The Peter Principle ...

Pat Caplice*. Pic: of Peter Gutwein from his website ...
22.12.16 6:30 am

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With pride Peter Gutwein has dangled his principles for all to see. Will his pride oversee the end of Pokies in Tasmania ... ?

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

The growing financial crisis in Tasmania’s newspaper industry

Bob Burton* First published December 19
22.12.16 5:45 am

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In the past decade the combined circulation of Tasmania’s three largest newspapers – the Mercury, the Examiner and the Advocate – has fallen by over one-third with no sign the decline has yet bottomed out. The dramatic decline of the three newspapers and a push by major media companies for the axing some of the rules blocking increased media concentration indicate further upheavals in Tasmania’s media landscape may be imminent.

• Mike Bolan in Comments: At a meeting of the media and public I attended 5 or so years ago ( TT here ), the media people expressed no interest in listening to the public regarding the content of their papers. It was a kind of ‘what would customers know about it?” stance. The established media organisations looked on growing organisations (like TT) with contempt because many of the writers ‘weren’t journalists’!! Yet what has the media become but a foghorn for government policy and propaganda, coupled with a desperate demand for ‘more advertising’. What it has utterly failed to become is a valued community information resource. (Spot on O’Brien @1) That failing means that it usually isn’t worth paying any of the cover prices for the paper, nor worth paying News to read about their ‘paywall’ articles. Until they start to deliver something that’s actually worth reading, their decline is likely to continue.

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Writers | Bob Burton | Politics | National | State | Editor's Choice | Legal | Media | Society

Will Jacqui Lambie back Big Media’s merger plans?

Bob Burton* First published December 20
22.12.16 5:30 am

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The fate of the lobbying push by Australia’s largest media companies for the abolition of two legal rules frustrating greater media concentration may hinge on the vote of Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie.

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Writers | Bob Burton | Politics | National | State | Editor's Choice | Legal | Media

Smart meters: The adverse effects on health ... ?

Don Maisch*
22.12.16 5:16 am

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Submission to the Australian Energy Regulator on TasNetwork’s revised tariff proposal and supporting documents as listed at … However in many places where smart meters have been rolled out there have been complaints from consumers who claim it has adversely affected their health, depending on the location of the meter in their homes. This possibility should be addressed and not simply ignored as an inconvenience …

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Which history narrative should prevail?

Jeff Briscoe*
22.12.16 5:15 am

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Hobart’s Lord Mayor, Alderman Sue Hickey recently conveyed a view about the proposed memorial to the ‘Black War’ in making comments about Mona’s vision for Macquaire Point.  A vision she clearly shares as I do.  One very small part of her statement out of context was seized upon. The resulting nasty commentary, specially on social media, but also in the traditional electronic media and the letters to the editor of the Mercury was beyond the pale …

• Mark Horstman in Comments: … The question in the headline – “whose narrative should prevail?” - is soundly answered by your assertion that everyone should just forget about the negatives of colonisation and focus on the positives. That is, the view of the victors should prevail, regardless of historical truths. We can truthfully commemorate the achievements of Tasmania’s development over the last two centuries only when we recognise the realities that it was based on. That is not guilt, but clear-eyed acceptance of historical fact. When it comes to war memorials for people who died defending their country, try substituting ‘ANZACS’ for ‘Aborigines’, and see how your views sound.

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | Planning/Heritage | Personal | Society

The EPIRB - It’s Use and Abuse

Ted Mead*
22.12.16 5:00 am

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The Silly Season is upon us, and most summers from around Christmas through into the new year the Tasmanian Search and Rescue helicopter is seemingly flying non-stop to rescue bushwalkers, boaters and-off roaders from emergency situations …

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Writers | Ted Mead | Politics | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Science | Society

Australians want a Prime Minister who is Fair Dinkum

Senator Helen Polley* Pic: of Malcolm Turnbull, Donkey Hokey, Flickr
22.12.16 4:45 am

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A leader is defined as:  “A person that holds a dominant or superior position within their field, and is able to exercise a high degree of control or influence over others” …

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

Will 2017 Be the Year Democracy Dies?

David Leigh*. Pic: Gage Skidmore, Flickr
22.12.16 4:30 am

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Watching the news pan out around the globe it rather puts one in the mind of a song. Prophetic and lyrical, the verses are not merely repeats but different ideas around the same ideology and only the chorus repeats.

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

Pillow Talk ...

A Christmas Story by George Smiley. Pic: Flicker Quinn Dombrowski
22.12.16 4:15 am

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There is this soft arm across my face.  “Sunday!” I say, “and we have a lot to do beside get ready for that barbecue tonight …”

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Writers | George Smiley | Society

NATION: Turnbull’s Christmas message neither comfort nor joy ...

Urban Wronksi (aka David Tyler*) Pic: of Andrew Nikolic from his Facebook page ... First pub: December 19
21.12.16 4:00 am

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While Australia anxiously awaits Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison’s ‘most Yuletide Economic Forecast Outlook, or MYEFO, due Monday, one in eight of us can’t afford to pay the power bill. Even more alarming, 730,000 children in Australia and rising, The Australia Council Of Social Service, (ACOSS) reports, live in poverty, worrying about their next meal. Yet the agony is over for former Tasmanian Liberal MP, Andrew Nikolic …

Guardian: Even though Myefo figures might cost us our AAA rating, the Coalition faces greater dangers

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Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Society

The Red River - A mining legacy

Michael Galvin* First published December 20
21.12.16 3:30 am

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… Open cut mining offers a sustainable industry whereby the impacts are contained within the local environs. There is a lot of copper and some gold and silver that can be further processed including processing out the gold and silver in the tailings dam. Connecting up the light rail and considering blasting a road through the open cut will help drain out the open cut and reduce water intrusion underground. These solutions are all practical and achievable to control acid mine drainage and mine safely in future …

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

Saul Eslake’s Tasmania Report ...

Saul Eslake* Pic* First published December 14
21.12.16 3:15 am

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Poorer, sicker, older, the least employed and at risk of falling further behind ... That is the conclusion of eminent economist Saul Eslake. Download and read for yourself his analysis here ...

Download The Eslake Report: HERE

ABC: Tasmanian economy risks falling further behind, economist Saul Eslake warns

Bryan Green: Tasmania Report needs to jolt do-nothing government into gear

ABC: Royal Hobart Hospital rated as ‘third world’

Peter Gutwein: Tasmania Report

• Gordon Bradbury in Comments: … For all of Mr Eslake’s hard work and obvious devotion to Tasmania I can safely say that we need much more than “belief”. Meaningful, directed change will not happen in Tasmania under the current State/Federal political system. The days of purposeful public administration are over. But let me say Mr Eslake has done a superb job. The report is concise and easy to read. Section 8 “Looking Forward” makes for particularly good reading, especially the discussion around “change” and Tasmania’s incredible resistance to it …

• Leonard Colquhoun in Comments: Rather than the causes (rather absurdly) alleged in Comment 6, it seems far more likely that “declining results in educational outcomes seems in reasonable equilibrium” with falling standards in university teacher preparation courses, with graduate teachers having a low level of knowledge & understanding of their classroom subjects and / or devoid of any sort of practical training in the classroom & allied skills of their profession. And this buck sits on the desks of numerous state ministers of education, regardless of major party membership. NSW looks like something of an honourable exception (though recent news stories seem to have it setting off on a similar path to decline).

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Writers | Saul Eslake | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Society


20.12.16 2:15 am

Image for Books for FREEEEEEEEE!x ALL GONE ...

Tassietimes has been gifted to give away ... Miss Mae’s Birthday, Grandpa’s Big Adventure, Wild Pa , Mindfulness on the Run, The Eczema Diet, Rise of the Machines (the lost history of cybernetics) ... All you have to do is write to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) nominating your pick and including the address to send it to ... As always, First in, Best Dressed ... And, they’ve all been snapped up!x

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Books | Society

The Truth about Forestry Tasmania ... in its own words ...

Pete Godfrey* Pic* First published December 12
19.12.16 2:15 am

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Forestry Tasmania admits it is not viable … Amazingly FT also concedes that its contracts are unviable. It states it receives only 50% of the price for its logs on some contracts compared to other jurisdictions. We can only assume FT means other state logging companies and private foresters. This is a massive thing to admit to - what it means is that FT has been selling logs at only half market value; no wonder the private forest industry has been struggling to compete with FT. Surely the Australian competition commission should be on to this. This is anti-competitive behaviour …

What a massive statement to make. FT needs to sell plantations just to pay compensation because it has been overcutting the forests …

Guy Barnett: Supporting skills and jobs in the forestry sector

• Geoffrey Swan in Comments: Thank you Pete Godfrey. EVERY Tasmanian needs to read the FT Letter you have enclosed ... this is an appalling state of affairs ... any private or shareholder business simply would not get away with any of this.

• Mike Buky in Comments: … The current model is disastrous for all.  Blind Freddy can see that FT is not only dead but should be buried and cremated. How much longer will the Tasmanian population have to tolerate coughing up for an industry that is costing them so much? When is a Tasmanian government going to bite the bullet and dissolve this failing industry?

• John Hayward in Comments: What an extraordinary document to find on a website, setting out the seemingly deliberate gross mismanagement of a GBE, a kind of transfer pricing with a private sector which is supposed to be customers. How could a GBE which has lost over a billion dollars since being established in 1994 manage to sell its public forest wood at 50% the stumpage rates charged elsewhere in Tasmania? Who drafted and signed the long-term contracts for more wood than FT could sustainably supply to customers which locked FT into perennial losses? Why, if not to exonerate present FT management from complicity, was this letter made public?  …

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

Don Knowler: If it does succumb, it will take any hopes of reviving the Tasmanian forestry industry with it ...

WHERE THE BUCK stops ...

THE BOARD of Forestry Tasmania ...
‘Our team ...’

• John Hawkins in Comments: On the Hansard website I discussed in great detail the letting of loss-making contracts to Ta Ann by Rolley when CEO of Forestry Tasmania. Thankyou Andrew Wilkie MP for tabling them before Parliament: HERE Come on de Fegely call a spade a spade and resign or are you also yet another Tasmanian crony appointment - hear nothing, say nothing, do nothing, just take our money?  …

WEDNESDAY, December 14 ...

• John Lawrence in Comments: … The repeated cries for FT to be wound up seem to be missing the reality that this is already happening in front of us. Go easy on Mr de Fegely, John (#14). After he authored the expert opinion report on feeding native forests into the Gunns pulp mill, prepared as part of the pulp mill IIS,  I don’t think anyone takes him seriously any longer. He might be Chair of FT but it’s a nominal position with Tony (Ferrall) in charge.

• John Hayward in Comments: Before being mollified by John Lawrence’s assurance that FT is under “de facto” voluntary administration, readers should ask themselves why the VA is de facto, why the “real” administrator, Treasury boss Tony Ferrall, is not formally recognised,  and why the political establishment ultimately responsible for the grotesque, bipartisan mismanagement of FT for many years is thereby enjoying the pretence of being a well-meaning bystander. There is no sign that our pollies were chastened by their disastrous attempt to bankroll a huge pulp mill with vast gifts of public resources, or that their efforts to dismantle the TFA are anything but a return to the same old racket. Mr de Fegely’s identification of gross managerial negligence may have been a hedge against possible legal culpability,  but he did make it himself as a uniquely frank admission for a Tassie insider.

• Andrew Ricketts in Comments: The current poorly conceived RFA consultation process will not bring anyone closer and obviously is bereft of genuineness. It is repulsive. It is closed in mind and obviously stinks of bias. This hotly contested subject (forests and forestry) demands thorough consultation and a far reaching independent investigation now - for the overall health and wellbeing of the Tasmanian community, the industry and the natural environment, as well I suppose for the economic aspects, which I concede have a relevance too, although not my main focus.

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Writers | John Hawkins | John Lawrence | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | History | Society

Politicians and Wilderness – They just don’t get it!

Ted Mead* Pic: of Matthew Groom DPIWE chief. First published December 17
18.12.16 5:00 am

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What is it with Tasmanian politicians?  All they can see is lines on maps delineating where our National Parks exist, and on those they have inscribed $$$ marks next to the title.

Matthew Groom: Tenders awarded for final stage of Three Capes Track

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Writers | Ted Mead | Politics | National | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Personal | Society

Ocean heat melting Totten Glacier from below ...

David Reilly, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre Hobart, Australia Pic: of Totten Glacier
18.12.16 4:53 am

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Australian research has confirmed that warm water flowing through a deep channel under East Antarctica’s largest glacier is driving rapid melting. The research, to be published today in Science Advances, sheds new light on the vulnerability of the East Antarctic ice sheet to ocean heat, which is one of the biggest unknown factors for global sea level rise projections.

The Conversation: Climate change played a role in Australia’s hottest October and Tasmania’s big dry in 2015 Climate change made some of Australia’s 2015 extreme weather events more likely, according to research published today in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. As part of an annual review of global weather extremes, these studies focused on October 2015, which was the hottest on record for that month across Australia. It was also the hottest by the biggest margin for any month. October 2015 was also the driest for that month on record in Tasmania, which contributed to the state’s dry spring and summer, and its bad fire season …

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

Foxes: A letter to Dr Vanessa Goodwin

Dr Clive A Marks, Dr David Obendorf First published December 5
18.12.16 4:15 am

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… We seek to clarify aspects of Tasmanian law in respect of importing and distributing fox carcasses, scats and tissues in the environment …

• Ian Rist in Comments: I don’t think they will ever admit to the damage this badly thought out and executed 1080 meat baiting campaign is responsible for ....Quolls definitely have worn the brunt of it, Devils copped it as well. One small population of five Devils that I was on a first name basis with completely disappeared after 1080 meat fox baiting occurred in their home range area.
I have been contacted by owners that have lost domestic and working dogs, a dreadful tragedy that simply should never have been allowed to happen…especially when it was all based on a “bright shining lie” …

• Ian Rist in Comments: … In excess of 350,000 1080 fox baits have been put out in the Tasmanian Landscape since 2002.

• John Hayward in Comments: It is well-established that sub-lethal doses of 1080 have been found to cause residual damage to organs such as the brain, heart, and reproductive system. What I have never encountered, despite repeated queries, is a Tas Government response to this issue. In light of this, the Tas Govt’s refusal to countenance the re-introduction of disease-free devils to the mainland, which is strongly urged by the scientific community, needs to revisited by credible authorities.

Mercury: Man to appear in Launceston court over fox find by Frankford Highway

Dr DAVID OBENDORF and IAN RIST warned years ago of the consequences of putting devils on Maria Island ...

ABC: Tasmanian devil road toll tops 600 as population makes a meal of Maria Island birdlife

• David Obendorf in Comments: … Dr Sarre and his co-authors that included a FEP staff member and scientific members of the Technical Advisory Committee to the fox program will need to be asked whether they aware of the contents of Simon Fearn’s 2011 report? As we highlighted at the time of its publication, it was extraordinary that such a prestigious journal would not have requested the authors to at the very least publish a listing of the FEP identified scats that they claimed were DNA-fox positive and formed the basis of their claim that “foxes were now widespread in Tasmania”.

• Jack J in Comments: Has anyone got back to Prof Sarre to ask him if foxes are still widespread in Tasmania? Or do we have the odd situation where the ‘on the record’ $50 million work’ claims that they do, while the (I assume) more modestly funded ‘secret’ DPIPWE report claims that the fox sh*t is actually bullsh*t? When you publish a report that says in the title that “foxes are now widespread in Tasmania” the reader kind of expects that to be the case. I suppose it would not worry Donald Trump, nor it seems the Tasmanian government and several members of the scientific community. Getting with the times, truth and report titles are just SO overrated ...

• David Obendorf in Comments: Were it not for the coverage on Tasmanian Times this issue would have gone un-examined. I took part in two fox program reviews (2005 and 2009) and wrote and met with several State and Commonwealth politicians (including Ministers responsible). I also initiated a fox reward ($5000) supported by Tasmanian Times which was available for nearly 5 years. As a veterinary pathologist I systematically challenged the authenticity of a dead fox found on Glen Esk Road on 1 August 2006. In my opinion this single incident was highly questionable and should have been more critically assessed by the scientific community and reported on by the local media who were all too willing to accept changeable story-lines driven solely by the Department. DPIPWE’s own internal investigations (which we now know were kept hidden since 2009) deemed the faecal (scat) evidence (aka the Great Poo Hunt) was likely to be based on hoaxed and DNA-contaminated samples AND that the Department was aware that Fearn’s reports pointed the finger of suspicion at employees of the fox program. Recently described as a ‘stuff up’, in my opinion, this was a form of functional stupidity embedded into the governance of the program; an inability to objectively, independently and without ideology examine the credibility of the program’s foundation and performance. The personal ridicule and bullying meted out to anyone who, to their cost, critiqued and analysed the program’s own information was most regrettable.

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Writers | Clive Marks | David Obendorf | Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

The parallel worlds of public hospitals and Peter Gutwein ...

Martyn Goddard* Pic* First published December 11
18.12.16 4:00 am

Image for The parallel worlds of public hospitals and Peter Gutwein ...

… Last week, I released a lengthy, number-heavy report on how the state’s public hospitals had fared during the first two years of the Hodgman government. There is a link to that report at the end of this story. I concluded, on the basis of the evidence, that $423 million in GST money, allocated to us from other states in recognition of Tasmanians’ high health needs, was not being spent on health this financial year. Instead, it was being diverted into other areas of the budget, particularly the chase for a budget surplus. I concluded, on the basis of the evidence, that Tasmania would need another 82 acute hospital beds if this state was to meet the national average of beds to population. If the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s calculation of the specific needs of our population for admitted care were to be factored in, that figure would rise to 200. …

Just because they are allowed to use that money in any way they like does not mean they should. It’s a matter of priorities. One would have hoped that running a decent public hospital system was at the top of any state government’s priority list. Apparently not in Tasmania …

WHAT THE MINISTER for Health Michael Ferguson thinks ...

Record investment in health

• Mike Bolan in Comments: Well done Martyn. One structural reason that politicians and bureaucrats find it so easy to degrade our health system is that they don’t have to use it! Their health needs are met because taxpayers have to provide Private Health Cover for these people. Hence they have no real idea of how the system performs from the public’s viewpoint, nor do they suffer the consequences of their own decisions. Change this one thing and politicians will quickly change their attitudes.

• (Dr) Alison Bleaney in Comments: Thank you Martyn for giving us the facts so plainly; as a health professional I find it painful to read and comprehend and as a Tasmanian I am outraged. Political doublespeak and the apparent need for ‘jobs’ and keeping ‘mates’ happy and profitable knows no bounds it would seem. Where to from here?

WEDNESDAY, December 14 ...

ABC: Royal Hobart Hospital rated as ‘third world’

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

The nub of the central issue of modern times ...

Christopher Nagle* Pic*
17.12.16 3:45 am

Image for The nub of the central issue of modern times ...

One of my interlocutors in these columns very perspicaciously pinpointed the nub of the central issue of modern times. The rise of capital and its utilitarian ideology broke up the integration of the sacerdotal and the secular in favour of secular, and the collective commons in favour of individual interest, both economic and social/existential. And now it threatens to rejoin in a convulsion that is not so different from the reformationary one that originally propelled Europe into the modern age …

Guardian: Wolfgang Streeck: the German economist calling time on capitalism … A member of the Social Democratic Party, Germany’s counterpart to (UK) Labour, since the age of 16, Streeck finally cancelled his subs a few years ago. Would he still place himself as a social democrat? He quotes Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind.” In another interview he has described “the most urgent task for the left” as “sobering up”. …

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

Making the most of what you have - my end of year message

Anton Clever* First published December 17
17.12.16 3:33 am

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Dear Chilliwops, This letter not only carries one of my simple messages but also serves to tell you a little about my background.  These are things we often don’t get to talk about Chilliwops, and your parents may not even know all of these things but it is probably long overdue that I share them with you.

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Writers | Anton Clever | Politics | Economy | Opinion | History | Society

Government Rains “1080 Hailstones” On Visiting Anglers

Tony Orman Journalist/Editor, BLENHEIM, 7240 New Zealand. Pic*
17.12.16 3:00 am

Image for Government Rains “1080 Hailstones” On Visiting Anglers

“It was like big hail drops hitting the water around us,” said New Zealand trout fishing guide Scott Murray who is a co-owner of River Haven Lodge near Murchison …

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Politics | New Zealand | Economy | Environment | Health | Opinion | Personal | Society

NATION: Say it ain’t so, Bro ...

Urban Wronski* (aka David Tyler) . Pic* First published December 12
16.12.16 2:45 am

Image for NATION: Say it ain’t so, Bro ...

“You won’t find an economist anywhere that will tell you anything other than that the most efficient and effective way to cut emissions is by putting a price on carbon.” Malcolm Turnbull Q&A 5 July 2010 … Forced to choose between saving Australia and the planet from global warming, or appeasing Cory Bernardi and the lunatic right, the PM plumps for keeping the nut jobs on side. No sooner is an ETS on the table than it is off again; dead, buried and cremated. It’s not so much political pragmatism as total capitulation. Surely there is no way Turnbull can continue to claim he is Prime Minister. Turnbull’s monumental failure of ticker triggers a chorus of scorn and disbelief. There is just too much on public record of Turnbull’s earlier advocacy of carbon pricing to leave him a skerrick of credibility. He is too quick, moreover, to throw Josh Frydenberg under a bus …

In one stroke, the Turnbull government proves it does not give a fig for the environment, global warming or its responsibilities as a world citizen and that it is prepared to tear up any social contract, renounce any commitment to a fair and just society. Let it regurgitate the propaganda of the mining and business lobbies. The Adani approval is a fatal error …

Fairfax: PM’s kowtowing serves no one

Fairfax: Maybe it’s time for Shorten to have a turn as PM ...

Ross Gittins, Fairfax: Politicised Treasury bites own tail, covers for Turnbull

• Chris Harries in Comments: … These guys go to bed and rise each morning thinking about money. They do understand economics, it’s not that they can’t grasp the basics. They do actually know what good policy would look like. Knowing this, one of their members will, from time to time, blurt out what is obviously sensible ... and then will get quickly pulled into line again.

Crikey: Did Rudd’s stimulus spending really hurt the economy?

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

Chairman Downie Says, ‘We Can Make TasWater More Accountable’

Tim Slade* Pic: Ebony Slade of Risdon Brook Dam ... First published December 15
16.12.16 2:30 am

Image for Chairman Downie Says, ‘We Can Make TasWater More Accountable’

… TasWater continue to obfiscate on questions of importance ~ including questions which cannot be explained away by the preservation of the bottom line.  TasWater, and the State Liberal government, oppose real-time data, notwithstanding the fact that TasWater have so far not provided a cost-analysis to support their claim. TasWater have not countered the independent analysis by Mr Daniel Taylor, which was used by the Legislative Council in their decision to support a policy of real-time data.  Mr Taylor’s cost-analysis cites a tiny annual expense of $12,000 …

• Alison Bleaney in Comments: TasWater transparently accountable? Local Councils and State Government aware of their responsibilities and prepared to shoulder them honestly with minimal cost shifting agendas and looking for the quick political fix? Chance would be a fine thing! Local Councils couldn’t throw water and sewerage fast enough to the now TasWater enterprise, so they no longer had to be accountable for the safety of drinking water; they had relied upon the ‘no look, no find’ approach for just long enough to make them realise they were just about to get into terrible strife. But they still ‘own’ TasWater and they get paid dividends now by TasWater so it would seem that this has worked to their advantage. But doesn’t that mean they are ultimately accountable for the safety and quality of the drinking water for Tasmania, however inconvenient that fact may be? And if not who is? Perhaps the Premier’s Dept could answer that vexed question. And while we’re at it, where or where is the DHHS Annual Drinking Water Report for 2014/15 and why hasn’t it been publicly released? What part do they play in the responsibility for safe, clean, non-toxic drinking water for Tasmanians?

ABC: TasWater’s $2.4 billion in needed upgrades could see corporation sidelined, Eslake says

• Tim Slade in Comments: A further aspect of the broken council model of oversight is that mayors and General Managers filter / withhold information that should go to councillors.  This means that the democratic system of publically elected councillors is being bypassed in many instances.  This occurred at numerous councils when I attempted to send communications to the one central council address of the 29 councils, for referral to all councillors and the mayors, in April, 2016.  My communication were to inform councillors that this topic of real-time data was on the table.  But the majority of mayors and General Managers, even upon repeated e-mail request, refused to confirm to me that they had forwarded information to councillors.  For example, this happened Clarence (President of LGAT), at Break O Day, West Tamar (GMC Board Member at LGAT), West Coast, Waratah-Wynyard, Northern Midlands (Chairman of LGAT), Dorset (who took the original motion to LGAT under the previous mayor, Barry Jarvis), Break O Day, Southern Midlands, Sorell, King Island, Huon, Kentish, Glenorchy, George Town, Central Highlands, Central Coast (GMC Board Member at LGAT) and Brighton.  The direction to do this, I believe, may have come from the top of LGAT, since I was sent an e-mail copy of correspondence sent by a senior LGAT worker about me to all and sundry within Tasmanian government.  Obviously, this is a ridiculously high number of mayors / GMs who are acting outside of… correct protocol.  So when TasWater are also dysfunctional and secretive, you have what you’ve got now…

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Writers | Tim Slade | Politics | Local | State | Economy | Environment | Health | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

A Christmas Pudding ...

14.12.16 8:34 am

Image for A Christmas Pudding ...

Used with permission ...

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Politics | International | National | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Personal | Satire | Society

Long term motorcycle travel ... my experience

Mark Shea, Pic: of Mark Shea and bike ...
14.12.16 4:23 am

Image for Long term motorcycle travel ... my experience

Ed: This is a great read (watch) ... … There is a general feeling in the World, and I know this, because I’ve traveled a lot and talked to a lot of people, that our democratic systems arent working! I’ve walked the urban apocalypse of inner city Detroit, I’ve seen the open range mental hospital of downtown eastside Vancouver. Australia is no different, neo-liberalism attacking the poor, the rich getting away with murder. The fair go country becoming a fair cunt! Our media overtaken by urban elitists who want to control every aspect of our lives with their opinions. Every two bit council and politician passing more and more laws.

To be honest, I’d given up on Australia. I realised I could live in other parts of the world for a third of the cost, with very little infringement on my freedoms and make my money online as a digital nomad. I didn’t need the big 4wd, the boat and the house that would take me two lifetimes to pay off. What I found fascinating on this trip is that I’m not alone. Everyone is feeling the same way – from employees to small business owners. Everyone feels under the pump – with costs, with loss of freedom. Fuck we cant even say what we think anymore with out being called a racist or a sexist! Even our language has been stolen from us!

I realised Im not the only one who is angry – who cant watch our public broadcasters, who cant read our biased newspapers, who cant listen to our politicians without shouting insults! But I did something, I removed myself from the system! I stopped being busy within their boundaries! …

• Pete Godfrey in Comments: Hi Mark, thanks for the story, I too love motorcycle adventures. Have mostly travelled on the East side, in the mountains, love sticking to dirt as much as possible. I don’t have a bike at the moment but will get another one in March next year. Feeling a bit like a kid again. It is great to read of other’s adventures. Keep travelling and don’t let the system catch you. The idea is to keep it simple, we don’t need much to have a great time.

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BASSLINK: Dracula in charge of the blood bank?

Kelvin Jones*, Kingston Pic* First published December 11
14.12.16 4:15 am

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Basslink 2?  … However, I think our politicians saw the dollar signs for peak energy exports on an emerging free market south-eastern electricity grid - and to hang with energy security. It seems with recent past events they have not learnt their lesson; perhaps they are Hydro blood-money drug addicts and this spell in rehab has failed …

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

What is your view on what caused the Basslink failure? Includes links to earlier Kelvin Jones’ articles ...

ABC: Power grid in need of multi-billion-dollar upgrade to safeguard future energy supply, report finds

Matthew Groom: Momentum buildings for second power cable

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If it does succumb, it will take any hopes of reviving the Tasmanian forestry industry with it ...

Don Knowler* Pic: Swift Parrots, Flickr, Dave Curtis First published: December 10
14.12.16 4:00 am

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The dead parrot sketch ( HERE ) might have been one of Monty Python’s most popular, but the demise of our own swift parrot is no laughing matter, writes Don Knowler

Timberbiz: Cold comfort for Tasmanians Six Tasmanian government businesses are operating with a letter of comfort from the Treasurer including Forestry Tasmania. During a government business enterprise hearing scrutinising the Tasmanian Public Finance Corporation, Labor MLC Craig Farrell asked Treasurer Peter Gutwein which state-owned entities currently had a letter of comfort. Mr Gutwein named Forestry Tasmania, Hydro Tasmania, Tasmanian Irrigation, TasRail, Tasports and Tasracing. Hydro Tasmania has been operating under various letters of comfort from Mr Gutwein — also known as a support agreements — since the Liberals took office …

• John Hayward in Comments: This parrots’ prospects would be dire enough if the bumbling LibLabs were merely indifferent to their fate, but all evidence is that these pollies bear the same blanket resentment toward nature that they do toward those humans who wish to protect it.

Geoff Law: Groom flouts UNESCO request to protect wilderness character in World Heritage … “Minister Groom has ignored the request of the World Heritage Committee and his own commitment to accept the recommendation of UNESCO’s experts and is undermining the protection of wilderness,” said Geoff Law, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society. “Wilderness is a defining feature of Tasmania’s World Heritage Area, a powerful brand for Tasmania and something that has always had strong, clear protection through previous management plans. “Now, Minister Groom has signed off on a plan that explicitly allows private, commercial developments to intrude within secluded and tranquil settings. Buildings and helicopter noise will degrade this wilderness. “The plan released today will reduce the protection for wilderness, an indictment on Tasmania and a genuine threat to our credibility in the international World Heritage arena …

Matthew Groom: Outstanding significance of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area protected with new management

Rosalie Woodruff: Warped Liberal Politics Put MONA’s Macquarie Point Vision at Risk

Rosalie Woodruff: Liberals Prioritise Presentation over Preservation in the TWWHA

ABC: World Heritage Area: Claims hut plan for wilderness area outside UNESCO wishes

Pic: Bob Brown

Bob Brown: Hodgman degrades Wilderness Brand ...

Will Hodgman, Matthew Groom: Government resets vision for Macquarie Point

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Geraldine’s favourite bookshop ...

Geraldine Brooks, New York Times
12.12.16 2:45 am

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… Fullers Bookshop became my second home. I went there to get warm on a wintry afternoon, to strike up conversations with thoughtful booksellers and to find insights about Tasmania in the books by local authors that they recommended, and that the bookstore often published. It’s a venerable store, established by Bill Fuller in 1920, run by a pair of jazz musicians through the 1960s and ’70s. It bounced around town, driven from place to place by rents and development pressure. …

Read more here

• Kevin F. Moylan in Comments: Authors need support and recognition, especially those who self-publish and distribute some damning experiences of the antiquated and neglectful Tasmanian mental health system - and what happens to those public servants who speak out about it. Fuller’s in Hobart Town, readily stocked my non-fiction story, “One Flew Over the Kookaburra’s Nest” (Second Edition 2017) Thank you Fuller’s for promoting my ‘public interest’ story. Petrach’s in Launceston also stock my book, but NO North West Coast bookshops (yet). My story is based there. Wynyard newsagency took 10 copies. ABC “Royal Hobart Hospital - Third World”. It was Locums (outsiders) who spoke out! NO locals? NO mention of RHH Psychiatric Ward? Please don’t forget them during this 20-year ‘crisis’. Let the people tell their stories; then we’ll learn more. But how to fix it? Or do they have the desire?

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Christmas Story ...

11.12.16 4:00 am

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Used with permission ...

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People of Tasmania would like to know ...

Pete Godfrey. Pic* First published December 5
11.12.16 3:50 am

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Pete Godfrey in Comments, HERE So if the government don’t accept that the damage to the Basslink cable was a force majeure, then what do they think caused the damage? The people of Tasmania would like to know.

ABC: Tasmanian Government rejects Basslink’s ‘no-cause’ finding on cable fault

• Pat Synge in Comments: As far as I know the location of the Geelong Star when the cable was damaged has never been ascertained and now it has left Australian waters.

• Kelvin Jones in Comments: … Then there is still the question: where was the Geelong Star at the critical time of cable failure? No one has presented any proof that it could not have been the cause.

ABC: Power bill hike fears if Basslink regulated, Bryan Green says

Bryan Green: Secret Basslink power play exposed

• Kelvin Jones in Comments: Lightning ... Without going into transmission line theory Pete Godfrey is on the mark. A lightning bolt sufficiently powerful enough to overcome the spike protectors entering the cable would blow the insulation along the cable length. This will continue until the voltage in the spike was attenuated by arching to earth through the shattered insulation. The rest of the energy pulse would continue down the cable until absorbed to earth by the cable capacitance. It would not, I repeat would not blow a hole from inside to out … In view of leaving port with newly and extensively modified nets it would no be unreasonable that Geelong Star set a course running south of Geelong to allow a quick return if net testing showed more land based modifications were needed. If this initial course was taken then not needing to return to port would put Geelong Star on a course to NSW waters that is highly likely to cross the cable at the damage point. If the net for some reason took an unexpected sudden dive whilst they crossed the cable we have a recipe for the damage to the cable.

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