Articles

Spinners who would sell their own grandmothers ...

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ Pub: Jan 19. Pic*
20.01.15 4:45 am

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Australians are a plain-speaking people who prefer simple, direct speech in their everyday dealings. We also, however, have a fondness for the vernacular, our unique, colourful, colloquial language.  Our national conversation is enriched by vivid images and vital figures of speech and it is often underscored by a capacity for ironic understatement which keeps us from having tickets on ourselves and which can also act as a reality check on others’ pretensions. The Australian tradition is under attack today, however, from all sides, from spinners who could sell their own grandmothers to experts who wilfully pepper their conversation with jargon, happily losing whole audiences in the quest to bolster their own status and to have the last word.

No wonder disillusionment with politics appears rampant ...

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Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | National | State | Economy | Environment | Health | Opinion | History | Society

Smart meters proposed for Tasmania in a current government draft for public comment

Don Maisch. Pub: Jan 19
20.01.15 4:15 am

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… So, have the vested interests that have done a clever spruiking to the Tasmanian Government somehow solved this problem? Unlikely. For example, according to an investigation by Ontario’s auditor-general Bonnie Lysyk in December 2014, Ontario’s $2 billion smart meter program has failed to meet electricity conservation or cost-reduction goals and delivered few benefits at a hefty cost. She specifically criticised the province’s energy bureaucrats for plunging into the system without proper planning, and making it impossible for consumers to understand their rising hydro bills. Her findings included …

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

The Smith Street Band attacks Tony Abbott’s refugee policy with new song

Martin Boulton, The Age
19.01.15 3:00 am

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… In time for Australia Day this year Melbourne four-piece the Smith Street Band have taken a swipe at the Abbott government’s policies on asylum seekers with the provocatively titled track Wipe That Shit-Eating Grin Off Your Punchable Face in a bid to keep the plight of refugees firmly in the spotlight and on the political agenda. …

MANUS ISLAND latest ...

Guardian: Manus protesters barricade themselves in, fearing PNG Mobile Squad attack

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

Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction. 2014 the hottest year on record ...

Carl Zimmer, New York Times. Guardian
19.01.15 2:45 am

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A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them.

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

Tim Flannery: They’re taking over ...

Guardian: Coalition Climate policy under fire after 2014 shown to be the hottest year on record Anthony Albanese says: ‘Tony Abbott is frozen in time while the world warms around us’ following release of Nasa-Noaa global warming data …Professor Will Steffen of the Climate Council said incidences of heatwaves, bushfires and other extreme weather in Australia are increasing. “Climate change is a major factor in the increase in extreme heat that Australians have experienced over the last few decades,” Prof Steffen said. “Heatwaves are becoming hotter, longer and more frequent. This is worsening bushfire danger weather.” The long-term warming trend has been driven by the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, he said. 

Alternet: Dire Warning: Richest 1 per cent will soon control half of world’s wealth Charity Oxfam warns of widening inequality gap, days ahead of Davos economic summit in Switzerland.

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

90% of submissions to Tasmanian fracking review say No!

Shaun Thurstans, Frack Free Tas
19.01.15 2:32 am

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The vast majority of those who wrote submissions to the government review on fracking in Tasmania sounded a loud and clear ‘No’ to the industry, including farmers, residents, UTAS, Doctors for the environment, Hydro Tasmania and Wine Tasmania. 90.4% of submissions said they didn’t want to see fracking in Tasmania. Many called for either an outright ban or to extend the current moratorium for several years to give sufficient time for thorough environmental and health impact assessments, or until fracking can be proved safe. Even the Department for Health and Human Services has expressed grave concerns of public health risks warning the government to ‘take the precautionary principle where scientific evidence is incomplete or lacking.’

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

Reviewed! Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Amber Wilson
19.01.15 2:15 am

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Despite what people might say or think, there isn’t really a fine line between narcissism and self-esteem. One is pathological and rooted in the comparison and elevation of oneself above others, while the other is a healthy appreciation of one’s virtues that allows a person a comfortable place among his fellow humans. Of course, the two can get confused, just as a person might confuse love with admiration – an accusation directed at our protagonist, an ageing superhero movie star (Michael Keaton) by his ex-wife in the truly wonderful film Birdman.

Read the full review HERE, Comment below

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Writers | Amber Wilson | Arts | Review

Reviewed! Little Missy Patisserie

Bronwyn Williams. Image from here
19.01.15 2:10 am

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… The scone arrived on a vintage plate – warm and oozing whipped butter.  It was beyond delicious, with a crunchy top crust, light texture and subtle cheesy flavour.  Any lingering sadness at the departure of the relatives immediately evaporated in a cloud of flour, herbs and scrumptious dairy. My companion inhaled his frittatas and declared them magnificent – light, tasty and pleasingly filling.  He particularly enjoyed the accompanying wafer thin rosemary sprinkled potato crisps. …

Read the full review HERE, Comment below

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Writers | Bronwyn Williams | Food | Review

Love is stronger than hate ...

Hilary Burden, https://hilaryburden.wordpress.com/ Pic: of Hilary Burden
19.01.15 2:00 am

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… I wish for our island smallness to be a centre of big ideas; for us to make politics about the bigger things, not the pettiest. Advance ways to peace, not bigotry. To talk more about ethics not markets.  …

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Writers | Hilary Burden | Politics | International | National | Economy | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

Fox Scientists: Both Sides Stumped?

Garry Stannus
19.01.15 1:45 am

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PREAMBLE: Officially, the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IA-CRC), has seemed unwilling to consider that fox scats, imported from the mainland for use in ongoing training of detector dogs, may have subsequently been ‘discovered’ in the field and identified as scat coming from a fox living wild in Tasmania. Since 2003, the CRC, through the work of Professor Stephen Sarre, has been involved in work associated with the incursions of foxes onto our island.

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

Mother Mountain: The Symphony of Birdsong (46)

Don Knowler, http://donaldknowler.com/ Pic*
19.01.15 1:15 am

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

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

Spotted Handfish for Tasmanian animal emblem ... ?

Spotted Handfish for Tasmanian animal emblem, Facebook
19.01.15 1:04 am

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Matthew Groom (Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage) reckons it would be a good idea to make the Tasmanian Devil the official animal emblem. But there is a growing groundswell for the Spotted Handfish (and a Facebook page!) What do you think ... Read more HERE

What Matthew Groom says, HERE

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Politics | State | Environment | Society

Dickens on our corrupt legal system

Evan Whitton, @EvanWhitton1 http://netk.net.au/whittonhome.asp . Pic: of Charles Dickens
19.01.15 1:00 am

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Justinian August 11, 2006 For those interested in the law, Sunday night is Bleak House. We fill a beaker of Armagnac, set fire to a long Cuban, and sit back to enjoy the triumph of the adversary system and the case that never ends.

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Writers | Evan Whitton | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Opinion | History | Legal | Media | Society

Saudi Arabia’s history of hypocrisy we choose to ignore

Robert Fisk, The Independent
19.01.15 12:45 am

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On Thursday, a Saudi blogger will receive his second flogging for ‘insulting Islam’. Robert Fisk looks at a barbaric regime with a brutal record

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Politics | International | National | Economy | Health | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society

The ad Doritos doesn’t want you to see!

Greenpeace UK
19.01.15 12:30 am

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Watch here

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

Bob Brown: Wilderness degradation should lead to unique label being dropped

Jenny Weber, The Bob Brown Foundation Media Release. Pic*
18.01.15 10:38 am

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Jet skis to churn up Bathurst Harbour Elder environmentalist Bob Brown says the Hodgman government has set course for the ruination of the uniquely profiled Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. “This wilderness fame, more than anything, is the factor raising Tasmania’s visitor numbers and tourism jobs by 10% per annum. “Hodgman’s absurd notion of jet skis in Bathurst Harbour is compounded by opening the door for the propellors of large ships to destroy the globally-significant sea floor ecosystem at the harbour’s entrance as well as logging and mining in the World Heritage forests nearer Hobart. The brigade backing the government, from Ian Johnstone to Simon Currant, has dollar signs in its eyes and believes it is able to envision tourism developments inside the TWWHA like no-one else. “But you don’t have to be a genius to make a profit out of grabbing publicly-owned values like wilderness for personal profit. “When ever did any of these profiteers do anything to campaign for protection of the wilderness of Tasmania?

Mercury, Matthew Groom and Christine Milne, The Wilderness Debate: Unlock tourism potential or leave areas untouched?

Mercury, Sunday Insight: Bound and Gagged

Matthew Groom: TWWHA management plan strikes a sensible balance

Ted Mead in Satire: Bathurst Harbour

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Society

Wilderness – going, going, gone!

Ted Mead. Satire: Ted Mead. Pub: Jan 15
17.01.15 5:30 am

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Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife are on the verge of releasing their draft WHA (World Heritage Area) management plan, and it seems the main thrust of it will be to banish the word ‘Wilderness’ from any identity or acknowledgment within the plan.

Craig Farrell: Labor Backs increasing tourism opportunities

Will Hodgman: The Pumphouse Points to Tourism Success

Charlie Sherwin, Vica Bayley, Rob Campbell, Jenny Weber, Peter McGlone: Government threatens brand integrity, outstanding values and Tasmania’s reputation with proposal to abandon wilderness protection … The TCT Director Peter McGlone questioned the economic benefit of the government push to open wilderness areas to development, stating that “There are record numbers of tourists coming to Tasmania and a massive increase in numbers visiting national parks and doing iconic walks such as the Overland and South Coast Track so there seems to be no good economic reason for making it easier to build new attractions in wilderness areas. Tourism is booming at the moment and the government’s proposal to open wilderness areas to previously prohibited developments only threatens rather than benefits the future of the industry.” …

Nick McKim: Draft WHA management plan a disaster for wilderness

• George Harris, in Comments: I write this in support of the state and federal government in their initiatives to move forward with the Management Plan, and to criticise the on-going campaign of disruption being waged by the Greens and their supporters and the groups they have nurtured. I reckon they did this to get the jump on how the media reacts. I hate ...

Matthew Groom: Support continues to flow for sensible and appropriate tourism

Luke Martin: Balanced approach to Tasmania’s special places

Eric Hutchinson: Don’t be selfish

Ted Mead in Satire: WHA Tourist Experience

• mr t, in Comments: A quick observation on some of the posters. We have a new Liberal policy for world heritage forests ostensibly about tourism and recreational activities yet those in support of this policy are directly linked to forestry. This demonstrates the real driver is forestry and the denigration of world heritage values. Pretty shallow. Special timbers? Pig’s arse. This support from proponents of woodchipping native timbers over the years. It is not about tourism and forestry co-existing but about tourism in the prime wilderness areas with forestry to clearfell its preferred zones out of sight, as per usual. Another quick observation about so many forestry supporters in politics and the community. Most are well and truly middle aged or older males. Most will be dead and buried within 30 years or less. What makes them so desirous of crapping in their own nest before they kick the bucket and deny future generations enjoyment and employment? Such a sad bunch.

• George Harris, in Comments: Well! There you go… (#15)  I find I have commented on tasmaniantimes without actually intending to do so! I had actually given up on tt, realizing that Paul Lennon’s description of it is pretty right: “F*@*ing useless!” ...

• Russell Langfield, in Comments: Well! There you go… (#44). Mr 17% Paul Lennon is gone and TT’s still alive and well, so who’s “F*@*ing useless!”?

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Writers | Ted Mead | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society

Transportation Islands and Cities: A Launch

Lindsay Tuffin. Illustration by Tony Thorne
17.01.15 5:00 am

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What a marvellous idea ... What a marvellous collection ... And what an honour to be asked to contribute to launching it ... it is simply ... marvellous! I am, quite frankly, a bit in awe of both this idea, its compilation, and its birthing ... that wondrous moment when the wraps come off, and the sweet, sweet smell of newly-imprinted ink on paper wafts into your consciousness ...

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Books | Opinion | Society | What's On

Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought

Quartz via Dr Alison Bleaney. Pub: Jan 12
17.01.15 4:45 am

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As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.

But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives.

Health and Environment Alliance: MEPs discuss cancer prevention through better regulation of hormone disrupting chemicals

• Alison Bleaney, in Comments: Join a free webinar on brain-harming pesticides ...

• Harry Higgins, in Comments: Tasmanians and their environment have been under attack for decades by stupid,ignorant,self interested fools who have - apparently with no understanding of the risks - been assaulting our environment with a frightening collection of nasty poisons. Many of these poisons have been banned outright in most European countries, yet Tasmania follows the ‘good ‘ol USA’ down the path of self destruction. We can still purchase substances such as Carbaryl,2.4.D (component of Agent Orange),even the neonicotinoid poisons that are exterminating bees.Local councils liberally spray Glyphosate on roadsides with no thought of asking adjacent property owners for their approval.New evidence is emerging implicating Glyphosate in a range of health problems following exposure,including reduced IQ in developing brains and possible links with the ever increasing rates of Autism.Some have claimed Glyphosate to “be worse than DDT”.

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

It’s time to stop lighting fires

Bob McDonald, Naturalist* Pub: Jan 14
15.01.15 4:30 am

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… It’s time to stop lighting fires and to use fixed rotating thermal imaging cameras to detect them and the world’s best and biggest firefighting aircraft, when needed, to rapidly extinguishe them while we determine the effects and all the costs of this increased ‘fuel reduction’ and ‘ecological’ burning.  We also need to evaluate objectively whether or not burning all bush is a major costly ecologically mistake - and academically stop playing ‘my PHD is bigger than yours’.

Farms are repeatedly damaged by escaped ‘prescribed burns; and ‘prolonged’ fires, losing stock and fences, damaging rural community mental and bronchial health and breaking up families when burns go on for weeks.  Domestic and agricultural water supplies are compromised, fisheries and aquatic life are lost as dead vegetation washes into streams with rain following fires, robbing them of oxygen.  We have neglected even more deadly grassfires (per head of effected population).  We have neglected arson, often a mental health issue and an increasing problem we seem to be in collective denial about.  Yet arson was was the cause of 50% of the 2009 Black Saturday fires http://www.wilderness.org.au/articles/summary-and-implications-report-victorian-2009-february-fires, most of the Hobart fires of 1967 and was the entire cause of the deadly Dandenongs fires of 1962 and 1968 which killed more than 30 people. Surveillance by fixed rotating thermal imaging cameras will greatly help in catching ‘fire lighters’.  …

• Bob McDonald, in Comments: Bushfire fatalities (but not from grass fires or arson in the Dandenongs) did not happen from 1945, his last Royal Commission of 3, until 1983 on Ash Wednesday. Even the fatalities from these fires were mostly grassfires or fires propagated in European grass. As you know, fuel reduction burning was re-introduced to replace hazard reduction burning targeting areas around towns and remote properties gradually from the mid 1960’s. Its re-introduction and that of aerial ignition pioneered by David Packham in 1966 coincided with management for export woodchips which started in 1970. More importantly fire was introduced into forestry at the same time to regenerate clear-felled logged area’s. In 1983 the East Gippsland fire started by lightning strike in a regrowing logging coupe. A friend saw it start. This coupe was burned and likely treated with pesticides to prevent ants carrying off seed, which unknowingly killed oecophorids and other fuel reducing insects - not discovered until 1994 - probably making it highly flammable. I discovered, and hope foresters can too, that the bush has a remarkable capacity to reduce its own fuels with its own fauna which explains why there are still older forest remaining unburned scattered through the landscape today.

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

AMA welcomes decision to back down on changes to Medicare rebate

AMA Tasmania President Dr Tim Greenaway. Media Release. Pic: of Tim Greenaway
15.01.15 4:20 am

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The Australian Medical Association (AMA) Tasmania has welcomed the announcement by the Federal Government to back down on the proposal to cut the $20 Medicare rebate to Level B GP consultations, due to come into effect next Monday.

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

Doctors versus Liberals (1)

Martyn Goddard, Health policy analyst. Pub: Jan 14
15.01.15 4:15 am

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No political party inspires such unity among doctors, consumers and health economists as the Liberal Party.

• Dr Nicole Anderson, in Comments: I expect the changes proposed by the Liberals will die in the Senate, as they should. What angers me most is the likes of Brett Whiteley on the front page of yesterday’s Advocate spruiking the deluded benefits of these proposals to patients as if they were a given. It created great stress to reception staff trying to explain to extremely worried patients that we are not charging extra now! People were unnecessarily stressed by such media driven inaccuracies when in reality these threats made by the Liberals may well never materialise. If anything it plainly exposes the Liberals for having little idea how to run health policy, how out of touch they are with their previously adoring voters, and even less about the modern costs of running a quality GP practice.

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Writers | Martyn Goddard | Politics | National | State | Economy | Health | Opinion | History | Society

Doctors versus Liberals (2)

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ Pub: Jan 14
15.01.15 4:00 am

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… ‘Sending a price signal’ is jargon for making a visit to your doctor cost you more in order to cause you to see your doctor less often. Around Budget time, we were treated to Joe Hockey’s assumption that some, if not many, visits we make to the doctor are not necessary. Hockey’s scenario is ludicrous, yet it has powerful adherents in the government: the ‘price signal’ will bring us to our senses and eradicate malingering at a stroke of the regulator’s pen. Where he gets his information is never divulged because it proceeds from ideology rather than empirical fact. At worst, it is a palpable lie for the purpose of withdrawing funding from those who need it most: the elderly, the needy, those on low incomes. Discriminatory against key groups in society, given the structure of our economy and society it will punish women most, in what seems like a calculated act of callous indifference if not cruelty – all to meet a commitment to a Tea Party ideology.  …

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Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | National | State | Economy | Health | Opinion | Society

Transportation launch: Fullers Bookshop, 5.30 tonight

Rachel Edwards, Transportation Editor in chief. Pub: Jan 13
15.01.15 3:30 am

Image for Transportation launch: Fullers Bookshop, 5.30 tonight

A year after the notion of an international literary exchange was mooted, and high calibre short stories from two disparate yet similar places, an active online presence and a book were discussed, Transportation, islands and cities, is launching at Fullers Bookshop, 5.30 this Thursday night. The book features some of the best new writing from London and Tasmania, short stories, many voices, covering wide range of styles. There are challenging, beautiful, funny and slightly rude stories alongside the laconic and the sad.

Launch parties at Rough Trade in conjunction with the Nottingham Writers’ Studio and Brick Lane Books in London are to follow, as well as Launceston in February at new bookshop Volume 2 (the old Fullers). Nottingham is recognised by UNESCO as an international city of literature and the Writers’ Studio is a fantastic partner for Transportation to have on board, as is the legendary Rough Trade.

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Arts | Books | Society | What's On

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

John Berthelsen, Asia Sentinel. Pic* Pub: Jan 12, National Geographic
15.01.15 3:15 am

Image for The Truth About Ta Ann. ‘The biggest environmental crime of our times’

A sad tale of the Asian timber mafia and the man who did more than anything to create it, Abdul Taib Mahmud. By Lukas Straumann, Bergli Books. Softback,  313 pp.  Available in major bookstores.

… What’s worse is that Taib’s activities in Sarawak, according to the book, spawned a series of giant timber companies including Concord Pacific, Samling, Shin Yang, WTK and Ta Ann Holdings – all of which have received backing from the international banking community including HSBC and others – and have expanded far outside of Malaysia to Cambodia, Australia, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Congo-Brazzaville, Papua New Guinea and just about every other country with less than reputable governments and tropical timber to loot. …

• Pete Godfrey, in Comments: Seems like a perfect fit for Tasmania. Mr Lennon was proud of having lured Ta Ann to Tasmania, what a major boon it was. Even though we only woodchipped poor quality logging waste, Ta Ann would be using logs that would otherwise be going to the chipper. Now they are only using logs that would otherwise end up as valuable sawlogs.

Ted Mead in Satire: Innovations to the Tasmanian Coat of Arms ...

MEANWHILE ... as the State Libs plan to unravel nationally uniform defamation laws ...

Examiner: Nikolic backs power to sue BASS Liberal MHR Andrew Nikolic has thrown his support behind the state government’s plans to allow companies to sue individuals, despite it unravelling nationally uniform defamation laws. The state government is pushing ahead with plans to amend the Defamation Act 2005 to allow businesses to take legal action against groups or individuals that spread ‘‘false and misleading information’’. The reform is intended to target environment groups that damage the reputation of the forest industry but the opposition fears it could have wide-ranging effects on free speech. But Mr Nikolic said green groups should be responsible for any losses or damages caused for false claims. ‘‘This is a particularly important issue for Tasmania, given it has suffered most from these false and damaging claims, which harm the reputation of law-abiding businesses and cost Tasmanian jobs,’’ he said. The government has used protest action against former timber company Gunns and Ta Ann as examples of why the reform is needed. Deputy Labor Leader Michelle O’Byrne said it was another Liberal policy that was ‘‘rotten to the core’’. ‘‘Just like their draconian and poorly thought through anti-protest legislation, these changes to defamation laws are being widely condemned,’’ Ms O’Byrne said. ‘‘All Tasmanians should be concerned about these laws – which could result in individuals being sued by corporations simply for commenting on web forums or writing a letter to the editor.’’ But Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin said the government would balance free speech with the potential for misleading claims to destroy jobs. etc

• John Hayward, in Comments: While France is galvanised by concerns about free speech, Tas is offering asylum to corporate hoods wishing only to maintain their culture without interference from the law. Tas should consider a giant gateway statue of a blindfolded Vanessa G holding up a set of balance scales listing radically to the side carrying a golden figure of Taib. 

Michelle O’Byrne: Pressure mounts on Attorney-General to dump defamation plans

Vica Bayley: Government urged to reflect on own dishonesty in defamation culture-war

Simon Worrall for National Geographic: Can Borneo’s Tribes Survive ‘Biggest Environmental Crime of Our Times’? Politically connected timber barons have destroyed most of Borneo’s rain forest. The Penan are fighting to hold on to what’s left. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called the deforestation of Sarawak, a sliver of rain forest on the island of Borneo, in Malaysia, “probably the biggest environmental crime of our times.” In his new book Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia ( here ), Lukas Straumann investigates that crime. Straumann is director of the Bruno Manser Fund ( here ), which works to protect tropical rain forests.

• RJPeak, in Coments: I can’t help but think that the proposed defamation laws are another step in the Putinisation of Tasmania.  The government’s cronies and the local oligarchs must be protected no matter what the cost to Tasmania’s ostensible standing as a progressive, 21st century, First World society and economy or its national and international image.  With his opposition tied up in the courts, in gaol or fined into penury, I reckon we’ll soon be seeing young Will riding horses bareback and shirtless, giving judo demonstrations, and wrestling Siberian tigers—oops, Tasmanian devils.

Mercury,  Editorial: Laws would stain state Stifling freedom of expression hits at the heart of democracy and now Dr Goodwin’s move is being mentioned in the same breath as the events in Paris. Who is embarrassing this state on the international stage now, Dr Goodwin?

• Pete Godfrey, in Comments: The Libs seem seriously confused, I heard Vanessa Goodwin talking on the ABC about the proposed law changes. She cited Markets for Change and their campaign against Ta Ann and said the laws were going to protect Tasmanian companies from such attacks. Now apart from the facts, like the Markets for Change campaign being based wholly on facts and refuting Ta Ann’s lies to their customers, the Libs don’t seem to know that Ta Ann is not a Tasmanian company. They don’t pay tax, don’t seem to pay for their electricity, their buildings were built for them and they get their logs at below cost. Seems like they are worth saving to me. Not.

Karl Stevens in Satire: The Caliphate of Taibmania

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

New Zealand initiates action against illegal fishing vessels in the Southern Ocean

Andrew Wright, Executive Secretary, Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources Pic*
14.01.15 4:54 am

Image for New Zealand initiates action against illegal fishing vessels in the Southern Ocean

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a serious global problem that contributes to overfishing, creates unfair competition and impedes sustainable fisheries.  IUU fishing respects neither national boundaries nor international attempts to manage fishing on the high seas. Recent sightings of IUU vessels in the Southern Ocean by New Zealand have focused international attention on the challenge of curbing this practice.

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

Maxine’s story from the Trenches v Julia’s story from the Benches

John Biggs. Pic: ABC. Pub: Jan 12
13.01.15 4:15 am

Image for Maxine’s story from the Trenches v Julia’s story from the Benches

… All that said, however, her achievements were in fact considerable. She negotiated a minority government that survived the full term despite relentless attacks from the Opposition and the press, which says a lot for her negotiating skills. That government passed important legislation, such as the CPRS, the national disability scheme,  the mining tax (diluted though both these taxes had become), the Gonski education reforms and unfairness in superannuation tax. This legislative history in one term is more than Howard was able to do in three terms with majority government. Despite Tony Abbott’s incessant rants to the contrary, the performance of her government was also better than the Howard Government’s on inflation, interest rates, household savings, personal tax rate, company tax rate, international credit ratings foreign exchange reserves current account as a percentage of GDP, balance of trade. It was a successful government by any standards.

The problem was that her government wasn’t perceived to be successful thanks to lies and vicious attacks by the Opposition, all echoed in the Murdock press. But probably even more important, her ministers didn’t explain their policies. Rudd had real problems with the programmatic specificity needed for adequate communication and he was continually trying to undermine her; Wayne and Gillard spoke in a way that invited people to switch off; and the distraction and hectic pace of the change had placed on ministers a heavy workload. Whatever the reasons, the lack of adequate communication with the public was a grave mistake. They should have had, and deserved to have had, better PR about their work.

If McKew’s account is even only partly true – and it is surely more than that – there seems to be little hope for the ALP as it is at present. It has lost its roots and is now a principle-free zone driven by spin and polling. The elected leaders governing the country were so craven, and/or so easily manipulated, that they did not speak out against what they later admitted to be patently wrong: deposing a popular leader in his first term as prime minister.The culture McKew describes is one of disrespect, bullying, game-playing and big-noting yourself if you want to survive. How can you represent your electorate when so hog-tied? This is not representative democracyor even any sort of democracy, for once elected you become the creature of an unelected minority. All form and no substance. That is not the way to govern a country.

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Writers | John Biggs | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Media | Review

MOFO 2015 - IT BEGINS

Rebecca Fitzgibbon, Events Media Manager, Museum of Old and New Art
13.01.15 4:10 am

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Hobart’s MONA FOMA (Museum of Old and New Art Festival of Music and Art) in Tasmania, Australia, kicks off its annual summer festival this week, with a more open-ended approach than ever.

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Arts | What's On

Free Ranging the Tarkine – An ATV Invasion

Ted Mead. Pub: Jan 12
12.01.15 3:45 am

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Over the recent Christmas break I walked a return trip along the entire coastline From the Pieman River to near Sandy Cape. Unsurprisingly I witnessed numerous ATV’s cruising through that prohibited area, some of them not even registered. It was clearly visible they were still driving over exposed shell middens, up most of the steep dune-fields, and in many cases throughout the bird breeding zones above the high tide. Some ATV’S traveled as far as the Pieman River mouth.

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Writers | Ted Mead | Politics | Local | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

World Heritage Desecration

John Powell, Myrtlebank. Pics: John Powell
12.01.15 3:30 am

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Readers will recall that in June 2013, after a 4.5 year battle with Forestry Tasmania, Coupe BA388D (or at least a large part thereof) was declared a World Heritage Area by UNESCO.

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Writers | John Powell | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

Rupert’s at it again ...

MSN
12.01.15 3:20 am

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JK Rowling condemns Murdoch’s tweet following Charlie Hebdo killings

Daily Mail: Hacker group Anonymous ‘declare war on jihadists’ after Charlie Hebdo massacre by pledging to target terrorists on social media

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