Photo: Alexander Gerst, International Space Station. Source: NASA.
29.09.14 4:59 am
More dust blows out of the Sahara Desert and into the atmosphere than from any other desert in the world, and more than half of the dust deposited in the ocean lifts off from these arid North African lands. Saharan dust influences the fertility of Atlantic waters and soils in the Americas.
Chris Harries. Pub: Sept 28
29.09.14 4:50 am
Australia plunges itself into another messy war; the Ebola virus is on the rampage in Africa; hundreds of war refugees rot away on Manus and Nauru Islands; catastrophic climate change threatens to collapse human civilisation; then came yesterday’s AFL Grand Final.
The personality of note on Saturday was star forward Lance Franklin, bought by the Swans during the year for the princely sum of $10 million in a nine year deal – a purchase that the Swans had gambled on to tip the balance in its favour. That particular sale is just one set piece in a rapidly accelerating trend towards naked, untrammelled commercialisation of the sport.
• Examiner: Tassie in the spotlight IT IS impossible to measure the overall benefits for Tasmania of Hawthorn’s successful grand final appearance yesterday, says Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman.
Eelco Rohling, University of Southampton. Photo: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio.
29.09.14 4:45 am
Ice sheets respond slowly to changes in climate, because they are so massive that they themselves dominate the climate conditions over and around them. But once they start flowing faster towards the shore and melting into the ocean the process takes centuries to reverse. Ice sheets are nature’s freight trains: tough to start moving, even harder to stop ... Research we carried out previously found that modern sea level rise seems to be conforming to what we would expect from (high end) natural responses to warming. That is: after 150 years of increasing (man made) warming, the ice sheets would only recently be reaching the point where they start making a noticeable contribution to sea level rise. But that time has come and, once ice sheets start to melt, the freight train is in motion. It will then keep moving for many centuries to come, no matter how hard we stamp on the brakes. (Photo: Arctic sea ice hit its annual minimum on September 17, 2014. The red line in this image shows the 1981-2010 average minimum extent.)
John Hawkins, Chudleigh
29.09.14 4:40 am
The Annual Hobart National Trust Antique Fair will be held at Runnymede, 61 Bay Road, Newtown from Friday 17th - Sunday 19th October between 10am - 5pm. At the Fair I will be exhibiting this rare box of Tasmanian specimen timbers produced circa 1912 by the Huon Timber Company Limited of London and Hobart. How could this be?
Stephen D. Sarre et al Pub: Sept 25
29.09.14 4:35 am
Letter to the Editor, Forensic Science International Defining specificity in DNA detection of wildlife: Response to Goncalves et al. ‘‘The risks of using ‘‘species-specific’’ PCR assays in wildlife research: The case of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) identification in Tasmania’’
• Andrew Miller, Stock & Land: Science vs tall tales in the feral battle IT WAS a famous line, from an iconic television series – Seinfeld. “Jerry, just remember. It’s not a lie ... if you believe it.” Wise advice to Jerry Seinfeld – and perhaps a lesson to be heeded when it comes to seeking the elusive Tasmanian fox.
• Dr David Obendorf, in Comments: This ‘war of words’ would be assisted if Dr Stephen Sarre had done what scientists normally do when publishing a paper with such an extraordinarily confident title: ‘Foxes are now widespread in Tasmania: DNA detection defines the distribution of this rare but invasive carnivore.’ And that is, to have openly accessible for all to examine the technical data that supports your direct assertion embodied in the title of your paper. This paper published in the Journal of Applied Ecology in December 2012 did not provide that data. Authors have the opportunity to include such technical data as Supporting Information to their published science paper; in this case no such data was included. Dr Ivo Edwards amongst many others have requested it (on several ocassions) and to date it has not been provided by Dr Sarre’s Institute of Applied Ecology. This has been one of the concerns the independent science panel reviewing the Tasmanian Fox Program has formally taken to the Vice-Chancellor of Dr Sarr’e University - the University of Canberra. Dr Sarre, you can assist this process of understanding your application of molecular science by making the technical data you relied on to make this strong statement accessible to all. Thank you.
• Andrew Miller, Stock & Land: The Great Fox Fable THE call has been made for a full police investigation into Tasmania’s Fox Eradication Program (FEP) after Tasmanian Agriculture Minister Jeremy Rockliff confirmed the program had been wound up, after nearly 13 years. “There is no evidence that foxes have been detected since July 2011; however, it is important we remain vigilant,” Mr Rockliff told an estimates committee hearing recently. However, Tasmanian Member for Windemere Ivan Dean said it was now time for a police investigation into the activities of the Fox-Free Task Force and the program, which is estimated to have cost between $30 million and $50m ...
• Stock and Land’s Editorial, cartoon and Nick Mooney letter ...
Ariel Bogle and Will Oremus, Slate
29.09.14 4:30 am
How Australia became the dirtiest polluter in the developed world.
Nick Mooney Wildlife Biologist. Pub: Sept 29
29.09.14 4:15 am
9th Sept female trying to get comfortable ...
Greens Leader Kim Booth MP
29.09.14 4:15 am
Welcome to all to the second day of what has been an inspiring and constructive conference so far. And I at this point would like to acknowledge my Parliamentary colleagues Nick McKim and Cassy O’Connor, who with me make up our small but effective State Parliamentary team.
Sadly, conflict over our special native forests and wild places is doomed to escalate under the Hodgman regime, with their punitive and ideologically driven attack on parks and reserves. Conservation Areas and Regional Reserves, which existed before the Tasmanian Forest Agreement Act 2013, have now also been made vulnerable to logging. Iconic forest areas slated for future reserve status have now been re-designated as Future Potential Production Forest Land. And they think that international markets won’t wake up to their game? Liberal ideology and revenge has wiped out any chance of sophisticated markets buying Tasmanian timber products, or for Forestry Tasmania to get Forest Stewardship Certification (FSC). What they can’t chop down, they will assist in having dug up – as the assault on the globally acclaimed Tarkine shows. Dodgy mining company after dodgy mining company are supported by government largesse, to ensure the destruction of the vast historical, cultural and environmental values of the region.
29.09.14 4:00 am
Early in every war I can think of, it is deemed necessary that each side demonise their perceived enemy. IIt is each side’s way of demonstrating that God and right are on our side. God is, it seems - and always has been - amazingly flexible during the early weeks of most wars.
Don Knowler, http://donaldknowler.com/ Pic: Wikipedia's Native Hen
29.09.14 4:00 am
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
Nick Mooney Wildlife Biologist
29.09.14 3:59 am
The recent finding of what was almost certainly a shot devil in bush near Rocky Cape starkly reminds me that, despite the hype about disease and apparent public enthusiasm, not all Tasmanians have a positive attitude to this fundamentally important species.
Carmela Ferraro Media and Communications Officer Doctors for the Environment Australia Image*
29.09.14 3:45 am
Alice McGushin, a medical student from Burnie, is on an ambitious mission to ensure that we and her generation survive the worst aspects of climate change.
Aïssata Maïga and Sol Torres 17 September 2014, OpenDemocracy
29.09.14 3:44 am
Criminalising the buying, rather than the offering, of sexual services is one of the ways to fight the transnational criminal networks behind the trafficking of women.
Evan Whitton @EvanWhitton1 Pic*
29.09.14 3:30 am
Background. Mark Ella was the best Rugby player I ever saw. He was retiring after this match because, like most people, he despised the so-called coach, Alan Jones, now a Sydney radio ranter. To achieve a Grand Slam, a team has to beat England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.
Peter Gutwein, Treasurer Media Release. Pic: of Peter Gutwein, Premier Hodgman left, Rene Hidding right. Pub: Sept 25
27.09.14 7:00 am
By delaying the wage freeze legislation the Legislative Council has effectively rejected the Bill. We are extremely disappointed with this outcome, because we didn’t want to cut 500 additional public sector jobs.Unfortunately, today’s vote in the Upper House left us with no other option. Since being elected in March, Tasmanians have learned that when we say something, we mean it ...
• Pete Godfrey, in Comments: Mr Gutwein does not seem to be thinking too clearly, he said “When the people voted for us on March 15 they voted for a new Government – a Government not beholden to unions or any other interest group.” He seems to be forgetting a very small vocal interest group that are interested in lightening the public purse at every opportunity. “Forestry”. So how about fixing the budget mess by stopping the subsidisation of woodchipping. That $11 million would go a fair way to paying some bills. Then of course you could get some of the subsidies back that were paid out under the TFA that has now been scrapped. If any of the paid out contractors return to the forests they could be required to pay back their payouts. That would go a long way to fixing the budget mess too.
• TT MEDIA HERE ... as Bryan Green says it’s time for the Premier to clean up Peter Gutwein’s mess, while Kim Booth says The Treasurer’s temper tantrum will provoke industrial action ... and Sea Shepherd urges the WA government to scrap nets idea etc, etc ...
• Leonard Colquhoun, in Comments: Too many MPs (that is, it seems, almost all of them) seem to have ignored the bad PR of being seen as acting on this principle: ‘Do as we say, not as we do’. How different it might have been, and how far less tawdry their reputations^, if MPs had agreed to repealing 99% of their rorts & perks, agreeing instead to a straight-forward fortnightly salary? Our lot could really dish out our traditional ‘Tazzee leading the nation’ slogan! (^ Next, if only they had all been gainfully employed before their pre-selections!!)
Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) federal secretary Christopher Warren. Media Release Pic* Pub: Sept 26
27.09.14 6:30 am
The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), the union and industry advocate for Australia’s journalists, has described the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill No 1 which been passed by the parliament an outrageous attack on press freedom in Australia. MEAA federal secretary Christopher Warren said: “This Bill has been rushed through in undue haste without proper discussion or debate of the implications it has in denying long-held freedoms in Australia. In a healthy functioning democracy this assault on the public’s right to know and the penalties applied to the media for scrutinising power must be condemned. The Bill muzzles the media from doing its job.
ABC Pic of Scott Morrison. Pub: Sept 25
27.09.14 6:15 am
Human rights groups have described a deal to send asylum seekers from Australia’s offshore detention centres to Cambodia as shameful.
Jack Gilding, Executive Officer Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance
26.09.14 2:52 pm
Talk for Rally for Renewables, Hobart 26 Sep 2014 Tasmania has a long and proud history of developing renewable energy. Nearly 120 years ago the Duck Reach Power Station in Launceston replaced gas street lighting with modern electric lighting. Tasmanians know how to do new technology!
Jack Gilding, Executive Officer Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance Inc. Media Release. Pic*
26.09.14 6:45 am
Renewable energy workers, businesses, solar owners and supporters will gather at the electorate office of Senator Eric Abetz today to protest the Federal Government’s attempt to hurt jobs and families by attacking the Renewable Energy Target. “We will rally with thousands of people around Australia at noon on Friday September 26,” Jack Gilding, Executive Officer of the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance said. “Our message to all Tasmanian MPs is that Tasmanians will accept nothing less than full support for the Renewable Energy Target, with no cuts.” Solar advocates from around Australia are taking their campaign to save Aussie solar and renewables right to the doorsteps of their local MP to demonstrate how much they value the Target. “The Target will create at least another 18,000 jobs in solar and renewables by 2020 if it’s kept in place – and Tasmania should be the place that many of those jobs are created.”
• TT MEDIA HERE ... And Lisa Singh calls for Abetz to protect the RET, Marti Zucco urges a tram museum for the railyards site etc etc
Alderman Jeff Briscoe, Chair of Parks & Customer Services Committee HCC* Media Release. ABC pic of Damon Thomas
25.09.14 6:57 am
Lord Mayor Damon Thomas can and should release the HCC’s Annual Report now - to disclose the Myer deal - prior to council nominations closing.
• TT MEDIA HERE ... as The Treasurer ‘“supports the removal of increments from the pay freeze legislation, and instead supports an amendment which will see pay paused for 18 months, instead of 12 months, and will limit pay rises to two per cent for six months beyond that ...” and Kim Booth calls it a backflip which vindicates concerns ... etc, etc ...
• Ben, in Comments: Hobart City Council is negotiating deals to give away hundreds of thousands of ratepayer’s dollars, with recipients contractually required to offer personal benefits to Hobart City Councillors in return. The Mercury revealed today (25/9/14) that Hobart City Councillors received a total of $25,000 in personal benefits from North Melbourne Football Club, as part of the initial deal in which the HCC gave NMFC $250,000pa of ratepayer’s money to play football in the nearby Clarence municipality. The HCC Aldermanic Gifts Register* records the following comment for NMFC’s largesse: “Provided by North Melbourne Football Club as part of the City of Hobart’s funding package”. This comment is not uncommon on the 2014 Gifts Register - benefits were also provided to aldermen by Dark MOFO, the Festival of Voices, the Hobart Baroque Festival, and the Domain Tennis Centre, all as “part of the City of Hobart’s funding package”. Is this practice legal? If it is actually legal, is it ethical, and will the Integrity Commission rouse itself and intervene?
• Alderman Damon Thomas, Lord Mayor, City of Hobart, in Comments: Dear Editor, It is important that on behalf of the Aldermen of the City of Hobart I provide a brief response to the pointless article by Aldermen Briscoe in today’s Tasmanian Times and as also reported in the Mercury newspaper. His comments cast aspersions on all Aldermen and the countless hours of deliberations we as a Council have contributed to dealing with this important matter. The Council has already instructed the General Manager to expedite the release of the Annual Report to the absolute earliest date logistically possible. Contrary to Alderman Briscoe’s comments, the release of information about Council’s support or otherwise of the Myer redevelopment is not timed around when nominations for local government are closed.
• Jeff Briscoe, in Comments: #4 LM Damon Thomas’s attempt to outrageously distract my call for a timely release of the Annual Report by him has so many similar characteristics to a former Premier’s reaction when it was revealed by TT that a Gunns’ subsidiary (not normally a house renovator) was renovating his sandstone mansion in Southern Tasmania. Indeed former Labor premier Paul Lennon could have easily written the Lord Mayor’s response to my so-called “pointless article”. No matter how much Alderman Thomas now protests, there is nothing in my statement that casts any aspersions on my fellow aldermen; many have worked hard to get these disclosures into the public area. Alderman Thomas’s enthusiasm on Leon Compton’s ABC radio morning show a couple of weeks ago to personally guarantee the release of the relevant information was an attempt to show some political leadership in this area when before he was a follower, not a leader. So let’s not hide now behind administrative and so-called mechanical shields. The public deserve and are entitled to know and, the sooner the better.
25.09.14 6:00 am
Trawling through Council Agendas looking for news is a mind numbing-experience. However, just occasionally you find a nugget of gold that makes all of the panning worthwhile.
ABC. Pic* Pub: Sept 24
25.09.14 5:30 am
Environmentalist and Wotif founder Graeme Wood says his investment in the Triabunna woodchip mill is uncertain unless there is more government support.
• TT MEDIA HERE ... as UNHCR launches biggest aid push in a decade, Peter Coad asks, Are Huon Valley Council policies costing jobs?, a Candlelit vigil for the French Journalists arrested in West Papua etc, etc ... and as Paul Harriss waters down trespass laws, he announces a new mine and the Environmental Defender’s Office announces a mining law workshop today (Wed) ...
• John Hayward, in Comments: Many must be busting to hear Guy’s explanation of exactly why it’s “too late” to hear Graeme Wood’s testimony. For that matter, it would be fascinating to hear why a chronic economic haemorrhage like woodchipping is so essential to the Tas economy.
• Will Hodgman: Tassie’s Tourism Industry Expresses Interest The Liberal Government is committed to building on our competitive strengths, especially tourism. We have set the target of attracting 1.5 million visitors to our state every year by 2020, which the industry says will create 8,000 jobs. We’re already seeing encouraging signs with a record 51,700 tourists travelling from our major Asia markets in the year to June according to the Australian International Visitor Survey.
• Pilko, in Comments: After the 2006 SE Asian tsunami Thais & Indo’s were rebuilding within a day. By the time i visited Thailand 12 months later there was almost no sign of the Tsunami’s effect. Locals are up 4am & working all day. Rebuilding. If they don’t get on with it, they earn no money & they live on the street, die. Its 3 years since a decrepit failed Tasmanian woodchip mill was sold privately. Yet today the Tasmanian Government continues to facilitate a process, a debate, a pity party that refuses to let go of that mill. A handful of local vested interests in Triabunna & Southern Tasmania are waiting for the government to intervene & buy them back the mill, rebuild it & start woodchipping again with that good old taxpayer safety net. In the process the Tasmanian Government risks driving out the new owner - one of Australia’s most successful businessmen. People ask why the Tasmanian economy is a basket case.
Nick McKim MP | Greens Justice spokesperson. Jenny Weber, Peg Putt, Richard Griggs Media Releases Pic* Pub: Sept 24
25.09.14 5:15 am
• Jenny Weber, Peg Putt, Richard Griggs Civil Libertarians, unions, environmentalists, community legal centres and lawyers have called for the Tasmanian Government’s anti-protest Bill to be scrapped, saying creation of proposed amendments by the Tasmanian Government is an admission that the Bill is deeply flawed, but that the changes will not fix fundamental problems.
• Nick McKim: Anti-Protest Bill Unfixable he Hodgman government must scrap its fundamentally flawed Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Bill 2014, rather than waste the Legislative Council’s time trying to tinker around the edges.
David Obendorf. Pic* Pub: Sept 24
25.09.14 5:00 am
Playing with the Rules of EvidenceThe latest incident associated with the heightened terrorism alert in Australia required a response from a person with accountable authority. That person has declared the critically important statement that is so implicit to garnering the trust and confidence of a community.
Andrew Wilkie, Independent Denison Media Release. Satire* Pub: Sept 22
25.09.14 4:45 am
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has responded to John Howard’s embarrassment over the absence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. ``Former Prime Minister John Howard says he is embarrassed that no WMD was found in Iraq,’’ Mr Wilkie said. ``He should instead feel deeply ashamed but grateful that he hasn’t been charged with conspiracy to commit mass murder. ``The fact is Mr Howard deliberately misled the community every time he exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq. ``He knew full well there was no hard evidence that Iraq had a massive arsenal of WMD or was cooperating with Osama bin Laden.’’
• ABC RN Breakfast: Iraq, WMDs and counter-terrorism: Andrew Wilkie Andrew Wilkie: Well, I don’t know about vindication. I know John Howard should be feeling a darn sight more than embarrassed, he should be feeling quite lucky that, ahh … conceivably he hasn’t been charged with conspiracy to commit mass murder. I mean the fact is Australia joined in the invasion of Iraq 11½ years ago based on lies. Back then the government was saying that Iraq had a massive arsenal of weapons of mass destruction; was co-operating with Al Qaeda and it was only a matter of time before those weapons would be passed to those terrorists. [2.17]
Martyn Goddard. ABC Pic: of Michael Ferguson, Health Minister. Pub: Sept 22
23.09.14 7:00 am
Despite the Tasmanian government’s fervent hopes that its pay freeze legislation will slash its budget into shape, employment costs in the biggest area ‒ public hospitals ‒ are likely to be pushed upwards instead. Apparently simple one-size-fits-all measures like the pay freeze, when applied to complex situations, can have unexpected and perverse effects. This is, perhaps unintentionally, the most radical piece of industrial relations policy to emerge from a government in Australia for many decades. The government does not appear to have thought through the ramifications.
• Download Martyn Goddard’s analysis of the pay freeze effects ...
ABC. Transcription by a Radio Listener. Paul Tapp picture of Triabunna mill
23.09.14 6:50 am
One of the new owners of Gunns former Triabunna woodchip mill says the government may still force him to sell it back to them. A government inquiry is examining the sale of the Gunns mill to millionaire environmentalists Graeme Wood and Jan Cameron. The business partners have decommissioned the mill and plan to develop it as a tourist attraction. Mr Wood told ABC Radio his plans for Triabunna are uncertain because the government could still compulsorily acquire the site. “But still, I repeat the Premier has not ruled out the possibility of a compulsory acquisition of the site, so from a pure business investment point of view, how much money am I going to invest in it to have it all torn up?”
• AND, 3.50pm ... Uncertainty over Triabunna mill tourism plan, owner Graeme Wood says
• AND, Blair Richards, Mercury: Triabunna mill site could be revived, Tasmanian businessman tells parliamentary inquiry
• John Hayward, in Comments: A classic exposition of Tasnomics, with the Libs mulling over the idea of gutting the health budget and public service to support the public acquisition of possibly the world’s most voracious and wasteful woodchip industry on behalf of private industry cronies and perhaps some of their own MIS-loving members. Ideological fundamentalism at its purest.
Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Multicultural Affairs spokesperson.Media Release. Satire* Pub: Sept 22
23.09.14 6:45 am
The Tasmanian Greens called on Premier Hodgman to join them in condemning the small-minded, xenophobic comments of PUP Senator Jacqui Lambie and the unlikely support given to her by Federal Liberal Member for Braddon, Brett Whiteley around Australians wearing burqas. Greens Multicultural Affairs spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said that Senator Lambie’s comments about burquas were offensive and bigoted, but Mr Whiteley’s support was more concerning. “The Liberal Member for Braddon’s sympathy towards Senator Lambie’s xenophobic views are alarming, and I would hope that Liberal Premier Hodgman has the sense to distance the Tasmanian government from his Federal colleague’s views.” Ms O’Connor said.
• Dr Kevin Bonham: Jacqui Lambie And The British Thug Far Right (If you wish to comment on Dr Bonham’s article, do so on his website)
NOW JACQUI goes after Tasmanian Aboriginals, says ABC Radio ...
Alderman Jeff Briscoe, HCC Chairman of Parks Media Release. Pic: of the old Springs Hotel. Pic: Sept 22
23.09.14 6:15 am
On Monday night the Hobart City Council will consider calling for Development Applications for a suitable development at the Springs, Mt Wellington.
• Eva Ruzicka: Just what scale of development do we really need at the Springs? No, I’ve said, no, to the large scale accommodation/resort/conference/restaurant styles of development. And for darn good reason. Living on the Mountain at Fern Tree for twenty years sharpened my appreciation for how easy it is to spoil a natural place. So distracted have we all been by various cable car and resort proposals for kuyanyi/Mt Wellington, by continuous reviews of the Wellington Park Management Trust’s Management Plan, that, really, we’ve often missed opportunities to capture appropriately scaled development that is both the benefit of the bio-reserve that is kunanyi/Mt Wellington, as well as all the people that want to go there. For twelve years nothing was done while Council chased the ephemera of a so-called eco-resort development then a cafe/restaurant development while the existing public facilities deteriorated and car parking started to clog the Springs out. More here
• (Ald) Jeff Briscoe, in Comments: UPDATE: HCC approved (9:3) the recommendation from the Parks Committee last night. Now the HCC will call for appropriate DAs to be lodged by end of January 2015. I believe this is a sensible way forward for commercial developments on the Mountain. Any DA will be assessed in an open and transparent way according to the planning laws. It should be noted that DAs are not popularity contests in social media but will succeed or fail on its merits and the safeguards that are built in the motion that was endorsed last night by majority of Council. Authorised by Jeff Briscoe 318 Liverpool Street Hobart (required by electoral laws )
Ten Days Artistic Director David Malacari Media Release
23.09.14 6:00 am
Ten Days today unveiled a new name for its acclaimed biennial international multi-arts statewide festival, the Tasmanian International Arts Festival.