Kim Peart. First published August 10
17.08.15 3:20 am
As an advanced industrial nation, Australia could now have a society with real full-employment and free of poverty.Why have we failed to achieve this? There are currently 2.5 million Australians trapped in poverty, including one in every eight children and the nation has become bone numb to this growing nightmare. 
• Jamie Ward in Comments: Hows this for a crazy idea. Change the welfare system to a job system. Everyone on welfare gets a letter saying they now have a job. Their job is to contribute to the community and help other people. Wages will be the same as the welfare payment. Full employment. Massive boost to the self esteem of millions.
• Kim Peart in Comments: Re: 1 ~ Steve ~ If Australia had focused on being a full-employment society from 1948 onwards, when we signed up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes “everyone has a right to work” and “just and favourable remuneration” in Article 23, we would be a very different nation now. Could there be one in eight Australian children trapped in poverty, homelessness, unemployment and under-employment in a nation focused on real work with real pay for all able workers? I suggest that the attitude problem can be found in the heart of economic thinking and political culture, which has become addicted to around 5% unemployment to keep the wheels of growth turning, so that the well-of can grab a larger share of the national pie. Income redistribution to the rich is an attitude problem. If we don’t like the spectre of unemployment and poverty growing as ever more wealth is generated for the wealthy in the robot revolution, then we must first address the attitude problem that takes from the poor to give to the rich. While this behaviour continues, people left without hope and forced into poverty, may feel no reason to try very hard, when they are being controlled, disciplined and humiliated by a reverse convict system that offers limited hope to a few. Fighting back can begin with the well-off of this nation turning the tables to create real work with real pay for all able workers. The current system has an attitude problem, which creates an attitude problem among people without hope. It has taken decades to create this problem, but we don’t have decades to fix it. When the problem can be faced honestly and a plan worked out that is honest, then we can begin to fight back against the tide of greed that is creating the rot in the heart and foundations of our Great Southern Land.
Jeff McMullen. Pic: Vincent Lingiari and Gough Whitlam
17.08.15 3:15 am
… The great power of Vincent Lingiariʼs story is that it teaches us how this land sings to us all, how it holds us and nurtures us. This is the common ground that we share. When the Gurindji leader and his people walked off Wave Hill Station, camping by the Victoria River and then eventually by Wattie Creek at Dagaragu almost half a century ago, they understood that the land was their birthright and their destiny. …
Raymond Gill, Crikey.
17.08.15 3:00 am
Barrister and human rights advocate, Julian Burnside QC, has commissioned composer Lyle Chan to create a piece of music, “Wind Farm Music – dedicated to Tony Abbott” which will have its world premiere next week when the Seraphim Trio perform it at Melbourne’s State Library.
17.08.15 2:45 am
Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin: Please ... our children need our help to get harsher sentencing for pedophiles ...
Harper's Magazine via Bill Benfield
17.08.15 2:30 am
Monsanto’s lucrative war against invasive species On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history.
Jan Dunsby, Chairman, Neighbourhood Watch Tasmania Inc.
17.08.15 2:15 am
Recent reports of a stranger acting suspiciously in suburban Launceston have prompted Neighbourhood Watch Tasmania to encourage parents to talk to children about this subject.
Rob Scott Buzzfeed posted on Aug. 12, 2015, at 2:15 p.m.
17.08.15 2:00 am
Tim Watts says he was forced to speak from the heart following last night’s (August 11) events.
Tony D Booth, The Market Business
17.08.15 1:42 am
A team of researchers in Australia has mapped our planet’s seafloor in unprecedented detail with the resulting digital map showing an ocean-less Earth that was color-coded with 13 different hues
John Lawrence, Tasfintalk: http://www.tasfintalk.blogspot.com.au/ First published August 11
15.08.15 4:00 am
As Forestry Tasmania (FT) contemplates its future, a future free of government subsidies, its rolling 3 year production plan for native forest harvesting has been posted online. Almost all the planned coupes are small in size and disparate in location inevitably increasing the extraction costs of timber, thereby making a return to profitability even less likely. Notably included in the current 3 year plan is the clear felling of a 51 hectare coupe FD 053A at Lapoinya in NW Tasmania. FT privately suggests harvesting the coupe will be a profitable operation. This is a rare occurrence for FT which, on average loses $20 for every tonne of timber harvested or $250k in cash terms for a coupe this size. It is therefore a little surprising FT bypassed the opportunity to showcase its profitability and sustainability bona fides and release a little more info about an alleged profitable operation, one that needs to be replicated across many coupes if FT is to survive the current insolvency period currently overseen by the head of Treasury as a newly appointed director of FT …
• Karl Stevens in Comments: What really pi$$e$ me off is cheap power from domestic solar panels is being re-sold to subsidise Forestry Tasmania.
• John Powell in Comments: The above was very succinctly put to a Public Forum in Wynyard on Sunday attended by almost 200 passionate community folk. Despite invitations to ALL relevant politicians the only attendees were Peter Whish-Wilson and Andrea Dawkins. Suspect a few votes may have dissolved in to the ether for those non-attendees. Lapoinya will NOT GO AWAY!
• John Hayward in Comments: … It is hoped that Tasmania, on its expected annexation by the state of Sarawak, will be given its spirit name of Kleptomania …
• John Lawrence in Comments: … The Steering Committee’s Final Report into Forestry Tasmania which reported to Gutwein and Harriss in April 2015, hinted (on page 12) that FT was in breach of competitive neutrality guidelines. No aggrieved party has stepped forward to make a complaint to the Economic Regulator, so the government is turning a blind eye to the breach for as long as possible, I suspect, enabling FT to make a few extra $s (although still a loss). Pathetic.
• Karl Stevens in Comments: I’m seriously questioning if FT is obliged to make a profit at all? They are compelled to cut-down X-thousand cubic metres of sawlogs annually but where does it say they need to do this at a profit? I think they could make real money by simply ransoming trees to the people who regard nature as an integral part of the planet’s biosphere. So any takers on my question? Do Forestry Tasmania need to destroy forests profitably or is destruction such an integral component of the Tasmanian psyche that funding it will always be assured?
• Jenny Weber: Australia’s relentless corporate welfare to Malaysian logging company ... Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber has expressed alarm for Tasmania’s threatened rainforests of the Tarkine, and criticised the company Ta Ann for appalling logging practices that are un-sustainable, “Ta Ann’s new plywood mill in north-west Tasmania is another very controversial foothold by the Sarawak timber company in Australia. Ta Ann has today opened a second mill on the doorstep of the largest tract of temperate rainforest in Australia, Tasmania’s Tarkine. More than 400 hectares of ancient forests are scheduled for logging in the Tarkine region to supply Ta Ann in the next three years.” “We are very concerned about the supply of timber to this new mill, sourced from logging high conservation value forests, not only in the Tarkine, and other contentious logging areas elsewhere in Tasmania. These are forests with critical habitat for endangered species, storehouses of carbon that can reduce climate change impacts if left intact and unique natural ecosystems with value far greater than lost to the taxpayer subsidised logging industry,” Jenny Weber said.
John Hawkins, Chudleigh. Pic* First published August 10
14.08.15 7:45 am
Erich Abetz on return from his $12,686 taxpayer-funded trip to visit Ta Ann in Sarawak stood up in the Senate to make the attached vitriolic hate speech published on August 17 2012. HERE. This speech, by an extreme religious, right wing member of the Liberal Party and a former barrister is carefully crafted. It is I suggest the first salvo of an orchestrated campaign that was to result in an eventual payment of $28.6 million dollars of taxpayers’ money to the Sarawak company Ta Ann Tasmania.
A Royal Commission should now be mandatory into the loss-making Take-or-Pay contracts between Forestry Tasmania and Ta Ann Tasmania and the subsequent payment of $28.6 million dollars of public money for their in-part cancellation. The ongoing Tasmanian financial disaster that is Forestry Tasmania is now costing the Tasmanian taxpayer a million dollars a week to in-part subsidise a company from Sarawak … money this state can ill afford.
• mr t in Comments: Eric Abetz has an expected bedfellow in Cory Benardi in today’s SMH fighting the good fight on air travel expenses: HERE. He will still top the Liberal ticket in Tasmania. I love the quaint name, the “Australian Taxpayers Alliance” filled with Tea Party Conservatives who are unanimous in their criticism of government waste…cough, cough…
• John Hayward in Comments: John keeps pushing the public alarm button to report the daylight looting of Tas forests, and seems amazed that he gets absolutely no response from regulators nor consternation from the looters. John might try the new Integrity Commissioner, Greg Melick. He probably won’t get any satisfaction, but he might enjoy a dry laugh.
The 3yr FT logging plans cited by Godfrey, #8, are staggering. This organisation is morphing from a giant leech into a vampire. With no FSC and a badly depleted State Forest, they must be planning a liquidation sale of the State Forest. This is like Taib’s Sarawak, I marvelled, before remembering THIS IS SARAWAK!
• Ted Mead in Comments: # 8 - Pete - I doubt FT even knows what it is actually and realistically doing these days beyond trying to keep itself afloat with funding from any obscure source? One suspects that they were hoping on a biomass burning program funded by the Fed’s after intense lobbying by Eric, Paul and their associated cronies. The industry has now essentially entered an era of great uncertainty whereby anything is possible and probable, but mostly unlikely. The only sure bet is of more $ fiscal propping by the taxpayers!
DON’T BURN IT ... There’s more money in leaving it standing, says former Howard staffer (and Tony Abbott co-writer) Robert Vincin ...
• Pic by Bob Brown ...
• Robin Charles Halton in Comments: From here on Ta Ann should be on its own, more than enormous concessions are in place for this company to continue to extract prime eucalypt regrowth for billet production. The company has been effectively handed surety of resource and unbelievable financial support on a plate by the Tas Government. From here on Ta Ann needs to be made aware that FT is not a service provider but a business who has to rethink its business modelling leading up to 2026/27 when contracts for sawlogs for Crown sawmillers and peelers for Ta Ann need reviewing. Both the native forest sawmillers and Ta Ann need to both acknowledge that royalty structure, roading and administration costs will need to reflect a move away from Taxpayer dollars to support forestry in the future.
Peter Adams* First published August 10
14.08.15 7:30 am
THERE comes a time when one has to stop looking at one’s own desires and consider what is best for the larger community.
For years, I and other furniture makers fought the good fight to preserve speciality timbers from being wantonly destroyed by Forestry Tasmania’s belief that clearfelling rainforest for pulp plantations was “world’s best” practice. During this time I salvaged good millable myrtle from areas that were soon torched. The waste of speciality timbers is beyond fathoming. Should there ever be a Crimes against Speciality Timbers Royal Commission set up, the former heads of Forestry Tasmania should be in the dock as it is they — and not conservationists — who systematically ruined any future chance of there being a thriving, sustainable speciality timber industry in Tasmania. Those days of relatively easy access to rainforest timbers are long gone …
• John Hayward in Comments: I suspect the main value of special timbers to FT is that they are now more sparse or remote and will require broad and conspicuous access tracks through WHA forests. The FT tag. FT will continue to lose money for the benefit of Ta Ann, but will have the gratification of sticking it up everyone who loves forests or hates corruption.
Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ First pub: August 10. Pic: a yakka skink First published August 10
14.08.15 7:15 am
It is the title fight of the century. Skink and Snake, two obscure creatures were thrust suddenly under a national spotlight at Queensland’s Galilee Basin last week when the little Aussie battlers squared off against a pair of slick out-of-towners who had cut up ugly and were about to destroy the joint. What’s this? The referee is stopping the bout? The crowd goes wild; it is on for young and old.
• Nicholas Reece*, Fairfax: How Australia’s cartel-like political parties drag down democracy Labor, Liberal and the Greens – they have all contributed to the deplorable state of our politics.
• Andrew Wilkie: A statement regarding political donations I welcome media scrutiny of my parliamentary business. Politicians should be prepared to face the community and explain themselves. But the inference in The Australian newspaper today that I’m somehow corrupted by donations from maritime freight and labour interests is false and defamatory. My interest in maritime matters is entirely unsurprising considering Tasmania is an island reliant on the sea. I’ve been equally active on Tasmanian aviation and airport safety …
• Basil Fitch in Comments: And the latest Morgan Poll reflects the last few weeks in Canberra:- ALP:- 57% (up 3%)..L-NP:- 43% (down 3%) …
• Des in Comments: A new low in government depravity – A 70 year old disabled Vietnam war vet (had been) sitting in villawood Detention Centre waiting to be kicked out of Australia because he committed some minor criminal offences, related to his PTSD sustained as a result of his war experiences. It should be Abbott sitting there in his place. If you want to sign the petition you can find it here …
THURSDAY August 13 ...
• Guardian: Trade union royal commissioner Dyson Heydon billed to speak at Liberal party fundraiser Former high court justice Dyson Heydon, the man overseeing the royal commission into trade union corruption, has been listed as the keynote speaker at a Liberal party fundraiser, casting doubts on his impartiality. The revelations sparked uproar in federal parliament, with Labor seeking to suspend normal business to move a motion declaring Heydon could no longer conduct the royal commission. “He is conflicted, he is biased, the royal commission is a farce,” the manager of opposition business, Tony Burke, told parliament. Heydon was slated to deliver the Sir Garfield Barwick address on 26 August, an $80-a-head fundraiser for the the lawyers and legal policy branches of the Liberal party of New South Wales. But on Thursday morning, the royal commission released a statement saying that Heydon had pulled out …
FRIDAY August 14 ...
Peter McGlone Director Tasmanian Conservation Trust Media Release First published August 13. Pic: Andrew Ricketts
14.08.15 7:00 am
Single Statewide Planning Scheme will take the local out of local government planning The Tasmanian Conservation Trust is gravely concerned that the state government’s proposed Single Statewide Planning Scheme will weaken the power of local councils and local communities in relation to planning decisions and create a system where the minister and lobbyists for big corporations will hold most of the power.
“What is proposed is a massive shift of power from locally elected councils, creating and administering planning schemes with input from local communities, to one where unelected officials, lobbyists and especially the minister for local government control almost everything. “The impact of this change is that we will lose the local from local planning schemes, resulting in locally important environmental values and amenity not being recognised in the planning schemes and not being protected. “Local communities will lose the capacity to have locally important places and environmental values recognised in planning schemes and may end up having towns and landscapes looking the same as the rest of the state or other states. “The consultation process over these very significant changes has been appalling, with the state government not giving us the whole picture to comment on which is highly dishonest …
• Pete Godfrey in Comments: I fear that this is a slippery slope. Councils will not have much to do, they won’t really have any input into what their shires look like and no control over what buildings or developments occur. So the next step is to say “oh we don’t need councils they are just another cost to the taxpayer. Then bye-bye councils and all control goes to the highest donors to the State and Federal Government. Of course as Mr Hayward points out there was and probably still is a lot of council stacking. With the woodchippers gone there are still the real estate agents and those who are happy to use council to build their own political profile on the way to State government seats.
• Stephan in Comments: Fear That’s the key. Sow fear in to the community. Make males feel emasculated and make females concerned for the babies they don’t yet have. Do it!!! The opening paragraph I read said that it (a State Planning Scheme) would take the “local” from local planning. What a crock!!. Or, rather, what a misleading statement …
FFU spokesperson Alex Tomlinson Media Release
14.08.15 6:30 am
A large crowd of over 100 people occupied the Vice Chancellor’s Office today. “These people are here today to tell UTAS that it’s time for the university to show leadership on climate change and divest from fossil fuels.” UTAS staff attempted to lock the doors and stop the protesters from entering, but were unsuccessful. The protesters presented the Vice Chancellor’s staff with a banner containing the signatures of all those who are determined for UTAS to divest. “We demand that the university live up to its reputation as a leader on climate change by divesting its $300 million investment portfolio from fossil fuels” …
Chris Sharples* First published August 10
14.08.15 6:00 am
… The world was not created complete and perfect and therefore pre-determined and closed, with nothing for us to do but preserve and maintain that which already exists. Efforts to ‘freeze’ society in a particular closed state claimed by religious or political ideologues to be ‘perfect’ invariably fail as they must, because change will not stop emerging – it is what the universe does. Openness to the changes that emerge gives us the capacity to adapt to new challenges such as climate change, whereas a closed belief that we already know what a perfect society should look like only prevents us from successfully changing and adapting to new challenges. It is arguable that human strife and discord, of which there is so much, at least in part results from futile (generally ideologically-driven) efforts to prevent or avoid change which is inevitable. …
• George Smiley in Comments: This makes a great wow-factor introductory lecture to particle or astrophysics. But there’s something familiar about it in the way the unknown is pushed into a corner once again, this time it’s one so small no-one will ever be able to shine a light in there and who knows, if the laws of thermodynamics don’t apply there and it’s really that easy to produce another universe (just wait long enough) so long as it conforms to something observable like conservation of net baryon numbers that leaves a lot of room for god …
• Chris Sharples in Comments: #4 Fantastic, there is no greater accolade a writer can get than to know his writing gave someone else a flash of insight! I’m well chuffed! Actually that’s my criterion of a good book, if it didn’t give me an insight or an epiphany it’s boring. All the books in my references list did …
Alice McGushin and Grace FitzGerald Media Release First published August 11
13.08.15 3:43 am
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has condemned the Federal Government’s emissions reduction target, slamming it as inadequate to protect against the health threats of climate change.
• John Hayward in Comments: A doctor need not be a psychiatrist to perceive that our PM has a serious personality disorder. His conscience and empathy seem to have shut down at the age of around two, and he has surrounded himself with a cabinet of similar repulsiveness. Venal cynicism alone cannot explain his loyalty to coal; there’s something pathological there as well.
Rob Walls, https://thisworkinglife.wordpress.com/ First published August 9
12.08.15 4:45 am
Rodney Croome Media Release: 1500 RALLY FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN HOBART
PREMIER WILL HODGMAN SUPPORTS FEDERAL FREE VOTE
A marriage equality rally in Hobart this afternoon attracted such a large crowd it overflowed into surrounding streets (see more under the piccies …)
WEDNESDAY, August 12 ...
• Robin Charles Halton in Comments: After last night’s announcement PM Tony Abbott has literally hung himself by his balls and can now expect this is his last term in government, if he survives till the end of term! Will Hodgman should not be swayed by Abbott’s miscaculation and allow State members a conscience vote to assess the feeling among its members.
• Guardian: Same-sex marriage: disappointment and anger as Coalition party room rejects free vote • Lenore Taylor. Guardian: Confusing outcome shows Coalition’s same-sex marriage troubles are not over
Nordic Model Australia Coalition (NorMAC) director, Simone Watson Media Release
12.08.15 3:50 am
New York Times report here Nordic Model Australia Coalition (NorMAC) director, Simone Watson, today expressed dismay at Amnesty International’s decision to support decriminalisation of the sex trade.
Fiona Stocker http://www.fionastocker.com
12.08.15 3:41 am
Pass by the draughty old church serving as Launceston College’s music centre on a Sunday in August, and you’ll hear an impressive swell of band music, the ebb and flow of warbling flutes, the warmth of a woodwind section and the call of brass and the doughty march of drums and timpani.
11.08.15 3:40 am
• Ed: And they all gone ... well done dudes!x In the post tomoz!x
Rob Messenger Media Release. First published August 11
11.08.15 3:30 am
In a call on all political parties to consider national legislation for mandatory detox, Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie shared her struggle as a mother of a son addicted to ice.
• Ben Lohberger in Comments: So Jacqui Lambie kicks her ice-addicted son out of home, then shames him in parliament and the national media, and we’re supposed to feel sorry ... for her? Lambie has the salary to pay for a good quality residential rehab program for her son. But mandatory rehab just doesn’t work, so she’ll have to wait until he wants her help before she can give it. In the meantime, publicly humiliating him is not helpful in any way, apart from raising her political profile for the next week or two. Her son, by comparison, will have to live with the public stigma for life.
Ricardo Gonzales in Comments: Ben Lohberger you have nailed this. This is Lambie’s shameless attempt to get re-elected with a cheap headline at the expense of her son’s future. Did she ask him permission before she “outed’’ him? I doubt it. What chance does this poor kid get to rehabilitate himself now that his shameless mother has stigmatised him to all potential employers in the small community of the North-West Coast, where unemployment is rife and his name and photo are today in The Advocate newspaper. I felt sick reading the various newspaper blogs where gullible members of the public are congratulating her on her bravery! She should be utterly condemned. Her son is clearly not in a position to defend himself for the sake of his future and the last person he would expect to betray him would be his mother.
• abs in Comments: … I do however think that it might be helpful to see that (perhaps) this action by Lambie is about a desperate mother struggling to deal with her son’s suffering. i am not a fan of Lambie’s nor many other politicians out of their depth in their position.
Charles Wooley. Pic*
10.08.15 5:00 am
I have been trout fishing the Tasmanian Central Plateau since I was a kid and for most of that time I have been a fly fisherman.
10.08.15 4:55 am
As far as I can see, our supposed ‘social contract’ in Australia, between the citizens and ‘their’ government operates as follows …
10.08.15 4:50 am
… The unrepresentative nature of our party politicians …
Graham Readfearn, Guardian, via Jon Sumby
10.08.15 4:20 am
New book investigates how corporate interests and ideologues worked to make Australia doubt what it knew about climate change and its risks
Rob Halifax, Ockham's Razor Company, Ockham's Razor Pic*
10.08.15 4:15 am
Manufacture has long been a game for large companies. Think vast factories, titans of industry. Oligarchic dynasties, that sort of thing.
10.08.15 4:00 am
Have you ever called your doctor’s office in an emergency and got a recording saying they were closed without any notion there was a reachable person on stand-by that could help?
via Estelle Ross
10.08.15 3:45 am
On 19 January 2015, Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water announced that the Government would introduce special purpose legislation to simplify regulation of the industrial hemp sector in Tasmania.
10.08.15 3:30 am
Warwick Long, ABC Rural. Image*
10.08.15 3:14 am
A fruit that is under-loved in Australia could prevent your next hangover.