ABC. Image: Supplied to ABC First published July 27
28.07.16 6:05 am
Dylan Voller, one of the teenage boys whose mistreatment in juvenile detention was exposed by Four Corners, has written a letter thanking the Australian public for their support.
• Lynne Newington in Comments: Wonderful article by Stan Grant who said it all. HERE
Louise Milligan, Andy Burns, ABC. Pic*: http://www.aww.com.au
28.07.16 6:04 am
Police are investigating multiple child abuse allegations levelled directly against Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric Cardinal George Pell, the ABC’s 7.30 program has revealed.
Kathryn Barnsley* Pic: bought by Kathryn Barnsley from Alamy
28.07.16 5:00 am
Tasmania still has the highest smoking rates of any state in Australia. Around 1400 Tasmanians have died from tobacco related diseases and illnesses since the government was elected over two years ago, however there has been no action beyond a “Discussion Paper”.
Jack Gilding* Pic: Garry Stannus
27.07.16 5:44 am
In May and June this year I put aside my usual work and worked flat out unpaid organising a campaign for a political party I had only heard of a month earlier. In this article I attempt to explore why I took this on, what I learnt, whether it was worth doing, and whether I would ever contemplate doing it again …
Elizabeth Fleetwood* Pic: Thomas Cole, Course of Empire. First published July 26
27.07.16 5:36 am
The news lately has been unremittingly bad – one attack after another. Mass murder by truck, mass shootings with guns, killings with bombs, a stabbing here, an axe attack there, aeroplanes disappearing with all on board … the list goes on, the images get ever more lurid and are constantly repeated, the whole sorry saga drummed into us relentlessly. One could speculate on what sinister motive may lie behind this endlessly reinforced view of a violent world spinning out of control, but for now I want to look at another orchestrated theme behind all this: the constant search for a terrorism link. We all know it – every time there’s another horror, the first response is to seek what jihadi-style group might be behind it …
John Lawrence Tasfintalk, http://tasfintalk.blogspot.com.au/ Pic: Flickr, 401(K) 2012
27.07.16 5:32 am
THE age of entitlement will not end if baby boomers, in or approaching retirement, keep hijacking public policy debate.
The whinges of the wealthy and the wannabes are a crass example of self interest at a time when fairness, more revenue and a system that integrates with the real economy are long overdue.
Coromandel, New Zealand. Pic: Clyde Graf
27.07.16 5:29 am
A bunch of “scientists”, working under the acronym ZIP (Zero Invasive Predators), are not out to save any particular species, nor to assist in the balance of nature; their aim is to make NZ predator-free.
EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...
Bob Hawkins* Pic: of Peter Gutwein from his website. First published July 26
27.07.16 5:27 am
… Talking tough at last week’s (July 27) Local Government Association of Tasmania conflab, Gutwein delivered a stern rebuke to councillors that he described as at war among themselves. As usual, Gutwein didn’t allude to problems involving management. Pointedly, he said councillors should not resort to publicly airing their arguments in the media. (When I vote in an election, it is in the hope that, should my candidates be successful, they would be only too happy to exercise their right to free speech and let the world know their opinions on every issue. Surely the minister isn’t advocating restrictions on free speech? Or trying to gag our democratically elected representatives?)
Gutwein’s observations amount to fresh evidence of how out of touch he and his Local Government Division are with reality; and how out of touch with the concept of democracy are the big parties generally. Specifically, Gutwein is ignoring the need for him and the Local Government Division to keep in the loop the people that his Local Government Division is charged with serving. …
• Mark Temby in Comments: It might just be the big goldfish in a small pond syndrome through Tasmania but I will note Jim Wilkinson, “Independent” MLC for Nelson, is listed as a consultant to Wallace, Wilkinson and Webster. I still reckon there are closet meetings in Parliament House between the likes of Armstrong, Harriss, Gutwein and, maybe, Wilkinson (all pro forestry good ol’ boys)
• Bob Hawkins in Comments: Good news from last night’s (July 27) meeting of the Huon Valley Council: Cr Smith’s motion squeaked through to get talks going with Kingborough Council on LG reform, boundary adjustments, amalgamations, resource sharing etc. This is something HVC has refused to do ever since Minister Gutwein asked councils, many moons ago, to start co-operating on reform ideas. Good job Cr Mike Wilson wasn’t there (I’m told he was somewhere in Ireland as part of the cheer squad for the intrepid French Connexion St Ayles skiff rowers from Castle Forbes Bay). Almost certainly he would have tied the vote, thus defeating the Smith motion …
27.07.16 5:25 am
Kiwi conservationist, author, trout fisherman and deerstalker Tony Orman analyses the New Zealand government’s latest diversion - a predator free country
… If I was a complete cynic, I would say that the New Zealand’s government sees the adoption of “the impossible dream” as a smart political ploy. It will appeal to New Zealanders who don’t know the outdoors and wilderness, who don’t understand predator-prey relationships and food chains and ecological evolution, but will see it as “visionary” move by government. But there’s a stronger more realistic suspicion that the move by government is motivated mostly by a desperate government’s desire by the government to divert attention from mushrooming issues. Afflicting government is growing public unease over unchecked immigration, a housing crisis and a sagging economy with the country’s books showing a debt said to be $115 billion - a massive one for a country of just 4.7 million, not even the size of greater Sydney or Greater Melbourne
That other pest - i.e. rats - have been in New Zealand for “just 200 years,” Maggie Barry declared. She was hopelessly misinformed and wrong. The Maori migrants coming from Polynesia to New Zealand about AD 1200-1300 introduced the kiore rat - some 800 years ago. Norwegian ship rats were introduced by European sealers and whalers some 200 years ago …
• Paul O’Donoghue in Comments: Yeah well good luck with that Pest Free NZ ....these crazy politicians are out of their tiny bloody minds, if they think they can pull that one off! Maybe in LaLa land, but they have about a snowball’s chance of hell in achieving this anywhere on Planet Earth in this lifetime, that’s for sure! God save us from these bloody “do-gooder” politicians, is all I can say …
• Rob McMillan in Comments: Campaigns like “Save The Birds” in which the government Department of Conservation dumps tons of 1080 poison indiscriminately on native bush and alpine areas are all about making a profit from the government-owned 1080 poison bait facility and keeping some otherwise useless officials in a job and have no effect of saving birdlife. As Tony Orman says rats “bounce back” in hugely increased numbers; but sadly the birds do not. Back in the 1950’s when I began hunting the dawn chorus of native birds in the forests was almost deafening. Evidence of this was recorded by the NZBS/NZBC (forerunners of Radio NZ). Go to any native bush area today and all you will hear is a deafening silence. Most of our native birds eat (used to eat) insects and their numbers have been reduced not by possums, mustelids or rats but by DoC and lavish use of 1080 poison in broadcast aerial drops rather than in safe bait stations.
Roo Friend, (c) 2016
27.07.16 5:23 am
… This was a performance that meant something different to everybody, and after the gig I found myself comparing my emotional reaction with others. Most of us realized we had seen something special and rare. Perhaps it is the beauty of Hobart, this city sandwiched between the harbour and its implications of Antarctic wilderness, the mountain looming above, frequently forgotten about in the grand schemes divined by mainland gods, that creates these small masterworks of art that Tasmania so frequently delivers. Is it possible that by ceasing to look ahead and looking deeper inside, or perhaps combining them, we can once again connect with beauty, recognize it, shed our skins and put our faith in something we can’t comprehend? Michael Shrapnel’s music makes me believe in this.
Mike Seccombe, The Saturday Paper. Pic: from Pauline's website. First published July 23
27.07.16 5:00 am
Pauline Hanson is back exhorting the same old message: fear and racial intolerance. And once again she’s set to change the political landscape.
• Ted Mead in Comments: … And yes - your conservative hero John (blood on his hands) Howard was at the helm with complete control over the senate and the house of representatives when we entered into the mire of war in Iraq. So stable conservative governments are therefore the problem when it comes to creating the unstable security problems of the modern day. Military retraction from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria would reduce the security issues in the country dramatically, if not totally! New Zealand don’t have many issues since they abandoned their ANZUS alliance decades ago. But we can’t seem to relinquish our so-called loyalty to US politics, so nothing will ever change until we do!
Ben Lohberger* Pic: A model of the proposed UTAS Inveresk campus. First published July 25
26.07.16 6:00 am
A Launceston City Councillor says UTAS did not reveal the basis of its estimates about the benefits of relocating the Newnham campus, before councillors voted unanimously to donate property worth $4.5 million to the project. The councillor, who requested anonymity, said [amongst many other things] councillors were happy to take UTAS at its word. But the revelation raises questions about the commitment of $300 million by the state and federal governments. The LCC gave property worth at least $4.5 million based only on heroic estimates and glossy pamphlets from the ultimate recipient of all the money …
• ABC: Tasmania still worst state for economic growth despite retail and tourism upturns … South Australia jumped from being equal last with Tasmania in May’s report to being the fifth best performer, leaving Tasmania last. The report stated there was little separating the bottom three - Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland - and that the Tasmanian economy had seen a “modest” lift in momentum, with a cheaper Australian dollar boosting sectors such as tourism … “The Government has been sitting on its hands for two and a half years, relying on meaningless, hollow slogans.”
Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic: Malcolm Turnbull, Sussan Ley spruik a future voter ... (Malcolm's website).
26.07.16 5:45 am
“We must hit the ground doing,” the PM declares, talking up a storm of “good government” although parliament will not sit for a month and no-one’s got any real plans. Even if it had an agenda, the 45th government only needs to get two independent senators offside and any proposed legislation is all over. MPs look uneasy. Eric Abetz is spitting chips
Eric Abetz did say, Monday, his campaign was crap; the electioneering failed to connect. In a flash of old Malcolm, the PM snaps back. How many members has the Tasmanian branch? 1200? The senator claims Turnbull is 800 shy but the point is made. The party ran dead not only because its leader ran dead but also because its support base is dying. Like his predecessor, Turnbull must blame someone else, even if Abetz has a lot to answer for in a local campaign that was out of touch; out of time …
• Fairfax: Liberal Richard Colbeck back on track to defy the factional fix and get re-elected in Tasmania Another Lazarus-like return from the political dead is under way in Tasmania. Days after it became clear Labor’s Lisa Singh had defied her relegation by factional bosses to survive as a senator, powered by below-the-line votes of supporters, Liberal Richard Colbeck appears to be on track to do the same …
• Lynne Newington in Comments on the 4-Corners story: Credit where credit is due ... never before has a prime minister run with a royal commission so speedily on such a controversial issue ... If Tony Abbott was still sitting in the captain’s chair with his history of protecting the status quo and cover-ups …
• Bob Brown: Don Dale Juvenile Centre’s horrific history Darwin’s Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre was where a 15-years-old boy committed suicide in the middle of a federal parliamentary controversy over mandatory sentencing of Aboriginal children in 2000, former Greens leader Bob Brown said today. The boy was found hanged at the centre on day 23 of his 28 day sentence for stealing biscuits, apparently not knowing he was due for release within 5 days …
• Bob Hawkins in Comments: Pots and Kettles Department: It’s a cruel irony that a royal commission is to be called into child abuse in the Northern Territory by a PM who, along with all PMs and Immigration Ministers for the better part of two decades, has been indulging in child abuse and human-rights violations, including stealing the childhoods of asylum-seeker kids. I hope this time we are not listening to more MT rhetoric …
Bob Brown Foundation. Picture: Ted Mead
26.07.16 5:30 am
Max Atkinson* Pic: Bob Burton. First published July 20
24.07.16 7:00 am
In a previous article ( HERE ) I noted that Labor, the Greens and two-thirds of the public were calling for a royal commission to fix long-standing problems with banking and other financial services. The government agrees the problems are serious but insists that ASIC can do the job at less cost. But ASIC is a poor choice because its primary role is to enforce existing law - not preside over a public inquiry to see how well this law works.
• Ron-william Wijnhoven in Comments: … They move quite freely within the colour of law and then some, pushing legal boundaries against the little man while turning a blind eye to the fraudulent activities of the big end of town. But in my case, and I’m sure many others, they operate quite blatantly outside the laws of Natural Justice for their own chest beating and financial gains. They are a criminal corporation assigned by the Public system corporation to keep an eye on the criminal activities of the Bankster Corporations. What a travesty of justice for the Natural man who just wants to get ahead Lawfully, provide for his family and help his friends to do likewise without any unLawful interference by the big end of town, both sides of the Law.
23.07.16 5:53 am
Dear Chilliwops, Life sometimes seems really tough. Joseph P. Kennedy, the father of John F. Kennedy, former President of the United States, once said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Madeleine Wedesweiler, Domain. Pic: of a Tesla Powerwall
23.07.16 5:45 am
A new suburb being planned in Melbourne may take out the much coveted title of Australia’s most environmentally friendly.
Ben Lohberger* Pic* First published July 20
22.07.16 7:30 am
The University of Tasmania’s northern campus relocation is supported by all levels of government and both major political parties. But why is everyone so happy for taxpayers to give UTAS more than $300 million to abandon two existing campuses worth hundreds of millions of dollars?
Instead, they are blowing more than $300 million shuffling perfectly adequate university campuses from one site to another. With no real justification, other than the flow-on benefit of unnecessary construction work. All based on heroic, secretive estimates from the institution that will receive the money …
Greg James* Pic*: blair_25, Flickr. First published July 21
22.07.16 6:45 am
Australia is changing and changing rapidly from the country One Nation voters call ‘A Christian Nation’. It is now something completely different and unrecognisable. Within my extended family, I have a majority Atheists, two Catholics, two Buddhists, a token Muslim, a multitude of remnant Greek Orthodox and the odd C of E and United Church claimants. Yet I know that not one of them attends a regular, religious service, a few meditate and some ruminate …
• Rob Walls in Comments: With you all the way, Greg…take issue with only one small item of fact. The Ball and Chain was in business as far back as 1971, when I first ate there.
ABC. Pic: of Lisa Singh on Q&A. First published July 19
22.07.16 6:15 am
Tasmanian Labor senator Lisa Singh is poised to pull off an unprecedented victory, claiming a seat ahead of fifth placed John Short, who was listed above her on the party’s Senate ticket.
• Chris in Comments: Wed 20th July 4.30pm. Lisa Singh 12,542. Seems to be the highest vote cast in the Senate in Tasmania. Congratulations, Labor ignore her honesty and popularity at your peril, next time there is no doubt that she deserves top spot on her ability to get the 5th seat for the Labor Party. Six year term for her too - Senate, take note, we are watching. As we know ABBA (Any Body But Abetz) had great influence along with the hatred and dislike that everyone had for this manipulator of the Liberal Party in Tasmania BOTH state and federal, where he is well past his prime and influence …
• Matt Denholm, The Australian: Tasmanians defy major parties’ tickets in Senate vote Tasmanians have delivered a significant slapdown to the Labor and Liberal party machines, voting in large numbers to circumvent party Senate tickets and potentially deliver upset results. Labor senator Lisa Singh is on track to retain her seat, despite being dumped by her party to the usually unwinnable No 6 spot on the ALP ticket, after receiving at least 12,542 below-the-line votes. … On the Liberal side, former federal tourism minister Richard Colbeck — demoted to No 5 on the Liberal ticket after an alleged preselection clash with powerbroker Eric Abetz — received at least 8105 below-the-line votes …
Mark Temby* Photo: Mid Winter Fest (Mark Temby)
22.07.16 6:01 am
Another boom year for Tasmanian tourism in the winter is drawing to a close with the usual politicians and government funded spokespersons in line to tout their achievements.
Jarni Blakkarly, Crikey. Pic: of Taib Mahmud
22.07.16 5:27 am
Australian universities have been confronted with a new cautionary tale about the perils of accepting donations from potentially corrupt foreign officials.
Tony Orman* Pic: NASA
21.07.16 5:45 am
Another in our series on New Zealand ... with whom Tasmania shares so much, from Gondwana to 1080… New Zealander Tony Orman, former town planner, journalist and author, muses over the uncontrolled race for growth and more people
John Cook, The University of Queensland. Pic*: Bernard Staehli, Shutterstock
21.07.16 5:30 am
The fossil fuel industry has spent many millions of dollars on confusing the public about climate change. But the role of vested interests in climate science denial is only half the picture.
Rosemary Bolger, ABC. Pic: Pic: of Peter Gutwein from his website
21.07.16 5:15 am
Tasmanian councils have been urged to forgo more revenue from TasWater to fix failing water and sewerage infrastructure but they have warned the move could push up rates.
21.07.16 5:07 am
Huon Valley Mayor Peter Coad has admitted his council is in “excellent financial shape,” less than two years after claiming during his close 2014 election victory that the council was going broke.
Kim Peart* Pic*
21.07.16 5:00 am
Ask many people if they remember the Moon landing, and they will tell you, “I wasn’t born yet.” As each year goes by, fewer remain who remember that moment. It was my first year at work after high school, when we downed tools and went to the next business along the street to see the event on TV …
Bob Burton. First published June 6
20.07.16 6:37 am
AMP, one of Australia’s largest wealth management companies, has revealed it became one of the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s major donors because the party “began a public policy forum” which it considered “relevant to our business.” However, AMP, Premier Will Hodgman, Senator Eric Abetz and the Tasmanian Liberal Party all remain tight-lipped about what the “policy forum” does, how often it meets and who attends.
• Kathryn Barnsley in Comments: Well researched Bob Burton. My preferred title for this behaviour is crony capitalism. Just as Quentin Beresford wrote about forestry and crony capitalism in his wonderful book the Rise and Fall of Gunns, I published a paper last month in an international journal (Evidence and Policy) about the tobacco industry and crony capitalism in Tasmania. Crony capitalism is endemic in this state. Until Tasmanians become aware and concerned about it,, and prepared to do something about it, cronyism will roll on forever. Unfortunately the slash and burn to investigative journalism in all media means there is no public exposure of this behaviour. Thank heavens for the Tasmanian Times and Bob Burton.
• Jacqui Lambie media statement in comments: Independent JLN Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie has demanded that all political parties adopt the JLN’s system of open and transparent real-time disclosure for political donations – and show the people of Australia exactly who has given them money, and how much - before election day. “ Everyone in Australia knows that our political funding system is broken. It’s not right, decent or fair that Australian voters will only find out in approximately 18 months who donated - and how much was donated to our political parties or candidates - for this historic and critical double dissolution election.
• Cassy O’Connor: Democracy demands Transparency on Donations First the ACT and now Queensland have committed to the real time publication of political donations rather than making voters wait up to 18 months to find out who gave how much to which party in the lead up to an election. It is well past time Tasmania did the same. Under current Federal law and in Tasmania, voters went to the poll on 2 July having no idea who was seeking to buy influence with political parties or candidates. Political donations at the State level are entirely unregulated …
John Hawkins*, Chudleigh. Pic: of Eric Abetz from his website. First published July 18
19.07.16 6:30 am
... just ask the Three Amigos ... If below the line voting is how thinking people, rather than form fillers, indicate the relevance of those who represent them, then the following results as of yesterday morning are of great interest ...
… So Abetz by his patronage has gifted three no-hopers a six-year job at a $250,000 a year; deadbeats who could barely muster a thousand votes between them …
• John Hawkins in Comments: AEC today (July 18): Singh 8762. Colbeck 5872. Lambie 4770. W _ Wilson 3546. Abetz 2839. McKim 2328. Now Colbeck has lost his job in Cabinet. So it now looks as though the Liberals have lost all three of their Lower House MP’s and their only Cabinet Minister who may even have lost his seat. Now that is a result. Where to now Senator Erich Abetz? Or is this all Malcom’s fault?
• Ben Lohberger in Comments: Eric Abetz has claimed during an interview on ABC Radio National that Malcolm Turnbull should listen to Abetz’s post-election advice, because backbenchers such as Abetz doorknocked “hundreds, if not thousands” of homes during this year’s federal election campaign. Doorknocking takes significant time and effort, and to doorknock up to 2000 homes would have taken the Senator more than a month of full-time work. So where did Senator Abetz doorknock in Tasmania, when did he doorknock, and can he actually prove it? Surely someone in the state must have seen him at their door? …
Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic: of Eric Abetz, from his website. First pub July 18
19.07.16 6:00 am
Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz fearlessly leads the charge of the Right brigade this week into a stoush between his beloved team Abbott and the Pollyanna faction led by tub-thumping, sub-stumping $50 billion dollar man Christopher Pyne. Eric is out to keep the bastards honest …
Pity us poor Liberals, Julie Bishop pleads on ABC’s Insiders, “we don’t have the rivers of gold that come from the union movement.” AEC ALP records do not match the Foreign Minister’s fantasy, showing instead a broad set of donors. In 2015, the CFMEU donated $50,000 yet WestPac gave $1.5 million. No-one challenges Bishop. Most likely, however, Turnbull’s party was just caught short as its uber-rich supporters; fearing penury if super rules were to change, withheld donations.
In the real world over 31,000 people have lost their disability support pension in the past year, the biggest annual drop on record as several years’ worth of government crackdowns begin to bite. 90,000 may expect to undergo a medical review in the next three years. More “savings” are promised as Mad-Dog Morrison has promised to find another $3.5 billion.
• Richard Colbeck: Ministry Announcement I am extremely disappointed to have to relinquish my portfolio but I have to agree with the Prime Minister that the need to finalise a new team and the uncertainty relating to my Senate seat made it impossible to wait – the business of Government is much bigger than any individual …
• Ben Lohberger in Comments HERE: Eric Abetz has claimed during an interview on ABC Radio National that Malcolm Turnbull should listen to Abetz’s post-election advice, because backbenchers such as Abetz doorknocked “hundreds, if not thousands” of homes during this year’s federal election campaign. Doorknocking takes significant time and effort, and to doorknock up to 2000 homes would have taken the Senator more than a month of full-time work. So where did Senator Abetz doorknock in Tasmania, when did he doorknock, and can he actually prove it? Surely someone in the state must have seen him at their door? …