Whistleblowers Tasmania backs call for Parliamentary Inquiry ...

Isla MacGregor* Pic: of Robin Banks from Linkdedin
03.10.16 5:15 am

Image for Whistleblowers Tasmania backs call for Parliamentary Inquiry ...

... Into Anti-Discrimination Commissioner

Whistleblowers Tasmania has backed the call by Tessa Anne from the Women’s Liberation Front for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the conduct of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks and Equal Opportunity Tasmania Policy Advisor Leica Wagner.

YESTERDAY on Tasmanian Times ...

Call for parliamentary inquiry into bullying conduct of Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner

• Verity in Comments: … Isla, please. Your comment is straight out of the conspiracy theory spin book. And an example of exactly what you accuse others of doing - shooting the messenger. You don’t appear to want to engage with statements, argument and challenge, just re-state your position and personally attack people who challenge or question it. Is bullying OK when it’s not happening to WoLF members?  …

• Isla MacGregor in Comments: … Attacks such as Verity’s against Whistleblowers Tasmania for supporting Tessa Anne and WoLF’s call for a Parliamentary Inquiry are typical of the reprisals against whistleblowers

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Writers | Isla MacGregor | Politics | State | Economy | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

The Only Thing We Need To Cut Is Our Misguided Faith In Trickle-Down Economics

Peter Whish-Wilson* Pic*
02.10.16 7:00 am

Image for The Only Thing We Need To Cut Is Our Misguided Faith In Trickle-Down Economics

We can’t trust the winners to compensate the losers, says Peter Whish-Wilson* 

Those lucky enough to be trickled-upon are in effect a narrow group of financial planners, land conveyancers, luxury car salesman, real estate agents, and banks sourcing low-cost deposits. …

• Chris Sharples in Comments: I find it genuinely amazingly that right wing ideologues are so blinded by their greed that they cannot see the self-evident pitfalls of economic policies that deliberately drive increasing socio-economic inequality, which they try to justify with zombie notions like ‘trickle down economics’. But then, I think right wing ideology is perhaps best summed up as “the attempt to find a moral justification for greed and selfishness”, so in that light I guess right wing ideologues can’t be expected to appreciate the problem. Not only is there abundant empirical evidence that such policies are disastrous for everyone …

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

Off the Back of a Truck ...

Lindsay Tuffin* First published Oct 1
02.10.16 6:45 am

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Tasmanian Times every now and again receives tip-offs and rumours and documents anonymously. The latest has come from ‘Public Interest’ … TT offers it to its readers … Editor, the attached documents (obtained under FOI request) are provided to you in the Public Interest. The following summary of the significance of these reports is also offered. Thank you …

• Mercury today: Fox fraud decision due next week ... Clipping below ...

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Writers | Clive Marks | David Obendorf | Politics | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

Tasmania ... and culling deer

Michelle Terry*
02.10.16 6:30 am

Image for Tasmania ... and culling deer

New Zealand’s 100% Pure Credibility Deficit The topic of deer culling in Tasmania has recently been raised again, comparing the option of adopting New Zealand’s management of pest species as a successful program - Mercury (August 20)  HERE

• Tony Orman in Comments: Michelle Terry has summed up the ludicrous situation well. There is no pest problem, there is no deer problem in New Zealand. Dr Bob Brown in Tasmania has it all wrong. In late 1950s, a Californian professor Dr William Graf visited NZ and concluded government departments were afflicted with ‘an anti-exotic wild animal phobia’. The bureaucrats were enraged. Why? Because their fat salaries and empires although founded on a fallacy, were under threat. In short it’s a pig’s trough of public funds. Dr Bob Brown should read my book “About Deer and Deerstalking” which details deer and the NZ environment. Create a problem even though it’s fictitious and you create jobs. -Tony Orman, Marlborough, NZ

• Ian Rist in Comments: … All my years at the Game Farm turned me right off hunting and killing of living creatures, so much so I wouldn’t kill a Deer now if you paid me, in fact I find it abhorrent. I don’t think there was ever a Deer I didn’t feel sorry for after it was shot, that said I do not object to other people hunting Deer for personal use. We all get older and wiser.

SMH: Baird government ‘declares open season’ on native animals

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Politics | New Zealand | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Science | Society

First Day ... October

Rob Walls, Rob Blakers, Keith Antonysen, Giles Hugo, Isla MacGregor
01.10.16 5:45 am

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We celebrate the First Day of the Month with pics from Rob Walls, Rob Blakers, Keith Antonysen, Giles Hugo and Isla MacGregor …

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Writers | Isla MacGregor | Rob Walls | Society

Likely cause of Basslink failure is the Geelong Star

Kelvin Jones*, Kingston. Pics* First published September 26
01.10.16 5:30 am

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The Basslink Saga: A technical perspective …

… It is known the Geelong Star left Geelong on the 16 Dec 2015 after net modifications to minimise well-publicised by-catch issues. This was the start of the pelagic fishing season and it soon turned off its compulsory AIS (Auto Identification System) which had apparently been allowed by Marine Authorities. Pelagic fish are found in the water depths and locations similar to where the Basslink fault was found. The Geelong Star’s next known position was fishing in NSW waters two days after the Basslink failure on the 19 Dec …

… Also of interest during the Carbon Tax period there was reported a serious dispute between a relatively newly-appointed Head of Treasury and Finance and political masters. Evidently the new head was previously the head of Aurora and resigned, citing personal issues, leaving before his five-year term finished.

• Pete Godfrey in Comments: … The photos of the fault released and the paucity of details did not look like a manufacturing fault to me. Thanks again, I believe that secrecy will prevail as it usually does in Tasmanian government matters, but we need to know who is paying and how much …

Bryan Green: Hydro document censored for political purposes

• Luigi in Comments: It would be simple enough for the Geelong Star to voluntarily make its whereabouts known to prove its alibi on the day of the Basslink outage. I would also be simple enough for our government to demand to know the whereabouts of the Geelong Star. Or is the six month outage just a $100 million giggle to our government? Or do they already know?

• Kelvin Jones in Comments: … Hydro engineers, if allowed to disclose the current state of water turbine technology, could answer this question very quickly. There is also a very pertinent comment that indicates the State Government is more interested in cash income than capital expenditure which is at the root of the Basslink saga which must have great weight. … At the moment I am as certain as I possibly can be that external mechanical trauma caused the demise of Basslink. There also is circumstantial evidence that there is activity of a vessel with the capability of inflicting such trauma at that time … There has been - for the last 70 years among the populous - a growing illusion, that if there is a problem, science and technology will find a solution. Economists have fallen for this trap in a big way. Most of this illusion is formed from the perceptions based on an ever-widening array of gadgets and goodies that have been incrementally introduced into our lives. They are all based on one fundamental technology ... usable energy …

• William Smith in Comments: … The only short term option would involve the reduction of the heavy industrial load with possibility of closure of one of the big three with the very regrettable loss of jobs.

• Kelvin Jones in Comments: … Brian Green’s office also commented on the large amount of censorship in a documentation that was tabled to State Parliament. Could it be that the document did contain details of the Basslink failure and the possible involvement of the Geelong Star. Disclosure on the floor of the Tasmanian State Parliament would have negated the legal protection from marine law then applying to Basslink. This could have then had a legal chain reaction back to a Commonwealth Desk? We can ask a lot more questions if that is the case …

• KAS in Comments: … The real issue with the bass link cable, is not that it was damaged – which is not that unusual for cables laid in shallow water like it is, but rather that it took so long to repair.  I have never heard of a repair taking that long, and I think the reason for the delay was that they had insufficient spare cable to carry out the repair … This theory was confirmed to me by a friend who works for one of Hydro’s major customers.  He told me that Hydro had told his company that the real cause of the long delay in repair was due to insufficient spare cable being available …

• John Hawkins in Comments: Kelvin thankyou for your efforts. The ABC has been emasculated by the Liberals so total silence on this important matter. The Mercury is in bed with the Liberals and will never do them a disservice ... result - total silence. The Examiner has nobody who can research or write an original story hence can only regurgitate a press release …

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Writers | John Hawkins | Pete Godfrey | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

WAITING LISTS: A Cry from the Heart

David Kennedy, Gagebrook. First published September 29
30.09.16 4:00 am

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A reaction to the Mercury’s story HERE: Tasmanian surgery waiting times the worst in the country Premier Will Hodgman said on Southern Cross News that he supports any action against suicide …

• Mike Bolan in Comments: … As long as politicians and governments are featherbedded by their benefits and there remains a growing disparity between those who pay taxes and those who receive them, our social contract is grossly distorted and will continue to create disadvantage and resentment.

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

Norske Skog set to close ...

The Hag. Pic: Flickr, Soma Kondo. First published September 29
30.09.16 3:30 am

Image for Norske Skog set to close ...

Norske Skog’s New Norfolk paper mill is set to close and be turned into a fuel pellet factory ...

• Jack Lumber in Comments: Interesting .....NS Boyer has despite the excellent efforts of local management struggled to be out side the ” bottom 25% ” in profitability as part of NS pantheon of mills. Declining newsprint and even LWC, would have seen the mill have to “do something ” or close. An elegant solution in the making for the softwood and the currently “stranded” southern hardwood plantation estates—and all using the existing containerisation supply chain that NS and Tasrail have set up. Noice. Now lets see the naysayers….who may actually identify some key points to consider. Keeping open-minded …

• phill Parsons in Comments: The pervasive idea that a ‘cargo’ will arrive in the hands of a white knight investor [Forestry, the hydro, a mining company, a sawmilling company, woodchip exports, world scale fish farms] to save the old guard of the State’s economy will return having festered in the other halls nearby and in Canberra. Until and only when the Tasmania transforms its own products and talents it will remain caught in the eddies of an economic backwater. A rehash of a previous comment but still applicable. As the dysfunctions of new tech and climate instability ripple through society a forward view needs to be taken by government that often checks the rear view mirror for ideas …

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Regulars | The Hag | Politics | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | Personal | Society

NATION: Turnbull’s UN speech cannot disguise his government’s refugee crisis

David Tyler* (AKA Urban Wronski*) . Pic* First pub: September 26
30.09.16 3:00 am

Image for NATION: Turnbull’s UN speech cannot disguise his government’s refugee crisis

Thunderous applause, spontaneous outbursts of Hallelujah and impromptu gospel singing also break out at the United Nations Refugee Summit in New York this week as Malcolm Turnbull, and his minder, Peter Dutton reveal with similar modesty that Australia is there to help the world solve its refugee crisis. It is Australia’s duty as a world leader in humanitarian assistance, a nation prepared to invest over $40 million to re-settle one Rohingya man in Cambodia, but we must be cruel to be kind …

TUESDAY September 27 ...

SMH: Malcolm Turnbull takes another hit in latest poll Not for the first time may Malcolm Turnbull find himself ruing the day he cited Tony Abbott’s poor performance in Newspoll as a key reason for terminating his prime ministership. Tuesday’s Newspoll holds more grim news for the Member for Wentworth, who despite enjoying his best two weeks in the job strutting the world stage is back facing the reality of his domestic woes after presiding over another fall in the Coalition’s primary vote …

SMH: Poll shows public are turning against plebiscite plan in favour of parliamentary vote Treasurer Scott Morrison says the government won’t ditch its plans for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, despite a new poll showing more Australians support a vote in Parliament. Support for the plebiscite has fallen from 70 per cent earlier this year to 39 per cent, a Newspoll in The Australian on Wednesday shows, with 48 per cent of respondents saying they favour a vote by members of Parliament to resolve the issue …

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

Bushranger Brady teaches that defeat is never the last word ...

Rodney Croome*
29.09.16 5:00 am

Image for Bushranger Brady teaches that defeat is never the last word ...

… Now I’ve met another Matthew Brady. In his most recent book of poetry, Physick, Pete Hay includes a ballad about Brady. This Brady is a metaphor for survival against the odds. Thanks to his love of life and of freedom, his clear head and good looks, his decency and his kindness, Brady is able evade his pursuers, themselves allegories for failure, mediocrity, cruelty, vice and bondage.

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Writers | Pete Hay | Rodney Croome | Politics | State | Economy | Opinion | History | Personal | Poetry | Society

Will Tourism assist Vandalism?

Ted Mead* First published September 24
29.09.16 4:50 am

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“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity ... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” - William Blake

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

Nicole Anderson: The Secret Life of Trees ...


Guy Barnett: Support for Wood Pellet Plant Study … Today, I am pleased to announce funding of $250,000 to help complete a feasibility study into a $115-145 million plantation fibre-only wood pellet plant in Tasmania that would deliver 55 new jobs. New Forests Asset Management Pty Ltd is progressing a $5 million study and has already completed pre-feasibility work showing encouraging results. The feasibility study will fully investigate the viability for an advanced wood pellet plan to be established in Northern Tasmania …

• Robert Middleton, USA, in Comments: In #3 above, Mr. Martin provides a comment that appears to be taunting and even mean-spirited and directed at someone who clearly is a positive force for preserving what makes Tasmania such a special place. I’ve noticed this same attitude in other TT posts by Martin, shocking considering that they come from someone charged with representing Tasmanian hospitality. What is the reason for this resentment and hostility? …

• Ted Mead in Comments: #8 Thanks Robert - You seen to have a clear perspective of what’s happening in this state. Tourism here is more driven by the $ dollar for someone rather than the experience and preservation of our natural assets in mind. A lot of the tourism projects advocated by TICT and FT etc are based around the use of taxpayers’ money to get them up and running, and ultimately there is not accountability if they fail or lose copious amounts of money in the process …

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Writers | Ted Mead | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society

Teen Challenge ‘denial’ pays off

Brian Hillman*, Meander. First published September 28
29.09.16 4:45 am

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In what I believe is a clever piece of marketing, Teen Challenge Tasmania Inc. (TCT) gives the appearance of being independent of any church but their attachment to the Assemblies of God (Australian Christian Churches) is indisputable.

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Politics | State | Economy | Health | Opinion | History | Personal | Religion | Society

Australia panders to a despot and a loyal citizen pays the price ...

John Tully* Pic* First published September 24
27.09.16 4:15 am

Image for Australia panders to a despot and a loyal citizen pays the price ...

On 24 October last year, a slight, youngish man with a luxuriant moustache and an engaging smile flew into Tullamarine airport from Dubai. Arriving home must have been a great relief for him, but after a warm welcome by local well-wishers, members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) hustled him away and grilled him over suspected links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Back in 2005, the PKK was added to the Federal Government’s list of proscribed terrorist organisations at the behest of Turkey, the sworn enemy of the Kurds …

Renas Lelikan’s ordeal highlights the idiocy and injustice of Australian government policy in the Middle East. The PKK and its sister organisations in northern Syria—the PYD, YPG and YPJ—are indisputably the most formidable foes of Islamic State and other Islamist terrorists. Although the facts were redacted from UN reports, no doubt upon the insistence of Turkey, it was the men and women fighters of the PKK who saved the Yazidis from genocide on Mt Sinjar in 2014. In many cases, the PKK fighters carried the old, children and the infirm on their backs to safety. Similarly, it was the PKK and its sister organisations who have saved Christian minorities in Syria from death and slavery at the Islamists’ hands …

Be that as it may, successive Australian governments have been complicit throughout this century in the injustices heaped on the Kurds. More than that, they have grievously insulted Australian Kurds, who are loyal Australian citizens, and equated the Kurdish freedom struggle with the vile dystopia of the so-called Islamic State. It is high time that the Australian public demanded that we stop appeasing the despot Erdogan. We should immediately drop the charges against Renas Lelikan and release him from horrible incarceration at Silverwater. We should also apologise to the Australian Kurdish community and recognise the right of the Kurds to self-determination.

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

Will Malcolm Bendall launch a new religion?

Chris Sharples* Pic* First published September 24
25.09.16 5:30 am

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Tasmania’s own wannabe oil baron Malcolm Bendall1 has spent over 30 years convincing people to give him their money to pursue what I consider to be a grand delusion of finding vast quantities of oil in Tasmania on the basis of a supposed vision from God2 …

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Writers | Chris Sharples | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

Open Letter from Mayor Peter Coad to Huon Valley Ratepayers and Residents ...

Peter Coad, Mayor, Huon Valley Council. First published September 23
25.09.16 4:45 am

Image for Open Letter from Mayor Peter Coad to Huon Valley Ratepayers and Residents ...

The Minister for Local Government’s likely decision to recommend to the Governor to dismiss the Huon Valley Council councillors (pursuant to section 226(2) of the Local Government Act 1993) is a course of action that I fully support. I believe dismissal of council would, as the situation stands, be in the best interests of the people of the Huon Valley. I withdrew from the mediation process, ordered by Minister Peter Gutwein, because Heart of the Huon councillors and the general manager have demonstrated no genuine commitment to that process. A clear demonstration of that lack of commitment on the part of most councillors was the decision, at the August 31 ordinary meeting of council, to prevent me, as mayor, from being an ex officio member on council committees. …

Rosalie Woodruff: Huon Valley Ratepayers Shouldn’t Foot Gutwein’s Bill

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Writers | Bob Hawkins | Politics | Local | State | Economy | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

Was NZ’s OSPRI the successful business model for the Tasmanian false-fox program ... ?

Bill Benfield*
25.09.16 4:30 am

Image for Was NZ’s OSPRI the successful business model for the Tasmanian false-fox program ... ?

Was the Tasmanian ‘false fox’ program based on an already successful business model? There is a case to be made that what became a A$50 million enterprise based on non–existent foxes could have been based on New Zealand practice. In what looks like a parallel situation, we now have the evidence that New Zealand has - for around 45 years - been running a similar program based on little more than a hunch that possum caused TB in cattle. The only real differences seems to be that where the Tasmanian exercise cost $50 million and was stopped, New Zealand has probably spent well over a $billion, and is still going …

• Ian Rist in Comments: What a sad indictment on Tasmania this fox saga is…politicians of all colors are turning a blind eye to all of this. Too many in too deep and we don’t want any egg on our faces.When I was working ‘at the coal face’ all those years ago I raised issues of evidence fabrication and evidence tampering with Liberals, Labor and The Greens, no-one wanted to know. I was aware in 2008 fox scats were coming into the State by the Eski full but when I raised the issue at the 2009 PAC Foxes Inquiry I was ridiculed, laughed at and it was suggested I was smokin’ something to suggest such a thing could be happening. In the few months leading up to the PAC fox Inquiry in 2009 Dr Tony Peacock from The Canberra based Invasive Animals CRC wrote many letters to the Tasmanian papers, especially my hometown paper   ‘The Advocate’ and tried to destroy my fox knowledge credibility before the upcoming Inquiry. I am pleased I kept the letters because now in the light of recent events this person has put themselves in a difficult situation. Peacock also had supporters down this end of the Island …

• David Obendorf in Comments: The former CEO of the Invasive Animals CRC had a conflict of interest in my opinion. He became a critical influencer and lobbyist for a unsubstantiated claim that foxes were in Tasmania and simultaneously the organisation he headed became a substantial beneficiary of the government funds that followed. If nothing else is achieved, a thorough scientific and administrative review of this single program should recognise the need for reform in the governance the provision of vast amounts of public funds spent over long periods of time. Increasing the efficiency, cost-effectiveness and scientific credibility of such undertakings must be learnt out of this fiasco …

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Writers | David Obendorf | Politics | Local | National | New Zealand | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

HVC’s ‘dysfunctionality’ in full media flood ...

Lindsay Tuffin* Pic: HVC GM Simone Watson, Peter Gutwein, Peter Coad
22.09.16 6:30 am

Image for HVC’s ‘dysfunctionality’ in full media flood ...

The saga of the Huon Valley’s ‘dysfunctional’ council flowed on this past few days in a torrent of media releases. The rush started soon after Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein, offering no evidence, dumped on Mayor Peter Coad as the cause of all the trouble. One wonders if the Minister has ever got around to reading for himself the report of his Board of Inquiry, which, in June, found HVC dysfunctional and made 55 recommendations — most of which Gutwein seems to have decided can be ignored …


ABC: Huon Valley Council to be sacked after infighting, Minister to appoint commissioner Huon Valley Council will be sacked after mediation failed to overcome bitter divisions between councillors and the general manager. Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein told the Tasmanian Parliament he had hoped the council would resolve its issues through mediation, but it had failed. “As this council is unable to work together for the benefit of the Huon community, they’ve left me no other option but for me to take the course of action I have outlined,” Mr Gutwein said. “They deserve to have strong leadership, goodwill and and good governance.” The council has been plagued with infighting. Last week, Mr Gutwein criticised Mayor Peter Coad for pulling out of mediation and told him to resign. But Cr Coad refused to go and called on Mr Gutwein to sack the entire council, in line with the recommendation of an independent investigation. Two other councillors have since pulled out of the mediation process …

Madeleine Ogilvie: Half a million dollars wasted in Huon debacle  Minister sat on his hands while dysfunction continued  Gutwein completely hands-off during critical mediation period  Ratepayers should not have been saddled with sorry state of affairs …

Peter Gutwein: Huon Valley Council It has been clear for quite some time that the Huon Valley Council has not been operating as well as it should. The Government believes that as a democratically elected council, in the first instance it is up to the councillors themselves to resolve their issues. We have assisted the council by appointing a Board of Inquiry to independently investigate a number of concerns and complaints that had been raised. The Board recommended that either the Council be dismissed or a mediation process initiated …

Rosalie Woodruff: Huon Valley Residents Suffer Gutwein’s Delay After three months, the Minister for Local Government has finally taken his Board of Inquiry’s advice on fixing Huon Valley Council’s toxic culture. Minister Gutwein’s decision to dismiss all the Huon Valley councillors, appoint a commissioner for at least 12 months, and then call elections at some point afterwards is a welcome relief. It took the withdrawal of three councillors and an online petition organised by Huon Valley residents to force the Minister to get his head out of the sand. We’re pleased he’s finally going to listen to his Board of Inquiry and address the dysfunction, but it shouldn’t have taken three months. It’s Huon Valley residents who have been left in limbo and who are suffering from Peter Gutwein’s poor process …

Watch Peter Gutwein make his statement HERE ...

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

How low can Huon’s council go?

• phill Parsons in Comments: … Amalgamation with Kingborough may have broken the hold of local special interests but more likely is the pervasive idea that a ‘cargo’ will arrive in the hands of a white knight investor [Forestry, the hydro, a mining company, a sawmilling company, woodchip exports, world scale fish farms] will arrive to save the old guard will return to the halls of local government having festered in the other halls nearby and in Canberra. Until and only when the Huon transforms its own products and talents it will remain caught in the eddies of an economic backwater.

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: Between now and the arrival of the commissioner next month, Gutwein needs to appoint an acting commissioner to oversee day-to-day running of council. And, when the permanent commissioner takes over, a forensics squad should get to work delving into every nook and cranny of HVC files (well, those that still exist), going back if necessary to council’s formation in 1993. We don’t want to have to put up with more classic Lib/Lab crap such as, “Forget it. That’s all in the past. Let’s make a fresh start. Let’s move on!” I’m not alone in believing this council, one way or another, has never not had rot in it.

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

A Timeline of Earth’s Average Temperature ...

xkcd, via Jon Sumby, Chris. Pic* First published Sept 18
22.09.16 6:15 am

Image for A Timeline of Earth’s Average Temperature ...

Since the last Ice Age glaciation When people say ‘the climate has changed before’, these are the kinds of changes they are talking about ...

• Kim Peart in Comments: … The sun of denial is setting now, as evidence melds into experience with fierce wildfires and the melting of the Arctic ice. In time, denial will vanish completely, but by then, our plight will be dark. I have been concerned for years now about a deeper level of denial, where the science is accepted, but the action needed is minimised for personal and political consumption. This is a far more dangerous form of denial, because it looks like a willingness to act, but allows the problem to grow and ultimately, contributes to the pending death of the Earth …

Low winter sea ice coverage around Antarctica There has been a noticeable reduction in winter sea-ice coverage around Antarctica in recent weeks, with sea ice extent starting its annual retreat early and setting new daily record lows for much of the past week. The result comes two years after winter sea ice extent around Antarctica reached a new record high in September 2014, when it exceeded 20 million square kilometres for the first time since satellite measurements began in 1979 …

Daily Mail: Earth is warmer that it has been in 120,000 years - and is ‘locked in’ to hit its hottest mark in more than 2 million years, study claims

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

Closing of the Guard ... ?

Geoffrey Swan, Lonnavale
22.09.16 6:13 am

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I am not inclined toward conspiracy theories but a letter received in the post today (dated 24 August 2016, a month to cross the Tasman?) from Grant Broadcasters’ legal counsel now has me wondering — and my question is, Why?

• Geoffrey Swan in Comments: … Or maybe it is now back in the hands of the Director of Local Government given that Minister Gutwein has now finally made his, sort of, determination. We all know the council is not yet sacked. Will he, or won’t he make a final, that’s it, decision in mid-October? Gutwein is starting to look like a man who really doesn’t want to sack HVC but has been steadily forced into a corner. None of us must forget that it is stuff like this that brings governments down.

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Writers | Bob Hawkins | Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Opinion | Personal | Society

Just bad manners or something more sinister?

Simon Warriner*, Yolla, Pic: driveway Martin Howard, Flickr. First pub: Sept 18
21.09.16 4:15 am

Image for Just bad manners or something more sinister?

Today (last week) a random hire car drove up our 1km long driveway, pulled up, and its driver proceeded to take photographs of our house. The first my partner, busy inside, knew about it was our dog barking incessantly. My partner stepped outside to see what had upset the dog and was confronted by a male stranger taking photographs of the dwelling and surrounds …

• Simon Warriner in Comments: … Good luck with that, Jackie. Hope you insured that rental car. It is up to Roger Jaensch as my elected representative to do his job and find out for us. He has stated in a return email that he is seeking answers. What he comes up with will be revealing, on several levels.

• Ian M in Comments: @Simon #11, “The car was a rental, E 16 QM, white, late model, but make not recorded.” If interested, see: HERE Renault H45 Koleos Phase III.

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Politics | Local | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | Legal | Personal | Society

World’s Wilderness Gone By 2100 ...

Ted Mead* First published September 19
21.09.16 3:45 am

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Unthinkable? But a recent study compiled by Australian and United States co-authors have identified that through human growth and the insatiable demand for natural resource extraction, the wild expanses of nature across the globe will be diminished to isolated pockets of primitive country in only a few nations by the end of this century …

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

NATION: Turnbull’s backflip marks a year of stunning under-achievement ...

David Tyler* (AKA Urban Wronski*) . Pic* First pub: September 19
21.09.16 3:30 am

Image for NATION: Turnbull’s backflip marks a year of stunning under-achievement ...

Urban Wronski ... a reincarnated Bob Ellis … Our cruelty is not only wrong it is expensive. This week sees both a Save the Children and a UNICEF report reveal off-shore detention has cost us $9.6 billion since 2013 – more than the UNHCR’s total global budget for programs this year. The reports coincide with an Audit Office report that puts the cost per detainee at $1570 per day or enough to put each asylum-seeker up in a Hyatt hotel and pay them the pension fifteen times over, calculates Fairfax’s Peter Martin.

The Audit Office report shows that not only did the Coalition government breach public service tender guidelines, it created a false sense of emergency to allow it to dispense with proper procedures permitting the successful contractor to add an extra $1.1 billion to its bid without facing any counter-bid. The department of Immigration kept this additional premium secret from then Immigration Minister Scott Morrison who was also not told of the price per head.

Also kept secret is Malcolm Turnbull’s own donation to his party campaign war chest made in the second half of the eight week election campaign although he has volunteered that he chipped in $2 million rather than the $1 million originally reported. It is still a good investment should he last three years. Turnbull is the only PM in Australian political history to have bought his own mandate but, oddly, no-one brings this up as his greatest achievement.

The Saturday Paper: Malcolm Turnbull’s biographer turns on the PM

The Age: We are living in the age of unreason and that’s a fact ...

• Luigi in Comments: Yes, Malcolm’s Prime Ministership looks pretty bad from the outside.  But we should have some sympathy.  Imagine how bad it is for him from the inside.

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

Teen Challenge Tasmania and Assemblies of God:  why the denial?

Karen Hillman*, Meander. Pic*
21.09.16 3:15 am

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Like many I was shocked at the Four Corners program on Sept 12, 2016 about drug rehab centres. So I looked closely at Teen Challenge Tasmania Inc. (TCT), as they are converting the Meander Primary School into a “Home of Hope” rehab centre … 

MONDAY, September 26 ...

Premier Hodgman fails to respond and lets Community down

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The Secret Life of Trees ...

Nicole Anderson* First published September 17
19.09.16 11:15 am

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… The author, Peter Wohlleben, vocationally was an industrial forester, who changed tack in line with his convictions emerging from a lifetime working with trees.  …

What I appreciate about this author is that he challenges, and convincingly refutes, forest doctrines with not just evidence from what he has literally seen, but with what is emerging from the latest rounds of forestry and arboreal research. This takes guts as anyone who challenges the status quo in a knowledge base is sure to have their opinions and ideas scrutinised to the highest degree …

It will ring so true with many readers looking to validate their feelings. It will be vehemently dismissed as drivel by those committed to traditional beliefs about the value of non-human life …

Australian Geographic: People are ‘blind’ to plants, and that’s bad news for conservation Plant blindness is more than an interesting quirk of human perception. It impacts on our efforts to care for and understand plant species.

Late Night Live Legend Phillip Adams interviewed Forester Peter Wohlleben on Wednesday night on his astonishing global smash-hit, which has already been translated into 19 languages ... here’s an extract: … Unmanaged forests can cool down up to three degrees more than managed forests … trees have to deal with climate change … nowadays we are cutting a lot of timber for example for biomass power plants … we fire climate change by hurting the forest … therefore it would be better to reduce our consumption and leave a bigger percent of the forest alone …

• John Hayward in Comments: Even if, like most of us, we don’t give a stuff what other people, much less other life forms,  are feeling, you should be shaken by discoveries about what plant sentience tells us about how little we know about the complexities of the ecosystem …

• Ted Mead in Comments: Fantastic review Nicole! – This book should be a mandatory read at primary school because as a child we are far more receptive to the laws and attractions of our natural world.

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Digital economy is our fifth pillar ...

Madeleine Ogilvie MP*, Labor Member for Denison
19.09.16 11:00 am

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“The internet is a telephone system that’s gotten uppity” Clifford Stoll. In that one phrase, US based author and tech commentator Clifford Stoll, nails the Tasmanian challenge …

Our digital economy is the fifth pillar of the Tasmanian economy - and we can grow our intellectual exports, consulting and professional services, data management and creative economy. At the heart of Tasmania’s ability to operate, trade, educate, heal and employ is a robust communications infrastructure.  It is precisely because we have had such a good system that on a day to day basis many of us don’t need to give much thought to whether we will be able to access our Facebook today, do some online shopping or upload data to sell on the mainland …

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TT upgrade .. and glitches ...

Lindsay Tuffin. First published September 4
19.09.16 4:15 am

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In case you are experiencing problems loading TT, it is because Andrew the Tech is upgrading TT ... for which Beloved Readers have so generously donated heaps. The technol underpinning TT is about 10 years out of date. Hence the upgrade. There may be glitches ... but the end result will be wondrous ... well, little will change for the gentle readership. But heaps for the Backend. Blessings, Linz!x There will be a delay in uploading the latest Urban Wronski, a feature from Madeleine Ogilvie MP ... and the very latest Ted Mead

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Blogging | Media | Society

How political donations distort democracy

Max Atkinson* Pic* First published September 14
18.09.16 5:20 am

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Recent revelations that a Labor frontbencher accepted funds from a company linked to the Chinese Government, and that Chinese companies have donated over $5 million to the major parties, raise concerns about the influence of foreign interests, political as well as commercial …

BOB BURTON has written extensively on Tasmanian Times about donations to political parties and the need for reform ...

Careers Australia digs deep to donate to the Tasmanian LiberalsHis extensive archive is HERE

• funding & disclosure (inc) in Comments: … This committee has produced 5 reports since the beginning of 2014. The Government response? None. There is a simple but important change that could and should be introduced right now. Real time declarations of all donations of more than, say, $500 pa from any individual or entity. …

Guardian: Leaked documents reveal secretive influence of corporate cash on politics Sealed Wisconsin court documents from Scott Walker investigation expose extent of corporate influence on democratic process rarely seen by the public

• In TT Media: Old Parties Refuse to Support Real Time Donations Disclosure

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Writers | Max Atkinson | Politics | National | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

The sparrows ...

Philip Lynch* Pic: Brian Rogers, Flickr
18.09.16 5:15 am

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Like the quolls living under our house, the sparrows had to go. They were starting up before dawn, while we were still asleep, and well before our rooster had even stirred in the chook house. Their chirping and frenzied activity under our eave was driving me to despair …

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Writers | Philip Lynch | Economy | Opinion | Personal | Society

How low can Huon’s council go?

Bob Hawkins* Pic: Cr Mike Wilson, Mayor Peter Coad and General Manager Simone Watson
14.09.16 4:30 pm

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Huon Valley Guessing Games The bad news from the Deep South is that the secretive Huon Valley Council has sunk to even deeper depths of contempt for the people who own it. …

Mercury: Peter Gutwein calls for Huon Mayor to resign in the interests of Huon Valley community

Rosalie Woodruff (former HVC councillor: Gutwein Ignores Board of Inquiry, Sets Up Huon Valley Mayor

Saturday Mercury: Fresh elections best way for Huon, governance expert says

Rosalie Woodruff: Huon Valley Council Mediation Fruitless, Fresh Elections Needed

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Writers | Bob Hawkins | Politics | Local | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Media | Personal | Society

Shooting the messenger … a subjective analysis of a new millennium Tasmanian inquest

Paul Tapp* First published September 9. Main pic: Lucille Butterworth
13.09.16 5:30 am

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As with the Gilewicz Commission of Inquiry, the Butterworth Inquest to me was flawed. But who cares when it happens in this State? Who cares for my opinion? It’s been happening for aeons … everywhere and in all institutions …

… But the main media stayed away from it. To acknowledge a retired award-winning investigative journo and an online paper as the Tasmanian Times as the source of the breakthrough might be just too much for the modern Fourth Estate to acknowledge …

… He would later describe what he found to university specialists in human anatomy and they confirmed that indeed Don Hazell had held in his hands, the rib-cage of a human being. But whose? It’s why Don came to me with his story. Ageing and conscious-ridden, he wanted to get it off his chest. But, why me? Why not the media? He had read my postings onto the Tasmanian Times and saw the Buckland Tapp-Hanuszewicz-Lesage interview on YouTube …

… Nothing else needs to be said … except a burning question on my mind. What or who made Lance Lesage change his story? Why has the man the Coroner named to me as disposing of Lucille’s body not been part of the inquest process? Why has the man the Coroner will name as Lucille’s murderer, not been charged? Dare I proffer a reasonable guess? There’s not enough evidence to convict him? And at 80 years of age, he won’t be about for much longer and the truth will die with him. Well at least the finding removes the Lucille mystery from the conscience of those entrusted to preserve the integrity of pristine jurisprudence and due process. The whitewash machinery has done its job …

• Barry Reynolds in Comments: I’m fed up with the claim that Lucille Butterworth is the oldest “unsolved” disappearance. My uncle disappeared in 1965 near Lake Sorell. Not a word from the Media or anyone else about that. It went back to the Coroner’s court about 3 years ago to get it off the books and in their wisdom decreed that he’d wandered off into the bush and perished. This was a bloke who grew up in the bush and a WWII vet but because of the reputation he had, which was fairly deserved by all accounts ... not a mention anywhere. To make matters worse the police had a very strong suspicion who the culprit was but could never prove it. I feel for Miss Butterworth’s family as my father, uncles and aunts went through the same thing and the surviving family members still do. The story needs telling certainly and people brought to book. The big difference between Miss Butterworth and my uncle is that some of the main protagonists are still around ... where in the case of my uncle they are not. I hope for her family’s sake there can be some closure ... where in our case there won’t be.

• Simon Warriner in Comments: There is a lesson in all this. Especially when it is taken in concert with the case John Hayward wrote about earlier this year ... ( HERE ). Governor Underwood was right in what he told the assembled students at Yolla School, that justice and the rule of law only ever prevails while the legal system and the courts have our respect. Mr Simon Cooper might well ponder what contribution his performance as described has made to respect for the “system”.

• Pete Godfrey in Comments: Hi Paul, well it really sounds like someone is being protected very well to me. And it is not you. How disappointing to have so much evidence just ignored. As you say it seems to be the way things are done here. I went to an RPDC tribunal once to assist some folk in a planning matter. The whole thing was a farce that appeared to be set up to back the newly-made Protection of Agricultural Land Policy …

• Paul Tapp in Comments: Comments are appreciated. I expected to be treated with a bit more respect but as I told SC assisting that Lesage’s unchecked false testimony would make for an interesting chapter in my book on the Lucille mystery. But without becoming too cynical about the quality of jurisprudence in this State, I was urged by many to at least put my treatment on record. Not just as an insight into how we who dare, fare at the coal-front of probity are treated but to acknowledge the courage of practitioners as Caroline Graves who readily came to my assistance. My view now is that such a hearing should never have been before a coroner, given the enormity of logistics required to hear accounts from witnesses from such a diverse demographic. But its early days and I would like to think that Madame Jurisprudence might be doing some probing of her own to ensure that witnesses should not be so intimidated by an antediluvian yes/no system to a point where they simply won’t come forward …

• Isla MacGregor in Comments: Paul, your battle with the corrupted adversarial legal system in Tasmania sends a big message to the Tasmanian community - that the adversarial legal system has gone past its use by date and we must implement the truth seeking European inquisitorial system of justice in Australia. You are not alone Paul - there are many in Tasmania who stand shoulder to shoulder with you yet.

• Lynne Newington in Comments: From a distance, something wonderful going on here. Strong men standing for men whose allegiance isn’t to a political or religious body.

• lola moth in Comments: … It is sometimes difficult to do the right thing when it comes to our justice system. Sometimes we are made out to be the bad guy when all we are trying to do is help. When the people we thought were on the same side as us turn around and bite us we hurt all the more from the sense of betrayal. Just remember Paul, that the only person who is right behind you all the way is Lucille and she appreciates everything you have ever done for her in this case.

• Paul Tapp in Comments: … Pete Donnelly had gone to my ‘funeral’ (a namesake) and drove on with a friend from SBS to my home in Orford, when he knew I was still in the land of the living. Must admit we laughed a lot. But he did tell me all my material, award-winning footage, stories and the high-profile coverage of events in my tenure as cop reporter at Aunty had been removed from ABC archives. Sadly and ironically at the same time as I was tangling with the Butterworth inquest, Pete died and I didn’t get to see him off …

• TT has finally been able to locate a picture of Coroner Simon Cooper ... It’s in this ABC story, A Timeline of Key Events, HERE

• Paul Tapp in Comments: … A debate must include the fact that my information, readily made to the coroner seems to have been purposely denied him. If so, the implications are John Haywood, that the renovators were hard at work so that all the simple-minded taxpayers who unwittingly support the largesses of our subjective justice system can simply watch the footy and the reality TV shows and the no-news news without much time to think about anything else. And that’s exactly what the renovators want.

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