the quoll and cat connection. Now devils are the solution for mainland fox control. Dingoes are a virtual homeopathic cure all. But based on what evidence? Very little to none. At best, a lot of speculation and a dash of correlation. Bronwyn appears to have enough integrity to tell it as it is.

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Environment | Science