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

DPIPWE quietly abandons Fox probe. What’s going on here?


First published September 14

Ivan Dean Independent MLC for Windermere interviewed on 7AD (Devonport) by Brian Carlton Tuesday 5 September 2017

Brian Carlton: Let me bring in here Ivan Dean, the Independent MLC for Windermere. Ivan good morning, how are you?

Ivan Dean: Good morning, yes. … quite well thanks.

Brian Carlton: Excellent. Now the DPIPWE investigation into the Fox Eradication Program appears to have been quietly abandoned by DPIPWE, what’s going on there?

Ivan Dean: Well, I don’t know what would have happened here, because if I hadn’t asked some questions in Parliament we probably would never have been told that it had been abandoned. It wasn’t until I raised the issue that they even came back to me. As some people are aware, I was stunned when I got the reply. So, look I don’t know what’s going on with that Department, to be quite frank with you. I don’t know what was provided to them [DPIPWE] in the first place, but as I understand it, it was to look at their protocols; it was to look at some of their staff and some of the issues that were occurring within that Department during the Fox Eradication Program period. And it would seem now to abandon the inquiry simply because all of the employees in that area have gone, shot through or whatever is a disgrace, in my view.

You’ve got senior people in that organisation as well responsible for what the fox taskforce were doing and were up to. But where are they in this? What did they do? And what happens to them with the inquiry? Are they abandoned as well? It’s just a disgrace

Brian Carlton: And then I would suggest too, a lack of federal oversight as well? Are they in any way interested in what happened to their contribution?

Ivan Dean: Well they ought to be. They ought to be, because they funded a big part of the program. And a lot of information was provided to them. And there is evidence to suggest that a lot of that information was not true; wasn’t right! Why? Why wouldn’t they have an interest?

Brian Carlton: Let me get through the process here, because I think the process is actually important for people to understand Ivan, to just acknowledge how serious this is. Now, in 2016 Tasmania Police, they looked at a 150-page dossier from you Ivan. On that basis they found that there was no possibility … or at least it was too hard to get any kind of criminal prosecution but off the back of that they referred the whole thing back to DPIPWE to say look there is a potential there for misconduct by employees attached to the program; have a look at it and review this internally. And it’s that internal review that’s now been abandoned.

Ivan Dean: That is so. And there’s so much secrecy about this whole thing because I’ve never been told what was given to DPIPWE … I can’t be trusted with that and neither can the Parliament. So we’ve got no idea what went back to them, which is upsetting. But we’ve got here the Integrity Commission has also undertaken an inquiry and that’s still to be released. I’m not quite sure at what stage that is at.

But, it just defies common sense and logic to think they can abandon an inquiry simply because all of the employees shoot through. It’s a disgrace.

Brian Carlton: And that is the reason they have given you formally, is it Ivan? That they abandoned because the employees have left.

Ivan Dean: Yes, that’s what came back in answers provided to me in Parliament two or three weeks ago. That’s the answer I got back, to say that the last person … the last person standing had resigned and moved on. So what does that tell you? It is not a good look at all. In fact, it’s a look that indicates to me that there are lots of issues here that have been left because they don’t want to know what the result is. They don’t want to find out what exactly happened.

And, Brian, we know, we know that if you don’t … this matters; this really matters. Because we know, that history repeats itself if we do not learn from our mistakes. So, if we don’t learn from this and we know there was manipulation of [record] books there was evidence supporting a lot of that as well … records. So, if we don’t learn from this, we’ll see exactly the same mistake repeated again in the future.

Brian Carlton: Look, the other this is it’s a substantial amount of public monies that have sort of vanished here. We had allegations of carcasses being imported into the State, manipulated. You know, evidence that was clearly not from Tasmania after much scientific inquiry.

Ivan, the dollar-value has wiggled around between $40 and $50 million, but what do you believe that money actually went on? What was it spent on?

Ivan Dean: Well, it was spent on a number of people involved in the Fox Eradication Program and the Taskforce allegedly investigating the fox situation and it was said that we had heaps of foxes in this State running rampant all over the place. It was just a nonsense.

Brian Carlton: What are we talking about here? Are we talking about salaries? Are we talking about offices? Computers? Vehicles? What? Scientific tests that they knew wasn’t probably …

Ivan Dean: Yes. Yes. … Yeap.

Brian Carlton: Ok.

Ivan Dean: And firearms … if you have a look at the number of firearms this lot had. It was an incredible amount of firearms and ammunition, and top quality gear at that. It was just an enormous amount and I understand that that’s been either sold off or given away or whatever … I don’t know what happened to that, but I’m going to ask questions about that as well.

Brian Carlton: Ivan, how long were these cowboys tromping around the State wasting taxpayers’ money?

Ivan Dean: Well, it all started in about what? 2002, I think didn’t it? I think at one stage you’ll find there were 60 to 70 odd employees in that branch, in the Fox Eradication Program … at one stage. So that’s an enormous number of people running around do what … nobody really knows.

Brian Carlton: And well nobody really knows and investigating some that most people believe wasn’t a problem to start with.

Ivan Dean: Absolutely. There was no physical evidence to support it at all.

Brian Carlton: Oh dear. Where do we go from here Ivan? If DPIPWE are not investigating, what oversight body is there that can come and give them a bit of a tickle up?

Ivan Dean: Well, I will be following it up I can assure you of that. It is not finished. I will be taking it further and I will raise the issue again in the Parliament. And here we are as a State supposedly doing all the right things. Supposedly being very careful with the work that we do, and open & clear and all the rest of that … transparent. Here we are. To me it’s covering up lots of stuff that certainly should be brought out in the open. They cannot hide behind this, Brian. They are going to have to bring this out in the open and tell people what’s gone on and what’s happened.

Brian Carlton: In the interests of transparency … as you say Ivan, so it bloody well doesn’t happen again. I mean think of the things $50 million could have funded in this State.

Ivan Dean: That’s correct. Absolutely … I would say up around the $50 to 60 million mark, you know, if you took everything into account. It’s an enormous amount of money and, as I said, people need to be held accountable. And senior people need to be held accountable; they can’t just blame those fellows who were running around out in the bush and so on. There were more than them in the branch [Fox Eradication Program]. What about the senior people as I’ve said who were in charge of those people ensuring that they were doing the right thing, and checking up on them. What were they doing?

Brian Carlton: Interesting, ok. The idea that DPIPWE can drop an investigation into itself having been referred by the police, I find astonishing. Ivan I really appreciate your time this morning, thank you very much. It’s huge. We’ll keep talking about this.

Ivan Dean: Brian, if I could just say. I always suspected that this is what would happen. I think I made that statement. It doesn’t surprise me at all.


The podcast of the radio interview with Ivan Dean is now on the tasmanianfox.com website:

On the home page:


Link directly:

Another tidbit is that Portuguese media is now calling Tasmania the island where the government searches for Gambozinos (a mythical monster of one’s childhood):


An English translation can be found here:





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


  1. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 9, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    My understanding is that the “fool” referred to in #287 is in the process of writing a book on ‘Physics and Pattern Recognition in Forensic Science’ which is based on his 5 year research on 4 complex real life circumstantial cases (Henry Keogh of Adelaide; Susan Neill-Fraser of Hobart; Gordon Wood of Sydney; Steven Avery of Wisconsin, USA).

    Some of that “fool’s” work (who absolutely has no education or training in a medical field let alone the specialised field of forensic pathology) can be found at the following:

    1.  #463 & #464


    2. http://www.cla.asn.au/News/keogh-free-royal-commission-needed/

  2. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 9, 2017 at 10:23 am

    So Jack, With respect to your suspicions as expressed in the last two paragraphs of your #280 and your incorrect perception in #285:

    It is all about what is going on in your beautiful state of Tasmanian this year and in particular what went on in your capital Hobart on the afternoon-late evening of the Australia Day 2009.

    The Tasmanian Government did not take Mr Richter seriously; the Tasmanian cops outsmarted Richter and the former Victorian police detective; the DPP must have had a ball last week listening to the nonsense that the witnesses had to say, etc.

    It is also about the application of the scientific method of investigation in relation to one of the grounds of appeal because I do not expect the police prosecution nor the the defence biological forensic scientist to provide a reliable interpretation of the problem. It is the physical science (physics) rather than a biological science that is relevant to the winching scenario.

    Although the subject isn’t relevant to the fox issue in Tasmania, this case seems to affect the whole Tasmanian community and its confidence in its police force and its judicial system. My interest in this affair is purely of scientific nature.


  3. Ian Rist

    November 9, 2017 at 10:11 am

    # 281
    Is insulting and degrading to all concerned and should be taken down.
    The work of someone that thinks he is an expert on everything.
    Stay out of it mate, before you make a bigger fool of yourself.

  4. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 9, 2017 at 12:06 am

    The post in #281 is my take on the 25 page “white paper” or the “Richer dossier” that was presented to the Tasmanian Government in May by a high profile Victorian barrister (Mr Robert Richter QC) and the events that followed in the Supreme Court last week.

    The dossier was prepared by a real undercover operative (a former Victorian police detective) who infiltrated the Hobart bikie scene in order to find potential witnesses for Sue Neill-Fraser’s appeal)!!.


  5. Jack

    November 8, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    #281 … Then I’m sorry that anyone treated you seriously. From your last comment you’ve clearly been wasting people’s time. You’re not the first to treat Tasmanians who participate in democracy and community action with contempt. There is nothing illegal about disparaging community engagement as a play thing to fill in your empty hours. But if you had an ounce of respect for what people on these pages have accomplished over the years you’d hang your head in shame. You’re pissing on part of Tasmania’s soul and sneering at a lot of people who care deeply about a community that is often troubled. It’s not a good look for you. Again, I cringe on your behalf. I suspect that self analysis and reflection on such points may not be your strong point. Nor is empathy for those trying to make our system function for the benefit of future generations.

    Reading comment #281 makes me think that you are deserving of our pity. It’s all about you is it?

  6. Ian Rist

    November 8, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Betty # 279

    Well it was the member for Lyons and a few of his NPWS/DPIPWE cronies that were the ones that started it all.

    “There is a big quid in the EPBC/NHT Act for us, all we have to do is invent some ‘foxes’ and we can slip our grubby little paws into a bottomless pit of taxpayers money”

    I am sure the PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION would love to have a hard look at that, we better get a deputation together.

  7. Jack

    November 8, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    #279 … What a wonderful idea Betty. I hear that the MIA ALP Member for Lyons is able to host conferences at his winery. Perhaps the Productivity Commission might like to meet there? I’m sure that Richard Kopf knows the road well.

  8. Betty

    November 8, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Now that it’s been confirmed the PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION is coming to Hobart for hearings I do hope someone raises the fact that over $50Million of Commonwealth Public Monies is unaccounted for with regard to the wasteful fox-poo program. I’m sure the MIA ALP Member for LYONS up in the winery, working full-time while being paid as a Tasmanian MP, would be available for the public hearing!

  9. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 8, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Gee whiz Jack …

    Haven’t you yet discovered that I am a self appointed ASIO agent whose operatives have infiltrated the ‘Foxless Tasmanian Society’ and the ‘Tasmanian SNF-MV Friendship Society’ ? One of my undercover operatives is a wild cat (dressed in a fox body suit) who boarded Four Winds and deposited some crap there for a Victorian forensic scientist to analyse. Another is a rough looking female bikie who frequents the night clubs in Hobart to keep a tab on serial murderers, vagrants and thieves who associate with troubled homeless teenage girls and break into yachts to steal 14 kg fire extinguishers in the middle of night. I had an operative here in Adelaide but he was too transparent with his data and got fired because he released some commercial-in-confidence information about the brain fingerprinting technology I am using to detect whether my operatives are honest. I am just the overseer who does the analysis of the crap they feed me to see whether the cops caught the right fox or whether there is a loose fox out there who murdered a Hobart physicist.

  10. Jack

    November 8, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    #264 … Now that you have been keen to poke at the wound perhaps we should send the issue to Dr Ben Goldacre at http://www.badscience.net for comment.

    I wonder if he has an interest in this issue given that he maintains:

    ‘Trust in science comes from transparency. That is the point of science. You look at the data, the methods and the results, and if someone won’t let you do that then it’s very likely they are pulling a fast one.’

    One wonders if XXXXX has a material interest in the fox issue? And one does wonder why someone in Adelaide pays such close attention to the reputation of those involved with disreputable science? Was there anyone up your way involved in the mismanagement of the fox fiasco here in Tassie per chance? Someone whom you might know? A person affiliated with a common institution, maybe?

    Does anyone have a list of the people on the fox management committees? Anyone from Adelaide jump out? Someone who might be a little concerned about reputational issues right now?

  11. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    November 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    #276 … (smile!)

  12. David Obendorf

    November 8, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Forgive me Garry, scholar of Latin I not only … I didn’t dot my [i]’i'[/i], I omitted it entirely!

    I guess that a Nullius out of X, hey? 😉

  13. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 8, 2017 at 11:04 am


    As for what is going on in pharmaceutical companies: I told you I did my research a decade ago. I am aware of how they hide their bad clinical results, how they come up with a host of reasons why they can’t release some data and how they provide FDA with the results of their best 2 clinical results even though they may have had 3 very bad clinical results. That is how they work. I am not defending what they do.

    As far as I am concerned it is also the responsibility of the customer to find out as much as they can about the medication they might be prescribed. I conducted a rather extensive background research on CHAMPIX (the science behind it as well as people’s testimonies so that by the time I went to see my GP for a prescription I knew more about the medication than he did).

    But the academic freedom of university professors needs to be protected and they need to be protected from harassment. I do not need to ask a Professor of Cognitive Psychology (the author of that Comment in Nature) about the subject for I believe in what they wrote is absolutely spot on.

  14. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 8, 2017 at 10:39 am


    Anyone brave enough to be my stand-by replacement stunt person if I get injured during the course of the possible real-life winching experiment I referred to earlier or do you just like to whinge, insult, talk nonsense and waste resources (electricity or battery power) just to express, what I believe to be, crap?

  15. Jack

    November 8, 2017 at 6:54 am

    #272 … and even more food for thought:

    ”Research integrity: Don’t let transparency damage science”


    Stephan Lewandowsky and Dorothy Bishop refer to people doing science. Ipso facto, by its very definition that demands that such people share data, embrace scepticism, be responsiveness to their peers, reject hiding behind secrecy agreements and be willing and able to attest to the quality of data presented in scientific publications etc etc.

    None of which apply in this case.

    It certainly excludes those who use second-hand and fraudulent data and ignore warnings about its probity delivered by their own collaborators (Simon Fearn) who took the trouble to detail such concerns – twice. Such reports were then hidden from view.

    I doubt very much if Stephan Lewandowsky and Dorothy Bishop would be referring to people involved with promoting baseless certitudes and myths who went out of their way to mock their critics whist taking the public coin. I doubt that they are concerned about UFOlogists and cryptozoologists either.

    Nor is it likely that they will be rushing to defend scientists who’s anecdotal clap trap is material to an investigations by a government integrity commissions. I also doubt if these authors would be willing to coddle those involved in the misuse and island wide dissemination of schedule 7 poisons in the name of the myth they created by an abuse of science.

    That’s kind of a big deal that seems to have escaped your attention.

    And I am most certain that Stephan Lewandowsky and Dorothy Bishop would find the prospect of this piece of Orwellian drivel the very antithesis of science as any scientist should:

    Are There Really Foxes: Where Does The Doubt Emerge?

    Has a scientist ever before or since put his or her name to a paper that unilaterally claims that their own work is scientific consensus and those who disagree are mentally defective and in need of re-education via state propaganda?

    It is a gem, or at least a nugget of brownness.

    So Dr Lozo, why don’t you write to Stephan Lewandowsky and Dorothy Bishop and ask if this is what scientists do? Send them the link. While you’re at it, ask them if their concerns extend to William McBride as well? Maybe they are concerned for the welfare of all hucksters?

    Keep in mind though that their paper is concerned about such things as: ‘Orchestrated and well-funded harassment campaigns against researchers working in climate change and tobacco control …’

    Hence it is really desperate to pretend that those who peddle myths and act in an unscientific way (putting their twisted ideology down in black and white for all to read – and some to ignore) are somehow related to the above group.

    Certainly, let’s protect scientists actually doing science. That means those conforming to scientific principles. But let’s get rid of those pretenders who have hung themselves with their own words, misdeeds and spin and want to hide from the consequences. They deserve no protection whatsoever. Why should they be included in the same circle of concern for people who are actually bravely doing science and copping unwarranted flack? To do so undermines science and devalues the work of real scientists.

  16. Simon Warriner

    November 7, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    re #271 … and more often than should be the case, pharmaceutical companies produce, market and defend to the hilt products that do all manner of harm to those who use them. Thalidomide ring any bells? Perhaps if they had been a little bit more transparent with their data …

    (Comment challenged and deleted for personal abuse: http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php/pages/legalbits )

  17. spikey

    November 7, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    commercial in confidence was but a gateway drug to full blown fascism

    scientists who bend to corporate or political will are not scientists, and should be treated for what they are … (self edited) …

    taxpayer funded representatives of commerce and politics and a disgrace to the concept of science as a search for truth and tool for managing our interactions with this planet

    pretty bloody disgraceful really

  18. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 7, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Food for thought:

    ”Research integrity: Don’t let transparency damage science”

    ”Stephan Lewandowsky and Dorothy Bishop explain how the research community should protect its members from harassment, while encouraging the openness that has become essential to science”


  19. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 7, 2017 at 8:09 pm


    Authors of scientific journals that I read in general provide the data, the methods and the results, in various section of their paper. That is a standard practice in scientific journals. Some journals even have supplementary online section for additional material.

    I fully agree with the statement in the link at #268.

    But the real world doesn’t not always work like that. For example, pharmaceutical companies will NOT release all their data. etc. Often it is the thing called ‘commercial-in-confidence’, ‘patenting action’, etc that gets in the way.

  20. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 7, 2017 at 7:48 pm


    ”I don’t care who states it, but it must be tested and done so publicly (so that it floats – nicely put). High school kids know this to be true of science, but not Dr Lozo. Oh no. Crude truth boldly spoken would cause his shell like ear to wilt if it does not accord with his set of preconceptions and array of motherhood statements.”

    Dr Lozo is a physicist (he was primarly educated, trained and supervised by physicists and has a very strong view that a scientific hypothesis ought to be tested by experiments and/or computational studies; he has experience in both). Dr Lozo is thus very practiced in the scientific method. It is because of this strong belief in the scientific method that he has recently decided to offer himself to be used as the ‘human guinea pig’ in what he calls the complete, realistic and scientific based re-enactment of the winching scenario in the Susan Neill-Fraser case: to test the prosecution theory, the defence expert theory (whatever that might be) as well as Dr Lozo’s own hypothesis of a ‘three-phase winching scenario’.

    Those of you who consider yourself as the true believers in the scientific method can join Dr Lozo in writing a joint letter to Neill-Fraser’s legal team, to the ODPP and to TASPOL to support Dr Lozo’s inititative. Thus rather than winging about the state of affairs in Tasmania (or naively tackling Dr Lozo’s view of what science is and how it should be done) why don’t you join Dr Lozo in a unique scientific initiative for the benefit of forensic science and for the benefit of the Tasmanian community?

    Here are some relevant references:

    1. See #455 & #456 (the winching problem)


    2. See #98 (A human ‘guinea pig’ for the winching experiment)


  21. David Obendorf

    November 7, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Dr [b]Ben Goldacre[/b], http://www.badscience.net

    [i]’Trust in science comes from transparency. That is the point of science. You look at the data, the methods and the results, and if someone won’t let you do that then it’s very likely they are pulling a fast one.'[/i]

  22. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    November 7, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    David #265 … Former classics scholar that I am, I must point out that you omitted the ‘i’ from ‘nullius’. ‘Nullus’ is the nominative masculine form of the adjective, and ‘nullius’ is the genitive. However, recalling the expression ‘terra nullius’, the possessive sense … ‘of no one’ can be seen. Actually, it’s an unusual adjective, quite regular except for the genitive singular which takes the same -ius ending for each of the genders. ‘Nullius in verba’ …

  23. Ian Rist

    November 7, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    The Hansard of the Tasmanian Parliament records that Sarre and the Institute of Applied Ecology, Canberra (member of then CRC Invasive Animals of which (‘Professor’ Peacock was CEO) collected some $522,000 one year alone from Tasmania for testing animal scats sent from Tasmania for Red Fox DNA testing.
    His Paper ‘Foxes are now widespread in Tasmania’ one could fairly assume, was one of the 522,000 reasons.

    With fellow CRC Invasive Animals members manufacturing 1080 fox baits and fox attractants one could also fairly assume why they had such a keen interest in promoting the belief that ‘Foxes are now widespread in Tasmania’ …………..

    One could therefor also conclude it was a scam of gigantic proportions with a large number of beneficiaries.
    No wonder (Professor) Peacock demanded we accept that a fox scat found in a Tasmanian paddock had to belong to a ‘Tasmanian fox’.

    Tasmania, the explore the possibilities State, badly needs an ICAC.

  24. Jack

    November 7, 2017 at 2:19 pm


    Perhaps the reason why I feel viscerally repelled by the people who sow doubt, derision and scorn on these pages is that Tasmanian Times is one of the few truly democratic forums that exists in Australia.

    How can one account for the cheek of people deciding that their home turf is off limits, attempting to curtail the free speech and opinion of others? What blind spots have such people in the context of what has been collectively uncovered about this fox farce?

    Are they immune to self reflection?

    In the face of manifest institutional failure the lampreys of public funding seem to have no shame. Not their dirty laundry, oh no. Not their saints, how dare you. Instead, the great unwashed that we are must adopt their airs and graces so not to offend anyone with the truth. We should be performing poodles for moral chihuahuas.

    And truth, that’s pretty much what we want to get to. I don’t care who states it, but it must be tested and done so publicly (so that it floats – nicely put). High school kids know this to be true of science, but not Dr Lozo. Oh no. Crude truth boldly spoken would cause his shell like ear to wilt if it does not accord with his set of preconceptions and array of motherhood statements. It’s a protection racket.

    As Frankenstein’s monster might be taught to say:

    Academic, good. Public baaadddd.

  25. David Obendorf

    November 7, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    [b]Accountability in Science[/b] – [i]When you can’t rely on regulators and you can’t reply on legislation and you can’t rely on people who are anointed by society to fix these problems then you have to move onto the next step and say: What can we do ourselves?

    What you can do is identify people who are transgressing and you can shine a light upon them. Trust in science comes from transparency, that is the point of science.'[/i]

    Dr [b]Ben Goldacre[/b], http://www.badscience.net

    And the motto of [b]The Royal Society[/b] London – “Nullus in Verba” – [i]On the word of no-one[/i].

  26. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 7, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Believe it or not David, I did some research several years ago on how FDA in US approves new drugs and how scientists in pharmaceutical companies conduct their research, testing and how clinical trial are conducted. I was researching this in connection with the CHAMPIX medication – the quit smoking medication (as I was desperate to give up a 30 year habit; I used it for 10 days instead or 3 months and it worked on me for I haven’t had a single puff since then, over 9 years now). Heard about it via a two day quit smoking course that Quit SA gave at work (would you believe that my then employer (Defence Science and Technology Organisation) allowed their staff to attend a full two day quit smoking course, on the site, during paid working time (about 15 smokers attended; no leave without pay was required; public servants have cushy jobs but low salaries!)? I also looked at what drugs and treatments are used for PTSD and how they are tested because lots or war veterans have PTST; this is a big problem; there was a congressional hearing in US several years which I watched on youtube).

    In summary: I am very aware of short-circuiting the science in favor of profit. Research Scientists who work for pharmaceutical companies also have some of the highest salaries a scientist can possibly get! There are times when even academics who will short circuit the quality of science for a quick publication (the old ‘publish or perish’).

    Now, I wrote the above because someone emailed me last night about a post on here that I should read (he stated that the comment was heavily biased against me and was “nonsensical XXXXX , probably written by a XXXXX”). I read the post this morning but decided to only address a part of David’s post of this morning because he referenced my name in connection to a certain subject which was also raised by another person (with which I perhaps more familiar than anyone one here ansd have been for 9 year, thanks to CHAMPIX and the excellent working conditions in DSTO (now called DST Group)!!.

    A brief note for William Boeder in relation to his question to me at #253 http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/comments/31178/


    PS: I do not wish to be dragged into any further fox related debate.

  27. William Boeder

    November 7, 2017 at 11:57 am

    #258, Jack I admire your capacity to deliver the facts the way you have in relation to the recent inconsequential comments by a person introducing unwarranted doubt upon the fine work of already established Tasmanian Fox related facts, by both Mr Ian Rist and Dr David Obendorf.
    Also noting the attempt of a Richard Kopf offering an opinion that suggests a wrong committed by the architects of the Fox hoax, could be better seen as an acceptable wrong so worry no further.

    Then we read of comments sent in by intervening skeptics that contribute their opinions aiming to remove or denounce the special distinction held by the forum of Tasmanian Times, now more known for its publishing of contributor volunteered facts sent in by a great many of its highly regarded forum contributors.
    One grows tired of reading comments that contain little more than snide drivel inserted into the body of their comment.

  28. David Obendorf

    November 7, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Jack at #258 … please forgive my audacity. I’m not particularly concerned as to whether Dr Peter Lozo of Adelaide takes up your invitation to examine the Badscience website here …

    But among the scientists involved in the Tasmanian fox hunt that really [i]should[/i] examine the astonishing review & analysis work being done by Dr [b]Ben Goldacre[/b] and his colleagues are: Drs [b]Stephen Sarre, Peter Caley[/b] and [b]David Ramsay[/b]. There are several others but these are the scientists who were senior authors on peer-reviewed Tasmanian fox science publications.

    [i]Trust in science[/i] is a stake here.

    Using Jack’s analogy, I consider those named to be the equivalent of ‘priests’ in their respective fields. If the Tasmania data they relied on & used is fraudulent then they need to review their publications.

    And I do accept that you can’t legislate or enforce [i]’trust'[/i], it has to earned.

    Keeping data concealed and not wishing to engage with peers has, in my opinion, undermined any genuine relationship that credentialed scientists might wish to forge with a broader populace. Thank you.

  29. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    November 7, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Look, I’m terribly sorry, but I’ve just noticed that my #179 Comment does not contain an actual link to the Fidler-Flanagan interview.

    I’ll try a second bite at the cherry … https://tinyurl.com/y76n76pt

    If that doesn’t work, try … https://tinyurl.com/y8nz86fp and then find the link to the audio and then download from there.

  30. David Obendorf

    November 7, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Jack, I can only hope that those who have been at the forefront of this publicly funded program costing tens of millions will reflect on their actions.

    The promoters of the fox program might look back on their handy work . Do they see it as a bit of fun? A few hoaxed dead foxes and some planted fox faeces that brought in real money.

    As Tas Times blogger [b]Richard Kopf[/b] once argued on an earlier fox story – [i]’The families of those employed by the FEP, would now spend more in Tasmania, the amount is equal to the difference between their unemployment benefits and FEP wages. … Program has helped to reduce risk of foxes and $50m has circulated through our economy that has improved employment, business opportunities and knowledge.'[/i]

    Quite a cynical opinion from Richard Kopf but shucks maybe he was only voicing how the fox program’s promoters have always seen it. Just a bit of fun at the taxpayers’ expense to eradicate a few imaginary foxes in Tasmania.

    And sadly that’s a legacy [b]David Llewellyn[/b] takes into his retirement.

  31. spikey

    November 6, 2017 at 11:07 pm


    what he said
    and i’m suss on your other contributions
    the machinations of doubt
    in some cases
    being the guilty parties
    look over there

    keep it coming
    if it’s truth it will float

  32. Jack

    November 6, 2017 at 8:50 pm


    Dr Lozo. I’m really not sure what you think you may have contributed to this debate? Certainly you have answered none of the questions I have asked about scientific conduct. Instead you’ve attacked the right of members of the public to question the rigour of scientific findings and the conduct of people who receive public money. I might suggest that this is often seen as the highest duty by other scientists who seek to promote public scepticism and debate. Not you. Yours is a different school.

    Then with a platitude rich reply you depart behind the curtain after promoting the fantastic job academics do. Just what this has to do with the price of fish is a mystery to me. How is it that these issues are conflated? Who’s ever criticised academics in a general sense? Nobody I know of in the debate. It is straw man argument that you pulled out of thin air.

    In the context of this issue you now leave your audience astounded at your unwillingness to even consider that this might be a clear exception to your rule. You mock those as you leave, having told us that you are far too busy. Not so busy apparently to fly in and offer sanctimonious pronouncements. But much too busy to defend them when they were not accepted as pearls cast before swine. I suspect that this is your real problem, as it was the problem of the other “experts” who became frustrated with Tasmanians sceptical of claims that made no sense. Claims made by academics Dr Lozo. Claims made by people who were wrong and credentialed people too small of spirit to admit so. Crash goes another scientific norm.

    Apparently to you academics are saints. It is a sin to suggest that they may be even capable of unethical behaviour. Now if anyone had the slightest interest in this issue they would know that this is disingenuous clap trap. Just go here and argue this point with someone dealing with it:


    You treat academics as we once treated priests. Now how well did that go Dr Lozo?

    Despite having a putrid Orwellian document shoved under your nose, you do the equivalent of putting your hands over your ears and chanting an ode to academia. And this is sad. Deeply sad that you have not spared yourself the public humiliation. I cringe on your behalf.

    All of us can cut and paste from a journal website. Many of us can even concoct our own motherhood statements if pressed. And what possible contribution does this make?

    So, you’ve flown in and provided an excellent cases study of the arrogance that created the fox fiasco. If you are not prepared to objectively consider the merits and ethos of science and other scientists I suggest that you are no scientists who gives a toss about the social obligations of public institutions. The kids at the Bronx High School seem to have more of an idea about the values that scientists should protect and defend. For someone rafting into legal and evidence based issues with their ore always at the ready and their PhD hoisted high upon a flag, I wonder if some self reflection might be in order?

  33. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 6, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Dear members of the ‘Foxless Tasmanian Society’,

    I expressed what I believe to have been the correct and professional approach (by submitting a publication in the same journal and addressing Dr Sarre’s paper; I showed you that there exists a Forum type of publication that would have been the relevant section of the Journal had you done it within the 12 months of the publication of Sarre’s paper; I told you that you might have a valid ground for convincing the Journal Editor to allow you to submit a Forum article; I also expressed that I wasn’t impressed by the approach that some people have taken, etc). I think that your focus of disappointment, frustration, etc ought to be with the government department in your state that was responsible (rather than with a university academic).

    University academics are responsible to their employer, their students and the body that provides them with research grants – they have a lot on their plate and do a great job (I have interacted with academics for a good part of my scientific career in the Dept of Defence via various research projects that I was supervising on behalf of my then employer). Although I went through an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree it wasn’t until I started interacting with academics at a professional working level did I realise their full range of responsibility (I assisted on one occasion, as a partner investigator, in putting together an application for a research grant – it was through that experience that I learned how competitive it is to get a research grant). Scientists in the Public service (I was one 3 decades) have it relatively easy and do not have to worry about seeking research grants (but do not have the same academic freedom).

    Now, I think it best that you to carry on with your business without any further input from me whilst I am moving onto greener pastures.

    Best wishes,

  34. Ian Rist

    November 6, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Jack, Dave, William, Garry, Spikey and many others…..

    But who will do anything about this disgraceful situation?

    None of the political parties want to engage, it is being treated by all with extreme caution for fear of themselves becoming individually tainted with this poisoned chalice.
    A disgraceful saga in Tasmanian History that will end in disaster for some.
    This abuse of taxpayers funds and the associated level of contempt for the people has no precedent.

  35. Ian Rist

    November 6, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Re # 252
    “I stand to be corrected but it seems Mr Rist was the only fox-critic to be interviewed”. Is that correct?

    David I was interviewed by Deborah Blackman and her assistant Amy Corcoran at the Gateway Hotel in Devonport.
    The whole interview was recorded.
    I am not sure who else was interviewed on their trip to Tasmania, they didn’t say.

    At the time I was being interviewed by quite a few people including Journalists, the ABC T/V also did a 7.30 Report.
    Fox scats had been in the news for some time as I had raised the contentious fox scat issue at the Parliamentary Accounts Committee Inquiry.
    That is the one were Dr Sarre’s colleague Dr Peacock had said at the PAC Inquiry that I must be ‘smoking something’ to suggest fox scats were coming into Tasmania and being put out in the Tasmanian landscape !

    I detected at the time that the Acting Dean Blackman of Canberra University was very nervous about the whole affair, the reason I guess was they knew then that their funding could be in seriously affected if this fox scat issue became general knowledge.
    My guess is they were on a ‘fishing trip’ to find out exactly how much myself and others knew about the Tasmanian fox scat issue.. They were aware that I had been informed about fox scats being exported to Tasmania by NSW Game Council and Government employees.
    For some time after I tried to engage by email with Blackman and Corcoran but I was met with a wall of silence.
    Standard practice by Canberra University and others including successive Tasmanian Governments and their bureaucrats it would seem.

  36. David Obendorf

    November 6, 2017 at 10:42 am

    It seems the greatest difficultly for those individuals who continued – year after year – to confidently assert that the fox evidence was overwhelming has been their inability to admit that their statements were simply wrong.

    It appears that currently no scientist or local public servant spokesperson Is now willing to vouch for the evidence collected in Tasmania over a period well over a decade. The Journal of Applied Ecology awaits information from DPIPWE and now it seems that responsibility has shifted to the Tasmanian Integrity Commission.

    There is a very long list of individuals who are now missing in action on this matter. Normally individuals who feel they may have been misled with questionable evidence have a short window of opportunity and time in which to use their own connections to analyse whether their suspicions are well-founded. But surely once they conclude that critical data is unreliable and unsound it is their ethical obligation to announce their position and correct the record.

    Dr Tony Peacock, the former Chief Executive Officer for the invasive Animals CRC, took public exception to Mr Rist’s comments on scat fabrication, and he wrote to a Tasmanian newspaper on at least two occasions ridiculing Mr Rist’s assertion that the fox scats recovered by the Government fox scat collectors could be fabricated. Dr Stephen Sarre was the molecular biologist whose laboratory in the University of Canberra tested the carnivore faecal samples that DPIPWE staff sent him. He declined to allow any independent scientist to examine the data he used to publish his ‘foxes are now widespread’ paper in December 2012. Mr Craig Elliott, the last Manager of Fox Eradication Program informed Mr Ivan Dean and me in 2011 that the program he managed was ‘bunkered’ and unable to gain community support. He gave us both the understanding he wanted to examine why the public criticism for the official fox hunt continued in the face of evidence previous FEP managers had accepted.

    We now know that Mr Elliott, as the new manager in 2011, commissioned Simon Fearn – an FEP scientist – to review the physical evidence on which the program relied heavily, namely the Fox-DNA positive samples. Mr Fearn’s reports remained secret until released in 2015. It beggars credulity to suggest that Mr Fearn’s reports were not discussed by the highest levels of the FEP and also then referred to the Technical Advisory Committee where Dr Sarre was a representative. Remember, the TAC was set up to oversee the physical evidence, and we cannot forget the executive of DPIPWE, the Secretary of the Department at the time Kim Evans and the deputy Secretary (now Secretary) John Whittington – were they informed?

    And did Amy Corcoran, Deborah Blackman and Stephen Sarre, the authors of the ‘where does the doubt emerge’ paper that commenced their interviews in late 2011, interview Mr Simon Fearn? And did these researchers get to read his internal reports? And did they also interview Mr Elliott to understand perhaps why, as manager, he had asked Mr Fearn to conduct these analyses?

    It seems for a very long time now the [i]onus of proof[/i] has been reversed. The so-called fox critics have had to demonstrate piece by piece that the physical evidence relied upon by DPIPWE for their fox-less Fox Eradication Program was unsound. Normally an individual who publishes peer-reviewed science would gladly provide any interested fellow scientist access to their data and results. In this case neither Dr Sarre’s laboratory nor DPIPWE have been prepared to do so. In my opinion, their silence is deafening.

    Of course one is left with the over-arching question: how could a Government agency that proclaims to use evidence-based risk assessment allow such an unsound program to continue to operate for well over a decade and a half when faced with such proof of malfeasance?

  37. William Boeder

    November 6, 2017 at 1:17 am

    #249. Dr Peter Lozo please pardon my confusion and the basis of my following question which is, are you being employed by the Tasmanian State government in any supportive capacity, such as to support the State’s case against the SNF “found guilty” accomplished verdict?

    Then your entry into the Tasmanian Fox hoax with your conjectures.

    Your extensive commentary on the SNF case alone seems to favour the State government decided official line is to be relied upon and roundly trusted.

    (Given there has been scant State Department of Justice equivocated rulings proffered to appease the public conjecture.)

    In each of the 2 above rather serious case matters, the majority of Tasmanians are indeed reluctant to accept the State of Tasmania government “official-line” on each of these still hugely controversial case matters.

    Tasmania’s Fox hoax “facts” (as opposed to the extenuated claims relied upon by the DPIPWE as some form of convincing evidence) yet this hoax held all the markings of a State government engineered program to rid this State of a something, a something that has been overwhelmingly proven not to exist nor did it exist right from the very beginning of this Fox farrago.

    The SNF case ‘circumstantial evidence only’ yet her conviction was seemingly helped along with the implied message held within the presiding judge’s – in my opinion – prosecution-favoured summary as directed to the jury panel. (Or call it a power of suggestion as so directed to the jury panel.)

    Court judges are not entitled to hurl hypothetical Director of Public Prosecution hypotheticals or ponderable unfounded inferences to the jury, as if they are to be countenanced as unarguable fact.
    This same applies to the Fox presence.

    These 2 case matters have the same “air of the artificial” yet there has been no irrevocable facts established to support any conclusive acceptance, or even some measure of credible acceptance of justice being honorably delivered.

    The usage of laws themselves that were set into motion in both the above case matters were in themselves just as malleable or re-formable as the precious metals of Gold and Platinum when being offered as regulation Bullion.


  38. David Obendorf

    November 6, 2017 at 1:01 am

    For the record, I want to let the TT fox commenters know that in January 2011 the researcher – [b]Amy Corcoran[/b] – from the University of Canberra emailed me to say she would be in Tasmania to interview invited persons. She emailed me to ascertain whether I would be available for an interview and to arrange a time. I replied promptly and agreed to be interviewed and I passed on my contact details.

    Her invitation email outlining the scope of their project was: [i]’We are focusing on the decisions points and actions taken in order to understand how scientific knowledge was utilised in the decision making process … it is important to us to hear from critics of the Fox-Free Taskforce/ Fox Eradication Program to gain a balanced view of it all – as I’m sure you understand. If we only hear from FEP staff and their associates then we will have biased data.'[/i]

    I was somewhat surprised that we didn’t get to meet, and then bewildered to receive another email from Amy after she had returned to Canberra: [i]’I recently found out that some emails I had sent to people previously did not get through. We will be conducting phone interviews with people were we unable to meet with in Tasmania. Please let me know if you are willing to be interviewed, as we would love to hear your opinions.'[/i]

    Despite my willingness to take part in her project, the researcher didn’t interview me.

    So … did the researcher really want to interview a number of fox-critics, or to only give the impression that attempts were made to contact them?

    I stand to be corrected but it seems Mr Rist was the only fox-critic to be interviewed. Is that correct?

    Did Ms Cororan interview Dr Clive Marks?

    If her data set of interviews with fox-critics is just one interview, how does that affect Amy’s concern that her data wasn’t ‘biased’ by interviews with Fox Program participants?

  39. spikey

    November 6, 2017 at 12:35 am

    ‘I’m wanting some reasoned argument for why scientists who act like this are off limits to taxpayers, voters and members of a community.’

    because tas inc needs them to add cred to their disgraceful fascist corporate behaviour, and they been busy bullying dissenters out of the public service and stocking it with yes-men for years.

    planned since kiddy overboard howards days at least

    compared to the fossil fuel, agri-chemical and pharma shills, these patsies are lightweights, most just wanted an easy job and were willing to toe the line, and if coal can be clean and climate change a joke, what’s a fox or 2, or some shit on the seafloor, or a few trees… everyone knows they grow back

  40. Ian Rist

    November 5, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    For someone who claims to have very little time you seem to cover a lot of ground.
    ‘Dr Peter’ I have had ‘experts’ try to discourage me from putting the Tasmanian fox truth out there and many ‘bricks in the wall’ have come and gone.
    With I might add, not one single Tasmanian fox drugged, mugged, shot, trapped, recovered from a stupid,ill-advised and dangerous to native wildlife and peoples pets 1080 poison campaign.
    Finally not one live Tasmanian fox even photographed in the Island State of Tasmania.

    Your latest efforts have turned me off reading your input into the fox thread, you have become personal and that indicates to me certain observations…………
    Your comment # 246 (2) Feral type pad etc etc.
    I wonder how ‘Dr’ Porkie Peacock feels now about his fox poo in a Tasmanian paddock diatribe?
    You sir, now look like a purveyor of foolish statements.

    At the end of the day I have been proven time and time again to be correct and the fox scam apologists to be wrong.
    In fact I would say I have known since about 2002 that this was simply a scam to extort funding, a giant crock of fox poo one might say.

  41. Jack

    November 5, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    #248 … Thanks Peter,

    Perhaps you have misread this bit of Aussie cricket vernacular? It means to allow an issue to pass unchallenged. It’s not a reference to you, nor an attack.

    However, I don’t understand your position. If the Sarre paper is already under review by the journal and several people have in the past published various papers (one in that same journal I think) contesting the findings of Sarre, what’s the point of others putting in another commentary?

    Everyone is awaiting the findings of the Tasmanian Integrity Commission and that is worth keeping in mind, for it too has an impact upon the merit of what you are suggesting.

    Let’s say (for example) that there was an unrelated criminal case that used contested forensic evidence. How pleased is the court going to be if commentary was published refuting it while the court was deliberating? What journal is going to publish a commentary if it is awaiting a court outcome?

    The point is, none of this needed to happen if the author of the paper that made the claims “foxes are widespread in Tasmania” had opened themselves up to normal review and acted as scientists should. As Ivo Edwards indicated (#244) and as Garry Stannus has demonstrated quite clearly by way of that Orwellian paper he unearthed (#243) this is an extraordinary situation that cannot be ignored.

    Is this science? Is this how it works these days? Because we are all buggered if it is.

    With respect, you keep avoiding my question. Is this the sort of scientific conduct that you support and approve of?

    To be quite frank, I think Mr Rist can unburden himself the way he sees fit. As far as I know he has not received $ millions in public funding nor does he work in a public institution (correct me if I am wrong). So I’m not sure how he can be held to a higher standard while we should be offended when the proponent and beneficiary of equivocal science is asked to uphold standards and be accountable.

    An explanation and a ‘sorry’ would have gone a long way once. I fear not now.

    I’m wanting some reasoned argument for why scientists who act like this are off limits to taxpayers, voters and members of a community. After all, these are the same people who maintained that “we are the experts” and people like Mr Rist and Dr Obendorf are cranks, conspiracy theorists, nutters and anti-Tasmanians. It’s all there in that Orwellian paper for everyone to see.

    Are you really going to berate Mr Rist but go silent on Dr Sarre? It seems more than a tad unfair to me.

  42. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 5, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    #245 Jack

    “keeper” … huh

    it is better than “zealot” as I was described on the fox blog by someone else but isn’t as good as “the voice of reason” used by someone on the SNF blog.


    Ps: check out #122


  43. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 5, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Ian, Ivo, Jack,..

    Based on my quick look at the Journal of Applied Ecology I see that they have 3 Article types:

    1. Research Article
    2. Forum
    3. Commentary

    My belief is that a submission to Forum is what you would need to have done (These are short communications presenting opinions on, or responses to, material published in the journal. Reanalysis of the original data presented in the focal article is encouraged, however new data should not generally be presented. Forums should be submitted in a timely manner).

    But ideally within 12 months of publication of the original article.

    You can probably argue for acceptance on the basis of the recent developments, etc.



    Journal of Applied Ecology

    Article types
    Research Article: Should not exceed 7000 words. See Manuscript specifications below.
    Review: Provide timely syntheses of topical themes. They should also offer new insights or perspectives to guide future research efforts. Reviews should not exceed 8000 words inclusive of all parts of the paper, as above. We particularly welcome reviews that set a clear agenda for future research within the focal area. Reviews are written in essay format with the subject headings selected according to the content of the manuscript. The abstract, author contributions, data accessibility and references sections should be formatting according to Research Article specifications, below.

    Forum: These are short communications presenting opinions on, or responses to, material published in the journal. Reanalysis of the original data presented in the focal article is encouraged, however new data should not generally be presented. Forums should be submitted in a timely manner, ideally within 12 months of publication of the original article. Forum articles will be assessed by the journal Editorial Board and, if deemed to be of sufficient broad interest to our readership, will usually be sent for external peer review. If accepted, they will be held from publication while the authors of the original article are invited to respond. Authors of the original article are not required to write a forum response and are given a set time frame if they choose to do so. If accepted, both Forum articles will then be published together in an issue. If factual errors with the data or analyses presented in the original article come to light, these will be investigated before publication of the Forum article(s) and a correction notice will be published either instead of or as well as the Forum article(s).

    Commentary: These articles stimulate debate in the ecological community. They should be short contributions up to 4000 words and offering conceptual advance, opinion, or identifying gaps in knowledge. Articles should be written in essay format with the subject headings selected according to the content of the manuscript. The abstract, author contributions, data accessibility and references sections should be formatted according to Research Article specifications, below.

  44. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 5, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Dear all,

    I don’t have much free time to address your comments to me but will make some time after working hours within the next few days.

    Just very briefly: I was working late last night on the Neill-Fraser case (as you can see by a number of my recent comments last 24 hours) but did find 30 mins spare around midnight during a coffee break to do some background research on the fox issue. I wanted to go back to the beginning. Since Ian Rist appears to have a long history with the fox issue I searched for some of his comments. I was very surprised (in fact shocked) by what I learned on the following two sites:

    1. Foxes: Statement by Ian Rist


    2. http://feral.typepad.com/feral_thoughts/2009/02/if-you-found-a-fox-poo-in-a-paddock-in-tasmania-would-you-think-there-was-a-fox-in-the-vicinity-somewhere—not-if-you-were.html

    Whilst not an extensive research in any sense of the word I think that for a 30 minute search through the internet I managed to get a reasonably good idea of where Ian is coming from. I was also very surprised by his reaction to Judith (he did not take her seriously at all not does it appear that he attempted to meet her to dicsuss her sighting and follow it up further, etc). It is as if Ian was absolutely certain that she was mistaken as to what she saw (even though a trained dog picked on the fox urine). Her last post was:

    ”It’s interesting to have people ridicule what you know you saw! If I had seen a piece of fruit riddled with fruit fly there would be an immediate positive response from the public to rid ourselves of this pest.

    We did the responsible thing and reported the fox immediately and have received a lot of negative comments as a result. It would be reprehensible to not report it and to allow foxes to establish here.”


    Now, I am not criticising Ian. But if a person gets the sort of ridicule that Judith got then why is a scientist (such as Dr Sarre) supposed to take Ian seriously?

  45. Jack

    November 5, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    After reading the article ‘Are There Really Foxes: Where Does The Doubt Emerge?’ without hyperbole I see Orwellian overtones.


    Are these people really trying to suggest that those who are sceptical of Sarre’s work (i.e. his own truth generated by his own hand) need to be the subjects of a government propaganda campaign to change their ‘mental models’?

    How on earth can a university publish a paper where a scientist is attacking his critics as being unable to comprehend his own version of the truth? It would be bad enough had Sarre been right, but it is shocking with hindsight. Really shocking.

    Is this the sort of behaviour that Dr Lozo is defending? Is this how scientists conduct themselves? Is this what we must all respect? We have to let this go to the keeper Dr Lozo?

  46. Ivo Edwards

    November 5, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Re #239 and various … Now, now, Dr Lozo – don’t be so self-assured please about your convictions: “but I am very well versed about the proper way of offering a critique on a published scientific paper – by a formal publication in the same journal” Well, as far as the J Appld. Ecology is concerned, they do not simply publish letters questioning the validity of various research articles. Many of us have written to the publishers detailing our concerns dating back to early 2013. We have also politely written to the scientists (Sarre et al) several times requesting detailed responses to our concerns, also to no avail in just refusing to answer emails. So then, your conclusion:” this is what I consider to be inappropriate and is a smear campaign against a professional scientist” doesn’t to me seem very logical and at all evidence based.

    Re #242 … Well said Garry – my sentiments exactly

  47. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    November 5, 2017 at 10:49 am

    In #225 … Ian referred to the Blackman, Corcoran and Sarre (2013) article Are There Really Foxes: Where Does The Doubt Emerge? [Here] In that article, the authors recommended unspecified ‘change management’ as a means of combating the trenchant criticism, [see “… high profile voices raising doubts as to their [i.e. foxes] presence”] that the ‘Fox Free Tasmania Taskforce’, later rebadged as the ‘Fox Eradication Program’ (FEP), had received.

    I can say that that paper did not appeal to me, for – in my opinion, Editor – it suffered from the very same defect that the Sarre 2012* ‘Foxes are now Widespread …’ paper contained. That is, just as the ‘Foxes Widespread…’ paper failed as a piece of science because it did not question the provenance of the scats that it identified as containing fox DNA, so too did the ‘…Where Does the Doubt Emerge?’ paper fail, for – in my opinion – the authors failed to re-examine their “apparently strong scientific and anecdotal evidence” in the light of the various criticisms made of it over the then preceding 10 years.

    The ‘… Where does the Doubt Emerge?’ paper was, in my view, all about managing the onslaught of criticism that the FEP and its predecessor had received. It is also clear that its authors had Messrs Marks, Obendorf and Rist in their sights. I cannot read that paper without always feeling – regretfully – that Stephen Sarre and his co-authors, were in denial:

    “The process of establishing what is leading to doubt enables a change manager to consider alternative knowledge transfer, communication and implementation strategies which directly address the alterations of mental models.”

    You see, it’s a top-down/one-way ‘alternative knowledge transfer’ that is being called for. No suggestion of listening to the criticism and taking it on board where appropriate. No ‘perhaps we are wrong’ introspection in this paper, just … ‘how can we find other ways to get the message across, to get our knowledge into their thick heads’.

    To think that Stephen Sarre could put his name to a paper which advocated the changing of critics’ “mental models” without any indication of a reciprocal preparedness, while to all intents and purposes being unwilling to engage with the criticisms … is just plain disappointing. I wish that he would come down out of his ‘ivory tower’ and engage.

    * my ‘Sarre 2012’ is referred to in the literature as ‘Sarre 2013’, though I think/thought that it was published in December 2012.

  48. Ian Rist

    November 5, 2017 at 9:54 am

    # 241 Peter
    Please note para. 1 in # 237 and answer para. 2 in # 237.
    Please answer #240.

  49. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 5, 2017 at 12:13 am

    #240m Ian

    Is it not clear that we are talking about the ‘please explain’ statement that is in the communication from the Editor of the journal to the author of the paper and which you (and a select few) are privy to (by being “in-confidence”).

  50. Ian Rist

    November 4, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Re # 235 Peter
    You ask.
    Is it really appropriate for some of that ‘in-confidence’ information (such as what you provided on this forum about the content of the Editor’s communication to Dr Sarre) to be stated in a public forum such as this one?
    “such as what you provided on this forum about the content of the Editor’s communication to Dr Sarre”

    Exactly what content are you referring to and where provided?

  51. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 4, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    #234 Ian

    If your reason for writing “Any person that believes the 2012 claim of Sarre ‘foxes are now well established in Tasmania’ is either easily led, is in on the ‘cream licking’ and/or has virtually no knowledge of the Tasmanian outdoors.” is because you believe that it addresses my question then please re-read my question to you.

    If your reason for that sentence is because you believe that I fall in that group of people then you are assuming. You are in fact incorrect Mr Rist. Shall I remind you of one of my TT posts on another TT fox related blog of months ago?

    It ought to be obvious to you from one of my comments months ago on another TT fox blog that the results of the police investigation made up my mind and hence why I actually wrote “looks like Ian Rist was correct” ?

    The professional approach is for you (and your colleagues) to submit a Letter to the Editor (a proper scientific based latter that typically gets reviewed and published in the journal) and then Dr Sarre is likely to respond by a follow-up Letter to the Editor.

    The way you guys are approaching this is what I consider to be inappropriate and is a smear campaign against a professional scientist. I might be very naive about the fox issue in your state but I am very well versed about the proper way of offering a critique on a published scientific paper –
    by a formal publication in the same journal. I am also aware that a certain department in your state bears a lot of responsibility and it is up to them to provide Dr Sarre with a report that he can then use to correct his own report.

  52. spikey

    November 4, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    ‘Why should scientists who cross that line be treated with kid gloves? What you are writing goes close to suggesting that the people involved with a fraud should be left alone to deal with it in the way they see fit. I’m afraid I find that disturbing, given the manner in which these claims were central to a very controversial program.’

    Manipulating ‘science’ to suit commercial and political interests is how most fascist roll, and most peeps keep their jobs, jobs, jobs in tasmania

    World’s best practice forestry and fish farming doesn’t just roll off a spin-doctor’s tongue.They base their claims on peer reviewed sausage sighence. Yay …

    Lucky us.

  53. Jack

    November 4, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    #223 … If it’s any help the expression of concern seems to spell out what the journal is concerned about. Several articles have appeared in the press here and at least one MP’s letter to the journal was posted on TT (or another site) so I would think that most of the details about what is being contested are in the public domain.

    Perhaps you can let us know about a key issue of science publishing? Is it normal for scientists to accept data collected for them by parties not under their direct supervision and then claim that they are valid data that support a fact?

    It seems to be the case that various people employed by the Tas government sent on scats to a lab in Canberra. I had thought that the leader of a scientific study had to be in the position to vouch for the authenticity of data and assure the manner under which data was collected. Or do scientists regularly use data supplied by 3rd parties on a trust basis? That seems mighty strange to me.

    Overall, I don’t see this as a matter dealing with the criticism of a scientist’s own research as much as concern for the probity of the providers of the so-called ‘data’. Researchers can’t be precious about this. It was arguably not their data and it was a public program that involved the state government that we elect ministers to oversee. The claims impacted upon public funds and values, policy and natural assets. The authors used the media to make certain and unequivocal claims of fact that were wrong, so there is little use that they now try and hide behind a wall of ‘academic freedom’.

    When you insert yourself into the machinery of policy and make claims of fact without any moderation, you’ve crossed the line where your science is no longer academic. You can’t have this both ways. Or what next? Will we have scientists taking data from the homeopathy industry and then making claims about how to cure cancer? Will we leave the same authors to sort out whether they want to moderate their claims and withdraw their paper?

    And what of the journal that publishes dodgy claims of fact? What’s their social obligation?

    Why should scientists who cross that line be treated with kid gloves? What you are writing goes close to suggesting that the people involved with a fraud should be left alone to deal with it in the way they see fit. I’m afraid I find that disturbing, given the manner in which these claims were central to a very controversial program.

  54. William Boeder

    November 4, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    233. Dr Peter Lozo I write to you respectfully in that I am well aware of your persistence to seek answers to matters of which are contentious and defy the normal or the average ‘run of the mill events’ that occur in their various guises, more especially where the only evidence available is power of suggestion circumstantial evidence, which then ‘seems’ to allow for the determination of whoever it may be that this must be the guilty person.
    Just as an aside there are many professional scientists that are employed by companies that are best referred to as the “Big Pharmaceutical manufacturers” that market their products all around the Globe.
    From time to time the ‘Big Pharma’ corporations
    are called to account due to the falsity or even of the laxity contained in their implied test results.
    These test results are often-times tested on animals as well as people from 3rd World countries, while this testing regimen of same also applies to international cosmetic manufacturers.
    The whole dang lot of these corporate giants undertake a contracted-out testing regimen in countries outside the Western countries of this World.
    In my speaking to a young Australian woman who claimed herself to be the person responsible for all their in-store marketing of their products and the training of their specialist cosmeticians, one of her throwaway comments was to the effect that “our company does not conduct any tests on animals or creatures of any kind so therefore this enables us to corner that portion of the market where there is a huge resistance to animal testing all their products.”

    So in one sense this indicates the abhorrence toward the animal testing of products, all well and good, however this does not auger well for those professional scientists in those other countries that undertake these contractual objectives and thereby deliver their animal test results.
    I cast no dispersions upon your character nor your fidelity, so lets be clear on this matter.

    Yet there is known to be found so often in the guile of major corporate stratagems today “that not is all what we are told it is and that we must believe.”
    Notwithstanding that our World of today is a vastly better place thanks to the efforts of a number of extraordinarily remarkable professional scientists.
    It is here where we now defer to the substance material relied upon to perpetuate the myth of Foxes in Tasmania, all Fox scat test results were conducted by professional scientists, as we are told to believe.
    Over a period of time these since referred to “imported into Tasmania” Fox scats were then sent back to the mainland for scientific testing of these very same scats.
    Then came the mixed results revelation some time later, however there was no conclusive or absolute finality that would enable these Fox scats to be branded as specific to this State of origin, hoaxed as they were, as there never was or were any actual Tasmanian originating Fox scats in existence to enable the claim of resultant scientific tested conclusive proof to the presence of Foxes local to Tasmania.

  55. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 4, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    #232 Ian

    There are many people on here (including me) who aren’t in confidence with respect to the communication between the Editor of the Journal of Applied Ecology and Dr Sarre. Is it really appropriate for some of that ‘in-confidence’ information (such as what you provided on this forum about the content of the Editor’s communication to Dr Sarre) to be stated in a public forum such as this one?

  56. Ian Rist

    November 4, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Any person that believes the 2012 claim of Sarre ‘foxes are now well established in Tasmania’ is either easily led, is in on the ‘cream licking’ and/or has virtually no knowledge of the Tasmanian outdoors.

    I have been through this all before, many times, but I will back my outdoor experience, my spotlighting, shooting ability and hunting expertise against anyone that wants to step up.

    That experience tells me after all these fox less years that the Sarre claim was nothing short of ridiculous and bizarre.

  57. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 4, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    #231 Mr Boeder,

    My question was addressed specifically to Mr Rist because he provided me with some information I wasn’t aware off.

    I have no bias against Mr Rist. However, I find it very unusual that non-authors of a published paper would know the content of communication between the Editor of the journal and the paper author (and then use that information in a public forum such as this one to basically feed a negative perception of a professional scientist).

  58. Ian Rist

    November 4, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Re # 230 Peter.
    I am in direct communications with the British Ecological Society, the Journal of Applied Ecology, State Politicians, Federal MP’s, Federal Senators and others which are in confidence.
    Thank you.

  59. William Boeder

    November 3, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    #230. Dr Peter Lozo, many are the events and circumstances where some leakage of information be it innocuous information or information “only for those in-house pompous persons as there is something that has gone awry” in that this is information that the government would not make like to learn that it has since become public information, if so then so be it.
    In my view, someone in even suggesting that the person who had become the later recipient of information, that in itself cannot be a cause for or a claim for a contempt action against the said recipient.

    Now one has to or must, look at the matter of such a bombast of privilege that has “over the ages” been granted to certain professional occupations, which in my opinion, provide an unfair means of gaining a special advantage over another…. where no special advantage is or should be due.

    The current state of affairs in this present time has executive board members of major corporations, expecting a special privilege such as exists today among the major Australian Bank appointed executive board directors.

    (The Commonwealth Bank immediately springs from one’s mind and it is in the present CBA Bank situation based on the severity of breaches that can be traced back to those very persons that seek a special privilege of not being held to account.)

    Add to that the differences between Commercial Law, Civil Law then the aspect of Australia’s Common Law, then that of State law. (Which is best termed as Statute law.)
    Here below is a link for your self to consider the various aspects of privilege, then `”rules of discretion” allowed to specific legal appointed roles such as Court Judges, Director of Public Prosecutions, or Senior Counsel appointees filling that role, then of one not often mentioned but still relevant, is where an “apprehended bias” is extant which can be held by either or both these 2 office specific appointments.

    I am unable to disassociate your reference as per your comment above being somewhat of an apprehended bias against the information recipient.

  60. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 3, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    #228 Ian

    Thanks. I wish I had time to get into this. Out of curiosity may I ask how is it that you are privy to the content of communication from that Journal to Dr Sarre and the relevant academic institution given that you aren’t a co-author of that paper?

  61. Ian Rist

    November 3, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Some of the old Tasmanian Times articles appear to be right on the money.
    Definitely worth a revisit.


    Some of the comments are just gems.

  62. Ian Rist

    November 3, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Re # 226.
    “Even so, there shouldn’t be any expectancy on Dr Sarre to do anything until he has received a formal report to which he can respond”

    I don’t think there could be any request more ‘official’ than the Ecological Journal (British Ecological Society) writing directly to Sarre and the Canberra university for a ‘please explain ?
    Also an ‘Expression of Concern’ lodged by the Journal would set off alarm bells even in Sarre and the Canberra University.
    They are avoiding the issue as is the DPIPWE and the Tasmanian Government, they all are hoping the plebs will just forget about it and it will ‘go away’.
    There is a lot at stake here for the Canberra University, the DPIPWE and the Tasmanian Government(s)

    Re # 227 I would think he would be hard to track down at the moment as he is touring the World as Chairperson of the ‘Save the Devil foundation’
    Assisting him and travelling with him is his partner … the former head girl of the Tasmanian Fox Eradication Program.

    Posted by Ian Rist on 04/11/17 at 07:55 AM

  63. William Boeder

    November 3, 2017 at 12:17 am

    #224. Ian, since that false set of statements related to the Fox Farce in Tasmania were from the very same person that signed all of Tasmania’s fundings and what not else Michael Aird had claimed post that farcical set of statements, then that somehow he had accidently been awarded an AO Medal.
    Supposedly this award was to do with something labeled as being of a “conspicuous merit” yet nobody in Tasmania has any idea of what merit this refers to.

    Given that these 2 events had involved the former treasurer, I wonder if he has returned the unwarranted AO medal award that he had then taken possession of, despite that it was received by Michael Aird when it could only have been sent in some kind of stupid and inappropriate mistaken circumstances?
    I have yet to receive a reply to my letter sent to the outfit that is responsible for the erroneous medal being sent from the mainland government awards bunker.
    Who could dare to be the nominee for such a devious undertaking?


  64. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 2, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    #223 Jack

    Thanks for that info.

    Even so, there shouldn’t be any expectancy on Dr Sarre to do anything until he has received a formal report to which he can respond (by asking the Editor to retract his paper or by writing a corrected version of his original paper). A retraction of a published scientifc report does not look good when applying for future research grants.

    This is all fun but I don’t have time to get into the nitty gritty of this intersting issue (I live in Adeliade). My main interest on TT is the Susan Neill-Fraser case but I do read about the fox issue from time to time.


  65. Ian Rist

    November 2, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    In simplicity the reason the Tasmanian fox scam/fraud has survived is because there is no political will and therefore no Police or Judiciary involvement that isn’t carefully managed and sanitized.
    All political parties in Tasmania are avoiding any fox transparency like vampires avoid sunlight.
    They don’t want the truth to come out because:

    (A) it is simply too embarrassing.

    (B) they are terrified they may have to pay the money back or at the very least it could jeopardize any future Bio security funding.

    (C) there are too many big egos involved.

    I remember it was in April 2008 that I was officially told by a NSW Government person that fox scats were coming into Tasmania in large quantities.
    I then put out a few inquiries through several channels and very soon I was paid a visit from the Acting Dean of Canberra University where the fox scat DNA testers have their laboratory.

    Those researchers Amy Cocoran and Deborah Blackman (Acting Dean) came to Tasmania supported with funding from the Invasive Animal CRC to interview fox program supporters and critics.

    After completing their interviews they wrote a paper co-authored with Steven Sarre – the lead-scientist involved in the DNA testing of Tasmanian carnivore scats – in the Journal of Knowledge Management Practice entitled:
    Are there really foxes: Where does the doubt emerge?

    Any other criminal activity in Tasmania that received so much public scrutiny and long running requests for transparency from people would surely have been treated with ‘due diligence’ and natural justice.
    We will just have to see how hard we can squeeze all concerned leading up to the 2018 election.

  66. Ian Rist

    November 2, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    An interesting piece from an old TT article


    Some interesting names in that who’s who.

    Also comment # 17 in this TT article is worth a review.


    Actually Michael Aird is recorded in L/C Hansard on the 12TH OCTOBER 2004 (and gave in my opinion a totally evasive answer) “late in 2001 information was received” Ridiculous Mr Aird, your Government was aware in July 2001 from the Police letters the facts concerning the alleged importation and release of 11 plus 8 cubs….a feeble attempt to turn an event into another event they claim they never learnt of until “late 2001.”
    Also an answer given by someone not even smart enough to avoid mentioning the two lots of fox cubs.
    Who ever supplied Michael Aird with that statement was being either totally deceitful or was ignorant of the facts. My guess is the former.
    From the 12th October 2004 L/C Hansard:
    This is what Michael Aird, Leader of the Bacon Labor Government in the Legislative Council said in reply to a question from Tony Fletcher, MLC for Murchison in 2004.
    From L/C Hansard 12th October 2004.
    Hansard excerpt:

    “Information received in late 2001 identified three persons allegedly involved in smuggling 11 fox cubs into Tasmania in September 2000. The information also stated that a mixture of male and female cubs had been selected for breeding purposes.”

  67. Jack

    November 2, 2017 at 4:49 pm


    It might be of interest for you to know that the journal has issues an ‘expression of concern’ for the paper in questions.


    There is also an Integrity Commission investigation into the program and this matter is central to it.

    Two reports authored by one of the fox program’s own scientists in 2009 and 2011/12 were also made public by a right to information request (by whom, I have no idea). These reports made it clear that fraud and error were identified way back before the Sarre paper was published. It even named the persons concerned.

    DPIPWE had its own internal investigation, then dropped it when the persons concerned resigned (see this thread).

    There has only been only silence from the University of Canberra. Perhaps they have been busy on other publicly funded work.

    Silence may be golden, but it becomes quite brown-looking and smelly under these conditions.

  68. Dr Peter Lozo

    November 2, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    The standard and the professional practice is for an author of a published paper whose data, results or conclusions are questionable is to address those criticisms once they are published, generally in the same journal. I haven’t followed the relevant literature so I don’t know if anyone has published an article or a letter in the same journal for Dr Sarre to respond to. If not then do not expect Dr Sarre to do anything.

  69. William Boeder

    November 2, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    #218. Jack you have stated in the clearest of terms of those that are full guilty in their renouncement of all moral principles to try to cover up their involvement in this fraudulent Fox Farce in this State.
    Matters of this kind one would expect in places like Malaysia with its alleged theft of Billions of dollars by the country’s own Prime Minister, or among the Taib Mahmud family who have placed themselves at the head of the State of Sarawak.


    Please note the photo of Hamed Sepawi appearing in the above URL (he being the major shareholder of Ta Ann in Tasmania and who this State government have formed their alliance with both of these persons and their business interests in this South East Asian region of our World) he is actually the 1st Cousin of the World’s second most corrupted Asian State Regent.

    There are a great many news headline events available that provide the facts of Hydro Tasmania’s then subsidiary water company located in this State, bearing its Tasmania headquarters found within the information that appears in the below URL pdf.
    I will leave this evidence to the contributors of this forum with the advice to read the first 9 pages of this 2012 Hydro Tasmania Annual Report.
    (Barely a 2 minute task.)

    The 9 pages in themselves expose the crude contradictions as are contained in this official 2112 Annual Report.
    The Tasmanian Fox Farce was in its beginnings and throughout its lengthy term of false and fallacious deceptions engaged in by this State of Tasmania government ties in with the proof of the deceptions relating to the murky dealings between Taib Mahmud and Hamed Sepawi with the Tasmanian State government.
    One must of course realize that Senator Eric Abetz is also fully supportive of these clandestine business dealings with the rogue State of Sarawak, then that of the secretive liaisons between the Ta Ann timber company and this State government.

    The content held in the 2 above URLs identifies the unconscionable dealings engaged in by Tasmania’s State Lib/Lab “joined at the hip” State government ministers, these dealings being detrimental to the best interests of the citizens of Tasmania.

    The information gleaned about these facts as stated in the above, were all found available on the World Wide Web internet, so there can be no disputation nor denial to the veracity of facts which I have here presented.

    William Boeder.

  70. Ian Rist

    November 2, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Best practice at deceiving and treating taxpayers and voters like fools.
    They all will be remembered come election time.
    Each day they are slipping deeper into the quagmire.

  71. Jack

    November 2, 2017 at 3:32 am

    Everyone makes mistakes. Much admiration should be had for anyone who falls upon their sword. They have earned a second chance in doing so. But no credit is due to a person or institution dragged kicking and screaming to be thrown upon it by others.

    Those who must be forced to do their duty should never be admired or trusted again. You only ever cash in your principles once. It’s not possible to buy them back on a sunny day or you cheapen the currency for others who work hard to keep theirs. There are plenty of principled people in Tasmania.

    Lots of people have stood and refused to compromise their principles. There are even a few such people in the Tasmanian parliament. It doesn’t matter if you agree with their politics or not. What does matter is that they are people of integrity.

    We cheapen the value of integrity with short memories, a lack of spine and no resolve to get to the truth.

  72. William Boeder

    November 2, 2017 at 12:52 am

    #212 through to #217. Interesting to note the democratic system incumbent upon this State is not within a cooee of what the Australian Constitution has pledged to be the obligation of our government to serve the Australian people.
    How could this State government get it all so wrong, is a question that I ask of the many sensibly concerned contributors to this forum. If all of these persons could offer an opinion on this particular subject matter?
    Given the government stance with its quite obvious irrevocable fraudulent intent, as it has now proven itself to be, then that it relates entirely to the Lib/Lab ministerial claims (of a Fox presence in Tasmania during the years so claimed) by this Lib/Lab State government of Tasmania.

    I now personally perceive that this joined at the hip Lib/Lab State government have aligned themselves more-so to a fascist system of government, as the present system of government is quite devoid of any semblance of a democratic system of government, that would or should pride itself to aspire toward constitutional integrity.

  73. spikey

    November 1, 2017 at 11:17 pm


    lying to people, shareholders, themselves
    been bending science, the truth and the law to their greedy deluded whims for too long round these parts

    either they need to pull on their brownshirts and get on with it, or piss off and let some more intelligent beings, like the herpes monkeys enslaved in launceston, direct humanity along a better path 😉

  74. Philip Lowe

    November 1, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Spikey 215.Best practice at what?,and by whom?Bernie Madoff could have been given an award for best creative banking.False news,not on TT surely.Too many keen eyed seekers of the truth.

  75. spikey

    November 1, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    relax everyone, i have just been reliably informed that the fox task farce has been granted worlds best practice status

    we all know that means diplomatic immunity from truth, science or legal ramifications, under the present corrupt dictatorship

    as shown by many many years of extremely suspect industry sponsored sighence from the usual suspects

    totally worlds best practice

  76. Ian Rist

    November 1, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Jack this is Tazmania.
    Where Thylacines and foxes abound in peoples imaginations, where rivers of gold can be found if you know where to look and you have ‘the company’ on your side.
    We must keep the Pheasant, Quail and Caviar on the menu at Parliament House, the ‘chosen ones’ expect nothing less.

    You just cannot expect us to expose our loyal providers, they have become part of the ‘system’ and must receive wholly protected status.
    Without this impenetrable steel mesh fence around us how can we be expected to be part of the system?

  77. Simon Warriner

    November 1, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Bulls eye, Jack. Smack bang in the centre of the target.

    That our elected officials of any shade have failed to give voice to this issue, from the fox farce perspective, speaks authoritatively about their own compromised position as practitioners of conflicted interests.

  78. Jack

    November 1, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    If students at The Bronx High School ‘get it’ about science, why has it taken Tasmanian and Canberra-based science organisations so long? One of the first points these kids make in writing about the obligation of scientists is:

    “First our scientific responsibilities. It is our tradition that research findings must be made public and replicable. Secrecy is unacceptable.”


    All over the world young people are looking to scientists to lead by example. First and foremost is the willingness to place scientific principle well before individual or institutional interests.

    In the same way that a priest who molests a child should be judged more harshly than others, a scientist who molests the truth or scientific values should expect no sympathy.

    Some may think this harsh, but there is no other way that religious or scientific institutions can function unless the standards they adopt are exemplary.

    In fact, it’s the very reason that they are not functioning very well at present. Each has a moral crisis.

    The decay of western institutions has much to do with attaining the power, but without the glory that comes from demonstrable integrity.

    All Dr Sarre has been asked to do is to conform to the normal values and actions demanded from all scientists and follow traditions that go back to the ancient Greek philosophers.

    If a university or government department has difficulty with this concept then we are well and truly on the way to ethical bankruptcy in Australian institutions. The canary in the coal mine is dead as a dodo.

  79. Garry Stannus

    November 1, 2017 at 9:41 am

    David (#165): I’m in ‘broad agreement’ with your comments. If, as you say, a number of the scats included in Sarre’s ‘Foxes are now widespread…’ are now deemed to be scats from the mainland, planted by one or more FEP employees, and if some other scats, identified by Simon Fearn are deemed as e.g. not fox but corvid, then it is reasonable to expect that Dr Sarre should review the model that was developed in his 2012 paper which produced the ‘foxes are now widespread…’ conclusion. I think the position of Dr Sarre (from my perspective) is invidious. Surely he would want to get the matter put to right, surely he would engage on this matter.

    Yes, silence seems to be the order of the day. Look, there is no shame in admitting a mistake – not in my book, anyway. In my view, Stephen Sarre should – for his own peace of mind – resolve this matter. His responsibility to the public too, is another consideration, but what intrigues me is the question of how a man (of some standing, I think) can avoid defending his work when it has been questioned by others (themselves with some ‘standing’). If it were me, I would acknowledge your ‘concerns’ about the science, and I would go back and re-evaluate the data that was used to establish the model which drew the conclusion. I don’t understand why he doesn’t do so … and please fellow threadsters, this is not an invitation to bag him out etc.

    Those things aside (for just a moment)… the false finds and the corvid scats do not rule out all the scats that were the foundation for Sarre 2012. How should we regard the rest? Sometimes I think it is suggested that contamination/poor handling & storage practices might account for the remainder. Are such suggestions sufficient to invalidate that remaining number of scats which were apparently found honestly in the field. Or were none found honestly in the field?

  80. Ian Rist

    October 31, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Re # 209
    Silence seems to be the tactic used in all of this by all parties.
    The best defence is say nothing when accused.
    Taceo, cum accusatus.

    Tasmania and its successive Governments are seriously embarrassed over all of this, what has become a terrible stain on Tasmania.

    Three politicians in the current Government could act on this fox debacle and restore a lot of Tasmanians faith in the system.
    Firstly Rockliff then Hidding and Gutwein … in that order.

  81. Philip Lowe

    October 30, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    What gets me about this affair is the TOTAL lack of response from those who stand so conspiratorially and criminally accused. I can remember being roundly and soundly verbally abused by Green Party officials and Fox Task Force officers for expressing views contrary to theirs. All I was doing was asking questions that they didn’t want to hear. They were milking the FT cash cow and they didn’t want awkward little geezers like me turning the tit off

    So where are you, those who profited so well from this affair? Stand up and be accountable, or be damned by your silence.

  82. David Obendorf

    October 30, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Re: Ian Rist’s comment #206 – In August 2006 the Director of the [i]Tasmanian Conservation Trust[/i] was [b]Craig Woodfield[/b]. He wrote a strong critique on the fox taskforce and its community engagement policy titled: [b]The fox and Ockham’s Razor[/b]

    [i]’The reality is that the State [Labor] Government generally, and the Department of Primary Industries and Water specifically, are incapable of truly engaging the public on issues such as these. The culture of secrecy, political appeasement and micromanagement that exists in DPIW, something that has been getting progressively worse in recent years, makes it impossible for truly open and honest engagement to occur.

    The picture does not look good either way. Even if foxes are not here in numbers, a culture that considers hoaxing to be acceptable behaviour, and a biosecurity cordon that is literally full of holes, means that they [foxes] could well be here soon.'[/i]

    [Reference: Tasmanian Conservationist August 2006]

  83. Ian Rist

    October 30, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Re # 206
    But Craig W. it was only taxpayers money……………………

  84. Ian Rist

    October 30, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Re # 204
    Fifty prints, they would have to be some of the ones on my friend Jules car bonnet.
    Re # 205
    Yes as one previous director of the Tas. Conservation Trust once was heard to say about the fox force (2006) “one giant clusterfuck”.

  85. O'Brien

    October 30, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Footprints in the sand. From 2008/2009 about one hundred sand-pads about two feet in diameter were dug. The sand-pads ran in a rough east west line in the Epping area. They were filled with commercial builders sand. Now, commercial builders sand is very fine and has no plasticity. Any vague imprint in the sand was weathered away within minutes. This was brought to the attention of management within FFTF programme. No action was taken aside from ridiculing the staff member. About twenty staff did check the sand-pads on a daily basis for a year or so. No fox prints were forthcoming. Although the futile time wasting exercise exercise does account for about $1000000 in wages.

  86. David Obendorf

    October 30, 2017 at 12:59 am

    Here’s a quote by [b]Nick Mooney[/b] from the De Little video interviews on the [i]Woodstock Lagoon[/i] plaster cast of a paw print:

    [i]’… they [FFTF field staff] were patrolling these huge big mud places – beautiful for finding foot prints; lots of different animals ahhm … ahhm … there was a couple of dogs that used the area occasionally – go for walks there; chasing hares and whatever. But there was a set of foot prints, oh, about 50-odd prints … a couple of days old ‘cos the clay had cracked slightly and they were in a long skirt … something running hard, but … so most of them were distorted, but 3 or 4; [b]one in particular[/b], that was quite clear – where the animal had gathered itself and I just think [was] walking very quickly. Anyway the guys took a plaster cast – it was [b]Chris Parker[/b] and [b]Oliver Breeze[/b] – [they] took the cast and brought it in. I remember when they brought it in … I took all the measurements I could and we scanned it [the foot print] and sent it around and as the results came in everybody said: “Yeah, that’s a fox”.'[/i]

  87. Ian Rist

    October 29, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Some excerpts from a previous TT article.

    And according to two newspaper reports [The Mercury on 23 August 2001 and The Examiner on 24 August 2001] quoting information provided by the fox program officers a cast of ‘a single fox paw print was discovered in a patch of swampy ground only 150 m from busy Illawarra Road…about 8 km from Longford’.

    Tasmanian government officers offered three different locations for their discovery of the same print. One version indicating the foot print was recovered from a deliberately constructed sand pad to lure a fox into an area where a print could be obtained; the other versions indicating the discovery was the result of a search around a wet clay pan at Woodstock Lagoon or alternatively a patch of swampy ground 150 meters from Illawarra Road.

    Which location was the plaster cast of a single print recovered?

    On 24 August 2001 The Examiner published a photograph of Mr Emms holding the plaster cast and a report on the foot print’s discovery; the newspaper’s cartoonist also decided to leave his mark, it was a cute fox in boots under a Longford road sign with a Parks and Wildlife vehicle called Foxy disappearing in the distance The cute fox holds a walking stick with fox foot at one end).

  88. Ian Rist

    October 29, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    I happened to know one of the people that was there at Woodstock lagoon the day the ‘fox’ footprint was discovered, his name was XXXXX XXXXXXXX.
    (He) always chuckled about this incident, he was a member of a Field & Game group that were there helping the then Fox Free Task Force after a Black Swan cygnet had been found dead at the Lagoon.
    Immediately it was suspected as a fox kill of course as it was at the height of ‘fox fever’. Obviously a fox must be suspected.
    When the fox footprint was taken XXXXX noticed the owners’ Whippet frolicking about and the Whippet had also left muddy clay pan footprints on the bonnet of XXXXX’s vehicle.
    He suggested to the assembled FFTF members that they had better take images of the bonnet footprints as well.

    Maybe a connection here but Woodstock Lagoon is a wildlife refuge frequently visited by NPWS people.
    It is jointly owned by Dr XXX XXXX and brothers XXX and XXXX XXX.
    A very convenient place to find a ‘fox’ footprint.
    It is also worth noting that the President of Field & Game XXX XXXX became the FFTF’s paid Hunter Coordinater.

    I did report this some time ago, maybe even on TT.

  89. David Obendorf

    October 29, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    On Garry’s diagnostic explanation of a fox based on a plaster cast [#197] …

    [i]a dog’s ‘footprint’ can be distinguished from that of a fox … it’s (from memory) by the way in which the toes/nails extend in comparison to their neighbours. Take a quick look at the back of your hand and you’ll see what I mean.[/i]

    That’s different! And based on one cast of a paw print Garry – one print?

    I certainly would be smartly questioned if I made a diagnosis of Foot & Mouth Disease based on by observations of one cloven-hoofed animal that appeared to be lame and slobbering.

  90. David Obendorf

    October 29, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Good to see that Garry is interested in the legal case involving Sue-Neill Fraser – a controversial court ruling that requires formal review mechanisms. I would suggest that the fox saga is another example.

    In our legal system, lawyers for the prosecution and the defence agree to share further particulars relating to matters that may be presented as prima facie evidence and presumably be then tested by cross examination in an open court before a judge. It’s a legal procedure that is deemed to put no-one at a disadvantage about what is being tendered as ‘evidence’.

    It’s known that the Police Taskforce convened the first time on 20 June 2001 to begin an investigation into the contents of advice that had previously been presented to the Minister for Police (and Minister for Primary Industries, Water & the Environment) [b]David Llewellyn[/b]. [Mr Llewellyn has since confirmed that he had a meeting with senior PWS officers about this matter and it was his decision as Minister to order Tasmania Police to set up the investigation taskforce.]

    In all the intervening years no-one within DPIPWE, the Minister’s office or from anywhere else has confirmed [i]when[/i] that a Ministerial briefing took place and [i]who[/i] attended.

    Normally a senior bureaucrat would personally vouch for or guarantee that [i]due diligence[/i] had been applied to a matter of such import as this one. This Ministerial advice was titled [b]Briefing Notes: Illegal importation of Fox’s[sic] into Tasmania[/b]. It is undated and marked “Confidential”.

    Everyone agrees that this was a very serious biosecurity breach that was alleged in the presentation of definite information prepared by DPIPWE bureaucrats to a Minister of the Crown.

    And what do I know about that Ministerial presentation with Minister Llewllyn? Nothing more than what I have written here.

    I do know, from when I was employed as a veterinary pathologist in DPIPWE, that any diagnosis on a significant new or emerging animal health threat that warranted a referral to animal health superiors, and perhaps warranting a briefing note to the Minister, would require a significant amount of ‘due diligence’ beforehand. That ‘due diligence’ would involve the collection of supporting evidence and independent confirmation and review by acknowledged professionals in that diagnostic field, etc. Several public servants in the chain of authority would be accountable for the veracity of the information supplied to the Minister. It would be thoroughly documented and checked (and re-checked) because of the need for a high level of certainty and integrity. If the foundational evidence is unsound the matter would not be deemed a priority warranting the triggering of statutory powers etc.

    If foundational evidence is unsupported, unsubstantiated or uncorroborated [i]then[/i] the next step is to ascertain [i]why?[/i].

    Was the original ‘diagnosis’ simply wrong?
    Was the foundational evidence checked?
    Was the full brief rechecked and signed off by responsible senior managers?
    Who in the Department stands guarantor for the Ministerial brief? etc

    So before significant public policy (and money) is applied to a perceived threat, has the Minister been able to make a Ministerial decision that he ‘knows’, based on sound advice that the information received, is factual and is supported by objective truth?

    In the case of the fox smuggling allegation (as presented to the Minister) we do know that David Llewellyn referred the matter to Tasmania Police for its advice, and based on the information Tasmania Police received they were not able to support the allegation made by DPIPWE. The Police concluded the information from DPIPWE was baseless and unsupported.

    So the next step a Minister of the Crown might consider is – why is this so?

    The Minister was presented with conflicting advice. The Police FoI documents do show that their documentation moved through a chain of authority to be checked and rechecked before the Commissioner of Police advised Minister Llewellyn of the outcome of their taskforce investigation.

    Does Minister Llewellyn accept the clear statements contained in police advice, or not?

    [i]’None of the information was confirmed and some was found to be highly suspect.’ … ‘on investigation it became abundantly clear that the original informant (spoken to by police) had only passed on part of that information, most of which was hearsay and gossip. The remaining information seems to have come from PW&S personnel who have relied on rumour and probably guesswork.’… ‘the original information provided to police is unconvincing and was proved to be wrong in some instances, with the informant denying having provided some detail'[/i]

    The police could not support DPIPWE’s advice to Minister Llewellyn.

  91. Ian Rist

    October 29, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Firstly I’m not sorry at all, I waste too much time trying to unravel the flights of fantasy.
    I would go as far as saying leave the fantasy and unless you can offer something constructive……………..

    “No one, not even you, Ian, or David, denies that there have been foxes on the island”.
    That is about as relevant as there were once Thylacine’s in Tasmania.
    I have never disputed the fact that there have been foxes on the Island since European settlement.
    What I have disputed is the fabrication, hoaxing and fraud since 1998 to ‘prove’ there are foxes on the Island and so opportunistically obtain funding to prop up a couple of cash strapped departments.
    “True, there has been much dispute as to whether there was ever an importation attempt”
    Once again attempts to twist the truth.

    All the ‘wishin’ and hopin’ aint gonna change anything.

  92. Garry Stannus

    October 29, 2017 at 1:20 am

    – True, there has been much dispute as to whether there was ever an importation attempt. I called David out for some earlier comment where he said that police had proven that such a thing did not happen. You know, transparency should work both ways. Why not publish Chris’s diary entry for his Illawarra sighting? Why not tell us exactly what lie was told in which Minister’s office? Why not?

    David and Ian, in my opinion, my use of the words: did not find evidence sufficient to substantiate the importation claims is a fair rendition of whatever it was, Ian at your #188 that you were purporting to refer to. It’s about time, in my view, that you learned just how to properly quote other people’s statements/other persons’ speech. In my opinion, you mangled your quote, and I insist that my own reference to the original text, is a proper rendition of what the police report originally stated … and … I insist that it does not give any grounds for asserting that police had proven that the importation/s did not occur. I suggest that when you quote text, that you use double inverted commas (“”) to surround the quoted text. Do not, please, change the formatting of the original text, by using caps as you did, Ian, in your #188. It’s about time, in my view, that you stepped up to the plate.

    David’s #78 … “That lie – which was tested and proven to be a lie by Tasmania Police in 2001” must be in the running for the ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Award, in fact, in my view, much of what masquerades as ‘discussion’ on these fox threads is smear and X-files sort of stuff. What is the lie that was proven? Is he suggesting that David Llewellyn told a lie (see David’s quote at #195)? Perhaps David Obendorf can tell us what part of Llewellyn’s statement was a lie. To my way of thinking, what Llewellyn told Rockliff was in accord with what was contained in the briefing note (see Coad to Otley 13Jul2001. What was the lie?

    By the way, in my view, it is reasonable to view the police inablity to substantiate/corroborate the importation claims as being a consequence of one of the persons helping with the police inquiries refusing to go into further detail, because:

    NOTE 2
    The main informant is extremely concerned about threats that have been made about releasing information to authorities. His concerns relate directly to the possible action from [Name blacked out] who has a history of violence. As a result, this informant refuses to co-operate in any other way other than that which is currently in place.

    [for those that are interested in reading the sequence of letters referred to by Ian in his #196, from memory they can be accessed via the Tasmanian Fox? (Independent Scientists) website]

    David also in his #185, queried my ‘I identified to David (Obendorf) the name of one staffer (who was/is) also a member of Professor Sarre’s team…’ The person who David named is however not the person that I was referring to.

    I liked Philip’s reference to Ibsen’s Enemy of the People. I read it with delight firstly nearly fifty years ago. I referred to it 9 years ago on TT, in reference to the pulp mill saga, with which it should, in my opinion, be more properly matched. I would not, in this Tasmanian Fox matter, be comfortable with the Doctor in that play being matched with those in this fox matter, in the way that Philip has done.

  93. Garry Stannus

    October 29, 2017 at 1:18 am

    Sorry that I’ve been offline for the last few days, and will probably be offline again after this message: I’ve taken L.W.O.P. and shortly will be Redlining towards Hobart … for tomorrow’s proceeding in court. Gee, I hope I can get a seat. I became interested in the Sue Neill-Fraser case when Justice Blow refused to allow the homeless girl to be recalled to give further evidence at the trial, after questions as to her whereabouts on the night of Bob Chappel’s disappearance were raised in evidence by one of the police investigators and then were raised by defence counsel … all to no avail.

    So my poor little Mac struggle with wireless usbs, and I might not be able to keep up with the fox conversation for several days. A few things that perhaps need a quick response in the meantime, are:
    – a dog’s ‘footprint’ can be distinguished from that of a fox … it’s (from memory) by the way in which the toes/nails extend in comparison to their neighbours. Take a quick look at the back of your hand and you’ll see what I mean.
    “Garry who do you constantly play the apologist for ?”: No, Ian. I write from what I see/understand. I write for myself and to share my point-of-view with others. You’ve suggested this same thing before, that others are pulling my strings. This is just not the case. I write what I believe to be considered and reasonable comments, and I find those rhetorical (and personally pejorative) comments of yours, such as I’ve just italicised, to be modestly offensive. I wish you wouldn’t do that. By all means, contradict me etc, but leave this ‘playing the apologist’ stuff in the bag. You don’t need it. Play the ball, please.
    – Chis, in his diary, may well have recorded his sighting of the Illawarra fox as an animal or whatever, just as he might well do while attempting to record strictly what he observed on that night. But, he told me subsequently that he believed it was a fox that he had seen. Coming from him I accepted it and I still do. Jim Nelson’s report, comes with the same authority, an authority gained over many years in the field. The fact that his sighting was also (independently) corroborated by a fellow field nat, should put the matter beyond doubt.
    -But what’s the problem? No one, not even you, Ian, or David, denies that there have been foxes on the island.

  94. Ian Rist

    October 28, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Comment # 195
    Statutes excuse can be quickly clarified by comment # 188 as quoted below.

    Commander Dean wrote to Deputy Commissioner Jack Johnston on the 17/07/2001 and said “Tasmania Police had not discovered ANY EVIDENCE to corroborate the fox import allegations and it was based on rumour, innuendo, guesswork and false information. It also stated that most of the information passed on had come from NPWS who had relied on rumour and ‘guesswork’.

    On the 20th June 2003 Acting Commissioner Lupo Prins wrote to Tasmanian Senator Murphy and stated quite clearly “Tasmania Police are not in possession of any evidence to charge anyone over fox importation REGARDLESS of the Statutes of Limitations”.

    Methinks the old Scottish Clan Cameron war cry may come to pass… Chlanna nan con thigibh a so’s gheibh sibh feoil (Sons Of The Hounds, Come Hither And Get Flesh).

  95. David Obendorf

    October 28, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    In a Budget Estimates Committee on 27 June 2006 Minister [b]David Llewellyn[/b] telling members of Parliament that he knew foxes had been smuggled into Tasmania.

    Mr LLEWELLYN – [i]“Indeed, in 1998 when it first came to my attention that foxes may well be in this State through information and intelligence that was gathered, that hunters had actually gone to Victoria and brought back foxes……[/i]

    Mr ROCKLIFF – [i]There is no actual police evidence to suggest that though?[/i]

    Mr LLEWELLYN – [i]“No, I am just telling you [b]the information that I had at hand, that at least three litters of juvenile foxes were distributed – one at Longford, one south of Oatlands and one in the St Helens area[/b] – I might add, later, confirmed by quite a spate of sightings in those particular regions of the State – so fairly well authenticated. I took pretty decisive action at that stage and I will continue to do that. We did have a police investigation. It could not conclude an outcome, but then you must realise that the police rely on hard evidence to make a conviction and, if they do not have that hard evidence, they cannot proceed. There was also the statute of limitations that was a problem at that stage.”[/i]

  96. William Boeder

    October 28, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Hello spikey, how about the disdain of the Labor government ministers en-bloc during this period of David Llewellyn’s alleged master-minded State-wide deception, in my view.
    When one considers how devout is the self professed Christian Mr David Llewellyn and in his being the alleged architect of this full blown “Foxes in Tasmania deception (as I see it) ” one must consider a series of other deceptive perpetrations I believe that he may well he have conceived that has cost this State its plenty.
    (The sale of the old Hospital and its grounds in the town of New Forfolk just in the recent past.)

    Tasmania’s Auditor General has criticised the sale of New
    Norfolk’s Royal Derwent Hospital and Willow Court.

    The State Government sold the property to the Derwent Valley Council and
    businessman Gordon Fyfe in 2001 for less than $500,000.

    Auditor Mike Blake criticised the purchasers for failing to deliver the
    promised sale outcomes, finding that there was no proper due diligence conducted
    into the buyers.

    Mr Blake said the council and Mr Fyfe failed to deliver on the promised sale
    outcomes, resulting in a “disappointing” result for the region.

    The contract did not enforce the protection of the site, which includes
    buildings that pre-date Port Arthur.

    However, Mr Blake found the sale price was appropriate, despite some land and
    houses later being sold for about $10 million.


    So much for the Christian ethics that are generally accepted as a measure of one’s personal character, however these “supposed to be exemplary ethics” soon vanish when this same minister chooses an event under his purposes can suddenly appear to be quite easily dismissible whenever this State government minister chooses.
    Now that one is better aware of who can be the given ones trust it certainly cannot be to the alleged master of the full-blown Fox hoax in Tasmania.
    A further point to consider is that his easily influenced Christian bloc of followers must also share the same measure of immunity from …
    This same gross deceptive intent, in my view, can then most likely be applicable to many other scandalous engagements in the earlier career of this plotting State government minister.
    “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive” is a quotation by Sir Walter Scott, which I’m sure you all know. It means that when you tell lies or act in a dishonest way you create problems and complications in which one cannot retain one’s control over such an action of criminal intent.


  97. David Obendorf

    October 28, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    [b]Examiner[/b] – 1 March 2016
    Tasmanian Fox Taskforce crime claims rejected by [b]David Llewellyn[/b] http://www.examiner.com.au/story/3760267/llewellyn-rejects-claims-of-fox-taskforce-crime/

    Primary Industries Minister [b]Jeremy Rockliff[/b] who took over ministerial responsibility for the taskforce in 2014, said the Liberal party decided to change the agency’s direction.

    [i]”We disbanded the Fox Taskforce and that money has been reinvested into areas of priority,” he said.

    “Determining criminality is a matter for police, not government, and scientific opinion is for the scientific community to debate. If it is determined that an investigation is required, of course the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment would co-operate.”[/i]

  98. Ian Rist

    October 28, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I believe someone has to have the gonads to say this.
    Spikey you ask who could do such a thing?

    To isolate the original perpetrators of this foxy scam we need to go back to the 1997 partial sale of Telstra, from which the money flowed to fund the Federal EPBC Act (1999) which was the Australian Government’s key piece of environmental legislation which commenced on the 16 July 2000.
    The National Heritage Trust (now Caring for our Country) was also funded by the partial sale of Telstra.

    The European Red Fox was listed as a ‘key threatening process’ on the 16th July 2000 under the EPBC Act legislation and therefor a ‘bottomless pit’ of taxpayers money (through funding) became available if you could prove you had a key threatening process (KTP) id est Red foxes.
    All you had to do was put in a Threat Abatement Plan (TAP).
    Exactly what was put in motion here in Tasmania, problem was we didn’t have any Red foxes so we had to invent some.
    Sure it was alleged on the 31st May 1998 a single Red fox did disembark from the container vessel ‘City of Port Melbourne’ at the Burnie Port in NW Tasmania and this incident may have been the beginning of ‘the lights coming on’.
    So let us not point the finger at a few scat planters late in the series of events that wanted to keep their jobs alive, or even a few fox carcass plantings and fox hoaxes….
    Let us have a close look at the Politicians, senior Public servants and senior bureaucrats that initially invented the scam in the first place, people that were first privy to the EPBC Act legislation.
    What is also interesting is the Feral cat was also listed on that date but Tasmania never bothered because the ‘brains trust’ knew that the Feral cat did not satisfy the criteria because it did not satisfy the KTP’s criteria that required eradication must be able to be proven. This left the Feral cat as a proposition only on offshore Islands where it couldn’t be restocked from the domestic cat population.
    Starting with cats on Macquarie Island and many more “eradication conservation projects’ it seems unless there are taxpayer supplied funding opportunities no one is really interested.

    The Tasmanian fox saga could be compared to the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq that were never found and the Gulf of Tonkin incident (1964) that never happened as claimed but basically let US President L.B Johnson order retaliatory air strikes on Vietnam and less than a year later LBJ had 160,000 US troops on the ground in Vietnam.

  99. spikey

    October 28, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    the public, the taxpayer, scientific journals and the voters have been treated like fools

    and the wildlife poisoned

    the threatened wildlife

    that the misappropriated funding was allocated to protect

    who could do such a thing?

  100. Ian Rist

    October 28, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Comment # 189 …

    Simply put Philip, all I have ever asked for from day one was the truth.

    I am afraid we weren’t going to get the truth while the funding rolled in and we still can’t … the public, the taxpayer and the voters have been treated like fools.

    Roll on March.

  101. Philip Lowe

    October 27, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    I am reminded of the playwright Ibsen and his play “An Enemy of the People’.The fox saga in Tasmania reminds me of this not dissimilar situation. Mr. Rist and Mr. Obendorf have been made to look like the enemies of the state, but the real rotten enemy is the state’s self belief in its own lies.

  102. Ian Rist

    October 27, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Comment # 182 again…
    Garry you say in reference to the Police Investigation re fox cub import and release:

    “did not find evidence sufficient to substantiate the importation claims”
    Where did you invent that one liner from ?
    What was actually said from the Police FOI (I have copies of all the letters from the chain of command beginning with Det Insp. Otley up to Commander Dean, Deputy Commissioner J.Johnston and above.
    Commander Dean wrote to Deputy Commissioner Jack Johnston on the 17/07/2001 and said “Tasmania Police had not discovered ANY EVIDENCE to corroborate the fox import allegations and it was based on rumour, innuendo, guesswork and false information. It also stated that most of the information passed on had come from NPWS who had relied on rumour and ‘guesswork’.

    On the 20th June 2003 Acting Commissioner Lupo Prins wrote to Tasmanian Senator Murphy and stated quite clearly “Tasmania Police are not in possession of any evidence to charge anyone over fox importation REGARDLESS of the Statutes of Limitations”.

    This is despite Minister Llewellyn assuring ‘The Mercury’ in the newspaper article ‘Fox Plot’ on the 5th June 2002 that the reason no-one had been charged was because it had gone beyond the Statute of Limitations.

    Llewellyn is recorded in the Tasmanian Parliament Hansard on no less than four occasions claiming the fox import release event did happen.
    There must have been a different set of rules that applied to the vanquished Steve Kons for misleading the Tasmanian Parliament.

  103. William Boeder

    October 27, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Ian Rist and Dr David Obendorf, please continue the release of the motley of lies that nowadays has become the expected issue from State government departments in their responding correspondences to personal inquiries sought from these same.
    I would go as far as stating that most of all the content issuing out of Liberal party ministers many media releases into the minds of the Tasmanian public will inevitably be a straight out lie and so often a great deal shy of the truth.

    It worries me that the present strategy and agenda of Will Hodgman’s Liberal party government has finally come to light, effectively this government and its departments have become the leading source of outright lies as well as fake news and false announced claims (such as how great this government views itself) that has now become its most frequent issue.
    The falsified reason given unto the people of flooding this State with 1080 poison as part of the Fox eradication plan, bad luck to the family pets and work-dogs, then the resultant indigenous species of wildlife that became the collateral casualties of this State-wide hoax perpetrated by a narrow few upon both the Federal government and this State’s people.
    This same applies to the logging of huge new tracts of Old Growth Crown Land forests, the truth here is that Ta Ann is demanding that this State government do what Ta Ann fails to do on most every occasion (which is pay strict attendance to the content of the secretive late 2005 signed Memorandum of Understanding.)

    So just for those that haven’t known of the statute changes and of modifications within the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement, this Agreement had been altered some time ago at the behest of Ta Ann and its representative management personnel “so to cancel out the greater portion of their free-gifted State contracted log supply purchase of Plantation forest timber, this contracted basis now lays dead in the water.”

    So yes the RFA was quietly altered to incorporate whatever quantities and quality of log demanded must come from Tasmania’s Crown Land Forest logs.
    That this is another betrayal at the hands of this State’s government cannot be denied.

    Furthermore you will not hear Guy “the Zombie smiler” Barnett admit to this undeniable fact.

    This is on par with another ministerial fop-off, for example; the reason for laying poison baits all across this State, yep another concocted undertaking that only had its basis for its so-doing and so being is nothing less than a gross dereliction of duty being straight out lies being dumped upon the people of Tasmania.

    (At the same time this State’s mainstream media was indeed the publishing agency of so many of these false and fake news presentations to the people of Tasmania.)
    This is the very essence of the stuff that lands News Publishers in big strife and then must pay $$millions of dollars in fines being levied upon these same publishers, for having published false or fake and or deceptive and obfuscated news stories into the public arena.
    So, for any opportunistic lawyer in this State this is a case too hard to loose as there is ample evidence to prove against this State’s Publishers as well as State government departments.
    Ironically it only gets worse as the longer that the State’s Liberal party remain in leadership control of our State of Tasmania.

    There is further obfuscation being published relative to minister Groom and his tossing in the towel that likely relates to the Hydro Tasmania/Bass-link scandal where Bass-link seek to launch an action against Hydro Tasmania.

    (What a shit-fight that could become if the truth leaks out.)

    Please note that not too much truth is being published about the cause of the failures between these 2 State government related parties.

  104. David Obendorf

    October 27, 2017 at 1:35 am

    [b]John McConnell[/b] was a Investigation Officer in the fox program who joined the fox taskforce in 2002. In May 2008 he took part in the ABC radio program – [i]”Street Stories”[/i] .
    [i]’I’ve been with the program for six years. So, I’m one … one of the early ones, and ahh … ahh, it’s been a hard old slog. And as we’ve got more technology on board – an example is the detector dogs – we’re, we’re covering more ground and we are getting evidence. Using the detector dogs we’re turning up these scats. We send them to Canberra and they’re tested and they’re coming back with ‘DNA fox’. So … that’s very worrying and at the moment we are finding more scats. The program’s been going for six years. We were hoping it wouldn’t be going for 6 years, we were all hoping we would be out of a job within three years … because there’d be no foxes. But the sightings keep coming in; the ‘hard evidence’ is coming up, so they are definitely out there … small numbers, still very hard to see on the ground … and will be. But, it’s ahh … it’s, it’s a worry because it’s like a ticking bomb.’

    ‘Some of those areas have what we call ‘history’ in these areas; so that’s areas where we’ve had sightings beforehand and so that makes them a very strong sighting. Quite often then I’ll get out to that area as soon as I can, make contact if possible with the person or the farmer who saw the animal, and get to the property and then start to look for sign and investigate the area.'[/i]

    It is my belief that the Secretary of the Department ([b]Dr John Whittington[/b]) and the Biosecurity Tasmania General Manager ([b]Dr Lloyd Klumpp[/b]) know from DPIPWE’s 2016-2017 misconduct investigation that at least two of the Fox Program’s employees were personally involved in fabricating field evidence and submitting those samples to Canberra for DNA testing. Both men received our 2015 Report – [b]Report to Tasmanian Government: Anomalies in the detection patterns of fox scats in Tasmania[/b] – based on scat collection data we received from DPIPWE.

    Our Report to the Tasmanian Government made seven findings. Dr Klumpp received a copy on 25 March 2015. The final one is notable:

    [i]”Given the implausible detection success, sequence and spatial distribution of samples attributed to one staff member we conclude that these specimens were unlikely to have arisen from an extant fox population in Tasmania. Several statistical features strongly imply that data fabrication must be considered as a highly likely explanation.'[/i]

    Dr Klumpp replied: [i]Thank you for your letter of 25th March 2015 and the attached report. You will be aware that the Fox Eradication Program has ceased and that it has never been part of Biosecurity Tasmania’s program. Notwithstanding that, I welcome any opportunities to ensure realistic evidence based decision making related to biosecurity occurs in Tasmania.

    Without independent advice, I am unable to make comment on the paper you provided. I will seek to obtain that advice, as authorised by you in your letter, and will consider any further actions once that advice is considered.[/i]

    We waited and then asked Dr Klumpp how he was getting on seeking ‘independent advice’.

    He replied on 9 June 2015:

    [i]Thanks for your advice. I have nothing further to add. As previously stated the Fox Eradication Program has ceased and has never been an activity of Biosecurity Tasmania. The Division’s focus is on ensuring we have the best systems to prevent, detect, and respond to a wide range of pests and diseases that pose a threat to our primary industries sector and environment. The Department regularly reviews and will continue to use a wide range of scientific and other information with the aim to improve our approaches to biosecurity and other fields. [b]Like there is in many fields of science, there is a wide range of scientific and other opinion about the fox issue and associated activities undertaken in Tasmania. I am happy to leave that debate to the scientific community.[/b] Hopefully, some benefit to future management of the risk to Tasmania from invasive pests will result from any such debate.


    Dr. Lloyd Klumpp
    General Manager, Biosecurity Tasmania
    Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment[/i]

    I take that to mean Dr Klumpp does not consider DPIPWE to be part of a ‘scientific community’ and that it would not engage in the findings of our scientific Report. At the time of our 2015 report we were unaware that a FEP scientist [b]Simon Fearn[/b] had independently come to similar conclusions in 2009 & 2011 and that he had written reports to FEP management on these matters.

  105. David Obendorf

    October 26, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Welcome Garry, may I go through some of your comments?

    1. [i]’I cite the cast/s of the fox around the Woodstock-Springbanks lagoon and in doing so I note that fox ‘paw prints’ are distinguishable from canine prints, including those of whippets.[/i]

    I understood only one print was submitted for evaluation to footprint assessors. That incident was connected in time and place to the photo of two hunters holding a dead fox by the road sign opposite the Woodstock lagoon. That stunt was deemed to be hoax. I’m not aware of any photographs of the multiple prints of this incident were presented as evidence. Mr Mooney says he wasn’t involved but he talked about this cast in his De Little video.

    I’m of course interested in how Garry concluded that this single plaster cast was ‘distinguishable from canine prints’?

    2. [i]’I identified to David (Obendorf) the name of one staffer (who was/is) also a member of Professor Sarre’s team…'[/i]

    Dr Stephen Sarre didn’t have his own ‘team’ in Tasmania, he relied on DPIPWE employees to collect the scats he tested in Canberra. Alison Foster was the closest thing, Dr Sarre had here. She joined the FEP as a secondment from IA-CRC for about 2 years to manage the fox scat detection study in 2007-09.

    Scat field collection and scat testing was separated by Bass Strait and several hundreds of kilometers. The scat-testers in Canberra had no way of determining whether the collection and hygiene protocols in the field precluded DNA-contamination or whether imported fox scats from Victoria might have been substituted as candidate samples for their testing.

    Dr Stephen Sarre was a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the FEP. He was in a position to critically review whether these DNA-fox positive scats represented genuine evidence of fox presence or could be due to Type I or Type II errors including test accuracy, DNA-contamination or fabrication of test samples. This was particularly essential since whatever attempts to recover extra positive scats from the sites where these DNA-fox positive scats came from were unsuccessful.

    3. [i]’Some of the sightings’ accounts (Jim Nelson, Chris Spencer) must be accepted as sightings that were valid, true and actual.'[/i]

    Sorry Garry, why? Both of these sightings are unsupported. I could add the ex-PWS ranger Steve Cronin’s sighting in 2003; Steve was adamant he too saw a fox on a large property in the Midlands, but the fox taskforce didn’t even enter his sighting in their recorded sighting database! (Perhaps this oversight was another sloppy stuff up.)

    After these reports apparently the standing & expertise of the reporters was taken into consideration; maybe they were deemed to be ‘excellent’ sighting reports. Diligent and thorough follow up in the field is required to gather supporting physical evidence. Unless you know something we don’t Garry, nothing extra was recovered to support these reports.

    4. Garry takes exception to my use of the word ‘lie’ but how can I sugar-coat such an untruthful scenario – to accuse known persons of willfully importing fox cubs, holding them in captivity and releasing them. Truth or Lie? It was not a supported truth; it was, in my opinion, a willful lie.

    This written allegation submitted by PWS was tested by a Police taskforce and found to be baseless. David Llewellyn knew that by mid-July 2001. To quote David Llewellyn, the cub import claim was “unsubstantiated”; this is recorded in Parliamentary Hansard. For him to then continue to determinedly state that this scenario had occurred in the face a Police investigation and such poor quality evidence beggars belief. Truth or Lie?

    The intention of a baseless falsehood (in my opinion, a lie) conveyed as written or verbal communication is to deceive and misrepresent. In so doing the Minister and his department embarked on a reckless hunt for foxes (that they never located or killed). The one thing they did capture was tens of millions of dollars.

  106. Ian Rist

    October 26, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Garry who do you constantly play the apologist for ?
    You even try to throw an air of doubt over the scat scam.
    “This perhaps led to a situation in which some of/two of/one person may have deliberately used imported scats, may have taken them out into the field, and may have then claimed to have discovered them, ‘in the wild’, so to speak”.
    Sorry Garry.
    Now proven beyond all doubt.

    Unsubstantiated sightings count for nothing, never have and never will.
    Besides the Spencer ‘sighting’ is a beat up, never did Chris Spencer actually call the animal crossing the road a fox.
    I have seen his diary entry on the incident and the reports.

    ..and David’s
    “was tested and proven to be a lie by Tasmania Police in 2001.”
    Exactly what it was, a lie by an individual outside ‘Allgoods’ in Hobart with a vendetta against some of the named ‘fox cub importers’ and added to by several NPWS employees.
    Now proven beyond all doubt to be based on lies and fabrication.

    Garry nit picking from incomplete knowledge is fraught with danger.
    Garry you get some credibility back and then you go and blow it all by trying to create an air of doubt that simply is not there…some people call it ‘muddying the waters’.

    Most of us now know that the only reason this fox scam has survived is because it has been shielded by subsequent Government members and senior bureaucrats and is simply too embarrassing for all concerned to be put ‘out there’.

    I wouldn’t put to much faith in the IC …it will be sanitised as the latest Police investigation was.
    I know as I had a lot of input into both.
    But I feel on other fronts the hounds are gathering.

  107. Garry Stannus

    October 26, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Oops! Oh yes, the hypothetical scenario:
    There have been real lives foxes in Tasmania. It is possible that there were even attempts to introduce them here. Some of the sightings’ accounts (Jim Nelson, Chris Spencer) must be accepted as sightings that were valid, true and actual. That doesn’t mean that what they’d seen was/were a part of an established (breeding) population of foxes here in Tas. It means that there have been foxes here, on this island. My own first hearing of foxes on the island happened on meeting a chap, Robin ?, who had driven into Jackey’s Marsh in the 90s, and had been quite astonished to see a fox at the T-intersection on his way in. He was a professional … I think in the natural-history/ field-naturalist area of things. I’m sure David would have known of him through the Department.

    I was straying from the point … in my view the fox business got such virulent and protracted criticism that it may have affected the behaviour of some of the FEP Branch. This perhaps led to a situation in which some of/two of/one person may have deliberately used imported scats, may have taken them out into the field, and may have then claimed to have discovered them, ‘in the wild’, so to speak. I accept this as a possible scenario, and I am waiting on the Integrity Commission Report. I knew one of the two persons named in Simon Fearn’s draft report and I also knew Simon, when he lived in the Liffey.

    It’s now almost November, and we are still all waiting on the Integrity Commission’s Report.

  108. Garry Stannus

    October 26, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    .And now, to conclude, I’d like to offer a brief hypothetical scenario…

    I have long thought that Ian and David’s criticisms (justified or not) must have created a ‘bunker mentality’ with DPIPWE.

    [Incidentally I do not understand why Professor Sarre has not (to my knowledge) explained his reliance on the uncertified provenance of the scats that were sent to him – I did write to him once, but received no reply; I wrote to Clive Marks as well, and he did reply and was helpful to me. If Professor Sarre’s science was based on respectable provenance, why has he not defended his ‘Foxes are now Widespread …’ paper? He has been questioned/impugned in an international journal so what prevents him from publicly standing by his results?]

    But, to put Stephen Sarre’s science aside, I return to the ‘bunker mentality’ question. The FEP (rightly or wrongly) came under sustained pressure from David and Ian (as well as others, of course) from very early days. They were supported by Ivan Dean who, prior to his Local Government and then Parliamentary instars, was a Police Commander in the north of our state. As such, his officers conducted that investigation into claims that foxes/fox cubs had been imported and introduced into a number of locations in Tasmania. David has claimed that (#78)

    Lest we forget … this embarrassing, expensive fox-less Tasmanian fox hunt that kept on going for a decade and a half began with a extraordinary lie to in a plush Ministerial office.

    That lie – which was tested and proven to be a lie by Tasmania Police in 2001 – led to further lies being uttered by known individuals, this time communicated to a mainland fox expert who took that information on face value. (You feel quite silly to be sucked into a bullshitter’s joke.) Those silly selfish lies have haunted DPIPWE management to this day.
    The imaginary Tasmanian fox – ‘the fox that wasn’t there’ – was out of the scammer’s bag and running wild!

    The misrepresentation of sightings and the blatant falsification of dead fox evidence began soon after … none of this deception was logical or sensible and yet it happened right here in Tasmania under the very noses of politicians, highly paid public officials, zoologists, molecular biologists and, quite frankly, people who should have known better than to accept such nonsense & drivel.

    I take exception to a number of David’s claims. Firstly, I am not aware of any proven – or indeed unproven – ‘lie’ which was told in Mr Llewellyn’s office, or whoever else’s “plush ministerial office” where it was allegedly uttered, for that matter. Secondly, in my view, David is quite wrong to claim that this lie that he claims “was tested and proven to be a lie by Tasmania Police in 2001”. Nope. I don’t accept that. My memory – and I stand to be corrected – is that the police did not find evidence sufficient to substantiate the importation claims, and further, that their then investigation foundered on the unwillingness of one of the persons to name names or to go further with the matter. I point out the logical difference between:

    did not find evidence sufficient to substantiate the importation claims

    and David’s

    “was tested and proven to be a lie by Tasmania Police in 2001.”


  109. Garry Stannus

    October 26, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    But my purpose in this comment is not to praise Simon for what he produced, but rather to note that I found the Erick Bosworth interview interesting and memorable. I think Ian (Rist) in an earlier comment suggested that he had some skill in reading ‘body language’ based on many years of public interactions, and I’m sure this is true. Yet I – with my own quite extensive history of responsibilities for dealing with many people, both known and unknown to me, found his body language natural and I saw nothing to indicate deceit, while seeing in the interview sufficient to allow me to accept that he was speaking truthfully.

    I accept that some members of the DPIPWE-FEP may have committed fraud by claiming to have ‘found in the field’ scats which upon subsequent testing were identified as containing fox DNA, i.e. they were fox scats, but in fact, were scats which had been imported from the mainland for the reasonable purpose of being used with the fox detector dogs for training purposes. Indeed, I identified to David (Obendorf) the name of one staffer (who was/is) also a member of Professor Sarre’s team and whose use of the scats ‘for training the dogs’ was in apparent breach of the departmental guidelines. I presume that David already had picked up on that.

    Incidentally, there is mention of two ‘Fearn Reports’, released under RTI. I have only seen one. Some of the ‘titles’ that DPIPWE gives to their RTI releases are as cryptic as mud though I must add that mud in itself is a quite valuable indicative medium which, like sand and/or moist soil, can record the transgress of animals over its surface. For example, I cite the cast/s of the fox around the Woodstock-Springbanks lagoon and in doing so I note that fox ‘paw prints’ are distinguishable from canine prints, including those of whippets. In any case, if anyone has a link to the apparent second ‘Fearn Report’ I’d be grateful if they’d share it here on this TT comment thread.

  110. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    October 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm

  111. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    October 26, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I heard an ABC Fidler-Flanagan interview a week or two ago. It was largely about Richard Flanagan who in the early 90s had ghost written a book for John Friedrich whom he’d last spoken to on the day before Friedrich’s apparent suicide. Here is a link: I don’t know how long the links remain viable but at the moment it’s working and it’s quite an interesting conversation.

    And now for some ‘fox comments’. I’ve been following the thread trying, as I indicated that I preferred to do, to stay quiet and to await the outcome of the Integrity Commission process. I must say, that the Simon de Little interviews were an amazing achievement.

  112. Ian Rist

    October 26, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Comment # 176 …

    Yes David, I will never forget or forgive the attacks by those cowardly, faceless and gutless individuals who tried to cover their own lying arses by attacking myself and others when all we wanted was the truth.

    This was a shameful exhibition of deception and charlatanry by greedy self-opinionated and very dishonest persons with no morals or decency and no empathy for the wildlife they claim they were protecting.

    We all know now who they are, and justice will be served one way or another.

  113. David Obendorf

    October 26, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Apparently there is no sanction imposed on a public servant who decides to abuse his or her position in a bureaucracy and communicate untruths. They simply resign!

    Nor is there any impediment standing against such individuals if, as a result of their misrepresentations, unsubstantiated rumour or falsehoods, decision-makers decide to commit tens of millions of dollars based on such assertions.

    As interested TT fox file readers would know by now, there was a small group of elite individuals who abused their influence and their standing … and they were quite determined at trying to discredit anyone who questioned their reasoning, or their ‘hard evidence’.

    [i]Plausible deniability[/i] and imaginative new versions to explain a sensational fox incident were successful to bat away most criticisms, [b]but[/b] allegations of down-right fabrication of physical evidence which were foundational to the program’s initiation, its ongoing existence and funding cannot be so easily dismissed.

    Breathing life into a Gothic myth might result in a smirk or a chuckle. What’s the harm in making up an imaginative story?

    What these individuals have done is far more serious – they have denied the truth!

    By denying the truth for well over a decade and a half, those responsible continued to manufacture narratives and falsify evidence. Sadly, more vulnerable people where the ones who actioned these fabrications of physical evidence.

    By a delirium of untruth-telling these myth-makers abandoned objective truth-gathering, scientific rigor and commonsense reasoning … but paradoxically the more shamelessly arrogant was their defense of such sophistry, the more people wished to believe it.

    If you want to begin to understand where our fox hunt based on sighting reports from 2001 onwards came from, look no further than Tasmania’s ongoing love affair with contemporary thylacine sightings. Thank you.

  114. David Obendorf

    October 26, 2017 at 1:44 am

    Did the Tasmanian Fox Hunt have a con-man (or con-men) with the personality traits of a [b]John Friedrich[/b]?

    Here’s what Richard Flanagan (author of ‘First Person’) said in an interview with Richard Fidler about con-man Friedrich that Flanagan was the ghost-writer for his autobiographer.

    [i]’Oh, they loved him … everybody endorsed him, you know. Kim Beasley and everyone wanted to be photographed with him. Everybody wanted to speak highly of him. Because not the least gift he had as a con man was he rarely lied; he invited other people to invent the great deceits. So he played on their desire to be seen with this Thunderbirds organisation; their desire to be seen with an organisation that never quite made sense …'[/i]

    [b]John Friedrich: Catch me if you can …[/b] https://vimeo.com/12450221

    [b]Zygmut Zayler[/b], Friedrich’s lawyer: [i]’When we walked to court up Russel Street people who recognised him would cheer. They saw him as a guy who had taken money from the banks [over $300 million], spent it in an area where people got jobs to work and strangely in some quarters of the community they treated him like a Robin Hood.'[/i]

  115. Ian Rist

    October 25, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Comment # 173
    Simon I could not agree more, otherwise we will just go on with the same ‘rusted on’ old tired and passed their ‘use by date’ dynasties.
    The born to rule mob….. just catering for and pandering to the same old ‘Barons’ that are slowly but surely ruining this once beautiful State.

  116. Simon Warriner

    October 25, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Ian, the reason I keep on about Independent Representatives is because we need to get a few of them in the House of Assembly. When we do we will be able to break down the walls of silence and fear and get to the truth of this, and a number of other matters.

    Until that happens the stonewalling will continue.

    As they say, it is hard to remember that the initial objective was to drain the swamp when you are up to your arse in crocodiles.

    Pulling the plug needs a team to displace the current teams, all 3 of them, who are standing on it with all their might.

  117. Ian Rist

    October 25, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I think it is time I wrote a long letter to Erika Newton of the British Ecological Societies Applied Science Journal.

  118. David Obendorf

    October 25, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Ian, I sympathise with your sense of embitterment over this particular issue and all I can suggest is that we continue to demonstrate to those who have both influence and wisdom to understand what’s at stake in allowing a ‘delirium of lies’ and a trashing of the importance of ‘objective truth’ to succeed.

    Arguably the [i]Thunderbirds Empire[/i] created by fox hunting in Tasmania is our island’s most well-researched example of how to create a “Coalition of the Willing” (and a “Coalition of the Lying”) through the use of power, money and influence – a coalition that subverted truth and truth-seeking.

    Ian, I know your [i]better angels[/i] and I also know that through your courage and persistence a great many more people now understand that Tasmania’s fox hunt was a Gothic myth that emerged from within a solipsistic organisation that lost its moral compass about three decades ago.

    Thank you, Ian.

  119. David Obendorf

    October 25, 2017 at 11:27 am

    In June this year the current Secretary of DPIPWE told a Parliamentary Estimates Committee that after his department’s internal investigation of misconduct allegations against staff employed in his agency (in the Fox Eradication Program) were completed he would make a very public statement on the matter.

    [i]’The police review indicated some potential inappropriate behaviour by public servants. That is what we are investigating under the State Service Act. That process will be quickly completed. I cannot give an exact date. I will say that should either the Integrity Commission report or the work that is done through this process find any integrity issues we will be very public about that and we will make that very clear on all of our documentation.'[/i]

    Demonstrable evidence linking FEP employees to misconduct which amounted to allegation of ‘fraud’ was presented to DPIPWE management in an independent scientists’ report. More recently it was also conveyed to them through a Tasmania Police report. The DPIPWE management was obliged by its statutory obligations to put any serious misconduct allegations to any implicated employees. We now know that this process did occur and the DPIPWE employee (referred to as the ‘Respondent’) promptly resigned.

    I argue that the person who resigned paid the price for more systemic failings of governance and scientific oversight within this program, one that appropriated taxpayer funds for 16 years.

    In 2015 following an exhaustive analysis of DNA fox scat data (i.e. authorised data obtained from DPIPWE) the findings were communicated to General Manager of [i]Biosecurity Tasmania[/i] – a core component of DPIPWE. That data analysis showed that FEP employees (now identified by name in RTI documents released in 2016 by DPIPWE) had both the means and the unique opportunity to falsify the field samples collected by the Fox Eradication Program.

    These are not insignificant matters as they amount to falsification of evidence.

    DPIPWE management (or its Minister) must act because it does have the potential to harm the corporate reputation of a public agency which has always maintained that it uses scientific processes to inform public policy in biosecurity & risk assessment.

    The ongoing silence and delay from Dr Whittington only places the executive management of the DPIPWE (and regrettably their Minister) in the spotlight.

    Sufficient time has now elapsed for DPIPWE to provide a public explanation for the numerous anomalies and inconsistencies in the physical evidence and its collection; evidence they relied upon to acquire tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars to detect, locate and kill any foxes known to be living in Tasmania. I am certain that should there have been any flaws, weakness, unsubstantiated claims or inconsistencies in the analysis by the independent scientists’ panel then there would have been a swift and direct response from DPIPWE and the Invasive Species CRC.

    Ongoing [b]silence[/b] and [b]delay[/b] only solidifies a perception that deception has occurred.

  120. Ian Rist

    October 25, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Yes Dave # 168, they seem to be able to ‘move on’ to another part of ‘the Company’ without any fear of being asked to ‘show cause’.

    Many of the individuals named above have aided and abetted fraud, or at least have been complicit by ignoring fraud. I firmly believe this fox fraud and other malfeasance in Tasmania will all come down to a Royal Commission or similar.

    The way things are set up in Tasmania at the moment is a joke, and nothing but a fully enforceable ICAC will bring ALL this dirty washing to be ‘aired’.

    Until then the spineless politicians, senior public officials, instructed police and the compliant judiciary will go on doing the ‘work of the company’ and to hell with the taxpayers who only supply the money and vote.

  121. David Obendorf

    October 25, 2017 at 12:16 am

    Sadly they’re referred to as “cool trippers”, Ian … and they never stay long when the temperature rises. There’s quite a list of erstwhiles in the fox program.

    What ever happened to all their [i]poisons-R-us[/i] businesses?

  122. Ian Rist

    October 24, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Sarre and the Institute of Applied Ecology at Canberra University is the institution that did Tasmania’s ‘fox scat’ testing (at a cost of $522,000 one year alone) and are members of the Invasive Animals CRC (GOVT. FUNDED).
    Where are you now Professor P. Peacock and Andreas Glanznig? Glanznig was former World Wildlife Fund before he went to CRC Invasive Animals as their new CEO…what a sea change! !
    Prof. Peacock was the person at the Tas. Government PAC Inquiry in 2009 that claimed I “must be smoking something” to even suggest fox scats were even being imported into Tasmania.
    What say ye now Prof. Peacock ?

  123. Simon Warriner

    October 24, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    re #163, and he should tender his resignation if he does not do as stated in your #3 point. Failing that, his publicly funded employer should be sanctioning him for professional misconduct by dismissing him.

    This shit has dragged on long enough.

  124. David Obendorf

    October 24, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Here is the dilemma for Dr Stephen Sarre at the Institute of Applied Ecology at the University of Canberra to ponder:

    1. He was not willing to share his fox scat DNA-dataset with the science journal that published his “foxes are now widespread in Tasmania” 2013 paper (or its readers). He and his superior Dr David Choquenot (deceased) also refused to provide that data to interested scientists who requested it.

    2. He (and Dr Tony Peacock, CEO of the Invasive Animals CRC) readily accepted the explanation that DNA fox-positive scats found by DPIPWE employees in Tasmania must have originated from the anuses of foxes living in Tasmania.

    3. [i]If[/i] he now accepts the proposition that he could not guarantee the quality of the scats he tested in his Canberra laboratory (neither will DPIPWE), so as senior author he should do the right thing and contact the journal editors of their “foxes are now widespread in Tasmania” 2013 paper.

    4. [i]If[/i] he now does accept that up to 26 DNA-fox positive scats could have resulted from intentional fabrication (i.e. falsification of field samples with known fox scats imported from Victoria through substitution by one or more DPIPWE employees) and that several other DNA-fox positive scats were not typical of fox faeces (i.e. field samples likely to have been contaminated with fox-DNA) [i]then[/i], at the very least, he should review the model he and his co-authors used to claim “foxes are now widespread in Tasmania” and, at a very minimum, remove those scat-samples that Simon Fearn’s analysis showed were either non-fox samples or ‘likely hoaxes’ samples.

    The publishing Journal, the FEP staff involved in the program over 15 years, the Australian taxpayer, Tasmanian citizens and two Governments are waiting.

  125. William Boeder

    October 24, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Continued comment/ However very soon thereafter a number statutes were countermanded to legitimize the Ta Ann resort to request that Tasmanian native forest Crown Land harvested hard wood only logs be accepted for delivery.
    So there we are folks, another enormous fabrication of fiction or fantasy was the direct result based upon the energies of the 6 so far mentioned in this particular conspiracy of massive proportion.
    However the 2 most prominent in this plot were none other than David Llewellyn with his behind the scenes wrangling to turn fiction into fact and falsehoods that went on to become major State media headlines, David Llewellyn being ably assisted by the former CEO of Forestry Tasmania.

    Now I turn to this plot or ruse of huge undertaking to spread the claim of the “supposed sustainability” of the clear-fell logging of Tasmania’s Crown Land forests to the point of exhaustion.
    Hence we note the conspiracy of Guy Barnett’s heinous and irresponsible undertakings to bring forward a future reserve of Crown Land forests well before their due.
    There can be no meaningful distinction given between either of these 2 perpetrated State approved hoaxes/fictions other than the most outrageous and out of control volume of logging for the want’s of the Ta Ann timber company, well may this ultimately cost this State far more in terms of the Fox presence financial deception as both are toxic examples of nil benefit to the citizens of this State.
    I am in the midst of preparing a major article for Tasmanian Times publication of the fact supported incontrovertible lies that I intend to expose the conspiracy of the Ta Ann entry into Tasmania.
    The methods of this State’s government in utilizing a Commercial in Confidence rating where in reality there can be no market secretive information relating to secretive pricing schedule negotiated with the prinicpal owner of Ta Ann, (Hamed Sepawi) as generally ths rating is used to withold seriously suspicious and or controversial decisions made that could even be of acts criminal intent that now accompanies many of the State of Tasmania government former major undertakings.
    The use of the Commercial in Confidence rating is generally all the evidence that is needed to signal to the Tasmanian people that another huge deception has been perpetrated by way of this State’s GBE’s or directly by the particular party in leadership, have again been improperly complicit to enable whatever suspicious State government undertaking in being urgently cloaked over.
    Of interest here and most applicable when the matter is to do with the continuing mass depletion of Tasmania’s Crown Land forests, (or to the claiming of the presence of Foxes in Tasmania) when the fact of the matter is that there is no such animal in Tasmania’s past 20 or so years of Foxes nor of the clear-fell logging that has been so relentlessly continued that can be honestly described as “sustainable” when the “sustainable” word is actuated and utilized to conceal the volume of clear-fell logging by both Forestry Tasmania (and or to include the ridicuously named Tasmanian Sustainable Timbers) simply cannot be claimed “sustainable” when the truth of the matter is quite apparent that the current quality of logs contracted for log supply to the Ta Ann mills, cannot be claimed as a sustainable log supply and which has been the case ever since the arrival of Ta Ann into Tasmania.
    The volume of lies, misleading statements, fact obfuscations, disgenuous statements, falsified reports, wholly fictitious Parliament House statements claims and orations et al that features either in reference to the Logging contretemps that involves Ta Ann, and or the Fox presence in this State, as both have become a damning anathema dumped upon the State’s people and upon this State generally, by both the Liberal and the Labor parties extant in the State of Tasmania.
    It is my belief that an act of litigation would succeed against both political parties due to the volume of their each quantifiable delivery of grossly improper governance having been dumped upon the citizens of this corrupt functioning State of Tasmania, by each party elected in becoming the leadership government during say the past 20 years.
    Furthermore this long prevailing set of deplorable actions by the State’s Lib/Lab coordinated government conducts, should be referred on to the State’s current appointed Governor to deal more responsibly with such deplorable outcomes that fall upon this State Governor’s duty to decide which failing political party will be appointed to the leadership role government post the next State election in this wholly recalcitrent woefully governed State.

  126. William Boeder

    October 24, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you Ian Rist and Dr David Obendorf for continuing the further insightful sets of observations relative to the controversial Fox Underbelly Forces, by this set of below mentioned individuals, that their dishonest messages were eagerly sent on to the printing press by the major media owners here in Tasmania.

    On a parallel with the Fox fantasy there was also another festering future fantasy of falsehoods in the boiling-pot of the DPIPWE that was being perpetrated by the 4 Labor State ministers and one particular State Senator in the name of Eric Abetz, then one has to include a certain CEO of Forestry Tasmania.
    Amazing is the line up of serial offending State government political appointees and Lib/Lab party government ministers that have become more easily recognized for their evils than by the essence of their creating so little ” to the point of being almost entirely insignificant” any individual goodness or benefit to have been provided for the Tasmanian citizens.
    I speak of Paul Lennon, Michael Aird, David Llewellyn and one never to forget Bryan “the giggler” Green. Then in the fact that this already public acknowledged situation remains extant.
    There has been an enormous set of exhausting contra undertakings as were engineered by a former CEO of Forestry Tasmania, many of these said contra undertakings cannot be disputed, however the above referenced individuals would go on to facilitate another myth or fantasy of enumerable proportion by these named anti-the-Tasmanian-people plotters.
    On this occasion it was to to spin the story of how the Ta Ann Timber company were to be allowed their entry into this State, whereby the people of this State were told this entry was permitted, this being based upon the Ta Ann signed agreement to the receiving and utilizing of an enormous volume of the State’s mono-species Eucalyptus Plantation grown species.
    to be continued/

  127. David Obendorf

    October 24, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    May I recommend readers of the TT fox stories and comments to this article?

    [b][i]John Freidrich one of Australia’s notorious and enigmatic imposters[/i][/b] – by Simon Caterson


    [i]”When it comes to the perpetrators of Australia’s greatest cons and hoaxes, truth is stranger than fiction. The forthcoming novel by [b]Richard Flanagan[/b], “First Person” was inspired by the author’s own brief encounter in 1991 with John Friedrich, one of Australia’s most notorious and enigmatic imposters.

    Flanagan was hired by a publisher to help Friedrich put together a publishable memoir and the book eventually came out as “Codename Iago.” In the postscript to the book Flanagan states “I can vouch for the veracity of none of it.”

    In the 1991 book “The Fraud”, which is the only full length treatment of Friedrich’s life and crimes, [b]Martin Thomas[/b] writes that Friedrich succeeded in getting away with it not through any great talent for rubbery figures but rather through sheer bluff. “Make no mistake, John Friedrich’s frauds were not masterpieces of guile – that they went on for as long as they did was proof of Friedrich’s persuasive personality and his locking out of his staff from key areas of the accounts system”.

    Able to project a Jeff Tracey-like aura [based on a classic TV series “Thunderbirds” character] Friedrich seduced as well as misdirected impressionable lenders and auditors.

    The lack of conspicuous consumption on the part of Friedrich and his family, as well as the altruistic cause in which the funds were applied, also helps to explain why such a massive fraud went undetected for more than a decade, while also giving a clue as to his unusual psychology. Like any successful con artist, Friedrich had the ability to convince people he was the person he claimed to be – no doubt after first convincing himself.

    In touch with his own inner action-man and able to project a Jeff Tracey-like aura, Friedrich seduced as well as misdirected impressionable lenders and auditors. One trick he used involved taking visitors for rides in various Thunderbirds, thereby giving them a sense that their money was being put to use in the most effective and professional, as well as thrilling, way possible.

    Back on the ground, Friedrich’s standard technique for “securing” loans included simply pointing out to visitors touring the base rows of shipping containers that were said to contain valuable equipment but were in fact empty. From time to time the containers would be moved around to suggest many more assets than there really were.

    In a quite literal way, John Friedrich is one of those larger than life characters you wouldn’t normally read about. From what has been revealed so far about First Person, in unambiguously fictionalising aspects of the true story Richard Flanagan seems to have followed the path of fellow novelist [b]Peter Carey[/b] who invented characters and situations derived from the Ern Malley Affair in “My Life as a Fake”. Carey turned in a decidedly understated novel that doesn’t compete with the legend, and it may be that Flanagan has taken similarly low-key approach in reworking the Friedrich story in “First Person”.'[/i]

    Apparently some humans are highly successful at making fantasy seem believable!

  128. Ian Rist

    October 24, 2017 at 11:35 am

    # 158. The latest example of the DPIPWE and Minister Rockliff refusing to cooperate with British Ecological Society (over the Police and Integrity Commissions and also the Independent Scientists findings in to the fox scat fraud) typify the way this whole program has been run since ay one.

    With this latest blatant disgrace the non release of findings is simply because like many other ‘fox incidents’ it will expose the truth.
    John Whittington DPIPWE Secretary promised at the Budget Estimates hearings on the 5th June 2017 :
    Dr Whittington told the Committee: ‘They considered the Tasmanian Police review material that you [Ivan Dean] provided them, they made their findings and passed on their findings both to the department and to the Integrity Commission. I do not know what the Integrity Commission is doing. We are cooperating with everything that we have. The police review indicated some potential inappropriate behaviour by public servants. That is what we are investigating under the State Service Act. That process will be quickly completed. I cannot give an exact date. I will say that should either the Integrity Commission report or the work that is done through this process find any integrity issues we will be very public about that and we will make that very clear on all of our documentation.

    So we appear to be no closer to knowing whether the DPIPWE executive will provide the requested reply the managing editor of the Journal of Applied Ecology (British Ecological Society) has been awaiting for the better part of 8 months.
    The DPIPWE Secretary Whittington has admitted in the Parliament that “their investigation is complete’ so what’s the holdup?
    The holdup is the DPIPWE knows that if they release the scat truth to the British Ecological Society the whole fox funding rort goes belly up and all hell will break loose.
    Minister Rockliff is just as complicit as DPIPWE Secretary Whittington and unfortunately will be the one that suffers the Political ramifications.
    My suggestion to Minister Rockliff is fix it and fix it quickly because every day you delay you personally slip further and further into the cess pit surrounding this deception.

  129. David Obendorf

    October 24, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Last night on ABC TV we learnt that Tas TAFE have refused to release documents under Right to Information laws relating to the ongoing expenses scandal at the highest levels of that organisation. TT readers will recall that Tas TAFE was the subject of an investigation by the Integrity Commission with resignations of senior executive staff members. TAFE’s reputation was trashed; staff morale plummeted and student enrolments affected.

    Back to the Fox Eradication Program saga …

    1. A prestigious ecology journal has been waiting nearly a year to hear back from DPIPWE whether that Tasmanian agency can (and will) guarantee the physical evidence that was the foundation of a science paper DPIPWE wrote with a Canberra-based molecular geneticist Dr [b]Stephen Sarre[/b].

    2. In September last year DPIPWE tried to block the release of documents relating to the acquittal of Commonwealth money to DPIPWE to operate the fox program in Tasmania. Those documents were subsequently released after following criticism in the press and in the parliament.

    3. The Integrity Commission was referred a Tasmania Police report on the original complaint MLC Ivan Dean submitted on Fox Program. Tas Police recommended that DPIPWE conduct internal investigations into allegations of staff misconduct under the State Services Act.

    4. According to the current Tasmanian Government the [b]last[/b] DPIPWE staff member implicated in these misconduct allegations immediately resigned on being direcrly informed of the serious allegations which he was the ‘respondent’.

    5. The senior bureaucrat who undertook this misconduct investigation of DPIPWE staff was the Secretary of the Department of Justice, [b]Simon Overland[/b]. Coincidentally, Mr Overland resigned from his influential position; a position in which he recently had his appointment renewed for another contract term; Mr Overland went back to Victoria to manage a metropolitan municipal council.

    6. I understand that no less than three sitting politicians have written to the Minister of Primary Industries, [b]Jeremy Rockliff[/b] on this matter.

    In May 2016 Mr Rockliff told the Parliament: [i]”I would not talk about foxes if I were him [[b]David Llewellyn[/b]]; I would not talk about the fact that it was his decision to spend $50 million on the Fox Eradication Program. One of the reasons we decided to abolish the Fox Eradication Program was that Tasmanians quite rightly were questioning the level of expenditure of some $50 million over a 10 or 12-year period.”[/i]

    Amen to that!

    Yet everyone is still waiting to see which rganisation will finally decide to stop passing on this smelly fox parcel and inform taxpayers whether the expenditure of $50 million was ‘value for money’ and whether it was based on false data – manufactured physical evidence.

  130. Ian Rist

    October 24, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Good one Spikey # 157. I really enjoy your wit.

    Tasmania has for a long time exploited its wildlife, to put in in a sentence all those at NPWS and DPIPWE, especially management, should be sacked and we all should start again with a Fisheries and Wildlife service.

  131. David Obendorf

    October 24, 2017 at 12:48 am

    [b]Simon De Little[/b] took on a massive task with his Tasmania fox interview series. DPIPWE kicked this “foxes are here” can down the road for 16 years based on nonsense propaganda and flim-flam story-telling. I wonder how many of the fox program staff actually record their association in the CVs?

    Is there anyone who rationally believe DPIPWE located and ‘eradicated’ foxes in Tasmania?

    The gaping holes in reasoning are there to be viewed if anyone is prepared to watch them; he shameless way dead foxes on the sides of Tasmanian roads were accepted as ‘road kills’ and the brash myth from a Tasmanian man with a known history of shooting foxes on the mainland and facing numerous poaching and firearm offenses is deemed to be a credible witness when he presented a decomposed shot fox to PWS rangers in 2001.

    Someone peddled this sophistry and others readily accepted it.

    Tasmanians were encouraged to accept a delirium of untruths – they were mesmerised into believing the latest fox incident on one day that was contradicted days later. There were no objective truth on display and sadly very few truth-seekers.

  132. spikey

    October 23, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    1080 may or may not have contributed to the alleged extinction of the tasmanian tigers

    1080 may or may not have contributed to the alleged extinction of the alleged tasmanian foxes

    1080 is a disgusting chemical that should have been banned globally long ago

    to use it to protect native wildlife from alleged, sorry invented foxes, appears to be taking the piss

    from the department of primary poisoning our wildlife, wilderness and waterways. I think there’s supposed to be an environment in there somewhere.

    Though apparently due to funding cuts, it was sold via the EPA to timber mafia, tassal, supertrawlers, shree, adani and some stressed out guy on the street asking for jason for $40 and a pack of smokes, cos the boys were out on the piss and erica forgot the casino card.

    shame, shame, shame.

  133. Ian Rist

    October 23, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Also worth an analysis is this David Llewellyn Gem
    with ‘The Mercury’


  134. Ian Rist

    October 23, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks Dave re # 154

    Interesting that I found it very revealing when going back over the 2009-2010 Simon De Little interviews with the key ‘fox players’.
    Having given myself the nod as an expert on body language (after more than 30 years dealing with the public) I felt some truth boundaries had been crossed when able to view the interviews many years later.
    Hindsight shows many of the claims made by the “foxes are everywhere” crusaders have been proven to be totally false.
    It now appears about the only thing that wasn’t false was the taxpayers dollars.
    Worth a revisit are:


  135. David Obendorf

    October 23, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Ian asks: [i] do you believe the introduction of 1080 poison in Tasmania in the early 1950’s could have contributed to the final demise of the already doomed (in my opinion) Thylacine/Tasmanian Tiger/Hyena?[/i]

    Answer: I don’t know. What is known is that in the first decade or so of its use sodium monofluoroacetate [Compound 1080] was used at much higher concentrations in various baits than was necessary to kill rabbits, its principle target in those years) Farmers complained publicly of indiscriminate deaths of native birds and animals.

    Throughout the six decades of 1080 usage in Tasmania next to no work was done on secondary poisoning or the sub-lethal effects on native fauna. Given the extreme sensitivity of foxes (and other canids) to 1080, including via secondary poisoning, it makes DPIPWE’s recent speculation that a Tasmanian fox population was some hang-over of a “trickle effect of historical introductions” just desperate posturing.

    But I guess they were unable to prove Llewellyn’s “Fox Plot”. Nothing made sense … except the money!

  136. Ian Rist

    October 22, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Re # 151
    Any thoughts there Dave ?

    At the request of a colleague to research some old Hansard and Tasmanian Times comments I had to chuckle at the now non-participation of many of the earlier very knowledgeable fox serial commentators….
    It would appear many of them have conceded defeat, especially some of the Sandy Bay contributors.

  137. Ian Rist

    October 20, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Comment # 151
    Dave food for thought, quite often the fox issue becomes correlated with the Thylacine issue from many different angles.
    One I have often thought about is the timing of the 1950’s introduction of 1080 poison in relation to Thylacine/Tasmanian Tiger/Hyena.

    A lot of the Thylacine studies I have done are based on input from my father (DOB 1904) and his brothers especially Jim, Ted, Clarrie all X Waratah. circa 1920’s 1930’s 1940’s.
    The last Thylacine sighting I unconditionally recognize was in 1945 and that is the one my Uncle Jim spoke of that he had witnessed on the Racecourse Plain which is on the top end of the Hatfield River in the Surrey Hills estate.
    He walked over an embankment one sunny afternoon and almost stood on two half grown “Hyenas” that scrambled down an old “badger” hole.
    Uncle Jim did all the fencing for Associated Forest Holdings in the early days specifically to keep their prize Black Angus cattle out of the bogs on the Hatfield marsh.

    The question I must ask is do you believe the introduction of 1080 poison in Tasmania in the early 1950’s could have contributed to the final demise of the already doomed (in my opinion) Thylacine/Tasmanian Tiger/Hyena ?

    My dad had hands on experiences with the “Hyenas” in the 1920’s and as late as 1931 when he and Basil ‘Cutter’ Murray box trapped one on top of the Hellyer Gorge and released it.
    We had some photos in the family of the famous Delphin Bros. 1929 “Hyenas” that they kept in a pen at Waratah.

  138. David Obendorf

    October 20, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Several individuals have done the investigative research that may yet bring this issue out into the open Mr Rist #149. There are at least two journalists I want to acknowledge by name – [b]Helen Kempton[/b] of the [i]Mercury[/i] and [b]Chris Clarke[/b] of the [i]Examiner[/i].

    You might recall the intervention of ‘publicinterest’. That person appears to know of the the secret documents within DPIPWE and managed to force their released. [see: [b]Off the Back of a Truck …[/b] by TT editor Lindsay Tuffin 2 October 2016].

    Sadly many individuals and organisations were comprehensively scammed by a simplistic trick based on fear.

    When someone has been too trusting to believe extraordinarily silly stories (without validation and independent corroboration) you’d feel rather foolish when it becomes clear that the narrative you believed was baseless and simply false, and that is what happened here.

    As you’ve said several times, Mr Rist – [i]’they were all in too deep'[/i].

    I can recall the terms that were used to describe anyone who questioned DPIPWE’s fox evidence when public servant used labels like: [i]conspiracy theorists, super-sceptics[/i] and [i]uber-sceptics[/i].

    On the same day Mr [b]Ivan Dean[/b] presented his formal complaint [Monday 29 February 2016] to Police Commissioner [b]Darren Hine.[/b] ABC “Mornings” presenter [b]Leon Compton[/b] interviewed [b]Nick Mooney[/b]. Leon introduced him with: [i]’Let’s talk about it with Nick Mooney, wildlife biologist and one of the key advisers to the fox taskforce.'[/i]

    Leon Compton: [i]’Were there foxes in Tasmania, Nick Mooney? Are there foxes in Tasmania?'[/i]

    Nick Mooney: [i]’Well, I think the evidence was that there was ahh, … some foxes here. And ahh, … that there’s been incidents in the past, you know, that’s consistent with things that have happened in the distant past, you know, before this incur … I suppose the one that most people will remember would be the 1998 ahh, … example where a fox came off a ship at Burnie. But, they’re sort of eccentric incidents you might say, although we don’t know what’s happened in between. Ahhhm, … I think the evidence was very strong there was some foxes in Tasmania. But, I … there is little or no monitoring done now so I wouldn’t know what’s going on now.'[/i]

    Leon Compton: [i]’Was there any evidence that was being tendered at the time that made you concerned or sceptical about where it was coming from or how it was being used scientifically?'[/i]

    Nick Mooney: [i]’Oh, there was lots of bits of evidence that came in and some of it was very eccentric; very odd. And most it was found by the public; the very early lots. So it’s been handled or mishandled or moved or whatever, but I always tried to think about where did it originally come from … meaning if it’s moved from the road here to over there, that’s not really the issue. The issue is: was it, you know, found in Tasmania? Just trying to keep my eye on the ball there. So… (pause) there was, ahhm … none of it … (pause) beyond not having connections with other evidence; none of it seemed to have particular problems to me. I never witnessed any skulduggery, if that’s what you’re asking. So…'[/i]

    The Tasmania’s fox-less fox hunt was based on an unsubstantiated fear and maybe it was based on another myth more Gothic in the psyche of Tasmanians – the endless search for evidence that a [b]thyalcine[/b] still exists in Tasmania. These matters have now going well and truly past ‘gossip’, ‘pub talk’ and ‘Chinese whispers’, and there are now serious allegations of falsification of physical evidence to procure and then support ongoing Commonwealth and State government funding. Thank you.

  139. William Boeder

    October 19, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    David, yes you are correct in all that you state, then in the fact that there exists bona evidence available to disprove the claims of David Llewellyn.

    One must understand that there is no proven integrity visible or claimable in any State of Tasmania government Institution (bar the Service Tasmania State institution) that exists with a proven level of trust that can be validated as an established fact.
    I say this based upon my former investigative actions and outcomes so recognized and thereby delivered, during each of those accorded to matters in times past.

    This same applies to the State’s Justice Department and Tasmania’s Court of Law system.
    Should any of the above choose to dispute my claims this may or will provide for shame and embarrassment upon that specific State Institution that I will verily prove so to be.

    I have stated the above to demonstrate how such dishonest activity engaged in by David Llewellyn and of persons other (in whatever may be the applicable task or directive as requested or to serve in a capacity to deliver by virtue of being hired and or even appointed a position, as will refer and or relate to a State funded recipient employee head of department and or State government Liberal or Labor party, State government minister) will bother to act in the interests of the Tasmanian people in order to apprehend or check the rampant dishonesty rife in this State.
    The very fact that Llewellyn could succeed to dispute deny or even ignore a State Police investigated and concluded report, amply displays the full testament to my claims and allegations.

  140. ian Rist

    October 19, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Llewellyn has been up to his ears in this fox fiasco since day one, we have got until March 2018 to nail him before he rides off in to the sunset with his saddlebags full of money.
    He and his treasurer Aird, several Ministers and Premiers know a lot about the fox business and what a lucrative money spinner it was, NHT money and Caring for our Country money running in rivers of gold.

    It may have to be a citizens action because I don’t see the current Government stepping up, in fact they have been seen to deliberately interfered with the Police, the law and the judiciary.

  141. David Obendorf

    October 19, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    William [#147], ‘shooting the messenger’ is a popular tactic in Tasmania. I’m not put off by overt or covert attempts to silence or threaten.

    I do recall in September 2006 [after the Glen Esk Road dead fox incident] that I was summoned to the plush Ministerial office of [b]David Llewellyn[/b] Minister for Primary Industry, Water & Environment after I’d decided to offer a $1,000 reward to any Tasmanian who could present credible physical evidence, supported by their own testimony, of a dead or live captured fox in the State of Tasmania. That reward was available until midway through 2010 and in the last period of its extension I increased the reward to $5,000.

    I am very appreciative that I was accompanied to that meeting with the Minister because in the absence of a witness I believed I may have been vulnerable to verbal intimidation and bullying. I recall that I specifically asked Minister Llewellyn whether he was aware of any State law which I had offended against in my commencing a privately sponsored fox reward. The Minister’s response was related to his concern that my action may indeed be a catalyst for persons to introduce dead fox material to perpetrate a hoax in order to claim my reward.

    We are now aware that the importation of dead fox material or their body parts was subject to no sanction until late 2009, and in the case of fox faeces not until late 2010.

    I wonder why this Minister didn’t request his Department to amend its laws in relation to the importation of fox body parts many years earlier? 1998 – after the Burnie fox hunt escapade, or 2001 – after the series of fox hoaxes in northern Tasmania, or 2002 – after the Cooee Abattoir dead fox incident; or 2003 – after the Burnie dead fox incident; or 2006 – after the Lillico dead fox incident & the Glen Esk Road dead fox incident.

    At many stages in the last decade or so DPIPWE could have engaged with individuals who attempted to demonstrate that the ‘hard evidence’ DPIPWE was relying on was questionable and the assumptions being made on it were unsound. How many Tasmanians know that DPIPWE’s original case definition as to what was the foundational event(s) that triggered the need to call on Commonwealth funding dramatically [i]changed[/i] in ~2010?

    In 2001 after Llewellyn did not accept the Tasmania Police taskforce investigation findings into principle allegation from PWS that known Tasmanian men had introduced between 11-19 fox cubs, reared them in captivity and released them at four sites, Minister Llewellyn went public claiming that this malevolent act of eco-terrorism had occurred. And yet in a DPIPWE document tendered to the Commonwealth to justify ongoing funding from 2014 to 2017 for the fox program, they write:

    [i]”… a suspicion that historical introductions were more likely to be a ‘trickle effect’ of small scale and temporally separated incursions rather than a large number of individuals being introduced in one event.'[/i] [Fox Eradication – Program Plan Stage 3 11 April 2014 page 7]

    This single admission threw a whole previous decade and a half of fox hunting based on the DPIPWE fox-hunch down the sewer. According to their newest ‘suspicion’ Tasmania had ‘trickle effect’ foxes going back historically … and we had only thought we were ‘fox-free’ but really we weren’t! Understand now?

    Give me strength!

  142. William Boeder

    October 17, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Hello David, and Ian an interesting series of facts are herein being featured in the comments forwarded toward this Fox referenced article, in their being authored by the 2 most credible and trusted individuals in this State of Tasmania.

    I understand another person known as David had created an enormously false and hypercritical slandering character attack upon your good self as simply being Dr David Obendorf that went on to severely strangle your professional career endeavours within this State of Tasmania.
    This is not the kind of evil-intended action one would expect from a devoutly religious Christian espousing person of political prominence in this State.
    However these kinds of fact must be circulated so they are better known and understood by each and all of the voting people in Tasmania.
    Unfortunately other persons purporting to be of good Christian character and principle have become poisoned by such as the above retaliatory behaviours of that other person named David.
    One could never expect that these most unchristian-like traits as above referred to are being frequently displayed by yet another person of major standing in this State, despite he being a rather pompous outspoken Liberal Senator bearing of a typical hateful attitude, he is a well observed Tasmania Liberal party Senator with his close ties and politically connected evils, also a senior member of the now proven greed-besotted leaders of the poorly principled fanatical religious sect we know as the Exclusive Brethren.

    Unfortunately it is people like these 2 above-referenced false and misleading political party persons that each have caused a number of catastrophic financial losses to Tasmania yet they wander about completely unscathed and unpunished for the severity of their evil intended conducts and the plenitude of their disastrous policies and processes, to ever to be inflicted upon the people in this State of Tasmania.
    Therefore it comes as no wonder that there are persons in this State of such determinedly dishonest intent that would seehave each and all fabricate their preposterously false claims of a Fox presence in Tasmania.
    It is my personal opinion that given the conspiracy of actions that also held the support and acknowledement by this State government of the intricate details which by definition were a full scale criminal action of fraud.
    However, it is now necessary to incorportate an additional 3 persons in the very least (one must now leave out the former now the late Jim Bacon, therefore I allege that a criminal case of intent to defraud the Federal governmentent (let’s call it by its correct name for a change) must implicitly incorporate these 2 still alive and active individuals that dwell in our society who were or still do remain culpable in the matter of this State implemented Fox Fraud event launched all those many uears ago.
    So the 2 other persons could only be the pair of political rodents I now aver to, both Bryan Green and Paul Lennon, each of these referred to 4 individuals are yet to face the law courts in this State, yet it is unlikely they are ever to do so.
    There is one stark fact that had underlain this huge case of the long term perpetuated fraud upon both the Federal Police, then this State’s Police, who have up until this present moment, done little more than to skirt around the fact basis of this criminal activity (oh, one must include the Editors of the print media in this matter also.)
    Further to this stark act of fraud, we must by legal imperative now add the word corruption, despite the claim of the late State Governor, for it was he that trumpeted that “there is no corruption in Tasmania” that indeed also became an action of fraud.
    A fraud that was committed against or upon the entire population of Tasmania.
    So each of these 3 additional informed agencies were complicit in the perpetuation of the false assertions that there are Foxes dwelling in Tasmania.
    Worst of all is that there are no persons among the higher echelons of this State that would likely engage in an action against these “stacked to the rafters with evil conduct” persons, which in turn would then go a long way to restore some measure of faith in the democratic halls of Tasmania’s House of Parliament.
    Alas this State’s continuing foolish and uncommonly stupid Lib/Lab party ministers continue on unopposed with their disastrous forebodings of dangerously imprudent and or maybe fraudulent State leadership.

  143. Ian Rist

    October 17, 2017 at 10:11 am

    In my honest opinion having carefully watched this stinking saga for over 18 Years (in fact since the lies and fraudulent activity started ) I have come to the conclusion that none of our Political representatives State or Federal give a stuff.
    It was easy money, a chance for some pork-barreling and political point scoring and f**k the taxpayers.
    They only supply the money, it is up to us Polly Waffels to distribute the funds to our best advantage. F**k the taxpayers they only vote for us.

    What a terrible indictment on the integrity of Tasmania.

  144. Alison Bleaney

    October 17, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Who investigates these matters with transparency and accountability? No bias? No selectivity?

    This is in the arena of the Public Interest, both State and Federal! It’s time for this foxy fraud saga to be dealt with appropriately … and we all know what that means!!

  145. Simon Warriner

    October 16, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    re #142, Conversely David, I have had the experience of relaying facts to politicians, along with the primary source whom I have strongly suggested they get in contact with, and had those politicians do absolutely bloody nothing at all.

    I am not sure which is worse, but I am absolutely convinced that party politicians are less likely to follow up when they should, and more likely to run with a line that suits them when they shouldn’t, than independent ones. What you describe is what most often gets called “spin”, and the best of that comes with an extra serving of plausible deniability, all carefully arranged by a bevy of very expensive ex journalists with business cards saying “Adviser” that hang around every senior politician like flies on a rotting carcass.

    All in all, it explains why survey after survey ranks them down at the bottom of the list of people we trust.

  146. William Boeder

    October 16, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Hello David, an interesting series of facts are herein being featured in comments toward this Fox referenced article, especially in their being voiced by the 2 most credible and trusted individuals in this State of Tasmania.

    I understand another person known as David had created an enormously false and hypercritical slandering character attack upon your good self as simply being Dr David Obendorf, that went on to severely strangle your professional career endeavours all throughout this State of Tasmania.

    This is not the kind of evil-intended action one would expect from a devoutly religious Christian espousing person of political prominence in this State.
    However these kinds of fact must be circulated so they be better become known and understood by each and all of the voting people in Tasmania.

    Unfortunately other persons purporting to be of good Christian character and principle have become poisoned by such as the above retaliatory behaviours of that other person named David.
    One could never expect that these most unchristian-like traits as above referred to are being frequently displayed by yet another person of major standing in this State, despite he being a rather pompous outspoken Liberal Senator bearing of a typical hateful attitude, he is a well observed Tasmania Liberal party Senator with his close ties and politically connected evils is a senior member of the now investigative proven the greed-besotted leaders of the poorly principled fanatical religious sect of the Exclusive Brethren.

    Unfortunately it is people like these 2 referenced persons that have caused a number of catastrophic financial losses to Tasmania yet they wander about completely unscathed and unpunished for the severity of their evil intended conducts and the plenitude of their disastrous policies and processes ever to be inflicted upon the people in this State of Tasmania.
    Therefore it comes as no wonder that there are persons of such determinedly dishonest intent that would could fabricate their preposterously false claims of a Fox presence in Tasmania.

    Worst of all is that there are no persons among the higher echelons of this State that would likely engage in an action against these “stacked to the rafters with evil conduct” persons, which in turn would go a long way to restore some measure of faith in the democratic halls of Tasmania’s House of Parliament.
    Alas this State’s continuing foolish and uncommonly stupid Lib/Lab party ministers continue on unopposed with their disastrous forebodings of dangerously imprudent State leadership.

  147. David Obendorf

    October 16, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    In our post-truth world, politicians like [b]Cassy O’Connor[/b] (but she’s not the only one by any stretch) can easily fall victim to the phenomenon of only choosing their sources and their experts they [i]trust[/i]. Some do this out of a misplaced sense of historical connection and so they only hear from those ‘experts’ what they want to hear. In so doing a [i]’cognitive bias'[/i] builds up which can ultimately ensnare them into accepting a falsehood.

    Such persons of standing (like politicians) can then re-tell those same narratives which their preferred source or expert has told them. The politician becomes the megaphone based on someone else’s story-line.

    What many politicians fail to do is ‘fact check’ primary information that a source offers, perhaps because it takes time and effort!

    Some sources are willing to say things that they know are false. Some sources don’t care if what they are relaying is based in a proven truth – only that someone else will believe it and then relay it

    Politicians’ failure to fact check extraordinary claims can be disastrous. In the first instance for them, they care more about whether the narrative is coming from a source that they personally trust or from a source that the politician perceives shares their [i]values[/i].

    In my opinion this is the malady of our times. Often too-trusting politicians can become unwitting megaphones for a falsehood.

    What do other TT readers think?

  148. David Obendorf

    October 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

    It has come to my attention that Commonwealth of Australia has a [b]Fraud Rule[/b]

    [i] The [b]Fraud Rule[/b] is set out under the General Governance, Performance & Accountability Act 2013. It provides a legislative basis for the Commonwealth’s fraud control arrangements.

    It sets out the key principles for fraud risk management & controls. The [b]Fraud Rule[/b] assists accountable authorities to meet their obligations under this Act in preventing, detecting and dealing with [b]fraud[/b]. The Fraud Rule is legally binding.[/i]

    Read all about it – https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2013A00123

    As far as I have read the Act may not apply retrospectivity – i.e. to fraud committed before coming into law; and it may not extend to ‘fraud’ committed by a State Department provided with Commonwealth funds.

  149. David Obendorf

    October 16, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Comment #139 highlights that Tasmania was a lawless environment when it came to the introduction of dead fox bodies and body parts. Ironically it was the recovery of [i]only[/i] dead fox evidence from 2001 to 2006 that made the Tasmanian fox-less fox hunt not incredible with the general public.

    Ian has narrated his experience on the 2003 Queens’ Birthday long weekend several times to me. That long weekend was from 7 to 9 June. Ian returned on the [i]Spirit of Tasmania[/i] on Tuesday 10 June.

    This single incident exposed a legal and operational loophole in Tasmania’s ability to impose a legal sanction on the introduction of material that could seriously interfere with the collection of genuine fox evidence in Tasmania.

    And no, the DPIPWE did not throw the book at Mr Rist, nor could they. If they could have I am sure they would have. It was Ian’s letter in the Mercury newspaper in late 2008 describing this 2003 incident that instigated a reaction of sorts – but again they had no powers under any legislation to act against Mr Rist for outing himself.

    No offence was committed, but the incident did demonstrate that during the time Tasmania was trying to find evidence of fox presence in Tasmania, [i]anyone[/i] could bring dead fox bodies and body parts into Tasmania with impunity.

    Looking back on this Bryan Green-Alex Schaap incident the question I’m left with is: why didn’t the 2003 incident cause DPIPWE to immediately close this gaping loophole through their powers under the [i]Animal Health Act 1995[/i] to declare the importation of these dead fox products illegal?

    It took them another 6 years to make an offence of importing dead fox bodies and 7 years for fox body products.

    This delay and oversight in effect gave opportunity for hoaxing with imported dead fox bodies, and more bizarrely it was [i]legitimate[/i] right up to late 2009.

  150. Ian Rist

    October 15, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    A long time ago at Blessington in the State of Tasmania a very funny thing happened, Bryan Green and his driver, fishing mate/hunting mate were due to visit my Game Farm at Blessington after Bryan ringing me the previous Thursday night and telling me “we will be up Tuesday morning nudge,nudge, wink, wink say no more”. That is OK Bryan I am going up to the Farm at Yea Friday and will be back on ‘The Spirit’ very early Tuesday morning.

    Well, well, I thought here is my chance to demonstrate to the current DPIPWE Minister Bryan just how easy it is to bring ‘fox evidence’ into Tasmania.
    As I was going up to visit our other Farm at Yea in North East Victoria I thought I would bag some foxes and bring some dead bodies back and just show Greeny how easy it really is to bring in ‘fox evidence’ …it was timed appropriately as the media with all the usual fox fanfare had been trumpeting how the DPIPWE Biosecurity had just spent $35,000.00 upgrading all the quarantine dogs to fox scent.

    I knew I was dong nothing wrong if I followed the strict instructions from my mate George Savalvy who was one of the head honchos at Quarantine and Customs.
    Any way shot quite a few foxes that weekend and following instructions I put three taxidermy prepared, fresh unfrozen Reynards in large heavy duty garbage bags with ice for the trip to Tassie on the Spirit.

    We were met at Devonport Terminal with Quarantine officers and the newly fox scent trained Fred Bassets.
    Well the nice Quarantine lady and Fred Basset jumped in the back of the vehicle and I thought Oh God here goes, well Fred Basset jumped in sat down and did’t show any interest in the bagged Reynards or my foxy smelling spotlighting jacket also laying.
    No fruit or vegetables ?… the nice lady asked? No I said……OK have a good day.

    Just arrived back in Blessington about half hour before Bryan and Rex, put the foxies in a secure place and we got Rex and Greeny a coffee and I asked him how the new ‘fox scent detection dogs’ were going.
    “Alex Schaap tells me you wouldn’t get a fox hair into the State”
    Really, I said after some 5-6 minutes of reassurance from Bryan….I said you better come and have a look at what is in the Game Fridge.

    Goodness Bryan nearly had a heart attack “that’s what they look like” “Where did you shoot them” he asked. “Down at Evandale last night” I said with as straight a face as I could keep.

    Goodness Rex that’s what they look like,Bryan said.
    Rex get all the media here , everyone he said, everyone.
    I always knew they were here.
    It then dawned on Bryan I had been up to the Yea Farm and I was pulling his leg.

    Two hours later the most unwanted person I would have wanted to see turned up, Alex Schaap Head of Biosecuriy.
    My mate Bryan swears to this day he didn’t call Schaap, someone did.

    Cut a long story short Bryan played exactly the same course as I did with him questions wise, he then showed the foxes to Schaap and Schaap went into a speechless rage and took off back to Hobart.
    That afternoon he rang and said to my Lodge Manager “we are going to book him”. “What for” Suzy asked.
    We will find something Schaap said.
    I then paid out on Greeny and he said “Don’t worry you will not hear another word about it”.
    I didn’t.

    The Hansard records it all as History.

  151. David Obendorf

    October 15, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    What’s too difficult for the regulator of Tasmania’s biosecurity legislation – DPIPWE – to accept is the gaping hole in their ability to prevent dead foxes and fox body parts coming into Tasmania until years after the fox program had commenced in 2001.

    DPIPWE Secretary, Dr John Whittington has some explaining to do. And former Minister Bryan Green might also, as in 2003 Bryan actually was a witness to seeing freshly killed dead foxes recently imported into the state without his Department [DPIPWE] able to call on any State legistation to sanction it.

    So much for the four dead fox exhibits found in Tasmania that DPIPWE relied on as ‘hard evidence’ of fox presence.

  152. William Boeder

    October 14, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Hello David, interesting how this hoaxing madness was commenced during the era of this State’s triumvirate of ill-regarded no-account State Labor party ministers.
    One would be inclined to believe that the three persons within this group were Lennon, Llewellyn and Green each gadding about and behaving in the most falsified accord ever thought possible, also I note that this is the sort of manner that is more becoming of the Liberal party State government.

    Given the volume of lies, the misleading intent so evident in many State minister media releases, then that any Regulatory Authority extant in this State does not abide by the legislated statutes nor the common laws applicable to all in this nation of Australia.-
    Hoaxing, lying, obfuscating, irresponsible non-accountable Regulatory Authorities, all are prolific in this State of Tasmania.

    There is nothing more to show other than the blatant hypocrisy and the stink of dishonesty all among and shared between both the Liberal and Labor political parties, suggests that Tasmania would be all the better positioned without either political party able to contest any further election.

  153. David Obendorf

    October 14, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    In 2006 DPIPWE concluded that two dead foxes were roadkilled in Tasmania. So, added to another dead fox found by the roadside at Burnie in 2003, Tasmania had three ‘roadkill’ foxes. And yet their own taskforce hadn’t detected or located a single live fox since the program began in 2001. It was easier to find a dead fox by the side of a Tasmanian road than it was for DPIPWE’s fox program to detect the presence of a live one.

    That paradox in the Tasmanian fox road kill statistics hadn’t escaped the former Director of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust, [b]Craig Woodfield[/b]. In August 2006 he wrote an insightful article in the Trust’s newsletter entitled: [i][b]The fox and Ockham’s Razor[/i][/b].

    [i]’Foxes just don’t get hit by cars every day of the week. Anyone who has travelled any distance by car on the mainland knows that fox roadkill is rare. Even around the Melbourne docks where the density of foxes is extraordinarily high, it is unusual to come across a dead fox. For two to be killed on the road, in two quite separate areas (Lilico near Devonport and Glen Esk in the Midlands) suggests that there are a lot of foxes out there.'[/i]

    To his credit Craig highlighted a conundrum of Tasmanian dead fox finds and the detection of no live ones.

    [i]’Applying Ockham’s Razor to the fox situation, one could only conclude that there is a relatively large and dispersed population of foxes present in Tasmania. The other most likely theory is that of an ongoing fox hoax. It must be said that the fox taskforce has been plagued by hoaxes since its inception, and that there is no reason to believe that it is not continuing to this day.'[/i]

    Dr Clive Marks’ analysis also compared these two Ockham’s Razor possibilities showing that hoaxing explains the ‘hard evidence’ far better than the alternative: Dr Sarre & his colleagues’ conclusion in 2013 that “foxes are now widespread in Tasmania”.

    In 2006 Craig Woodfield understood that this paradox reflected on an entrenched Tasmanian culture.

    [i]’Even if foxes are not here in numbers, a culture that considers [b]hoaxing to be acceptable behaviour[/b] and a biosecurity cordon that is literally full of holes, means that they could well be here soon.'[/i]

    [b]Note:[/b] There was no legal impediment under Tasmanian law to bringing in dead foxes’ bodies until late 2009 and fox faeces [scats] could be imported by until late 2010.

  154. Philip Lowe

    October 13, 2017 at 2:04 am

    Ian Rist no 134.I really must Show you my collection of hens teeth and the bucketful of rocking horse shit in my front room.
    Not to mention the bull shit that was the Tasmanian Fox. Heaps of that.

  155. Ian Rist

    October 12, 2017 at 3:28 pm


    “I believe there is a small number of foxes in Tasmania; that the body of evidence put before me (scats, a growing number of credible sightings, independent DNA tests and authentic stories) is enough to demand a response; that the decline of the Devil has given foxes space in the landscape; that the threat to Bettongs, Bandicoots, Potoroos and their kind is too great not to take every step we can to avert another ecological disaster in Tasmania; and that I will take Nick Mooney’s word for it over yours, any day”.

    And, that’s the last time I engage with you on foxes. It’s a futile exercise.

    Fox scats …… fabricated.

    Independent DNA Tests ? Independent? Independent my fat arse, the Institute of Applied Ecology Canberra were a member of pro fox CRC Invasive Animals CRC and WERE hooking about $550,000.00 a year for re-cycled Tasmanian fox shit imported from the mainland. I have all the emails to prove it.

    Sightings ? Unconfirmed fox sightings are not worth the paper they are written on.

    Authentic stories ? Authentic ?
    So was the Yeti, The Goose that laid the Golden Egg and Little Red Riding Hood.

  156. David Obendorf

    October 12, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Yes Ian, [b]Cassy O’Connor[/b], Greens MP for Denison, is also quoted in [i]Togatus[/i], the UTAS magazine on this very topic in 2010.

    The article by Kim Burleigh was titled: [i]’A Sly Invasion – Foxes in Tasmania'[/i]

    Cassy said: [i] ‘… it’s inexplicable because there is enough scientific evidence to prove that there are foxes in Tasmania. Unfortunately, there is a small group of skeptics who have really managed to muddy the water.'[/i]

    Kim Burleigh writes: ‘O’Connor is concerned that the Federal Government might be listening to the skeptics.’

    Cassy O’Connor was not alone in taking a strong ‘foxes are here’ position. The [i]Tasmanian Conservation Trust[/i] was also fully supportive of the long-running fox hunt. In fact RTI documents show that this organisation received substantial ex gratia payments from DPIPWE’s Nature Conservation Branch budget over a number of years for its Director to attend fox program stakeholder reference group meetings.

  157. ian Rist

    October 12, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Re # 129

    “But surely if two dead fox exhibits are allegedly genetically related (a claim that was unsupported by any genetic data) and a posted fox pelt is then proclaimed to be derived from a ‘hoax’ incident, what does that make the other fox (Bosworth’s dead fox) it is allegedly claimed to be closely related to?

    Only possible explanation is if the two foxes were DNA matched as siblings could only be they were both shot in the same area in Victoria?

    I know for a fact the ‘Symmons Plains fox’ was shot in Geelong, Victoria…..so how possibly could the endemic Tasmanian Long-tailed mouse be recovered from its stomach contents ? Magic ?

  158. David Obendorf

    October 12, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    It might be time for those interested in Tasmania’s fox hut to view a 2012 YouTube video – [b]”Tasmania is a Very Special Place”[/b]


  159. ian Rist

    October 12, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Re # 124.
    Yes Dr Obendorf we were both vilified, besmirched and defamed by a combination of Politicians, Public servants and others with pecuniary or employment interests in keeping the fox fables alive and well.

    Obendorf and Rist were once referred to as a ‘pair of nutters’ in the Cabinet room.

    There are too many to name here but they know and I know who they are…………..

    However one that does stick in my mind and that was Cassy O. when on this very site TT she claimed that she ‘“would take Nick Mooney’s word on foxes any day over Ian Rist’s”.
    I wonder how Cassy O. feels now? Maybe a change of mind now they have been made to look rather foolish?

    But like ‘foxes on the run’ they have bolted down their bolt holes and prefer to remain deathly quiet now days.
    Don’t worry I have a complete list of all the ‘know it alls’ and all I can say is to them is “I was right and you were wrong”.

  160. David Obendorf

    October 12, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Nick Mooney’s brother – Peter (another PWS employee) went public with another claim in November 2001. Mr Mooney told the ABC that Mr Bosworth’s shot fox was genetically matched as a close relative (most probably a sibling) to a fox pelt he mysteriously received in the post! The PWS inference was there had been [b]two[/b] closely related foxes shot in the northern midlands in 2001.

    Peter Mooney told the ABC radio national (24 Nov 2001):-

    [i]’Well, the main evidence is that we’ve had analysis done of a carcass that was handed in to us about a month ago and the gut samples have come up to be conclusively Tasmanian foods, in other words that’s Tasmanian native rats, Tasmanian skinks, endemic species that only exist in Tasmania, and also we’ve had other material handed to us from other foxes which have been allegedly shot in Tasmania, and the DNA sampling of those two different animals have come out to prove that they’re actually siblings. [b]So that means we’ve had a litter.'[/b][/i]

    It turned out that this genetic association was also an unsupported claim but there was no genetic test data to confirm this claim.

    It all got a whole lot more bizarre when in 2004 Nick Mooney proclaimed a photograph published in both the Mercury and the Examiner newspapers showing two hunters holding a dead fox by a Longford road sign was most likely a “hoax”.

    Nick Mooney told the Mercury (15 August 2004): [i]‘The Longford photo of the anonymous hunters and the dead fox is indeed likely an irresponsible hoax – not at all funny since it wasted lots of effort. We had to take it seriously at the time to try and settle the issue, but I doubt we’ll ever know for sure.’[/i]

    Yet for several years (2001-2004) the PWS staff running the fox hunt had publicly inferred that the fox pelt that arrived at the PWS mail had originated from the dead fox shown in a published photograph. Of course PWS had no one who had come forward to support that assumption and the hunters remained suspiciously anonymous.

    So DPIPWE relied on an anonymously posted fox pelt, claimed to be genetically linked as a close relative to the fox Eric Bosworth allegedly shot, with a Tasmanian endemic rodent allegedly recovered from its stomach – a critical exhibit which was never kept. These linked incidents were meant to be the clincher ‘hard evidence’ of foxes (plural) living in Tasmania. Yet where was the logic here? … M1 says the media on a dead fox held by two hunters in a photograph [you can view this photograph in the 2014 publication mentioned in my preceding comment] is probably an ‘irresponsible hoax’ and M2 says samples from a posted fox pelt and Bosworth’s shot fox made them ‘actually siblings’!

    But surely if two dead fox exhibits are allegedly genetically related (a claim that was unsupported by any genetic data) and a posted fox pelt is then proclaimed to be derived from a ‘hoax’ incident, what does that make the other fox (Bosworth’s dead fox) it is allegedly claimed to be closely related to?

    Did PWS staff running the fox program in those early times consider whether their claim could be backed up by science? Or indeed whether in 2001 there might be plausible explanations for their extraordinary conclusion about relatedness of two dead-fox exhibits that they’d come to in 2001 and then seemingly abandoned in 2004?

    In 2001 this poor quality dead fox exhibit material was publicly proclaimed by these PWS employees as ‘hard evidence’. None of these matters were ever presented for independent scientific appraisal or testing. It took an independent scientific panel reviewing the fox program [coordinated by Dr Clive Marks] to assess all the physical evidence relied upon by DPIPWE and to publish those findings in a peer-reviewed publication in 2014.

    Such nonsense needed to be exposed for what it is, unreliable opportunistically acquired evidence which should never have been relied upon by DPIPWE to claim Tasmania had free-ranging foxes living here in 2001.

  161. David Obendorf

    October 12, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Simon, the Tasmanian fox hunt traded with an illegitimate currency – [i]’plausible deniability'[/i]. The onus of proof was always with the proponent to provide the ‘proof of concept’ that a fox population existed in Tasmania.

    Instead, sensation after sensation sparked the medias’ interest providing instantaneous and captivating ratings. It tried to put Tasmania’s cryptozoology expertise on the world stage and DPIPWE obliged by providing a constant stream of media-fodder for the local newspapers.

    And yes, it relied on political patronage and the exercise of bureaucratic power.

    To mislead or deceive through spoken words is difficult to corroborate later as it amounts to hearsay … but as I alluded to many years ago the poachers and the game-keepers had developed a symbiotic relationship of which Mr Rist also independently become aware.

    The late Eric Bosworth is universally considered an unreliable witness for the alleged fox shooting at Symmons Plains in September 2001. According to the Police Inspector who was investigating Ivan Dean’s 2016 complaint, Bosworth’s personal alibi and accomplice, Scott Geeves, had disappeared and he not been located for an interview on an incident which DPIPWE put so much faith in.

    In 2001 Bosworth’s shot fox incident became linked to another astonishing yet unsupported claim: that this dead fox had eaten a Tasmanian endemic rodent. Chasing down this actual rodent specimen, someone to vouch for its actual recovery from the dead fox’s entrails and someone to stand by the rodent diagnosis, has proved particularly difficult. And yet if this one incident had been handled as a rigorous process of diagnostic and forensic investigation DPIPWE would have been able to sort wheat from husks!

    Several years later (2006) Mr Nick Mooney, a Scientific Advisory and authorised media spokesperson to the fox program, disclosed that this crucial rodent exhibit wasn’t even kept!

    Independent examination of this one critical sample never occurred because it couldn’t; they chucked the sample out! Yet DPIPWE traded off Bosworth’s Symmons Plains shot fox being ‘hard evidence’ – somehow a critical but discarded rodent exhibit had ‘proved’ a fox had lived and died in Tasmania.

    The above retrospective exemplifies the illegitimate nature of physical dead-fox evidence that was relied upon by DPIPWE’s fox program. We examined each incident and published on it in 2014 – [i]Opportunistically acquired evidence is unsuitable data to model fox distribution in Tasmania [/i] [downloads available at http://www.tasmanianfox.com ]

    [to be continued]

  162. David Obendorf

    October 12, 2017 at 2:38 am

    The editors of [i]Journal of Applied Ecology[/i] have been made aware of the background to the various internal DPIPWE reports and subsequent investigations into alleged misconduct by DPIPWE employees that led the scat data relied upon in a published article by Dr Sarre and his colleagues to be called into question.

    There are several DPIPWE reports that audited this scat evidence between 2009 to 2011. The unfavorable findings contained in these reports appear to have been intentionally suppressed by DPIPWE management.

    In my opinion, these reports reflect poorly n on the management of the fox program and the executive management of DPIPWE. The conclusions in these suppressed reports infer serious error and misconduct by DPIPWE staff.

    In early 2016 MLC for Windermere [b]Ivan Dean[/b] submitted a complaint to Tasmania Police about the conduct of some DPIPWE staff in the governance of the fox program and detailed much wider examples of misconduct. The police preliminary investigation confirmed that impropriety and misconduct within DPIPWE was indeed evident. The Police report was subsequently forwarded to the [i]Tasmanian Integrity Commission[/i] as well as DPIPWE for their own consideration.

    It is now apparent from responses to recent questions in the Parliament that DPIPWE abandoned its investigation of misconduct by their staff; misconduct that led to the submission of false samples to Dr Stephen Sarre’s genetic testing laboratory in Canberra; samples that were intended to appear genuine.

    Despite a personal assurance given to a parliamentary Estimates Committee last June, the Secretary of this Department has yet to fulfil his commitment to that parliamentary committee.

    [b]Dr Whittington[/b] told the Committee: [i]’They considered the Tasmanian Police review material that you [Ivan Dean] provided them, they made their findings and passed on their findings both to the department and to the Integrity Commission. I do not know what the Integrity Commission is doing. We are cooperating with everything that we have. The police review indicated some potential inappropriate behaviour by public servants. That is what we are investigating under the State Service Act. That process will be quickly completed. I cannot give an exact date. I will say that should either the Integrity Commission report or the work that is done through this process find any integrity issues [b]we will be very public about that[/b] and we will make that very clear on all of our documentation.[/i]

    So we appear to be no closer to knowing whether the DPIPWE executive will provide the requested reply the managing editor of the [i]Journal of Applied Ecology[/i] has been awaiting for the better part of 8 months.

    After all it was DPIPWE staff who provided the scat samples to Dr Sarre’s lab and for the sake of its reputation and standing it must reply to the journal and also tell the citizens of Tasmania what DPIPWE’s investigations have revealed. Thank you.

  163. Philip Lowe

    October 11, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    And so the tail of the fox task force fiasco slips slowly into the sunset and the pollies responsible smile knowing and slyly,
    smiles of ‘I told you so’.
    Exit stage left looking smug.
    Tasmania, the play, the musical even? The farce? Lots of booing and hissing, and ‘look out behind you’. Pantomime ?

  164. Simon Warriner

    October 11, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    David, what I was referring to was DIPWE’s failure to respond to the question asked by the publishers of the ‘Journal of Applied Ecology’ about the Sarre paper, as opposed to the witlessness of those who accepted sophistry.

    It is one thing to be seen to be gullible, but it is indeed another to then refuse to respond to a scientific journal when it demands accountability for errors of fact brought that are brought to it’s attention; errors of fact that are looking awfully like fraud.

    The reason I think this is the bigger problem is that it is possible to issue a mea culpa for stupidity, but deliberately refusing to respond to questions about fraudulent data, which is what lies at the heart of this issue, is not something you can excuse with a “whoops”, silly me. Both go to credibility, one far more so than the other.

    That minor quibble aside, I do agree with you, and I do sincerely appreciate the very arduous task you and your fellow scientists have undertaken in pursuit of the truth.

  165. David Obendorf

    October 11, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Simon [comment #123], from a scientist’s perspective it did require a group of independent scientists to analyse and test the ‘hard evidence’ on which the Tasmanian fox hunt was founded. We did this incident by incident, scat by scat. Until this had been done DPIPWE could endlessly offer excuses and be suitably indignant about any allegations leveled at the program.

    The legitimacy of their fox hunt narrative required DPIPWE to present ‘irrefutable evidence’ that matched their extraordinary claim for the existence of a small, widely distributed fox population.

    Of course DPIPWE always had the ultimate power to control the presentation of fox stories to the general public. It was far too easy for DPIPWE and Invasive Animal CRC spokespersons to attack individuals like Ian Rist. It’s on the public record how Mr Rist received aggressive and unconscionable personal attacks from public servants who didn’t like his unfounded accusations, especially Ian’s claim that fox faeces could readily be planted and discovered in Tasmania. Ian’s allegation was immediately ridiculed by none other than the CEO of the Invasive Species CRC (Dr Tony Peacock) and yet Dr Peacock was in the best position to test Ian’s theory, after all he was a member of the Technical Advisory Committee to the fox program.

    Instead Dr Peacock used his standing to scoff publicly at Mr Rist; he claimed it was a ludicrous suggestion and totally impossible for ‘faecal foolers’ to be operating in Tasmania. In glibly dismissing Ian’s allegation, Dr Peacock failed to consider the likelihood that fox program employees who were already using imported fox scats could conceivably be the ‘faecal foolers’! Dr Peacock would have known that operational fox program staff had access to imported fox scats and other fox material capable of DNA contamination and therefore had the ‘means & opportunity’ to successfully fabricate this form of transportable evidence. Did any of them also have the ‘motivation’ to carry it out?

    But of course Tasmanians didn’t know that at the time Dr Peacock was publicly ridiculing Ian, DPIPWE were themselves concerned that DNA scat surveys [[i]Great Poo Hunts[/i]] that occurred over three years weren’t producing the ‘irrefutable evidence’ that was promised.

    Those attacks on Ian Rist were cowardly – shooting the messenger! But then the fox program management didn’t want to hear or acknowledge that after over a decade of hunting for Tasmanian foxes [i]even[/i] the DNA-scat data, evidence they sorely needed, was not providing the stand-alone proof of fox presence in Tasmania.

    It was hard to sustain an “eradication program” based on [b]no[/b] ‘irrefutable evidence’ for they hadn’t detected or located a single Tasmanian fox in well over a decade – none trapped, poisoned, photographed or shot to convince the general public that they weren’t merely hunting for ‘imaginary foxes’.

  166. Simon Warriner

    October 10, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    David, I agree with everything you are saying, but I think Ian Rist really nails the bigger problem.

    The refusal to stand up and defend what looks for all the world like scientific and financial fraud must surely cause anyone dealing with an organ of Tasmanian Government in the future to ask this question:

    “Why should we believe you?”

    That is not the basis on which a sound and competent government can run. Sadly it seems to be entirely typical. We need to fix that.

    Something for politicians, aspiring and incumbent, to ponder on when they front up for election shortly.

  167. Ian Rist

    October 10, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Re # 119, 120 and 121.
    The ‘Tasmanian Fox’ was a litany of deceit and deception from day one, in my opinion, it was all about tapping into the NHT (now Caring for our Country) funding made available through the partial sale of Telstra that also funded the Federal EPBC Act.

    It was never about Conservation but about funding and politics that involved some very large egos.
    Conservation was the ‘Bright Shining Lie’ smokescreen, very similar to what is going on in NZ.

    The original perpetrators that were on ‘Fox’ T/V news just about every night knew EXACTLY what they were doing and most of the naive public and media fell for it.
    I hope it haunts them all forever.

    Sadly Tasmania will never be taken seriously again on Biosecurity and Conservation matters…never again.
    The disgraceful avoidance of duty (over the BEC requests) by Whittington and Rockliff will place an irremovable stain on Tasmanian History.

  168. David Obendorf

    October 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    William Boeder, what saddens me the most is not so much those who might have been deliberately complicit in knowing how corrupted this program had become way back in 2009 … they will have to live with their role in dishonesty and/or moral failure.

    What I am most concerned about are those organisations and individuals who [i]accepted[/i] sophistry that pretended to be evidence-based and fact-checked science that led to flawed public policy and the expenditure of tens of millions in taxpayers’ money.

    [b]Truth[/b] was the first casualty in a 16-year war against ‘imaginary foxes’ [Liberal Biosecurity Minister, Jeremy Rockliff’s description in 2015] in Tasmania. This despicable Tasmanian fox ‘scat sandwich’ [term coined by Labor Minister for foxes, Bryan Green in 2003] that so many willingly ate, and which resulted in personal consequences. Those who were hoodwinked and comprehensively duped by clever tricksters and scammers would feel particularly embarrassed, if not sick to the stomach. In the end those scammed had unwittingly signed on to Tasmania’s fox hunt and perhaps all are now too ashamed to declare where they stand.

    Such connivances (which amount to maladministration & fraud) keep happening in Tasmania.

    We now await the release of the findings of the [i]Tasmanian Integrity Commission[/i]’s investigation (reported by the Mercury on 8 April 2017). DPIPWE’s internal review into employee misconduct and inappropriate behaviour has been abandoned without public announcement because the identified foecal-foolers resigned. It appears that whatever was discovered by Mr Simon Overland (then Secretary of the Dept of Justice) and his contracted investigator has not been communicated (as promised) to the [i]Journal of Applied Ecology[/i] – the prestigious ecology journal that published the 2012 paper titled ‘Foxes are now widespread in Tasmania’ by Dr Stephen Sarre and his colleagues using DNA tests from carnivore scats collected over about 6 years in Tasmania.

    This journal earlier this year placed an “Expression of Concern” notice on the Sarre et al article and they are now awaiting the much anticipated report from the [i]Tasmanian Integrity Commission[/i].

    In my opinion this is the regrettable legacy for Tasmania’s biodiversity conservation & biosecurity agency. The community is entitled to ask… ‘what went wrong with the science and administration of such an important publicly-funded program to eradicate an unwanted species [foxes] in Tasmania?’ Thank you.

  169. William Boeder

    October 10, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Hello David, even with the conclusive facts so found for there not to be any evidence whatsoever of a Fox presence in Tasmania (other than the false claims relating to Foxes in this State) there cannot exist any further cause to claim the presence of Foxes at any times past present or otherwise.
    Given that the Lib/Lab State government of Tasmania have provided their full support toward the former the deeply flawed judgment’s of this same insupportable DPIPWE minister David Llewellyn, with his unfounded Fox claims, the people of Tasmania must conclude that truth in government is far more elusive than the preempted belief to the existence of any fact evidence of Fox presence in this State.
    Let it be understood that the government had and still remain united on this matter formed between themselves as a baseless cabal, or maybe an improper conspiracy pact (each conspiring with the other to defend their indefensible position) therefore no further trust should be attributed to any further issued statements and claims no matter the subject matter……. from within either of these 2 above-mentioned unethical political parties at any future time.

  170. David Obendorf

    October 10, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Nick Mooney retired in late 2009 and yet he remained the fox program’s most public and outspoken supporter. Over many years he continued to write letters in Tasmanian newspapers berating anyone who dared to question the fox program’s activities and performance.

    From retirement Mr Mooney wrote his 5000-word response to Dr Clive Marks’ article – [i]The fox that was never there[/i]. The then manager of the Fox Eradication Program, Alan Johnston or any of the program’s employed scientific staff might have been expected to issue an authorised response to the significant concerns raised by a well-known fox ecologist who had taken the effort to define defects in the program. They did not, they left that job to Nick Mooney.

    I would encourage those interested to read Dr Marks’ article here on Tasmanian Times because even by 2010 it represented a strong warning to the Technical Advisory Commitee that after almost a decade of Tasmanian fox hunting no case definition based on ‘irrefutable evidence’ had ever been prepared.

    Dr Marks wrote: [i]’If we are actually facing an inevitable ecological Armageddon in Tasmania let’s [b]know for sure[/b] and deal with it. But here is the problem; we don’t know this for sure particularly because some things with scat-DNA data just don’t add up. From all the current evidence taken together there is a dichotomy on offer, you can choose to believe that either foxes abound in Tasmania or that there is no absolutely convincing evidence that a breeding population of foxes exists.'[/i]

    In 2017 we ALL [b]know[/b] why the scat-DNA data made no sense as a indicator of fox presence … it consisted of misrepresented non-fox scats, other samples contaminated with fox-DNA and other FEP-collected scats that were deliberately falsified using fox faeces imported from mainland Australia.

  171. David Obendorf

    October 9, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Mr Mooney amended the last paragraph his article … the one you can read online today from the Tasmanian Times website is:
    [i]’By all means robustly challenge assumptions and techniques and yes, the best result would be to have no credible evidence of foxes but for that to be tangible we have to be looking hard, wide, well and long. Examination of evidence at hand should be rigorous but must be better than just forcefully casting doubt. In all of it, be very, very sure you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. ‘[/i]

    Ref: http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/response-to-dr.-clive-marks-posting-about-foxes-in-tasmania/

    Perhaps the earlier version contained a Freudian-slip that suggested what should have been tested from the start – i.e. there are ‘no foxes in Tasmania’ because ‘ALL material evidence’ is ‘irrefutably wrong’ and ‘proper doubt has been cast ALL sighting reports’.

    For some reason this was the ‘eyes wide shut’ hypothesis that DPIPWE never tested. Perhaps as the ‘Scientific Advisory’ to the Fox Program Mr Mooney had already discounted that [i]null hypothesis[/i].

  172. David Obendorf

    October 8, 2017 at 10:55 am

    In 2010 [b]Nick Mooney[/b] concluded a 5,000-word fox article in Tasmanian Times with this passage:

    [i]’By all means robustly challenge assumptions and techniques and make suggestions but let us not take our eye off the ball.

    And yes, the best result would be to be able to show ALL material evidence is “irrefutably wrong” and to be able to cast proper doubt on ALL sightings reports because that might well mean no foxes in Tasmania but that refuting has to be damned solid.

    To me just forcefully casting doubt is simply not good enough.'[/i]

    It was a reply to Dr [b]Clive Marks'[/b] earlier article in TT titled: ‘The fox that wasn’t there?’.

    Seven years on and the ‘damned solid’ refuting Mr Mooney asked for has been provided in the form of several peer-reviewed, multi-authored articles published in quality international science journals – available as downloads from http://www.tasmanianfox.com.

    I trust this is ‘simply good enough’ to satisfy Mr Mooney’s allegation that dissenting scientists were ‘just forcefully casting doubt’.

  173. Alison Bleaney

    October 8, 2017 at 10:52 am

    #112 Well well… sort of says it all; these guys must have their spiel pat and on repeat and just change the actual programme name… Kim Evans no less and many associated both up and down from him…but we just need to keep all of this away from any light as there’s a veritable warren of cellars full to the brim of similar foxy stuff in Taz that cannot bear to have any light shone on it ……and it so desperately needs to see the light of day, to have the plain truth told.
    Thank you David and Ian and those other good folk who just carry on regardless heading to the light.

  174. Ian Rist

    October 7, 2017 at 11:54 am

    I am sure Willy and Rockliff will call a special meeting first thing this Monday morning to deal with all these matters.
    ‘The Mercury’ is full of it this morning, I had trouble concentrating on my cornflakes.

    Foxes, wombats, 1080 poison, more gun laws for law abiding citizens.
    What will happen ? … sweet F.A.

  175. David Obendorf

    October 7, 2017 at 10:21 am

    We should all be seekers of the truth that’s all that has been done here.

    This protracted unpicking of a Tasmanian fox knot made me understand the importance of language in maintaining narratives and holding people together. Without direct engagement and interaction misunderstandings become amplified and tribalism continues.

    To ‘see the light’ after a long absence is a wonderful privilege.

    [i]”Others have trod the earth before me and many more would do so afterwards. We are all seekers after the truth and yet, in our short lives, none of us could catch more than a glimpse of it. To be a drop in that vast ocean was perhaps as much as we could ever hope.” [/i] – [b]A Glimpse of Light[/b] 2017 by Stephen Mumford

  176. jack

    October 5, 2017 at 3:11 pm


    Absolute gold! Best practice in Weasel Words.

    “We are responsible for this program … We welcome the opportunity to present the work, for various concerns and criticisms to be raised, and to objectively evaluate and continue to seek methods for enhancing our fox eradication efforts. This process [Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee. Inquiry into the fox program 2009] is a good way to ensure that we are held responsible for the moneys that we are spending and the responsibilities that we have been given to ensure that we are fox-free.” – then Secretary of DPIPWE, Kim Evans’ testimony before the PAC inquiry 25 May 2009

  177. David Obendorf

    October 5, 2017 at 12:54 am

    Mr Rist – lest we forget. I’ve been re-reading the PAC fox inquiry transcripts of 2009 and it looks as though one or two public servants misrepresented or misspoke on these foxy matters.

    And let’s not forget the money spent on quarterly trips & expenses to Tasmania plus accommodation for the fox program’s Technical Advisory Committee. The Committee was made up of Invasive Animal CRC and DPIPWE staff and the odd UTAS academic. Dr Tony Peacock and Dr Stephen Sarre were both on this Committee.

    [i]”We are responsible for this program … We welcome the opportunity to present the work, for various concerns and criticisms to be raised, and to objectively evaluate and continue to seek methods for enhancing our fox eradication efforts. This process [Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee. Inquiry into the fox program 2009] is a good way to ensure that we are held responsible for the moneys that we are spending and the responsibilities that we have been given to ensure that we are fox-free.” [/i]- then Secretary of DPIPWE, [b]Kim Evans[/b]testimony before the PAC inquiry 25 May 2009

  178. Ian Rist

    October 4, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    What is also very clear is the DPIPWE and the Government are not going to cooperate with the British Ecological Society over the publication in their B.E.C. Applied Ecology journal written by Sarre et al. “Foxes are now widespread in Tasmania” (2012).

    To tell the Journal that the fox evidence process was fabricated, tainted and fraudulent would result in the Journal of Ecology immediately withdrawing the paper, they cannot afford to have their name tainted with such activity, however the Government and the DPIPWE here obviously consider this the normal activity for Tasmanian departments, just batten down the hatches and keep everything from public scrutiny and hope it will all ‘just go away’.
    To admit the basis for all Federal Funding was based on fabrication, evidence planting, hoaxing and fraud would be just too much for the people and Federal Government authorities that supplied this taxpayer largess.

    I wonder if more honesty will be displayed before the election 2018 ?

    I am thinking this is all going to end up to be very painful for some because only a very stupid and suicidal group of politicians would be prepared to go to an election with such a putrid dead fish hanging around their necks.

  179. PHilip Lowe

    October 4, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    It doesn’t say a lot for the quality and standards of an electorate that will allow lowly motivated politicians to get away with this kind of thing does it? Is everybody in Tasmania entwined in pecuniary benefit in kind from these scams? It makes you wonder. I won’t blow the whistle on your little scam if you don’t blow the whistle on mine sort of thing. Well?

  180. Ian Rist

    October 4, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    It is also very clear that the Politicians that we elect to look after us the taxpayers and the taxpayers funds are not prepared to do the job we elect them to do.
    Simply put why do we bother ?
    We are only of any use come election time and then once elected they do what they like and take the course of least resistance.

  181. David Obendorf

    October 4, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Last line in comment 107 – fox-free … not focal-free. Apologies

  182. David Obendorf

    October 4, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Ian (comment 104), [b]David Llewellyn[/b] MHA will go into retirement as a cunning political fox remembered as the Labor MP who managed to bully the federal government into funding a hunt for imaginary Tasmanian foxes for 16 years. But as well placed as he was in State Government, he still needed help.

    It’s been put forcefully to me that it wasn’t fox scam outfoxing so many which was so bad, it was our effort at proving it to be a fraud actioned from within a Tasmanian government agency – DPIPWE. Apparently it was exposing the fraud which was really bad, and we shouldn’t have done it!

    Perhaps the issue is whether State Labor under [b]Rebecca White[/b] MHA will remain silent (as the Tasmanian Greens have done) up to the next State Election.

    In 2009 DPIPWE stated it accepts accountability and responsibility for the fox program.

    [i]”We are responsible for this program … We welcome the opportunity to present the work, for various concerns and criticisms to be raised, and to objectively evaluate and continue to seek methods for enhancing our fox eradication efforts. This process [Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee. Inquiry into the fox program 2009] is a good way to ensure that we are held responsible for the moneys that we are spending and the responsibilities that we have been given to ensure that we are focal-free.” [/i] – then Secretary of DPIPWE, [b]Kim Evans[/b] testimony before the PAC inquiry 25 May 2009

  183. David Obendorf

    October 4, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Philip [comment 104] from my experience all individuals and organisations who became complicit – to use your word – will find it next to impossible to acknowledge that they were misled or scammed, especially [i]after[/i] they’d agreed to accept DPIPWE’s ‘evidence’.

    But perhaps we can have some sympathy for those misled because they didn’t expect a government agency responsible for Tasmanian biosecurity and invasive species risk assessment (DPIPWE) to also be the source of such false & misleading information going back to the program’s commencement.

    The fantastic fox joke – as I have coined it – was a manufactured creation that went from a sensational claim of multiple live fox introductions in circa 2000 to endless fox stories in the media and seamlessly on to fabrication of physical evidence (both imported dead foxes and imported fox faeces).

    I was interviewed on this subject by Brian Carlton of Tasmania Talks last week (25 September). I said that this program was ultimately a failure of [i]due diligence[/i] by successive governments – both State and federal – since its inception. The lack of irrefutable physical evidence in the early years of this alleged live fox introduction was sufficient for the qualified & experienced ecologists to start to question the program’s credibility yet a reliance on a constant flow public sighting reports (fuelled by constant fox media) and the hoaxing of imported fox evidence in Tasmania meant Tasmania’s elusive fox story was on the run. The relaying of lies and misrepresented information – colloquially coined ‘Chinese Whispers’ – by persons who were influential enough to be taken seriously, transferred the responsibility for initiating a taxpayer-funded fox hunt to others.

    But who would stand guarantor for the reliability of any of the Tasmanian fox evidence?

    No piece of the sky had fallen out over Tasmania but sure as heck some clever foxy-loxy had – one by one – taken possession of the whole bevy of naive (some very green indeed) birds.

    As far as these hungry foxes were concerned, they were all ‘fair game’.

  184. PHilip Lowe

    October 4, 2017 at 2:17 am

    It would be nice if we could have an email from Bob Brown or even Nick McKim on this subject,or Sassy Oconnor,or anybody who stands accused of complicity in this affair.

  185. Ian Rist

    October 3, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    It should be very obvious by now the tactics being employed here by the Government and the DPIPWE.
    They won’t, and didn’t ever intend to be transparent over the fox issue. The DPIPWE will just ignore everyone’s requests and the Ministers are simply too weak to force them to be open and transparent, despite written requests to the DPIPWE and Minister Rockliff from Federal and State politicians, taxpayers and voters.

    The recent Police Investigation was so sanitized the final redacted copies didn’t even make any sense at all…one of the claims in the redacted Police report said David Llewellyn wasn’t even a Minister when he made the claim in the Parliament in 2006. Tasmanian Parliament Hansard says differently.
    Thursday 15 June 2006 – Part 1 – Pages 1 – 26 Hansard

    Mr LLEWELLYN – We took action in 2002 when three litters of fox cubs were brought back to the State by people who were identified, but were not able to be charged. Certainly the police followed these issues up. I am convinced that those litters were distributed; one in the Longford area, one down the east coast and one south of Oatlands. It was on that basis we established the effort to try to rid the State of foxes.
    The recent Police report claimed Llewellyn made this comment in 2013 when he was being interviewed by Radio National’s Ian Townsend.

    Even in July 2001 only weeks after his own Police told him there wasn’t an ounce of evidence to support the fox cub importation and release allegations Llewellyn made this statement in the Parliament.

    Thursday 27 September 2001 – Part 1 – Pages 1 –
    House of Assembly Hansard.

    Mr FRY (Question) – Mr Acting Speaker, my question is for the Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment. Minister, is it a fact that the fox killed near Simmons Plains two weeks ago is a three-year-old male fox? Is it a fact that it is highly likely that there will be a vixen with cubs nearby? Why have you not called out a large force of rangers to track down these cubs and vixen immediately?

    Mr LLEWELLYN – Mr Acting Speaker, there has been a whole lot of effort and work, as the member would realise, that has gone into the question of trying to track down and catch any Previous foxes that may be in our community. It is an exceedingly unfortunate situation that we find ourselves in where it would appear that some irresponsible members of the Tasmanian community have introduced young foxes into Tasmania.

    Also in ‘The Mercury’ Front page story
    June 5th 2002 “Fox Plot”
    Michelle Payne.

    Apparently the same rules that applied to Steve Kons for misleading the Parliament did not apply to Minister Llewellyn.

  186. Jack

    October 2, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    #101 …along with their superannuation.

    Apparently some people think that this is “natural justice.” What about a bit of justice for the taxpayer and those who’ve had to waste their time doing the job that government managers are paid to do? Participating in democracy is one thing, but making up for a deficient process and incompetent governance is quite another.

    All ministers who sit on their hands and allow this unsatisfactory situation to roll on become its enablers. They are in effect throwing the electorate under a bus rather than facing up to weeding out those who have failed in their duty.

    I get the impression that the political instinct not to make enemies has not worked well for Tasmania. Our politicians lack the ticker to put the good old boys to the knife. The very first time they look the other way a politician is owned. And boy oh boy, so many looked the other way with this one that there is no one left who is uncontaminated.

  187. William Boeder

    October 2, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Hello David, I wonder if is possible to make a citizen’s arrest to enable an advanced course of action to bring the proven suspect in front of a Supreme Court beak relating to matters of this kind?
    Perhaps it is the only means of having this case opened up and given the full application of Australia’s common laws, though one would have to secure a legal counsel from mainland Australia, as this State’s being one big enchilada of “obsequious cowering before State government” legal practitioners?
    People who utter their God-fearing untruths are rather high in number in this State of Tasmania.

  188. David Obendorf

    October 2, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Mr Rist, if you have a fool-proof way get a politician to acknowledge that he had been deceived then you are onto something extremely valuable in our [i]post-truth[/i] world.

    The thing that influential people (like politicians & bureaucrats) don’t enjoy is to meet with underlings who request an audience to tell them that swindlers might have led them up a long garden path and into a dark place looking for elusive and mythical Tasmanian foxes. And when Tasmanian fox hunting loses its shine then resume the search for a thylacine!

    Emperor-types just hate to admit that they were duped by petty swindlers because by the time these grand poobahs wake up to the swindle the gold has been emptied from their Treasury and the swindlers have escaped to another fiefdom governed by slow-witted politicians.

  189. Ian Rist

    October 2, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Silence seems to be the only option left to the remaining politicians and bureaurats in this shameful example of deceit, deception, fraud, fabrication and downright dishonesty…silent they may be at the moment but leading up to election time we will see if they remain silent when they are publicly named and shamed.

  190. David Obendorf

    October 2, 2017 at 10:15 am

    O’Brien, you are a man of unique courage and extraordinary principle who unknowingly became employed in a shameful scam called the Tasmanian Fox Eradication Program. You and several other well-qualified applicants took on paid occupations in what I can only describe as ‘madhouse’ environment where rationality and logic were not the critical thinking skills required. When anyone who expresses critical thinking and questions approaches becomes vilified, isolated and bullied, you can guarantee that there is a serious problem at central HQ and in integrity right from the top.

    I feel desperately sad for the scientific staff employed within the FEP (a branch within DPIPWE) to undertake tasks; individuals who found the only career legacy was a shameful three or four year gap in their employment CV. How do you explain to your next prospective employer that you chased down & eradicated non-existent foxes in Tasmania? How do explain you tried to use your training but were bullied into playing along with a joke?

    These are the personal dystopias that litter this program and as O’Brien has explained no person in a position of oversight or leadership was prepared to listen – ‘the Emperor had no clothes on’ and so many turned a blind eye.

    Yours O’Brien, was a particularly aggressive attack against you. I know this because I supported you as best I could. For some the stakes in Tasmania fox hunting were very high indeed and they extended to veiled and not-so-veiled threats, fear tactics and in desperation to falsification of physical evidence … anything to shut down critics and criticism.

    Many politicians (all party colours were scammed) could have acted differently and didn’t. These are the political wash-outs from this blatant hood-winking scam based on pub talk, bull-shitting and grandiose hubris.

    Way back in 2011 the then FEP manager Craig Elliott told me – to my face – the program he managed was ‘bunkered’.

    We’ve ‘put up’ and they’ve ‘shut up’. Let’s see how many candles can be lit in Tasmania’s dark fox hunters cave.

    Thank you, O’Brien for staying the course!

  191. O'Brien

    October 2, 2017 at 1:47 am

    ALP Minister Brian Wightman had FFTF/DPIPWE allegations brought to his attention. ALP Minister Brian Wightman had allegations brought to his attention with DPIPWE HR officer M … present. ALP Senator Lisa Singh had these matters brought to her attention, (and didn’t) act.

    A former FFTF staff member told investigating police in interview they and their family had been subject to threats of violent assault and worse. This had been reported to a … DPIPWE manager, who took no action … How could the secret police report suggest there was no evidence of criminal wrong doing? …

    ALP/PLP have decided best policy is to say nothing. It’s a shame Bec White will be heading into election mode with this Albatross in tow. Particularly since loyal party members did everything possible to open dialogue on this matter within the party.

    Silence from Madeleine Ogilvie.

  192. David Obendorf

    September 30, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Maybe DPIPWE might need to secretly commission a priest who could be prevailed up to offer confessions to any remaining staff in that mega-Agency who might feel they need to fess up to fox program indiscretions. Or do we expect the Integrity Commission to fulfil that role for Tasmania’s public servants?

    The secrecy of the confessional might allow those inclined to pass their parcel of secret ‘sins’ to the priest who in turn can then secretly ask the heavenly One to administer absolution for the years of deceptions and artful dodging.

    Ahh … politics and religion have much in common.

    With respect to Garry Stannus’ latest comments on his discoveries in a Fearn Report. His analysis names Simon Fearn as a collector of one of the DNA-fox positive samples found in Tasmania; a sample that Mr Fearn subsequently rejected as not having features of genuine fox excrement. So taking Garry’s revelation a little further and let me ask … how does a field sample morphologically consistent with a demonstratively bird pellet ( not a fox poo) deposited on top of a 1.2 m high straining post in a paddock at a property in the Midlands get to contain mitochondrial DNA that Dr Sarre’s molecular genetics lab demonstratively tests as ‘positive’ for fox mitochondrial DNA?

    Like the famous Bruny Island single DNA-fox positive sample, each of these anomalous samples require careful analysis and do require credible explanations.

    Physical evidence that’s then subjected to forensic technology (in this case mitochondrial DNA amplification and differentiation) requires it to be subject to appropriate evidentiary standards.

    To his credit Simon Fearn took a candle into the secret Tassie fox cave and he made some important discoveries.

    Garry might wish to reflect on his comments in previous fox articles related to these diagnostic & forensic tests. The effort in determining the evidentiary standards applied during this fox hunting program in Tasmania has taken many thousands of man-hours involving a large number of specialists. Independent scientists researched and tested the various hypotheses that DPIPWE relied on to make their claims that live foxes are here based on the dead fox exhibits and the DNA-fox positive field samples.

    What’s taken time and effort has been to methodically unpick the totality of the physical evidence data that DPIPWE relied up to claim so demonstratively that Tasmanian has a small but widely distributed population of free-ranging fox population.

    In my opinion the absurdity of Tasmania’s fox hunt is best highlighted in the Bayesian modelling applied by Dr Peter Caley and his CSIRO colleagues that relied on four dead fox data points. Another amusing experiment was the fox scat degradation study that DPIPWE personnel did as a way of demonstrating that imported fox scats placed in various natural environments in Tasmania ‘degrade, they claimed some of their test fox scats disappeared by degradation within a few days! An inference from this study was that this might explain why so few fox scats were found in Tasmania.

    Now let me see … how any Tassie Devils can we put on the head of a pin?

  193. Jack J

    September 29, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    So according to The Mercury today DPIPWE had a secret independent investigator who was given a secret amount of money to make secret determinations that adds to the massive secret about the fox business.

    Apparently the British journal that published the claims that foxes were all over Tasmania are not being told anything – because it’s a secret. None of their business. Neither federal or state politician can be let into the secret either. How dare elected representatives question the mighty DPIPWE secretary! The people can eat secret cake.

    But it’s not really a secret is it? Everyone knows what a disaster the program was but some people seem determined to add scandal upon scandal until the mountain of scandal collapses under its own weight.

    Just what is going on in the minds of the people managing this secret fox business? Are they going to make sure that they drag it out until the next election? Because the current government has ended up owning this mess. If they are not going to clean it up they will become part of the problem.

    At a guess I’d say that at least 90% of Tasmanians think this fox business was a joke. Most of them vote. I wonder if they realise yet that the only Tas politician who stood up for them was an independent? I wonder where the balance of power might head if they do?

  194. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    September 29, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Interesting to join a few dots. They lead in confusing directions sometimes. A big catalyst in the present stage of the fox program saga was the September 2009 (2nd Draft) report (released under RTI) by Simon Fearn. [Report on Invertebrate Remains in Fox Positive Scats Collected in Tasmania by the Fox Eradication Branch: Here].

    Just briefly, for those who might not be au fait with the background, Simon’s Draft Report contained some surprising information and I believe – uninformed as I customarily am – that it provided the icing on the cake for the ‘Dean Dossier’, presently before our Integrity Commission, having been hand-balled on by TasPol, while DPIPWE has now retired ‘injured’ and sits on the players bench, as the game progresses.

    There were mentions in Simon’s report that some scats with fox hairs present were ‘found’ in the field by only either one of two FEP officers and that of the 15 genotyped scats found, only one was not ‘found’ by one of those two officers. These observations seemed to have given rise to the suggestions that some FEP officers had been taking ‘training’ scats out with them into the field and then happily ‘finding’ and photographing them in various locations. (The north west ‘seemed to be the go’.) There were also suggestions in Simon’s draft report that some of the scat specimens found-in-the-field were obviously not vulpine in origin. The example that comes most readily to mind is that of Scat 6307. I quote from Simon’s draft report:

    Scats 6307 (Fig. 16), 5299 (Fig. 17) and 5304 (Fig. 18) are also highly unusual and do not
    resemble carnivore scats in either appearance or content. 6307 is entirely consistent with a
    corvid pellet both in size, shape and contents. In addition it contains no powdery residue.
    This specimen was collected on top of a fence post some 1.2m off the substrate. It contains
    sheep wool and barley (Fig. 19). Corvid pellets from rural habitats in Tasmania commonly
    contain grains poured on the ground to feed stock (Fig. 20) or corn (Fig. 21) piled on the
    ground to concentrate pest macropods for shooting and they are commonly discovered on
    the tops of fence posts and stumps. In addition, many have a distinctive saliva covered ‘tail’
    (Fig. 21) as observed on ‘scat’ 6307. Also present in this ‘scat’ is what appears to be the
    ootheca of Tasmania’s other large mantid Tenodera oustralasiae. This species attaches it
    ootheca most commonly to native grass stems and again it would be a most unusual item
    for a fox to consume. This specimen will be forwarded to mainland specialists for further

    An image of scat 6307 is reproduced within the report and I must add that it encouraged me when first viewing it to wonder just what (and why?) those FEP chappies/chappettes were collecting … out there in the field. The non-sensible image of a fox somehow leaping up onto a strainer-post and managing to deposit faeces while on the top of the post … just did not work for me. ‘Just what were those FEP staffers up to?’ I wondered.

    Scat 6307 is, even to this layman’s eye, not the stereotypical four-legged carnivore scat. What were those FEPers smoking? In the hours before the footy ‘kicks off’, I’ve been wandering back through Simon’s report. [It’s perhaps appropriate to mention that ‘back in the good old days’ I knew Simon (Fearn) and Chris (Spencer) who were fellow Liffey neighbours and I can say that those two – along with Jim Nelson – personify the essence of the natural historian for me. I’m glad to have known them, and I salute their ‘in-the-field’ knowledge. Simon’s delight was in serpents, Chris’s in raptors and Jim’s in burrowing crayfish.]

    And then scrolling through the other documentation in that RTI release, I see that Scat 6307 was actually first collected … by Simon. Hey! What was going on there? He was with X. Xxxxx and on St Patrick’s Day, 2008, collected the scat from the top of a 1.2m straining post at XXXXX, Campbell Town. He gave the find a <1> priority classification. Eighteen months later, in Simon’s draft report, there seems to be no mention that it was actually he himself who had collected the sample. Simon’s images can be seen in Figures 16 and 19 and in the wider RTI release at pp 134, 135, 136.

    Just where do the dots lead us?

  195. Ian Rist

    September 29, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Re The Mercury fox story today 30/9/2017.

    Where is the Minister and the Treasurer on all this non cooperation by their departments?

    Obviously the DPIPWE are running everything and the politicians are not important.

    We probably don’t need to elect them in the first place, just let the departments run themselves … they do anyway.

  196. Ian Rist

    September 29, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    I notice ‘The Mercury’ article today reporting another cover-up with the DPIPWE refusing to name a consultant engaged to investigate fox fraud and also refusing to state the cost of the consultant.
    Again the article states Tasmania Police found ‘no evidence’ of criminality.
    If fabricating and planting fox evidence to make it look like Tasmania had a fox population to defraud the Commonwealth then I don’t know what their version of criminality is …………….

    Most people are concentrating on the fox scat misdemeanors lately but let me assure you it goes
    back a lot further than fox scats being imported in large numbers.
    For the record I became aware in April 2008 eski loads of fox scats were coming to Tasmania , I alerted Ivan Dean MLC and gave him a copy of the mainland advertisement being used to get hunters to collect scats from wild freshly shot mainland foxes. Later I became aware of mails from FOI/RTI that certainly confirmed this had been happening for a long time.
    At the PAC Inquiry in 2009 (yes Minister what answers do you want?) I was publicly slandered by a CRC Invasive Animals CEO who claimed I “must be smoking something” to even suggest fox scats were being imported into Tasmania and put out in the Tasmanian environs.

    Anyway this was all late in the saga, what about the fox carcasses that were used as prime evidence as early as 2001.
    What about the false claim of fox cubs being imported and released in Tasmania ?
    This false claim caused three young Tasmanians a lot of stress and worry and they were never publicly exonerated. If a certain Tasmanian Senator had not accessed the Tasmanian Police letters of June and July 2001 we may have still been expected to believe the false fox cub import and release claims. Why didn’t the relevant authorities come clean on the Police findings ? Why ? Beause it didn’t suit their agenda.
    In fact Minister Llewellyn kept on about this fox cub importation for years after in the Parliament, in fact as late as 2006 according to the Hansard.
    This was even after his portfolio as DPIPWE and Police Minister clearly revealed to him through his own high ranking Police in June 2001 that the whole fox cub claim was based on gossip, rumor,innuendo and false information.
    So let us all accept that since the beginning of this deceitful chapter in Tasmanian History Politicians, Ministers and senior public servants were part of this deception.

  197. David Obendorf

    September 28, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    That maybe correct Mr Rist, but one really wonders why Dr Sarre and his molecular genetics colleagues who were authors of a paper based on scats of questionable provenance didn’t want to get this satisfactorily resolved when Dr Marks and Dr Edwards tried to correspond with them.

    If the scientists at the Institute of Applied Ecology in Canberra had any inkling they were being deceived by hoaxed scats yet were genuinely ignorant of the deception caused by FEP (aka DPIPWE) employees submitting fox scats imported masquerading as genuine physical evidence then what’s to prevent them communicating with the Journal of Applied Ecology to that effect?

    Surely by now Dr Sarre et al would understand the modus operandi by which his testing lab was delivered numerous scat sandwiches care of some DPIPWE scat collectors who were the subject of internal misconduct investigations by their employee (DPIPWE) and who subsequently resigned.

    We have yet to hear anything from DPIPWE senior managers. (Dr John Whittington, the current Secretary of DPIPWE appeared before the PAC fox inquiry in 2009.) Does Dr Whittington still stand by the credibility of the collection of physical evidence or does he now accept that his employees presented fabricated samples for DNA testing?

  198. Ian Rist

    September 28, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    It has come to my notice that the British Ecological Societies Journal authors and others in the BEC, are to put it mildly, ‘becoming extremely pissed off’ with the arrogance of the Tasmanian DPIPWE, the Tasmanian Government and the reluctance of any cooperation at all with the BEC’s requests for information.

    So what the Tassie neanderthals may say?

    Well it is not a very intelligent idea to piss off such people, theirs is a World wide read journal and any doubts about bogans and two heads are being confirmed.

  199. David Obendorf

    September 28, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Please help me to understand, I seem to be such a slow learner.

    How could it possibly happen that CSIRO scientists and Invasive Animal CRC collaborating institutions such as the Institute of Applied Ecology in Canberra (University of Canberra) and the Arthur Rylah Institute in Victoria could be so willingly seduced into the Tasmanian cryptozoology cave, a mystical cave of earthy delights offering fine food, treasure, wonderful echoes and the promise of who knows where it might lead? Truly an adventure playground. All this on tap on Australia’s largest island where the car number plates proclaim – [i]”explore the opportunities”[/i].

    Was it [i]really[/i] all just a silly ‘gotcha’ joke? Please explain if I am wrong.

    Did the mainland invasive species supremos who entered the Tassie cave forgot to take with them an essential but basic piece of fox-hunting equipment?

    A candle.

  200. Jack J

    September 28, 2017 at 5:46 am

    #87 Does this mean that if there had been no Tasmanian tigers hit on runways that they are also extinct? Surely not, as they have been sighted only very recently by a dedicated research team that got massive media exposure and a big tick from Tasmania’s home grown fox expert.

    Perhaps foxes got to Tasmania by hanging on to the undercarriage after being collected by a 737 at Tullamarine? Next time I fly I’ll request a window seat in order to watch out for the fox chasing the wheel. Maybe they like airline food?

    The Tasmanian fox issue went well past the bizarre and into the surreal some time back. Whatever next? Could a fiction writer make this stuff up?

    The key passage in this paper is: “there have only been three fox carcasses found on Tasmanian roads and one produced by a hunter that were considered credible by Tasmanian authorities.”

    “Considered credible by Tasmanian authorities.”

    Mmmm. Think that over a bit. I wonder what the author was really wanting to say?

  201. David Obendorf

    September 28, 2017 at 3:01 am

    I don’t retract from my criticism of Dr Caley’s assumptions on the standing of the dead fox exhibits he applied to Bayseian modelling. He has a long career as a modeller of collected data. The modelling of field data is not at issue here. What I contested was the [i]quality[/i] of data that he relied upon as empirical data for his analysis.

    In the case of his modeling of the four incidents in Tasmania involving dead foxes I’ve urged that his inference that these were all animals that lived and died in Tasmania was [b]unsound[/b].

    In his most recent paper cited by tassiefoxwatcher Dr Caley writes:

    ‘[i]Our results are consistent with the rarity of road killed foxes in Tasmania in comparison to mainland Australia where they are numerous — there have only been three fox carcasses found on Tasmanian roads and one produced by a hunter that were considered credible by Tasmanian authorities. We note, however, that the provenance of these carcasses is the subject of a [b]polemical debate[/b], and the deliberate hoaxing for some, or all of these carcasses cannot be definitively ruled out. … … there is possibly considerable irreducible uncertainty in the provenance of the data used to date as, for example, argued by Marks et al., 2014.'[/i]

    Perhaps that is a belated concession by these CSIRO modellers. Dr Caley and his colleagues would have been prudent to apply their modelling talents to the only ‘null hypothesis’ worth testing in this instance, namely to test a starting hypothesis that there are no foxes in Tasmania and to use the various opportunistically acquired physical evidence of fox presence collected (Marks et al 2014) the Great Poo Hunt scat collections (Sarre et al 2013) and the uncorroborated public sighting data (Marks et al 2017). Modelling the number of runway struck foxes on Tasmanian airfields (n=0) from 2002 to 2014 is, in my opinion, an absurdity.

  202. Dr Peter Lozo

    September 28, 2017 at 12:37 am


    Hi Garry,

    I read most of the comments on the Tasmanian Fox issue (because of my scientific curiosity) but I very rarely make a comment on this because (as you well know) my interest is the Neill-Fraser case. Whilst I do enjoy reading your well written comments (as I wrote elsewhere on TT) I am a bit curious about your #86. Can you please be more explicit and point to us exactly what your issue is with Dr Obendorf’s comment #67. I am not aware of exactly when Dr Caley published his paper (as I haven’t read it) but according to #67, Dr Obendorf commented a few days ago about a paper that was published in 2015! Are you suggesting that Dr Obendorf made public comments about Dr Caley’s paper in 2015 before the paper was published? If so can you please give us a reference to that 2015 public comment or can you inform us what that comment was?

    Peter Lozo
    Adelaide, South Australia

  203. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    September 27, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Thanks for your question, David (#67): “Garry, what was “the error that I recall you may have made in relation to that Ramsey paper…”. I think it possible that you were in error David, when you made some public criticisms of Ramsey’s paper prior to its actual publication. I referred to that matter because you (#51) had written: “Dr Caley committed a fundamental error for a scientist…” Your statement about Dr Caley was quite pointed and recalled to mind what in my view might well have been an error in your own scientific practice (i.e. criticising Ramsey prior to publication).

  204. Ian Rist

    September 26, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Re # 83.
    Yes the extremely vocal mouth pieces from the CRC Invasive Animals, NPWS, DPIPWE, the Tasmanian Government(s) of the day, Fox Free Task force and their numerous Managers, involved Unions, various Universities, media commentators and bloggers that had so much to say during the funding hype are now all deathly silent.

    Possibly they are all following the advice most lawyers give their guilty clients, “say nothing”.

  205. Ian Rist

    September 26, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Re # 78 you say:
    “That lie – which was tested and proven to be a lie by Tasmania Police in 2001 – led to further lies being uttered by known individuals, this time, communicated to a mainland fox expert who took that information on face value”.

    Based on a lie, as I have said before “a bright shining lie”.

    It all started in 2001 outside Allgoods in Hobart when the brother of a certain NPWS employee engaged in conversation with a certain taxidermist from up North. The brother of the NPWS employee spoke to the taxidermist about the “Dingo’ looking dog the taxidermist had in the back of his utility. The taxidermist was told to be careful with that ‘Dingo’ looking dog as NPWS were having a crack down on ‘Dingoes’ and their look alikes.
    “You don’t want to worry about Dingoes” the taxidermist said “you want to worry about those blokes that go to the mainland Samba Deer shooting and have been bringing fox cubs back, rearing and releasing them”.

    Now anyone that knows anything about fox cubs knows the do not do very well without their mothers and most likely would not have survived. Rounding up the claimed 11 plus 8 fox cubs would have been a monumental task on its own. In a word it was all based on bullshit.

    At this stage I must mention the taxidermist had a vendetta going against the father of one of the young persons that was named along with two other people (the alleged fox smugglers) because the ‘father’ had given the said taxidermist Deer Heads to mount in exchange for some free trips to the mainland (but the taxidermist) failed to go through with the ‘deal’ which was some taxidermy work in exchange for some free trips to the mainland.
    It went from there with the brother going to a senior at PWS employee that passed it on to another PWS employee that had a paranoia of foxes and he passed it on to the boss man.

    A Ministerial briefing was called and it all hatched from there helped by the paranoia of foxes, the speculation and sensationalist media (by some journalists) that followed after they had been fed ( in their defence) all sorts of wild claims.
    The bottom line here though is the Minister responsible for Police and the relevant departments knew in mid 2001 the truth because his own Police department had investigated with five detectives and one PWS employee and arrived at the decision that there was absolutely no evidence to corroborate the fox cub importation claim and it was all based on rumour, gossip,innuendo and false information.
    But the ‘fox was out of the bag’ and the Minister had already decided there would have to be millions of dollars to ‘eradicate’ the foxes… a venture that cost taxpayers’ millions of dollars and didn’t produce one single Tasmanian fox over the next fifteen years…and is still costing taxpayers serious money.
    If the FOI Police letters hadn’t have surfaced two years later we probably would have been still believing the fox import and release claim.
    Didn’t stop this certain Minister raising the fox import claims many times in the Parliament in fact as late as 2006 in the Tasmanian Parliament and on ABC’s ‘Stateline’ program as late as 2010.

    When I was interviewed for five and a half hours during the recent Tasmania Police investigation I gave the names and addresses of all people involved. I also made the Integrity Commission aware of the fine details too.
    What will be the outcome ?
    Very little I expect because this is Tazmania and besides it was only ‘taxpayers’ money.
    Too many people in too deep.

  206. Philip Lowe

    September 26, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    IT is amazing that in all this debate there is no attempt at defence or explanation from those who stand so accused of fraud and deception.They MUST be reading this and seething and wriggling,waiting for something that they can get their vengeful teeth into. But no, nothing, silence. Methinks they do protest too little, or are they so defenceless as to wear eye-patches and blinkers,and have rhinoceros hide clothing?

  207. Ivo edwards

    September 26, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Thank you Dr Obendorf. You have in one small comment encapsulated the essence of what was wrong with the whole fox eradication program.

    That is that the program was based on spin, not science, that its proponents refused to engage with credentialed scientific fox experts, that its program repeatedly claimed that so called eradication was amazingly successful,when it was in fact the opposite. Its 1080 poisoning program also contributed significantly to the concerning decline in important iconic endemic species like spotted tailed and eastern quolls, Tasmanian devils, native bandicoots and probably many other species that no-one will never know about because no-one bothered to do the necessary research to check.
    Anyone wanting further evidence from me to back up my claims with hard objective data please just post a comment explaining your skeptical claims and I will expand on my comments

  208. William Boeder

    September 26, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    #79. Time now to revisit the assertion made by former governor of Tasmania the late Peter Underwood, his famous quote, no corruption in Tasmania.
    There has been a good deal of damage dumped upon certain persons who chose to run with the truth, that has ruined occupations and careers. This is but another factor but less being mentioned as a product of this sting.
    David Llewellyn could be asked about this side of his activated $60 odd million dollar sting.

  209. David Obendorf

    September 26, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Let me try to give a few examples of how cognitively dissonant this fox hunt farce became. Hopefully the Integrity Commission will get to the bottom of the deceptions, the use of misrepresented information and the down-right lies that were told.

    1. A mainland fox ecologist, who originally assisted DPIPWE in obtaining preliminary fox funding from the Commonwealth in 2001 for Tasmania’s fox hunt based on the now shown to be deceptive information of multiple fox importations, by 2007 had became unsettled at the lack of any substantial & satisfactory evidence of fox presence in Tasmania. To his credit he tried to engage with DPIPWE (the agency running the fox program) and he offered to contribute his experiences and intellectual knowledge with fox detection technologies to Fox Eradication Program managers. He offer was effectively shunned & ignored!

    So this previously sought-after fox ecologist in 2001, was by 2007 left standing outside the Tassie fox-tent.

    2. Dr Sarre and his Invasive Animals-CRC colleagues must now regret much of what they published to support the highly controversial Tasmanian fox hunt. Dr Sarre might feel betrayed and deceived by the conduct of DPIPWE. But then he was a member of the [i]Technical Advisory Committee[/i] to the fox program.

    Was Dr Sarre ever given copies of reports prepared by the FEP-employed zoologist, Simon Fearn?

    Had Dr Sarre seen Mr Fearn’s reports [i]before[/i] he put his name to the “foxes are now widespread” paper published in the [i]Journal of Applied Ecology[/i]?

    Was Dr Sarre and his co-authors (at least one was a FEP staff member) ever made aware how questionable the scat data collected in Tasmania was now deemed to be?

    Was Dr Sarre aware that his published scat data set included several obviously non-fox samples [bird pellets and wallaby poo] and at least 26 DNA-fox positive scats tested by Sarre’s lab analysis that Mr Fearn had reported to the FEP manager were “likely hoaxes” – one Fearn report all but provides the means, motive & opportunity for how physical evidence was falsified using fox scats imported by the FEP from Victoria had been planted by identified FEP employees. [One of the key individuals involved in the planting of the majority of these false-positive scats resigned in May this year after facing an internal DPIPWE investigation.]

    In my opinion, what is far more troubling was that when members of the independent scientists’ panel (I am a member) that reviewed the fox program in its entirety contacted Dr Sarre about his published interpretations and analysis (‘foxes are now widespread in Tasmania’ based on the scat recoveries) trying to explain the significant concerns we had discovered [our contact with Dr Sarre occurred well before Mr Fearn’s reports were made available in 2015] but Dr Sarre chose not to engage with us or share his data or analysis.

    In March 2015 the independent scientific review panel provided a comprehensive report to Minister Rockliff and his Bio-security General Manager, Lloyd Klumpp in which we state:

    [i]’Given the implausible detection success, sequence and spatial distribution of samples attributed to one FEP staff member we conclude that these specimens were unlikely to have arisen from an extant fox population in Tasmania. Several statistical features strongly imply that data fabrication is the most probable explanation to account for these observations.'[/i]

  210. David Obendorf

    September 26, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Typo Errata in # 78 : Lest we forget .. … this embarrassing, expensive fox-less Tasmanian fox hunt that kept on going for a decade & half began with an extraordinary lie told in a plush Ministerial office.

  211. David Obendorf

    September 26, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Lest we forget .. … this embarrassing, expensive fox-less Tasmanian fox hunt that kept on going for a decade & half began with a extraordinary [b]lie[/b] to in a plush Ministerial office.

    That lie – which was tested and proven to be a lie by Tasmania Police in 2001 – led to further lies being uttered by known individuals, this time, communicated to a mainland fox expert who took that information on face value. (You feel quite silly to be sucked into a bull-shitter’s joke.) Those silly selfish lies have haunted DPIPWE management to this day.

    The imaginary Tasmanian fox – [i]’the fox that wasn’t there'[/i] – was out of the scammer’s bag and running wild!

    The misrepresentation of sightings and the blatant falsification of dead fox evidence began soon after… none of this deception made was logical or sensible and yet it happened right here in Tasmania under the very noses of politicians, highly paid public officials, zoologists, molecular biologists and, quite frankly, people who should have known better than to accept such nonsense & drivel.

  212. O'Brien

    September 26, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Surely the Ministers and Departmental Secretaries then and now are to be held accountable … ?


  213. David Obendorf

    September 26, 2017 at 3:02 am

    TassieFoxWatcher [comment #74] – this is a corker! Thank you for alerting Tasmanian Times readers.

    These CSIRO authors [[b]Peter Caley, Geoffrey Hosack & Simon Barry[/b]] actually use the Sarre et al 2013 paper [[i]’Foxes was now widespread in Tasmania: DNA detection defines the distribution of this rare but invasive carnivores.'[/i] as the basis for their modelling study.

    It was published in February 2017 – [i]Making inference from wildlife collision data inferring predator absence from prey strikes.[/i]

    Interestingly this Caley et al paper refers to the Sarre finding of Tasmanian foxes as ‘widespread & rare’ as a [b]hypothesis[/b]. Yep, they actually call Sarre et al’s main finding from the several years of taxpayer funded Great Poo Hunts in Tasmania just a hypothesis!

    Dr Stephen Sarre and his colleagues for the Invasive Animal CRC and DPIPWE claimed that they had proven foxes were now widespread in Tasmania based on the shit samples DPIPWE employees found for them to analyse in Canberra.

    So what did Peter Calley and his colleagues model in this new paper? Wait for it – the number of [i]airstrip runway strikes[/i] of foxes in Tasmania (zero) compared to other State across Australia (see their Table 1).

    This paper infers a population size of a predator species [foxes] including the probability of extinction based on data collected from airfield ‘runway strikes’ to lagomorphs [rabbits & hares] and foxes. The authors used this novel approach to test Sarre’s claim about ‘[i]’the distribution and abundance of the hypothesised red fox incursion into Tasmania'[/i].

    As we all know in the period from 2002 to 2014 there were no airfield runway strikes of foxes reported in Tasmania but Caley’s latest paper tells us there were 15 lagomorph strikes. Based on their modelling application these authors concluded there is enough evidence to [i]’safely reject that there is a widespread red fox population in Tasmania at a population density consistent with prey [lagomorphs] availability.'[/i]

    For this study Dr Caley nominated as their [i]’null hypothesis'[/i] for testing Sarre’s claim: that foxes are widespread & rare in Tasmania.

    In 2014 Dr Caley was underwhelmed by Dr Sarre’s DNA-fox scat data, so he decided to model the four dead fox finds from Tasmania (see earlier comment). I wonder whether Dr Caley ever considered applying his Bayesian modelling expertise to another [i]’null hypothesis'[/i] – namely that there were no live foxes in Tasmania and that all four dead fox bodies were unreliable evidence of live fox presence in Tasmania.

    In light of Dr Clive Marks and Simon Fearn’s reports to DPIPWE, he should have.

  214. Ian Rist

    September 25, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    A disgusting display of arrogance, incompetence by the DPIPWE and related departments and a total lack of duty and obligatory responsibility by our elected representatives that also seem hell bent on hiding the painfully obvious. This is a unforgivable display by all the Ministers involved………..

    Just about anyone that knows anything about the Tasmanian fox farce have all realized that this is a stinking cesspit of deception and corruption that is getting deeper and smellier by the day.The politicians and senior bureaucrats all know in absolute detail what has been going on and exactly who was involved so I would advise you all to act.

    Enough is enough, I call on all of our elected representatives to grow a spine and fix this scandal before the upcoming State elections.
    A scandal that is being watched Worldwide and is a terrible stain on our State that puts our conservation, bio-security and corruption status fair in the spotlight.
    Ignore this call at your peril.

  215. TassieFoxWatcher

    September 25, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    More inference from Dr Caley at https://peerj.com/articles/3014/

  216. David Obendorf

    September 25, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Tasmania’s 16 year fox-less fox hunt failed [i]every[/i] test of credibility. It was a serious policy failure on invasive species management in Tasmania.

    It comes down to this – [b]does DPIPWE still stand by the fox DNA evidence that has been publicly contested or doesn’t it?[/b]

    Despite their own scientist (Simon Fearn) writing 2 reports claiming that much of scat data is either in error (where many of the scats were not even fox scats according to this zoologist) or faked by FEP employees that have already been identified in DPIPWE released RTI documents (an extraordinarily unusual occurrence for a government employer to release their employees names), the Tasmanian public has yet to hear what the department’s official position is.

    The editors of the Journal of Applied a Ecology (publisher of the Sarre et al 2012 – “Foxes are now widespread … ” article) are waiting for a response from DPIPWE and so are at least three Australian MPs who have written directly to the journal.

    The Tasmanian Fox hunt was – in my professional opinion – a contrived cryptozoological joke at taxpayers’ expense. Nothing made sense … nothing.

    The DPIPWE internal investigation remains secret and the Integrity Commission’s referral has yet to report publicly.

    Regrettably the Journal of Applied Ecology appears incapable of making their own assessment call on the credibility of the fox scats used in Sarre’s paper … the journal editors are still claiming they need to hear from DPIPWE formally.

    An embarrassing stalemate for Tasmania.

  217. Ian Rist

    September 24, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Oh no not the already dead fox that ran out from the LH side of the Glen Esk road and was killed again ?
    Or was it the Burnie ‘Road kill’ … even the biologist didn’t know if he was there or not or even which direction he was going East or West.
    Then again was it the matchbox sized remains found at Lillico that somehow had a Ferret jaw bone ?
    But then again it could have been the Geelong shot imported fox that somehow produced the endemic Tasmanian mouse Pseudomys higginsi from its gut?

  218. David Obendorf

    September 24, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Garry, would it help if I put up Nick Mooney’s comments where he discusses his approximation of the size of the Tasmanian free-range fox population in the light of [b]three[/b] road kill foxes found (one in 2003 and two in 2006)? Mr Mooney’s thesis was that – and please forgive my attempt to interprete the logic – if three foxes crossing Tasmanian roads could be killed, what does a wildlife biologist conclude about the number of foxes that didn’t get killed and are still running around Tasmania?

    But the muddy side of such guestimates are Mr Mooney’s lack of certitude that any of these three dead foxes on the road side were killed by vehicle impact on the roads question .

    By way of example, take the dead fox cub found on the Bass Highway at Lillico in 2006. Mr Mooney offered testimony to the 2009 PAC fox inquiry that he had been reliably informed this dead fox had been shot by a rabbit hunter and dumped on the busy Bass highway verge so it would be readily located. Mr Mooney’s evidence before the PAC committee of inquiry to that effect was taken ‘in camera’.

    Did Dr Caley know that? Those interested can chase down the contradictory explantations for the other two ‘road kill’ Tassie foxes among the Tasmanian Times fox articles published over the years of download our publication entitled: [i]Opportunistically acquired evidence is unsuitable data to model fox distribution in Tasmania[/i] from the tasmanianfox.com website. Thank you.

  219. Jack

    September 24, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    In the masterclass displayed here one can see how to go about the business of personal resurrection and reinvention.

    Let’s see, do I have the formula correct?

    After a history of clangers and inaccurate prophecy that means that no one comes to look in your crystal ball anymore, you must position yourself as an objective commentator. Go for volume. The big plus here is that after writing a treatise to cement your expertise there is ample opportunity for selective self citation.

    Toss out a few inexpensive mea culpas like pearls before swine. Nothing gives the appearance of objectivity like a bit of self-deprecation. Pick out a few other clangers that everyone will agree on. Shake, bake and serve with a straight face and garnish with thousands of words.

    Using that diversion escape from beneath the weight of your own pronouncements and certitudes that have been found badly wanting.

    After which begin to slip in a few sentences here and there that suggest that other people have been in error – not you. You were led astray. Confess. ‘I have sinned but it weren’t my fault gov.’ Everyone can make a mistake. Even those who were right can make a mistake.

    Because you are the commentator after all, a self appointed biographer and art critic; dispassionate and rigorous but like a Playtex bra you have no visible means of support for your authority, other than elastic notions of reality. Adjust the straps if they pinch.

    Soon, by the authority of your own works written as St Peter might have upon a lonely rock, you can reveal a new testament of wisdom and a heavily abridged and revised version of The New Book.

    It does not matter if you have demonstrated no capacity to grasp the issues at stake. Dogma works great. Stick to your new script as if it were the old one with a few added visions included. One testament can now replace the other, unless something convenient can be found in the old one. If so tell them that there is still a lot of wisdom in that old book.

    Most of all, close your eyes and think of those chimps. Put enough of them in a room with typewriters and they’ll produce Shakespeare. Remember, it is the volume that matters not the simple truth. Because a simple truth requires but one line, not millions. There is no fun in that.

  220. William Boeder

    September 24, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    #63. Phillip Lowe, many are the wise words that have flowed from your pen, your opinions and comments, nowadays all the way from England.
    However your words of beware are not without their merit, though I have other words that may in this instance not necessarily agree with you.
    My question in general, (then toward all who may have harboured a similar considered opinion.)

    Is as follows, how many minister lies have been uttered in this State’s house of parliament, how many statute breaches by same, how many personal uttered abnegations to retain ones seat in parliament, how much disloyalty emanates from this State government toward its citizens, the list can go on and on.
    Well may these collective of Lib/Lab party incumbents think themselves privileged thus not to have to answer to the people of Tasmania?

    I do not believe the self serving State Lib/Lab ministers (this also includes a reprehensible Senator) will have the pluck, then will make some futile attempt to engage in a retaliatory action to deny a great many written statements and even direct allegations bearing their truth, will such a useless specie want to dispute these matters in the law courts in Tasmania, then on appeal to have to argue their case in the Federal court of appeals in mainland Australia?
    For there are many persons in the know of the number and the names of those ministers known for their ministerial indiscretions, disreputable conducts et al.
    I personally would rise to the challenge were some sly dishonest minister take me on as an act of revenge.

  221. Ian Rist

    September 24, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Re comment # 65

    Please do, I have many arrows in my quiver too.

    You can run but you can’t hide.

  222. David Obendorf

    September 24, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Garry, what was “the error that I recall you may have made in relation to that Ramsey paper.” Thank you.

  223. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    September 24, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    In answer to your question, David (#62 … à la ‘What did Garry conclude about Caley’s credible carcasses?‘): it simply confirmed my own view that Caley’s paper was a waste of megabytes. I didn’t understand why you/the Tasmanian Fox? group bothered to have a go at it publicly. It seemed to be about as important as other questions, such as how many angels can fit on the head of a pin … make that foxes perhaps! You would think that not much could have been deduced statistically from the discovery of four carcasses, yet Caley constructed an elaborate desktop exercise to tell us that four credible carcasses over that length of time indicated a probable extinction. My view of his paper was that in essence, he was backing you guys up. He basically (from my reading) canned Sarre 2012 and told us that even if there had been local foxes here, four paltry carcasses indicated from a statistical point of view the probable extinction of whatever local population that might once have (hypothetically) existed. I regarded his paper as a waste of time and of no importance. I wondered why he would have gone to such lengths to put those four carcasses through the hoops of Bayesian analysis. You noted sardonically (#51) that Caley [in your words] “concluded that whatever Tasmanian fox population might have been here, it was now ‘eradicated’. Mission accomplished! … hats off to the FEP, public money well spent.” Perhaps it was as you seem to suggest (#51), an attempt to retrospectively whitewash the FEP. I didn’t view it as such, though I note that that a co-author to Peter Caley’s paper was David Ramsey, who (in: An examination of the accuracy of a sequential PCR and sequencing test used to detect the incursion of an invasive species: the case of the red fox in Tasmania /Ramsey 2015) was very clearly associated (through his co-authors) with the FEP and the Invasive Animals CRC. You will remember that paper, I presume, David. It brings a wry smile to my face as I type, while thinking of your “Dr Caley committed a fundamental error for a scientist” and recall the error that I recall you may have made in relation to that Ramsey paper. Anyway, the following quote from Ramsey should cheer you up a bit:

    The intense public scrutiny of the fox eradication program in Tasmania, has undoubtedly influenced the application of a sequential PCR test that maximises specificity at the expense of sensitivity and so increases the risk that scats containing fox DNA would not be detected. This could lead to the establishment of foxes in Tasmania as a consequence.

    It’s a corker, n’est-ce pas? On a more serious side, it does seem possible that the relentless criticism that the FEP received/still does receive, created a bunker mentality within the Department.

    I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully!) not to comment – except where necessary – on this thread, while I been waiting for the Integrity Commission to produce a report (and at the same time wondering about the Journal of Applied Ecoogy’s ‘Expression of Concern, DPIPWE and all that…). I failed at #11, then again at #59-60 and now again with my response to your (#62) in which you indirectly asked me for my conclusion re the Caley paper.

  224. sanguine

    September 24, 2017 at 11:04 am

    # 64
    Oh we do….and we will.
    The establishment has a long long memory for slights and being shown up whatever the issue…..

  225. PHilip Lowe

    September 24, 2017 at 5:55 am

    Who will watch the watchers?Does Peter Bright No56 have a valid point?Is Tasmania so incestuously introverted so as not to be able to see it’s own vital flaws.In the UK it’s the the inbred upper classes,the hereditary ruling class.To some extent Tasmania has inherited this system.Just look at the way some families pass on their political power.At least we can take the piss out of it without fear of some kind of assassination,character or otherwise.But the establishment is very patient.Their revenge is a dish best eaten cold,so beware you all.You may yet pay for this.

  226. Jack

    September 24, 2017 at 4:58 am

    It all seems pretty simple on the face of it; does DPIPWE still stand by the fox DNA evidence in question or doesn’t it?

    Despite their own scientist writing 2 reports claiming that much of it is either in error (where many of the scats were not even fox scats according to this zoologist) or faked by people that have already been named, we have yet to hear what the department’s official position is.

    That seems to be what this British journal is waiting on as well.

    The truly depressing and very ironic aspect is that in reality it would be great news if there were clearly no foxes in Tasmania. So what is DPIPWE trying to achieve, a thylacine-like status for foxes?

    Are we to live with an official ‘maybe’ for a few more years? Will “experts” make media statements on possible fox sightings and interpret fuzzy photos for the next few decades or more? Or will DPIPWE put the entire matter to bed?

    Because what happens after some “dead-set” images of foxes turn up in The Mercury next week that have been taken by a few lads on the mainland? Are DPIPWE going to waste more money chasing a myth they failed to kill when they had the chance?

    This matter has great potential to keep spiralling out of control over a very long period of time unless it is put to rest. Playing politics with it is doing no one any favours.

    And I’m sure that all would have been forgiven had we known that there were no foxes here years back. What now stinks the most is the very real likelihood that if good news is so difficult to communicate then something far more evil is never likely to see the light of day under this system.

    Tassie foxes have been a window into the soul of the government system we have. Perhaps the State Services need to be renamed ‘Political Services’ in order to adequately reflect that reality that they no longer represent the public interest but the interest of politicians, arse coverers and clowns who’s business is to waste public money.

  227. David Obendorf

    September 24, 2017 at 2:19 am

    And what did Mr Stannus conclude from Dr Caley’s statement “the carcasses are considered credible”? On what investigation did Dr Caley undertake to make that claim?

    These four incidents involve dead red foxes found in Tasmania. What has been robustly contested is the connection to a Tasmanian provenance or origin and the claim that three of them were ‘road kills’ – i.e. an animal hit and killed by a vehicle and subsequently found dead on a road or near a road verge.

    Mr Nick Mooney has given several contradicting explanations for the occurrences of each of these three dead foxes found by Tasmanian roadsides.His alternative explanation in each instance offered a view they may have been dumped dead foxes after being killed somewhere else and that’s in his written testimony. Thank you.

  228. Ian Rist

    September 24, 2017 at 1:58 am

    Re # 60 Garry.
    The PAC Inquiry was a farce, from 43 written submissions fifteen witnesses were called to give evidence.
    Of that fifteen, thirteen witnesses called either worked for the Department or had a pecuniary or related interest in promoting the belief there were foxes in Tasmania.
    It was a typical ‘yes Minister, what answers do you want’ ?.

    To answer Garry’s questions “Are we in a position
    to say that none of the scats originated from live foxes in our Tasmanian
    fields etc?
    “I believe that two staff members were implicated in the report”.
    Were there other staff members who are also believed to have ‘planted’ fox scats ?
    The answers are yes, yes and yes.

    A Royal Commission or similar outside the control of Tasmanian Politicians and bureaucrats must be held.
    Tasmanians will not get to any final truth until this happens.

  229. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    September 24, 2017 at 12:17 am

    Now the Tasmanian Fox? group looks to the withdrawal of the Sarre 2012 paper on (presumably) the grounds of hoaxing/provenance. At the moment, the Journal of Applied Ecology has in place an ‘Expression of Concern’:

    With this notice, Journal of Applied Ecology informs readers of an ongoing investigation to examine concerns regarding allegations about the independent collection of samples by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (Tasmania) that were subsequently used in the analysis of the data presented in the above paper first published online on 4 December 2012 in Wiley Online Library (www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com), and in Volume 50, pp. 459– 468. The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (Tasmania) are conducting an investigation to examine the concerns. When the outcome of this investigation is reported to the Editors, the paper’s content will be reviewed in light of this information. This notice will be updated when the investigation is complete.

    As we have seen recently, it appears that DPIPWE is dragging its feet, or worse, has ceased its investigation. There is still the matter of the Integrity Commission report, which if I recall correctly, was delayed, with the promise that it would be delivered ‘later in the year’. Well, the year is getting on, isn’t it! I’m not sure whether the ICT report is/was supposed to form part of the DPIPWE investigation and thus whether its eventual publication (if ever!) would have some bearing on the resolution of the Journal of Applied Ecology’s ‘Expression of Concern’.

    Ian has, I think, called for a Royal/Commission of Inquiry. Such a thing is not unwarranted, but I have a number of concerns. I remember that much vaunted PAC Inquiry that seems (in retrospect) not to have achieved all that much. What guarantee would we have that the findings of a Commission of Inquiry would be implemented by whatever the Government of the day might be? What if its findings were not those hoped for by the ‘fox sceptics’, would such findings be rejected? Then, to what extent would we be throwing good money after bad? While I’ve said earlier that I was not all that fussed by the money spent in the past (our taxes), I do think it’s reasonable that such a Commission be set up with wide yet deliverable terms of reference and that we get value for money.

    A final series of questions to which I’d like to find answers, is to do with those 56 or 61 scats. How many of those scats is it asserted were ‘found’ as a result of the alleged dishonesty referred to in Simon Fearn’s draft report? Was it all of them? And if not, how should we regard the remainder? As false positives in the PCR process? Are we in a position to say that none of the scats originated from live foxes in our Tasmanian fields etc? I believe that two staff members were implicated in the report. Were there other staff members who are also believed to have ‘planted’ scats?

  230. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    September 24, 2017 at 12:17 am

    I’m not sure if I understand David’s (#51) correctly, where he refers to the Caley 2015 paper (The dispersion and detection patterns of mtDNA-assigned red fox Vulpes vulpes scats in Tasmania are anomalous) and states that “Dr Caley committed a fundamental error […] [in that] he failed to evaluate the quality of the physical evidence.” [i.e. the provenance of the four carcasses: the Symons Plains ‘Bosworth Fox’, the ‘Burnie Road Kill’, the Lillico Beach (Devonport) carcass and the ‘Cleveland Fox’ carcass]. Caley’s paper did note that its material was based on data provided by the Invasive Species Branch of DPIPWE and it stated that “these carcasses are considered credible” while noting that the scat-derived DNA evidence is/was contested.

    What I took from Caley’s 2015 paper was that it actually was discounting/side-stepping/dismissing (take your pick) Sarre’s 2012 ‘Foxes are now Widespread in Tasmania’. Caley in the second sentence of his paper notes that Sarre’s conclusion “appears at first glance to be at odds with the lack of recent confirmed discoveries of either road-killed foxes […] or hunter killed foxes […]”. I always understood his (Caley’s) paper to be in terms of an ‘Even if …‘ proposition: e.g. Even if there was a fox population on the island – and despite Sarre’s ‘widespread’ conclusion – such a population, if it had indeed existed at all, was by then most likely extinct’. In other words, I understood Caley as publicly calling into question Sarre’s work:

    Our results allow us to explore whether it is possible to reconcile the inference […] of a widespread fox population (based on a range of evidence but heavily dependent on the extraction of fox DNA from predator scats), with that obtained by heuristic analysis of the temporal and spatial distribution of the fox carcasses discovered to date.

    What I did find interesting, was that Caley had referred to a paper by the Tasmanian Fox? group (Marks et al. 2014): ‘The dispersion and detection patterns of mtDNA-assigned red fox Vulpes vulpes scats in Tasmania are anomalous‘. That paper had canvassed a number of scenarios which might have caused Sarre’s ‘widespread’ conclusion to be invalid. Marks et al. suggested Type 1 Error, including the specificity and/or the selectivity of the Berry 2007 test, and also ‘hoaxing and use of samples of unknown provenance‘. Interestingly, the Tasmanian Fox? group had also attacked the Sarre 2012 paper with its Gonçalves 2014: ‘The risks of using species specific PCR assays in wildlife research […]‘. This was published in the Forensic Science International: Genetics Journal. In that paper, Gonçalves claimed to have found in the lab that the Berry test was not species specific. FSI Genetics then published a response from Sarre, (‘Letter to the Editor) in which the Professor, quite plausibly in my view, stood by the results obtained using the Berry test. He explained that the Gonçalves team had not evaluated the Berry test, but rather had left out the screening phase of the test and furthermore, had varied the conditions of the PCR itself. The Gonçalves group’s reply to Sarre (published by FSI Genetics) disputed that it should have applied the second screening phase of the test and that the group stood by its findings. FSI Genetics then closed off further missives on the matter. It seemed to me that the Tas Fox? group hadn’t successfully made out its criticisms of Sarre’s laboratory PCR work. Recent attempts (through the ‘Dean Dossier’) to establish that hoaxing had occurred, seem to indicate (to me at least) that the Tasmanian Fox? group has tacitly admitted some sort of tactical defeat on that PCR front.

  231. Simon Warriner

    September 23, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    re 56, Wow, that is some dangerous ground you are walking over.

    One wonders what recent event has prompted such an intemperate outburst of arrogance.

    I for one, am fascinated to see what exceptional characteristics you will put up to substantiate you right to make your claims.

    Please don’t keep us waiting.

    The apparently intractable problems in Tasmania are not dissimilar to those being experienced in other jurisdictions, and they arise from similar root causes. Sure, some of Tasmania’s problems stem from its rare but not unique convict past, but the dominance of its polity by party politicians is a factor shared by many a dysfunctional state.

  232. William Boeder

    September 23, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    #51. #52. add the authenticity of a great many forum contributors, particularly jack j, therein lays the path open to the origin of this one act of many acts of corrupted government and public service individuals so prominent in this great Tasmanian Fox scam.
    There can be no finer example of how dangerous a government can and will become more-so when it has no possible inclination to serve the people in the State of Tasmania.
    I dare say it is possible that if one of the individuals mentioned in comment 51 were to be placed on the rack and the handles wound to tighten the extension to the length of that person, then and only then will the culprit be fully identified.

  233. Peter Bright

    September 23, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    John, there are so many seemingly intractable problems in this state because so many Tasmanians, at every level in society, are inferior people.

    If there was not so much congenital inferiority here this truth would be faced and remedied.

    I believe this state would be much better administered by intelligent people of learning, experience, integrity and capability.

    Home grown Tasmanians just can’t do it.

  234. john hayward

    September 23, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Where else would a government department which has managed an apparent $50m fraud be given the task of investigating it?

    Most developed countries observe a conflict-of-interest principle in their legal governance. Why not Tas? Why has our legal and ethical immune system broken down so completely?

    Do we need an opposition party to oppose the LibLabs?


  235. Simon Warriner

    September 23, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    David, re 53, you ask a question far more widely applicable than to just the fox farce issue.

    The condensed answer is because a massive amount of money is spent globally ensuring that this is how the system works. The harder one looks the more intertwined the web of influence is. It is effective only for so long as those being influenced are inclined to accept as a given those ideas that are being promoted as “status quo”. Party politics and the silo thinking and echo chamber voices are that status quo. They bring the inevitable decline in quality of leadership, decision making and governance that allows the fox farce and its ilk to propagate.

    What is needed is a ground up rejection of party politics in favor of independent representation by honest, unconflicted individuals who represent their constituents in pursuit of the greatest common good. Generating that is how we solve the fox farce riddle and the others like it. It is those unconflicted, honest individuals sitting in parliament that can force the answers to be given to the questions that only Ivan Dean has been so far inclined to ask.

    The trick of good management is to understand the difference between draining the swamp and fighting alligators. The fox farce is an alligator, the best way to kill it off is to be driving the excavator that drains the swamp. Sometimes it is required that both be done simultaneously, but never lose sight of which will deliver the more durable and worthwhile result. That is where the most productive effort is to be spent.

  236. David Obendorf

    September 23, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Tasmania’s fox joke was like old-fashioned fly paper – so many individuals & organisations ‘stuck’ to it!

    The Tasmanian Greens were caught on the joke-paper early … the party was scammed and personality friendships (another way of saying conflict of interest) trumped commonsense analysis and careful fact checking (another way of saying asking for the authorised official data).

    This fantastic fox joke saw so many followers get stuck in the fly paper, not just the Greens Party.

    And for years Tasmanian Times allowed a whole tribe of astroturfers (under assumed blog names) to bag out any critic who was concerned about the lack of reasoned logic and blatant misrepresentation of Tasmanian fox hunting. Where are they now … or have they now morphed into just one – namely Richard Kopf?

    So the question I want to ask is … why do our political types gravitate to silo-thinking and echo-chambers listening mainly to those who they know and who tell them what they want to hear.

    Which Tasmanian politician was cautious became enough not to get stuck on the fox- joke fly-paper?

    Anyone care to name one?

  237. Ian Rist

    September 22, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    On the 16th August 2017 I wrote to the Tasmanian Premier Hodgman concerning the reluctance of the DPIPWE’s Secretary John Whittington to fulfill his promises at budget estimates on the 5th June 2017 to cooperate with the British Ecological Society re their numerous requests for information concerning the Tasmania Police report and the Fearn report re the Sarre paper ‘Foxes are now widespread in Tasmania’.
    This Sarre paper was published in the BEC’s Journal and they certainly would want the paper to be a true and complete record, especially as they are a 120 year old establishment and would not want to be made to look foolish in the eyes of the Science World.
    Now that is common knowledge that a lot of the information in the Sarre paper is incorrect and based on fabricated fox scats that were imported into Tasmania, collected up and sent off to Sarre’s Lab. for testing.
    I enclosed a copy of The Hansard from June the 5th 2017 so there could be no mistake what I was referring to.
    A very courteous lady replied thanking me for my interest and saying I would receive an answer shortly…….I am still waiting.
    Just in case the paperwork has gone missing their end the Reference number is RE: M17/27954 .

  238. David Obendorf

    September 22, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    The sixteen year line of Labor Ministers’ for foxes began with [b]David Llewellyn [/b] and ended with [b]Brian Wightman[/b].; it included Steve Kons, Bryan Green and David O’Bryne?

    Some modelling on the dead body fox evidence was done by a Dr [b]Peter Caley[/b] of CSIRO who assumed that if the three road-located dead foxes and the one shot fox represented the totality of fox exhibits recovered from Tasmania between 2001 and 2006, then by the date of his modelling paper (~2015) he concluded that whatever Tasmanian fox population might have been here, it was now ‘eradicated’. Mission accomplished! … hats off to the FEP, public money well spent.

    In my view Dr Caley committed a fundamental error for a scientist and that was he failed to evaluate the quality of the physical evidence. Both Dr Clive Marks and I independently wrote to him with our concerns and sent him our peer reviewed papers that showed the dead fox bodies he relied on for his modelling were unsound pieces of evidence and that there was no additional physical evidence from field collections that corroborated any of these dead fox bodies.

    Dr Caley has himself been on the record that he did not share Dr Sarre’s conviction that the distribution of the 56 out of ~10,000 carnivore scats from Tasmania represented useful evidence of fox presence in Tasmania.

    So what was the purpose of Dr Caley’s 2015 modelling analysis? [i]All[/i] the dead fox evidence … i.e. all four dead foxes had been shown by thorough review to be unreliable physical evidence and hence his Bayesian modelling was unsound and therefore useless for making a meaningful contribution to the thesis that Tasmania ever had a free-ranging fox population.

    This was a scam.

    The question remains who was the master-mind of this creationist deception?

  239. Russell

    September 22, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Re #12
    “And who would have thought that it is Ivan Dean – the historical nemesis of the Greens Party devotees – who would be the only parliamentarian at a State level putting the search-light on this malfeasance!”

    Well, someone had to I guess.

    The Greens ‘leader’ Cassy O’Connor was a Fox Task Farce supporter, …

  240. Ian Rist

    September 22, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    It would appear many of my old ‘friends’ in the media seem to want to sidestep the fox topic now days…could it have been long lunches, threats, promises of future high paying Government jobs or just plain alligator clips as referred to in #47 ?

    The fox is obviously a severe embarrassment to the State of Tasmania,but who is going to pick up the stinging nettle?
    It also should be painfully obvious by now that it just isn’t going to ‘go away’.
    It would be very fair to say that 95% of Tasmanians know what is going on here (a foxy cover up with our money) and a very large percentage of the voters want to know which side of the fence their local candidates are sitting on.
    As I said before ask them.
    All most of us ever wanted was the ‘fox truth’ and where our hard earned taxes were spent and by whom and what was actually achieved to benefit all of us that weren’t in the ‘club’.

  241. Jack

    September 22, 2017 at 1:13 am

    This should get interesting around election time. Not too many parties would be brave enough to go to the polls wearing a sun drenched bucket of prawns around their neck.

    I’m looking forward to the renewed budget for fox hunting that the ALP has in mind, unless they’d like to tell us when the last foxes have finally been eradicated.

    Richard Kopf should be able to explain what the ALP policy is concerning foxes.

  242. Simon Warriner

    September 22, 2017 at 1:00 am

    re #46, Brian Carlton seems to be interested in this steaming little nugget. Maybe it is worth dropping him a line, and letting him ask the interesting questions of our opposition pollies. He seems quite good at it and lacks the alligator clips on his tender bits that they now apply to ABC announcers.

  243. O'Brien

    September 21, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Re: #44

    “I don’t believe Rebecca White wrote this…”

    That would be in keeping with the fact PLP/ALP had allegations regarding Fox Task Force (FFTF) brought to their attention by an FFTF member in 2012. Allegations were brought to the attention of Bryan Green, Michelle O’Byrne, Scott Bacon, Lara Giddings, David O’Byrne, Brian Wightman, Lisa Singh, Tom Lynch and others…

    Madeline Ogilvie was the most recent correspondent regarding FFTF allegations. For some reason even Madeline Ogilvie’s office ceased correspondence without reason December 2016. It’s almost as if the PLP/ALP & CPSU have decided to ignore FFTF matters in the forlorn hope it will all go away. Well that may have been the case however bent elements of DPIPWE decided to draught in their police colleagues in an attempt to silence, terrorise, intimidate, verbal and “fit up” on manufactured/manipulated evidence. How far are these elected representatives prepared to be drawn into this mess?

    Probably wisest for the leader of the opposition to scrub the decks with lysol rather than enter into an election with the residual FFTF mess. It is evident to just about everybody from Prospect to the Privy Council that something has to give. Evident to everyone except most Tasmanian politicians, DPIPWE and State Growth.

  244. Peter Bright

    September 21, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Some readers may not know that the black Tasmanian Times icon at the top left of the Home page is actually an active tab that will return them to that page from anywhere else just with a left click of their mouse.

    This is a quick way of getting back to the start.

    — o0o —

    Those posting comments in the Comments dialog box can enlarge that space by placing their mouse cursor on the six tiny dots at its bottom right and while holding down the left mouse tab, drag and then drop those dots in the direction of the double-headed arrows as far they want to go.

    There’s more viewing space of their work this way.

  245. Ian Rist

    September 21, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    The Political parties are all the same, doesn’t matter – Labor that started the Tasmanian Fox fiasco, The Greens that backed Labor and the Liberals that refuse to correct the errors and fraudulent activity of the last decade and a half.

    I received a letter from the Labor leader two days ago that was supposed to concern the DPIPWE’s refusal to cooperate with the British Ecological Society’s requests.
    The Labor Leaders letter contained this statement:

    “Tasmanian Labor is aware that ongoing vigilance is required to ensure the the eradication is completed” what eradication, what foxes?
    I don’t believe Rebecca White wrote this…more likely the Shadow spokesman on the DPIPWE Shane Broad, he is the one that told me years ago when he worked for Syd Sidebottom X MLC Labor that “I didn’t know anything about foxes, he did because he had a degree in Agriculture and he therefor knew all about Tasmanian foxes”.

    I am sure he will receive the same treatment next election myself, friends and colleagues gave Syd Sidebottom.

  246. Simon Warriner

    September 20, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Kopf, if it was an insurance policy there would be fences around Burnie and Devonport RORO wharfs!

    And the taxes, you might be made of money but most of us would prefer not to have our hard earned pissed against the wall by liars and fraudsters, thanks.

  247. David Obendorf

    September 20, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Comment #39 another cheap-shot, ‘blame the messenger’ attempt from Richard Kopf.

    Richard perhaps you need to try to understand how science works before spraying your barbs about at unnamed targets.

    Paying out tens of millions of dollars to protect Tasmania from “imaginary foxes” [description of Minister Jeremy Rockliff in 2015] is hardly a good public policy for 16 years of fox-less fox hunting in Tasmania under Labor.

    The odds on another thylacine dreaming are now out at 1 to 1.6 trillion. Anyone for crowding funding that search venture?


    [i]’Stuff ups'[/i] was how Nick Mooney, one ex-employee of DPIPWE recently described the failings of the fox program. Perhaps a belated wake up to a stuff up is as close to an public concession as we’ll get.

  248. Jack J

    September 20, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    #39 What, pay some taxes so they can be spent by your friends on programs like the fox farce? Write them a cheque Dick if you like. Most of us (and that would be about 95% of Tasmanians from the look of all the feedback) care about how public monies are spent.

    How desperate and sad that you support gross incompetence and sink to trivial rhetoric even before the Integrity Commission reports. It takes a peculiar form of cognitive dissonance not to see that such apathy is central to this mess as well as the lack of proper process we have in many other areas.

    Were you asleep some place as the journal that published confected data placed an ‘expression of concern’ on the publication that reported all the ‘hard evidence’? Perhaps you failed to read that DPIPWE has admitted in parliament to problems with staff conduct in the program. I suppose you missed the 7.30 Report investigation and didn’t bother to listen to Brian Carlton’s program linked here? I guess you would tell Andrew Wilkie to ‘get a job’ as he tries hard to unpick this sordid mess along with other federal members? How dare he not go along with The Joke, crap science and public policy constructed on story telling and claims that the sky is falling.

    Because people are bloody angry Dick and comments such as yours make people even more determined to get to the bottom of this – so keep it up. Please write letters and go on talkback in support of the fox program. Stand up in the pub and let fly. Knock yourself out. I’m not being sardonic either, people like you are our best asset as they make excuses for the inexcusable and give voice to the ‘wrong stuff’. It’s a bit like a genuine racist loudmouth who kills their own ideology each time they give voice to it. Such people need to be encouraged to speak.

    Because how ironic that you believe that a program that failed in its science and public duty was some sort of insurance policy! Yep, thank goodness you say that you had insurance on your house when someone told you that it was burning down – but wasn’t. How dare anyone be critical of an insurance policy that employed 23 people that had absolutely no ability to pay out if your house had burned down anyway – as it was just a con. Has this contributed anything?

    I’ve got to ask. Are you using a very strong glue for a home renovation project at present Dick? If so I’d suggest a long walk on the beach to clear your head. You might even spot another fox and can call your ex-DPIPWE mate and talk it over before posting another gem!

  249. Ian Rist

    September 20, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Dick Kopf comes in from the cold again pushing his same old tired mantra, in my view. I believe he wouldn’t know ‘jackshit’ about the fox topic and also thinks he knows everything about everything as usual also.
    I my opinion and many others a ‘serial commentator’.
    I hope he has the courage (though I very much doubt it ) to apologise when he is proven very wrong and made to look extremely stupid in the near future.


  250. Richard Kopf

    September 20, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    The usual suspects are on the scent of the so-called fox scandal. Disgruntled ex employees of DPIPWE and those with a grudge against it.
    Worried about the cost of an insurance program to keep Tasmania fox free that provided 23 jobs, yet happy to seek to spending taxpayers funds on bringing the object of their anger to “justice”.

    Get a job and pay some taxes.

  251. David Obendorf

    September 20, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    O’Brien, the ones ‘who choose to look the other way’ usually do so out of fear – fear of the repercussions, in my opinion.

    You were a person of conscience and courage, because I know you. I had other individuals come to my door or who met me or who rang me and told me ‘stuff’ about goings-on in the FEP but they wanted me to follow up on their tip offs. (They didn’t want their names involved.) This is the great malady that creates the view that parts of the government bureaucracy in this State are untrustworthy, shifty and engaged in deceptive & misleading conduct.

    The former FEP staff who resigned from DPIPWE as a result of the latest internal investigation was known to be misconducting for several years and yet it appears that line managers and seniors did nothing to stop the falsification of scat records and planting of imported fox scats that were then detected by trained fox-scat sniffer dogs.

    This fox joke became an embarrassment for all those individuals and organisations that became complicit along the way or were simply talked into supporting the joke out of false loyalty or money.

    It seems after an individual or organisation become implicated in publicly endorsing crap-science, there’s no going back!

    Perhaps a lie detective and a polygraph might have helped sort out the bullshitters and the scammers in those early days.

    But this joke became a [i]boys’ own[/i] adventure story and it made a mockery of how scientific procedures were applied and there is no doubt it has harmed Tasmania’s standing as a State that protects its biodiversity values and how it applies bio-security measures.

  252. O'Brien

    September 20, 2017 at 1:09 am

    Quite often deadly serious matters are diluted and disarmed by the injection of humour. In Bjlke Petersen’s corrupt Queensland the Police management of vice was known universally as “The Joke”. The Fox Task Force (FFTF) has been the brunt of much comical jibe and derision. Tasmanian’s generally, if they consider it at all now dismiss the FFTF as a laughable episode in the ongoing joke that is conservation in tassie.

    Well it was no joke for the FFTF member who attempted to alert the then DPIPWE Departmental Secretary, HR, elected representatives, CPSU Secretary and Police. Particularly when the member was taken into custody and faced with manipulated evidence and statements by laughing bent cops. These things happen in Tasmania, every day. There are bent public servants, politicians, cops & union officials aplenty. The stakes rose considerably when this article (http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4491871/barker-murder-link-to-carcass/) was published in Fairfax’s Examiner yet ignored by Murdoch’s Mercury.

    How can this be? Well the answer is simple tassie is rotten to the core. We are constantly ripped off by a gang of bastards who permeate every chapter of our governance. They’re either up to their necks in it or choose to look the other way. Some refuse to accept it and others will set vicious bent cops on you rather than tarnish their accumulated parliamentary super and other benefits, just ask Senator Lisa Singh. …

    We have seen decent people like Mr Rist, Dr Obendorf, and others attempt to see justice done with tremendous tenacity. What have we got? Gutless bastards warming Ministerial leather whilst their bank balances grow fat. Refusing to lift a parliamentary finger to right this travesty. They have failed all Tasmanians and hold their positions as phonies and charlatans or honourable members as they prefer to be called. Whores for money, whores for power. The people of Tasmania are betrayed by them on a daily basis.


  253. Russell

    September 19, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Re #35
    Shooting 25 foxes in one night on the mainland isn’t that uncommon Ian. I even saw one walking the streets in Box Hill North in broad daylight about midday!

    Someone strung up a couple of dozen on a barbed wire fence a couple of times while I was in Lara a couple of years ago. I took a couple of nice big tails 🙂

    Like you, I also had a double-take when I saw a couple of big ginger feral cats skulking on the property at different times. They no longer terrorise the native wildlife or hens.

    As yet not one single shred of verifiable concrete evidence has come forth regarding foxes in Tasmania since the Fox Task Farce began operation.

    It was a scam, a blatant one, with the Government even importing mainland fox scats to plant around the state. We went from one fake female fox in the north to dozens all over the state and even swimming to the Islands.

    Why no heads have rolled is beyond belief!

  254. Ian Rist

    September 19, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Actually I have had a fair bit to do with foxes on mainland Australia and in several European countries.
    One night up at Yea in N.E. Victoria I shot 25 foxes in one night from dark to daylight.
    Also in Tasmania one night whilst spotlighting down behind the feed lots at Powranna in the midlands I actually shot a ‘fox’… well I thought I did until my mate Philips Stevens’s (orthodontist, Launceston) German Pointer retrieved it from across some swampy ground. It was a very large ginger feral cat complete with black legs and bushy tail.
    Now if I can make a mistake on fox identification…anyone can.

  255. Jack

    September 19, 2017 at 2:41 pm


    Yes Wayne, about 4000 other people also saw foxes in Tasmania. About half the American population has been abducted by aliens and believe in the Garden of Eden too.

    Yep, what people report seeing and their belief is top quality “evidence” that you can take to the bank.

    Boy o boy – and you criticise armchair experts?

    With your high level of qualification in zoology you should think about putting in an application for the next fox task force. Perhaps you can replace the actual zoologist in the fox task force who wrote reports in 2009 and 2012 that were placed here on TT saying that there was no good evidence of foxes? Maybe he needed to travel with you in NSW and re-educate himself. Because that’s all an expert in wildlife does apparently.

  256. David Obendorf

    September 19, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    The apparent cleverness of Tasmania’s now infamous fox eradication efforts was that its creators managed to deceive literally everyone that needed to be fooled – media, politicians, green groups and even invasive species scientists. And how did they manage that?

    It turned out to be rather easy. They invested in a story which centred around [i]fear[/i]. The deceivers managed to convince a few crucial individuals to accept that DPIPWE actually knew who was responsible for smuggling in live foxes; that they knew a Tasmanian location where these foxes had been kept and that the individuals who perpetrated this heinous secret conspiracy were soon to be charged with an offence.

    Not one of these crucial pieces of information turned out to be correct. They were misrepresented, fabricated deceptions. In other words known persons had manufactured a series of lies which fooled others to back the fear that foxes had been maliciously introduced into Tasmania.

    But once these imaginary foxes had been kept and released seemingly by known bad people from a known concealment location there was the need to convince the keepers of the taxpayers’ purse to provide tens of millions to ‘eradicate’ this new feral peril.

    But why would DPIPWE want to eradicate what isn’t really there in the first place? And how to you go about creating that need?

    Propaganda is an important tool for deceivers and scammers. Once media became hungry for the next instalment in the great cryptic animal hunt – marketed as the worst impact to Tasmanian wildlife since the last Ice Age – a greedy, uncritical feeding frenzy began in the media. Fox media sold papers!

    So a few strategically told lies helped to deceive a few key individuals who endorsed the scammers … and the fox snowball was off on a roll!

    Through a methodical unpacking of all the physical evidence relied on to create the case that free-ranging foxes, a group of independent scientists published a series of peer-reviewed science paper demonstrating that:

    1. The physical evidence was of very poor quality,
    2. It relied on uncorroborated claims from unanimous or unreliable witnesses,
    3. It could not be credibly substantiated by any additional supporting addition physical evidence,
    4. It relied on hear-say transmissions through department intermediaries as the primary sources of information to offer up to a gullible media.

    In a nutshell it had become a manufactured nonsense … but it got a whole lot worse!

    Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. During the years of the ‘Great Poo Hunts’ Jon Kudelka produced a cartoon showing two invisible foxes talking to each other; one says to the other: [i]”How come our poo only becomes visible after it comes out?”[/i] It was a clear reference to the discovery of fox poo without any live foxes to be discovered as the Tasmanian vulpine defecators.

    Could there be a faecal fooler at work? The science of the tempero-spatial distribution of the small number of fox DNA-fox positive scats found pointed to fraudulent activity. Even DPIPWE’s own data and internal reports were telling them fraud was being practiced and RTI documents released by DPIPWE actually divulged the names of those responsible.

    Despite all this staring them in the face the senior managers in DPIPWE kept applying for Commonwealth funds to support the eradication of foxes in Tasmania.

    There were many indications from within DPIPWE itself that the fox program was fatally unsound both scientifically and ethically. Independent scientists had also methodically analysed DPIPWE’s own data and come to exactly the same conclusions that DPIPWE’s own internal assessment reports had shown.

    So, what does one call such a thing?

    A stuff up?

    No, that’s not the correct descriptor is it?

    Is it misappropriation of taxpayer funds?

    Is it maladministration?

    Or is it fraud?

  257. Russell

    September 19, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Too many easily proved rorts and frauds involving too many public servants.

    Can’t afford to have any proper investigation conducted!

    Who knows what branch of the public service they might investigate next?

    Remember the old public service oaf of allegiance “you’re on good money, so shut up and don’t rock the boat for the rest of us.”

    Need a fully independent national Corruption watchdog with powers to commit persons, Departments and companies to Court to be tried.

  258. Wayne, Tamar Valley

    September 19, 2017 at 11:42 am

    I agree #30, but Royal Commissions are finite, we need a Federal ICAC that encompasses all political (3 levels) and all government spectrums Australia wide. With the power to prosecute, not like our integrity commission that was only given the power to educate.

    I worked for the NSW Government for many years as a surveyor and travelled statewide extensively from project to project. So I feel qualified to say that I saw corruption, I also saw plenty of foxes in my time, also one in Tasmania about 6 years ago which I reported.

    The number of “armchair”* experts that come out of the woodwork over this issue every time it comes up are incredible.

    * “armchairs” base their opinions on what they assimilate via the mainstream media (sometimes propaganda to serve a purpose) rather than an opinion based their own experience.

    At least TT gives us an opportunity to respond and contribute if we know more on an article.

  259. TV Resident

    September 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Labor and the liberals seem to waste taxpayers money on covering up their own corruption and possible personal financial incentives from businesses and various gov’t dep’ts. ie…DPIPWE, EPA, DEVELOPERS, TASSAL and other fish farmers plus the useless, spineless Integrity Commission, who are a total waste of money. It’s about time we had a Royal Commission into Tasmanian politics at all levels, current and past. I have NO faith in the system and I’m positive I am not the only one.

  260. mike seabrook

    September 18, 2017 at 8:02 pm


    and also check out quarantine – the fox shit passed through quarantine checks – how so – what else is slipping through ??

  261. Ian Rist

    September 18, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Yes my fellow Tasmanians you were had-‘big time’.
    But there is an election coming up, talk to your candidates.
    Ask them directly where they stand on the Tasmanian fox scam, what will they do about it if elected ?
    Or will they too become a members of the terrified lot, too afraid to upset their fellow politicians and especially afraid to upset unions that were involved ?
    I can remember the CPSU mouthpiece Tom Lynch attacking Ivan Dean MLC every chance he had, I wonder where he stands now on some of his precious members that planted fox scats and other ‘fox’ evidence ?

    Dr Obendorf asks a question which is the very crux of the matter.
    “It was just an amazing ‘stuff up’. But who invented this wicked Cry Wolf fantasy story”?
    He also states… “and contract FEP workers made redundant and most of the paid public servant having resigned or moved on”.
    Well not quite so…many have gone into other departments, Fisheries, Save the Devil, Save the whales and other similar departments.

    But and the biggest but- where are the people that did the paperwork like the ‘Threat Abatement Plans’ and signed off on the funding requests?
    Most of them are tucked ‘safely’ away in other areas like DPAC and the National Parks Service.

  262. David Obendorf

    September 18, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    There was a time when the main fans for this cryptozoology artifice would be fully engaged in telling critics to ‘wake up’ to themselves … labeling them as ‘conspiracy theorists’. The local newspapers would get a heavy dose of the latest government paid [i]fox-tel[/i] from the FEP HQ or an update on the most recent public sighting reports or the newest tally of DNA-fox positive scats found.

    Amazingly all that nonsense has evaporated … the fox eradication program has ceased (after squeezing another $2 million out of Canberra from 2014 to 2017) and contract FEP workers made redundant and most of the paid public servant having resigned or moved on.

    DPIPWE is Tasmania’s government agency responsible for [i]biosecurity[/i] and this program was seen as a very important use of the latest evidence-based forensics to track down a cryptic population of foxes (at low density) that some protagonists believed were in Tasmania and were about to unleash the greatest threat to the island’s terrestrial wildlife ‘since the Ice Age’. Now 17 years on and claims of foxes being ‘widespread’ based on crap-finds by FEP staff and the nearly 4,000 public sightings the FEP attributed to be likely ‘fox’ have resulted in … well, no irrefutable evidence that stands up to the rigorous tests of empirical science.

    It was just an amazing ‘stuff up’. But who invented this wicked [i]Cry Wolf[/i] fantasy story?

    The mainland media seem oblivious of the wildlife scam that operated in Tasmania for a decade and a half chasing what the current Minister has referred to as ‘imaginary foxes’. This was an invention, a false fear narrative designed & created in Tasmania based on a well-polished cryptozoology narrative used to keep the dream of an extinct thylacine alive somewhere in Tasmania … or perhaps even in several mainland States too.

    So, my question to readers is this: what has Tasmania and its governance processes learned from this one saga? Thank you.

  263. Furious yet again

    September 18, 2017 at 1:13 am

    They blew $50m of taxpayers’ money to exterminate an animal that was never there.

    Make no mistake, this was a huge achievement for those involved. The ultimate rort.

    If heads don’t roll over this, they won’t roll over anything.

  264. Alison Bleaney

    September 18, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Ian re #23
    I agree and it is such an indictment against the current and the previous Tasmanian Government.

  265. Wayne, Tamar Valley

    September 17, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    I just hope that when the next pest discovered in Tasmania (eg the European Carp affair) will be accorded the funds and resources necessary to irradicate it.

  266. Ian Rist

    September 17, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    What a sad state of affairs we have when Minister after Minister will not do what we elect them to do – represent us the taxpayer.
    They either don’t have the ticker to take on their departments or they are complicit…it is as simple as that.

    We have been deceived and lied to from day one on this Tasmanian fox scandal, enough is enough – either step up to the plate or step down.

  267. PHilip Lowe

    September 16, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    All these people employed by the FEP,and no dogs?Is this true.How could you ever have hunted foxes without dogs?
    when you have so many people with their snouts in the trough
    It only takes one person to sneeze to make an unholy mess.
    who’s going to be first to sneeze?

  268. Ian Rist

    September 16, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Do the Feds really care though ? I think not, look at all the Federal connections that received truck loads of cash out of the Tasmanian ‘fox frolics’…it was like a giant sheltered workshop.

    Look at the CRC Invasive Animals members that looted millions out of the Tasmanian fox fiasco.
    A good hard look at all the CRC Invasive Animals financials would be in order.
    But who are we going to get to act for us the taxpayers’ who ultimately are the donors of such tax based funding.

    Only one of the many abusers of taxpayers’ money from the National Heritage Trust is now ‘Caring for our Country’.

  269. Jack J

    September 16, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    #19 I wonder what auditing arrangements are in place for the Princess Melikoff trust?

    It states that:

    “The legacy to the Tasmanian Government states that “any income so received shall be applied and dealt with particular reference to the prevention of the practice of killing baby seals and dolphins”. Pauline’s substantial legacy comes from her love of animals and has greatly benefited Tasmania.

    So, how much work has the state government been doing in the seal and dolphin area of late? It would appear quite apparent that the trust should be applied for animal welfare related activity. That would mean that Tasmania is well placed to be in the forefront of animal welfare related matters – is it?

  270. O'Brien

    September 16, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    DPIPWE claim there is nothing to be gained by pursuing enquiries on the grounds there are no employees remaining in Fox Task Force (FFTF). A quick check of Tasmanian Government website (http://www.directory.tas.gov.au/cgi/access.pl) shows many FFTF members remain within DPIPWE having simply been shifted to different areas or in “hold position”. Was this done by design? If so who orchestrated it? These are questions that should be addressed by DPIPWE however it seems DPIPWE have much to hide. Some of the senior bureaucrats have taken positions in other departments a few doors away from DPIPWE. Princess Melikoff trust fund is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. How has this money been accounted for?

  271. Ian Rist

    September 16, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Re # 17.
    That said we may well change the ‘Shop Front window’ but the workers in the ‘shop’ remain the same.
    A ‘clean out’ starting at the top may be in order?

    The very thing Tony Fletcher MLC suggested should happen back in about 2002.

  272. Ian Rist

    September 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    It is well past the time that there should be a good hard look at the involvement of past and present Secretaries of the DPIPWE.
    They had plenty to say publicly during the building and financing of the fox debacle.

    Also past and present Ministers responsible, in my opinion, is where the suppression and transparency is originating from.

    “They had plenty say (to) publicly during the building and financing of the fox debacle”.

    The recent Tasmania Police fox evidence investigation (whilst I believe was handled correctly at investigating officer level) was not transparent by those at the top, in my opinion.

    Ivan Dean MLC who instigated the Inquiry was not given an open and transparent copy of the Police findings….but the DPIPWE was !

    Time for a Judicial Inquiry or a Royal Commission into the whole fox affair going way way back.

    Tasmania and the taxpayers’ that supplied the funding for this terrible chapter in Tasmanian History deserve nothing less.

    At the end of the day we elect and install these people and it is our money we entrust them to manage.

  273. Simon Warriner

    September 15, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    garry, re 11, I don’t object to paying my taxes, but I do really object to seeing that hard earned money pissed against a wall of waste and dishonesty by knaves and fools.

    re #15, and Ivan Dean’s apparent moral leadership, I nailed the conflicted interests of party politicians here: http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/conflict-of-interest-the-cancer-within-our-public-life/

    Nothing has changed, has it? Dean is operating independently, as they all should be. Good to see it getting air time though.

  274. jack j

    September 15, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    #13 Claire.

    I think I know what you are referring to. One can only hope that the reason why the Integrity Commission is taking so long is that once they scratched the surface they found what the paint was hiding.

    Time will tell.

    I’d be happy if the processes of government review worked well enough that they could be trusted – but only a wilfully ignorant person would think so.

    Tasmanian governance and the parliament has yet to win back the trust of the people and holding them to account is the duty of the electorate.

    Dr Obendorf is right in #12. It’s odd. One gets the impression that some of our politicians who have presented themselves as moral crusaders now live in Ivan Dean’s shadow. They don’t like that and it’s ironic. It is something that many won’t forgive him for, but they’d never think of looking in the mirror. One can only hope that they can rise above party politics and do what is right for the sake of justice and open government.

    I don’t even bother to engage with those who rant about vendetta and conspiracy being the motivation of those pushing for reform. Again, they must be wilfully blind if they don’t see how far this matter has turned and where it is heading.

    Some have of course done their homework and searches – and have indeed joined the dots.

    I’m confident that if and when the truth comes out about the fox business the nagging cynics will be exposed as the compliant and apathetic rump of Tasmanian far left and far right. They make lots of noise and takes offence all too easily and attempt to silence debate that does not accord with their rusted on ideology and self interest. But it’s a pretty crap ideology if it allows massive government stuff ups to go unpunished.

    We shall see soon enough.

  275. David Obendorf

    September 15, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    For the interest of readers of comment #11 here are few updates:

    1. 7AD Devonport don’t have audio archives that are publicly available. An interested party can ask for the audio and then apply a technology to convert voice to text transcription. [For those who consider this stale information, maybe they might consider the days when 3 or 4 month old of editions of the London Times literally blew into Hobart Town in the early nineteenth century.]

    2. The Journal of Applied Ecology in UK has very recently replied to an interested member of the Australian Parliament indicating that they had not received any updated information regarding the findings of the DPIPWE internal inquiry and the journal editor had now indicate she will commence corresponding with the Tasmanian Integrity Commission to see whether that body might assist the journal in making their determination on the status of the Joint IACRC and DPIPWE authored paper – “Foxes are now widespread in Tasmania”. I can inform readers that the editors have been waiting for nearly 9 months for DPIPWE’s response to the journal’s original request.

    3. For those interested in the actual responses Mr Dean obtained from the Government on the internal DPIPWE investigation, I would encourage them to go to the Tasmanian Parliament website and search the online Hansard under the Legislative Council for the last few months.

    And finally to Claire Gilmore”s important comment on drug dot-joining. I understand that this serious matter is also being assessed and how it might relate to this long drawn out faux-fox investigation.

    Thank you.

  276. Claire Gilmour

    September 15, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Would have an inquiry also have shown up drug links? I’m guessing so …

    There are in fact IT research/intel mechanisms available online to help connect dots …

    Play smarter – use the tools available.

  277. David Obendorf

    September 15, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Simon, Jack and Philip, this issue is not finished yet.

    Cryptozoology practiced iin Tasmania as a creative art rather than an empirical science needs to be thoroughly reviewed for so many reasons. ‘Cry wolf’ and ‘sky is falling’ call-outs will ensure that this island remains a mendicant society with deceptive processes used to manipulate and titillate; no different to gambling and internet scamming.

    ‘Show me the money’ approaches to environmental protection and threatened species protection is – in my opinion- past its use by date. We are well past this infantile fantasy as the final solution. Utter BS. Look no further than NZ. … or indeed Tasmania and review the mispent money in defective public policy applied to conservation & environmental protection efforts.

    And who would have thought that it is [b]Ivan Dean[/b] – the historical nemesis of the Greens Party devotees – who would be the [i]only[/i] parliamentarian at a State level putting the search-light on this malfeasance!

  278. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    September 15, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Surely this is recycled news. Seems we get a lot of it on this fox issue. Ian’s ‘butt-covering’ exposé was deservedly published in TT [Here] and subsequently picked up by Brian Carlton who interviewed Ivan Dean. But in now making the Tasmania Talks podcast the 10-days-old news-of-the-day, we see the cycle repeated: Round and round goes the footy: Alex handballs to Lance, Lance to Jack, Jack to Reilly and the team moves up the now-empty field. Was that the final siren … or is ‘time-on’ still to come? By the way, nice formatting on the podcast transcript. Who did it?

    Ivan Dean is, in my opinion, justified in questioning DPIPWE’s apparent closing of the file on the fox-scat-fraud. I use the word ‘apparent’ because, as Ian pointed out, the parliament was told:

    On 2nd August 2017 the investigation was terminated after consideration of the improbability of being able to determine a substantive outcome while complying with the principles of natural justice, in relation to the alleged conduct, in light of the resignation…

    [i.e. the resignation of the remaining staff member implicated in the scat-fraud suggestions.]

    We members of the community are entitled to know and understand just what did occur and under whose watch it happened. I understand that DPIPWE is perhaps no longer in a position to question now-former-employees about the fox-scat finds, and perhaps no longer able to discipline them, the departed employees. But what of their superiors? Are some of them still in the job? Aren’t/weren’t they responsible for what might have gone on under their watch?

    That Professor Sarre’s ‘Foxes are now Widespread’ was based on unconfirmed provenance and that Simon Fearn named two people in a Draft Report who may have been involved in what the average person would term ‘fraudulent behaviour’ are the questions in which I have been personally interested. The other question, the money spent, has not been – for me – a particular source of concern. Maybe it should have been, but in general I find I don’t mind paying taxes. Recently, in comments someone – probably Simon Warriner – again made the obvious point that if the Govt/DPIPWE was/is so concerned about the possibility of foxes becoming established on this island, then they would have ensured a fox-proof fence and appropriate gateage at Burnie.

    I want to return to the matter of the Integrity Commission, and whatever unspecified matters are before it. The ICT seems to play its cards close to its chest, so that – as it says – the chickens under investigation won’t fly the coop… according to its stated ICT policy. And there is still the matter of the Sarre paper subject to the ‘Expression of Concern’ in the ‘Journal of Applied Ecology’. If I recall correctly, DPIPWE were to pass their findings to the Journal before it would move to whatever might be the next stage beyond the Expression of Concern. If DPIPWE are no longer investigating, then perhaps they have informed the Journal that they found that some of the fox scats were quite possibly planted by the Department’s employees, using scats imported from the mainland for the purpose of training dogs to locate fox scats in the field.

  279. Simon Warriner

    September 15, 2017 at 9:10 am

    My gut feeling is that the people of Tasmania are increasingly concerned and even angry at the failure of our public administration to understand that competent management of any enterprise requires the ongoing removal of both knaves and fools.

    Clearly those running the fox farce were either knaves or fools, and which of those they were has nothing to do with the urgent need for their identification, punishment and removal from the public tit, forever.

    Failure to do this will only encourage further stupidity or dishonesty, to the detriment of an already put upon public.

    History clearly tells those willing to learn from it that failure to act will result in those responsible becoming persona non grata.

  280. Jack J

    September 15, 2017 at 6:55 am


    What on earth is going on with this thylacine fiesta? They are now seen all over the mainland as revealed by Media Watch – WA, QLD, VIC and SA. Tasmania seems to be falling behind in the blurry video and sensational claims arena. We have only contributed a couple of sensational claims in the last year or so. It’s not looking so good for Tasmania’s chances of taking out the gold medal in the Cryptic Animals Bullshit Olympics this year. After covering ourselves in gold for a good 15 years with thousands of faux foxes, we’ve dropped the ball.

    It had to happen. A run like that can’t go on forever.

    I put it down to fatigue in our “experts”. After coaching such excellent bullshit performances for many years it’s unfair to expect them to see off the mainlanders. I suspect too that with the disbanding of the Fox Task Force and DPIPWE quietly ridding itself of skilled crap-artists, that the mainland states have snatched up the cream of our crop.

    We just can’t pay the sort of salaries that attract world-class bullshit artists any more and keep them in Tasmania where they belong -managing publicly funded programs.

  281. David Obendorf

    September 15, 2017 at 4:06 am

    Jack Jolly, Tasmania’s main apologist for this costly fox-less eradication program only last year told us that it’s many failings could be put down to ‘stuff ups’.

    Yet that individual is hardly the person who ought be officially defending a stuffed up program in 2016 as he resigned in 2009. Years of confidently defending the program as having solid physical evidence … but no live foxes.

    But then there are even cryto-zoologist commentators who offer good odds on pixelated blurs from trail cameras being small thylacines or maybe large spotted-tailed quolls.

    Was this fake fox hunt really just someone’s idea of a playful joke? And all that effort to hunt down a live Tasmanian fox using trained foxshit-sniffer dogs and large quantities of imported fox shit. But after 15 years of expense not a fox to be found (and ‘eradicated’) for all those wasted millions.

    Not a good look for Tasmania.

  282. mike

    September 14, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Conspiracies and government seem to go hand in hand, after all the US has kept the Kennedy Eradication Program secret for over 50 years!

  283. PHilip Lowe

    September 14, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    please do not forget that the Greens policy regarding the FEP was one of total agreement,including the use of1080 baiting.

  284. David Obendorf

    September 14, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Clearly MLC [b]Ivan Dean[/b] will not let this serious matter drop and I congratulate him for that..

    The general public is not being educated about how science works and the basis for proper survey, determination of species presence and valid probability estimates.

    Federal bureaucrats are no doubt watching these events with DPIPWE’s standing in Canberra at stake.

    On 5 June 2017 the Secretary of DPIPWE – [b]John Whittington[/b] – is on the [i]Parliamentary Hansard[/i] record promising Mr Dean that the results of his Department’s inquiry into misconduct allegations of staff employed in the Fox Eradication Program would be ‘quickly completed’ and that he would notify Mr Dean of those findings and make them public.

    Mr Whittington: [i]”… They considered the Tasmanian Police review material that you provided them, they made their findings and passed on their findings both to the department and to the Integrity Commission. I do not know what the Integrity Commission is doing. We are cooperating with everything that we have. The police review indicated some potential inappropriate behaviour by public servants. [b]That is what we are investigating under the State Service Act. That process will be quickly completed.[/b] I cannot give an exact date. I will say that should either the Integrity Commission report or the work that is done through this process find any integrity issues we will be very public about that and we will make that very clear on all of our documentation.'[/i]

    The recent thylacine farce featured prominently on [i]ABC-TV Media Watch[/i] on 9 September 2017 [see transcript to this TT article or go to iview and watch the episode]. This new cryptozoology from Tasmania has probably added to the view that Tasmanian public institutions and its media have problems with common sense, basic analysis and reason.

  285. Jack Jolly

    September 14, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Looks like the penny has dropped. I listened to the podcast and was left feeling that this is the beginning of some serious community anger. Wow, the caller at the end of this (not included in the transcript) was hopping mad. Brian Carlton impresses me as the type of guy who is not going to be put off very easily.

    The hard to understand part of all this is that everyone would have accepted this as a stuff up a few years back and moved on rapidly. All DPIPWE had to do was come clean. Instead, it seems as though they have sought to actively cover it up and that’s what has got people really mad.

    As they rightly say, history repeats and you get the impression that the fox business is not the only fiasco in town. Not coming clean with such an obvious fraud suggests that the people in charge of these departments must go. If they will cover this up, what about the flaws in far less public programs? If they lie to an MLC like Ivan Dean, who won’t they lie to?

  286. mike seabrook

    September 14, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    just check out the paper trail re that magnificent bruny island fox which swam from the mainland to bruny crapped once only!!!! and they found it, and then swam back to the tassie mainland – to track down the guilty

  287. Ian Rist

    September 14, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    As one politician once said to me when discussing the Tasmanian Fox topic, “let it go Ian, it is only taxpayers’ money”.
    This is the attitude of most politicians, it must be because most of them are deathly silent on the Tasmanian fox topic and appear to have the attitude “look the money has been spent and we are hoping it will all just go away”.
    “The dumb plebs that vote for us won’t even notice, let alone question it”.

    It is very much like the video footage I questioned the other day about the Thylacine ‘discovery’ at Maydena….the video footage originally captioned ‘Tassie Tiger Hunt’ which contained clear footage of Deer that are not found in Tasmania was just “another chapter in the dumb, ignorant and apathetic public, most of them will never notice”.

  288. O'Brien

    September 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    DPIPWE (sigh), this is getting tiresome. That’s $50 000 000 unaccounted for Commonwealth fox dollars the department seems quite alright to let slip into history. Why not saunter two doors down the street to State Growth … The Princess Melikoff fund was an estimated $30 000 000 (today’s dollars) when bequeathed to DPIPWE in 1980’s, administered by the Premier. Aside from the initial $30 000 000 the trust/fund receives ongoing George Adams Tatts Lotto payments of an unknown figure. Like the fox programme there is a shroud of secrecy around the Princess Melikoff and what it is expended on. …


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