Articles

‘I am just so happy to be alive’, he said ...

John Martinkus* Pic*
26.08.16 5:20 am

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Many people in Afghanistan risked their lives and their families to help foreign journalists. But foreign correspondent John Martinkus says after the West has no need for such people anymore, we often leave them to be killed.

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

Recovery Plan fails the Freshwater Lobster

Peter McGlone*, Director Tasmanian Conservation Trust. Pic* First pub: August 25
26.08.16 5:15 am

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… The Draft Recovery Plan is generally inadequate and significantly inferior to the previous plan. A key reason for this, we believe, is that the current draft was prepared by the Australian Government, with very limited consultation with the responsible state agencies and no community consultation. Traditionally recovery plans have been drafted by the relevant state agency and the recovery team for the species and the Australian government has merely provided input. We have no idea why this change has occurred but it clearly has led to a decline in standard. …

• Todd Walsh in Comments: Hi Peter, The last time the state government ran the Recovery Plan, half of those involved were excluded from meetings for almost 2 years. Those excluded were the community-based groups, if you think that was a higher standard of community consultation then we are on different planets.

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Sex industry lobby group disrupts Survivor book launch

Simone Watson, National Director Nordic Model Australia Coalition
26.08.16 5:00 am

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On Sunday 21 August, sex trade advocates tried to derail the launch, in Townsville, Queensland, of Prostitution Narritives, a recently published compilation of sex trade survivor testimonies.

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

Susan Neill-Fraser faces her 8th year in Risdon prison

Jennie Herrera* Pic: of the yacht at the centre, Four Winds
26.08.16 4:45 am

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On Saturday August 20 Hobart grandmother Susan Neill-Fraser faces her 8th year in Risdon prison.  Still the haunting question remains to me – What if she is innocent?

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Politics | State | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society

Launched! Physick ... and a true Elder

James Boyce*
23.08.16 5:15 am

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Launch of Pete Hay’s, “Physick”. Hobart Bookshop Thursday 18 August 2016 Book launches traditionally do two things. They celebrate the author who has been locked away in a place of solitary madness and needs to be welcomed back into the world with a big hug in order to receive reassurance that, if not sane, they are at least loved.

So deeply earthed is this man that when spotted walking his cute little terriers in St David’s Park you can choose to see either the venerable academic, the good bloke you had a beer with and who gave you some ideas for your latest project, or a Van Diemonian emancipist bushman out with his kangaroo dogs to get dinner and ensure that the celebrated elite finally get to know what it is liked to be pissed on if only by a dog. All these images contain a truth but none come close to describing the fellow.  Suffice to say that Pete Hay, though he won’t like the description, may be the closest thing we have to a true Elder, a bloke who knows stuff, not just in his head but in his heart …

Watch the launch HERE

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Writers | James Boyce | Politics | International | National | State | Books | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

The threat posed to women’s rights ...

Tessa Anne* Pic* First published August 20
23.08.16 5:00 am

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The Women’s Liberation Front Southern Tasmania (WoLF Tas) has written to Tasmanian and Victorian MP’s warning them about the threat posed to women’s rights if proposed legislative changes tabled yesterday in the Victorian Parliament by Premier Daniel Andrews and also similarly proposed in an Options Paper by the Office of Equal Opportunity Tasmania (EOT), go ahead …

Atlanta Progressive News: Georgia ACLU Director departs over transgender litigation …

Kut.org, News from Austin, Texas: Federal Court Halts Guidelines on Transgender Bathroom Use in Schools

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Writers | Isla MacGregor | Tessa Anne | Politics | National | State | Economy | Opinion | Personal | Society

NATION: a government drowning by numbers

David Tyler* (AKA Urban Wronski*) http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic* Twitter*
22.08.16 3:30 am

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… Off the hook, huckster Hunt recites Coalition Border Force spin. 1200 people, “1200 beautiful souls,” he extemporises, “drowned.” How little each soul means to his government is seen in the way it destroys the lives of survivors in concentration camps. No-one challenges his hypocrisy. Hunt could add in a spirit of scientific objectivity that between 400 and 700 are estimated to have drowned under Coalition governments. He’s a model of misleading and false information …

Guardian: Rising inequality in Australia could cost 3% of GDP, study finds

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

Why Huon Valley Council should still be sacked

Bob Hawkins* Pic* First published August 15
22.08.16 3:15 am

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Huon Valley Guessing Games It’s struggling, yet, kinda-sorta, “dysfunctional” Huon Valley Council is still on the rails as it strives to save itself from destruction at the hands of Peter Gutwein, minister in charge of parish-pump politics. That’s the same man, who, on June 15, gave short-shrift to the expert advice of the board of inquiry he appointed last September to find out what was going on in a council displaying alarming signs of being hopelessly out of control.

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: CORRECTION: Now you see it. Now you don’t. In my article above, I made this statement: “And then there was a charge about something in the July 22 Mercury. That turned out to be a letter Geoffrey Swan had written, the Mercury choosing to place a photograph of Coad alongside it.” That was an observation on an alleged “non-compliance” by Mayor Coad relating to a directive from Minister Gutwein (Direction 3) that the mayor should make no statements without councillors’ or the GM’s endorsement relating to council’s “positions or decisions” … My question to GM Watson is: How do the comments attributed to Mayor Coad in that July 22 11.34pm article, in any interpretation of them, add up to non-compliance with Minister Gutwein’s direction re mayoral statements and council’s “positions or decisions”? …

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Writers | Bob Hawkins | Politics | Local | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

Animal protection does not win votes ...

John Hawkins*, Chudleigh. Pic*: Kelly Garbato FLICKR
22.08.16 3:15 am

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Submission to: the International Policy Team of the CITES Management Authority of Australia in the Department of the Environment … Animal protection does not win votes in a society that for reasons of political expediency hates the Greens. The opposite of this, namely the extraction of natural resources to create ‘Jobs and Growth’, is seemingly a political winner. …

• phill Parsons in Comments: Joining the Swift Parrot in migration is the Orange Bellied Parrot but their winter feeding grounds in Australia are threatened by development. The problem with jobsngrowth is it has failed as population has grown. Supposed to solve the problem of jobs/growth has made it worse as the pool of unemployed shows …

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Politics | Local | National | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Health | Opinion | Legal | Personal | Society

Head in the sand ...

Bruce Ransley* First published August 18
21.08.16 5:30 am

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Bruce Ransley on why we’ll never see preventative action on sea-level rise …

In biology there’s a concept known as ‘futile cycling’. To cut a long story short, imagine a reaction where two metabolic pathways run simultaneously in opposite directions and have no overall effect other than to dissipate energy in the form of heat. It’s actually a useful phenomenon, and has the result of generating energy, perhaps to power an insect’s wings or to keep a bear warm during hibernation. Bureaucracy is a bit like that: lots of activity but not much to show for it apart from hot air. Does it serve a purpose? You betcha. Jobs and growth, mostly. At a time when the rest of the world is building seawalls and preparing for more-frequent extreme coastal storm surge events, why the heck are we digging a big hole on a narrow sandspit – the only way in and out of the South Arm peninsula – without the blessing of a sea level rise expert? Sadly the answer is clear to me now. It’s somebody else’s problem …

• William Boeder in Comments: Bravo Bruce Ransley …

• Denis Cartledge in Comments: Great article.  This would appear to be along the lines of what Fisheries people are experiencing worldwide. I suspect the wrong people are being targetted.  If you want action (slightly) quicker than State and Local Government, try alerting the real estate trade.  They are the ones who do have something to lose - their commissions, when land in Opossum Bay slumps due to its untimely inaccessibility.;-)

• Duncan Mills in Comments: Great and valuable case study of systemic failure. Be interesting to take it further to risk and economic analysis. South Arm residents and their insurers might be interested. The council once notified of the risk, becomes legally obliged to act to mitigate the risk, otherwise they (and the state) may become legally liable for compensation to all who suffer loss. A letter to the Insurance Council of Australia with cost/risk estimates might get useful traction. This is the paradigm governments/ treasurers comprehend ... their only way to understand complexity.

• Di Elliffe in Comments: Brilliant case study of systemic failure in natural resource management in Tasmania - well probably this could apply in many places. Everyone ticking the boxes and no-one asking the hard questions or making the tough decisions.

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Writers | Bruce Ransley | Politics | Local | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | Society

The Worthiness of Trees – Reflections from an Activist

Ted Mead* First published August 6
21.08.16 5:05 am

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Even in this modern era there are still cultures that continue to dwell in the world of trees. Forest people can teach us more about harmony with the earth than the most learned of scholars. In our predominantly urban society we have adopted a different connection to the primeval land, as we presently seem to rely on some form of familiarity to grasp and absorb the essence of forest values into our lives.

• Pete Godfrey in Comments: Thanks Ted, lovely photos and words. Sometimes we as a race seem to forget that we are spiritual beings experiencing physical realities. We have lost ourselves in thinking and doing, instead of just being. The beautiful forests such as the Tarkine give us a place to be Human Beings, rather than Human Doings.

• Peter Adams in Comments: Beautiful writing Ted. Straight from the heart. Thank you for all your actions over the years to help the public comprehend the importance of our forests. HERE’S a Ted Talk that confirms, through science, what you intuitively know.

• Duncan Mills in Comments: Beautiful and so so true Ted. I now reside at your erstwhile abode, as you may or not recall. I can stand under it’s soaring Blue Gums, above the Huon Estuary, looking to the East into a wall of trunks: Feeling physically, a rain of peace and serenity, drenching me from head to toe.  I have experienced what passes for modern luxuries and pleasures, but assimilating such tall vibrant forests, trancends them all. I grieve for all who cannot feel these things, they will leave this place having failed to know life. I also grieve for all that suffers because of decisions made by others who will never know these things and who of choice choose not to know.

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

Tolputt Triumphant

Leo Schofield* Pic: of Nicholas Tolputt
19.08.16 5:30 am

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It was a sunny Sunday in summer 2013. I was spending the weekend with friends in Launceston and popped into the Queen Victoria Museum to view the collection. On the way out I stopped to buy a couple of postcards and as I was paying I noticed a modest flyer on the desk announcing a concert by a local countertenor. There was a photograph too of a young man who resembled Daniel Radclife in the Harry Potter movies, earnest, nerdy and with those thin-rimmed round spectacles that suggest scholarly intensity.  His name was Nicholas Tolputt, a Launceston lad …

• Estelle Ross in Comments: I have seen several of Nick’s concerts, he has a fantastic voice and is also a very charming young man. What a great opportunity he now has to study overseas with Andreas Scholl ...

• Susie Clarke in Comments: Thank you Leo for writing such a great article about young Nicholas Tolputt. Yes, it was in July three years ago when we ( Don Wing, retired MLA, Kerry Finch, member for Roseveares, Di Bucknell, Kerry’s assistant ( now retired) and me, Susie Clarke) put on a concert for young Nic at Holy Trinity Concert! I knew Nic for several years and he was then a baritone and enjoyed playing major roles with Encore at Launceston’s Princess Theatre. It was his brilliant singing teacher Benjamin Martin who suggested he should try changing from being a baritone to counter tenor, and he was 100% right! I was so pleased to greet you at the door of Holy Trinity church that July evening 2013. Things certainly have changed for our young Nicholas since then! Thank you Leo for your continued support and encouragement for Nic …

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Arts | Society

UNLESS ... the giant freshwater lobster will disappear from the planet forever ...

Dr Rosalie Woodruff*, Senator Janet Rice* Pic* First published August 11
19.08.16 5:15 am

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RE: Public comment on the draft national recovery plan for Giant Freshwater Lobster (Astacopsis gouldi) The Federal Government has recently closed a public consultation about the draft Recovery Plan for the Giant Freshwater Lobster (Astacopsis gouldi). This is the last roll of the dice for this lobster.  It is found only within the small coastal strip on the North East and North West of Tasmania.

• Pete Godfrey in Comments: It seems that we have had a Draft recovery plan for the lobsters forever. Surely someone within government will have the spine to actually do something soon. 50 metre buffers on class 4 streams are a good step, then they will have to look at other major sources of silt. Eg Roading. There needs also to be a ban on logging on sensitive Karst areas. I have photos of the Lobster Rivulet and the Honeycomb caves running with mud rather than water after two logging actions on Karst areas above them. Like the Bees the Astacopsis are a sign that things are not well. We need our rivers and streams to be pristine. We need to replant riparian vegetation on lowlands also to prevent the rivers silting up and to keep large stock out of the water.

• Andrew Ricketts in Comments: The ridiculous and unsustainable Forestry stream classification system and prescriptions have been imported into the Draft State Planning Provisions. They have no basis in science. The adequate and responsible management of threatened species continues to evade Tasmania. Warriner’s (#7) comments over who should pay are worthy of detailed discussion. In truth we all have a responsibility, including the public purse. For too long Tasmania has hidden behind this inexcusable excuse, while allowing irreplaceable natural assets to continue to go down the gurgler … It is far worse than post 17 suggests …

• John Hawkins, Comment 50 …

• Claire Gilmour in Comments: … Who knows where they go in droughts, fires, floods? I do! Who has followed them in such scenarios? I have! Have you ever seen dozens of astacopsis gouldi walking down a creek going back to their homes after a drought or fire? I have. Have you ever seen them hide in high floods and come up in low floods? I have …

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Science | Society

Postcard from Hua Hin ... Letters to my grandchildren (19)

Anton Clever*
19.08.16 5:15 am

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Hua Hin, Thailand.  A beautiful beachside town, formerly predominantly a fishing village but now one that relies heavily on tourism.  A destination for many looking to escape the onset of the northern hemisphere autumn and winter.  Having visited the King’s town for many weeks over the last decade it has become noticeable that more Australians also visit each year.  Roughly three hours drive south of the nation’s capital it is also a popular destination for Bangkok residents escaping the city crush on weekends, especially long weekends …

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Writers | Anton Clever | Society

How the world media reports Nauru abuse ...

John Martinkus* Pic* First published August 16
18.08.16 5:30 am

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Australia’s appalling treatment of refugees on Nauru is the talk of the world, writes John Martinkus.

• John Biggs in Comments: This is or should be deeply embarrassing to all Australians (apart from some screwball senators) and especially to any government responsible for this—and that is both Coalition and Labor governments. I simply cannot understand how a responsible government can go into denial or worse, like that bloodless psychopathic Dutton, blame the victims and say it’s all their fault and they deserve what they get. This is Nazism. Or like tricky Morrison say they are only allegations and are yet to be proven. The government must apologise, compensate and bring all Nauru and Manus asylum seekers back to Australia. Anything less than that after what those poor people have gone through (in the name of stopping boats for God’s sake) would be unacceptable to all decent people. I could see that Russia and China, with all their breaches of human rights, would be crowing with delight at the opportunity to damn Australia for human rights breaches, but to be shamed by all those other basically civilised countries must cut any decent politician who was and is party to this cruelty to the quick.

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

NATION: A government in diabolical trouble ...

David Tyler* (AKA Urban Wronski*) http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic: Flickr First pub Aug 15
18.08.16 5:15 am

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… Later Dutton goes completely overboard in blaming the victim and in continuing the Coalition line that asylum seekers are illegals and therefore anything they say is illegitimate, by claiming that some have “self-immolated” or self-harmed in order to reach Australia. It’s a line that goes all the way back to October 2001 when John Howard lied about babies being thrown overboard. He closed Christmas Island port to prevent independent observation. …

A solution to our Refugee Crisis … They believe that as the international community increasingly becomes acquainted with the unprecedented cruelty of Australia’s asylum-seeker policies, our reputation as a callous and even racist nation will become entrenched …

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: We have had state-sanctioned child abuse and human-rights violations re asylum seekers/refugees since late last century. Every PM and Immigration Minister since about 1995 should be put on trial for both offences. Some chance! At least we could bring all the inmates of Manus and Nauru to Australia and give them the best start possible to set them on the road to becoming Australian citizens. Carrying on the way we are is an invitation to intensify the hatred our immigration/border security policies are generating.

Guardian: Far-right protesters interrupt Anglican service clothed in mock Islamic dress

• Sammi in Comments: OPEN LETTER to Mr Peter Dutton, I feel ashamed to be an Australian. I’ve heard you say that you just “won’t tolerate”  mistreatment of asylum seekers on Nauru, but on the other hand you keep insisting that our government has no power to intervene in the way those people are treated on Nauru.  So - you’re just paying lip-service to wanting “respectful” treatment for those vulnerable people. Nauru is known internationally as a failed state.  Even with all that money from Australian taxpayers, it doesn’t have the basic legal and social underpinning necessary to treat those people with respect.  Police are unable to protect people who are not part of the existing Nauruan society. Your reaction to the obvious abuses against vulnerable women and children on Nauru is absolutely heartless and cruel.  I hope you’re not a Christian, because that would give all Christians a terrible reputation, as you are already besmirching Australia’a reputation. If you are a Christian, you’ll know that Christ would never have condoned the further victimisation of people who have already had to flee their own land (as also happened in biblical times) …

Fairfax: Refugee protesters interrupt Malcolm Turnbull economic speech

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

Mines must pay levy and mining whistleblowers need protection ...

Isla MacGregor* Pic* First published August 16
17.08.16 4:45 am

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The latest news of Copper Mines of Tasmania admitting guilt over Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) breaches and the deaths of two miners at CMT’s mine in Queenstown requires some urgent answers from the Government as to whether or not they have put in place all of the recommendations by Professor Michael Quinlan in his Third Audit of the Mine Safety Unit and Office of the Chief Inspector of Mines, Worksafe Tasmania.

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Writers | Isla MacGregor | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Society

Tassie Pine - Eric Happy, Women Not

Tassie Pine ...
17.08.16 4:20 am

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Watch HERE

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Satire

Ted’s Tarkine ...

Ted Mead* All pictures: Ted Mead First published August 16
17.08.16 4:00 am

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Ted Mead in recent times has become disillusioned with the creative component of his photography, and so in keeping with the spirit of the Olympic Games he decided to experiment with performance-enhancing drugs.  Ted is realistic that it probably won’t see him beaming on the podium dangled in medals, but thought the images were at least worthy of a look anyway!

• Pete Godfrey in Comments: Beautiful work Ted. Thankyou so much. Gold medals are one thing, but a heart of Gold is a bigger prize. You win, Cheerio, Pete

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Writers | Ted Mead | Politics | State | Forestry | Economy | Opinion | Personal | Society

NZ: The incredible costs of Predator-Free

John Veysey*,
 Coromandel, New Zealand. First published August 17. Pic: Clyde Graf
17.08.16 3:45 am

Image for NZ: The incredible costs of Predator-Free

… If we take this conservative eradication figure of $800 per hectare and we know that NZ is nearly 27 million hectares in area the total cost of this project will exceed 20 billion dollars. If eradication is to be achieved by 2050, it will, with today’s technology and today’s personnel, swallow an annual injection of $617 million. …

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Politics | New Zealand | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society

Grownups in dressups

Josephine Zananiri* Pic*: Flickr. First published August 14
15.08.16 6:00 am

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Undoubtedly the the prize for grownups wearing dressups must go to those fabulous Sydney Drag Queens.

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Regulars | Josephine Zananiri | Opinion | Satire | Society

LINGIARI: Until the chains are broken

Patrick Dodson* Pic*
14.08.16 9:28 am

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On the eve of the celebration of The Wave Hill Walkoff TT reprints the 4th Vincent Lingiari Lecture by Patrick Dodson (1999) Let me acknowledge the Larrakea Traditional Owners of the Land and the Sea in the Darwin Region. Let me acknowledge their ownership, custodianship and their sharing of the land. I express my appreciation to all the Larrakea to both those that remain on the Country and those that have been taken from the Country but retain their rights in it. I acknowledge the members of the Gurindji people who are also present tonight …

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

How Rupert Murdoch went bad ...

Evan Whitton* Satire: Leunig, http://www.leunig.com.au/ used with permission. First pub: Aug 9
13.08.16 5:45 am

Image for How Rupert Murdoch went bad ...

According to Evan Whitton, Rupert Murdoch went bad 56 years ago, and stayed bad ... Always with an eye on the main chance for number one ... The Rupert Max Stuart affair ... The role of Sol Chandler ... Playing tootsies with Gorton and Whitlam ... Hacking and Milly Dowler ... Wilful blindness

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Writers | Evan Whitton | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | Media | Personal | Society

Before it happens, here is the news from the Huon ...

Bob Hawkins* The buck stops here: Pic of Peter Gutwein from his Facebook page. First pub Aug 10
12.08.16 5:45 am

Image for Before it happens, here is the news from the Huon ...

Huon Valley Guessing Games Sometimes, when facing an impossible challenge, one can be tempted to try just a little too hard. Down here in the Huon, our council — judged in June by Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein’s board of inquiry to be dysfunctional and beyond mediation — appears to have enthusiastically launched into crystal ball-gazing to give us, the public, an insight into the news before it happens.

… HVC is quite clearly on such a high, it’s now into extreme prescience — even to the extent of approving the news before it happens, at the same time making its mayor look like a puppet leader who utters banal nonsense at the direction of the Minister for Local Government who is presiding over a total shemozzle of his own making. …

• Ben Lohberger in Comments: So this article is predicated on ridiculing a draft media release, published in the agenda for an upcoming council meeting? The Huon Valley Council is regularly damned by Bob Hawkins for being too secretive, but now he’s damning it for being too transparent. And how strange that the big issue involving the Mayor this week is not even mentioned …

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: Huon Valley residents could witness a kangaroo court in action at tonight’s special meeting of council in Huonville. A report by the general manager, reported on in today’s Mercury (p. 12), accuses the mayor of 15 breaches of the loaded “ministerial directions” that Gutwein issued on June 15 after ignoring the main “sacking” recommendation of the board of inquiry he appointed. New councillor James Lange carries a huge burden tonight: he can vote for democracy and help reject the GM’s recommendations; or he can vote for the status quo, a situation that has burdened the valley for so long with a secretive local government that is still mired in 20th century practices. Whichever way the votes go tonight, it should make it clear to the minister that the time has come for him to pull the plug on this dysfunctional council and put in an administrator. The meeting, conveniently for those who are behind the attempt to stitch up the mayor and eventually get him sacked, starts at 5pm. This makes it difficult for working people to get there on time; it might even make it difficult for two councillors — including Lange — whose votes will be vital to the outcome of the recommendations before the council. Under the LG Act, a tied vote is a lost vote. Only eight councillors are expected to be in attendance tonight, Lydia Eastley being on maternity leave.

• Trish Kyne in Comments: Dates produced by council management are not proof that Mayor Coad has breached the minister’s (Gutwein) directive 3, as asserted in the Mercury today. Under the LGA mayors are obliged to ‘Act as a leader of the community in the local municipality’, e.g. comments on the recent floods are expected. It is interesting that no-one else appears on the list of breaches for Directive 3. There have been many comments to the media, both print and radio, from other councillors. Biased reporting? What’s new? However, having placed these charges on the HVC website, accessible to the general public, the assertions are defamatory.  The article in the Mercury demonstrated how accessible the information was. At tonight’s (Thurs) meeting Mayor Coad had newspaper copies of a letter to the editor of the Mercury from one of the valley residents. The letter was one of the listed dates the council attributed to the mayor. Another related to comments following the recent flood. The mayor abstained from the vote regarding the proposed motion as it could prejudice his position should he sue the council.

Mercury: Minister to rule on Huon Valley Council breach

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Writers | Bob Hawkins | Politics | Local | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

Rodney Croome: this is personal – why I can’t resign myself to a plebiscite

Rodney Croome* First published August 5
11.08.16 4:20 am

Image for Rodney Croome: this is personal – why I can’t resign myself to a plebiscite

Rodney Croome quits Australian Marriage Equality to oppose plebiscite ‘If a gay kid dies at his own hand because of a hate-mongering plebiscite, I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know I did everything to stop it.’

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: I don’t approve of the institution of marriage in any way, but, if we have to burdened with one, it should be equal for everyone. On Turnbull’s record since he knocked off Abbott, he has vacillated hither and yon on endless issues. If only he had the guts to stare down his captors and make a captain’s call to abandon the plebiscite course and give a conscience vote to parliament, he would put his parties’ loony religious/bigoted members where they belong — as a misguided, outrageously empowered, but, in reality, an intellectually atrophied rump on the Liberal/National political beast.

• Michael in Comments: The problem with a costly plebiscite is that you are asking a majority to vote on something that only affects a minority. How does letting two same-sex people marry affect my heterosexual marriage or yours? Why should I have a say in other people’s relationships. It should be a simple matter of our politicians looking at the issue, realising there is no logical region not to allow same sex marriage and simply voting for it. ‘Tradition’ is not a reason to exclude people from marrying who they choose. If ‘tradition’ is an issue for people then perhaps we should be lobbying for the removal of voting rights for women and placing aboriginal people back on the flora and fauna list.

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Writers | Rodney Croome | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society

Vedanta’s guilt ... not only at Copper Mines of Tasmania ...

Isla MacGregor. Pic: Isla MacGregor's pic of bare hills around Queenstown, where CMT operates. First pub Aug 10
11.08.16 4:15 am

Image for Vedanta’s guilt ... not only at Copper Mines of Tasmania ...

This week’s news that Queenstown’s Copper Mines of Tasmania Pty Ltd - owned by parent company Vedanta Resources - has pleaded guilty to workplace safety charges involving the tragic deaths of two miners Craig Nigel Gleeson and Alistair Michael Lucas comes amidst a growing international campaign against Vedanta Resources …

• Sam in Comments: Thanks must go to Isla MacGregor for all the work she’s put into this under-reported problem over so many years.  Once again it seems that Tasmania is seen as one of the highly exploitable parts of the world, like India and Zambia - which says a lot about how the weakness of our state and federal governments is viewed by multinational companies in relation to environmental and worker protection. (Perhaps that points to a sad reason why some people in other countries confuse Tasmania and Tanzania!)

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

NZ: The warning to Tasmania ...

Jim Hilton* with intro by Pene Marshall
11.08.16 4:00 am

Image for NZ: The warning to Tasmania ...

Penelope Marshall, Tasmania: For Tasmanians It is hard to get your head around the absolute quantities of this Category 1 poison New Zealand uses to exterminate its introduced mammals. Each and every year. Astonishingly the Kiwis use 1.5 to 2 grams of sodium fluoroacetate (Compound 1080) in each kilogram of cereal baits and they spread it over hundreds of thousands of forests by chopper at a rate of 2 kg per hectare; that’s 3 to 4 grams of 1080 for each poisoned hectare! And they do it year after year!

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

Pokies: Tassie players are sheep being shorn ... or sheep being skinned ...

Pat Caplice* First published August 8
10.08.16 5:00 am

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The 15-year Pokies monopoly extension given by Labor to Greg Farrell’s Federal Hotels in 2003 expires in 2018, but seems to have stretched 2023 with it’s “unusual” five-year rollover clause …

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

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1080 Smoke and Mirrors ...

Bill Wallace* via Carol Sawyer
10.08.16 4:15 am

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Tasmania shares with New Zealand the use of 1080 Baits. Bill Wallace, leader of New Zealand’s Ban 1080 Party, responds to the NZ Government’s plan to kill all non-native predators by 2050 …

Mary Molloy in Comments: Well done Bill, a great article.  Where in the World would we bomb a whole city because we have a few criminals living in it?  No where but this is the policy of our NZ government and its wildlife saviours.  Bomb to oblivion to save our birds etc from rats.  It would be infinitely better to start in our cities, plenty of rats there.  Obviously I think aerial poisoning or indeed any poisoning to be a sickening overkill. I commend humane trapping and support Bill’s article absolutely. I sincerely hope that Australia does not follow or be guided by NZ’s blind poisoners.

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

Torture and the whole damned thing ...

Christopher Nagle*, writing.com . Pic: ABC of Dylan Voller. First published August 6
09.08.16 5:53 am

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For me, what is so ‘shocking’ about the ‘brutal’ video footage shown of the attempted disciplinary action against recalcitrant juveniles in the Northern Territory on the Monday 25th June Four Corners episode, wasn’t ‘the cruelty’, but the chaos.

• Simon Warriner in Comments: That is one hell of an essay! Much of it I actually agree with. It is interesting that the problems headlining this essay were in large part brought about by the destruction of the long functioning aboriginal system by people driven by commercial conquest, whose descendants are now inflicting the very same cultural demise upon themselves by giving commercial conquest primacy above all other motivations and activities. As you sow, so shall ye reap, perhaps? In the end, we have wound up worshiping money and lost sight of the value of everything else. The question is, what will stop the rot?

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: # 1. Simon, you remark, “that is one hell of an essay”. You can say that again. I, too, can’t disagree with a lot of what you, Christopher, are saying. What the latest NT horror show does tell me is that, yet again, the West (in this case Australia) finds itself reaping the whirlwind of the ignorance that has marked its performance down the centuries. Something similar is going on in Europe vis-a-vis the Middle East. Through it all shines fear instilled by incompetent, corrupt and blinkered governments. And there is no solution. We are condemned to muddling on, and on, and on . . . The West, of course, is not the first “civilisation” to have got everything so, so irremediably wrong. It’s all so predictably in the nature of the human beast.

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Writers | Christopher Nagle | Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Opinion | Legal | Personal | Society