Articles

STATE: Tasmanian Greens Call for an Inquiry into TasWater

Tim Slade* First published April 19
20.04.16 6:00 am

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THE Tasmanian Greens have called for a parliamentary inquiry into TasWater, after leaked e-mail evidence last week ( Michael Atkin, ABC, TT HERE ) suggests that TasWater may have sought to avoid the scientific findings of MacQuarie University’s study into lead-contamination in Pioneer’s drinking water.

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NATION: Probe needed into $4b meltdown of failed forestry schemes

Peter Whish-Wilson*
20.04.16 5:30 am

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I FIRST called for a Royal Commission into misconduct in the financial sector in June, 2014, when I sat on the Senate Inquiry into the Australian Securities and Investments Commission that uncovered the scandals in the financial advice arm of the Commonwealth Bank.

• John Hawkins in Comments: I supplied this submission to the MIS Senate enquiry: HERE In my submission I mentioned that a key to protection of MIS scams was the then Minister for Forests Senator Erich Abetz. The $60,000 paid by Gunns to the Liberal party 3 weeks after Abetz was made the Minister was I suggest a strong reason why Abetz protected the nitens scam from predation by the ATO. Abetz is still the Liberals Number One Gun in Tasmania. How and Why?

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

STATE, Mutual Valley: Logging is scheduled to commence today ...

Blue Derby Wild Media Release. Pic*
20.04.16 5:15 am

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Logging is scheduled to commence today, Monday, April 18, at Mutual Valley forest area CC104B. This high conservation value forest is adjacent to the iconic Blue Derby Mountain Bike trail known as Krushka’s …

Tin Dragon Trail Cottages operator, Christine Booth said, “From Derby, Branxholm, Weldborough and over to the Blue Tiers, people are flocking to the region to experience our world class mountain bike trails. “The Blue Derby trails are being celebrated as some of the best in the world for their outstanding flow and natural setting. We fear logging around these trails is seriously undermining this beautiful brand we are building, and want to protect.” Federal member for Bass, and patron of cycling in Tasmania, Andrew Nikolic, has repeatedly stated he put $2.45 million of taxpayers monies into funding the Blue Derby trails, yet has repeatedly and very publicly said he is happy for these areas to be logged.

EurekAlert!: Clear-cutting destabilizes carbon in forest soils, Dartmouth study finds HANOVER, N.H. - Clear-cutting loosens up carbon stored in forest soils, increasing the chances it will return to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and contribute to climate change, a Dartmouth College study shows. The findings ( HERE ) appear in the journal Soil Science.

WEDNESDAY, April 20 ...

• Rosalie Woodruff MR in Comments: … The divide and conquer mentality of this Government has sadly cast a dark shadow over the successful rejuvenation of the Derby community. …

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Senate Inquiry report calls on state and federal government(s) to act on scourge of marine plastics

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson Media Release
20.04.16 5:12 am

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Today the Senate Environment and Communications Committee has released a landmark report into the causes and impacts of marine plastic pollution in our waterways and oceans. Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, who initiated the Inquiry, said, “Today, we have seen Senators from Labor, the Liberals and the Greens standing together calling for urgent and immediate action on marine plastic pollution …

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NATION: It’s on, July 2 Poll

Guardian Live. Pic: of Malcolm Turnbull. First published April 18
20.04.16 5:09 am

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ABCC legislation rejected giving Coalition double dissolution trigger Senate rejects Australian Building and Construction Commission legislation for a second time, giving government trigger to request governor general dissolve both houses of parliament – all the developments from Canberra

ABC: Election campaign unofficially begins as Senate votes down corruption watchdog bill

• Luigi in Comments: Great! An election has been called. I guess we’ll start hearing something from our current MPs now.  It seems that even Nikolic has departed Canberra and is prowling the streets of Launceston looking for a hand to shake. It’s a pity that nobody recognises him.

ABC: Malcolm Turnbull confirms ABCC will trigger double dissolution election Australians will likely go to the polls in a double dissolution election on July 2, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed.

Guardian: Reza Barati: men convicted of asylum seeker’s murder to be free in less than four years

ABC: Arthur Sinodinos to be called before inquiry into political donations Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos will be required to appear before a new federal parliamentary inquiry into political donations. The inquiry into donations and associated entities will be established following a successful Labor motion in the Senate, passed by the Upper House this evening. … It follows a report issued by the NSW Electoral Commission last month, in which it announced it was withholding more than $4 million in public funding from the NSW division of the Liberal Party, unless it disclosed the identity of donors pushing funds through the party’s fundraising body.

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Prostitution – the global humanitarian disaster of the 21C

Isla MacGregor
20.04.16 5:00 am

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Talk by Isla MacGregor, 1 April 2016, Parliament House, Hobart, Tasmania Thank you, Simone, for speaking of the harms of the global sex trade with such clarity.

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Writers | Isla MacGregor | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Legal | Personal | Society

Tasmanian Aborigines were cut off by the rising waters of the Bass Strait ...

John Hawkins, Chudleigh
19.04.16 4:00 am

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A fascinating byway of history …  Tasmanian Aborigines were cut off by the rising waters of Bass Strait before the boomerang was invented …

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Writers | John Hawkins | Arts | History

Planning law changes will change Tassie forever

Anne Harrison & Robert Vincent (for the Planning Information Network) First published April 14
18.04.16 5:56 am

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Planning laws are being significantly changed this year. The new Tasmanian Planning Scheme (TPS) is out now on the Tas Planning Commission website and up for public comment till 18th May.  Many people are feeling left behind by what will be galloping change in our communities.  Once this new TPS is implemented there will be no going back.

• Gwenda Sheridan in Comments: #17 John, the magnitude of the anticipated planning change is enormous.  It is the most profound since the 1940s and seriously out-of-whack (my opinion) with what is happening elsewhere (nationally, internationally).  There is no state policy for climate change, none for infrastructure, none for population/settlement (no density guidelines). There is one major R zone (Residential) for the entire state; the General Residential Zone with standards/regulations formerly from Attachment 1, Ministerial Planning Directive 4.1. Multi units are included in PD 4.1.  Is my drift becoming clearer? …

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Politics | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Society

Minister Gutwein is right on the money

Ray Norman. Pic: Geoff Smedley. First published April 15
18.04.16 5:55 am

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Minister Gutwein is right on the money here! Launceston, since colonisation, has imagined the Tamar as a sewer in much the same way London did for the Thames. London learnt the error of its ways some time ago but Launceston has been going on much as it always has and surprise, surprise our river i9s now understood for what it is “a dirty ditch”. Yes Minister you and Barry Blenkhorn are so right!

• Factfinder in Comments: The article in The Examiner earlier today (Sat): Council needs to play its part on care of the Tamar River. By PETER GUTWEIN. April 16, 2016, 8:50 a.m. It’s disappointing that the Launceston City Council appears to be taking an all-care but no responsibility approach to management of the Tamar River. As distasteful as it sounds in 2016, there is no escaping that the Tamar River, under the direction of the council, has long been used as a key part of Launceston’s sewer network. It now beggars belief that after 150 years of oversight by the council, it appears it is not willing to play a part in achieving a solution for their ratepayers and appear to be now openly distancing themselves from any responsibility …

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NATION: Goodbye Bronny. Malcolm’s Poll slump ...

Guardian. First published April 17
18.04.16 5:45 am

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Liberal members choose Jason Falinski as candidate in safe federal seat, dumping former speaker who resigned over $5,500 helicopter ride

In THE SATURDAY PAPER ...

No royal commission as Turnbull’s Liberals in deep with the banks Conservatives against a banks royal commission argue it would damage the economy – because of the criminality it would reveal.

Bill McKibben: The links between big polluters and politicians

Paul Bongiorno: Turnbull picks a move on truck drivers, not banks

Manus Island’s appalling health care record

MONDAY, April 18 ...

SkyNews: Poll shows government losing support As politicians prepare for a special sitting of Parliament that will likely trigger a double-dissolution election, the latest polling shows the government losing further ground to the opposition. The latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll shows support for Labor creeping up another two points to 33 percent, with the coalition slipping to 42 percent. When compared on a two-party basis the Opposition are now neck-and-neck with the government, with support after preferences at 50-50. Despite a 7 percent drop in personal support, the Prime Minister maintains a healthy lead over Opposition leader Bill Shorten, 54 percent to 27 percent. The poll also shows overwhelming support for Labor’s planned Royal Commission into the financial sector, with 65 per cent of voters in favour of the idea while 26 per cent are opposed. Treasurer Scott Morrison has told Sky News there is no need for the probe. Meanwhile a showdown over plans to restore the building and construction industry watchdog will resume in the Senate this week and it could potentially pave the way for an early election. Federal MPs and senators are heading back to Canberra for this week’s special sitting …

George Monbiot, Guardian: Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems … So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power. …

Paul Oosting, GetUp! Let’s Take The Power Back ...

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NorMAC Nastiness in Hobart: A response

Simone Watson*, prostitution survivor and director Nordic Model Australia Coalition (NORMAC). First pub: April 18
18.04.16 5:00 am

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A response to: ‘NorMAC nastiness in Hobart’, HERE Crikey! The pro-sex trade lobby have been misrepresenting Nordic Model supporters with a renewed vigour.

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Writers | Isla MacGregor | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Opinion | Legal | Personal | Society

Rebuilding lives after the Nepal earthquake

The Age. Pic*
18.04.16 3:56 am

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At a dawn service near Everest, a group of Australians narrowly escaped with their lives when last year’s earthquake struck. They’re now invoking the Anzac spirit to help the Nepalese rebuild schools and homes.

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Port Arthur: Tasman Peninsula’s communications issues still not fixed 20 years on

Angela Ross, ABC
18.04.16 3:00 am

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Communications issues continue to plague the Tasman Peninsula 20 years after the Port Arthur massacre.

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The role of white privilege in the 60 Minutes kidnapping saga

Brisbane Times
18.04.16 2:47 am

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A major news organisation has shown an extraordinary lapse in judgment by exploiting a mother’s pain and taking part in a serious crime, writes Ruby Hamad.

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‘Embracing the Climate Challenge’ ...

Cassy O’Connor MP Greens Leader Climate Change spokesperson. Pic*
17.04.16 4:45 am

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... Tasmania’s Draft Climate Change Action Plan 2016-2021 Tasmanian Greens’ Response March 2016 The events of the past Summer in Tasmania have brought the reality of climate change home to Tasmanians.  Prolonged drought, a massive El Niño, unprecedented and destructive bushfires, regional floods and parched Hydro storages are evidence of global climatic shifts at the local level.

Solar Star Projects:  … When complete, the Solar Star Projects will deliver enough electricity to power the equivalent of approximately 255,000 homes, according to MidAmerican Solar. In addition, the projects will create approximately 650 construction jobs over a three-year construction period, while helping California achieve its renewable energy goals …

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East Timor is mad as hell, and it’s our fault

John Martinkus. Pic* First published April 16
17.04.16 4:30 am

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The East Timorese may be poor, but they are not stupid. And we need to stop exploiting them, writes freelance journalist John Martinkus.

• Dr Vacy Vlazna in Comments: Every word of Martinkus is loaded with fact and truth. He was often the only journalist in East Timor and literally risked his life to inform the Australian public about how our government put trade pragmatism over the lives of the people of East Timor ( it goes a long way to explain the blithe cruelty of government asylum seeker policies). Today, that greed persists as our government, the representatives that we vote for, our political servants, unconscionably rip off our poorest neighbour. Just as we pressured Howard to send Interfet to Timor, we have the power to demand that the government does the right thing by international law and by our next door neighbours, the impoverished Timorese.

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Corruption of Process Hallmark of World Heritage Management under Liberals

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson Media Release
17.04.16 4:28 am

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The protection of Tasmania’s globally unique wilderness assets is taking a distant second place to the desires of a selected handful of developers under the Liberal Government. While Matthew Groom’s secretive Expressions of Interest process takes place behind closed doors, the Parks and Wildlife Service is being politicised by the Liberal agenda to exploit the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area …

Vica Bayley: Wilderness protection underdone in TWWHA Management Plan response ...

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Federal Hotels’ $25M Bluff

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Treasury spokesperson Media Release. Pic*
16.04.16 6:50 am

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The Federal Group’s announcement today ( Fri, April 15, Mercury HERE ) that its proposed $25M development at Port Arthur will go ahead whether they have a long term extension to the pokies monopoly Deed or not, is revealing.

James Boyce: The Tasmanian Politician ... and the powerful will of Mr Farrell ...

• Luigi in Comments: I read it differently:  that the renewal of the pokie monopoly is a done deal, so Federal will go ahead with the motel development now. And David Walsh seems to be content with the deal too. It’s every Tasmanian political party’s goal to be in power when the monopoly renewal comes up for contract, so it’s nice to see something go well for the Liberals, too.  Things haven’t been going well lately.

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Entura staff furious as sale deception revealed

Luke Crowley. Director, Professionals Australia (Tasmania Branch) Media Release. First published April 15
16.04.16 6:42 am

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Documents obtained this week under Right of Information reveal that the Tasmanian State Government has deceived Entura staff and the Tasmanian public over a period of over 15 months about both the reasons for, and the nature of, the sale of the key Entura division of Hydro Tasmania to the Chinese Government owned China Power. It is now clear that the State Government had not only directed Hydro Tasmanian to “fully divest” itself of Entura, and the Tamar Valley power station in January of 2015, but had threatened the transfer of equity of $120 million dollars if Hydro did not comply. The RTI papers also make it crystal clear that the government’s and Hydro’s intention was the full divestment, in the form of a sale, of Entura (and the Tamar Valley Power Station), facts they have fervently denied through the media …

Professionals Australia calls on the government and the Energy Minister to come clean with the employees in the electricity industry and the Tasmanian people and explain why it insisted Hydro sell a profitable business and why it has repeatedly stated it did not order the sale of Entura when its own correspondence clearly shows that it did.

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BASSLINK: A Wrap. $400m cost? The Senate Inquiry ...

Editor. Satire: Karl Stevens. First published April 6
16.04.16 6:18 am

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This is in the UTAS archives from December 1932 ... Updated with a picture of 2016 Energy Minister Matthew Groom.

THE BASSLINK SAGA on Tasmanian Times ...

MEANWHILE ...

Satire: Tasmanian Heritage ...

• Luigi in Comments: So Will Hodgman has set forth to visit Keppel Corporation Limited in Singapore.  That’s possibly a step in the right direction for a Premier who has done an excellent job so far of not dirtying his hands over this “extreme natural event”. But can someone tell me why Keppel Corporation didn’t see fit to come here to speak to our Premier? If someone had to go cap-in-hand to Singapore, why not Matthew Groom?

• Peter in Comments: Tasmania’s energy crisis could cost the island state’s economy more than $400 million, an energy expert has warned. Much of the cost will be borne by Hydro Tasmania, the state’s electricity monopoly, other state-owned energy companies and the state government.

• A.K. in Comments: For $100 million we could have put solar panels and energy storage on every rural house and urban buildings that can generate power and never have power problems again.

ABC: Tasmanian energy: Greens declare generators an ‘environmental crisis’ as inquiry begins

• Bryan Green in Comments: Major industrials confirm Groom did not consult before shutting down power station ...

• Use the TT NEWS dropdown menu for breaking news/comment on the inquiry ( ABC HERE ). And go to TT Media HERE for the permanent links on What the Pollies reckon ...

• phill Parsons in Comments: There we were watching the ABC News and the Energy Minister at the Senate Inquiry was broadcast. Matthew ‘Crisis, what crisis’ Groom came on to say you can call the failure of the Bass Strait cable and the drought as a crisis if you wish. We burst into laughter, but after all it was Wednesday, the ABC comedy night. Here on the NW Coast everyone I meet talks about the lack of rain, a drought denied by the Hodgman government, an energy crisis denied by the Hodgman government and a climate crisis denied by the Hodgman government.

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Why shouldn’t we raise the legal smoking age to 21 ... ?

Kathryn Barnsley, Prof. E Haydn Walters and*
16.04.16 6:15 am

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... Because the tobacco free generation (TFG) idea is better! A critique of the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s plan to raise the minimum legal smoking age (MLSA) ...

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Politics | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | Legal | Society

William McHenry’s whisky vision realised

Paul Carter, Whisky Wannabe. Pic*
16.04.16 6:00 am

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HERE’S one we’ve all been waiting for: William McHenry’s first whisky release from his own distillery.

ALSO by Paul Carter ...

BBC: Whisky maker uses fryer oil to fire ‘liquid gold’

BBC: The man who culls wallabies by the thousand

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Writers | Paul Carter | Economy | Opinion | Society

Tasmanians say: ‘Show Us Our Drinking Water Data’

Tim Slade* First published April 13
16.04.16 5:50 am

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… During this time, TasWater has threatened residents with referral to a debt collection agency if their payment for lead-contaminated water is overdue, or if a resident refuses to pay, on moral grounds, for lead-contaminated water.  One of my TasWater bills, issued on April 15, 2015, requests payment of $54.41 for lead-contaminated water.  My TasWater bill reads: ‘Until the amount is paid in full…interest will be charged.  TasWater may also: commence legal proceedings against you for the recovery of the outstanding balance on your account; refer your account to an external debt collection agency; or, disconnect or restrict the supply of water to your property.’

TasWater’s 2014/15 net profit was $27 million – $5 million of which was banked.  This super-profit is used to justify, and to employ, three Public Relations Officers.  But only one part-time engineer has ever been employed to remedy the lead-contaminated drinking water system at Pioneer.

If TasWater and LGAT aspire to be responsible caretakers – to learn from, and to show regret for, their mistakes of the past – they should immediately cancel their illegitimate website model. But insincerity, secrecy and incompetence, pervade all relations between TasWater, LGAT, the State government and the Tasmanian community …

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

STATE: TasWater emails show company planned to hit back at scientists (includes earlier links to Tim Slade and Isla MacGregor articles) ...

What the Pollies reckon ... there are permanent links to what the Greens, Libs and Labs, National and State, say HERE.

• Peter in Comments: We stayed in Whitemark (Flinders Island) last year, population 400. It’s not safe to drink the water there, with lead levels even higher than Pioneer. Been that way for years. Posted (below)  is part of a chart from the Tasmanian Health Department’s water quality report from 2013 ...

• Peter in Comments: ‘TASWATER spent close to $30,000 on a report designed to test the veracity of a Macquarie University study into lead contamination in Pioneer’s water supply.’

• Richard Kopf in Comments: The problem of Tasmania’s unsafe water goes back well before the creation of Taswater. The water and sewerage infrastructure was trashed by the councils into being more of a liability than an “asset” for which they now receive a $30m dividend per annum …

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

Super Trawler Senate Inquiry Hears of Diminishing Transparency

Rebecca Hubbard, Nobby Clark, Jon Bryan Media Release. First published April 15
16.04.16 5:47 am

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Recreational fishers and conservationists called for Senators to respond to the overwhelming public opposition to industrial scale freezer factory trawlers in Australia’s Small Pelagic Fishery in a public hearing today in Hobart for the Senate Inquiry into “The environmental, social and economic impacts of large-capacity fishing vessels commonly known as ‘supertrawlers’ operating in Australia’s marine jurisdiction”. Over 10,500 individual submissions were made to the Inquiry opposing supertrawlers in our Small Pelagic Fishery …

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Inbred, fat: Liberal MP attacks political advisers

InDaily
16.04.16 5:30 am

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Inbred, fat, abnormal: that’s the extraordinary connection made by a South Australian Liberal MP in his latest spray at the political class in South Australia.

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Letters to my grandchildren (12)

Anton Clever*
16.04.16 4:27 am

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Dear Chilliwops, Today I will to tell you of a recent humorous experience that also serves as a message about two things.  I am sure you will deduce them yourself as you read my missive.

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Writers | Anton Clever | Opinion | Personal | Society

April 17: Bill McKibben’s Hobart Oration. The Rogue Nation ...

Cambell Klose, 350.org/ Pic: of Bill McKibben. First published April 12
15.04.16 6:20 am

Image for April 17: Bill McKibben’s Hobart Oration. The Rogue Nation ...

Tasmania recently experienced a record-breaking drought that has parched much of the state and led to the worst bushfires in memory.

FRIDAY April 15 ...

• In Comments: Australia a ‘rogue nation’: Bill McKibben

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Launched! Stranger With My Face Horror Film Festival

Lindsay Tuffin. Pic: Bryony Kidd launches the Fest ...
15.04.16 6:15 am

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Wonderful launch last night ... of the 2016 Stranger With My Face Horror Film Fesitval. Wonderful short, sharp films ... You can see why Stranger With My Face was voted in the Top 5 Coolest Women’s Film Festivals in the world by MovieMaker Magazine 2013.

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Politics | State | Arts | Economy | Opinion | Society

In Lebanon, 60 Minutes was creating a racist fiction for senior xenophobes

Helen Razer, Crikey. Pic: of Tara Brown
15.04.16 5:51 am

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In the very unlikely case you’ve not yet heard of the possibly illegal and almost certainly irrational actions of an Australian TV news crew in Beirut, know that the rest of the world now has.

Full yarn ...

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Human rights atrocity in Victorian psychiatric hospitals

Dr Suzanne Covich* (PhD) Pic*
15.04.16 5:22 am

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This is an Australian story. I was profoundly shocked to hear that Garth Daniels’ had received over 80 electro convulsive therapy (ECTs) since being at Upton House, Box Hill Hospital’s psychiatric facility in Victoria.

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