Media Release
Leader of the State Opposition
Sunday April 3, 2005
Mr Bacon must answer questions or resign this week

Following police inquiries into the Flinders Island fiasco, Tourism, Parks & Heritage Minister Ken Bacon is now in a position to make a full statement on this serous matter, State Liberals Leader, Rene Hidding said today.

“If Minister Bacon is entertaining any serious notion of remaining in his position then he owes a fulsome explanation to the Tasmanian people,” Mr Hidding said.

“Many questions remained unanswered on this serious matter including why Premier Lennon had failed to sack Minister Bacon over the already proven case of misusing taxpayers funds in breach of the Premier’s Code of Conduct.

“Minister Bacon has previously said that he is waiting for the police inquiries to finish before he makes any comments. Those inquiries finished several days ago and Minister Bacon has now had sufficient time to reflect on this serious matter and the inquires into it.

Minister Bacon must now explain his version of events of his involvement with many aspects of this serious matter which includes:
– Why couldn’t Minister Bacon immediately rule out any improper involvement
on the part of himself and then adviser Michael Roberts?
– Was Minister Bacon actually interviewed by the police and If not, why not?
– Why was Mr Roberts, a senior, Lennon Government adviser forced to resign
before the results of the police investigation were handed down?
– When will the Lennon Government release documentation detailing the nature
of the reprimand that Mr Roberts apparently received in November last year including details of who reprimanded him?

“Today, Premier Lennon must stop ducking and weaving his way out of dealing with this Minister who has been proven to have misused taxpayer funds in breach of the Government’s Code of Conduct and to date, got off scot-free.

“Like many farcical examples so far, Minister Bacon’s Flinders Island fiasco brings embarrassment to this State Labor Government which has adopted an air of superiority over its day to day actions.

“The failure of the Premier to take serious action to address this latest embarrassment also reflects on the manifest deficiencies of his administration which continues to go uncontrollably crashing headlong into crisis,” Mr Hidding said.


Media Release
Shadow Minister for Economic Development
Sunday April 03, 2005
IT opportunities lost as Tasinformatics project fails to fire

Shadow Minister for Economic Development, Will Hodgman, today called for details regarding the status of the Tasinformatics project, which was first conceived in 2001 and subsequently received $20 million funding, yet, still appears to be no closer to finalisation or becoming operational.

Mr Hodgman said today that “the operations for the Tasinformatics Centre of Excellence was expected early in the 2004-05 financial year, however we are told from industry insiders that the Minister for Economic Development has no idea of when or even if this project will get off the ground.

“The latest concerns from within industry revolve around a top end request that was made to Economic Development staffers to come up with new ideas to re-badge the $20 million funding which has been allocated for the Tasinformatics project.

“It would seem that this funding has lost its strategic direction under this junior Minister with deadlines or objectives unmet.

“Tasinformatics advertised for a chief executive in June 2004 with the role expected to commence with operations in September 2004,yet there still is no appointment.

“Another question asked by the industry is how much of the $20 million funding has been swallowed up along the way and how much is left of the original funding for a Centre of Excellence to allow the project to still go ahead.

“Economic Development Minister Lara Giddings must provide an update as to when will the Tasinformatics Centre of Excellence finally become operational and put to rest the reports that this funding will be re-badged for a third time.

“Today, almost two years after the revised Centre of Excellence Tasinformatics funding was approved by the Intelligent Island Board, the ICT industry is still in the dark about what has been achieved and they question why they are still kept largely out of the process.

“It is deplorable that the State Government has squandered the previous opportunities that arose with the allocation of this funding however, if the Tasinformatics proposal is still going ahead then this Minister needs to map out some firm timelines which it plans to meet for this project to actually progress.


Peg Putt MHA
Friday, 1 APRIL 2005
But Minister Still Performing Poorly
The Tasmanian Greens today accepted the Police Commissioner’s statement that proper process had been followed in the Flinders Island drink-driving matter, but said that this was not the end of things as far as the ongoing unsatisfactory performance of Minister Ken Bacon was concerned.
Greens Opposition Leader Peg Putt MHA believes that the role of police in this particular incident was always a side issue and it was the handling by the Minister of the subsequent behaviour of his advisor in denying the incident until he knew it would be published regardless, together with his inept announcement of his staffer’s resignation which were still problematic.
“I accept that the police on Flinders Island followed proper process, but this does not excuse Ken Bacon’s continued poor performance this week and this is not the end of the matter of a Minister who needs to go,” Ms Putt said.


Media Release
Leader of the State Opposition
Friday April 1, 2005
Bacon must answer questions
on Flinders Island fiasco

Despite the statement today by Tasmanian Police into Minister Bacon’s Flinders Island fiasco, many questions remain unanswered as to the involvement of Minister Bacon in events at Flinders Island concerning his Chief Minder, Michael Roberts, State Liberals Leader, Rene Hidding said today.

“It must also be made quite clear that despite this police statement, Minister Bacon has not been absolved from the already proven case of misusing taxpayers funds in breach of the Premier’s Code of Conduct a breach for which the Premier must sack him,” Mr Hidding said

Mr Hidding said that Minister Bacon has yet to provide an explanation to the Tasmanian public over events concerning Mr Roberts escaping a charge relating to his over-the-limit blood alcohol reading and subsequent resignation.

“Whilst I am still yet to see the detail of the Police Commissioners announcement, the State Liberals believe that serious questions remain unanswered over Minister Bacon’s involvement in this serious matter including:
· why didn’t Minister Bacon come out immediately and rule out any improper involvement?
· has Minister Bacon been interviewed by the police? If not, why not?
· when is Minister Bacon going to explain his version of events?
· has anyone from the State Government or anyone else contacted the police officers concerned in this matter and what was the nature of these discussions?
· why was Mr Roberts, a senior, highly paid Lennon Government adviser forced to resign if he did nothing wrong?
· when is the Lennon Government going to publicly release the documentation detailing the nature of the reprimand that Mr Roberts apparently received in November last year including details of who reprimanded him?

“Further, Premier Lennon must explain how a Minister who has been proven to breach the Government’s Code of Conduct has been able to keep his job.

“Minister Bacon’s Flinders Island fiasco is an embarrassment to this arrogant State Labor Government and an embarrassment to Tasmania. It is no wonder there are rumblings within the Labor Party about Premier Lennon’s appalling handling of this sordid affair,” Mr Hidding said.


Media Release
Shadow Minister for Health and Human Services
Friday April 1, 2005
Llewellyn maintains
cover-up on mental health

Health and Human Services Minister, David Llewellyn’s failure to release the report into Launceston General Hospital’s Ward 1E by yesterday further suggests that he is trying to cover-up major problems, Shadow Minister for Health and Human Services, Sue Napier said today.

In February, a spokesman for Minister Llewellyn, said that this crucial mental health facility report “would be released next month, as planned”

“Today, this comment from the Minister’s office in February has been confirmed to be a grossly misleading statement and further evidence that Minister Llewellyn is trying to cover up his inability to handle his Ministerial responsibilities,” Mrs Napier said.

“This investigation and subsequent report into serious incidents at Ward 1E has been months in the making with Minister Llewellyn telling State Parliament late last year that it would be released in “due course” and “very soon”.

“The public should be aware that there are two reports that deal with Ward 1E, one which deals with the specific allegations of misconduct, incidents and alleged breaches of an appropriate standard of care at Ward 1E, the other which deals with systemic issues, and the need to improve the safety and quality of mental health services provided by the Department.

“I was informed by the Ombudsman in early February 2005, that the Health and Human Services Departments response to the issues contained in the “systemic issues” report had been received, and were being incorporated.

“I respect the Minister’s statement in Parliament that he still required time to read the report, but there has now been plenty of time since the incidents occurred and subsequent investigation for him to be aware of all relevant matters.

“There should be no more delay – the Minister may want more time, but people with a mental illness and their carers and families don’t have that luxury.

“Minister Llewellyn’s failure to release the report in March as promised by his office would suggest that this report is damning of the mental health system that he has presided over and failed to adequately resource.

“It would also suggest that Minister Llewellyn’s band-aid approach to covering up mental health problems resulting from his own State Labor Government’s mismanagement of the sector has been found to be both inadequate and irresponsible.

“We have lost well-trained psychiatric nurses to the system apparently because of bad management of both risk in a clinical environment, and the lack of an effective system for dealing with reported incidents and complaints.

“The systemic problems at Ward 1E including lack of mental health services for children and for post natal mothers and continuing reports Ward 1E patients being released without an appropriate community support framework in place must be dealt with immediately.

“I call on Minister Llewellyn to stop his cover-up of the report into Ward 1E issues and release the report so that the Tasmanian public including the mental health patients, their families and our valued mental health workers can be confident that important matters will be addressed,” Mrs Napier said.


Peg Putt MHA
Friday, 1 APRIL 2005
Ken Bacon Responsible for Farcical ‘Protection’ Measures, Reversing Jim Bacon’s Listing Plans
The Tasmanian Greens today exposed that controversial so-called ‘selective’ logging planned for the North East Peninsula of Recherche Bay is virtually clearfelling, with only 12 – 14m2/hectare to be retained according to specialist planning advice released by the Forest Practices Board.
Greens Opposition Leader and spokesperson on Forests and Heritage Peg Putt MHA is also critical that the Tasmanian government has insisted that expert archaeological assessments of this key heritage site of the d’Entrecasteaux expedition involving visiting French experts under a partnership with the French government will occur concurrent with logging and not in advance of the destructive activity.
“The many people concerned about the destructive impact of proposed logging on the North-East Peninsula of Recherche Bay which is an only partially protected heritage landscape have been offered the sop that this will be selective logging but now we find that logging plans are for virtual clearfelling” Ms Putt Said.
“Specialist advice released to the Greens by the Forest Practices Board shows that only 12-14m2 per hectare, that is per 10,000m2, of vegetation will be retained and this is not what is commonly understood by the term ‘selective’ logging.
“The destruction will be more or less equivalent to that of clearfelling and will destroy the heritage landscape which is the type site from which may Tasmanian floral species were first identified by Europeans.”
“It is the equivalent of allowing logging destruction of the site on which Joseph Banks had made his botanical collections if such a site was intact today.”
“This assault on one of Australia’s most important sites for European heritage and initial contact has been allowed by bumbling Heritage Minister Ken Bacon who has reversed the intention of the former Premier the late Jim Bacon to protect the entire peninsula in recognition of its outstanding value.”
“Tasmania’s reputation in France will take a pasting when bulldozers and chainsaws are effectively chasing French archaeological experts around the site.”
“We will be seen as greedy vandals with little regard for this significant cultural heritage of both our countries.”
“The small postage stamp reserves are insufficient and acknowledge only the built heritage remnants, whilst the 100 metre foreshore reserve is merely the visual buffer which was already required in the initial Forest Practices Plan prepared before the French garden and observatory sites were rediscovered.”



Forestry Tasmania Must Confirm Re Picton, Weld, Arve and Esperance Blazes
The Tasmanian Greens today blew the whistle on four escaped forestry regeneration burns apparently out of control in the Huon Valley, and called on Forestry Tasmania to confirm the situation.
Greens Opposition Leader Peg Putt MHA said reliable sources say that forestry fires in the following locations have escaped and are out of control:
• Picton: fire in East Picton burning up onto the side of Hartz Mountains (World Heritage Area) – no crew available to fight this fire
• Arve: fire burning not far from the Arve picnic area
• Weld: fire burning onto Weld Plains (another threat to World Heritage)
• Esperance: Fire in thick regrowth at Wobbly Creek (or Wallaby Creek)
“The Greens are getting reports of four escaped forestry fires burning out of control in the Huon, with insufficient crews to tackle all four and a fire burning into the World Heritage Area being left to run as consequence,” Ms Putt said.
“What has Forestry Tasmania got to say about the situation – will they verify this information and admit that their anxiety to burn massive hectarages has led to these escaped fires?”
“We are now confronting a serious situation because of Forestry’s wilful burning despite the forecast windy weather which has now eventuated.”
“It seems that the World Heritage Area will now suffer, and that the Huon is a haze of smoke and desperate confusion.”
“These sorts of escapes are a regular event every few years and the worst downside of institutionalised pyromania,” Ms Putt concluded.


Kim Booth MHA
Friday 1 APRIL 2005
As Government Fiddles Over Code of Conduct and Rejects Greens Chemical Trespass Legislation

The Tasmanian Greens today reiterated their calls for a legal framework, including the creation of a criminal offence and an overhaul of the Code of Practice for Aerial Spraying to address the problem of chemical trespass in Tasmania in light of the distressing case of David Hessian, an agricultural contractor who has twice been sprayed by agricultural chemicals in his work place.
Greens Opposition Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth MHA said that he was horrified to hear of the tragic circumstances surrounding the spraying of Mr David Hessian, and of the fact that the government had not offered him any support or counselling.
Mr Booth explained that the first incident occurred on the 15th of January 2004 when Mr Hessian was fencing a potato paddock and without any notification a helicopter arrived and sprayed him. Mr Hessian suffered from a foul metallic taste in his mouth, dehydration, chest pains, burning in his lungs, shakes, loss of strength and has now developed chronic fatigue and chronic asthma.
The second incident occurred on the fifth of October 2004, when Mr Hessian was mound ploughing a paddock in preparation for a Gunns plantation. Despite requesting that no spraying take place whilst he was on-site, the spraying was carried out, he became a victim of spray drift for a second time and was hospitalised for 24 hours.
Mr Booth said that Mr Hessian has not received any support or guidance from the government who have simply washed their hands of his problem saying that it is a matter between him and the sprayers.
“The government has a responsibility to protect the health and safety of the public, and workers such as Mr David Hessian, from the dangerous effects of chemical spraying” said Mr Booth.

“This is a scandal and follows the pattern of wilful neglect by the Lennon Labor government when it comes to protecting the health of the community against the interests of the big end of town forestry and chemical companies.”
“The government’s irresponsible approach in this case mirrors that taken in the tragic case of the Carpenters atrazine spraying debacle in North-east Tasmania last year, when rather than conducting a forensic inquiry and prosecution, Minister Steve ‘Kemical’ Kons went out and drank a glass of chemically contaminated water to somehow prove that it was all right.”
“It is downright irresponsible and negligent to allow chemical contamination of the public and to continue to refuse to bring in effective regulation and prosecution over such serious health matters.”
“The Greens will vigorously pursue the Government over this public health issue and will continue to advocate for legislation with teeth that will make it a criminal offence to contaminate a person or pollute a waterway with agricultural chemicals.”
“Had the Greens’ Chemical Trespass Bill 2004 not been defeated by Labor and Liberal in October last year the mechanisms to deal with this matter would now be in place.”
“The Greens’ Chemical Trespass Bill 2004 would have protected human and environmental health as well as vital industry sectors such as agriculture and aquaculture, and a vote for this legislation would be a vote for responsible use of agricultural chemicals,” Mr Booth said.
Media Release
Friday, 1 April 2005
Ralphs Bay, Government Accountability, Key Campaign Issues
Greens Member for Franklin Nick McKim MHA today launched the Greens’ candidate for the Legislative Council seat of Rumney, Mr Glenn Millar, describing him as a tireless community campaigner.
Mr Millar said that a key campaign issue for the electorate of Rumney will be the fate of Ralphs Bay, where there is growing community concern about the government’s involvement in considering the contentious Walker proposal for the area. Other important issues facing the community which Mr Millar will also be working on include access to health services, employment, marine farming, and impacts of forestry operations on the environment and water supplies .
“The voters in Rumney now have the opportunity to send a clear message to Labor that the Ralphs Bay development should not go ahead,” Mr McKim said.
“I am delighted to be launching Glenn Millar as a Greens’ candidate for Rumney, as I know he will work to represent the community’s concerns and aspirations with a dedicated commitment.”
“Glenn will be putting pressure on all other candidates, including the current ALP elected representative, Ms Thorp MLC, over protecting Ralphs Bay from inappropriate development, and holding the government to account over many other issues which face the community.”
Mr Millar said that he believes deeply in democratic representation and he is committed to providing a strong community voice in the Upper House.
“Many in the community are frustrated that matters of key concern to them appear to fall on deaf ears, when at the same time they see the Lennon government bending over backwards to help out their mates at the big end of town,” Mr Millar said.
“Over and over we see this government avoid taking responsibility for bad decisions which end up costing the community, and this election is an opportunity for the public to tell Labor that they can’t hide from ever and that enough is enough.”
“Ralphs Bay is a prime example where Labor makes a meal of ‘listening to community concern’ but then refuses to act, a pattern previously established by the government’s backflips on marine farming at Pitt Water.”
“The people of Rumney deserve more than a rubber stamp.”

“People are also frustrated by the ongoing clearfell, burn and poisoning regime inflicted on the forests of Weilangta and the Tasman-Forestier peninsulas, and the negative impact these activities have on tourism and employment opportunities, as well as on water supplies.”
“Rumney presents an interface between urban and rural communities, who deserve a strong voice standing up for their right to be heard, to protect their quality of life, and who will make the government take responsibility for its actions,” Mr Millar said.
Glenn Millar works in mechanics, gardening and landcare as well as being active in the Greens and his local community over the last two decades.
The Legislative Council electorate of Rumney covers the Tasman Peninsula, across the southeast including Richmond and Cambridge, and most of South Arm.


Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Water and Environment
Friday April 1, 2005
Record dry weather strengthens claims
for more water development & less red tape

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment Jeremy Rockliff said today that Bureau of Meteorology data demonstrating record low rainfall for Tasmanian regions over the past seven months highlighted the need for the Lennon Labor Government to get a number of water development projects off the ground.

Mr Rockliff said that the uncertainty and inconsistency of rainfall of the past few seasons demonstrated that there was an urgent need for the State Labor Government to have water development projects in place that will lessen the economic risks to farmers.

“Unfortunately, the Lennon Labor Government seems to be in idle mode when it comes to water development across Tasmania and improving economic outcomes for Tasmanian farmers,” Mr Rockliff said.

“Today Ian Young, the TFGA’s Vegetable Council Chair and Kim Polley, Mayor of the Northern Midlands Council, have joined my repeated calls on the State Labor Government to get their act together on water development and cut the bureaucratic, red tape.

“Not only has this government demonstrated an incapacity to deliver on large water development projects but they have also failed to ease the burden of bureaucracy for farmers wishing to construct smaller on farm water storage.

“Not one major water development project has been completed in more than six and a half years of the State Labor Government and the only project on the horizon, the Meander Dam, due to government incompetence is years behind schedule.

“This gross incompetence of the Lennon Labor Government on water development amounts to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in delayed or lost production to the State and its farmers.

“It is clear that there is frustration in farming communities over this delay in water development projects with a number of farmers unable to access required volumes of water to plant some seasonal crops, particularly in the North East.

“Just some of the projects which the Minister for Primary Industries and Water has failed to deliver or even commence include the Waterhouse Dam and projects at Edith Creek, Long Marsh, Maloney’s Hill, Jordan River, Parramatta Creek and Iron Creek.

“Minister Kons and this arrogant State Labor Government ought to provide confidence to farmers across the State that water development projects will be put back on the priority list.

“Any less than this would demonstrate that this State Government is not really interested in the livelihoods of farmers and their families and the economic development of regional communities,” Mr Rockliff said.


MEDIA RELEASE: Secret plan uncovered to attract Lib MP to ALP front bench

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Western Australia 6312
Phone: 041 70 90 130
Web: http://www.safecom.org.au/

Secret plan uncovered to attract Lib MP to ALP front bench

Media Release
Friday April 1 2005 00:01am WST

For Release after Embargo Date
Embargoed until 01/04/2005 00:01am WST
Expires 2400 hrs

A secret plan has been hatched and partially uncovered by WA Refugee group Project SafeCom’s undercover Canberra research group. The plan includes a lobbying strategy for MP’s to cross party lines over refugee issues and a mass crossing of the floor of parliament after July 1, when the Senate majority will rest with the Howard government. The plan has been operating in great secrecy within parliamentary corridors for at least three years – since the two Tampa Bills were rushed through Parliament in a desperate measure by the Howard government to win the 2001 election by stealth, but it has now grown to such an extend that information leaks have resulted.

Purpose of the plan was to initially form an alliance of ‘Parliamentarians for Refugees’, a plan born on the backbench of the ALP, created by the so-called ‘small “a” ALP members’, but now the plan’s ultimate purpose is to attract small-“l” liberal MP for Kooyong Petro Georgiou to be placed in an ‘acting-only role’ as the Federal ALP’s Shadow spokesman on Immigration and Refugees, replacing the current Shadow spokesman for Immigration, Mr Laurie Ferguson.

Refugee advocate and parliamentary researcher ‘Moira Jane’, acting for Project SafeCom’s Canberra group, told Project SafeCom’s office in Narrogin, Western Australia, that right around Australia refugee advocates have slowly developed the impression that the current ALP Immigration spokesman Laurie Ferguson is a long-time ‘plant’ by certain sections of the Howard administration, or has secret ambitions to jump ship and join the Liberal party, because he feels ‘mysteriously drawn’ to the Prime Minister. In a report by AAP correspondent Sharon Mathieson, published [online only] at the Sydney Morning Herald on 9 February this year, Mr Ferguson stated, commenting on MP Petro Georgiou’s startling speech in Parliament earlier that week, that “Labor would oppose any move to grant permanent residency to those on TPVs”, a statement that radically opposes the current ALP policy, which affirms that TPV holders will receive permament protection visas after two years. [See the article online at

“In fact, Mr Ferguson looks like John Howard, so much so”, the Canberra Project SafeCom agent said, “that whenever he wears a dark suit and I walk from Parliament back to the Opposition Wing with Laurie about 50 metres ahead of me, I often think it’s the PM walking in front of me.”

“Laurie’s hairdo is virtually the only thing that distinguishes him from the PM, and it’s not just the colour but the curls as well – they always make me think of the phrase “Curly hair, curly senses”, because this phrase so aptly describes his unexpected and bombastic outbursts in emails and other communication. Apart from the curls and his hairdo, he’s just like the PM – even his weight is near that of ‘little Johnny’ within ounces,” the source said. “Unbelievable, and uncanny.”

Ferguson also commented back in December 2004 that he agreed with the Howard government about the deportation of the Bakhtiari family, while there is wide agreement within ‘the refugee movement’ that the deportation of the family was a desperate cover-up of former immigration minister Phillip Ruddock’s handling of his allegation in April 2002, that Mr Bakhtiari was a liar and that he was a Pakistani. The Howard government never had any evidence for the stated conclusion, but had to suffice with encouraging and probably also ‘feeding’ journalistic allegations in the Australian press about the man, in spite of the fact that shortly after his allegations Ruddock travelled to Europe and Asia, including Pakistan, presumably including a fact-finding mission to try to obtain ‘appropriate evidence’ about Mr Bakhtiari.

Other Project SafeCom sources point to Ferguson’s suggestions – when the Prime Minister announced visa changes for long-term detainees last week, also applicable to those asylum seekers in detention who had converted to Christianity – when he made statements to the press that Mr Howard’s suggestions raise the stakes for refugee claimants and that they would probably do a conversion stint to Christianity in order to be eligible for release in the Australian community and receive protection visas.

Other liberal backbenchers apart from Georgiou with highly developed personal human rights convictions – not just in terms of factual knowledge but also in terms of conscience – are known to also be a part of the secret shortlist. Generally speaking, the secret backbench lead team favored liberals than ALP members, simply because the team found that because of the PM’s domination in cabinet, they had been better trained in the lead-up to their “coming out” and their long-awaited public confessions of dissent with the goings-on in “Howard’s inner circle”.

Lobbyists of the secret backbenchers’ team revealed how the “coming out” process was slow and very sensitive and how those who whisper of dissent with the PM’s inner circle were secretly monitored, and one backbencher even suggested that the PM’s office is said to use the Defence Signals Directorate’s (DSD) powers of phone tapping and ASIO agents to monitor “what the backbenchers are up to”.

“Secrecy is the keyword of the moves on John Howard’s backbench”, one of the MP’s told the Project SafeCom investigators. “Secrecy, information control, media spin, and running investigations ‘on the quiet’ from the office of the PM and Cabinet has also been the key to Howard’s success since the ‘Tampa elections’ of 2001, when Howard used DSD and ASIO to spy on lawyers led by Eric Vardalis and their communication surrounding the legal challenge of the Tampa refugees. Howard may be deaf and dumb, but he’s not stupid”, the MP said. “He’s a fox and he resorts to what some call con-man methods to survive in Australia’s political landscape, and no one so far has beaten him to it.” “Not yet. And what not is, can yet come”, Georgiou is reported as having said, “and what will happen in that quarter remains my secret for now. Cornelia Rau has opened more doors than just the door that led her out of Baxter.”

For more information: Jack H Smit, Project SafeCom Inc. phone 0417 090 130
5. John Howard goes to heaven======================Recently delivered to those assembled at the ‘Grab your Granny’ action at the Perth detention centre. People were protesting at the detention of a 74 year old woman.

At last at the Pearly-Gates John Howard stood,St Peter with steely eyes looked at him good.He said, you’ve a bloody cheek comin’ up here,With your fibs and no sorries and your campaigns of fear.
Your “kids overboard” made us all feel quite sick,It’s common belief,your arse needs a kick.How’d you ever think you’d be one of OUR number’Then an angel out back, yelled, “bloody Queue-Jumper.”
WE say who comes here and CONDITIONS to enter,You’re number one choice for our DETENTION CENTRE.It’s worse than Nauru and Guantanamo BayAnd what’s more it’s for an INDEFINITE STAY.
Fear was your brother that won you the votesWE saw what you did to poor bastards in boats.SIEV X and the Tampa had you swell out your chest,While the rest of the world your actions detest.
There’s hope for you John while you wait in the basement,Nick’s getting old and he needs a replacement


Senator for Tasmania, Paul Calvert, today announced that Regional Partnerships programme funding of over $43,000 has been granted to assist Kingborough Council with its Co-location of the Bruny Island Emergency Services Volunteer Units project.

The Australian Government funds will assist with the cost of materials and contractors for the construction of the extension to the South Bruny Fire Station.

“This project will provide an extension to the South Bruny Fire Station building to house all emergency services operating on Bruny Island. The benefits will include new training facilities and storage areas for equipment,” Senator Paul Calvert said.

“Co-location of the Bruny Road Crash Rescue Unit and Volunteer Ambulance Services will also ensure that these vital services are located closer to the population centres on Bruny Island. This is crucial because of the remote location and the need to airlift trauma victims from the island.”

“I would particularly like to thank the Tasmanian Employment Advisory Council (TEAC) for helping to bring this project to fruition,”Senator Calvert said.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Hon John Cobb MP, congratulated the local community for working together to access Regional Partnerships funding.

Regional Partnerships continues the Australian Government’s approach of working with local communities to support their ideas. There is $367.6 million available under Regional Partnerships from 2004-05 to 2007-08.

Regional Partnerships will deliver benefits to communities well into the future, not only from programme funding, but from the higher levels of economic activity and improved social amenity which the programme is generating.

Communities should contact the Tasmanian Employment Advisory Council (TEAC) the Tasmanian Consultative Committee, if they wish to seek funding through Regional Partnerships.

Ends 1st April 2005

Media Release
Leader of the State Opposition
Friday April 1, 2005
Police Commissioner asked for public assurance
over Flinders Island fiasco inquiries

Opposition Leader Rene Hidding has today written to the Police Commissioner, Richard McCreadie, asking him for an assurance that police inquiries into Minister Bacon’s Flinders Island fiasco will not just be restricted to internal police matters.

Mr Hidding said that he welcomed the inquiries by police into the series of events relating to Minister Bacon’s Flinders Island fiasco and his Chief Minder, Michael Roberts’ escaping a charge relating to his over-the-limit blood alcohol reading.

Mr Hidding said, however, he is concerned that it appeared the inquires had been restricted only to internal police matters rather than the possible involvement of any external influences that may have lead to Michael Roberts not being booked despite recording almost twice the legal blood alcohol limit.

“The Tasmanian public requires assurance from the Police Commissioner that external pressures were not placed on any members of his police service by any representatives of the State Government or other individuals at any time.

“It is not good enough for Minister Bacon and Premier Lennon to scapegoat Mr Roberts over this issue and completely wash their hands over this serious matter.

“Minister Bacon must come clean on this serious matter and answer all questions on his involvement in the Flinders Island fiasco.

“Minister Bacon either has no respect for or is ignorant of the responsibilities that he holds as a Minister of the Crown. This year alone, Minister Bacon has mislead Parliament and the public, has shown utter contempt for Question Time, has been found to have misused taxpayers funds, and now has refused to rule out trying to influence a police officer doing his duty,” Mr Hidding said.

Mr Hidding again repeated his call for Premier Lennon to show leadership and sack Minister Bacon in relation to his already proven misuse of taxpayer funds in breach of the Premier’s Code of Conduct.


Peg Putt MHA
Thursday, 31 MARCH 2005
Incident Not Yet Over
The Tasmanian Greens today said that the inept handling by the Tourism Minister of his announcement of the resignation of his senior private secretary, in the middle of a media conference on upgraded tourism visitor information services, has undermined this important announcement and heightened questions over his capacity to advocate for tourism in Tasmania.
Greens Opposition Leader and Tourism spokesperson Peg Putt MHA believes that the Ministerial advisor had to go in light of this week’s behaviour and revelations about incidents he was involved in last November on a trip to Flinders Island, but that this does not draw a line under the matter with the results of a police internal inquiry still to be revealed, including whether anyone attempted to influence police.
“This Ministerial advisor had to go in light of his behaviour failing to meet the expected standards, but the Minister’s inept handling of the announcement has reinforced the question mark over his capacity to advocate for tourism,” Ms Putt said.
“Instead of separately addressing with the media the subject of his advisor’s resignation Minister Bacon has made the foolish mistake of allowing his announcement on the matter and subsequent run for cover to overshadow an important tourism announcement.”
“How quickly a Ministerial minder can go compared to the tenacity with which the Minister is clinging to his position.”
“This resignation does not draw a line under the affair because we are still waiting to find out exactly what the police say about whether there was any attempt to influence them over the drink driving charges, and because concern has deepened over the Minister’s handling of this whole matter.”
“Paul Lennon’s leadership looks weak when he will not come out in public himself to confirm this resignation in sensational circumstances but chooses to do so through a minder instead.”
“Was the Premier avoiding having to again comment on the ongoing debacle that the Tourism portfolio has become?” asked Ms Putt.


Kim Booth MHA
Thursday, 31 MARCH 2005
But Permanent Access Must Be Guaranteed
The Tasmanian Greens today cautiously welcomed the announcement by the government of the withdrawal from sale of the much loved Corra Linn recreation area while public access concerns are resolved, saying that it is a positive acknowledgement of the work by community groups, canoeists and recreational users who had pressured Labor to reconsider the proposed auction.
Greens Member for Bass Kim Booth MHA called on the Lennon government to commit to abandoning any sale of the site if permanent and free public access to Corra Linn cannot be guaranteed.
Mr Booth also said that the withdrawal of the site from the planned April 15 auction for the time being is a welcome backflip given that the government only last week voted down a motion by the Tasmanian Greens to withdraw the site from sale and guarantee that it remains in public hands.
“Only last week the government voted against a Greens’ motion to withdraw the sale of Corra Linn, and so it is welcome news that they have now been forced to do a backflip even if it is at this stage only an interim measure,” Mr Booth said.
“The Liberal opposition also voted with the Greens to save Corra Linn, however the Labor party voted unanimously against that motion.”
“It looks like the collective pressure of community groups and the Green and Liberal actions in parliament have been successful in delaying the proposed sale until the government has addressed ongoing public access to the site.“
“The secret disposal of public lands and lack of public consultation is an affront to democracy and the public have spoken up strongly over this matter.”
“I urge the Lennon government to guarantee that if they cannot ensure that free public access to Corra Linn will continue after any or all of the site is sold, that then there will be no sale of this important recreational and cultural area,” Mr Booth said.


Media Release
Leader of the State Opposition
Thursday March 31, 2005
Scapegoating of minder a disgrace

Opposition Leader Rene Hidding today deplored the cowardly and gutless scapegoating of Ken Bacon’s minder Michael Roberts over the Flinders Island fiasco.

Mr Hidding said it was outrageous that this grossly incompetent Tourism Minister who has now been proven to have breached the Government’s Code of Conduct by misusing taxpayers funds, continued to enjoy being a Minister of the Crown while his chief minder was forced to resign.

“Michael Roberts is far more competent a minder than Ken Bacon is a Minister and it is a disgrace that he has had to take the rap alone for the Minister in relation to this sordid affair,” Mr Hidding said.

“What is even worse is that Michael Roberts has reportedly resigned because there is a preliminary investigation underway into a breathalyser incident an incident the State Labor Government knew all about five months ago but chose not to have investigated back then because it arrogantly thought it could cover it up.

“It is obvious that Michael Roberts has been forced to resign in a bid by the state Labor Government to try to pin the blame on everyone but the person who should be taking responsibility for this scandal the Minister, Ken Bacon.

“Meanwhile, Ken Bacon appears to be damning himself with his own silence in relation to the question that has now been put to him several times did he or did he not have discussions with any police officer or relevant person in an attempt to influence the situation whereby Mr Roberts was not charged after being caught driving at almost double the legal alcohol limit?

“This is a simple question. But for two days running now the Minister has not taken the opportunity to categorically rule out having attempted to possibly influence the decision not to charge his minder.”

Mr Hidding said the Lennon Labor Government, in true arrogant and incompetent style, had shown contempt for the principle of Ministerial responsibility once again.

“This affair stinks and it is a disgrace that the Lennon Labor Government has scapegoated a minder rather than sack the Minister who misused taxpayers funds, who has refused to rule out trying to influence a police officer doing his duty, who has misled Parliament and the public, shown contempt for Question Time and who has demonstrated through his pathetic answers to questions in Parliament and GBE hearings that he has no grasp whatsoever of his portfolio.”


Media Release
Liberal Member for Bass
Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Water and Environment
Thursday March 31, 2005
Victory for commonsense on Corra Linn after another Labor bungle

Liberal MHA for Bass Sue Napier has today described the Lennon Labor Government’s embarrassing backflip on the sale of Corra Linn as a victory for commonsense after yet another Lennon Labor Government bungle, but warned that no one would be happy that public access was guaranteed until they saw the ink upon the paper.

After leading a concerted campaign to ensure that public access to the popular Launceston recreational area is preserved, the State Liberals are relieved and pleased that the Primary Industries Minister Steven Kons has finally come to his senses on the issue.

Mrs Napier said the Lennon Labor Government had shown how out of touch it was with the community by announcing the sale without having ensured that public access was maintained in the first place.

As a result, the Labor Government has now been forced to halt the auction planned for April 15.

Mrs Napier said the State Labor Government should never have given the green light to the sale of the property before the issue of guaranteeing public access to Lot 1 had been sorted out.

Meanwhile, Shadow Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff said today’s announcement was the first of several backdowns he was looking for from the Primary Industries Minister.

“The community and State Liberal campaign appears to have had success in relation to Corra Linn. Now I call on the Minister to heed our calls in relation to other issues such as reversing his appalling decision to relocate IFS officers in the North and North West to Hobart.”

Mrs Napier said the State Liberals, and the Launceston community, were always going to fight the Lennon Labor Government until it realised that the issue of guaranteeing public access at Corra Linn was non negotiable.

“It has taken a good couple of weeks for that message to sink in. Minister Kons was arrogantly dismissive of the need to maintain public access to start with, stating:

“For politicians to be suddenly jumping up and down at this late stage says more about their lack of attention to matters outside their portfolio than anything else.”

It also shows that the Minister’s previous suggestion that the matter of public access could be solved by the Launceston City Council’s planning provisions was not correct, as we had tried to tell him in Parliament for the last two weeks.

“However, it is a very welcome backdown that Minister Kons has finally heeded our call to halt the sale of Lot 1 at Corra Linn until the public access issues are resolved,” Mrs Napier said.

“The Launceston City Council has indicated this lot can be subdivided and it would seem to make perfect sense that the State Labor Government take up our suggestion that this land become State Parks Reserve.”

Mrs Napier said the State Liberals and the Launceston community would ensure they held the State Labor Government to its word on guaranteeing public access, and with this in mind, a rally that is currently being organised to show the Lennon Government how seriously they regarded this issue will still go ahead.

People are welcome to bring their picnic lunches to the rally, which will be held from 12 noon at Corra Linn on Sunday April 10.


Peg Putt MHA
Thursday, 31 MARCH 2005
The Tasmanian Greens today are concerned that there has been a four month long cover up of the debacle surrounding a Flinders Island trip of Minister Ken Bacon and his senior private secretary, and that the government has been aware all this time while Mr Bacon was under pressure over his Ministerial performance of this time bomb ticking away, but failed to deal with it – either that or Ken Bacon has kept his colleagues in the dark.
Greens Opposition Leader Peg Putt MHA is also interested in the outcome of an internal police inquiry into the drink-driving incident involving the Minister’s advisor, particularly whether anyone requested police not to lay charges, which would have serious ramifications for the government.
“There seems to have been a four month long cover-up of the Ministerial advisor’s drink-driving incident and the missed plane fiasco, particularly over the recent period when Minister Bacon has been under pressure over his poor performance, and we need to know why there was a failure to clear the air on this ticking time-bomb until the media forced the government’s hand.”
“Surely Ken Bacon cannot have been so inept that he failed to recognise the damage that would be caused when the incident inevitably came out, or so foolish as to keep the Premier in the dark?”
“We are interested in what the police inquiry has to tell us about the drink-driving incident and why the Minister’s advisor wasn’t charged, particularly whether anyone requested that charges not be laid.”
“There is potential for the drink-driving incident to further damage the government once more facts are known.”
“There is also the unresolved issue of how the Ministerial advisor will be dealt with following his attempt to deny the incident when initially approached by the media, as this transgresses the honesty requirements of this appointment,” Ms Putt said.


Media Release
Shadow Minister for Police
Thursday March 31, 2005
Bacon must provide answers over whether he had any role in Roberts let-off

Shadow Police Minister Peter Gutwein today said Ken Bacon must explain whether he had any discussions with any police officer or relevant person that may have influenced the bizarre situation whereby his chief minder recorded a blood alcohol reading almost double the legal limit and was not charged.

Mr Gutwein said that while it was important that police officers had discretion in the execution of their duties, all Tasmanians would find it an extraordinary double-standard that a senior Labor Government minder could record a reading of 0.09 and not be charged.

Mr Gutwein said the Tourism Minister was given a clear opportunity yesterday to explain whether or not he had any discussions with any police officer or relevant person, on or off Flinders Island, which may have influenced the decision not to charge Michael Roberts.

“The Minister cowardly refused to answer this fundamental question and instead just went to ground,” Mr Gutwein said.

“This is unacceptable.

“If the Minister sought in any way to attempt to potentially influence the decision on whether or not his chief minder was charged for driving at almost double the legal alcohol limit, then it is possible that a criminal offence may have occurred.

“Ken Bacon has no choice but to clear this matter up once and for all today.”

Mr Gutwein said ordinary Tasmanians wanted to know why it was that any other person would normally be booked for driving at 0.09 in fact at basically anything above 0.05 but that Ken Bacon’s chief minder was let off the hook.

“What is the Michael Roberts defence? I am sure there are a great many people out there who would like to know both what it is, and whether it applies to them as non-Labor Government minders?

“We need answers here, not the whitewash that already looks set to be occurring with both Ken Bacon and Paul Lennon refusing to front the public and provide answers and incredibly, sending out a member of Mr Lennon’s personal staff to provide a statement that failed to answer any of the pertinent questions.”

Mr Gutwein said it was also peculiar that the preliminary police investigation into the decision not to charge Michael Roberts only appeared to have commenced yesterday when the State Government was clearly aware of the situation back in November, when it reprimanded him.

“The State Government seems not to have cared about the Flinders Island fiasco, including this situation where Ken Bacon’s chief minder was not charged, until it hit the headlines.

“Surely questions should have been asked back in November especially of the Minister, as to whether or not he had any discussions with anyone in an attempt to possibly influence the situation whereby his minder was not charged, despite recording a blood alcohol reading almost twice the legal limit.

“It is bizarre that a preliminary police investigation has only just begun now.”


Media Release
Leader of the State Opposition
Thursday March 31, 2005
Lennon must show leadership and sack Ken Bacon over blatant misuse of taxpayers funds

Opposition Leader Rene Hidding today called on Premier Paul Lennon to get back to work and sack Ken Bacon for his clear breach of the Government’s Code of Conduct in relation to the Flinders Island fiasco.

Mr Hidding said the latest scandal to engulf the incompetent Tourism Minister was a cardinal test of whether the Premier had the leadership to enforce his Code of Conduct in the same way that the late Jim Bacon did when a similar shame arose in relation to then Parliamentary Secretary Brenton Best.

In April 2000, the resignation of Mr Best was forced after Liberal revelations that he misused taxpayers funds in relation to the misuse of Government car that was provided for official duties.

The Government’s Code of Conduct clearly states that Ministers and MPs should not waste taxpayer resources.

“But this is precisely what Ken Bacon did when he refused to get on a flight, which taxpayers had already paid for, and instead chartered a plane to Flinders Island, because his minder was running late and was not able to hold his hand.

“This is an arrogant and wasteful misuse of taxpayers funds and the Premier must send a message to his own front bench and the rest of the Tasmanian community that such behaviour simply cannot be tolerated in any modern and accountable Government.

“The Premier has no choice but to sack this Minister and to also seek explanations from Ken Bacon as to whether or not he had any discussions with any police officer or relevant person in relation to his minder not being charged, despite recording a reported blood alcohol level of 0.09 nearly double the legal limit.”

Mr Hidding said several members of Mr Lennon’s own Caucus were at their wits end over the Premier’s failure to act decisively on the Ken Bacon problem for some time.

“There are several Labor MPs who simply cannot believe that their Premier would let this Minister get away with such a litany of serious mistakes from turning up to GBE hearings unbriefed also a breach of the Code of Conduct to misleading Parliament over whether or not he was aware of the nature of the contents of the Treasury report into Spirit III, misleading the public when he said he said a prepared insults page used in State Parliament came off the top of his head, to his utter contempt demonstrated for Parliamentary Question time when he suggested it was a waste of time and should be scrapped.

“These MPs are telling almost anyone who will listen that Jim Bacon would never have tolerated such appallingly low standards of a Minister of the Crown and they cannot believe that Paul Lennon has not yet had the mettle to sack him.

“Some have even said that Paul Lennon fears his own leadership could become an issue without Ken Bacon as a left faction front-bencher; given that Ken Bacon owes his loyalty now to Lennon, as opposed to leadership aspirant Bryan Green, who was less than fullsome in his support of Ken Bacon yesterday.

“This is an absolutely shameful and shambolic state of affairs.”

Mr Hidding also demanded the Premier apologise for sending out a member of his personal staff to make a public statement on this major scandal for the Lennon Labor Government.

“This was cowardly and totally unaccountable behaviour from Premier Paul Lennon and only reinforces his contempt for responsible government,” Mr Hidding said.

“Paul Lennon must today come out of hiding, sack his Minister, face the music and tell the people of Tasmania that he demands much higher standards of his Ministers than the embarrassing incompetence and misuse of taxpayers funds that has been displayed by Ken Bacon.”


Peg Putt MHA
Wednesday, 30 MARCH 2005
High Standards a Must, Behaviour Unacceptable
The Tasmanian Greens today believe that Tourism Minister Ken Bacon should uphold Ministerial standards and sack his Senior Private Secretary for driving under the influence whilst on official duty, for failing to turn up on time and missing their planned flight to Flinders Island, for failing to ensure that dignitaries on the island were informed of the changed schedule, and for initially denying the matters until it became clear that they would be reported regardless.
Greens Opposition Leader and Tourism spokesperson Peg Putt MHA is also concerned that the Minister had again made an unfounded claim, this time that protocol stated he could not travel without his senior private secretary when no such protocol apparently exists, and that it seemed he lacked the confidence to attend events on his own.
“We expect high standards of behaviour and propriety from the senior staff in each Minister’s office and not the debacle which saw Ken Bacon’s Senior Private Secretary fail to turn up for a flight, fail to ensure that dignitaries awaiting the Minister’s arrival knew of the changed schedule, drive under the influence whilst on official business, and then attempt to claim that the incidents were untrue,” Ms Putt said.
“I can’t imagine why the Minister did not sack his senior private secretary for such poor behaviour and attention to duty, but now that this has come out and his man unforgivably tried to claim the incidents were untrue when they had indeed occurred, it is definitely time he was told to clear his desk.”
“This is not the standard expected of the head person in a Ministerial office, his later backflip over the truth of the incidents only reinforcing his poor behaviour through this attempt to get himself off the hook.”

“No wonder the Minister has performed so poorly if this is the quality of his assistants.”
“Ken Bacon also has to explain why he did not have the confidence to attend an event on his own when his minder didn’t turn up on time, and why he misled by claiming a protocol which it seems doesn’t exist.”
“There seems to be an office culture of laxity and untruth in the Tourism Ministry and this is unacceptable.”
“This lax behaviour has also come at a cost to taxpayers who have had to pay for an additional chartered flight to allow the Minister and his advisor to travel together once they had missed their scheduled flight to Flinders Island,” Ms Putt said.


Media Release
Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment
Wednesday March 30, 2005
Concern over Kons’ incompetent management of key issues

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment Jeremy Rockliff today accused Minister Steven Kons of being incompetent in his management of key portfolio issues evidenced most recently with the Inland Fisheries Service rationalisation, Corra Linn sale and water development fiascos.

Mr Rockliff said the new Corporate Plan for the Inland Fisheries Service, which is largely supported by the State Liberals, was in danger of unravelling as a result of the State Labor Government’s determination to proceed with unnecessary, unworkable and divisive aspects of the plan that will rationalise compliance operations of the service to Hobart and the sale of Corra Linn.

Mr Rockliff said it was a disgrace that the Minister had so far failed to accept that he got it wrong in insisting that compliance officers be relocated from the North and North West, and said that until he did, support for the new Corporate Plan would wane.

“The Minister is arrogantly refusing to accept that these compliance officers are needed on the ground in the regions, to continue their vital role in educating fishers and protecting our valuable inland fisheries from poachers.

“He is not only refusing to accept that he got it wrong but at the same time ensuring that confidence in the new IFS corporate plan continues to be undermined.”

Mr Rockliff said the sale of IFS property at Corra Linn was just another example of how the Minister had demonstrated extremely poor judgment, and the issue was by no means resolved.

“How the Minister could have ever come to a decision to sell off Lot 1 at Corra Linn, denying public access to a prized Launceston recreational asset, is simply beyond belief.

“And he is still refusing to guarantee that public access will be maintained, by refusing to call off the sale of Corra Linn Lot 1, which is now just two weeks away.

“The State Liberals gave the Minister a solution over a week ago after consulting with the Launceston City Council, we understand it is absolutely feasible for Lot 1 to be subdivided, and then made a State Parks Reserve.

“The State Government is still talking about how it would now like to preserve public access but isn’t sure how to do it. It is demonstrating again that incompetence, arrogance and delays are the hallmarks of this Lennon Labor Government.”

As Minister Kons takes up his time dealing with his own flawed decisions, crucial areas of his portfolio are being neglected.

“Water development is one glaring example. The record dry autumn that we are looking set to experience only highlights Labor’s failings in relation to bringing water development projects, like the Meander and Waterhouse projects, to fruition.”


Media Release
Leader of the State Opposition
Tuesday March 29, 2005
Pulp mill information

State Opposition Leader Rene Hidding today welcomed the State Government’s commitment to provide accurate information to the public about the pulp mill project but warned it not to transgress into party political propaganda.

“It is vital that the State Government take a leadership role in providing accurate factual information to the public about the pulp mill project to counter any misinformation campaigns,” Mr Hidding said.

“The State Liberals have led the charge for the establishment of an environmentally friendly pulp mill that will be of enormous benefit to our State and there is an appropriate role for the State Government to provide factual information to the public.

“I will however be closely monitoring the Lennon Labor Government’s activities to make sure that its information campaign is not politicised.

“There is strong bipartisan support for an environmentally friendly pulp mill in Tasmania and the Lennon Government must put Tasmania’s interests first at all times and resist any temptation t