Friday, April 30, 2010

Saints wins by 3.

Saints by 3 points in absolute thriller. You little beauty!!!
Tonights win against a rampaging dogs will go down as one of the Saints gutsiest and most important of the season. The game was the lowest scoring in the 450+ game history at Docklands (Etihad) stadium with only 95 combined points kicked. Much improved effort by Kozitschke.
Hayes, Montagna, Gilbert, Schneider, Clark, Fisher, McQaulter all great tonight.

Tour of Romandie - AFL tips - Ride

AFL Tips
In the 2nd stage of the Tour of Romandie Launceston's Richie Porte once again finished with the main bunch and continued his move up the standings from 109th to 93rd. Tomorrow sees a 23.4km time trial in the town of Moudon. Whilst it may only be 23.4km its quite hilly which will suite climbers like Porte.
On a beautiful morning I managed a 47km ride into town and back. Gorgeous day. 110km for the week. Aiming for a hard swim in the morning.

Whose the fire starters, twisted fire starters??

The Size of the Parliament Forum

As broadcast on ABC's statewide mornings program this morning. Use the link below and download audio file

"Should the Tasmanian Parliament be extended to 35 members? Should it be reduced? Should it stay the same or is there another option that would give Tasmania the best governance?"

Excellent opinion piece on the state of mental health. (from The Mercury).

Reforms ignore mental health - GREG BARNS - The Mercury - April 26, 2010 10:42am

Rudd and Bartlett have no good news for those Tasmanians who live with mental illness, writes GREG BARNS.

"KEVIN Rudd and David Bartlett were crowing on Thursday, during the former's visit to Tasmania, about the historic health care reform package that all states and territories, with the exception of Western Australia, signed earlier in that week.
Bartlett and Rudd held a joint news conference at the Royal Hobart Hospital on Thursday morning. Rudd boasted, with Bartlett eager to share in the glory, that the health agreement "will deliver over the next three years $142 million in additional investment, and over the period ahead beyond that, a further $340 million", to Tasmania.
Rudd talked up reducing emergency department waiting times, a bigger investment in elective surgery, and more hospital beds. All politically sexy, and designed to win votes. No wonder Rudd had alongside him the Labor MP for Franklin, Julie Collins, and the newly anointed candidate for Denison, Jonathan Jackson.
But Rudd and Bartlett shamefully had no good news for those Tasmanians who live with mental illness. There was no good news for people who are pushed from service to service by state and commonwealth services, or who are boomeranged in and out of public hospital mental health units on a daily basis, or who cannot get access to the psychiatric and psychological care they need because there are no funds available.
The message Rudd and Bartlett left mental illness patients last week was simple: we have forgotten you because you are not vote winners.
Sure, there is $4 million for "youth-friendly mental health services and more mental health nurses". And some of the additional emergency care beds will go to mental health patients.
But as Mental Health Council of Tasmania CEO Michelle Swallow said on March 12: "The rate of people experiencing mental distress accessing Tasmanian public hospital emergency departments indicates gaps in current service provision, and further emphasises the importance of dedicating more funds towards prevention and early intervention."
Swallow and her colleagues are no doubt as shocked as other mental health professionals and advocacy groups around Australia at the cavalier way in which the Prime Minister, the premiers and chief ministers have relegated mental health to an also-ran position in their bargaining.
That is because out of $5 billion that Rudd put on the table to get the states and territories across the line last week, only $115 million of new money was allocated to mental health! As Profession Ian Hickie, of the Sydney-based Brain and Mind Research Institute, put it last Thursday: "Clearly when it got down to the hard politics and the hard cash, the premiers went for the hospitals. The Commonwealth said, 'we are basically not serious in this area'."
Professor Patrick McGorry, the Australian of the Year and a leading mental health researcher, agrees. He noted on April 14 that mental health "is obviously seen as expendable by both state and federal governments. And the risk is that mental health will be the one huge area of health reform that's left out". Sadly, his prognostication has largely come true.
That politicians have cruelly placed mental illness on the backburner for political reasons is borne out by virtue of the fact that they could not rationally ignore it to the extent they did in this latest health package.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported on December 23 last year that in "2007, 45 per cent of Australians aged 16-85 years (or 7.3 million people) had, at some point in their lifetime, experienced at least one of the selected mental disorders (anxiety, mood or substance use disorders)". Mental illness, the ABS reported, costs the Australian economy $20 billion a year in lost productivity and reduced labour force participation.
And the ABS said people "with a mental illness are more likely than those without to have physical conditions, such as back or neck pain/problems, asthma or heart trouble, further compounding the difficulties they face".
In 2007, the ABS reported, "59 per cent of people with a mental illness also had a physical condition, compared with 48 per cent of those without any mental disorder".
In other words, the link the link between mental and physical illness is strong. So why is it that physical health facilities and resources get big bucks, while their colleagues in mental health struggle by as the forgotten people?
The Rudd health package is commendable for ensuring we bang another nail in the coffin of inefficient federalism. But it is not the magic wand that Rudd and his state Labor colleagues believe it to be.
And it is to the Liberal Party's shame nationally that it also has not bothered to pursue the cause of people with mental illness. But then what could one expect from a party led by a man who thinks anyone who does not have a job, including those with mental illness, should be forced into a job in the iron ire belt of Western Australia?"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

EPA to investigate Gunns & Forestry Tasmania over burn-offs

Breaking news from Felicity Ogilvie at ABC online........

EPA to investigate Gunns burn-offs
By Felicity Ogilvie
Updated 6 minutes ago

"The Tasmanian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is gathering evidence to see if it should prosecute timber company Gunns for breaching national air quality standards.
Gunns says the EPA approved its planned burn-off near Burnie last week and insists any breach is a matter for the EPA.
The head of the EPA says there is no doubt particle levels in the air around Burnie were above national standards, but he cannot yet say whether all the smoke came from the Gunns burn-off.
Last Wednesday Gunns lit a fire to burn-off wood left in its logging coups.
Phillipa Stanton is one of many locals who says smoke from the fire drifted down to the nearby coastal towns of Burnie and Wynyard.
"The wind was variable and the smoke suddenly would come down and blanket the whole house," she said.
"Visibility was quite limited, down to say 500 metres at most, and when I went out to get the mail, the smoke was so severe that I was choking and coughing.
"It brought on a sort of asthma attack. I had to go in the house and seal the house up for the next two days. The smoke was a nasty hazard, even the cat was sneezing."
The EPA has an air-monitoring station in Burnie. On the day Gunns lit the fire, particle levels were well above the national standard.
EPA director Warren Jones says the breach continued the day after the burn-off.
"There's no doubt that the particle levels in the air at Burnie last Thursday were in excess of the national reporting station for PM2.5," he said.
"We don't have conclusive evidence as to where all of those particles came from.
"I don't know at this stage all of the sources of smoke that there were in that catchment, so to attribute those to one particular party probably isn't something that we can do at this stage."
Mr Jones has asked his staff to investigate if there were any other fires near Burnie.
"The EPA is investigating this incident on two levels. In the first instance we want to know what went on and why," he said.
"Was the coordinated smoke management system used properly and if it didn't work, what can we learn from this to prevent similar incidents happening in the future?
"On another level I've referred this matter to my compliance and investigation section and asked them to carry out some preliminary investigations and liaise with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
"And the purpose of that is to gauge basically whether it's likely to be possible to take enforcement action in this case."

Legal action

A spokesman for Gunns says the EPA approved the burn and any legal action is a matter for the EPA.
Gunns was given permission to burn-off from both the EPA and the Forest Practices Authority.
Graham Wilkinson, who heads the Authority, says it will be investigating Gunns' burn-off.
"The regulation of air quality standards is a matter for the EPA. The role of the Forest Practices Authority is to try and work with the EPA and to work with the land managers to put a management system in place that
provides the guidelines for burning under suitable conditions," he said.
There are about 200 planned burn-offs in Tasmania every autumn.
The Menzies Research Institute's Dr Fay Johnston has been studying the health effects of bushfire smoke.
She says the air pollution levels in Burnie last week were higher than levels recorded during wildfires on the mainland.
"There's a lot of good evidence now about the health effects of bushfire smoke, and one of the main concerns with it is that it is an irritant to the respiratory system and people who are vulnerable, particularly if they've got asthma or chronic lung disease, will have that illness made worse by high levels of air pollution," she said.
"I'm sure there would have been a lot of people in Burnie that day who really suffered because of that smoke."
If found culpable for polluting the air, Gunns could face a fine of up to $300,000.
The EPA has tried and failed to prosecute Gunns over forestry burns in the past because of the difficulty of finding where the smoke has come from.
The EPA is also investigating whether it can prosecute Forestry Tasmania for a series of burns in southern Tasmania last week".

Bloggers note:.
One cant help but wonder whether these statements coming out of the EPA are nothig more than a PR exercise to give the impression that the Tasmanian Government's EPA is prepared to flex it's muscles more than it actually will.
 Indeed, with statements like this by EPA director Warren Jones....."There's no doubt that the particle levels in the air at Burnie last Thursday were in excess of the national reporting station for PM2.5," he said. "We don't have conclusive evidence as to where all of those particles came from.
"I don't know at this stage all of the sources of smoke that there were in that catchment, so to attribute those to one particular party probably isn't something that we can do at this stage."

Gunns was of coursre given permission to burn-off from both the EPA and the Forest Practices Authority.
Get the feeling Gunns will be exonerated?

Getting fit & Tour of Romandie

After the 2nd stage of the Tour of Romandie Launceston's Ritchie Porte has improved his position to 109th in a field of 156. Porte finished in the main bunch (20th) after some testing climbs. With a time trial and more mountains over the next few days Porte should continue to improve his position.
Peter Sagan a young slovakian rider from the liquigas team leads the overall with Australia's Michael Rogers 12 sec adrift in 4th.
 6.5km of walk/run this morning on the trail. 25minutes of easy running done. Achilles improving.

Ban double dipping. Glenorchy Mayor confirms she will not resign if elected to the upper house.

Glenorchy Mayor Adriana Taylor this morning confirmed on ABC statewide mornings( that she will be democratic double dipping if elected MLC of Elwick.
Taylor argued that the Mayor of GCC and Elwick MLC "go well together". Taylor also dragged out the old chestnut of the “cost of a new election for Mayor”.
Presumably Adriana Taylor believes that there is no other candidate or current GCC alderman who is capable of doing the Mayors job.
This blogger does care what your political persuasion is double dipping into different levels of government should be legislated against.
And that includes you Mike Gaffney, Ivan Dean and Mark Shelton.
Bloggers note.
In light of Beres Taylor's (who is married to the Glenorchy Mayor and candidate for the seat of Elwick, Adriana Taylor. Beres should of declared this when posting) comments on this post I will acknowledge (upon some late research) these comments by Adriana Taylor's as publish in the Mercury 1 month ago....
.........................."It will be a heavy workload but the Elwick electorate falls within Glenorchy, the issues are the same, I would be representing the same people," she said.

She has also promised not to "double dip" and draw both the mayoral $80,000 allowance and MLC salary of more than $100,000.
She said she would not make the mistake of Windermere MLC and former Launceston mayor Ivan Dean, whose promise to donate one salary to charity landed him in court on bribery charges that were later thrown out.
"I will only take one salary, probably the legco [Legislative Council] one," she said.

As I stated in my response to Beres, my main concern is the democratic double dip. That is, holding two powerful offices in a small place like Tasmania. I believe as others do that this practice should be banned.
If Taylor is elected and follows up on her promise not to take both salaries i will commend her for this.
However noble, even this position is problematic. One could argue, if the officeholder feels that they can do both jobs justice, why not draw the salary? One could also argue that when the officeholder promises publically during a campaign not to take both wages that then this acts as an extra voter incentive, an incentive not available to other candidates who cannot promise what amounts to a large saving to the public purse. Is this fair? Personally I dont believe so? This is an area where I would like to see the law changed.
I welcome further comments on this debate.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

MIS is a rort. Robert Belcher says scrap it and return Australian agriculture to an even playing field. FIAT says dont take away the corporate teat

From ABC radio Tasmanian "Country Hour" program 
Renewed calls to scrap MIS
Report: Sally Dakis/Rosemary Grant/Anna Vidot

"The head of Sustainable Agricultural Communities is urging the government to "bite the bullet" on forest managed investment schemes, in the wake of the collapse of Forest Enterprises.
It's the latest in a string of high-profile MIS company collapses and it's reignited the debate about what future role managed investment schemes have to play in forestry and other agricultural industries.
Sustainable Agricultural Communities Australia been calling on the federal government to scrap MIS since 2006, and has made submissions to the current reviews of the schemes.
Chairman of Sustainable Agricultural Communities Australia, Robert Belcher agrees significant regulatory changes are required for managed investment schemes.
"I would have thought after two senate inquiries that I've participated in that the Government would bite the bullet," he said.
"They haven't yet and I think the real worry here is that it has been a fantastic medium for governments to get philosophical changes to the natural resource at the expense of others, not them."
Chief executive of the Forest Industry Association Terry Edwards stands by managed investment schemes as way to promote plantation development.
He says while managed investment schemes need to be refined with tighter rules around the structure and greater protection to individual investors, they are still a sound business model.
"There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the structure, but there does need to be a tightening up of the rules around the structure.
Also greater protection to individual investors which is what's been lacking."
He says the current government review into MIS must investigate the reasons for the failures, and not embark a knee-jerk reaction.
"I think it's incumbent on the Federal Government to do a very, very careful of the reasons behind those collapses and don't over react," he said.
"One of the fundamental bases for the MIS structure is to bring city money into rural communities and it would be I think a travesty to throw the baby out with the bath water."
Forestry Tasmania's managing director agrees its been the operation of managed investment schemes, and not the schemes themselves that's been the downfall of the sector.
Bob Gordon says the challenge now is to find a new way to put long-term agricultural investments on a level playing field in the market.
"Investing in forests is a little bit different to investing in other crops in that you spend all of your money in the first few years and you've got to wait sometimes twenty years to get your money back.
"So you need some way of making sure that long-term investments aren't penalised," he says.
"I think there are other ways to get investment in long-term forestry, certainly the big US Timberlands investors have come into Australia in a fairly big way and I know some of the Australian, particularly the industry super funds, are interested in long-term, sustainable forestry investments."
In this report: Robert Belcher, Sustainable Agricultural Communities Australia; Terry Edwards, the chief executive of the Forest Industry Association; Forestry Tasmania's managing director, Bob Gordon".

Botnia polluting pulp mill violates international law.

Gunns has appointed a major protagonist from a controversial South American mill project to head up their proposed Tamar Valley mill. An aggressive move by Gunns who appear desperate to have the out-dated, polluting mill built at any cost.
As a result of the Botnia pulp mill, two countries that have previously had close and cooperative relationships have ended up in major conflict with their border blockaded for nearly four years.
The Uruguay River is shared by Argentina and Uruguay and is protected by a treaty, which requires both parties to inform the other of any project that might affect the river. The proposed mill site was close to the Argentinian border, and residents in the area claimed the mill would pollute the river. Besides the issue of pollution, Argentina claimed that the Uruguayan government had not asked for permission to build the mill.
With nearly a 4-year road block firmly in place on the Argentine Uruguayan border in protest over a World Bank (IFC-financed) Finnish pulp mill, the long-awaited International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict came in on April 20, 2010, clearly legitimizing local protests and indicating that Uruguay violated international law in the unilateral decision to allow the Finnish mega pulp mill Uy Metsa Botnia to go up on the border.

More information at:

Take action!

Take action to protest against the Gunns’ appointment of Timo Piilonen, one of the managers of the controversial Uruguayan pulp mill project. Contact your local radio or newspaper to get out the message that we don’t want a repeat of the controversial Uruguayan pulp mill.

Porte crashes in Tour of Romandie prologue and Pilko flogged by lunch crew

This is what Launceston's Ritchie Porte said on twitter of the Tour of Romandie prologue.......
..........porteye "First corner in Romandie prologue and I promptly crashed into the barriers! Very amatuer but no damage done... Shunter" about 16 hours ago via web
This crash has left Porte 49 seconds adrift of stage winner Marco Pinotti and 3rd last after the short 4.3k time trial around the small town of porrentruy in Switzerland. A crash may have cost Porte anything from 20-30 seconds which would have seen Porte in the top 100.
 Now to the elite athletes.
I found backing up from my 62k ride a little more tiring than expected. Copped a bit of a flogging from the lunch crew today, some of whom are swimming very nicely at present. I will be back on the pace soon, but for now I'm doing it hard. 2.8km today. Gulliver's shoulder is buggered at present and I am missing his company during the big sets.

Gunns biggest shareholders slam company review. Bank tell Gunns to dump pulp mill plans

From the Australian Financial Review - 28 Apr, 2010 10:08 AM

Gunns comes under fire from shareholders
"Gunns' two biggest shareholders have criticised a management shake-up at the forestry group, saying it was unacceptable for founder and chairman John Gay to assume control of a newly created subsidiary.
The Australian Financial Review reports that under mounting pressure from investors to sack Mr Gay, Gunns last week said he would step down as chairman and take on a the position of chairman of a newly created subsidiary, Southern Star.
Southern Star will own Gunns' $2.2 billion pulp mill project and Tasmanian timber plantations. Gunns will retain at least 51 per cent of Southern Star. It plans to sell the bulk of its native forest plantations and "non-forestry assets", which include a network of Mitre 10 hardware stores, a construction division and the Tamar Ridge Estates winery.
But Charlie Lanchester, a portfolio manager at Gunns' single-biggest shareholder Perpetual, said it wasn't acceptable for Mr Gay and another director, former Tasmanian premier Robin Gray, to retain close links to Gunns.
"They [Gunns] have intended for them to retire, however, their continued involvement in important subsidiaries is unacceptable," Mr Lanchester said. "The company and its shareholders will be better served by fresh leadership at the board level."


Deutsche Bank cuts FY10 earnings forecasts by 63% and says “we remain of the view that the company should not pursue a demerger nor the pulp mill project, as they are not likely to add to value,” retaining Hold rating. GNS last 52.5 cents

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Old Man and the Bike.

Today the Gravelly Beach veteran braved mild temperatures, sun and stunning scenery to grind out an impressive 62km. Old, fat and overweight the veteran rode the first 25k at over 30kph.
Such was the speed and ferocity with which the veteran attacked deviot road that he passed the local mail contractor and Bob Jones tractor. Heads turned and cow's mooed as the veteran sped past the paper beach turn off. Adolf the German shepherd who lives at the house on the corner - the one that sells the figs was unusually quiet as the veteran sped past.
Gulliver, the smack talking prodigy from West Launceston who some say is the next big thing in the Launceston triathlon scene is now under immense pressure live up to the hype.
Will Gulliver respond or will he crack?

Jarvis Cocker pulps Gunns strategic review ...and...... "Gunns Last Throw" from the International Business Times

Gunns strategic review has failed to fire its share price. Banks have also downgraded Gunns target share price on the back of the latest company news. Read saucy local finance god Jarvis Cocker's review of the review and his take on the Examiner's coverage.
Strategic review…. or yet another downgrade?
by Jarvis Cocker

Readers of our mainstream news media could be forgiven for not having a full understanding of everybody’s favourite timber company’s latest ASX release.
The focus of both Tasmanian dailies was on the announcement that the pulp mill project would be spun off into a separate company. But is that really news? It has never been a secret that Gunns has been peering under every venture capital doormat in Europe and Asia looking for a JV partner for the past two years.
Typically, The Examiner put a positive spin on the Gunns release, giving it four pages coverage no less. Along with the usual comments from Mr Eastment (who last time I looked was a pulp and paper analyst, not a stock market analyst), The Ex wheeled out other commentators, who enthused about Gunns, ensuring a seat at the next corporate dinner? (if Gunns survives long enough, that is.)
The share price will start recovering on Monday, we were assured. Proper analysts don’t agree. Prior to market opening on Monday, Deutsche Bank dropped their target price from $0.83 to $0.60. Shortly after that, JP Morgan’s target fell from $0.79 to $0.63. Others are looking at the numbers, pondering how accurate the latest profit guidance is.
Less than two years ago, Gunns went cap in hand to institutions and private investors looking for money to patch a bleeding balance sheet. In an institutional briefing, 2008/09 EBIT was tipped to be more than $200 million. Yes John, there really are fairies at the bottom of the garden. When the audited figures appeared a year later, surprise surprise. EBIT of $110 million. A credibility problem starts emerging here.
Confirming my suspicions that there may indeed be fairies in Gunns’ patch, 2009/10 EBIT is now forecast to be $30 to $40 million. That’s a big drop from $110 million, but The Examiner wasn’t too worried. The big problem, we are warned, is that Gunns could relocate to The Mainland. Clearly this is a Very Bad Thing, as analysts and institutional investors would be able to keep a much closer eye on things. So would the ANZ.
Even should they scrape enough earnings together to meet the latest target, that’s hardly enough dollars to fund a pulp mill, even a teeny little one. It would also return earnings to the level of a decade ago, before Gunns started buying up every timber related asset that came on the market.
But given their history of meeting earnings guidance, I doubt they will even achieve $30 million. I’m tipping $15 million tops.

Love Jarvis xx

PS: 0953 a.m [Dow Jones] STOCK CALL: Gunns (GNS.AU) target price lowered to A$0.63 from A$0.79 by JPMorgan and to A$0.60 from A$0.84 by Deutsche Bank after cutting earnings forecasts on back of late Friday’s trading update and restructure plans, but differ on merits of restructure. With weaker than expected Japanese export woodchip earnings, JPMorgan says AUD strength has impacted more severely than expected, cutting FY10 EBIT by 45% but noting “the need for GNS to complete its proposed restructure as soon as possible appears increasingly acute.” However Deutsche Bank cuts FY10 earnings forecasts by 63% and says “we remain of the view that the company should not pursue a demerger nor the pulp mill project, as they are not likely to add to value,” retaining Hold rating. GNS last 52.5 cents

and.........check out this link
"Gunns Last Throw"
from the International Business times

Monday, April 26, 2010

Minister Garrett should be sacked and Rudd should make letters public - Lessons for the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill.

As we now know, the Rudd governments home insulation program has been an unmitigated disaster resulting in 4 deaths, 120 house fires and the rorting of tens of millions of tax payer dollars.
The entire program has been axed and the cost of revisiting and checking the homes that have already been insulated, could be up to a billion dollars.
Unbelievably the minister responsible Peter Garrett survived and was merely demoted. Minister, Greg Combet was brought in to clean up the mess.

So what happened?

What happens when a government rolls out a $2.5Billion energy efficiency program with no real plan?

What happens when there is hundreds of  millions of dollars of contracts available for almost anyone who is willing to have a go?

What happened was a few thousands new businesses appeared out of nowhere and people with little or no experience, training or appreciation for the safety aspects associated with job began insulating half a million homes around Australia. 

What happened next? - 120 house fires, massive rorting, fraud and the death of four young men.
Yet we havent seen the end of it. Fire services fear that with the onset of winter, we will see more fires.
A government department insider told last night's ABC's Four Corners (FC) programme that warnings were made to senior bureaucrats about the risks of electrocutions and fires.

The insider told FC.......... "In fact we were told that safety was of less importance than job creation". Job creation was the most important thing........That was mentioned on many occasions, we were told many times by senior management that the technical and safety issues were of less importance than getting this programme up and running and creating jobs........Without proper audit of the work, without a proper audit of the competence of the installers, there was no way of knowing whether a house had foil insulation or any material installed safely and because the installers were not trained properly, there was no way of checking that installers actually knew what they were doing. There was no way to be sure that they were doing the insulation safely and correctly".

Yet as FC argued............ "The federal government was determined to roll out the scheme as fast as possible and create new jobs. There were plenty of people who saw business opportunities. One of them was Brisbane entrepreneur, Jude Kirk, who ran a telemarketing company. He registered a company, Country wide Insulations, and through his call centre quickly built a large customer base. He collected almost a million dollars from the scheme in six weeks".

Four Corners argued that "the crucial question remains, was Peter Garrett told of these, and if so, did he convey to the prime minister that this was the price of rolling out the scheme so fast? The answer could be in four letters that Peter Garrett wrote to the Prime Minister, which Mr Rudd refuses to make public".
Prime Minister Rudd refuses saying the letters are "cabinet in confidence".
As I watched tonights program i couldnt help think about our own situation here in the Tamar Valley where a community of 100,000 people face the threat of the worlds 4th largest pulp & chemical mill proposed for a site it was never intended for, without anything like an adequate risk assessment.
The Tasmanian state government's insistence on ordering a benefits only study on what will be one of the largest heavy industrial projects in the southern hemisphere told Tasmanian's that the same attitude prevails amongst Tasmanian parliamentarians as in Garrets dept with the home insulation roll out  - the potential employment benefits trump technical and safety issues.
Tasmanian's implicitly understood this appalling government attitude from the moment the Lennon govt allowed Gunns to wriggle out of the proper independent RPDC assessment process and as a consequence they became deeply suspicious and withdrew their support for the project.
Here is what the former Premier Paul Lennon told The Australian's John Lyons in 2007
Lennon's answers in italics...
.........And look at the Premier's answers to two simple questions. "Was a risk analysis done for the project?"

"What do you mean by that?" he responded. "Risk analysis by whom?"

"By the proponents?"

"Well, you need to talk to the proponents about that."

"But as Premier you'd know."

"We satisfied ourselves that the project is a good project, that it's economic," insisted the Premier.

"What about a cost benefit analysis?"

"What do you mean by that? By us?"

"By the Government, looking at possible benefits of the project."

"Well, I think the benefits to the Tasmanian community are there for everyone to see."

"What about the costs, though?"

"Well, the costs in terms of what?"

"In terms of, perhaps, the impact on tourism."

"Well, I don't agree with that."
As economics professor Graeme Wells argued in his recent paper Economic Assessment of the Gunns Pulp Mill 2004-2008

..........."For the Lennon government it was self-evident that the large investment associated with the mill would benefit Tasmanians. In 2004, well before any formal assessment process had begun, Economic Development Minister Lara Giddings said that ....
...........‘There are clear benefits for Tasmania in developing a pulp mill. The benefits can be measured in terms of jobs and economic growth through the downstream processing of our timber resource and we are determined to do all we can to see a modern pulp mill facility using world’s best practice in Tasmania"

The government was true to its word. Significant funds from Commonwealth and State governments were spent to facilitate development of the mill proposal and to persuade Tasmanians of its merits. The Tasmanian government lobbied for continuation of tax concessions under managed investment schemes so as to ensure the financial viability of the mill and, after the mill permit was legislated by the Tasmanian parliament, for Commonwealth infrastructure funding for transportation of pulpwood around the state.

The effect of withdrawing the mill from the RPDC assessment process was that these and other expenditures or tax concessions, together with possible externality costs, were never quantified by either the proponents or reviewers of the IIS. This made it inevitable that the assessment process would find ‘clear economic and social benefits’ from building the mill". (Graeme Wells
Tasmanian's know that "the technical, safety and other risk related issues related to the Gunns Pulp Mill were of  less importance to the Lennon and Bartlett Governement than getting the Gunns pulp mill up and running and creating jobs. We know that because an independent cost/benefitts analysis of the proposed mill has never been undertaken and other technical, safety and risk related issues have not been thoroughly assessed because the project was pulled from the proper independent assessment process.

Now in view of the issues that have come to light about Minister Garrett and his departments appalling attitude and its disasterous handling of its $2.5Billion energy efficiency program, serious questions must be asked of Minister Garrett's federal pulp mill approvals process.

The most obvious question being - Mr Garrett have you and your department taken the same attitude as you took to the insulation roll out ; - That the technical and safety issues were of less importance than getting the Gunns Tamar Valley up and running and creating jobs? 


Bit of a reality check swimming with the lunch crew today. 2.7k done and much better quality. Looking forward to improving my swim as I put in some solid sessions with these blokes. A sub 14min 1k is the goal and if I get anywhere near that it will be hard not to justify getting back into some summer races.
Will aim to get some of photo's of the lunch crew soon.
Gulliver needs to get him self back in the pool real soon!

West Launceston cyclist sacrifices manhood in search of triathlon glory.

This morning triathlete Mal Gulliver rode 50km from his hilly West Launceston training base to the Rosevears fish shop. Gulliver reportedly averaged a superhuman 29.5kph.
Gulliver said of his rode "brrrrrrrrr....I cant feel my fingers or my ballssssssssss...brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"
When asked what drives him Gulliver replied "brrrrrrrr....must beat pilko this year......brrrrrrrr".
Vive la Gulliver!

Must Watch - Four Corners 8.30pm tonight on ABC - A Lethal Miscalculation

The story behind the Federal Government's multi-million dollar home insulation scheme debacle and its unregulated roll-out of insulation into 1.2million Australian homes.

A whistleblower tells four corners...... "safety was secondary to spending the stimulus money".

Will Mr Garrett and Mr Rudd be watching?

Excellent intiative by Tasmanians in Vietnam

Handover of the cows ...Bruce Montgomery Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange Trust

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sorry about that says Bob Gordon but we're Gunna keep burning. Forestry Tasmania chief cries crocodile tears over burns anger.

From ABC online...........

The chief of Forestry Tasmania has issued a "sincere" apology for last weekend's smoke haze in the south, saying there was a slip up in the company's burns program.

Bob Gordon's written apology to Huon Valley residents on Forestry's website says the smoke detected by monitoring stations on Monday exceeded national air quality standards.
The managing director says there is enough evidence to show regeneration burns contributed to the pollution.
Mr Gordon says it is especially disappointing in light of the amount of work done in recent years to minimise the impact of the burns on population centres.
The apology comes days after conservationists set off flares in Forestry's Hobart headquarters, calling for an end to the burning programs.
But Mr Gordon says there are no alternatives.
He says Forestry will work with other agencies to refine the co-ordinated smoke management system

Getting fit campaign, AFL tips & Great news for cycling Fans - Tour of Romandie on One HD

Intended to ride this morning until I looked out window. Yuk!
Head into aquatic centre and managed 2.3k for a weekly total of 8.8k.
Not bad and well on way to training goal of 10k-12k per week.
Just as i left the aquatic centre the centre's evacuation alarm went off. This voice alarm would have to be the loudest alarm in the world. They would have heard it in Georgetown even with the northerly gale.
God must have heard it. Incredible.
Being the courageous community minded citizen, i quickened my step, jumped in the car and drove away.
Headed round to paper beach tonight with the bear for a 20 min run. Slowly getting there.
Paunch remains but mojo is returning.
AFL tips

Western Bulldogs
Great News for Cycling fans. One HD will  telecast delayed coverage of the Tour of Romandie in which Launceston's Richie Porte will be riding for Team Saxobank. Check out these dates

Wednesday, April 28 - Prologue - 3:15pm (1 hour 15 mins)
Thursday, April 29 - Stage 1 - 5:00pm (2 hours)
Friday, April 30 - Stage 2 - 5:00pm (2 hours)
Saturday, May 1 - Stage 3 - 2:00pm (1 hour)
.......more dates to come

Reynolds and Examiner to sever ties. Martin Gilmour moves in to top job.

TAP spokesperson Bob Mcmahon reports Examiner editor Fiona Reynold's is moving back to the ABC

Fiona Moves On From The Examiner - Bob McMahon -23.04.10 3:20 am
Examiner editor Fiona Reynolds has accepted a position in charge of radio and television news for the ABC in Tasmania. Ms Reynolds will not be doing the job from Hobart, as would be expected, but from Launceston.
While this move from the Examiner to the ABC might not be that noteworthy when viewed from afar, it is, in the context of what has happened in Tasmania over the past several decades, significant for several reasons.
It was only a short while ago that Ms Reynolds moved from the ABC to the editorship of the Examiner, a position of power and influence in a town dominated by a particular company and a particular set of interests. Her move back to the ABC, albeit to a position further up the ladder than the one she left at the ABC, seems, on the surface, a lesser position than the Examiner editorship.
A public grown accustomed to how things are done in Tasmania, might have expected Ms Reynolds to take the natural path from the Examiner into the darkened offices of the State government. This she has not done. Perhaps she was not offered a job there, which is rather unfair, because I believe she did steer the Examiner true to the course of service to a particular set of interests that are invariably rewarded in Tasmania.
The public will be wondering whether Ms Reynolds will be able to enjoy the same degree of editorial latitude at the ABC as she exercised at the Examiner. Would the ABC be prepared, for instance, to wear the sort of odium the Examiner attracted when Ms Reynolds so blatantly attempted, against all the evidence, to pin the blame for the “attack” on John Gay’s house onto the community group TAP Into A Better Tasmania?
Time will tell. Meanwhile the show rolls on.


The ABC announced today that Fiona Reynolds had been appointed to the position of ABC State Director Tasmania.

“Fiona will make a great contribution to the ABC in Tasmania as she brings a strong range of leadership and media skills to the job,” ABC Communications Director Michael Millett said today.
“She is currently the Editor of the Fairfax-owned Launceston Examiner but the new position represents a coming home,” Mr Millett said. “Fiona is a former reporter with the ABC in Hobart and Canberra and has also worked as an editor, producer and reporter with news and current affairs, across radio and television, in Melbourne, Brisbane and Launceston. She was the successful applicant from an impressive field of internal and external candidates.”
Mrs Reynolds said she is looking forward to working with the community to help further strengthen the public broadcaster’s connection with local audiences.
“The ABC has always been renowned for quality journalism, now it is interacting with audiences more than ever before, across different platforms, so this is an exciting time to be on board,” said added.
Fiona Reynolds has been a journalist for 22 years and has a Master of Arts (International Relations). She will start her role on 7 June 2010.
The Tasmanian State Director position became vacant on the retirement of Rob Batten from the ABC in early 2010.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A local perspective on Gunns market update & breaking news...Wilderness society response to Gunns market update

With a massive pile of woodchips sitting on the wharf at Burnie word is the Japanese are not buying any more wood chips because the Tasmanian logging industry does not have FSC.
Interestingly, a part of Gunns company shake-up is that the big logger is selling the remaining 28,000 Hectares of its Native Forest.which according to The Mock will "serve the dual purpose of debt reduction while beginning the transition to a wholly plantation-based company" and in turn improving its chances of achieving FSC certification.
If this is the case the there must be implications for Gunns confidential 20-year wood supply agreement with Forestry Tasmania. This agreement will feed 1.5 million tonnes of public native forest per annum at undisclosed ‘commercial in confidence’ rates to the longreach mill. The 20-year wood supply agreement of course ties the fortunes of the taxpayers of Tasmania to the world pulp market.

If Gunns are seeking FSC, selling the remainder of their native forest estate  and committing to a 100% plantation based pulp mill then what role remains for the native forst wood supply agreement?

As for the Pulp Mill, Gunns have admitted in their announcement to the market that the company restructure was a critical step to gaining finance for its planned pulp mill. The many local ex Gunns employees who as a result have been retrenched or made redundant will be acutely aware that they have been sacrificed as a part of this process. Indeed with the ever diminishing local jobs estimates at the proposed mill and massive local job shedding which of course was never factored into the equation when the mill was first proposed, makes Paul Lennon's 2007 promise of 2000 new full-time Tasmanian pulp mill now appear as empty as Gunns longreach pulp mill site.

It is important to point out that the promise of massive net wealth flow on and employment creation were the justifications given by the Lennon government and the Liberal opposition to Tasmanian's for allowing Gunns to wriggle out of the independent RPDC process and be given a tick-in-the-box fast-track approval.

If the pulp mill is ever built, I believe the reality will be a majority foreign owned mill providing seasonal work for a small amount of locals, a mill that will be subject to occassional and possibly even frequent shutdowns (with accompanying job losses, or employees forced onto annual leave) due to the fluctuations of a volatile pulp market.
Diminishing local house & land values in the Tamar Valley, lost jobs in the local Tamar Valley tourism, wine and food industry will also detract from any mill jobs and local wealth creation.

It also remains that the project also has no social licence and probably never will. It is therefore inevitable that the mill will be harrassed for the term of its life by an international network of protesters and may  face shutdowns due to complaints about its breaching of environemental guidelines as well as frequent challenges in the courts.

Indeed, Argentina and Uruguay's relations remain frayed because of the unpopular Botnia Pulp Mill......"tens of thousands of dollars were sunk in legal fees but the mill stays, as do Argentine protesters on a bridge linking the two countries, blocking access for travelers, many of them families with relatives on both sides of the border"

There is ample evidence to show that Botnia mill has polluted the local uruguay river.

Fortunately for the folk who live on the Tamar River Gunns also announced in today's market update that they have appointed the same bloke who helped construct and operate the botnia mill between 2004-2008 as Gunns proposed new "Southern Star corporation" pulp mill director.

The question has to be asked again. Where is the real net value for Tasmania in what remains of the Gunnns Tamar Valley pulp mill proposal?

breaking news.......what the Wilderness Society says....
"The Wilderness Society’s Executive Director Alec Marr said Gunns Limited’s old, destructive business practices were likely to continue when chairman John Gay stands down to run a new company that includes the Bell Bay pulp mill.

“Mr Gay and Robin Gray represent the worst of Gunns destructive business practices. Allowing Mr Gay to run another company with the pulp mill as its main focus is simply the same old business methods under a different name,” Mr Marr said.
“Allowing Mr Gay to continue to run a forestry business in Tasmania runs against the best interests of Tasmanians.
“What Tasmanians want is an end to the destruction of the state’s natural heritage and for Gunns to shift on to a sustainable business footing, which requires an end to the old business practices under Mr Gay.

Holy Gunnsmoke Batman!! The greenies have got Robin & John. --------updated links.

The ASX announcement

Jesus wept!!
Everbodies favourite logging execs to be lopped! Whose Gunna care for the trees now?
Gunns chairman 'to stand down' April 23, 2010 - 3:35PM
from the Sydney Morning Herald
"Gunns chairman John Gay will announce today that he will stand down, the Australian Financial Review reported this afternoon.
A company spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Gunns shares were up 1 cent, or 2 per cent, to 53 cents in recent trade.
Gunns posted a 99 per cent profit drop in the half year to December 2009, to $420,000, on revenues of $325.9 million, according to Morningstar, amid tougher trading conditions.
The company has struggled for several years to complete a controversial $2.2 billion pulp mill project in northern Tasmania, which has outraged environmentalists and been slowed by difficulties securing investors.
Earlier this week, two Tasmanian Greens, who have opposed the pulp mill, were sworn into the Tasmanian Labor government's cabinet".

From ABC online...
Reports Gunns directors to step down

"Tasmanian timber company Gunns has declined to comment on newspaper reports that the chairman John Gay is to stand down.
The Financial Review has reported that Mr Gay and fellow board member Robin Gray are set to announce today that they are leaving the company.
They have been under pressure since the company posted a 98 per cent drop in its half yearly profit.
"There has been pressure on Mr Gay and fellow director Robin Gray". (ABC News: Michael Brooks)


Thursday, April 22, 2010


Anna & I rode out to Tamar Ridge and return tonight. I made the stupid decision to take the long route back via Rowella hill. Forgot what a gutbuster this hill is. The local running club used to hold a 12k run race in this area and we used to hit the bottom of Rowella hill at the 10k mark. Not pleasant.
36k ride.

Cadel Evans beats TDF rivals to win Fleche Wallone spring classic.

Its just after midnight and I have just finished watching cadel evans take one of the biggest wins of his career at the Fleche Wallone in Belgium which is one of the big spring classics. Significantly Evans rode past TDF rivals Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador on the ridiculously steep final climb up the Mur d hoy.

Make no mistake, for the man in the rainbow jersey to win this race will be a huge thrill for him, a boost for his new BMC team.
I am just listening to Evans post race interview now and he says......“Its great to win in FW and its an honour to win on the rainbow jersey”.
Evans also answers media questions in fluent French.
This win is a significant shot across the bows of his TDF rivals. All the big boys were here and not only has Evans taken out his TDF rivals he has also put away the best one day classic riders also. For mine Evans appears to be in as good a form as i have seen him.
Watching Evans on the podium he looks quite emotional.
I believe that Tassies Wes Sulzberger also rode today and Ritchie Porte who will start the Tour of Romandie next week was listed as a reserve for Team saxo bank.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Getting fit.

Anna bought herself a you beaut malvern star mountain bike from a local garage sale. After a few repairs and a tune up at Geards Cycles in Launceston we took the new steed out for a run yesterday.
Anna & the Malvern Star turned heads in gravelly beach and she arrived home in one piece.
I managed 35k and then did 40minutes of stretch/strength work (boring) at home.
This morning I swam a quick 1.5k at the aquatic centre with my mate Mal and tonight me and the bear-dog went for 35min run/walk (19min run) along the little swanport trail. A pleasure as always.
Speaking of the bear (charli). Anna accosted the smelly mut yesterday and smite her industrial strength dog shampoo washing out the dead roo smell from the night before. Charli was not pleased as this effectively washed away what to her was a trophy smell the likes she may not see again in a while. Whilst charli prefers to smell like shit i like the fluffy primped version of the little white bear which we enjoyed yeterday.
More pictures of the mut in action soon.

A Case of editorial bias at the Tasmanian Times.

I remain of the opinion that there are certain people and groups that are protected species on the Tasmania Times website.
Case in point  - The Tas Times published a comment which i submitted last night (below), however it chopped the section which I have highlighted for readers in Bold italics.

Yes I know, its hard to believe.

I write an encyclopaedic volume of criticism of the Examiner and its published, yet I write 3 lines about TAP and its pulled.

This is not a good look for TT.

Infact I am gobsmacked that the Tas. Times has chosen pulled this comment.
The Mercury, Examiner and most other local media would not blink before publishing the comment that TT chopped. It would not even register on the richter scale of concern.

Yet the Tasmanian Times is a website that says of itself............. "Tasmanian Times is a forum of discussion and dissent - a cheeky, irreverent challenge to the mass media’s obsession with popularity, superficiality and celebrity.

It is in the tradition of dissenting Tasmanian journalism, drawing inspiration from the first great Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, John West (b. 1809). West earlier had a strong association with The Examiner, founded in 1842. He successfully used its columns as a vehicle of dissent to promote the abolition of the transportation of convicts to Van Diemen’s Land.
West wrote this in his History of Tasmania (1852): “The newspapers of this hemisphere were long mere vehicles of government intelligence, or expressions of the views and feelings of the ruling powers. Malice or humour, in the early days, expressed itself in what were called Pipes—a ditty, either taught by repetition or circulated on scraps of paper: the offences of official men were thus hitched into rhyme. Thus, the fear of satire checked the haughtiness of power.”
Amen to that".

The Tasmanian Times has and continues to publish comment that makes my mildly critical observation about TAP look like a glowing eulogy.

So what is going on at the Tas Times?

Is the website too close to TAP or people in TAP?
Has Tasmania's culture of cosiness crept up on TT?

Now I know many of the good people down at TAP and if there is one thing they hold dear it is democracy and the right to freedom of expression.
After all this one of the things they have been fighting for in their battle against a pulp mill that has seen Tasmanian's sued and cowed for standing up for what they believe in.
So I would be shocked as i know most punters down at TAP would be if they thought the Tas Times was afraid of publishing adverse comment about TAP or any other group.

I would suspect that Tappers would adopt the position - "whilst I might not agree with you I will defend your right to state your position".

Indeed, I have previously worked for TAP in a volunteer capacity raising funds, organizing etc etc and have vigorously defended the group in the print and electronic media. Indeed, one only has to lower their eyes to the article below on the Examiner to see an example of how this blogger has defended TAP. This cost me bollocking from the Examiner editor.
The comment TT chopped was the type of criticism that myself and other members of TAP made whilst active in the organisation. Indeed, TAP meetings and the group in general is and open and honest forum. Unlike the Tasmanian Times, TAP were able to accomodate such criticism, which is one of the things I always like about the group. Tappers would also acknowledge that their group has over the years dished out plenty of very harsh criticism to political parties, Gunns and others and has always been prepared to cop it back.

What I can say is that if I submitted the same observations about Gunns or the Liberal or Labor party to the Tasmanian Times that I have made in the comment below about TAP, the comment would certainly be published. Indeed, the Tasmanian Times has published many articles recently which contain all sorts of wild unsubstantiated accusations about other environmental groups and political parties. Read the website for yourself.

It is the intention of this blogger to continue to write and report and in an even handed manner.

Can the same be said for the Tasmanian Times?

The Tas. Times claims to operate under the maxim "Balance is appeasement, fairness is truth".

I say to the Tas. Times editor as my mum used to say to me "actions speak louder than words"

 Editorial bias? It certainly would appear so.

The comment in question.............. 

...........If you completely lose the ability to trust your peers then you are well and truly on a path to isolation and irrelevance. This has long been my beef with elements of the anti pulp mill movement in the Tamar Valley, most particularly those who are running TAP. If ever a group needed a change at the top because of problems trusting and work co-operatively with others it is TAP. I will have more to say on them soon.

If you lose the ability to trust then you've defeated yourself before your enemy has even fired a shot. Will Hodgman is another recent example of this. I wrote about this recently on my blog. Hodgman looks like a spoilt dill and he may well have blown his one and only chance to be the Premier of Tassy. Michael Ferguson is waiting in the wings.
The fact is, if you believe that the greens are your best chance at having your issues represented and you voted for them, then you dont have a bloody choice.
This is the first time in countries history that we will have a Green Minister.
At this stage this is as good as it gets.
Look, I can sympathise with peoples cynicism, but green supporters and labor supporters are now faced with a choice. Personally I reckon if having supported and voted to the party up to this point, you now jump ship now and say "oh nick and cassy have done a done a deal with the devil, I'm going to vote Liberal or Labor next time" then you have big issues with trust and all the political conviction of Paris Hilton.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The truth outs. Now will the Examiner Editor publicly apologise to pulp mill opponents?

In view of the court's finding (see Mercury & ABC articles below and WIN news 20/4/2010), it is time the Examiner issued a public apology for creating the false impression that pulp mill opponents were responsible for the vandalism crime at the home of Gunns boss John Gay?

The Examiner's coverage of this issue was one of the grubbiest and most skewed pieces of reporting I have ever seen in a Tasmanian newspaper.

TAP's Bob McMahon said the media’s reaction to the incident... “was part of a concerted campaign to demonise the anti-pulp mill cause. The mainstream media all universally jumped to the conclusion that the attack was orchestrated, planned and executed by hit squads from the anti-mill groups

Indeed, many Launceston & Tamar Valley locals were offended and hurt by the newspapers coverage.

According to this Tasmanian Times correspondent (below) local residents were not the only people concerned by the Examiners coverage of the issue.

".....This further attack by Fiona Reynolds adds to my concern regarding a fair trial given the frenzy the Examiner is whipping up. I rang the Police Inspector in charge of the arrests to voice my concerns and was told that the police were meeting with the Examiner as they too, were dissatisfied with the inaccurate coverage.."
Posted by Potential Examiner victim on 18/10/09 at 07:25 PM.

Another source told this blog ....... "I know that (name withheld) spoke with Cmdr Glenn Frame who expressed concern about the Ex’s reporting on B’field. Frame met with Fiona (Examiner editor) – perhaps this is why the Ex pulled the Lennon guff and opinion poll so quickly".

The Examiner's editor will remember how the paper sensationalised what most thinking locals suspected was an otherwise common and comparatively minor street crime (alleged vandalism at the home of Gunns CEO John Gay) by giving it vastly overwrought coverage including - two front pages, an editorial, a two page spread on the Tuesday, a bizarre and inflammatory column by Paul Lennon, and an online opinion poll?

Remember that Editor?

The Examiner coverage clearly associated the crime committed with anti-mill groups TAP and Pulp the Mill when over a 3-day period it framed the issue as one concerning anti-mill campaigners and Mr Gay, rather than one between Mr Gay and some local hooligans as the subsequent police investigation & court hearing has revealed.

The effect of this on local pulp mill opponents was guilt by association.

At the very least the Examiner's editor should require Paul Lennon to publish a retraction of his article which the paper ran on October 12, 2009 where he launched this extraordinary attack on pulp mill opponents.......

......“I caution the public not to be conned by the statements from anti-pulp mill campaigners, which have been cleverly crafted to distance themselves from the disgraceful vandalism at the Gays’ family home”, he wrote.
“Anybody who seriously believes this latest attack against John and his family was not orchestrated by the anti-pulp mill campaigners is kidding themselves … This sort of vigilantism has been part of the tactics of anti- pulp mill activists for some time. I and my family have suffered … virtual home invasion at the hands of expertly trained anti- pulp mill operatives.” (Paul Lennon, October 12, 2009, Examiner)

In light of the outcome of the criminal investigation into this matter the Lennon article and the publishing of it by the Examiner is indefensible.

Its time the Examiner admits it got it wrong by offending, smearing, and inciting ill feeling towards innocent locals through it's reckless and irresponsible coverage of this issue.

It is also worth noting that local Liberal member for Bass and shadow treasurer Peter Gutwein ( a renown 'greenie' hater who has taken a particular loathing to pulp mill opponents and is close to the logging industry) stated on ABC radio on Monday the 12th Oct that he was in constant contact with Mr Gay on the night of the incident.

He also named TAP spokesperson Bob Mcmahon and indirectly blamed him for the incident during the interview with the ABC's Tim Cox.

Sources tells me that Mr. Gutwein was very enthusiastic for the Examiner to run the story.

The next day Mr Gutwein put out this media release on Oct 11 - the same day the examiner first reported the story
and this the next day..

Even the premier David Bartlett chimed in saying.... "Every Tasmanian has a right to feel safe and secure in their own home .... Freedom of speech is part of our democracy. There are people out there who have been calling for `civil unrest' and if this is the sort of behaviour they are referring to, Tasmanians should stand united and condemn it,".

This comment was clearly aimed at TAP spokeperson Bob McMahon. McMahon is owed an apology by Gutwein, The Examiner and Premier Bartlett.

The treasurer Michael Aird also had a crack as did former Premier and Gunns board member Robin Gray "John's doing his absolute best for Tasmania - I think it's the right thing - and nobody should be subject to that sort of behaviour,".

Forestry Tasmania took their turn as well when its General Manager Corporate Relations and Tourism, Ken Jeffreys claimed that "condemnation of the attack on the private residence of the Gunns Ltd chairman" John Gay was one of "a series of embarrassing setbacks for the anti-forestry movement."

Mr Jeffereys previously worked for Premier Lennons now defunct and disgraced propoganda unit "The Pulp Mill Task Force".

This powerful bound & well connected alliance of political, industry & media have been proven to be wrong in this matter. They all owe us an explanation. Yet their reaction to the event at Gay's house is consistent the tradition of solidarity and support that both sides of Government have always shown to the Tasmanian logging industry and its monopoly company - Gunns LTD. It is called institutional bias. Its an entrenched part of the tainted political fabric of this state.
Dont just take it from me, this is very well documented.
From the Mercury.

Penis graffiti bid for fame -  by NICK CLARK April 20, 2010 12:39pm

A LAUNCESTON man sprayed a green penis on the fence of Gunns Limited chairman John Gay to win fame. Linden Michael Forrest, 21, pleaded guilty to unlawfully injuring property on October 10, 2009.
Police prosecutor Mike Bonde told the Launceston Magistrates court that the green penis was Forrest's usual tag.
The court heard that Forrest and a co accused Matthew Standaloft had been drinking before they went to Kmart and bought green paint.
They went to Mr Gay's house and while Forrest sprayed the paint the co accused let off a device at the front door.
When they were finished they rang the bell at the front gate and when a light went on they yelled obscenities.
Mr Bonde said Forrest was not a member of any pressure group and had a neutral feeling about the proposed pulp mill.
Forrest, who suppressed a smile during the hearing, thought it was funny at the time but was later embarrassed.
Magistrate Robert Pearce fined Forrest $800 saying that the community and Mr Gay were entitled to be protected from such behaviour.
Forrest had a number of prior offences but had not entered Mr Gay's property making a similar fine to his co accused appropriate, he said


From ABC online. "Court fine over Gay house graffiti attack"

A 21-year-old Launceston man has been fined for his part in vandalising the home of Gunns chairman John Gay.
Linden Michael Forrest has pleaded guilty to one count of injuring property.
The Magistrates Court heard that he and a friend had been drinking heavily when they decided to vandalise John Gay's house in Launceston last October.
Forrest painted vulgar graffiti on Mr Gay's front fence while his friend planted a smoke bomb at the front door.
Forrest told police he painted the fence with graphic graffiti because he though it would be his claim to fame.
Magistrate Robert Pearce accepted that the 21 year old had no political or activist motive for the attack but added that the community, and Mr Gay in particular, have the right to be protected from such acts.
Forrest was fined $800.

and previously........From ABC online (15/3/10)

"A 21-year-old Launceston man has been fined for an attack on the home of Gunns chairman John Gay in October last year in which a $250 doormat was destroyed.
Matthew Philip Standaloft, who was drunk at the time of the attack, pleaded guilty to one count of trespass and one count of destroying property.
Standaloft was fined $800 and ordered to pay compensation for the doormat."

Mylanta, camomile and power sharing governments

The Greens have got what they wanted.

The hard headed fieldites in the Labor party will be swigging gallons of mylanta and ranitidine to dull the stabbing pain of their ulcers and the paranoid deep greens chewing valerian and skulling camomile tea to stop the nagging voices convincing them they have been sold out.

Faaarkin hilarious.

The Greens finally get what the want and some of their supporters are already losing their nerve and threatening to jump ship. I eagerly await the next article on Tasmanian Times postulating that the Greens have traded a ministry for a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley (yawn).
Farewell fairweather greenies. Return to the coolness & safety of your organic garden and your PC.
Well done to the Green party room.
It takes balls to walk the path that Mckim has.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Managed 2.5k swim at aquatic centre. Swam faster today. Start swimming with the lunch-time crew next week. 35min walk/run tonight (15min run).
Being a responsible dog owner I remembered to take Charli the pedigree golden retriever with me on my run. The pure bred princess managed to find the most foul smelling roadkill in the Tamar Valley and proceeded to roll in it until she smelt like it. After her necromantic tryst with said dead roo she bounded back past me and I nearly dry retched.
The filthy beast sleeps outside tonight with the possums.

Must see You Tube. Abetz and Hodgman by Simon de Little Parts1-4. Also the contoversial "David Bartlett's Easter". Look away God-botherers!

I laughed till I stopped. Bloody hilarious political satire.  (parts 1-3) (part 4) (David Bartletts Easter)

Sports News

Last night team lotto's Phillipe Gilbert put in a ferocious last minute attack to win the 2010 edition of the 259km Amstel Gold race in the Netherlands. Cadel Evans featured in the last stages of the race and rode strongly to finish in the top 15. Tasmania's Wes Sulzberger started the race but did not appear to finish.

On twitter, Launceston's Richie Porte is reporting that he will race the upcoming Tour of Romandie starting on April 27 and then the 3 week long Giro d' Italia which starts on May 8. If Porte does start the Giro, by my reckoning he will be the 3rd? 4th? Tasmanian behind Michael Wilson, Wes Sulzberger and Matt Goss(?) to ride a "Grand Tour". The 3 Grand tours being the tours of France, Spain and Italy.
Quite an achievement.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saints beat Freo by 15.

Freo gave the Saints a scare at Etihad stadium tonight. Had a great time this arvo watching the game with Tony Whish Wilson at his great house overlooking the Tamar.
Thats 7/8 for me this week in tips. Freakish. 25/32 after 4 rounds.


2k swim at aquatic centre this a.m. Young Triatlon star Joe Gambles swam in lane next door. Joe tells me he is leaving again for the states in a week to race the "Wildflower" triathlon, one of the U.S biggest non-drafting triathlons. Felt pretty slack when Joe told me had already run 1hr50 before coming to the pool to do what looked like a 3-4km set. Ouch! Indeed, I had planned to run this arvo however the saints v freo is calling.
Oh well. Another amazing sunny & warm day in Launceston.

Excellent article by Sue Neales on local politics from the mock.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nick McKim rejects government ministry offer

From ABC News online this afternoon

Nick McKim has said no to the Tasmanian Premier's offer of a ministry position.
Labor pains deliver first Green minister Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim has rejected Premier David Bartlett's invitation to become the state's first Green minister.
Mr McKim says he believed the negotiations were conducted in good faith but he could not agree to the deal.
The Greens leader says tomorrow's deadline was too short and he was concerned the offer of one ministry position would not give the Greens a fair representation in cabinet.
Mr McKim says the door is still open for further negotiations.
"I've indicated in my letter that should he be prepared to make a more reasonable offer, one that better reflects the will of the Tasmanian people and better delivers government stability we would of course be prepared to consider such an offer," he said.

Getting fit.

Swam 2.1 k at Lonnie aquatic yesterday and pushed a bit harder.
Rode 30km out to Batman Bridge this morning before back wheel starting playing up. Made hasty retreat to the workshop for repairs. Backed up with another ride this afternoon for 52km for day. Goodbye paunch.
Loving this autumn weather. Great for training.

Kelly Slater surfs shipsterns Bluff

Check out this great link from the Mock with piccies and vids of shippies action.
SHAUN WALLBANK, The Mercury, April 17, 2010 07:30am
NINE-TIME world surfing champion Kelly Slater surfed Tasmania's Shipstern Bluff for the first time yesterday.

The cool conditions were an obvious change for the American who spends most of his time in the warm waters of Hawaii and Indonesia.
"It's quite cold, I actually didn't think it would be this cold but I'm glad the sun's out," he said.
Donning a thick wetsuit and rubber booties Slater paddled into the lineup and sat with a local crowd for a brief period before stroking into his first wave.
He took off on the critical part of the wave as it jacked up beneath him, but made the ride look easy as he swept along the face and into the barrel. Coming out the end and into the channel the man widely respected as the best surfer who has ever lived, let out a hoot of relief at escaping his ride unharmed.
"It felt good to get a wave, it actually warmed me up," he said.
It wasn't all perfect rides though as he fell victim to the jaws of Shipstern on more than one occasion.
On one wave he paddled in deeper than usual and raced to get through the barrel only to come out body surfing along the face before cartwheeling over the lip.
"That one held me down for a while," Slater said.
It's not the first time Slater has visited Tasmania having racked up numerous trips to King Island and the North-West, but Shipstern had before now eluded him.
The world renowned reef break has turned on a handful of times in the last few weeks and with a break between the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach (which Slater won) and the Santa Catarina Pro in Brazil, Slater thought it time to swoop.
Surfing Tasmania former president Paul Richardson said it was a great thing for local surfing and the state as a whole.
"You know you've got a world-class surf break in your own back yard when the best surfer in the world, who follows good surf around for a living, turns up at the break."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Yoda on Premier Bartlett latest backflip.

That a premier performed so many backflips, of tasmania has never before in the history.
Help but wonder, yoda cannot when mr premier have his next change of mind, will. Hmmm.
Been trained well in the dark arts by mr aird, bartlett has. The treasurers forte, saying one thing doing another is.
If careful he will injure his back for he is not young anymore premier is not.
Take heart young hodgman. This week not premier likes you, but he may next week. .
Wolf in sheeps clothing, nick mckim was, premier's best friend, he, now is. Hmmm.
They went the summit together on bikes. Now forgiven and loves mckim, premier does.
With premier's many backflips poor old yoda feels dizzy. Rest now, yoda must. Yes, hmmm. Yes, hmmm.

Premier Bartlett confirms new government will have non-labor ministers.

Cycling. Amstel Gold Race

The next of the spring classics will be on Sunday night (18 April). The Amstel Gold race. The 45 yr old race is over 259km in the Netherlands.

There are 31 short steep climbs in the race.

I thought the netherlands was flat! Go figure.

For Previews, maps etc and to watch online go to.....

Cycling news will also have live reports of the race.

Tassies Wesley Sulzbereger is racing as is Aussie world champ Cadel Evans.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


An easy 4k walk with 12 mins of running and 40 min ride. Have to ease achilles tendon back into running. Picked up new pair of you beaut inner soles by a manafacturer called "orthoheel" from chemist. Have uses these for years and one of the best of the shelf ortotics you can buy. $35 from Chemist Wharehouse in town.
Feels great to be running again. Just have to be patient with legs. Swim in a.m at Lonnie Aquatic.
Reading Cathy Freeman bio. at moment. Great read. She is one tough chick. Can also reccomend Dawn Frasers bio. I think Fraser was one of the hardest nuts ever. Amazingly tough resilient woman.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

AFL Tips (go saints) Round 4

West Coast


Easy 30k ride up to Batman Bridge this morning. Dam fine morning on the river.
I am so unfit.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Aird should keep his word and resign.

Last year Mr Aird said: "I will not be serving in any government that has Nick McKim or Kim Booth, or any other Green, in it."
Today Mr Aird was sworn in as treasurer of the new Labor-Green government.
Backflips and accusations of misleading the public are nothing new with the Treasurer.
Last year members of the racing industry told a Parliamentary Committee the Treasurer lied to them about the sale of the state-owned betting business Tote Tasmania. Mr Aird has consistently rejected the claim.
The Treasurer was also accused of making contradictory statements to Parliament.over the governments abandoned plans for a television series to promote Tasmania.

And of course Mr Aird was one of the biggest betrayers of the Tasmanian public in the Bartlett governments complete failure to deliver on its pulp mill line in the sand
In September last year it was revealed that the Premier had secretly re-focused his Government as willing lobbyists for the pulp mill via a secret letter written to the Gunns boss, John Gay, in May 2008.
Soon after, Gunns also blew the whistle on the Tasmanian treasurer Michael Aird when the company put out a media release "thanking" Aird for "agreeing to lobby a prospective pulp mill partner" during a $50,000 taxpayer-funded trip to Europe. Aird had only recently vowed that "the State Government would not interfere on behalf of Gunns".
In a startling turnaround, the Treasurer was forced to admit to a stunned Tasmanian public that he was travelling to Europe to help Gunns secure project finance. Even after intense scrutiny from political opponents and media, Aird withheld the details of his taxpayer-funded trip.
It later came to light that Aird and John Gay travelled together in Scandinavia, visiting various European pulp mills and attending several meetings to attempt to finalise finance for the mill project.
Tasmanians are almost — but not quite — desensitised to being conned by their political leaders over the Gunns pulp mill.

Could Cancellara win the Tour de France?

Article from

By: Stephen Farrand, April 13, 12:10

Italian coach Aldo Sassi believes Swiss can be like Indurain
Following Fabian Cancellara's double at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, the question that many people are asking is: What other races can he win in cycling?
Cancellara has yet to confirm if he will target Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, but has stated he'd to like to one day win all five of cycling's big Classics - the so-called 'Monuments' - and the Hour Record seems a natural goal for one of the best time triallists in the history of cycling.
However, Italian coach Aldo Sassi believes Cancellara could aim even higher, suggesting that Cancellara could be a Tour de France contender if he loses some muscle mass and further body fat.
As the coach of World Champion Cadel Evans and Ivan Basso, Sassi knows what it takes to identify and hone Grand Tour contenders. He was also the coach of the Mapei team that signed Cancellara to the Mapei development team in 2001, along with Filippo Pozzato, Michael Rogers, Dario Cioni, Charly Wegelius and Bernhard Eisel.
"When we signed Fabian, we knew how talented he was because he'd already won two junior world time trial titles, but when we analysed his laboratory results, they convinced us of his huge potential," Sassi told Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday.
"For a rider like Fabian, raising the bar is not about going for the hour record, I'm convinced he can go for the major Tours. Perhaps not the Giro d'Italia, but the Tour de France for sure. We signed him to the Mapei development team with that goal in mind. We saw what he could do in time trials and we thought he'd could win short stage races and eventually become a rider for the major Tours."
Sassi reveals that he often teased Cancellara about his weight and diet, even when he was no longer at the Mapei team. And Cancellara has never forgotten Sassi's theory about him having the potential to win the Tour de France. He recently send a personal text message to Sassi, signing off as the rider who 'five kilos lighter could win the Tour.'
Cancellara dreamed about winning the yellow jersey at the Tour de France as a boy and showed that he can win stage races last year by winning the Tour of Switzerland. Miguel Indurain's run of five Tour de France titles in the 1990s was also evidence that strong time trial ability can be the basis of a three-week win.
Sassi explained to Gazzetta dello Sport how Cancellara could become a Tour contender if he lost some of his muscle mass. He made a comparison with Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins, who has similar power outputs and became a Tour contender in 2009 after losing weight.
"For the Tour, he'd have to lose six kilograms, of which only two or three would be muscle, so that he doesn’t lose his power," Sassi said. "If he weighs about 70kg, like Wiggins does, I'm sure he'd be competitive. He'd be an Indurain type of rider."


Back into the 50m pool at Launceston acquatic today. That lovely outdoor 25m pool is closed now for winter as it is not heated over the winter months.
Managed 2k today but noticed the 50m lap length as I,ve been swimming in the 25.
Will jump in again soon with the "lunch-time crew" and start increasing the intesnity.
Easy 1hr bike tonight on the deviot road loop. Boooodiful day here at Gravelly Beach.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cancellara the Great

In one of greatest displays of superior skill and strength I have ever seen in pro-cycling Fabian Cancellara last night literally rode away with this years Paris-Roubaix title.
I cant remember seeing anything so impressive since Lance Armstrong was at his dominating best in the Tour de France.
To literally look around at the best cyclists in the world and then ride away from - solo - with 45km of flat racing remaining is rarely if ever seen in pro-cycling.
Cancellara's performance has elevated him to not only global cycling superstar status but global sports star in general, because at the moment Cancellara is clearly the best and most exciting athlete in his sport in a similar way that Tiger Woods is in golf and Usain Bolt is in Athletics.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Freo beats Geelong by 7.

Freo beat Geelong by 7 points at subi to wrap up round 3.
6/8 for this round. Not bad.
I had a nice return to running tonight along the little swan point track. The best running trail in Launceston and right on my front door. Only 3k but its a start. Its good to be running again.

Going Bush, Sunday, 5pm on Southern Cross - Watch the show that Forestry Tasmanian doesnt want you to know how many of your taxpayer dollars is being wasted on.

A story from ABC online about "Going Bush" - The Tasmanian government's propaganda show about the Tasmanian woodchip industry which you are paying for . Without doubt the lamest show on TV.

Forestry takes FOI dispute to court -
Posted Thu Apr 1, 2010 9:40am AEDT
A freedom of information dispute between Forestry Tasmania and the Tasmanian Ombudsman has been taken to the Supreme Court.
In mid-March, State Ombudsman Simon Allston made a ruling regarding the disclosure of costs associated with Forestry Tasmania's television program, Going Bush.
The general manager of Forestry Tasmania, Hans Drielsma, says the disclosure of such information could harm their commercial competitiveness and is calling on the Supreme Court to review the Ombudsman's ruling.
"The matter related to the issue of whether the release of information would or would not lead to competitive disadvantage for Forestry Tasmania...because of the significance of that particular issue we are seeking a review," he said.
Mr Allston says he is will not comment on the matter until the details of the ruling are made public.

Time to get fit again.

Time to get fit again. Swam 2k at acquatic centre this morning. Aiming to get my 1k time under 14 minutes.
Put on way too much paunch in the last year. Having said that, as soon as I finished my swim today i went straight to Le appetite' de jacques in Wellington street and purchased le whopper' value meal.

Tour of the Basque Country. Tassie update.

The 2010 edition of the Tour of the Basque country in spain has finished.
The race was taken out by Lance Armstrong's Radioshack teammate Chris Horner.
Launceston cyclists Richie Porte and Wes Sulzberger finished 109th and 47th respectively. Both great performances.
Dont miss the "Queen of the classics" the Paris-Roubaix from 10pm tonight on SBS tv.
This race is an absolute must for cycling fans. Tasmanians Cameron Wurf and Matt Goss are racing.
The favourites are Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Saints beat a tiring collingwood

Saints beat a tiring collingwood at Etihad tonight, keeping them goalless in the 2nd half after Nick Riewoldt and Sam Fisher were taken from the ground with serious injuries. A huge, huge amount of heart shown by the saints tonight. 3 from 3 saints. You little beauty!

Has Will Hodgman done a Herschelle Gibbs?

It was one of the most sensational dropped catches ever.

South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs is still remembered for dropping an easy catch off Australian captain Steve Waugh during the 1999 one day international cricket World Cup in England.

Immediately after Gibbs had dropped the catch, Steve Waugh left his crease and famously said to Gibbs "you just dropped the World Cup mate".

And thats exactly how it turned out. Australia beat South Africa and went on to win the world cup.

Herschelle Gibbs has never lived it down

A week or so back it appeared almost certain that Will Hodgman would be Premier.

Hodgman senior and Hodgman jnr were convinced. Most Tasmanians were convinced.

However it would appear Will may have pushed his luck a bit too far thumbing his nose at the Greens offer of a power sharing deal.

Was wee young Will pushed by the right wing of the party to take this stance?

Now the Governor has asked the Premier to continue governing and the greens have done as they always said they would, to act in the interests of stable government and work with the government of the day.

Hodgman was given an opportunity to form government and he dropped the ball.

Will Hodgman made the fundamental error of ignoring the fact that it is the guv that giveth and the guv that taketh away. Now Will is acting like a spoilt brat and me thinks he may have just dropped his personal political equivalent of the world cup.

Has William Hodgman's allowed his one and only chance to be Tasmanian Premier slip through his fingers?

Listening to Will Hodgman's atonishingly brattish & unstatesmanlike tantrum on radio today  it became increasingly apparent to me that Will Hodgman is a politician of little substance and skill. Sorry Will.

The Tasmanian Liberal party is now run by the conservative right with power brokers like Eric Abetz working in the shadows.

As I have stated previously this faction will want to make the experienced & smooth-talkin god-botherer Michael Ferguson party leader as soon as Will Hodgman begins to slide in the popularity stakes.
If this happens Will Hodgman WILL rue the day he thumbed his nose at the chance to negotiate a power-sharing government with the Greens.

Dont take any notice of Hodgmans bragging about his prinicipled stance. That wont be any consolation when talk of what could have been comes up at family bbq's

The Hodgman boy who was born to rule but blew the chance. Ouch!!!