01.03.11 12:00 am
MEDIA RELEASES: •Government •Greens Tasmania •Australian Greens, Bob Brown •Australian Greens, Christine Milne •Tasmanian Liberals •Tasmanian Liberals, Will Hodgman •Tasmanian Labor, David Bartlett •Federal Labor •Federal Liberal •Australian Democrats •Tasmanian Socialist Alliance •Australian Socialist Alliance •Ethics & Sustainability Party •Senator Online - Australia’s first and only internet based political party •Sustainable Population Party
Shane Humpherys, Southern Beaches Conservation Society
02.04.15 6:27 am
Southern Beaches Conservation Society (SBCS) has always maintained that the Copping C Cell is a bad idea. This has been further validated by Southern Waste Solutions (SWS) now admitting on record that their proposed C cell, to be located at the ‘super dump’ at Copping lacks a viable business case.
It is clear that SWS has approached this landfill development with a ‘build it and they will come’ mantra. This reckless approach has now been laid bare by the fact that SWS have been unable to confirm an anchor tenant nearly three years after it was first approved by Sorell Council - despite the development being “deemed critical” for the State.
It appears that SWS is now desperately pleading for government and corporate support to prop up a clearly unviable venture. SBCS believes that such support and investment would be better targeted at reforming Tasmania’s waste management sector through innovative and sustainable waste management solutions that fit with Tasmania’s ‘clean, green’ image.
The withdrawal of potential bulk waste supply from the Macquarie Point redevelopment in favour of more “appropriate and cost effective” remediation methods demonstrates the redundant nature of landfill as a waste management solution moving forward.
SBCS believes that linking the viability of Hobart, as a gateway to Antarctica, to the viability of its C cell, by SWS, is both irresponsible and fanciful.
SBCS President Shane Humpherys asks, “does SWS now intend to fill its proposed 300,000 tonne facility with international hazardous waste via Antarctica? If so, why should SWS’s previously stated moral imperative “we have to be responsible for the waste we produce,” not extend to international Antarctic treaty nations? These nations should be responsible for repatriating their own waste”
SBCS will continue to represent community concerns and promote sustainable waste management practices, alternative to landfill.
- MEDIA RELEASE ENDS –
For further information, please contact Dump the Toxic Dump:
- 0425 250 920
Rene Hidding, Minister for Infrastructure
02.04.15 6:19 am
The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to working with the community to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes on our roads.
This Easter, we urge all Tasmanian road users to be accountable for their own behaviour at all times.
The Government is investing in safety improvements on roads across the State, particularly on the Midland Highway, our most important transport corridor.
We are also working to raise road safety awareness, with recent campaigns targeting our most vulnerable road users, such as cyclists.
Over the holiday period, Tasmania Police officers will also be making a concerted effort through Operation Crossroads to deter the dangerous behaviours that too often cause serious crashes, from drink-driving to excessive speeding.
The bottom-line, however, will always be that every crash is avoidable if road users take responsibility for their own actions and look out for others.
Motorists are particularly urged to drive to the conditions and be mindful of road works.
Those planning long journeys can check online for information on road closures and delays at http://www.transport.tas.gov.au/road/closures_delays
Peter Gutwein, Treasurer
02.04.15 6:18 am
On 3 March 2015, the Premier told the Parliament that there would be no additional savings measures in the upcoming 2015-16 Budget, a statement that was well reported at the time by the media.
Once again, I can confirm that is this Government’s firm position. We will continue to apply a disciplined approach to managing the Budget with responsible spending commitments and will not undo all the progress of the past 12 months.
What Labor and the unions are doing today is simply scaremongering.
This is Labor and the union’s modus operandi, another day, another scare.
We are determined to fix the budget mess that we inherited from the Labor-Green Government and to put the budget back on track to surplus.
We are also committed to funding the Tasmanian Government’s contribution of $134 million for the full six years of the Gonski education reforms.
02.04.15 6:10 am
01.04.15 2:44 pm
Independent Senator for Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie has referred the legal threat by the Palmer United Party to sue her for $2M, to the Clerk of the Senate and her legal advisors.
“This legal threat, just like the recent death threat allegedly from ISIS and Sharia Law supporters - is just another distraction. And I make this promise to the people of Tasmania – this will just make me work harder to find solutions for their important problems.” said Senator.
“I won’t forget that it’s the youth unemployment crisis, job security for the average worker, skyrocketing cost of living for families and the need to protect the pensions of our seniors and veterans which are the main issues in Australian politics. Everything else is just a sideshow and a distraction. I will remain focused on the things that matter to the battlers.” said Senator Lambie.
“The timing of this event is curious. It comes one day after the Australian Electoral Commission publically asked for any objections to the registration of JLN as an official party - and on April Fools Day.
However, I will take this threat seriously. I’ve sent the Palmer United Party legal letter to a number of people including the Clerk of Parliament and my legal team for comment and advice.
Speaking generally – I am aware from Standing Orders that no-one is able to interfere with the free and fair performance of a Senator. I’ve also been informed that in the past, threatening members of parliament with legal action has been ruled as contempt of parliament and is a very serious matter.” said Senator Lambie.
“Since I resigned from the Palmer United Party I’ve achieved a number of major political accomplishments including:
1. Protecting University Students from $100,000 degrees and UTAS from unfair deregulated mainland competition.
2. Stopping the Liberal Government discriminating against 10,000 disabled workers and denying them wages and back-pay ordered by a judge.
3. A $200M boost in the Tasmanian Freight Equalization scheme
4. A $200m boost in Defence Pay
5. Protecting Bank Customers and Investors from dodgy financial advisors by supporting stronger Future of Financial Advice laws (FOFA)
I will continue to work hard every day for the people of Tasmania, our veterans and ADF and wish all those associated with the Palmer United Party the very best for the future and a Happy Easter.” said Senator Lambie.
Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson Media Release. Pic: Trade Minister Andrew Robb
01.04.15 2:42 pm
The Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, has backed the recommendation within the Harper Review into competition policy that calls for an “Independent and transparent analysis of the costs and benefits to Australia of any proposed IP provisions in trade negotiations [to] be undertaken to inform international trade negotiations”.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, labels anyone who criticises his approach to trade deals as an anti-trade scaremonger. Well now he can add Ian Harper to his list of scaremongers.
“Ian Harper and his panel have effectively criticised the current approach the Government is taking to negotiating Intellectual Property (IP) provisions in trade deals.
“Harper has recommended an independent review should be carried out to investigate the Australian Government processes used to establish negotiating mandates for IP provisions.
“Australia is just weeks away from potentially signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which would rewrite our Intellectual Property laws around patents and copyrights.
“Harper has said each new trade agreement should be informed by an independent and transparent analysis of the costs and benefits to Australia of any proposed Intellectual Property provisions.
“Furthermore he said the analysis should be undertaken and published before negotiations are concluded.
“Changes to Australia’s Intellectual Property laws could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions each year, particularly through rises in the price of medicines.
“Andrew Robb must immediately commit to undertaking a fully transparent cost-benefit analysis of the IP provisions in the TPP, well before it is signed,” he concluded.
Jacquie Petrusma, Minister for Human Services
01.04.15 2:32 pm
The Hodgman Liberal Government is working to provide housing for Tasmanians in need, particularly the most vulnerable in our community.
Today, I was pleased to officially open 30 new two-bedroom units for older people and people living with a disability in Devonport.
Supported by the Government through the transfer of land valued at more than $750,000, the Drew Street development is the latest housing project delivered by Centacare Tasmania.
Centacare has also received substantial funding support from the Australian Government’s National Rental Affordability Scheme Shovel Ready round.
This makes the project a great example of what can be achieved by both governments working together, alongside the community service sector.
Eight of the units have been designed specifically to suit the needs of people with a disability and the remaining 22 are for older Tasmanians.
Already half of the units have become homes to new residents, with the remainder expected to be tenanted over the coming weeks.
The project has also delivered dividends to the local economy, with Centacare partnering again with Tasmanian building company Wilson Homes to design and build these units.
While the Government is continuing to work on an Affordable Housing Strategy, to be launched later this year, we are helping to deliver housing now to those in need of a home.
SENATOR CATRYNA BILYK DEPUTY OPPOSITION WHIP IN THE SENATE SENATOR FOR TASMANIA SENATOR ANNE URQUHART DEPUTY OPPOSITION WHIP IN THE SENATE SENATOR FOR TASMANIA
01.04.15 2:30 pm
Labor Senators for Tasmania, Catryna Bilyk and Anne Urquhart, said the Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2014 could provide a safe and reliable regime for the cultivation, production and use of cannabis for medical purposes.
Senators Bilyk and Urquhart said they are looking forward to the outcome of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s inquiry into the bill after a three day series of public hearings in Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.
The Committee has heard evidence of the successful regulated use of cannabis for medical purposes in other countries, as well as users who have benefited from it in Australia.
Senator Bilyk, a member of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said the evidence given to the inquiry on a range of legal and medical issues showed that—properly regulated—cannabis could be a safe, effective and affordable form of medical treatment for thousands of Australians.
“Senator Urquhart and I are also interested in the economic benefits of medicinal cannabis, and while we welcome the decision of the New South Wales Government to proceed with a clinical trial, it is disappointing that the Liberal Government in our home state of Tasmania did not move faster on this,” Senator Bilyk said.
“You only have to look to Tasmania’s poppy industry to see that medicinal cannabis could also be a great job creator for Tasmania.”
Senator Urquhart, who is a co-sponsor of the bill and also attended the hearing in Sydney on Tuesday, said witnesses to the inquiry were broadly supportive of the bill.
“We have heard from a wide range of witnesses including experts in the fields of research, law and health. The majority of witnesses were broadly supportive of the approach of setting up a Federal Regulator.
“We’ve also heard heartbreaking real-life stories from parents who could be branded criminals under current law for their compassionate decision to help secure medicinal cannabis to help their sick children.
“The committee also heard from some witnesses that the issue needs to be solved at a federal level to avoid a wide range of contradictory regulatory regimes across the country.”
Senators Bilyk and Urquhart said while they welcomed the move by Tasmania Police to exercise discretion in pursuing charges against terminally ill people using cannabis, a system of regulation would give medicinal users greater certainty that they would not fall foul of the law for seeking treatment.
Rebecca Hubbard, Marine Coordinator, Environment Tasmania
01.04.15 2:26 pm
Wednesday 1 April 2015
This Easter Saturday holidaymakers and Port Sorell locals will be hunting more than Easter eggs, when Tasmanian Marine Discoveries reveals local marine wonders. The Marine Discovery series is traveling the state’s coastline and revealing Tasmania’s amazing marine and coastal environment to the public through a range of free events led by local experts. The Port Sorell Marine Discovery event will be held on Easter Saturday 4th April.
Rebecca Hubbard , Marine Coordinator of Environment Tasmania explains:
“This Easter, hundreds of Port Sorell holiday-makers will be able to hunt for more than just Easter eggs. Our Marine Discovery events will help to reveal an amazing range of marine life living along this beautiful coastline. We’ll explore the creatures that live between the tides, enjoy a Whale of a Time building whale sandcastles and learning how to rescue them, and an ocean film night featuring the award-winning surf film ‘North of the Sun’.
“The Marine Discovery Events give the community a chance to explore what lives in our coastal areas with help from experts in a safe and fun way. All activities are free and include knowledge from local experts and old timer fishers and divers. Inspiring, educating, fun and connecting to the oceans for people of all ages.
“Thanks to the support of NRM Cradle Coast and Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service, we can offer these fantastic activities for free,” concluded Ms Hubbard.
Saturday 4th April Program:
3pm Port Sorell pontoon
Whale of a Time activity: Build a giant life-size whale sandcastle and find out what makes whales special and why they love Tassie
4.15pm Yellow boomgate, northern end Hawley Esplanade
Rockpool ramble: Discover the crabs and other crazy creatures that live beneath the tides.
7.30pm Port Sorell Memorial Hall, cnr Meredith and Darling Sts
Film Night featuring award winning surf-film ‘North of the Sun’, a selection of Tasmanian short films, and a guest speaker who has decades of experience fishing and diving this coastline.
More information at http://www.marinediscover.com or call 0401 854 912
Jacquie Petrusma, Minister for Human Services
01.04.15 1:06 pm
A generous act of philanthropy is offering hope for homeless and at-risk young mothers in North-West Tasmania.
Launched in Burnie today, Anglicare’s Housing Outreach and Parent Empowerment (HOPE) program has been made possible by a $450,000 commitment over three years by the Motors Foundation.
The Hodgman Liberal Government is excited to be supporting this new program, which aims to make a real difference in the lives of young mothers and their children.
HOPE will help mothers aged between 16 and 25 years to secure long-term stable accommodation and also, as its name suggests, provide access to support services to assist in gaining important parenting skills.
Clients will be referred through Housing Connect, the Government’s one-stop shop for Tasmanians to access all their housing and support needs.
Tackling homelessness is a priority for this Government.
We committed more than $12 million in the current Budget to Housing Connect to support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and we provided more than $7 million to emergency accommodation providers.
In the North-West, we have also committed to purchase land to construct a Supported Accommodation Facility for youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
HOPE will fill an important niche by working with some of the most vulnerable people in our community – young mothers and their children.
On behalf of the Government, I congratulate the Motors Foundation, including the staff and management of the Motors Company, on its commitment to helping those who are in need, and I wish all those involved in this program every success.
Terry Polglase, AEU Tasmanian Branch President
01.04.15 1:05 pm
Parents, youth groups, disability advocates, welfare organisations, teachers and unions today called for Premier Will Hodgman to rule out further damaging cuts to schools in his May budget, and for him to deliver on his Gonski promise, in full.
“Will Hodgman promised to put education at the heart of his Government but all we’ve seen so far is cuts and broken promises,” said Terry Polglase, AEU Tasmanian Branch President.
“Mr Hodgman’s savage staff and budget cuts have increased class sizes and forced the axing of vital programs such as literacy and numeracy support, Pathway Planners, and subjects such as music, drama, and languages,” said Mr Polglase.
“Our students need more resources not less. Premier Will Hodgman must immediately rule out any further cuts to education staff and resources in his May budget.”
“Premier Hodgman must honour his Gonski promise and ensure the Gonski funding is delivered in full, as additional money, where it’s most needed in schools.”
Mr Hodgman has so far failed to deliver on Gonski – less than 30cents in every Gonski dollar is making it past the school gate.
In the May 2015 state budget, $31 million of Gonski money will be allocated to public education and this funding must be additional money directed to schools, where it is needed.
“Let there be no confusion – Gonski is additional funding meant for students who most need extra support – it is not there to make up the difference for Mr Hodgman’s savage cuts to education,” he said.
“This year’s allocation of Gonski money must not be used to fund other education thought-bubbles or to fill black holes caused by cuts. It must be delivered to schools, where it is needed most.”
The AEU has collected 1500 signatures on an open letter to Hodgman, in just a couple of days, from parents, teachers, community groups and schools across Tasmania. The signatures are still flooding in! They will be collated and delivered to the Premier.
*Stakeholders represented at today’s event on Parliament House Lawns included Anglicare, the Youth Network of Tasmania, The Association of Children with Disability, CPSU, AEU, UTAS Education Society union, parents and teachers.
Joan Rylah, Liberal Member for Braddon
01.04.15 10:01 am
The Government congratulates Opposition Leader Bryan Green and his Labor colleagues for today announcing they will release to the people of Tasmania a fully costed, fully funded alternative budget in May and a comprehensive policy platform soon after.
We have long been on the record calling for Labor to outline what it actually stands for and – credit where credit is due – we take our hats off to Labor for being committed to being a mature and responsible alternative government that is moving on from simply throwing rocks from the sidelines and trying to walk both sides of the street without actually standing for anything.
I am sure that all Tasmanians will be relieved when they learn that instead of the hysterical, ‘opposition for opposition’s sake’ approach that Bryan Green and his colleagues have been taking they will instead be rolling out a comprehensive policy platform, with fully costed and fully funded initiatives.
Well done Bryan Green, well done indeed.*
* Happy April Fool’s Day
Lucinda Szczypior, Font PR
01.04.15 9:28 am
Tasmanians are 15 per cent more likely to be burgled over the Easter long weekend than
any other Friday to Monday period during the year, according to new figures released by
Of these Easter long weekend theft claims, the average claim cost in 2014 was $4,456.17.
RACT Insurance CEO Trent Sayers said with many families heading off to kick back with
family and friends over the Easter break, burglars might be anticipating more opportunities to
steal from unoccupied homes.
“During the holidays we often see a spike in home thefts and there would be few situations
worse than returning from a long weekend break to find your home and contents burgled,”
Mr Sayers said.
“Criminals take any advantage they can get, and being complacent with the security of your
property plays right into their hands.
“There are a number of simple security tips home owners should consider before leaving for
a holiday, including:
• Making sure all doors and windows are securely locked and not assuming
balcony doors or high windows are safe to leave unlocked
• Telling trusted neighbours how long you are away for and asking them to collect
• Keeping your home looking lived in with open blinds and timer switches on lights
• Not leaving tell-tale packing for big tickets items out for anyone to see
• Securing garages and garden sheds and removing valuables from your garden
• Storing easy-to-carry, expensive items such as laptops, iPads and jewelry away
and out of sight so thieves can’t see them
• Not advertising your holiday on social media.
“Social media platforms provide an easily accessible source of information for thieves to
work out which homes are occupied over the holidays and which aren’t.”
Mr Sayers said it was also essential for people going away over the holiday period to check
their home and contents policies were up-to-date and if changes were required, to get them
“RACT Insurance encourages everyone to take a few minutes to ensure their insurance
cover is up-to-date and to do a quick security check around the home before going away on
holidays this Easter,” he said.
“Holidays should be the time to relax, without the constant worry of your home and contents
Anne Noonan, Jo Collins, Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
01.04.15 6:07 am
1) Tony Abbott has an Indonesian problem he doesn’t want to talk about
2) Benny Wenda sceptical of Indonesian promises on West Papua
1) Tony Abbott has an Indonesian problem he doesn’t want to talk about
• 2 HOURS AGO MARCH 31, 2015 3:00PM
Lober Wainggai flying the West Papua independence Morning Star flag on Anzac Hill on Monday Source: Supplied
IT’S the Indonesian issue Tony Abbott doesn’t want to deal with.
Increasing protests for self-determination in West Papua are gaining traction online as the Free West Papua Campaign has reached over 150,000 Facebook supporters.
Pro freedom demonstrators marched in Brisbane over the weekend, as calls for West Papuan sovereignty grow louder. As for the Australian and Indonesian governments, those calls continue to fall of deaf ears.
West Papua (the western half of the island of New Guinea, bordering PNG) has been a part of Indonesia for over 50 years after an international agreement handed the territory from the Dutch to the Indonesians. Yet West Papuans were never given a genuine chance to affect their political destiny and factions of the population have repeatedly called for secession.
The conflict that has been bubbling under the surface for over five decades, marred by occasional outbreaks of violence. It’s a sticky diplomatic issue and one that Tony Abbott doesn’t want to be drawn into.
Supporters of West Papuan self-determination were buoyed by comments made last week by the PNG Prime Minister, Peter O’Neil. He told ABC Radio that the previous Indonesian president promised he would reduce the number of troops stationed in West Papua and grant greater autonomy to the island. Indonesia has said no such thing publicly and has been historically defiant on the issue.
With the freedom movement embracing social media with fervour and intermittently arranging demonstrations across the world, it is going to become an issue that is increasingly difficult for regional governments to ignore.
Demonstrators marched in Brisbane over the weekend to support the West Papuan Freedom Movement. Source:Facebook
In West Papua, militants involved with the freedom movement has been committing subtle acts of insurgency against the government. However Indonesian rule in West Papua has sought to squash such insurgency and residents can even face 15 years imprisonment for simply displaying the West Papuan flag (pictured above).
Mr. Abbott rarely addresses the issue but the few times he has, he remains steadfast in his support for Indonesia’s position of control. In the wake of West Papuan activists scaling the Australian embassy in Bali in 2013, Mr. Abbott assured Indonesia of Australia’s solidarity on the issue. The Prime Minister promised to “do everything that we possibly can to discourage and prevent” people using Australia “as a platform for grandstanding against Indonesia.”
Australia has typically turned a blind eye to the West Papuan cause and while the current government has ensured it’s an issue that remains at arms length, there has been moments in the past when Australia adopted a softer approach.
Somewhat controversially, the Australian government accepted a group of 43 West Papuan asylum seekers as genuine refugees back in 2006 which put a serious diplomatic strain on the Indonesian relationship. Mr. Abbott’s former boss, John Howard was Prime Minister at the time.
But while the Howard government was instrumental in the liberalisation on East Timor from Indonesian rule, his government and all its predecessors have remained largely silent on the issue of West Papua.
Protests continue to pop up in support of West Papuan freedom. Source: News Limited
Abbott’s time in office has seen Australia’s diplomatic relationship with Indonesia deteriorate somewhat. Given the tension over the Bali 9 executions, the Australian Navy’s incursions into Indonesian territory and the criticism the government has received for its own human rights violations, Abbott is hardly in a position to lecture Indonesia.
However many believe the situation in West Papua is tantamount to modern colonialism and the freedom movement appears to be gaining momentum as it frequently decries human rights violations carried out by the government.
Mr. Abbott’s stance (or lack thereof) on West Papua makes political sense for his government. But whether he likes it or not, he might have to engage the issue sooner rather than later.
2) Benny Wenda sceptical of Indonesian promises on West Papua
Updated 31 March 2015, 17:25 AEDT
West Papuan independence movement leader Benny Wenda doesn’t believe Indonesian promises to PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill of troop withdrawals from the province.
He says undertakings to withdraw some military personnel given to Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O’Neill by the previous Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono are false.
Mr Wenda says that Mr O’Neill’s diplomatic approach is unlikely to have much effect in Jakarta.
Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Benny Wenda, West Papuan independence movement leader
CPJ Committee to Protect Journalists
• Media restrictions in Papua underscore Indonesia’s wider problems
By Bob Dietz/Asia Program Coordinator
A rally in Jakarta for the Free Papua Movement. Restricted media access to the Indonesian region has left the ongoing fight for secession under reported. (Reuters/Pius Erlangga)
With more than 50 years of restricted media access, one of the least covered armed conflicts in the world is the long-simmering struggle between Indonesia’s military and the secessionist Free Papua Movement. Under Indonesia’s seven successive post-independence governments—the early ones led by autocratic strongmen, the recent ones more or less democratically elected—the world has been deprived of details of the persistent low-intensity battle for autonomy playing out in the Papuan provinces.
Without open media access in the Papua and West Papua provinces, alleged abuses by security forces operating without media scrutiny will hound any bid by President Joko Widodo to bring peace and prosperity to the resource-rich region: apromise he made on assuming office in October.
Given Indonesia’s experience in East Timor, it is no wonder successive Indonesian governments have restricted media access to its Papua and West Papua provinces. Unable to completely stifle media coverage of East Timor during a bloody 27-year war for independence that ended in 2002, Indonesia’s leaders appear determined not to lose another part of its far-flung archipelago by having troublesome reporters, international or Indonesian, expose what is happening in Papua.
The vast Grasberg copper and gold mine in Papua. Journalists wanting to report on the mine and surrounding area say they have trouble getting visas. (Reuters/M Agung Rajasa/Antara Foto)
And there are discomfiting economic and social angles too: Restricted press coverage has meant little media scrutiny of Freeport-McMoRan Incorporated’s Indonesian copper mine at Grasberg, the world’s largest gold and second largest copper mine in the world. The American-owned company has long been Indonesia’s top tax payer, and its remote operations in Papua have been targetedby insurgents and environmental groups. Journalists—including a BBC team who wanted to visit the mine in 2011 when reporting on strikes—often find access is denied.
Despite the wealth of its natural resources, Papua has historically fallen far behindin development compared to Indonesia’s other regions, analysts say. The region’s literacy rate is around 74 percent, Indonesia’s lowest, and Papuans find themselves under increasing demographic pressure, too. Indonesia’s in-country migration is coming close to making Papuans a minority in their traditional homeland. About 50 percent of the population in Papua and West Papua are from other parts of Indonesia, and the in-flow seems most likely to continue, analysts say.
Many things seem deeply amiss in Papua, and they are going unreported.
Because of the media restrictions, it is largely foreign journalists who get the international attention that comes with being detained and eventually shipped back home. An Australian academic, Ross Tapsell, in his book By-Lines, Balibo, Bali Bombings: Australian Journalists in Indonesia, published in January, has a large section on restrictions in Papua dating back to the 1960s. Indonesia continues to require international correspondents to secure special visas before entering the country, a practice CPJ has repeatedly (see here, here, and here for examples) urged the government to abandon after it was used to blacklist reporters under earlier, more authoritarian regimes.
Thomas Dandois, left, and Valentine Bourrat, center, arrive at a court in Indonesia’s eastern Papua province in October 2014. The French journalists were expelled for breaching visa regulations. (AFP/STR)
The government seldom, if ever, issues permission to investigative journalists. “Eighteen ministries and related institution are involved in the process to issue a permit,” according to the Foreign Ministry’s director of information and media, Siti Sofia Sudarma. She was testifying at the October 2014 trial of the French documentary filmmakers Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat, who were convicted of breaking immigration laws by trying to film in Papua. The pair had been detained for almost three months before being expelled from the country after their conviction. Their trial coincided with President Widodo’s election campaign, in which he promised to address Papua’s problems.
Siti said that, according to the ministry’s data, 28 international journalists had submitted permit requests to cover news in Papua and West Papua in 2013. She said 21 had been allowed to enter the two provinces. But Andreas Harsono, a Jakarta-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, told CPJ by email that those getting the permits are tourism writers or Japanese journalists covering the search for remains of soldiers killed during World War II. And such restrictions beg the question of what is so special about Papua and why journalists are allowed to cover other areas of Indonesia with little government interference. The restrictions go against Indonesia’s 1999 Press Law, which says there should be no restrictions on journalists in Indonesia.
It is not just outsiders who have complaints about access to Papua. As we have reported over the years, Indonesian journalists are prey to a host of malevolent actors—from politicians and the military to religious hardliners and business owners. And unless they are native Papuans, Indonesia’s journalists have an almost impossible time getting in to cover the story. As far back as 1999, CPJ noted that ethnic and communal violence in many parts of the country made local reporters’ jobs increasingly dangerous. More recent assessments by groups including Human Rights Watch show the situation has deteriorated further despite pledges from successive governments to address the political confrontation.
President Joko Widodo, pictured second left in Aceh province in March. Before he was elected in 2014, Widodo said he would allow international journalists access to Papua. (AFP/Chaideer Mahyuddin)
There was a sense of optimism following Widodo’s election. We called it a Window of opportunity to advance press freedom in Indonesia following a mission there in late 2014. But we noted steady pressure on media across the country. The 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions Law targets Web commentators with up to six years in prison, and up to IDR 1 billion ($80,800) in fines. Criminal defamation cases carry a nine-month jail term. And a worrisome state secrets bill, viewed by critics as a threat to freedom of information, remains under discussion. Nor has there has been movement to address impunity in the cases of 10 journalists confirmed to have been killed for their work since 1992. Eight of them appear to have been murdered, according to CPJ data. In such a context, it is realistic to view the president’s pledge to allow international journalists and organizations access to Papua and West Papua with a high degree of skepticism until those restrictions are lifted, a promise that can be quickly and easily fulfilled.
Bob Dietz, coordinator of CPJ’s Asia Program, has reported across the continent for news outlets such as CNN and Asiaweek. He has led numerous CPJ missions, including ones to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Follow him on Twitter @cpjasia and Facebook @ CPJ Asia Desk.
01.04.15 5:55 am
Source Community Wholefoods is hosting a party tonight (April 1) to celebrate its fifth birthday. There will be wood fired pizza and live music including the Dominic Francis Grief Ensemble.
Source Community Wholefoods is an organic food co-operative and a community garden. Source was initiated in 2005 by a group of students & community members interested in creating a more sustainable future. The centre provides a place to explore social and environmental issues, acting as a living example of urban sustainability which encourages community involvement and creativity.
The shop is located at 12 French St, Sandy Bay and the celebration will begin at 6 pm.
Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome
01.04.15 5:49 am
... DIVERSITY COUNCIL, QANTAS AND FOOTBALL FEDERATION BACK REFORM
Marriage equality advocates have joined with Australia’s leading workplace diversity advisor to business to urge corporate Australia to get behind the reform.
In response high-profile corporations including Qantas, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SBS and Football Federation Australia have signed a letter of support for marriage equality.
The Diversity Council of Australia (DCA) is the independent, not-for-profit organisation that provides advice to over 250 member organisations, many of whom are Australia’s largest employers.
DCA’s CEO, Lisa Annese, urged corporate Australia to come forward and show their support.
“The business benefits of marriage equality to corporate Australia go beyond just the significant financial gains. Marriage equality will truly cement workplace fairness and inclusion for the LGBTI community.”
“We are proud to partner with Australian Marriage Equality and will be doing all we can to promote the benefits of marriage equality.”
Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,
“It’s great that Diversity Council Australia is on board with marriage equality because the organisation brings with it an immense experience and expertise when it comes to encouraging corporate support for equity and inclusion.”
“Several high-profile businesses have already signed a letter of support for marriage equality, including Qantas, Football Federation Australia, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and we are looking forward to many more joining them.”
Australian Marriage Equality will host a breakfast for CEOs in Sydney at the beginning of May.
For a news story on growing corporate support for marriage equality click here.
For more about the benefits of marriage equality to the economy, a copy of the corporate support letter, and a list of other Australian businesses that have previosuly indicated support for marriage equality click here.
Jeremy Rockliff, Acting Premier
01.04.15 5:48 am
The Hodgman Liberal Government is backing our tourism and hospitality industries to grow and create jobs, and we are seeing the results throughout the State.
There is still a lot more to do, but the occupancy statistics for February are very encouraging. When you compare February 2014 to February 2015, occupancy rates are up over 8 per cent state-wide and up 6.4 per cent in the south, 4.1 per cent in the north and a staggering 18.6 per cent in the north west.
If these occupancy rates are any indication, 2015 is shaping up to be even better than last year.
This comes on the back of record visitor numbers to Tasmania in 2014, when for the first time tourists to our State spent over $1 billion during the year, which was a massive 19 per cent increase on 2013.
Strong visitor numbers and occupancy rates are driving a construction surge right around the State and more construction equals more jobs and growth, which benefits the entire economy
The Government is working hard to bring more visitors to Tasmania. The recent visit of the Chinese President and the Premier’s current trade mission to China is driving visitor growth from one of our key overseas markets.
In addition to that, we’re investing an extra $16 million into marketing, we’re opening up our national parks and World Heritage Area to new, exciting and sensible developments to attract even more visitors and we’re encouraging investment and development in the tourism and hospitality industries by cutting red and green tape, fixing the planning system and supporting the growth in confidence that has emerged since the last election.
Bryan Green MP Labor Leader
01.04.15 5:47 am
This afternoon’s Swire announcement is the end of an embarrassing saga for the Liberal Government.
Labor Leader Bryan Green says it’s no wonder the Liberals made the announcement late in the day.
“From start to finish this has been an embarrassment for the Liberals,” Mr Green said.
“From the moment they announced to the world they were willing to pay a private company $33 million it was doomed to fail.
“In the end, the Federal Government has saved the State Government from itself, but not before significant damage has been done to its reputation.
“Rene Hidding has been left with egg on his face.
“The pressure is now on the Liberals to use the $33 million to repair some of the damage they’re doing to Tasmania’s essential services.”
Rene Hidding, Minister for Infrastructure
01.04.15 5:46 am
The Hodgman Liberal Government is working to create a better business environment in Tasmania to attract investment and create jobs.
Our international shipping plan was designed to give Tasmanian exporters better access to vital overseas markets at a time when international shipping from Tasmania had ceased entirely.
When we were elected, we began discussions with international shipping businesses interested in providing a service to Tasmania. In late 2014, the Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Swire Shipping confirming they were the preferred operator with which to explore an international shipping solution.
As was agreed with Swire as part of the MoU, the Government and Swire both reserved the right to take into account any changes implemented by the Federal Government regarding the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme (TFES).
Obviously, the recent decision by the Federal Government to inject an additional $203 million into the TFES will have a substantial impact on freight equalisation and the cost of exporting freight from Tasmania.
As such, given this materially different strategic context, it was not possible to reach an agreement with Swire under the terms of the MoU and given the MoU has now expired, these negotiations with Swire have concluded.
Swire Shipping has a long history providing shipping services in the Australasian region since 1883, and we have welcomed the opportunity to work with such a professional company during the period of negotiations under the MoU.
While it was not ultimately possible to reach an agreement with Swire in light of the Federal Government’s TFES announcement, we believe there may be future opportunities for Swire as the changes to the TFES are implemented and further changes to the Federal Coastal Trading Act are considered by Federal Parliament.
The Government is committed to ensuring the $33 million allocated for a potential international shipping service is spent on job-creating infrastructure and we will detail specifically how this one-off funding will now be spent in the 2015-16 Budget when it is handed down on 28 May.
Mrs Roslyn Phillips, BSc DipEd National Research Officer FamilyVoice Australia: a Christian voice for family, faith and freedom
01.04.15 5:45 am
“The deadline for submissions to the TV Code of Practice review is Good Friday – but if the commercial TV stations get their way, the result will be anything but good,” FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips said today.
“Free TV Australia is calling for the abolition of all G time zones, and for moving the M zone (and M-rated advertising) forward to 7.30 pm when many children are watching. MA15+ programs would move forward to 8.30 pm. Extremely violent AV programs would be reclassified as MA15+, thus allowing them to be screened at 8.30 pm. The complaints process would be tougher and more drawn out,” she said.
That’s bad enough. But wait – there’s more!
Ros Phillips said the FamilyVoice research team has identified retrograde changes to wording in the TV guidelines that most people would not have noticed.
“Some changes may seem minor – but taken as a whole, they could result in misleading classification changes,” she said.
“In the guidelines for the M category, for example, suicide may now be shown in realistic detail – at 7.30 pm! At present, such a program would be rated MA15+.
“Illegal drug use in M programs cannot be shown in detail at present – but could be shown in detail under the Free TV proposal. Details of proposed guideline changes are available on request.
“Parents have come to expect certain standards from certain categories. They could be seriously misled if these changes are accepted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
“I hope more people will send a brief email to Free TV Australia, asking for the current guidelines and time zones to stay as they are. Australia’s children are worth it!” Ros Phillips said.
FEDERAL Lyons MP Eric Hutchinson
01.04.15 5:42 am
Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Science Karen Andrews and Federal Lyons MP Eric Hutchinson watch as Hazelbrae Hazlenuts owner Christie Mcleod harvests nuts in her hazelnut orchard, at Hagley.
HAZELBRAE Hazelnuts, at Hagley, will use a $75,000 Federal Government innovation and investment grant to expand using Tasmania’s only commercial hazelnut harvester, says owner Christie Mcleod.
Ms Mcleod told visiting Federal Parliamentary Secretary to the Industry and Science Minister Karen Andrews and Federal Lyons MP Eric Hutchinson today that without the new harvester, Hazelbrae was not been able to harvest other people’s hazelnuts despite the growing demand for such a service.
With the harvester, truck and other infrastructure funded by the grant, Ms Mcleod and her partner Michael Delphin will now take care of the harvest needs of most other hazelnut growers in the state as well as stepping up their own hazelnut processing plans.
Ms Mcleod said there were plans for construction of a small shop and café in the homestead gardens to sell a growing range of their hazelnut products including chocolate coated hazlenuts, hazelnut icecream, oil and creams.
Mrs Andrews announced the money for Hazelbrae from the Australian Innovation and Investment Fund during a visit to Northern Tasmania today.
The $75,000 will cover the purchase and commissioning of hazelnut washing, drying and de-stoning equipment, the refurbishment of an existing farm shed to house equipment and conversion of an unused farm cottage into a tasting and tourism centre.
Mr Hutchinson said that it was wonderful to see government funding put to such good use to build an expanding agribusiness in Lyons.
Mrs Andrews and Mr Hutchinson were at Beaconsfield earlier in the day where Mrs Andrews officially opened Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre mine yard.
Mr Hutchinson said that the extension to the existing facilities at the mine and heritage centre would help bring more visitors to the West Tamar region which already attracts more than 2.1 million visitors a year.
Will Hodgman, Premier
01.04.15 5:41 am
Tasmania’s strong Antarctic links were further strengthened today with a very productive meeting in Beijing with the State Oceanic Administration of China.
Last year, the Tasmanian Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SOAC with the purpose of increasing collaboration in Antarctic science.
Today’s meeting progresses that MOU.
The MOU will see Tasmania and China explore opportunities in the area of research and logistic support for the Chinese Antarctic Research Expedition (CHINARE) in Hobart.
It was agreed today that meetings be held in Tasmania to coincide with the annual visit by the Antarctic vessel the Xue-Long.
The SOAC will also give close consideration to setting up a permanent presence in Hobart.
As well as agreeing to increase exchange and research students, SOAC and the Ministry of Education will make scholarships available for postgraduate research students to come to Tasmania.
This is another important step in building our already strong friendship with China and we look forward to progressing this relationship in the future.
Rene Hidding, Minister for Infrastructure
01.04.15 5:40 am
Easter has traditionally been a time when we have seen significant queuing for the Bruny Island ferry – but hopefully things will be different this year.
This will be the first Easter that the purpose-built barge MV Bowen will be providing extra capacity alongside the Mirambeena on the Bruny Island ferry run.
Having completed some contract work in the aquaculture industry, the MV Bowen will return to the run this Thursday April 2, and will provide additional sailings through until next Wednesday, April 8.
While the additional sailings by the Bowen should help reduce queuing, Bruny visitors should still err on the side of caution and allow extra time for their journey.
Consider travelling during non-peak times - and you should still come prepared to wait if travelling on the high traffic days over Easter.
People queuing for the ferry are reminded to respect Ferry Road residents and obey all markings and signage, particularly the permanent Keep Clear zones which are marked to assist residents to access their driveways.
With sustained strong demand after the summer sailings period finished at the end of the school holidays, the Hodgman Government contracted the MV Bowen for further work where available, until Easter.
The Government is using these extra sailings by the Bowen as a trial to test the strength of the market and to understand whether an extended two-vessel service to Easter is sustainable.
This analysis of this trial will determine whether extended operations can be commercially viable in future years.
The Bruny Island Ferry Service is an important infrastructure investment which connects an island community to jobs, services, and to their fellow Tasmanians - in addition to fostering the growing unique tourism market on the Island.
Danial Rochford, Chief Executive Officer
01.04.15 5:37 am
With a motto of “Talk to a Mate”, the Tasmanian mental health organisation, Rural Alive and Well Inc or RAW is proud to announce that it is extending its reach in the service it provides across rural communities in Northern and North West Tasmania, according to the organisation’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Danial Rochford.
Thanks to increased support from the State Government the organisation has just welcomed the appointment of two new Rural Outreach Workers in the North and North West Coast rural districts.
With suicide rates the second highest in the nation, the need for RAW’s Outreach program remains ever strong, Mr Rochford said.
“Our organisation last year worked with over 2000 clients and we are very proud that day in day out our Rural Outreach Workers are saving lives,
“We were keen to increase our reach to the North West and the North and we are very thankful for the support the Tasmanian Government has provided to make that happen, Mr Rochford said.
We are pleased to announce that Mr John Clark will look after the Meander Valley, Kentish and Latrobe districts and Mr Tony Barker will be our Rural Outreach Worker for the North West coast, Mr Rochford said.
Tony Barker comes to the organisation having had extensive experience in rural industries as well as his own personal mentoring business. Tony is a prominent community member on the North West including holding roles such as Chairman of the North West Thunder Basketball Club.
John Clark has been a passionate mental health advocate and comes to RAW from Anglicare. John has been very active in supporting a range of mental health initiatives and programs at the grass roots level and has a strong rural background.
Speaking on his appointment to the role, Mr Barker said “I am really pleased to be joining the team at RAW,
“The organisation has such a great reputation in achieving positive outcomes for its clients,
John Clark is also excited to start his role.
“The fact that we go out to those in need is such a unique model in mental health and I am looking forward to the opportunity of helping those through difficult times, Mr Clark said.
“Rural Alive and Well now employs 10 Rural Outreach workers across Tasmania, Mr Rochford.
“We are working towards the aim to ensure that all of Rural Tasmania has access to someone they can turn to,
“With the appointment of Tony and John we are increasing that reach which will mean we save more lives, Mr Rochford concluded.
Rural Alive and Well works with individuals over 18, families and communities outside of Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and Devonport. To contact a Rural Outreach Worker in your area please contact our 24/7 hotline 1300 HELPMATE (1300 43576283)
Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health
01.04.15 5:34 am
The Labor Party needs to clarify where they stand on health reform.
Are they behind their health spokesperson, who says health reform is necessary and the Liberal Government’s reform is a continuation of Labor’s efforts to fix the health system?
Or are they behind their leader Bryan Green, who is reprising the role of former Labor Braddon member Brenton Best in opposing necessary changes to fix a broken health system?
We know that their former Health Ministers David Llewellyn, Lara Giddings and Michelle O’Byrne all pushed for changes to the services delivered at North West hospitals on the grounds of providing the safest services possible. Although these efforts were not properly carried through, each still supports the proposals they put forward.
Braddon’s Liberal members at the time, Jeremy Rockliff and Brett Whiteley, had the courage to put party politics aside to support Lara Giddings’ 2007 reform plans.
“This is a bold initiative and as I have said before it will need leadership, courage, and co-operation from all leaders within the community to ensure the implementation of this plan is successful”, Mr Rockliff said in 2007. (The Advocate, 26 May 2007)
Just as it was a shame that Labor abandoned its 2007 reform plans and by 2011 had resorted to simply cutting services on the North West, it is a great shame that Mr Green has decided that his political strategy will be to scaremonger and revive his former Braddon colleague Brenton Best’s opposition to changes to the North West hospital system.
Mr Green’s statements yesterday and today about the impact of the proposed changes in the White Paper are completely inaccurate. The addition of rheumatology, pain management, specialist geriatrics and neurology clinics on the North West, as well as additional rehabilitation, mental health, palliative services mean that the North West has a range of additional services they don’t have to travel for.
The centralisation of complex surgeries that can’t be safely offered at the North West Regional Hospital is a decision taken on direct clinical advice with the safety of North West patients at heart. We should not be putting people into complex surgeries at a location where the clinical advice says it is unsafe to do so.
It is very concerning that Bryan Green is choosing to ignore clinical advice because he and his strategists see an opportunity to play politics. If Mr Green can raise a specific service or range of services where his expert knowledge is greater than the clinical advice that the Government listens to, then let’s hear it.
I look forward to his party room delivering him a strong rebuke for playing politics with the health and safety of his constituents.
Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Health spokesperson
31.03.15 2:52 pm
Health Minister, Michael Ferguson, is to be commended on the quality of the exposure draft of the White Paper on Health which he released yesterday, but if he believes real reform can be delivered without real dollars, he’s dreaming, Greens’ Health spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said today.
“The draft White Paper is grounded in a solid evidence base and presents the possibility of a safer, more equitable and less parochial public health system in Tasmania, but it is clear from the proposals put forward that it will also require significant state government investment.”
“Last year’s state Budget projected a $210 million cut to the Department of Health and Human Services budget over the four years, with 224 FTE staff cut from DHHS in this financial year and more to come. The first Abbott Budget carved $1.7 billion out of Tasmania’s health system over the next decade.”
“On those worrying numbers, real reform is out of reach.”
“The Minister needs to be supported by his Cabinet colleagues, and particularly Treasurer Gutwein, in reversing the unsustainable cuts to the Health budget and investing to achieve lasting reform that delivers the health system Tasmanians deserve.”
“If there is no funding allocated in the May state Budget to implement the reforms, along with a reversal of the cuts in Health, then real reform will be further delayed and this government’s commitment to delivering a safe, equitable health system will, regrettably, come into question,” Ms O’Connor said.
Anne Noonan, Jo Collins, Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
31.03.15 2:50 pm
The Price of Protest in West Papua” , published in the Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity
(Vol 3 issue 1)
West Papua is a region fraught with tension, where the Indigenous population is intimidated and repressed to prevent the voicing of political views. This paper examines the price of protest in West Papua, where the struggle for self-determination has been violently stifled by Indonesian security forces for five decades. It aims to expose endemic injustice and abuse, and also to act as a microphone for those who, through non-violent means, risk life and liberty to express their hopes and dreams for a free West Papua…........
Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity
Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne
31.03.15 2:17 pm
An independent costing requested by the Australian Greens and prepared by the Parliamentary Budget Office shows reducing superannuation tax concessions for the most wealthy would raise $10.16 billion dollars over four years.
“Government advisers have suggested it in the tax white paper, Labor says they’ll support it and the Greens have got a costed policy that’s ready to go. This would remove a tax haven and reduce the wealth gap between rich and poor, which would be a really great thing for Australians,” said Greens Leader Christine Milne.
“If the government is serious about raising revenue, not just making cruel cuts to those who can least afford it, then making superannuation more equitable is good in and of itself, and for the budget bottom line.
“Existing superannuation tax breaks are heavily skewed in favour of high income earners.
“The system allows super accounts to be used as a tax haven by the rich, and fails to serve those who really need to save for their retirements,” said Senator Milne.
“Progressive tax on super would see those earning under the tax-free threshold pay no tax on their super contributions, instead of flat 15% that currently applies to all super contributions.
“Those earning up to $100,000 would pay no more than they currently do, and those earning over $150,000 would pay 30% tax on their super contributions.
“It’s great to see this option put forward by government advisers in the tax white paper, and good news that Labor has pledged to support a more equitable system. It’s sorely needed,” said Senator Milne.
Click here - http://christine-milne.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/super-system-everyone-not-just-rich - to see the Greens’ progressive superannuation tax policy, announced in February 2015.
Vanessa Goodwin, Attorney-General
31.03.15 2:16 pm
The Hodgman Liberal Government has today released a consultation draft of a Bill to introduce new Right to Appeal mechanisms in Tasmania.
The amendment to the Criminal Code Act 1924 will provide for a new Right to Appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal in circumstances where there is fresh and compelling evidence.
Currently, once a convicted person’s appeal rights before the courts have been exhausted, the only option that person has is to petition the Attorney-General and the Governor to exercise the royal prerogative of mercy.
It is the Government’s view, and that of many in the community, that this is not the right process. Appeal decisions should be made by the courts, not executive government.
The current system of petitioning for the exercise of the royal prerogative of mercy has been criticised by legal commentators on a number of grounds, including the lack of formal process and transparency, and a perception that political rather than legal matters may be determinative.
We look forward to working with stakeholders, interested parties and the community on this important piece of legislation.
The Bill is available on the Department of Justice website http://www.justice.tas.gov.au along with details of how to provide feedback.
The closing date for the consultation process is Thursday 30 April 2015.