Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

David Obendorf

FOXES: Tasmania’s fantastic joke

First published June 17

An Integrity Commission investigation into Mr Dean’s official complaint entitled “Fox Fraud and the measured manipulation of material evidence” is in play. At least that much has been publicly acknowledged in the media – ‘Fox hunt program back in the spotlight’ – Mercury, 8 April 2017 ( HERE ).

We also know the Journal Applied Ecology, the journal that published the paper entitled: “Foxes are now widespread in Tasmania: DNA detection defines the distribution of this rare but invasive carnivore” has placed an ‘expression of concern’ on the paper ( Mercury HERE ) and it is still awaiting communication from DPIPWE on an internal investigation by an independent person into the staff probity issues.

In my opinion this one program and its advocacy has had a detrimental impact on Trust: trust in conduct of publicly-funded science in Tasmania, trust in the day-to-day relationships that exist between a government and its biosecurity agency; trust between the State and Commonwealth and trust between a public service agency {DPIPWE] and ordinary citizens ( Tasmanians ).

Until the independent scientists’ group began to methodically publish articles ( see: http://www.tasmanianfox.com for article downloads ) on the evidence DPIPWE relied on to support a sensational but baseless claim that a free-ranging fox population existed in Tasmania, the Tasmanian community received a constant stream of fox-news – via the local daily newspapers and via fox program propaganda. The analysis on this fox-media has just been published in the journal Conservation Biology. ( see: http://www.tasmanianfox.com for access )

In the earliest years (2001-02) the Federal Government was asked to finance the Tasmanian fox incursion but to its credit it requested a formal ‘case definition’ which could be properly and scientifically evaluated. But the State Minister at the time David Llewellyn publicly badgered the Commonwealth into providing emergency assistance based on a perceived immediate need to detect and remove live foxes DPIPWE alleged were on the run in various parts of Tasmania … the blurred world of science risk assessment and political opportunism.

Tasmania’s ‘war on foxes’ policy was completely government-inspired. This fantastically imaginative campaign had its own special workforce; a small army that we were told kept on looking for this rare and elusive creature for 15 years … but they were never able to locate them in any Tasmanian landscape.

What Tasmanians don’t know (and hopefully is a matter that will be examined by the Integrity Commission) is a claim that false and misleading information that was accepted as critical intelligence was provided to a nationally-recognised fox ecologist in an attempt to convince that person to professionally and publicly support Tasmania in its quest to get the Commonwealth to pay. Astonishingly that information given as trustworthy official knowledge to a known fox ecologist turned out to be patently wrong – i.e. baseless and uncorroborated. But Tasmania’s fox was out of the bag and on the run!

In daily life we are constantly warned ‘Caveat Emptor’ – Buyer Beware. That “the devil is in the detail”. That “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” These sentiments are reasons why scientists (as well as public policy decision-makers) have a need to be particularly cautious when asked to quickly accept or take snap decisions which might be based on unsupported claims … claims which turn out to be deceptive and misleading. One could argue that in such situations the public ‘responsibility’ is then passed to those individuals who take that leap of faith. Fair enough … but how is an incorrect record ever corrected?

Who blows the whistle on deceptive and misleading conduct when reputations and money are at stake?

And just maybe that’s the fox joke that was played in Tasmania after 1998. And in my opinion the government agency responsible for upholding the highest standards of biosecurity and biodiversity is at the centre of this fox joke.

Becoming the recipient for tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for an ‘eradication program’ it would be mandatory that such an organisation would go out of its way to demonstrate ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that the program is linked to solid irrefutable proof (not just consequential risk) that is evidence-based and has been independently evaluated through unbiased processes.

Will Tasmania learn something from this?

*Dr David Obendorf lives in West Hobart; he’s lived in Tasmania since 1980 having been drawn to the natural beauty of the rugged island. As a veterinary pathologist by training and experience much of his adult life (now retired) has been dedicated to ensuring public agencies and governments fulfill a sacred duty to protect Tasmania’s social, economic and natural values. The public’s trust in government’s ability to deliver sound policies that claim to protect and sustain Tasmania’s unique biodiversity and biosecurity advantages has been at the core of his drive to stand up for the island’s living diversity. The weaknesses in the Tasmanian Fox Program, originally brought to our attention by Ian Rist, became a protracted debate and ended up an extensive analysis process involving multi-disciplinary scientific effort led by Dr Clive Marks. Through that time, Tasmanian Times was there to ‘bear witness’ to the need for transparency on how public policy is conceived in Tasmania. Tasmania must learn from this saga and may we always have a free and independent media to report on such controversies.

• Jason Hearn in Comments: If you want to catch a fox you just have to let some chickens run around. I could set up a program with a couple hundred chickens, if there are foxes I should have one in a couple of days. I can do it for 10% discount on the existing forward estimates (mates’ rates)

• Jack J in Comments: #45: I guess we will see. After being on the forefront of post truth cryptozoology, best practice media propaganda and enough hubris to choke a fat real estate agent we await the Tasmanian government’s next move. Nothing will surprise me. It might be that there was ‘no problem at all’ OR that ‘we have all learned a lot from the experience and will do better next time, so let’s all move on…’

ABC: Suburban Melbourne a happy hunting ground for foxes

ABC: Cheeky fox suspected to be making regular contribution to WA farmer’s BOM rain gauge

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. David Obendorf

    July 13, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Jack, I don’t know whether you live in Tasmania but I thought you needed to know that homespun story-telling based sightings of elusive mammals has become a multi million-dollar industry here.

    And yes, you could easily compare it to a [i]religion[/i] with true believes and full-time proselytizers keeping the dream alive. You write: ‘a lack of evidence seems to spur them on’. It’s also the voice of self-appointed high priests that keep the devotees convinced, to counter the skeptics and the doubters.

    Not too many years ago local newspapers was where the doubters were labelled as ‘conspiracy theorists’ who needed to ‘wake up’. They were called ‘intellectually lazy’ and uninformed.

  2. Simon Warriner

    July 12, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    re 121, aaahhh, that conflicted interest problem.

    It won’t be solved by catching the fecal fakers in this one episode, Ian. To get rid of it we need to start at the very top, the half witted, totally compromised politicians that stand mutely by and let it continue.

    The irony is that unless and until those politicians wake up and sort it out themselves, their position grows ever more perilous. And no, that’s not me making threatening noises, it is me pointing out what the historical record teaches anyone who cares to look and learn.

  3. Ian Rist

    July 12, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    The DPIPWE, Successive Tasmanian Governments, Institute of Applied Ecology ‘fox’ scat testers (member of CRC Invasive Animals), Animal Control Technologies ( 1080 bait manufacturers) and the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service all have an obligation to see all the findings released…………a mandatory obligation to the taxpayers in fact.
    Because all of the above knew their funding and payments from this depended entirely on foxes being here.
    A government agency whose funding depends on there being foxes in Tasmania makes public release of the raw data absolutely essential.

    All the stalling, dodging and weaving and avoiding scrutiny is only delaying the inevitable.

  4. Jack

    July 12, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    But will those already convinced or invested in one particular outcome ever be happy with a null result? In the past they have not been. That’s the problem with the religious, a lack of evidence seems to spur them on.

  5. David Obendorf

    July 12, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Physical evidence of an extant species like the red fox [i]Vulpes vulpes[/i] is easy to hoax into Tasmania; look no further than our fox program.

    Demonstrating the usefulness of applying DNA technology to find a low-density cryptic mammal was a ‘holy grail’ ambition of Tasmania’s fox program … maybe it was thought it could be applied to the search for the elusive and presumed extinct thylacine [i] Thylacinus cynocephalus[/i]?

    Just the other day that ambition was given some media. Tasmania ABC radio reporter, Felicity Ogilvie posted this story on Monday, July 10, 2017

    [b]DNA water testing may solve mystery of Tasmanian Tiger[/b]


    ‘Modern forensic science could be deployed to solve one of our much-loved mysteries – is the Tasmanian Tiger actually extinct?

    Reports regularly emerge of people who say they have seen one, even the odd grainy photo pops up – but now DNA sampling of water could provide the answer.’

    [b]Col Bailey[/b], Tasmanian Tiger enthuisiast
    [b]Karen Simpson[/b], manager at The Australian Water Quality Centre
    [b]Nick Mooney[/b], wildlife biologist

  6. Ian Rist

    July 10, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Garry # 117.
    This has developed into a farce,simply a farce.
    It is laughable, like Dracula in charge of the Blood Bank.
    Carefully managed to avoid the truth in my opinion and I am stating the painfully obvious.
    The limp-dick politicians have allowed this and are still allowing this to go on.
    It is a disgraceful indictment on Tasmania and Tasmanians generally.

    I agree with you that they all will have to deal with the British Ecological Society eventually and I am sure they (the B.E.S) will not put up with this nonsense for much longer.
    The B.E.S. have a reputation to uphold and a long tradition of integrity and honesty to protect.
    I am sure they will not allow themselves to be hoodwinked by these ‘country hicks’.

    Politicians of all colors and ‘lifer’ bureaucrats have turned a ‘blind eye’ to this fox saga for years, happy to let the funding keep rolling in and constantly choosing to ignore proven evidence involving hoaxing, fabrication and deliberate attempts to deceive.
    Bloody disgraceful.

  7. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    July 10, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    It now seems that the ICT will not report till ‘later in the year’:

    Deadline extended for probe into fox program
    Mercury (Hobart, Australia) – July 10, 2017Browse Issues
    Author/Byline: PATRICK BILLINGS
    Edition: Hobart
    Section: News
    Page: 4

    An Integrity Commission investigation into Tasmania’s controversial $40 million fox eradication program has had its deadline extended, the Mercury understands.

    It’s believed the investigation will now report on its findings later in the year.

    The probe is examining whether public servants in the program fabricated evidence of foxes existing in Tasmania to secure funding.

    The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, which ran the program from 2001 to 2014, has launched its own inquiry.

    The investigations were sparked by a Tasmania Police review into a complaint by long-term fox sceptic MLC Ivan Dean who claimed fox evidence had been falsified.

    The information gathered by Mr Dean included an unreleased report by a DPIPWE scientist who claimed some of the fox evidence, namely animal faeces, had been hoaxed.

    The police review found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing but alerted DPIPWE to possible misconduct by staff.

    The emergence of the allegations has also prompted a review of a scientific article that claimed foxes to be widespread in Tasmania, by the journal that published it.

    Federal Denison MP Andrew Wilkie wrote to the British Journal Of Applied Ecology asking whether the allegations were cause to review the article. The journal subsequently attached “an expression of concern” to the article, which was based on the fox scats collected in Tasmania and part authored by DPIPWE.

    The journal has requested information from DPIPWE but the Mercury understands it has not been forthcoming.

    Last month, Mr Wilkie wrote to Primary Resources Minister Jeremy Rockliff asking him to direct DPIPWE to provide the information “as soon as possible”. A DPIPWE spokesman said that it would advise the journal “if information is established that casts doubt on evidence in the public domain in relation to the former program”.

    And when/if ‘later in the year’ the ICT does make its report, will it be public? Probably not, is my guess, though I’m not ‘up to speed’ on its legal requirements/discretions. Neither am I ‘up to speed’ on the process/path that the ICT must follow. I seem to recall that if it finds that wrongdoing has occurred, it then notifies the agency involved … in this case DPIPWE. DPIPWE (I presume) can discipline its employees, but I wonder if the two staff named in Simon Fearn’s Draft Report still work in the Department, i.e. with no criminal charges able to be laid, and if the alleged wrongdoers are no longer employees, then that might reduce the options available to the Department.

    Still, DPIPWE will yet have the matter of the British Journal Of Applied Ecology’s “Expression of Concern” to deal with. So far I haven’t seen much sign of the Department being willing to come onside with the public concerns that have surrounded the erstwhile fox program these many years.

  8. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    July 8, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Thank you Rom (#106) for your “By the way Garry, Rom is my REAL NAME.” However, you seem to have missed my point, which was to express disappointment that yet another person had claimed to have seen a fox while not providing any details which could substantiate the claim and while remaining anonymous. You must be aware by now, Rom, that there have been ‘stirrers’ on the many fox threads that have appeared on TT. But I take your earlier point (#98) that there has been “the odd fox in this state […] and there may be the odd fox here now.” While it seems unlikely, like you, I hope that there aren’t any foxes here now. Moreover, I think we all can agree that an established fox population in Tas would be ‘the pits’.

    Also, I’m of much the same frame of mind as you, about the amount of money that has been spent so far (on the fox program). I know I should care about the $millions, yet I don’t. The money side of things usually doesn’t interest me much – though in saying this, I am not trying to dismiss the concerns of people such as Ian who have condemned the waste of taxpayers’ money. I am however, more interested in the claims that there has been misuse of (some of) the fox scats that were imported from the mainland. I was (and I remain) dismissive of the Sarre 2012 ‘Foxes are Widespread in Tas…’ paper for its failure to verify the provenance of the scats which underpinned that paper’s science. And the thought that some in the Fox taskforce might have deliberately misused some of the imported scats by claiming to have found them while out on patrol is disgusting.

    However, I note that so far there is no official or public confirmation of the truth of such claims. I believe that the police have investigated the matter (put to them in a dossier by Ivan Dean) and have not found anything that would warrant criminal charges. The Integrity Commission has also been approached, apparently, and according to another anonymous contributor (‘O’Brien at #35) was supposed to have reported by the end of the (last) month. Just as I was disappointed with your undetailed comment, Rom, so too was I disappointed with ‘OBrien’s’. It lacked detail, it gave no reference/source of the information ya-da-ya-da…

    Two weeks have been and gone, the month has ended and so far nothing is publicly known of any ICT report on fox scat fraud.

  9. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    July 8, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Regular readers will remember that recent time when the Editor closed the fox thread to further comments and refused to accept articles relating to ‘the fox’, preferring to on-publish articles from the Mercury and the Examiner, rather than accept articles from the general TT readership…

    #148: In view of the police investigation and the sensitivity around the fox issue, this thread is now CLOSED for COMMENT…
    Posted by Editor  on  14/07/16  at  05:05 PM
    [ http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/tasmania-police-to-look-further-into-fox-taskforce-allegations/ ]

    Well, time passed and and I suspect the Ed. succumbed to an amount of pressure…

    Tasmanian Times has been asked to allow comments on whether or not foxes are prevalent in Tasmania; whether or not hoaxing is the basis of a The Great Fox Hunt which has consumed the past decade and cost at least $50 million of your (taxpayers’) money.
    TT has its own interest in this issue … hosting through forensic biologist Dr David Obendorf a $5000 Fox Reward for five years until 2010 …
    Truth ever so slowly emerges … perhaps the ABC’s latest reports indicate that it was all a hoax … so, the columns of Tassietimes is open for comments (having been closed of late because of the viciousness of debate).
    I just ask that you be respectful of other people’s deeply-held views …[ http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/foxes-/ ]

    Which brings me to Jack’s #105. Clearly Jack (who like Rom is to all intents and purposes operating anonymously) is ‘playing the man’ rather than the ball with his satirical piece. Apart from the personal nature of his comment, Jack overlooks a number of matters:
    – over a number of years, while advocating against anonymity as a TT norm, I have acknowledged and accepted that there are occasions when it is appropriate for contributors/commenters to withhold their identities. Public-service whistle blowers, parents worried about their kids being victimised, spouses/partners worried about how their partner might be affected by cranks and so on. As a general rule I prefer that people identify themselves, while accepting that for some, it might be unwise to do so.
    – While supporting those who need to remain anonymous – and I have actively done so a number of times on TT – I do not support the use of anonymity in order to make remarks of a personal nature. In my opinion, if you need to ‘slag-off’ at someone, then at the very least, you should identify yourself. Anonymity, in my opinion, should be reserved for those who want to get the truth ‘out there’ and for reasons such as have already been canvassed, cannot afford to disclose their own identity. By all means, let them comment anonymously, but require that they use the cover of anonymity responsibly, with respect and with the focus ‘on the ball’ and certainly not on fellow commenters themselves.
    – to my knowledge, there are no documents coming from DPIPWE which show that “everything [I] said was dead wrong”. Jack and/or his ghost-writer are free to quote me directly (giving an accompanying reference link would be handy for readers) and then demonstrate where everything – indeed, anything – that I’ve said/written was dead wrong.

  10. mike seabrook

    July 4, 2017 at 2:05 am

    remember when the fox hunters were laughed at by the farmers and went hunting foxes in the outer town suburbs and the councillors requested the surburban residents to be civil to them

  11. David Obendorf

    July 2, 2017 at 2:56 am

    From [i]Australian Geographic[/i] – [b]An Endless Quest[/b] (May-June 2017)

    When the first settlers arrived Nick Mooney estimates there were 2100 [thylacines] on the island. … Nick Mooney says it is “entirely possible” 100 or more thylacines may have survived in the wild after 1936.

    The recent National Geo article refers to a reported sighting given to Nick Mooney [PWS Wildlife Biologist]:

    About 9 pm in the spring of 1993 an anonymous truck driver claims he saw a dog-like animal crossing the Lyell Highway about 100 metres from of the truck’s headlights.

    The whole sighting lasted perhaps 6 seconds. Fast forward to 2016. I’m standing where according to the truck driver, the animal left the road. Beside me is Nick Mooney Nick was a wildlife officer for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service until 2009 and is now an independent wildlife biologist. He investigated wildlife sightings for 35 years and is an acknowledged authority on the species. The truck driver’s sighting is one of his cases.

    [i]“He was a normal truckie without the slightest vested interest in faking it. He was totally convinced about what he saw and thought that we [PWS] should know.”[/i]

    After visiting the site with the driver, Nick returned with a dog, with which he retraced the mystery animal’s steps to calculate how long it was in the truckie’s sight.

    [i]“He’s reported timing almost exactly matched what I worked out with the dog. That shows he was a good observer and hadn’t exaggerated.”[/i]

    This sighting followed a familiar pattern. Most sightings happen at night and on roads, because road attract animals and these days there are more people on roads than in the bush. … …

    The area produced several reports in about 1990, Nick says.

    [i]“There were four or five on this stretch of road. There was a truckie, a tourist, a guy on a motorbike early in the morning. … They didn’t know each other, which adds credibility. One can be sensibly sceptical but I’m always reluctant to dismiss a half-decent report.”[/i]

    So, are thylacines unquestionably extinct? Or might a few be holding out in remote bushland somewhere? [b]Unfortunately, despite the hopes, dreams and prodigious efforts of the surprising number of people, there’s not a shred of conclusive proof of this possibility – no convincing photographs or video, no verifiable footprints or roadkills.[/b]

    [i]“Nowadays fast roads go through just about all the high-quality thylacine habitat and there are plenty of sightings, so we should have had a road kill [thylacine] by now,”[/i] Nick Mooney says.

  12. David Obendorf

    June 30, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Rom, when you are next chatting with Nick Mooney you might ask him to provide you with a copy of the conference paper Nick Mooney and Mick Statham presented at the [b]9th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Control Conference in 1991 [/b].

    It’s titled: The Red fox in Tasmania.

    ‘[i]… in early 1990 there was an increase in reported sightings, with the first few in the central north of the State. … a decison was made to obtain the assistance of someone with more experience in the habits and behaviour of foxes. [b]John Robinson[/b] who had worked with Brian Coman in Victoria was contracted to investigate the Tasmanian sightings, and train local staff in detection techniques.

    Each of the sighting areas was revisited and searched for any signs of foxes, including footprints and fox dens. … No signs of foxes were found in any of the areas, and for the majority of sightings, an animal – either a dog or cat was found which was a reasonable fit to the animal described. [A table covering 16 sightings in 1990 by location and the probable species is included] Several of the animals reported also exhibited “non fox-like” behaviour.

    As far as was able to be dettermined, foxes are not present in Tasmania, and those sightings which have been reported are misidentifications of other species.'[/i]

    If you can’t get hold of a copy, please send me your email and I’ll send it to you.


    Thank you.

  13. Rom

    June 30, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    @108 My point proven. I said nothing for 20 years, am a credible witness and disclosed my probable sighting to illustrate a point and still get lumped into the category of attention seeker.

    Unreal!… and my last post on this topic.

    And, for the record… I’ve known Nick Mooney for a very long time!

  14. David Obendorf

    June 30, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Following on from Comment #108

    Here are a few of Nick Mooney’s public responses to the fox-sceptics who wrote into the local newspapers in 2008 and 2009.

    13 December 2008, Letter to the Editor – Mercury
    Captioned – Wake Up to foxes

    ‘Damon Colbeck has joined a few others wallowing in lazy cynicism. With a smidgen of research he’d find out that the scats with fox DNA were analysed by Dr Stephen Sarre’s lab at the University of Canberra; some being verified by Dr Oliver Berry in a different mainland lab. Taskforce members have reported seeing 3 foxes but the public has reported many hundreds of sightings of what may have been foxes; some of which seem very credible.’
    ‘Years ago the taskforce was challenged to produce repeated, properly collected and independently analysed evidence. Now that has happened aplenty; the goal posts move again. Come on Tasmanians wake up!’


    26 December 2008 Letter to the Editor – Mercury
    Captioned – Fox evidence

    ‘Stan Berry’s glib dismissal of fox evidence seems to rely on a conspiracy theory to overcome the obvious. Is Stan Berry suggesting that Tasmanians are skipping about the bush scattering fox scats at random hoping we will find them?’
    ‘The fox shot in 2001 contained a long-tailed mouse, Pseudomys higginsii; a species only found in Tasmania and the evidence strongly weighs to the 3 foxes apparently road kills in Tasmania being just that. The one I examined at Cleveland [Glen Esk Road] was warm.’


    6 March 2009 Letter to the Editor – Examiner
    Captioned – Evidence prompts support for fox eradication

    ‘Mr Davey glibly ignores all the evidence found since the four carcases and more than 30 scats with fox DNA were found, which no amount of denial will make go away. This cynical denial of legitimate evidence is truly bizarre.’

    So in 2017, the fox money has been spent, the fox program has been disbanded … but what did anyone learn from what I have called Tasmania’s fantastic joke?

    Thank you

  15. Rom

    June 29, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Actually, I have only given this article a passing glance and don’t know much of the detail, either from now, or 2004.

    I mentioned my probable sighting in the 1990’s because it seems relevant to point out that border security is not perfect and some foxes may have got here in the past at different times.

    Yet, even though I have seen many foxes at close range, and at a distance, and killed heaps of them, just suggesting that I had seen one in this state gets me a face full of derision. I am constantly amazed, even after 20+ years in this state at the level of polarisation there is over any issue related to the environment.

    I rate my “sighting” as credible because “it” looked and moved like foxes I had seen on the mainland. I thought it noteworthy because it was at a time of the day that was unusual in my experience and, on open ground.

    In my experience, foxes are so stealthy that I can, and have, walked past the little bastards at a distance of 1m… and seen them only by fluke. Could a hunter or a thousand cameras miss one, especially in Tasmanian terrain? Hell yes!

    Whether this current “situation” is fraud or not, I don’t know. I’ll bow always to scientific proof, either way, and would happily pray to which ever deity you care to specify that foxes never get established here.

    I have no doubt as to the level of incompetence and corruption that occurs in this state; I’ve seen and experienced it first hand. I’ve also seen the barbarity of the bogan fringe who think to “normal” to target native wildlife and damage our environment. No delusions here.

  16. David Obendorf

    June 29, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Rom you might like to read what an official responsible for following up (or not) on thylacine reports has to say on sightings:

    According to Nick Mooney, most people who report sightings end up believing they have seen a thylacine, and are themselves believable to the point they could pass the lie-detector test. Mr Mooney says others having lodged a creditable report, then become utterly obsessed – like the Tasmanian who has registered 99 thylacine sightings to date.

    And Mooney says another predictable behavioural pattern among people reporting thylacine sightings comes at the end of their debriefing. “At the point of conclusion, where we thank them for coming in, almost certainly they will say: ‘It’s not the first time, I’ve seen them!’ They are holding the floor, being treated as important and they don’t want it to end.”

    Mooney says he treats all sighting reports on face value. “I never try to embarrass people, or make fools of them. But the fact that I don’t pack the car immediately they ring can often be taken as ridicule. Obsessive characters get irate that someone in my position is not out there when they think the thylacine is there.”

    [Reference: The Bulletin, 29 March 2009]

    And Nick Mooney on reported sightings of the dreaded fox:

    ‘Eye witness stuff is what interests most people – but it is the most [b]useless evidence[/b]. I think there have been a few (foxes) – at least one was true – but there’s a lot of dross in the middle. The key thing that attracted too much attention was about hunters bringing in a bunch of cubs – there is no evidence, apart from eyewitnesses account.’

    [Reference: Stock & Land, 26 September 2014]


  17. Ian Rist

    June 29, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    ROM # 104.
    “Ian, what you say may very well be the case but only an idiot would discount the possibility of random foxes getting to Tasmania, which was my point”.
    ROM I suggest you go back and read ALL my contributions to this debate and show me where I have doubted there may have been individual fox incursions into Tasmania over a long period of time.

    My disagreement since day one is the ‘evidence’ used to promote the idea of a ‘fox population’ in Tasmania and the lies that were told to seek funding and keep an already ‘dead in the water’ Department afloat.
    Also include in that debate you had better include politicians and bureaucrats that openly lied to the Parliament and the public.
    ROM you also had better comment on the “blood dripping out of and the 1080 green foam frothing out of “part of my comment too.
    ROM you are also trying to tell me all the licensed Deer hunters, field shooters, crop control permit spotlight shooters missed them as well? Even with $5,000 rewards in circulation and a bunch of egotistical shooters that would love bragging rights to the ‘first fox shot’ during this idiotic, stupid and fraudulent charade ?

    I too, was the one that first challenged the claimed 2001 ‘fox shooting’ at Symonn’s Plains and the alleged 2001 ‘fox cub import’ allegations.

    I started all this on Tasmanian Times in 2004….remember?

  18. Rom

    June 29, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    By the way Garry, Rom is my REAL NAME.

  19. Jack

    June 29, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Too right Garry. Spot on. That’s telling ’em! Hooray!

    And if you are a woman being abused by your husband, either have the courage to use your own name when commenting on a website and take the bashing or f*** off. Garry and I both find your lack of integrity disturbing. Coward!

    Same if you have an embarrassing medical condition. Use your own name or nothing pal.

    If you happen to be working from the ATO and want to break a scandal that might ruin your career, bugger off we don’t want to hear from you on TT unless you use your real name.

    Of course if you are in government and a signatory to a code of practice that forbids you exposing scandal you need to either shut up or find your balls and use your own name. When you get the sack, go and move in with Garry Stannus. He’ll look after you and pay for your family’s upkeep as well.

    And if you’re a prison commissioner who might still be alive today if you had promoted debate via an anonymous avatar, Garry and I find the implication that we might be discouraging a safer platform for debate offensive. How dare anyone suggest otherwise. In fact, we’re already outraged at the very thought. We’ve begun to write 100,000 words on the topic.

    Don’t even think about it if you are a copper who’s working in a corrupt environment and want to blow the whistle. On TT we want your name, rank and police number so that everyone can find you, including your bent mates. And if you turn up dead, that’s your bad luck.

    Same for anyone outing the Russian mafia. We don’t play favourites. Garry and I have high standards.

    Especially if you are an ex or present DPIPWE employee who has been exposing the fox program by leaking documents (probably at great risk to your career), that doesn’t sit well with Garry and I. How gutless that you didn’t take on the entire system yourself by putting your name up in neon lights while living in a small town.

    Perhaps you are indeed an ex-Tas government employee who’s already been carted off by the coppers at the behest of a corrupt administrator? I mean, what’s holding you back mate? Use your own name so that they can add it to your file.

    And don’t come crying to Garry and I should you be a psychiatric nurse who’s been run out of town and bankrupted. We feel so much better that you never used anonymity. It’s easier for us to follow your suffering that way.

    Because ‘We of the Perpetually Outraged’ are sick of people sticking their necks out anonymously. We rather like the sight of other people’s blood so it would be so much better for us if they just walked up onto the gallows, hung the noose around their own necks and jumped. That would make us feel so much better. After all, it’s all about us and how we feel. Outrage is so very tiring and it’s unfair when people poke fun at us.

    How dare anyone say that Garry wasn’t spot-on in all his analysis of the fox program. The fact that all the documents from DPIPWE that showed that everything Garry said was dead wrong came from an anonymous person is hardly the point is it?

  20. Rom

    June 29, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Spikey: I know what damage foxes do because I watched and heard the forests in my area on the mainland become empty and quiet as the ground life was exterminated by them. They do horrendous damage and it would be catastrophic if they get established here. As for 1080 and forestry policy; different issues and I am not a biologist or ecologist so I cant comment on or make comparison with these issues. Suffice to say, anything that destroys a food web is not a desirable thing.

    Ian, what you say may very well be the case but only an idiot would discount the possibility of random foxes getting to Tasmania, which was my point. To get established, there needs to be enough individuals present to get a breeding population going. As I said, I suspect there have been occasions when the ODD fox has got here alive but never been able to find a mate(s). Ten thousand cameras could easily miss a single fox. Are you going to be naive or arrogant enough to claim that’s impossible?

    I have not raised the matter before in a public forum precisely because of this kind of aggressive response. I remember the moment I mentioned my sighting very well because the research scientist I was talking to at the time turned positively green and the other bloke we were with, nearly dropped his jaw… and I didn’t know why, at the time. Something that would probably stick in your mind I would suggest?

    Garry: Read above. Absolutely, there are stirrers out there; I know a few myself but there is nothing to be gained by me. I would rather 1000 stirrers be heard and dismissed than one credible sighting that is ignored or shut down because of the “prevailing view”. If you have any understanding of history, and Science in particular, you’ll understand what I am saying. Who I am is irrelevant really, I am not an expert but I am a multi-degree holding professional with an interest and love of Tasmanian wildlife. I think that is enough.

    Truly, if you care about the fauna in this state, you’ll support any action that helps preserve it for future generations. If there is fraudulent behaviour by anyone, for any reason, it should be named up, investigated and where appropriate, acted on, but it is foolish indeed to suppress viewpoints and shout-down people who can contribute to an issue such as this. Its to damn important to get it wrong.

  21. spikey.riddoch@yahoo.com.au

    June 29, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    #101 i agree, though there is a genuine need for anonymous contribution, to facilitate both genuine whistleblowing, and the airing of nefarious rumours.

    The system has been somewhat overwhelmed by individuals abusing their anonymity to deliberately misrepresent and deceive. ‘Shills’ if you like.

    I kinda like it, those that saucily polish turds, end up with shit on their hands, looking like incredible dickheads, to a wide bemused audience.

    I’ve heard credible fox sightings, from mates, and wouldn’t want to discourage further ‘airing’ by Riddoch-ule.

    I haven’t seen one, neither has many henhouses.

    However I wouldn’t be taking them to government authorities, in light of how they appear to handle things. Like Truth and Poison.

    I’ve also heard of credible Thylacine sightings, from mates, and photography.

    I haven’t seen one.

    See above.

    I suggest the absence of a foxproof fence, for the Port of Devonport, may be due to potential birdstrike, from threatened parrot populations, exhausted from escaping mainland deforestation, and increasingly warm and wet levels, of hot flatulent air.

  22. Ian Rist

    June 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Garry # 101
    I could not agree more, anonymous contributions for and against the fox debate add nothing to the sincerity or genuineness of the debate.
    People with a foot in both camps ALWAYS get caught out…those who do not have the courage of their convictions should stay out of it.

  23. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    June 29, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Well, ‘Rom’ at #98: it is very disappointing that you haven’t identified yourself. Over the last two decades or so, there have been a number of stirrers who’ve made claims such as yours which can’t be substantiated because of the lack of detail (e.g. as ‘Spikey’ asks: “When did you spy…“). You may be fair dinkum, but how can we know? We’ve had such a lot of grief over this fox issue that in my opinion, it’s about time that the editor stopped taking comments from anonymous contributors, and required everyone to identify themselves. That goes for you, ‘Rom’ and it goes for our ‘spikeys’, our ‘Lyndons’, our ‘Jacks’ of all descriptions, our O’Briens and our Peters and our Mikes.

  24. Ian Rist

    June 29, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    ‘ROM’ comment # 98

    Just add your ‘fox’ sighting to the other 3,994 ‘fox sightings’ in Tasmania in the last 16 years.
    Problem is not one person has been able to hold a single Tasmanian fox up with the blood dripping out of the bullet hole or a single fox with green foamy 1080 spewing from its mouth.
    Also not one ‘photo of a Tasmanian fox, despite the FFTF/FEP placing over 200 remote movement detection trail cameras at every ‘fox hotspot’ over the past 15 years.
    Finally ROM how come it has taken over 20 years for you to remember this incident so vividly ?

  25. spikey

    June 29, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    may I suggest if you’ve been here since the 90’s, you research some of the many threads on foxes prior to this one, i reccomend all of them…they are quite informative.

    How much of a threat to our wildlife do you think foxes are, say compared to the mass laying of 1080 baits?

    Or the conversion of native forest to scorched earth?

    When did you spy your ‘hadspen fox’?

  26. Rom

    June 28, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Ok, so I have read some of this discussion over the past week or so and have remained quiet but I’ll add one comment. I moved here in the 1990’s from Victoria. I am a bush boy from way back and can pick a fox from a hell of a long way off; killed dozens of the bastards on the mainland.

    So, I got involved in wildlife rescue up there and wanted to continue the work down here. I specialised in raptors on the mainland and consequently came in contact with some local “experts” of high status who WILL remain anonymous.

    At the time I had no idea Tasmania was fox free and so I couldn’t quite understand the look of utter horror on said experts face when I casually mentioned I saw a fox in broad daylight near Hadspen. I saw it at a range of about 100m and I am 95% certain of the sighting. They reckon I was mistaken… don’t think so myself. So, I suspect there have been the odd fox in this state at least that long and there may be the odd fox here now. I bloody hope not but if they do get established, kiss your fauna goodbye. I personally don’t give a rats arse if the government spent 100 million chasing the fart from one of those animals. It’d still be worth it.

  27. William Boeder

    June 28, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    #82. mfJ, I continue to comment to you as you have generally have your strong opinions to defend the indefensible, also that you have a lot to say about the pseudo merits of continuing on with the serially failing logging processes that you had been associated with for some long extended period.
    You seem to the only person in Australia that f—-s up the spelling of my name, therefore this gives me further reason to comment direct to yourself in order to display to you the correct spelling of same.
    I am still fascinated by the standby qualifying dictum used by you to qualify a coop for logging, of a “5% eucalyptus species canopy cover” as a bit of a joke, even that the referred to method of identifying canopy cover could incorporate protected rare species of eucalyptus which must be left standing, also this over-looked factor would not trouble the loggers in this State.

    Of late, to me, you have become a touch more aggressive in your comments as though you have become a new personae, that has no concern to the amount of people that you vilify so you know sometimes people will never easily overlook such a non-subtle personality makeover.

    Back to logging for just a bit, this abseiling would be in order to confirm that this method of a coop being visited for the purposes to ascertain how much of this priceless ancient tract of HCV Forest will be destined for Ta Ann then the rest (or the 95% being sent off to the wood-chippers) as saw log timber from such difficult to access regions may not warrant even bothering to exclude such grades of timber.

    One must consider how the woefully unsustainable Tasmanian State government sponsored foolishness of logging, could then save the FPP some of their expense having to airdrop over your then present location in that particular vicinity while being engaged in your forest planning activities, which was to hunt down future planned logging coops, thus you would save some of the cost of Fox-bait distribution of that other abhorrent State government activity of foolishness.
    “Their desire to bomb the State with 1080 Fox-baits so to thin out “the pesky indigenous wildlife” species that have been able to defy the stringent efforts of the former Forestry Tasmania.” (Being to slaughter both the habitat and indigenous wildlife creatures at the same time.)
    I do hope you’re keeping well and are not just grizzling about the little things that can become an aberration if one is not too unforgiving.
    Cheers old mate,


  28. Simon Warriner

    June 27, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Peter Bright, Hilarious, mate, just bloody hilarious.

    Dioxin, anyone?

  29. Lyndon

    June 27, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    #95 I love this man….’Living, Loving and Learning to leave this planet gracefully’…and I think you will too David:


  30. David Obendorf

    June 27, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Re: Comment 91 – politics will not save the Planet. This Planet will continue in some form or another with or without humans. We humans (Homo sapiens) and our insatiable consumption are the single largest problem facing the Planet… Welcome to the Anthropocene.

  31. Jack

    June 27, 2017 at 1:44 pm


    “I simply repeat what appears in…”

    I realise that you have said your bit and having done so, switched off. I know that I’m wasting my time arguing with an ideology that is based upon a moral lesson predicated upon urgency and precaution:

    “These distressing times are now too urgent and our lives too precarious for pettiness.”

    But may I suggest that this is EXACTLY the patronising rhetoric and EXACTLY the moral tone that led The Greens down the Yellow Brick Fox Road. And if you have learned nothing from this you are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

    It is:

    Far from petty to demand evidence-based policy.

    Counterproductive to keep repeating slogans while not engaging in analysis of their message.

    Dangerous to use fear, moral arguments and precaution detached from critical review.

    Politically suicidal for a party to demonstrate that it is incapable of learning from past mistakes.

    Depressing to use the ‘least worst’ appeal for votes.

    Peter, real progress is much harder than repeating a slogan. Your party is dead in the water if it can’t rise above this. Please do.

  32. David Obendorf

    June 27, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    The farce that Tasmania’s fox hunt became was highlighted by the covert character assassination of anyone who dared to explain where the program was unsound. Another give away was a lack of transparency on information sharing.

    This was an extraordinary over-reach … to fantastically devise the proposition that Tasmania had a live release incident of up to 19 foxes in various parts of the State. It wasn’t as if the State department (DPIPWE) wasn’t given a reality check on this sensational theory in the early days of this funded fox hunt. Who was spreading the sensationation that foxes were likely to be out there somewhere? The sensation that was quoted in international science journals like Nature and promoted as fact to National Geographic. This has all the hallmarks of thylacine spotting … that rare and elusive mammal that in the absence of any empirical evidence retains a zealous cadre of true-believers.

    How does the saying go? ‘Birds of a feather …

    Was the Tasmanian fox-less fox hunt a new age version of thylacine spotting but with money attached?

  33. Peter Bright

    June 27, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    In response to #87, #88, #89 and #90 I simply repeat what appears in post #84 …

    [i] ” .. petty reactions fail to recognise the increasingly precarious situation humanity has caused itself wherein by our ignorance, selfishness and stupidity we have set up the circumstances for our own mass extinction.

    “These distressing times are now too urgent and our lives too precarious for pettiness.”[/i]

    Liberal: Exploitation to destruction for selfish gain …
    Labor: OK if workers share in it …
    Greens: Environment prioritised, not politics.

    [i]Now extrapolate .. [/i]

    Liberal: Nothing left – dead planet.
    Labor: Dead workforce.
    [b]Greens: Healthy people and planet.[/b]

  34. David Obendorf

    June 27, 2017 at 4:33 am

    Jack J has asked a relevant question: Where do the Tasmanian Greens stand in 2017 on Tasmania’s 16 year war on foxes.

    A while ago Cassy O’Connor MP posted on Tasmanian Times and elsewhere that she had made up her mind and accepted the DPIPWE fox narrative … end of story!

    Yes, Peter B. the world is changing but please don’t put blind faith in a single political party to rescue the Planet.

    And please spare a compassionate thought for the late [b]Barry Greenberry[/b] who came to Tasmania under a 4-year contract as the Director of Prisons but within months was sent packing back to the UK whilst a Tasmanian Greens Minister held the Corrections portfolio.

  35. Simon Warriner

    June 27, 2017 at 1:21 am

    re #87, Peter, you might like to ponder for a short while on the idiocy of your favorite party’s little spat around the antics of its renegade NSW Senator. While the Green elected representatives as shagging about trying to sort that mess into some semblence of order, what of their Tasmanian constituents concerns? See the problem? Rather than trying to ram that square peg into their round hole they would be better serving Tasmanian interests by talking with their fellow Tasmanian senators. Its about time they started co-operating for our good.

    Rinsed and repeated every time the selfish gene run rampant and some toe rag decides to climb the greasy party pole, attention we taxpayers pay handsomely for gets misdirected into unproductive and frankly bloody childish nonsense. It forms a very sizable part of the reason so many of us think politicians belong on the bottom of the list of least trusted occupations, and that includes the Green ones.

    There is a way to fix it, and that is to give our votes to real independent representatives. Not Greens, or any other party regime.

  36. Jack J

    June 27, 2017 at 12:55 am

    #86 Peter

    But what use to anyone is a party that won’t correct the record, seek to address past mistakes or commit to evidence based policy?

    Appeals to being the least-worst don’t really cut through with the Australian electorate any more. People are hungry for honest discourse and conviction. You may be sincere, but you’re barking up the wrong tree mate.

    It seems that you’re avoiding the obvious; the reason why we’re in a precarious position is precisely because all parties are tarred with the same brush, including The Greens. Too smart by half, spin has replaced substance.

    If The Greens don’t see the need for evidence based policy and addressing population growth then they are not going to be capable of changing anything. They’ll just send votes to One Nation for all the wrong reasons.

    Currently I’d rather see a senate full of ferals rip the place to bits than vote for a party that wants everyone to hold their nose and vote for the ‘best of reasons’ but not look at where the smell is coming from. The feral might well be mad, but at least they are honest nutters.

    If The Greens want to save the world they are running out of time to get their house in order. I suggest they find their balls and do so.

  37. Simon Warriner

    June 26, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    re #84, Anyone who falls for that line of bullshit is too stupid to be considered a thinking voter.

    re #85, exactly.

  38. Peter Bright

    June 26, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Jack J .. it’s as I said above:

    [i]”There are many who want to vote Green but who dislike or disapprove of certain Green personalities and/or certain Green policies.

    “That is a petty reaction that fails to recognise the increasingly precarious situation humanity has caused itself wherein by our ignorance, selfishness and stupidity we have set up the circumstances for our own mass extinction.”[/i]

    It would be best not to waste time criticising the waves when there’s a tsunami coming, Jack.

  39. Jack J

    June 26, 2017 at 7:39 pm


    I’d love to see a purge of the parliament.

    But I seem to remember that The Greens were the most enthusiastic proponents of the Tasmanian Fox Fiasco. Wasn’t Cassy O’C convinced by the entire script and the main spokesperson who implied that the program’s critics were in effect conspiracy theorists?

    What’s not a petty reaction is recognising that no political party has yet seen fit to correct the public record.

    The Greens have been silent. Their silence remains deafening. They’ve had ample opportunity to take the lead in this matter; “yep we were wrong, we need to find out what happened and seek reform, yep lets have an adult public conversation”.

    There has been none of that. Zero. The Greens are just as bunkered as the other parties. I feel very sorry for Bob Brown as his legacy was never to turn and run from a debate.

    So, I’m less inclined to vote for a party that claims to be open to evidence and then demonstrates the exact opposite. Other parties don’t make that claim; they revel in dirty deals and dirty politics and you know what they stand for – nothing.

    The Greens claim to be above this, yet need to match the rhetoric with action. That will take a capacity to embrace dissent and critical review, not the gate keeping of selective information wrapped up in a PC bow so as not to offend the doctor’s wives.

    Like the Tasmanian fox issue, The Greens have a tin ear when it comes to population growth which is the KEY cause of environmental degradation in Australia and the most relevant issue for reducing our ecological footprint and carbon based emissions. That’s another deafening silence coming from The Greens. Just like Tasmanian foxes it’s another political time bomb they are sitting on, hoping that no one will notice.

    Well, lot’s of us have noticed. It makes The Greens seem like just another ideology that won’t let evidence get in the way of a narrative.

  40. Peter

    June 26, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Simon Warriner has oft expressed his view in these columns to the effect that parliament should be purged of politics and that our representatives should be independent of political persuasions. Nowadays I’m more inclined to agree with him than ever.

    Oz parliaments represent two major sectors of the community. These are (a) the exploiters, and (b) the exploited.

    This divide is a watered down version of history’s Masters and Slaves eras.

    Why should it be so?

    It should [i]not[/i] be so.

    Thinkers consciously or unconsciously realise this and vote Green.

    The Greens represent and protect the environment without which there are neither masters nor slaves, bound nor free, exploiters nor exploited.

    The Greens have their priorities right. The earlier parties representing confrontation, exploitation and division are sliding into history and I say Good riddance and the sooner the better.

    In coming around to support Simon’s views I suggest that the fastest way to implement them is for all of us to vote Green every time.

    There are many who want to vote Green but who dislike or disapprove of certain Green personalities and/or certain Green policies.

    That is a petty reaction that fails to recognise the increasingly precarious situation humanity has caused itself wherein by our ignorance, selfishness and stupidity we have set up the circumstances for our own mass extinction.

    These distressing times are now too urgent and our lives too precarious for pettiness.

    The fires of Nature’s impersonal revenge are approaching and its warning signs are clear and abundant. If they carried a banner before them it would read “Change, or else!”

  41. David Obendorf

    June 26, 2017 at 3:51 am

    Every well executed joke requires a joker or two and this fantasy-trick was no exception.

    And all the laughs were on the taxpayer!

    A gigantic piss-take of a joke to invest tens of millions of taxpayer dollars over 16 years in “eradicating” an elusive animal that only materialised in Tasmania in the form of dead fox bodies, DNA and faeces.

    This was a lauded as a iconic national program. The island that eradicated the thylacine was ready to eradicate the fox.

    When it came to applying for Commonwealth funding in 2013, this is how DPIPWE pitched the project:

    [b]“The Fox Eradication Program is a long term joint Australian & Tasmanian Government commitment to complete the largest invasive animal eradication program ever attempted.”[/b]

    Former CEO of the Invasive Animals-CRC, Dr Tony Peacock was asked in 2014 what he thought of the search for credible fox evidence in Tasmania.

    ‘No-one ever thought you had to collect samples as if it was a murder scene – to criticise them (the FEP officers collecting the scats) is a bit rough. But I think if it was a hoax, it was a bloody good one and it took us all in.

    [Reference: Stock & Land, 25 September 2014]

    A concession of sorts … and a bloody good joke it was too!

  42. MjF

    June 26, 2017 at 12:09 am


    Yes. It’s called the “0verloaded Truck When it’s Not” trophy.

    Surely you’ve heard of it Border ?

  43. Ian Rist

    June 25, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    I have no doubt if David Llewellyn had retained his Lyons seat in the 2010 Tasmanian Election he would have kept his DPIPWE portfolio.
    However he was not elected so the other old cunning ones in Labor would have said “DPIPWE and foxes, no thanks”.
    Bryan and friends would have said “We need to do some restructuring, I will have DPIPWE but I do not want foxes”.
    There was then born two departments doing the same job….obviously David O’Byrne was looked at as expendable.

  44. Ian Rist

    June 25, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    # 74 You say:
    “I have spent an entire hour searching the internet for all or any 2001-2002
    State of Tasmania government ministerial appointment sites and who had which
    portfolio, then for any links thereto, even be it an obscure reference link
    to confirm the then minister of the DPIPWE during the above-referred to
    period, yet without any success whatsoever”.

    Dear Sir
    I can help you with DPIPWE Ministers including the 2010 episode when Bryan Green chose to give it to who he called ‘wet behind the ears’ one newly elected David O’Byrne on the 20th MARCH 2010.
    Refer to my comment # 53 this thread.

    1998-2002 David Llewellyn DPIPWE and also Llewellyn was Minister for Police and Emergency Management 1998-2008. So in effect Llewellyn had control of DPIPWE and the Police.

    2002-2004 Bryan Green
    2004-2006 Steve Kons
    2006-2010 David Llewellyn (prior to 2010 Election).

    20 March 2010 Tasmanian Election….. immediately followed by much scheming and scuffling to see who was going to jump into bed with whom to form ‘Government’

    21/4/2010 Bryan Green -DPIPWE ……but Minister for foxes went to David O’Byrne at Environment ,Parks and Heritage (again see comment 53 this thread).
    Brian Wightman became Minister for Environment,Parks and Heritage on 6/12/2010 and therefore inherited the poisoned chalice of foxes and was Minister until the 2014 Election when Jeremy Rockliff became Minister for DPIPWE that then re-inherited foxes.

  45. mike seabrook

    June 25, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Tassie will have a great future when there is recommencement of construction of the gordon-below-franklin hydro scheme and there is an end to special electricity pricing at est. 4c per kwh delivered to the aluminium smelter, zinc works et al.

    and let there be no repayment of the est. $500 million compensation paid by the feds when the dam was halted.

    in the meantime look closely at required return on investment before spending on fixtures in tassie which are sitting ducks for all sorts of fees and taxes

  46. Simon Warriner

    June 25, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    re 73, David, as I understand this issue, we are currently waiting for an “Integrity Commission” (as set up and overseen by the very same breed of politicians who are at least implicated in this rort) to produce it’s findings on the ins and outs of who did what and whose ethics are unsound. Anyone who expects those findings to hang the guilty out to dry in public has not been paying close enough attention to the nature of governance in Her Majesty’s Colonies over it’s rather disturbing history.

    It is now abundantly clear that if we really want to find out what lies at the bottom of this, and other similar public administration cess pits, we will need to get elected sufficient political representatives free of the taint of past party political excursions into said cess pits to force the issue in the lower house. Without that the cover up continues.

    In other, plainer words: Only placing independent political representation in the lower house of Tasmania’s parliament will ensure this fox farce, and other similar matters are fully and properly investigated. Without that, the truth stays buried, and we remain the poorer for it.

    You are correct about utopias turning into dystopias. History shows us that dystopias result in those imposed upon picking up far sharper weapons than lies, bullshit and spin and and turning them against the dishonest and corrupt, most often with rather nasty consequences for all. I would like to avoid nasty consequences for those being imposed upon. The dishonest and corrupt I could not care less about. Lets fix this by improving the quality of our politicians. Lets work on how we get more independent MHA’s elected.

  47. Jack Lumber

    June 25, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    re 74
    Polishes the bullshit,
    Drop the dumb conspiracies,
    Stop the rambling

  48. William Boeder

    June 25, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you Mr spikey, your poetry knows no equal in its subjective enchantments.

    Anybody out there know if there is such as an award for a State of Australia poet laureate?

  49. William Boeder

    June 25, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    as continued/

    All of this activity occurred preceding the Liberal government nad been elected into the infamy of leadership players in this nationally infamous Australian State?
    I’ll give you all a clue, his first name is David and his surname begins with an L.
    Thus I personally beieve each and all citizens must know of this person who I claim (has like the Legendary Phoenix had risen from the ashes of political defeat) I believe came back from being booted out of government, then …
    Yep, this man had the cunning of a mainland Fox that had been imported into this State. I wonder now if the State’s Public Assets had been sold for a far more realistic price, then there should have been no thought to try and to dud the Fedaral government to the extent of the monies allocate to rid Tasmania of its mythical Fox presence in this State of Tasmania.
    As is commonly the chosen method of today when ministers have been sprung dealing in dishonesty during one’s tenure as a government minister, there soon emerges the tactic of of creating all possible delay to fend off the truth of many past minister’s terms particularly those in the past State’s government Lib/Lab government in leadership.terms of State leadership.
    Incidentally this article could be used as a reference to the absence of integrity (the nowhere to be found honesty within this State’s Justice department, all that remains is the D of J in their complying with the wishes of the dishonest as mentioned above) must be construed as the abject failure of all former ministers of Justice that have served in this State for the past say 30 odd years ago.
    Surely somewhere there has to be a number of suspicious and disturbing events that this State’s Her Excellency the Governor, ould legally enter expectedly thereinto?


  50. William Boeder

    June 25, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    #66. Dr David Obendorf and a vigilant Tasmanian citizen of excellent repute, Mr Ian Rist, have between them in their possession an almost daily diary that will attest as hard evidence of recorded fact along with the recorded incontrovertible proof of same.
    Thierefore this evidence will be accepted as the “State Government of Tasmania programmed introduction of a State-wide Fox population the likes that could never be imagined, to be of such a mythical number of Foxes and they in their spread have yet to be seen and yet to be proven hordes of Foxes roaming free across the State of Tasmania.
    Further hard evidence will attest to the State-wide useless program of laying poisonous and toxic to the life of oue many and varies wildlife species spread regarding the huge volume of 1080 laced baits laid far and wide across our State, in a pointless but seriously taken bid to poison the spread of the mythical Fox infestation as claimed by the minister of the day who held the port folio of DPIPWE one Mr David Llewellyn MP. (or he maybe be better known as the Pastor of a Diocese within the confines of his residential district.)
    I have spent an entire hour searching the internet for all or any 2001-2002 State of Tasmania government ministerial appointment sites and who had which portfolio, then for any links thereto, even be it an obscure reference link to confirm the then minister of the DPIPWE during the above-referred to period, yet without any success whatsoever.
    (Methinks a special program hah since been undertaken to remove all reference and information to the responsible minister during that period stated in the above)
    The question is, why? Is it an attempt to remove historical records that are legally bound to be stored for the posterity and long term futures of this State?
    For those who doubt my internet searches, please feel free to try to find the same then if you would pass them on to the editor or even advise thriough this forum to tell me of your results?
    I have also found that Bryan (the giggler) Green has nos not faded into retirement, he was a former State Labor minister that was active during the period of Tasmania’s wildlife endangering hordes of Tasmanian Foxes who had held the port folio of DPIPWE during the period of his and the many other ministers who had united in their support to the unsupported claims relating to any actual Fox presence here in Tasmania.

    There were some lingering reports of that era that were were filled with forestry facts and forestry lies, State government and Public Service created truths and lies, but that just has to be expected in this curiously government unregulated State. Among those reports was one about the protection of threatened flora species tracts within this State that have since either been clearf-elled logged or lost to the vandalism of senselessly created government-minister-sanctioned-forestry zonal burn-offs.
    to be continued/


  51. David Obendorf

    June 25, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    As Jack J highlights, there should be a necessary separation between elected governance and day-to-day operation as it applies to responsive government bureaucracies. A great weakness in Tasmania’s public sector bureaucracies is the lack of direct accountability from its senior management. Neither the general public nor the portfolio Ministers have been able to make PS management directly accountable.

    The very thought that Tasmania’s bureaucracies might be self-serving oligarchs capable of systemic white-collar fraud is just too heretical a conspiracy theory to contemplate.

    That the alignment of executive power contected to ample supplies of taxpayer funds (money) might require the highest standards of integrity still has not dawned on The Apple Isle.

    Utopias can become Dystopias overnight. Lack of transparency, obfuscation, cover up and spin should not be the weapons to defence against a populace that knows … and has had enough.

  52. spikey

    June 25, 2017 at 4:08 am

    #68 I, I & I only covers a few asses.
    In what have been clearly very strategic successful attempts to rob our state and country, of more than just money and pride, if those things float your boat*. They’ve been used, but they are certainly not to blame. Blind Freddy told me so.

    For the benefit of a select few, strategic deliberate deception of the majority of good citizens, into hatin on scapegoats, bullying natives…hang on, i feel some prose coming on…

    whilst rank scurvy dogs
    flog priceless treasure
    out under feet
    scuttling state
    at taxpayers expense
    slash and sell
    poison and lie

    sun never shines
    out of greedy
    coal black
    pirate puppet eyes
    rolling in such fetid slop of lies
    the right direction
    is completely beyond them

    mastered by primitive territorial delusions
    that clearly outgrew their usefulness
    to any and all of humanity
    a very long time ago
    fairytales over my friends

    Ahoy there
    business as usual
    I’m talking to you
    yo ho ho
    what a joke

    *patriotism… yeah well, I love this planet and me species, and mostly everything else.
    When the rank disgusting crying shame stops, or at least looks like slowing down, and heading in the right direction, perhaps we can start building a proud state, nation and species.

    Or just keep lying about shit, and pretending it never happened/isn’t happening, till it all smacks bang headfirst, into the timeless fascista fan, again, maybe for keeps.

    Whateva floats ya boat

    #69 see above, happy to answer any questions

  53. Ian Rist

    June 25, 2017 at 12:20 am

    And a great pile of cash, taxpayers’ cash. A scam of a magnitude not ever seen before in Tasmania. The EPBC Act the NHT and cash from the partial sale of Telstra made it possible. All they had to do was claim two or more threatened species were at risk from foxes (what foxes?).
    All we needed was some ‘foxes’ and ‘fox evidence’ and the little piggies could dip their little trotters into this bottomless pit of taxpayers’ money.

  54. William Boeder

    June 24, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    #67. Spikey, the bit that I am having difficulty with over here in Rosebery is the fact that each of Tasmania’s Liberal party Vipers had been sworn in to represent the citizens of Tasmania, how about that it was sworn- in the presence of our State Governor.
    Her Excellency has every right to terminate the lot of ’em holus bolus and advertise interstate for a replacement set of “caring capable persons” to take over from this motley of Liberal party ministerial individuals.
    So if that is the kind of representation this Liberal party offers to the State’s citizens, the case for the intent to commit a fraud upon the citizens of our State, would win the decision hands down.
    (But only if the case were held in a mainland jurisdiction).
    What can you do with an incompetent minister for shaved heads and local government, then of a falsely smiling “minister for the eradication” of some extra 365,000 Hectares of Tasmania’s HCV Forests, also as well as somehow preventing a great loss to this State revenues, by the Tomfool practice of propping up of (the heavily burdening” out of this State business operation) of Ta Ann Berhad, then that same propping up by sacrificing these same HCV Forest products to State’s wood-chippers, best described as he being a radical one-eyed maniac.

    I must also incorporate among the dejected disrespected lack of integrity thereto neglected, that same claim to fame by the minister for the disgrace displayed by this State’s additional minister in his holding the portfolio`of Tasmania’s Health and Human Services.
    Then we’ve got another State minister that cares not a shit about the volume of fish shit filling the odd freshwater river, as well as any piles of fish shit, or layers of shit in our near-shore marine locations?
    To add to that how goes it with this State’s Premier, proud and all as he is with all of his media photographs and photo-shoots of himself mostly if not always wearing a high-vis vest and a crash helmet, who rarely but warily is so barely seen before darting out then zipping back into his “members of the public banned” high security underground bolt-hole?
    Give it your best, maybe even the zest of your enchanting poetry, thank you my old mate spikey?

  55. Jack J

    June 24, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Don’t worry Spikey, Tasmania is a democracy. That means you have a choice between those who oversaw the creation of the problem and the others who will do nothing about it.

    In reality the common problem in your examples is the failure of the state services. The two are intertwined in a way that few appreciate.

    Politicians on both sides of the house have no real intention to reform the quality of public sector administration. The way to do this would seemingly be easy – hold management accountable. But they have never done this.

    So, why don’t heads ever roll?

    Both sides of politics seek to balance the state books by slashing and cutting the guts out of public services, affecting its capacity to deliver. They use spin doctors to pretend they are making things more efficient, but everyone with half a brain knows what they are really doing.

    Over the long term there is an evisceration of capacity and demoralisation of a public sector culture.

    Getting to that tragic stage required the employment of people at the top who are prepared to do the dirty work of cutting, sacking, closing down, downsizing, flogging off public assets and helping the devil himself to gain access to the residual profit.

    So, think about what happens if you are a new minister. What exactly do you do if you inherit a department with inbred management and a deeply entrenched record of failure that has come about from the slash and burn policies that all governments have been champions of over 3 decades?

    Like Theresa May, when you have slashed the emergency services in prior budgets once people start to die in fires and attacks, what are you going to do?

    Could you ever tell the truth? i.e. come out and say ‘this department has been stuffed by cuts and needs a massive injection of funds.’ Nope. Political suicide!

    What happens if you did sack the management class for being idiots and not fighting you when you gutted services?

    Well, you better hope they never end up in front of the cameras. Political suicide once more.

    The reality soon sinks in. The risk is that you might have to get people in with a record of success and professional integrity to replace them.

    Good we might say. But the problem for the minister is this – anyone with integrity and a sense of public duty would immediately oppose the destruction of services and defend the role of the public sector as an INDEPENDENT institution. Which it is supposed to be. The minister is actually not in charge of the day to day running of the department, by law. Not many people seem to know that.

    That means that the skills and competences of the existing toads and weasels at senior management is your most valuable political asset. You can’t afford to take a risk on new blood. The willingness of inbred managers to cowtow, pull their forelock and allow you to believe that you are in charge is actually what you need as you begin to pretend that you are in charge. It takes a special type of obsequious person to fill this role, one who’s self interest is aligned with your self interest.

    They are hard to find and worth their weight in other people’s gold.

  56. Peter

    June 24, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Spikey: Ignorance, inadequacy and Incompetence.

  57. spikey

    June 24, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Tasmania’s fox hunt failed the common sense test on so many levels

    Tas manias Forestry Practices failed/fail the common sense test on so many levels

    Tas manias Salmon Farming Practices failed/fail the common sense test on so many levels

    Tas manias Basslink failed the common sense test on so many levels

    Tas manias Governance fails the common sense test on so many levels

    Pretty much every statement that comes out of our lying spindoctors mouthpieces mouths fails the common sense test on so many levels

    Why are they lying to us?
    Who are they protecting?
    WTF do they think they are doing?

  58. David Obendorf

    June 24, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Tasmania’s fox hunt failed the common sense test on so many levels but for some ineffable reason – perhaps out of fear to speak out or biased self-interest, many turned a blind-eye .. but a few did not.

    Sensational narratives backed up with uncorroborated sightings and the dead fox hoaxing in 2001 was serious enough. More seriously, that strategy continued and continued for well over a decade! 2006 onwards saw a new peak in media exaggeration, misrepresentation the f the narrative and ultimately a slide into what some refer to as ‘noble cause corruption’ – blatant evidence fabrication.

    My question is: how could that happen?

    A group of scientists systematically deconstructed and analysed this public policy through peer-reviewed, open-access publication and through our website …


    What is particularly disappointing was the unwillingness of the department’s fox program management to engage with the critics. I know an agency has lost the trust of Government when the current Ministers will not defend the indefensible.

    In my opinion, some departments in Tasmania’s public sector have lost their social licence to act as statutory bodies. And it’s now well and truly time to introduce some integrity and transparency into the governance of Tasmania’s public service. Thank you.

  59. Ian Rist

    June 23, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Really is it any wonder why this obfuscation, avoiding of responsibility, pass the parcel and ‘turning a blind eye’ to this blatant abuse of taxpayer funds has gone on for so long?
    It really is simple, from day one the Tasmanian NPWS, the DPIPWE and the involvement of other Government controlled agencies have been up to their ears in this deception.
    I hope the IC has a good long look at the Ministers and senior bureaucrats that were involved in and knew about this deception from day one, I certainly have named enough names.
    It is all there documented, even the Hansard of the Parliament shows blatant examples of Ministers misleading the Parliament.

    There is a great expectancy from just about every Tasmanian (most of whom who already know the fox truth ) for this dark stain on Tasmania’s credibility and reputation to be put out in the open for all to see.
    Otherwise Tasmania will be laughed at, scorned and even despised for this outrageous and poorly managed deception.
    Sure a few Ministers are trying to protect a few that they determine are ‘assets’ but it will eventually be at their own peril.

  60. Ian Rist

    June 23, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Page 19 todays The Mercury:


    Doesn’t make any impression, they are shameless.
    Obviously successive Ministers just don’t care, F*ck the peasants.
    We only need the plebs to vote for us and then it is business as usual.

  61. William Boeder

    June 23, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    I believe it vital that persons of the stamp and integrity of John Pilger be asked to expose the utter hypocrisy that allows a Federal Liberal party to participate in Australian democracy.

  62. David Obendorf

    June 23, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    There is an important article in The Conversation postedon-line by Professor Joan Leach from ANU – Science journalism is in Australia’s interest, but needs support to thrive.

    In my view it highlights the problem ‘scientific’ fox hunting in Tasmania experienced for over a decade.

  63. Simon Warriner

    June 23, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    re 60, and where the hell is the fox proof fence around the Toll wharf at Burnie port, which is the only proven point of entry?

    I call bullshit, based on that single issue alone.

    Meanwhile we have wallaby plague that is sending farmers insane, and very probably doing our wombat population no good either.

    It would be nice to be able to trust and believe our public servants, but my experience is that we cannot. Unfortunately, neither can we trust or believe those we collectively elect to direct the public servants.

    Something needs to change.

  64. David Obendorf

    June 23, 2017 at 2:55 am

    When DPIPWE applied for an extension to its fox program funding in 2013 [Stage 3], this is how the project was described.

    [i]“The Fox Eradication Program is a long term joint Australian & Tasmanian Government commitment to complete the [b]largest invasive animal eradication program ever attempted.[/b]”[/i]

    The fox hunt had been going for 12 years when this application through Caring for Country was made to the Australian Government.

    DPIPWE had not detected any area of occupancy by of a fox or fox population in all that time.

    From November 2013 $1,996,000 of Commonwealth funds were given to DPIPWE over the next four years. Following a commitment given prior to the March 2014 State Election, the incoming Liberal Government disbanded the fox program and told voters this would save the program the State’s consolidated revenue $1.5 million p.a. At the same time DPIPWE received $500,000 p.a from the Commonwealth for the next four years to follow up on public sighting reports and to safeguard the borders from new [fox] incursion introductions.

    So, how could the State formally disband the fox program in 2014 and still accept Commonwealth money ear-marked for the Tasmanian fox program right up to June this year?

  65. Penelope Marshall

    June 22, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    #57 On the advice of Sir Humphrey Appleby:
    “It is axiomatic in government that hornets’ nests should be left unstirred, cans of worms should remain unopened, and cats should be left firmly in bags and not set among the pigeons. Ministers should also leave boats unrocked, nettles ungrasped, refrain from taking bulls by the horns, and resolutely turn their backs to the music.”
    “Almost anything can be attacked as a failure, but almost anything can be defended as not a significant failure.”
    “If people don’t know what you’re doing, they don’t know what you’re doing wrong.”

    To add to that : “Civil servants should not discuss moral issues with politicians, it is a serious misuse of Government time.”

  66. Ian Rist

    June 21, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    o’brien # 56.
    But he was moved to State Growth for protection to avoid the spotlight shining brightly on DPIPWE ? ? ?

  67. Jack J

    June 21, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    “…nor has the Deparment formed any conclusions about any or all of the foxes known (and unknown) to be present got here. …. Any number of other introductions which were carried out at any point over the past 100+ years about which we know nothing.”

    That’s got to win the Weasel Words Gold Logie of the decade. It’s worth reading a few times and pondering – what on earth is this supposed to mean?

    It’s classic Sir Humphrey waffle that could have only come from the mind of someone who’s spent a lifetime avoiding a straight answer.

    In this piece of brilliance is encapsulated everything that is wrong with the public sector. That a minister has signed it is akin to them fixing their signature to a polished turd to be delivered to a member of the public. The old ‘turd in the lunchbox’ is always a good way to show how much you respect the people whom you represent.

    Any Minister worth their salt would have refused to sign such a contemptuous piece of rubbish and gone after the scalp of the author. Not in Tasmania.

    One wonders if the writer was put up for a State Services award for best practice bullshit?

    Can we look forward to more Weasel Words of this standard?

    I wonder if the people who write this sort of rubbish have any concept of how it erodes trust and their own standing in the community?

  68. O'Brien

    June 21, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    “Today’s Pig is Tomorrow’s Bacon.” (F.X. Leach, 1979)

    DPIPWE (HR) claim employee wellbeing is key priority, bollocks. Any Minister worth their salt would expedite the clearing up of this matter within one week. We have two Ministers for DPIPWE, Messrs Groom & Rockliff. Very difficult to determine who is responsible for what at DPIPWE. The dollar stops with the Minister. Whomever that is…

    The decent, honest, hard-working, conscientious, ethical uniformed officers of Wildlife Management/Law enforcement in Tasmania deserve better. Most of these men are dedicated beyond measure to the conservation of wildlife in the tassie. For years they have been maligned, set up, used, lied to and betrayed. Betrayed by a very few identifiable elements within the management cadre, HR, networks of old school ties & bent ex-cops, greed-head tax suckers, Queensland connections, poison pedlars, half baked unqualified pseudo scientists, otherwise unemployable relatives and a collection of filthy rich pompous egoists or “elected representatives” as they are sometimes referred to.

    The time has arrived Minister. Perform your duty, put a stop to this insane agenda now. For tassie’s sake Minister find your balls and do your job. If not for tassie’s remnant wildlife do it for the conscientious officers who have suffered so much, for so long. Stop this now. Pick up the phone, call State Growth & have a weasel frog marched down Murray Street. Perhaps a line of hedge beaters will help flush the weasel out if he’s cowering under a desk, urinating himself.

  69. David Obendorf

    June 21, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Mike (comment #38) for the record David O’Byrne was Minister responsible for the fox program for less than 6 months after the State 2010 election. A ministerial reshuffle saw another Minister for foxes installed – Brian Whiteman – up until March 2014.

    As Minister, David O’Bryne signed a letter dated September 2010 which significantly undermined David Llewellyn’s justification for the asking for Commonwealth funding. He wrote:

    ‘With regard to your comments about the police inquiry into the specific issue of particular named persons allegedly having brought foxes into the State; [b]that particular line of inquiry has not been used as the basis of my Deparment’s brief that foxes are present in Tasmania[/b], nor has the Deparment formed any conclusions about any or all of the foxes known (and unknown) to be present got here. …. Any number of other introductions which were carried out at any point over the past 100+ years about which we know nothing.’

    So what was DPIPWE chasing for over a decade? In 2015 Minister Jeremy Rockliff referred to them in Parliament as ‘imaginary foxes’.

  70. spikey

    June 21, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    #49 sorry william,

    I was just reminding the powers that be
    of a potential unwarranted distraction
    from business as usual.

    I mean she did try and buy woolnorth, but obviously other customers have a higher priority

    Still, surely this is all the bloody greens fault and a Royal Commission into the attempted purchase would be standard operating procedure given it was all obviously a green/lab/jan cameron plot to lock up our farmland

  71. Ian Rist

    June 21, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Correct mike @51
    Bryan Green rang me a week before the Labor merger with The Greens in 2010..
    I was in the garage one morning in late 2010 and my mobile rang “Bryan here, want to have a chat about where the fox situation is at”
    “I shouldn’t tell you this but we are gonna jump into bed with The Greens to form Government and it looks like I will be the new DPIPWE Minister”
    I laughed out loud and said “well Bryan you will be the new Minister for foxes”
    Bryan said “no way, I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole”.
    I am gonna give it to the new bloke O’Byrne he is still wet behind the ears”
    Later in 2014 Michelle O’Byrne came door knocking just before the 2014 election and we had a long chat about that, apparently Ms O’Byrne rolled over and Bryan was forgiven.
    My book is coming along very well. I can’t wait for the June 30th IC report so we can finish it.

  72. O'Brien

    June 21, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Tassie’s Integrity Commission is due to submit findings to whomever in government is dumb enough, brave enough or coerced into accepting the 1080 chalice. Apparently DPIPWE have had their own uniquely DPIPWE ‘investigation’ underway for nineteen years, it remains in the planning/consultation phase. DPIPWE should report back some time when a thick layer of ice sets over Hades. Perhaps the fox sniffer dogs will eat it? We know just about every ALP/PLP member was approached with serious allegations and concerns whilst in shared government with Greens. We know Brian Green convinced others he was convinced everything was ship shape and above board. We know DPIPWE management, HR and Minister Whitman had concerns brought to their attention, failing in their duty. We know DPIPWE management in collusion with bent cops manipulated evidence, ‘verballed’ and attempted to silence, threaten and intimidate whistle blowing public servants reporting threats of assault. We know ALP Commonwealth Senator failed to act and contributed to police intimidation. We know threats have been made. We expect total vilification of some middle or lowly ‘Field Officer’ grade ex-employee who has been set up for a fall. We expect the perpetrators, poisoners, retired liars, cowards and beneficiaries will continue ripping off the taxpayer. We expect no action from politicians, police, public servants or media. We expect foxes will appear north-north-west of Hobart on cue shortly. Further funding requests for carpet 1080 baiting of the entire landmass of Tasmania and offshore islands, followed by complete incineration as per worlds best practice will be submitted to the Commonwealth. Business as usual in tassie. Or maybe not…

  73. mike seabrook

    June 21, 2017 at 5:22 am


    david o’byrne was once a minister for foxes – when bryan green offloaded it to the then newbie

    and comments or apologies to the tassie electorate

  74. Claire Gilmour

    June 21, 2017 at 12:31 am

    The really scary thing is, so many know the truth and are either too scared to come out of the closet or paid to hide it. Tassie is a small place … many know or are related to or friendly with … what could be termed the ‘terminal corruption standards in Tasmania’ ! TCST – it’s a government sponsored disease … dancing to the tune …


    link the corruption through the drugs, some police, foxes, politics … have people died/been killed … !??? for knowing/being linked to too much? …

  75. William Boeder

    June 21, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Excusee Mr spikey, would it not be better to launch one of these deeply penetrating Inquiry things into the panoply of the monopoly of a certain horse fancying fiend with his dwelling in the State of NSW, yet retaining his quite extensive fingers in many of the Tasmanian State pies”
    I believe he is known to his friends as Mr Pokey Casino formerly of Tasmania.
    I was told recently, (yep, by an old piss-tank but at somewhere else’s local pub) that Mr Pokey Casino was caught boasting about his latest hobby, yep, of purchasing an entire State governments for monies referred to as “chicken-feed.”
    Oh, now I get it Mr Spikey, is this where Ms Jan Cameron enters your comment at #48?
    I would have though this woman of substantial means and equally so her business acumen, would shy away from and have little to do with such a useless bauble as an entire State government, surely this would be something an astute business lady would consider as a quite useless purchase.
    By the by Mr spikey, what does one do with a purchased entire State government, what would you feed it with to keep it in good order to make it function properly as if by some form of regulated constitution?

    I’ve an idea the former owner of this auctioned off and so cheaply purchased State government was more than happy to be rid of its poorly performing beast, maybe it was off its feed?

    Do please keep me informed old mate if this plodding tending to obesity Beast, happens to change hands again?
    Oh yes,Another old piss-tank from a suburban pub down Hobart way said it once belonged to a bloke from Sarawacky, do you have any info if this is correct or not?
    Best regards from your mate down Rosebery way.

  76. spikey

    June 20, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    i expect nothing less than another royal commission into jan cameron, that should sort things out

  77. Simon Warriner

    June 20, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    If we choose to look at the fox farce as a symptom, rather than as a disease unto itself, then this article :


    holds some interesting insights as to the nature of the disease and the prognosis. I suggest the references to Trump be ignored and the underlying thesis be focused on, especially for those easily distracted.
    Ultimately the edifice/artifice will all collapse. The variable we control is how much pain that collapse will cause.

  78. Jack J

    June 20, 2017 at 5:01 pm


    I guess we will see. After being on the forefront of post truth cryptozoology, best practice media propaganda and enough hubris to choke a fat real estate agent we await the Tasmanian government’s next move.

    Nothing will surprise me. It might be that there was ‘no problem at all’ OR that ‘we have all learned a lot from the experience and will do better next time, so let’s all move on…’.

    Whatever it is I will wager that it will come in a media statement jam-packed with Weasel-Words. I doubt that the terms ‘reform’, ‘new approach, ‘sorry’ or ‘we let the public down’ will feature. But without that sort of language the opportunity is missed to draw a line under the mess and begin to re-build trust.

    And that’s the problem with chronically sick cultures, they’re a little like alcoholics and the drug addicted who’s daily means of addressing their lament is the very cause of the illness they suffer.

    So Dr Obendorf we will soon see whether the Tasmanian polity has had the guts to book themselves in for a bit of rehab or not.

  79. David Obendorf

    June 20, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Let’s wait to see whether Tasmania and its polity is now up for fundamental reform of its stuck systems of governance and decision- making.

    In my opinion, it will take leadership and a strengthened Integrity Commission to bring this about. Foolishness and underdone escapades are one thing, systemic corruption within the processes of governance & public policy are quite another.

    Adter the decade of anguish from the failed Gunns Pulp mill … surely the case for reform is now solid.

  80. Peter Bright

    June 20, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    David Obendorf at #39 writes [i] ” .. maybe (Tasmania) needs an apolitical public interest advocacy network that can research such controversial and self-serving public policies.”[/i]

    It appears to me that the nearest facility Tasmania has to what David suggests is what we are looking at now .. the knowledge reservoir contributed freely by some Tasmanian Times readers to these increasingly valuable columns.

    I’ve often wondered how the state of Tasmania could benefit from this.

    It’s become abundantly clear that many subjects and problems are way too much for our ignorant, unlearned and politically biased politicians who, if they were in the general workforce, would have been sacked in their first week.

  81. RT and Poppy

    June 20, 2017 at 12:37 am

    [#37,#39]. Spikey, maybe another addition to the list of scientific best practice and proof Tasmanian jokes – the planned relocation of the existing well-located functioning Launceston Utas campus to a tidal flat with sewerage and drainage problems. Like the fox joke, even the Tasmanian Greens have been fooled by this one as well. Blind Freddy knows the joke still is that if you want to keep your uni. job, stick to tasinc line. Look what happened to Dr Mike Powell, (see his article in Tas Times …

    http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/Nikolic-complaint-UTAS-refuses-to-renew-employme/ (list of Michael Powell articles)

    when he didn’t stick to the line. He lost his uni job for calling them out on their ‘evidence’.

  82. spikey

    June 20, 2017 at 12:07 am

    I didn’t volunteer my time to look for fox poo based on lies.

    I based it on trust in my government.

    The same trustworthy peeps, who decided poisoning threatened wildlife, was option numero uno, despite many many people expressing concern.

  83. O'Brien

    June 19, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    “The blacklist was a time of evil…no one on either side who survived it came through untouched by evil…[Looking] back on this time…it will do no good to search for villains or heroes or saints or devils because there were none; there were only victims.” (Dalton Trumbo)

    Are there foxes here? That question is an entirely separate issue and has little to do with the history of DPIPWE fox programme.

    There may well be foxes here. The greatest threat to tassie’s wildlife is the probable appearance of foxes. There are too many agendas that would be served by the appearance of foxes. Most likely somewhere convenient like the outskirts of Hobart, perhaps up Norfolk way. Why not? These mongrels have shown themselves capable of just about anything. Why not introducing foxes? Everything would be forgiven then, and the critics? Well that would shut them up for good. Wouldn’t it? Business as usual in Tassie. Foxes, 1080, Forestry the result’s the same, Commonwealth dollars flow and lost wildlife is acceptable collateral damage.

  84. O'Brien

    June 19, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Was it 800 000 kg of brodifacoum pellet poison, shipped to MacQuarie Island circa 2010/11, found to be contaminated with the toughest NZ red mite ever? A red mite that could live amongst brodifacoum pellets. What measures were taken when the two Kiwi wildlife poisoning ‘experts’ working out of NPWS Tolosa street Glenorchy were informed? What action did the then DPIPWE Secretary take?

  85. David Obendorf

    June 19, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Dr Bleaney [#36], the Tasmanian fox program have smitten so many organisations – even the [b]Tasmanian Greens[/b] were fooled by the joke … or at least decided they wouldn’t make the effort to understand why a team of independent scientists considered the program was unsound.

    Yeap, back to our elected tribes of politicians and the breakdown in public trust, I’m afraid!

    If Tasmania doesn’t want to repeat such deceptions maybe it needs an apolitical [i]public interest advocacy network[/i] that can research such controversial and self-serving public policies. Imagine if that happened? In your dreams, Dave.

  86. Ian Rist

    June 19, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    The simple solution is to be rid of the relevant Ministers at the next election.
    If they can’t manage their portfolios that we the people entrust them with to represent us we will simply remove them.
    We have done it before and will do it again.
    Their arrogance will be their downfall.

  87. spikey

    June 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Blind freddy could see that science has been besmirched for a long time. The ‘joke’ at uni, and CSIRO, 20 years ago, being that if you wanted to keep your job, you towed the tasinc line.

    That never was and can never be science.
    Its called industry driven propaganda.

    Hence the highly scientific worlds best practice of clearfell and burn, fertile ash beds and mixed forest. Why GMO Eucalypts and nitens were scientifically essential for our industry and economy. The highly scientific proof of salmon farming sustainability. The highly scientific proof that a supertrawler will have no effect on marine ecosystems. The current high profile science behind foxes in tasmania.

    The list, goes on and on. As does ‘the joke’.
    Easy enough to work out who’s having a laugh.

  88. Alison Bleaney

    June 19, 2017 at 10:42 am

    #31 and 34…. that sums up the approach of the senior echelons of Taz Gunnerment and the medjia very nicely whether it’s the Fox ‘joke’ or any other ‘conspiracy theory’ that had to be ‘dealt with’. Thank you for detailing this approach so well!

  89. O'Brien

    June 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Follow the money, Department of State Growth, State of Queensland, DPIPWE (HR), NPWS, Prospect, bent cops. F.O.D. best present himself to Integrity Commission & come clean that way he can dump on Green, he has no alternative unless he’s happy to take the rap? Watch him roll over, solidarity comrade. Remember Integrity Commission is due to report to whomever is handed the 1080 chalice by the end of this month, that’s less than two weeks. Watch as the election is called. All roads lead to State Growth.

  90. David Obendorf

    June 19, 2017 at 4:34 am

    Jack J [comment #32] – you are picking the scab off a very large festering boil, sir!

    This is a politico-social debate Tasmania needs to have – i.e. understanding how the local media interests became so appeasing and willing to accept the fox hunting story-line for so long.

    Here are a few suggestions for expansion by others:

    1. The fox hunt was seen as wondrously sensational, news-worthy, always topical and it sold newspapers! [Had all the hallmarks of a 21st Century thylacine hunt.]

    2. The government reciprocated for the fox-propaganda coverage by purchasing advertising space. [Everyone wins a prize!]

    3. Between 1998 and 2014 Tasmania had 16 years of Labor State Government where under the Bacon-Lennon premierships one of the larger arms of that Labor Government was the Media Liaison Unit in DPAC with embedded journalists in the state departments. The three local papers could afford to pay pittances to junior reporters to take govt media releases on a daily basis and print them verbatim especially since most of the moguls running the Media Liaison Unit were head-hunted senior journalists and editors from the local media outlet. [Very cosy and winners are grinners!]

    4. Of course boat-rockers labelled as ‘conspiracy theorists’ don’t get very far in Tasmania – whether it be in the public service, business, local government, or the media. Even environment groups (like the Tasmanian Conservation Trust and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy – organisations that I used to support) turned a blind eye to this issue and in the case of the TCT took 30 pieces of government silver and backed the fox nonsense. [But what the heck everyone was getting something out of ‘the joke’, why not the environmentalists too?]

    I’m guessing a loss of patronage and/or money can make simpering apologists out of the lot of us!

    Of course Jack J is correct. When all’s said and done protecting Tasmanian sacred citadel against pesky infidels (co-ordinated by a non-Tasmanian scientist) wanting to besmirch the standing of public science is what it will finally come down to. [Thank goodness Tasmania’s erstwhile “Minister for everything” and naked Emperor from St Helens has finally hung up his fig leaf!]

  91. Ian Rist

    June 19, 2017 at 12:55 am

    Brilliant, just brilliant Jack J # 31.

    About as good as it gets and as close to the truth as it gets.

    You can bet your bottom dollar that right about now some spin doctor and ex-editor is meeting with the Tasmanian guild of editors down at a pub. The story goes something like this:

    “It seems that some of our lowly minions did a few things wrong, but it is a very sensitive issue and we need to ensure that Tasmanian institutions are not brought into disrepute. We just can’t afford to poo in the water tank of Commonwealth funding or we will all die of thirst. Mind you, no one could have ever anticipated that this would have happened. So we won’t say a word about the media being taken for a ride and all the crap of ours that you published if you don’t go after the heads of those responsible for the mess. I mean, we don’t want to turn a fox hunt into a witch hunt do we? It can’t be a Witch hunt because that’s almost as bad as a ‘Conspiracy Theory’ – we don’t believe in them. And, of course, there are privacy issues and legal issues and issues of confidentiality and what goes on here can’t be discussed – ok? It’s ‘off the record’ ok? You see, we have all been victims – one and all. We have to learn and move forward as team players and look for someone else to blame.”

  92. William Boeder

    June 18, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    There are quite a number of excellent and deeply informative comments published in this renewed Fox Subject matter.
    Yet not a pip or a squeak of comment from the public officials in Tasmania have been introduced by the woefully silent inadequate heads of department nor by their port folio minister selves from this very Fox beginning up until now.
    The big question has to be why?
    We have no fifth ammendment as do the American practitioners of deception that can be quoted or something similar that could be available to Australia’s worst ever then and ……….(even now still lunging about in an exaggerated geriatrician egotistical prance when seen entering the Federal Liberal party secret back office war-room carrying his highly exaggerated (inclusive of a few bull-scat) credentials packed into a taxpayer funded imported leather brief-case.)

    Moving on, this Prime Minister was summoned to attend a court of Inquiry into the Australian Wheat Board scandal involving Iraq during the time that this worst ever Prime Minister in Australia’s history (as will be confirmed in the link below) so then arrived 2 Cock-sparrows as had been compelled to attend the above Inquiry, both J W Howard and his accomplice Alexander Downer in their quivering feathers.
    It is here below in this link some 20 short paragraphs preceding “the valid references that will then be found” that I refer to and have provided. (This same paragraph also incorporates a commendable reference to Tasmania’s Honourable Andrew Wilkie MP.)

    Please understand that the above material is relevant to the fallacious Fox foibles here in Tasmania as it does explain the silence of the officaldom in Tasmania relating to Tasmania’s recently enumerable thriving dens of Foxes. (Even after the bombing of this State with 1080 are yet to be proven found even in a corpse-like state of decomposition.)
    (The DPIPWE are apparently following the trend of “I do not recall” in very much of the same fashion as did “J W Howard feature in this link, lying about Australia’s involvement in Iraq) provided to establish the bona fides of my claims in this comment.)
    Perhaps some covert in-house memo has since been printed and then hand circulated throughout each and every Lib/Lab State government office bearing the warning all and every employee not to comment toward this Fox in Tasmania snarling imbroglio, or they shall be found guilty then noosed and hung at noon the following day to ensure “hush not a word be spoken” with any possible connection to the mythology of Foxes dwelling in Tasmania.
    This now even more controversial Fox faxed and photo-copied scam alleged against Tasmania’s prior and present Lib/Lab State government goonery, may have been temporarily, halted yet will never ever disappear.

  93. Jack J

    June 18, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    #30 Dr Obendorf

    My issue is not with journalists – but editors. We have been very lucky to have a few brave journalists who, despite the odds, know their job. But what’s unmistakable is that the Tasmanian media threw their weight in behind the Fox Farce as an editorial policy right at the start – yes or no?

    Where was the critical analysis when it was needed the most?

    Just as the almost cliched ‘weapons of mass destruction’ example shows us, when this happens on any level no good will come from it – ever. Because when the media becomes the mouthpiece for government, it merges with government interests which are not always in the public interest – yes or no?

    If the media has cowardly editors then journalists are left exposed and the public betrayed – let’s not feel the need to jazz it up as anything less.

    When a government feels that it is the proper thing to do to undermine the independence of journalists by attacking them from the citadel, they are undermining free speech, critical review and democratic principles – yes or no?

    The Tasmanian government has a long tradition of taming editors and being the bully if someone writes something they don’t like. Just ask any journalist in Tasmania who has gone against the tide.

    So, précisément. State employees write letters to newspapers and astroturf websites while the public sector plays carrot and stick with the media and hands out red cards to journalists they don’t like. Favours are played and black sheep created. Because how would they be able to sell their real estate adds other than by towing the line?

    Long ago people stopped buying newspapers with the anticipation that they would contain investigative journalism. But they would start buying them again if those institutions began to protect the public interest rather than their own assumed interests.

    You can bet your bottom dollar that right about now some spin doctor and ex-editor is meeting with the Tasmanian guild of editors down at a pab. The story goes something like this:

    “It seems that some of our lowly minions did a few things wrong, but it is a very sensitive issue and we need to ensure that Tasmanian institutions are not brought into disrepute. We just can’t afford to poo in the water tank of Commonwealth funding or we will all die of thirst. Mind you, no one could have ever anticipated that this would have happened. So we won’t say a word about the media being taken for a ride and all the crap of ours that you published if you don’t go after the heads of those responsible for the mess. I mean, we don’t want to turn a fox hunt into a witch hunt do we? It can’t be a Witch hunt because that’s almost as bad as a ‘Conspiracy Theory’ – we don’t believe in them. And, of course, there are privacy issues and legal issues and issues of confidentiality and what goes on here can’t be discussed – ok? It’s ‘off the record’ ok? You see, we have all been victims – one and all. We have to learn and move forward as team players and look for someone else to blame.”

  94. David Obendorf

    June 18, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Jack [comment #26] I don’t disagree with you: “The Tasmanian media have given the people a page 1 brown eye.”

    But please don’t cast down all journalists who have to work in Tasmania’s media realm.

    Through this protracted saga there have been some journalists that understood the juicy irony and opportunism of a decade of fox-less fox hunting in Tasmania on the public purse. I want to particularly name a few mainstream journalists and reporters that kept faith with their readership and the professionalism of journalism: Helen Kempton, Bruce Mounster, Chris Clarke, Alex Blucher and Patrick Billings. They researched, they investigated, they sought other opinion and some of them put up with some nasty bullying. A big thank you from me.

    The pressures within their respective media organisations – particularly from local editors – would have been intense. We know that the FEP and DPIPWE employed dedicated media liaison staff to directly deal with local newspaper and electronic media sources such as the ABC on the fox program issues.

    Within DPIPWE one employee (not senior fox program or biosecurity management) was given the opportunity to write letters to the editor and to speak on talk back radio promoting or defending this publicly-funded program; that history is now ‘on the record’. Excuse me, but where were the media statements from senior managers and the Ministers responsible for this multi-million dollar program?

  95. David Obendorf

    June 18, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Ockham’s razor – “the law of parsimony” is a problem-solving principle attributed to [b]William of Ockham [/b](c. 1287–1347). An empirical law of science-method that is over 700 years old.

    In the first instance if there are competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.’

    Another way of saying this is, if you already have a satisfactory explanation for an observed phenomenon there is no point in adding extra theories and complexity.

    Question: So, why didn’t the scientific oversight within the Tasmanian fox program apply Ockham’s razor? In 1998? In 2001? In 2003? In 2006? In 2007? In 2009? In 2011? And in 2013 (when foxes were stated to be [i]now widespread in Tasmania[/i])? … Why?

  96. Ian Rist

    June 18, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    From my records
    Oliver Berry University of WA.


    Just for the humour of it all. The mouth from the South.


  97. David Obendorf

    June 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    RE: #23 John, when police investigate an unexplained death, authorised officers make every effort to act promptly, to look into the circumstances of the death and all recent association the deceased may have had with other persons. All information of relevance about the incident is collected, assessed and used to inform further investigations, as required. Such a methodical approach is what we as citizens expect.

    Former FEP officer, Mr Shane Malcolm has commented previously on Tasmanian Times about his immediate involvement in this incident at Lillico.

    As of 2013, the physical evidence from this incident at Lillico has not been archived in the Fox Program’s collection at the Queen Victoria Museum; I am told it is kept at the Tasmanian Museum & Art Galley in Hobart.

    As I pointed out in the article above, ordinary citizens place great [i]trust[/i] and confidence in the conduct of public servants who are authorised under statute. Proper conduct by trained and unbiased persons are central to investigations such as this i.e. the sudden discovery of a juvenile dead fox beside a Tasmanian road.

    John, this dead fox incident at Lillico was added to the FEPs official listing of ‘hard evidence’ collectables … but to this day it is unsupported by any other field collected evidence. I am not referring to circumstantial information offered up and sourced from anonymous sources, but through proper sampling from field investigations; following up on possible links to persons or places derived from intelligence gathering and the collection of diagnostic and forensic samples by appropriately trained persons.

    On face-value this dead fox discovery in early 2006, if proven, was destined to have profound implications; the presumption was obvious to many.

    As a consequence there was a very high ‘duty of care’ on DPIPWE to rule out hoaxing i.e. planting of transportable physical evidence. Common sense really.

    The ‘onus of proof’ has always been with DPIPWE as the biosecurity agency (with statutory powers) to demonstrate that it operates with due diligence in relation to an unexplained dead fox discovery in Tasmania (Tasmania’s claimed fox freedom).

    You can read our 2014 scientific analysis of all the fox incidents in Tasmania that were associated with physical evidence; you can download it as a pdf from the http://www.tasmanianfox.com website. Thank you.

  98. Jack

    June 18, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Simon

    “It is fixable, and without resort to rope and pitchforks, but it will take the voting public getting wise to the game and giving party politics the big heave in favor of candidates who place their duty to constituents ahead of all other interests.”

    I pretty much agree, but what stands in the way is the current media status quo. For more reasons of self-interest and ‘don’t rock the boat ism’ the Tassie media threw public interest overboard years ago. It’s hard to mobilise voters and galvanise them on issues that are only supposed to be played to the jig of party politics and polarisation.

    Polarising the public with sensationalism is easy and sells advertising space. That’s how the Fox Farce began. It’s a bit harder to focus on issues of good governance because it requires boring stuff like integrity and the cozy clubs to be smashed.

    These are the same cozy clubs involved with the ‘Game of Mates’ that feed the beast sucking the life out of Australia (and Tassie in particular). The media is a tool for selling real estate and preventing change that keeps the ‘Game of Mates’ financial. Editors and journos have a nice revolving door from media to politics. No one wishes to blot their copy book as jobs for real journalists have been replaced by people who post funny cat videos and click bait.

    Sadly, people love funny cat videos far more than good journalism. And good journalism is no longer about exposing crooks in plain sight. It’s about protecting them. Russ Hinze moved south as the media are tame.

    But in a state held to ransom by the gambling industry and other cancerous growths diverting the life blood of our youth to feed its own sickness, one has to ask ‘why has the media allowed this to go on almost without a whimper?’

    The answer is obvious.

    The ultimate betrayal has come from the media because they feed at the same trough as the other porkers. Because it takes an act of omission and a blind eye by the 4th Estate to let the swill flow. And like Nelson holding his telescope to his anus and ignoring his duty, there is smug glee in such contempt. The Tasmanian media have given the people a page 1 brown eye.

    So I wouldn’t right off pitchforks and rope just yet. It seems to me that if the people woke up they’d be down at Bunnings quick smart and then off to The Mercury building as their first port of call. Because it’s time that the editors started to support independents – or else. Not to do so means that the major parties will never reform themselves. Ultimately the media in Tasmania will wake up and find their public duty once more- or die in the long, slow bonfire of change that will be much more painful than it ever needed to be. It will consume them as well, and they know it. They can taste it.

  99. Ian Rist

    June 18, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    It must be a terrible thing for the ‘true believers’ to have to finally accept and admit they were had-big time.

    My original observation still stands……. “either there were no foxes here or the people given the job of eradicating them were painfully incompetent”.

    It has to be one or the other.

  100. John Coombes

    June 18, 2017 at 5:25 am

    #20 i’ll listen to any expert spikey
    what’s your point?

  101. John Coombes

    June 18, 2017 at 5:19 am

    #19 “…there was no statute in place until late 2009 to make it an offense for anyone to bring fox body parts in Tasmania. How absurd was that?”
    Extremely absurd but regrettably par for the Tasmanian course.

    David, I did read about the testimony you mention concerning an unidentified rabbit shooter. It does fit with the fact that the fresh carcass at Lillico was unmarked apart from a small wound on the side of its head which reminded me later of a rabbit I once saw shot at point blank range with a .22. And in subsequent seasons, some evenings it has sounded like cracker night on the ground across from the beach. But I did wonder how hard would it be to hit the head of a roaming fox at night-time.

    It’s good to see people recognising that the creature was a fox. 10 years ago there was a lot of reluctance around.

  102. JACK WEST

    June 18, 2017 at 4:26 am

    I wonder whether TT and the past and present Tasmanian Macquarie Island researchers could and would comment on the “Rabbit and Rodent eradication project?

    How much did the eradication project eventually cost? Who was ultimately in charge or responsible for the Macquarie Island eradication project? Is it the same DPIPWE staff for the Fox Eradication Program. Was there a case of double dipping by DPIPWE? Why is there so little known or reported about it? Did the project end up using New Zealand contractors to aerial bomb Macquarrie island with 1080 pellets as they are doing it in parts of New Zealand. Were the rabbit “sniffer” dogs the same dogs and handlers as the fox poop sniffer dogs, trained and purchased from Victoria?

    Since the investigation into the Tasmanian Fox Saga reported again in this article “FOXES: Tasmania’s fantastic joke” (Obendorf) did not want to, or had not concluded in finding misappropriation of tax-payers money (corruption?), could the Macquarie Island Rabbit and Rodent eradication project perhaps help to bring more light and new information on the DPIPWE modus operandi?

    More than ever before: we now need insider whistle-blowers to come forward ….. please!

  103. Ian Rist

    June 18, 2017 at 12:35 am

    Re # 16
    Rasberry you say in your comment.
    “You seem to be admitting that the cub might have been born in Tasmania”.
    I am not admitting any such thing…listen very carefully I will say this only once ‘Allo, ‘Allo.
    “They had DNA process from Oliver Berry at the University of WA”. “Oliver Berry DNA mapped foxes from all over Australia from samples he received from a National advertisement in the SSAA”.
    Oliver Berry DNA tests could tell exactly what area the cub came from…to quote X FFTF Manager Chris Emms “we can just about tell which paddock in Australia the fox came from”.

  104. spikey

    June 17, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    totally still raspberry
    you still listen to FFTF/FEP experts?

  105. David Obendorf

    June 17, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    John [comment #12] as Jack J has highlighted the absence of common sense was a recurring theme in the program’s governance. Not only was dead fox evidence readily available from the mainland, there was no statute in place until late 2009 to make it an offense for anyone to bring fox body parts in Tasmania. How absurd was that?

    As early as 2003 Mr Rist personally showed the then Minister for foxes [Bryan Green] and a DPIPWE Biosecurity manager [Alex Schaap] that dead foxes could be brought into Tasmania within days of being killed and that no statute prevented it.

    Re: Lillico. A Tasmanian provenance for the Lillico fox cub was never proven, John. Was that a missed opportunity or just another dead fox hoax? A PWS wildlife biologist presented testimony before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee inquiry into the fox program in May 2009 claiming the fox cub was shot by an unidentified ‘rabbit shooter’ who had seen 2 young foxes somewhere assumed to be local to the Lillico area; shot and killed one cub and put it on the roadside at Lillico so that it could be found. The officer re-stated it in an interview with Simon De Little in 2011.

  106. Simon Warriner

    June 17, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    re #6, you need to add the fire service to that list John.

    re #15
    Jack Jolly asks an excellent question. It lies at the heart of our political woes.

    “Most of all you have to really wonder why the Tasmanian government has to be force-fed common sense with a funnel and a tube.”

    I have an answer, Jack. The people we mostly elect as politicians are people who have a gigantic blind spot where conflict of interest is concerned. They first conflict their duty to their constituents with their allegiance to their party, then they conflict the job we pay them to do with their desire to progress within their parties hierarchy. Then they conflict the public good with the party desire to raise funds from every opportunistic scam artist who sees an easy way to make a quid by getting greedy politicians to tilt the table their way. That goes a very long way to explaining their obvious inability to tell the difference between excrement and food stores of the native bees.

    It is fixable, and without resort to rope and pitchforks, but it will take the voting public getting wise to the game and giving party politics the big heave in favor of candidates who place their duty to constituents ahead of all other interests. To date those individuals have been almost entirely independent members.

    Oh, and I notice that the single proven gateway for foxes, namely the Toll Wharf at Burnie, is yet to be securely fenced, and I am willing to bet there is not a single firearm on the premises. I also note the fencing around the Devonport ports is similarly insecure.

    That those responsible are still on the public payroll is beyond belief, as is the governmental failure to admit it was had.

  107. Ian Rist

    June 17, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Well said Jack J # 15.
    I actually checked with a high ranking member of quarantine services before I brought back (on The Spirit) three very dead, prepared for taxidermy Reynards in June 2003.
    He gave me his mobile number if anyone wanted to make a fuss.
    The Reynards were to illustrate to the then DPIPWE Minister Bryan Green just how his ‘fox evidence’ was arriving in the State.
    Both Minister Green and head of bio-security Alex Schaap viewed them in my Game fridge at Blessington a few days later.
    Alex Schaap made a lot of threats later that day (after his initial speechlessness) but nothing ever happened.

    It didn’t stop a pompous little smart arse from the FEP writing to the Editor of The Mercury in 2009 years later and claiming I was misleading the public about fox product importation in the paper and demanded an immediate retraction .

    This is relevant to the visit by Minister Green in June 2003 when I showed him three dead and prepared for taxidermy Red Foxes
    in my Game ‘fridge at Blessiington.
    I had brought three foxes back packed in ice on the ‘Spirit of Tasmania’ to illustrate to Minister Green how easy it was to bring ‘fox evidence’ into the State.
    I did have some much later discussion with Bryan Green about a letter Matthew Marrison from the FEP had written to The Mercury newspaper Editor on the 14th February 2009 demanding a retraction to a letter I had written to Public Opinion of The Mercury in December 2008.
    I had spoken to Garry Bailey Editor of The Mercury and he agreed the Marrison letter contained inaccuracies.
    Marrison had tried to create the impression that the visit by Minister Green in 2003 had occurred much later in 2008.
    The Public Opinion letter of 2008 in ‘The Mercury’ was never withdrawn.
    I became aware of this Marrison FEP letter through the 144 pages of FOI Jeremy Rockliff MP obtained for me in 2010.

    Actually I believe the revelations I made at the 2009 PAC Inquiry re the importation of fox scats by the FFTF/FEP might have woken everyone up…..
    There were a flurry of questions afterwards
    Page 99 unredacted FOI
    A very interesting email went from J**e M***e Project Support Officer of the FEP in January 2010 to the Chief Veterinary Officer.
    Dear R*D
    As you are aware, since 2007 the Fox Eradication Program has had verified fox scats brought into the State……………………….
    Although I wouldn’t stand up in court and swear to it I believe this has always occurred via an agreement with Quarantine Tasmania rather than under any special authorisation from you?

    J**e M***e
    Project Support Officer, Fox Eradication Program
    Department of Primary Industry,Parks,Water and Environment.
    Interesting to note at this point J**e M***e was and still is the partner of X Treasurer Michael Aird.
    Another interesting email on page 63 same unredacted FOI.

    F***k G******i to B**l B***n Scientic Officer, Fox Research DPIPWE.
    Hei B**l
    I will send DNA samples either to you or Canberra once I can process the bodies.
    At one stage there was talk about wanting DNA tissue samples of the animals from which the scats were collected, is that still the case?
    Yes that is the plan, Wednesday 9am. We need those DNA samples too if you can include them that would be great,
    B**l B***n
    Scientific Officer, Fox Research
    Fox Eradication Program. DPIPWE.


    June 17, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Re #14. On TT I’m no longer Raspberry. Remember some folks got hot under the collar about me using an alias?

    You seem to be admitting that the cub might have been born in Tasmania. It’s alright to do so because that’s a long way from claiming that foxes are established here.

    The DNA angle seems irrelevant given that a pregnant mainland vixen can hitch a ride across the strait. In any case I was told by a member of FFTF/FEP that the DNA test had shown positive for fox.

  109. Jack J

    June 17, 2017 at 7:00 pm


    If you put your question in context, you need to consider two things that have come to light over the years on Tasmanian Times.

    First up, it seems that there was nothing illegal about bringing fox bodies into Tasmania until 2009. In other words, bring in as many as you like and dump them by the side of the road and no one can touch you. Even if you were caught by the beagle at the ferry terminal you could have said:

    “Bugger off chum, there is nothing illegal about this. I can bring as many fox bodies in to Tasmania as I like. Get your cotton picking hands off my fox!”

    And you’d have been correct. You’ve done nothing illegal. You have committed no crime.

    This fact stunned me, but to some apparently it has meant little.

    Because what’s all the noise about when you find a dead fox by the side of the road? So what? Hunters have been bringing them in ever since the car ferry linked the mainland.

    Secondly, not even the Fox Farce Force has contested that many foxes were hoaxes. So where does anyone think these animals came from?

    I’m past arguing with people who want to focus on a dead fox by the side of the road as “evidence”. They were the same people who were still shouting ‘ecological disaster!’ last year when Raymond S dumped yet another one and ended up in court for his troubles (the law was changed in 2009). Some had a sort of blind spot that prevents them asking “what is it actually evidence of?”

    If you can accept the above, here’s 3 questions I’d like you to consider John.

    Q1. What sort of half-arsed government scam spends $50 million dollars on eradicating an animal when, as they are apparently doing so, it remains perfectly legal to import cadavers of the same animal and drop them on the side of the road?

    Q2. Given the above, what sort of half-arsed government scam spends millions trying to convince all and sundry that a dead foxes found by the side of the road in mysterious circumstances is “hard evidence” that no one’s allowed to question?

    Q3. And how did it come about that when many sensible Tasmanians wanted better evidence, they were viciously attacked on these pages and others by those with their noses in the fox trough?

    Today I stand in awe of how easy it was for self-interested nincompoops to badge common sense conclusions as the rantings of “conspiracy theorists” while not even having the presence of mind to shut the door to mainland fox hoaxes.

    You have to be impressed by the brazenness, stunned by the pomposity and sickened by the waste. Most of all you have to really wonder why the Tasmanian government has to be force-fed common sense with a funnel and a tube. Things can’t go on like this. The state is beginning to break up due to the absence of integrity in public administration (overseen by all parties) and a lack of will by the media to highlight it. Is that so hard to see?

    The dead cat has been thrown up on the table but no one wants to smell it apart from the odd independent member of parliament who actually represents the public interest beyond party interests and their own ambition.

  110. Ian Rist

    June 17, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Re # 12
    As the FFTF/FEP requested all sorts of fox product including live foxes over the years anything is possible.
    From the 140 pages of unredacted FOI emails from Section Head, FEP to Victorian fox product supplier.
    Specifically page 116.

    Also what weight range are the animals you receive?
    How easy would it be to obtain a handful of live foxes greater than 5.5 kgs ? I have been asked to find out some answers regarding satellite tracking.
    Section leader
    Research and development
    Fox eradication branch
    Department of Primary Industries,Parks,Water and Environment.
    134 Macquarie Street
    Hobart 7000.

    Re-satellite tracking you should speak to M****** J******* at DSE, he has been involved in animal tracking……..

    Technical Services
    Seaford, Victoria.

    We are considering something more specific at this stage although aren’t in a position to commit at this stage. I will keep you informed.
    R***** G*****y
    Section leader
    Research and Development
    Fox Eradication Branch
    Department of Primary Industries,Parks,Water and Environment.
    134 Macquarie Street
    Hobart 7000.

    Re your question Rasberry….
    As no others evidence was found at the Lillico site id est other fox cubs, fox dens, adult foxes, fox scats etc etc. one could only conclude this cub DID NOT originate at the Lillico site.
    If everyone including the Government of the day and their bureaucrats had been open and transparent they would have released the relevant DNA conclusions.
    They had DNA process from Oliver Berry at the University of WA.
    Oliver Berry DNA mapped foxes from all over Australia from samples he received from a Nationally advertisement in the SSAA.

  111. David Obendorf

    June 17, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Special acknowledgement is due to Simon De Little who went to considerable effort to video interview well over a dozen individuals that were prepared to face a fox show & tell session in around 2009. The links to Simon’s library of YouTube videos are accessible via Tas Times or Google video searching. Thank you Simon – a massive effort adding to the search for truth.

    Many of those interviews although quite long hold so much of the fox lore & history – evidents, facts, assumptions, yarns and stories. They all became part of the complex web of Tassie fox files. (somewhat reminiscent of the never-ending speculations on the thylacine’s existence … funny that!)

  112. John Coombes

    June 17, 2017 at 3:39 am

    David or Ian, can you tell me what conclusions have been reached concerning the origin of the Lillico fox cub? Was there enough evidence to establish that it came from the mainland. Or is there still a possibility that it was born (and possibly bred) in Tasmania?

  113. William Boeder

    June 17, 2017 at 3:19 am

    I advise that I had been approached by SMRS regarding a poll being conducted into the opinion of persons in Tasmania and asked to provide my answers and further expand upon this falsely formed Integrity institution, for those persons that know me personally they will advise I speak but only the truth.
    Fortunately these poll inquiry calls are being recorded in case of whatever obscure or even sensible reason they believe is necessary.

    I find many matters that this State government do engage in to be very disconcerting, that no Lib/Lab political minister or legislator in public office will dare to speak the truth relating to the State government Fox-capade commenced during the years that David Llewellyn was the minister responsible for the correspondences to the Federal government regarding this well known fraudulent attempt to access Federal funding without honest cause.

    Let it be known I responded in the very same manner that I choose on all matters related to dishonesty in Tasmania’s government and their often false media releases purporting to place the Former Forestry Tasmania in a positive light.

    Just to extend on this matter of integrity, were there an investigation launched to uncover the level of integrity in this State’s very own government, this very same government would burn down those premises or otherwise close down that absolutely wasteful exercise.

  114. mike

    June 17, 2017 at 12:42 am

    What it does go to show is that the reasoning by many people that something can’t be a conspiracy because too many people would need to be involved is a complete fallacy.

  115. Simon Warriner

    June 17, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Funny you should mention the TIC, John.

    I had a call from EMRS last night doing a survey for the TIC. I did enjoy pointing out a few of the more obvious problems.

    As for the fox task farce, the longer the drop the more sudden the stop when the rope runs out. I do really hope it has been securely tied to the right scoundrels, and not loosely and to some lowly patsies.

  116. Claire Gilmour

    June 17, 2017 at 12:18 am

    The fox and devil task forces … included, beyond the political money, to cheats, liars and drug affiliates … I know names associated!

  117. Peter Bright

    June 16, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    I answered a tea-time telephone survey last night about the Integrity Commission.

    I won’t tell you what I said.

    This will ensure that these pages don’t become cinders.

  118. John Hawkins

    June 16, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    On Federation it was agreed that each state would return 12 Senators to the Federal Parliament. Political influence is cheaply bought in Tasmania with 500,000 people returning 12 Senators as against 8 million plus Victorians for the same 12 Senators .

    This has now developed into a cargo cult whereby Liberal and Labor buy our Senate seats at each election.

    The F’s have done well: Foxes, Fishes and Forestry have well and truly F …… the Feds.

    This largesse buys political allegiance from the Maaaaaaates.

    This is where the Tasmanian Joke begins.

  119. Claire Gilmour

    June 16, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    So whose is the helicopter currently flying/circling, very low around my home/property and seemingly criss/crossing the area intensively? What are they mapping or filming? A fox perhaps!?

  120. john Hayward

    June 16, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    It’s miraculous that anyone retains any trust in the Tas Government after the relentless barrage of shonk from its forestry GBE.

    The $50m poured down to mates at the bottom of the foxhole was miniscule by comparison.

    If the past is anything to go by, the Tas Integrity Commission will discreetly fill in and re-seed the den entrance and a new den established somewhere else. These mates are creatures of habit.

    John Hayward

  121. spikey

    June 16, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    they were just trying to protect our threatened wildlife

    whilst it may be warm and wet in The Fletcher Memorial Home/ brighton illegal boat people detention centre, i’m fairly sure the meals aren’t laced with 1080

  122. Ian Rist

    June 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Page 21 Hard Copy todays The Mercury.
    Journal concern over fox evidence
    A SCIENTIFIC journal has slapped an “expression of concern” on an article it published saying foxes were widespread in Tasmania.
    It follows allegations aired last year that physical evidence of foxes in Tasmania had been hoaxed.
    In 2012 the British Ecological Society published the scientific paper “Foxes are now widespread in Tasmania” in its Journal Of Applied Ecology. The authors used DNA analysis of fox faeces, collected by Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, to conclude the pest was widespread.
    But a leaked department report since raised doubts about the evidence that was provided to the authors for analysis. The leaked report claimed 26 of 57 faeces were possible hoaxes.
    “Sufficient evidence exists to suspect that some hoaxing has occurred via mainland fox scats being placed in the (Tasmanian ) landscape,” it said.
    It prompted Denison MP Andrew Wilkie to write to the British Ecological Society to ask if the leaked report had any “bearing” upon its article that foxes were widespread.
    The Journal of Applied Ecology has since placed an “expression of concern” on the article. Managing editor Erika Newton said the “expression of concern” had been published because there was a DPIPWE investigation into the matter.
    “When the outcome of this investigation is reported to the (journal) editors, the paper’s content will be reviewed in light of this information.”
    DPIPWE is examining whether any of its employees working on fox eradication breached the State Service Act.
    It followed a police review of material submitted by MLC Ivan Dean that alleged fox evidence had been hoaxed.
    Police did not find any criminal wrongdoing but indicated potential inappropriate behavior by public servants within DPIPWE.
    The Integrity Commission is also investigating the issue.

  123. jason hearn

    June 16, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    If you want to catch a fox you just have to let some chickens run around.
    I could set up a program with a couple hundred chickens, if there are foxes I should have one in a couple of days.
    I can do it for 10% discount on the existing forward estimates (mates rates)

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