Monday, May 31, 2010

Evans predicts a great future for Ritchie Porte

Australians win all secondary jerseys of the Giro d'Italia
By: Jean-François Quénet - May 30, - Giro d'Italia, Stage 21

Australian riders won the points classification, the king of the mountain prize and the best young rider classification in the 2010 Giro d'Italia thanks to Cadel Evans, Matt Lloyd and Richie Porte. Never before has a rider from Down Under won a major secondary classification at the corsa rosa.
Phil Anderson came the closest in 1990 when he won the Intergiro, a temporal classification based on midway points for every stage. The leader wore a blue jersey.
"I came here for the pink jersey to be honest," said overall contender Evans, whose consistency netted him the points classification jersey. It is no longer cyclamen this year, but red.
"It was a great finish to the Giro and so thanks to the organisers for a great race," said the World Champion. The points jersey was some consolation for a missed opportunity to win a Grand Tour as Evans battled sickness during the Giro and did not have as strong of a team as some of the other favorites. "Some stages were amazing, and we didn't know what was going to happen next," he said. "I'm satisfied with my Giro."
Evans was full of praise for his young compatriots, the other classification winners. "I was very impressed with Matt yesterday," said Evans. "He showed his depth and rode above himself. The same for Richie. I first met him when he was reserve for the Australian worlds team. He's been in hiding, but now everyone knows his name and what he's capable of. Matt can go for other stages and mountain jerseys. Richie learned, and it was a learning curve that will help him during the rest of his career. I wish him all the best."
When Lloyd went on stage to get the green jersey of the mountains classification, he hadn't had a chance to research which other riders had won this classification previously. His name joins those of Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Hugo Koblet, Louison Bobet, Charly Gaul, Federico Bahamontes, Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx, Lucien van Impe, Laurent Fignon, Robert Millar, Andy Hampsten, Lucio Herrera, Claudio Chiappucci, Marco Pantani, José Rujano and Stefano Garzelli in the record books. The mountains classification was implemented in 1933.
"I haven't got the words to describe the Giro after three weeks of racing," the Victorian from Omega Pharma-Lotto said. "We did three or four days in Holland. That was really difficult for me with the flat and the wind. Then we went up and down the country. It's a difficult country, and the mountains were in the last week. It was fantastic to the finish. It was something special.
"I didn't think I could win the green jersey, but thanks to my team I became more and more comfortable in it. I got great help from my team. Yesterday was my last chance to emphasize my climbing ability and confront these guys. It was fantastic and I can't ask for more from my Giro."
Porte is the true revelation of the three weeks of Giro d'Italia racing. "I came here with pretty modest expectations. It's been a hell of a trip for me. My team has been incredible but so has the Italian public. In some small villages, all the people were out, and so the future looks bright for cycling."
"There are some good young guys coming through like (Bauke) Mollema and (Robert) Kiserlovski," said Porte. "Yesterday, I was in a world of pain, but my teammates pulled me back."
"I'm quite young to the sport, but when I look at these guys (Evans and Basso), they're incredible and at the next level. Cadel was fantastic with me. He didn't have to be, but I was able to really appreciate that, just like I was with my teammates (Gustav) Larsson and (Nicki and Chris) Sørensen. It's good to have great champs who are willing to help."
An emotional Porte had a few words to sum up his experience: "Thanks to Italy for a great race."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Porte to finish 6th overall in Giro and win you riders white jersey.

With only a short time trial remaining Ritchie Porte will finish 6th in the Giro d italia, one place behind fellow Aussie cadel Evans. Portey will also take the prestigious young riders white jersey.
A stunning Grand tour debut.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Investors cheer as Gay goes. SMH readers say take you pulp mill with you John - see poll

and more news on Gay's departure.......,gunns-chairman-steps-down.aspx

New anti-mill group Friends of the Tamar Valley have vowed to join the fight to ensure the proposed Tamar Valley mill is never built. Yesterday, Tasmania's print and electronic media featured the 'coming out' of this group and gave the story good coverage. The story was also picked up nationally (see above links).
Locally both Win & Southern Cross TV featured the launch of FOTV.
Curiously, local anti-pulp mill website the Tasmanian Times did not feature the FOTV launch instead burying the FOTV media release in its back links.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friends of Tamar Valley tell local media Tamar Valley mill is dead.

From ABC news
Debate hots up on pulp mill future
Updated 3 hours 25 minutes ago
Forestry industry talks and the resignation of Gunns' chairman have restarted the debate over a proposed pulp mill in Tasmania's north.
John Gay was with the company for 37 years and was a major driver of the proposed $2 billion Tamar Valley pulp mill.
Former premier Paul Lennon has told ABC Local Radio the current industry crisis talks and a downturn in international wood chip markets had vindicated Mr Gay's determination.
"A mill must be built in Tasmania. If it's not, then the forest industry will wither on the vine," Mr Lennon said.
Australian Greens leader Bob Brown believes the mill project is still alive.
Senator Brown says Mr Gay's departure opens the way for alternative pulp mill proposals.
"The pulp mill as conceived by John Gay is dead in the water with its chlorine with its destruction of native forests and wildlife and pollution but it doesn't say that it's off the drawing board," he said.
Mr Gay's resignation coincides with the formation of a new anti-mill group.
The Friends of the Tamar Valley's Judith King says Mr Gay stepping down should deliver a clear signal to government that the mill is finished.
"But we also wants Gunns to deliver that signal, to say that the mill is finished."
She says her group will work with others to stop the mill being built.

Breaking anti-mill group forms in Tamar Valley....Friends of the Tamar release


"A new community group, Friends of the Tamar Valley, has formed with the intention of working with other concerned Tasmanians to stop the proposed Tamar Valley Pulp Mill.
Friends of the Tamar Valley's membership & supporters are from a broad cross section of the Tamar Valley community and are united in their determination to stop this unwanted pulp mill from ever being built.
The pulp mill would be detrimental to the Tamar Valley, risking human health, the environment, the local economy and lifestyles” said Judith King, a member of Friends of the Tamar Valley and resident in the area.
“The resignation of John Gay from Gunns & Southern Star coincides with the inauguration of Friends of the Tamar Valley and only serves to strengthen the group’s objective to ensure the pulp mill does not proceed” Ms King. “Mr Gay's resignation should deliver a clear signal to the Bartlett government that the mill is finished.
“Premier Bartlett must show integrity & reconnect with the people of the Tamar Valley by immediately withdrawing any & all government support. He must also repeal the Pulp Mill Assessment Act and allow the Tamar Valley Community the same justice, certainty and the right to a future that it gave the Gunns logging company over 3 years ago when it fast-tracked its pulp mill. This is long overdue.”
For further information contact: Judith King
Phone: 0419 572 539

Thursday, May 27, 2010

John Gay retires from Gunns and Southern Star corp.

After Gunns shares plummet, massive media speculation and rumours of intense pressure from investors and within Gunns itself, John Gay finally takes a hike. Did he jump or was he pushed (cough, cough)?

Gunns shares close at a massive 27.5 cents

This is what some of Tasmania's brown nose politicians said.

Premier David Bartlett - "I was just getting used to the sound of his voice. Now who will be there to pull me into line?"When John told me to backflip, I backflipped so hard I nearly put out my back & nearly lost my job"

Opposition Leader Will Hodgman  - "When John said jump, all of us in the Tasmanian Liberals said 'how high'. I will miss taking oders from John. When John stuck the boots into the RPDC i was right there beside him agreeing all the way. I just love Gunns"

Rene Hidding "I wanted to have dinner with John every night. Thats what i said."

Peter Gutwein "I was right there with John when those greenies drew a green squiggly dick on his front fence"

Michael Aird - "I went to Europe with John"

Lara Giddings - "So did I"

The rest of the Tasmanian Liberal and Labor parties "So did we. We will miss you Mr Premier"

Kennett cannot chair Forestry Roundtable

What a ridiculous suggestion. Whose idea was this?
Kennett is clearly the wrong amigo because he publicly threw his weight (arguably without knowing a thing about the project) behind the Pulp Mill in his capacity as a  footy mate of Aurora stadium sponsor, Gunns & boofy former premier Paul Lennon .
Jeff Kennett is the president of Hawthorn footy club which has deal with the Tas govt who of course are 100% pro Gunns, pro pulp mill. No coincidence that Kennett came out in support of the pulp mill.
Hawthorn play around 5 matches a year at the heavily Gunns sponsored Aurora Stadium.
Sorry folks. Its just too cosy to work.


For all my swimming mates.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Are the Liberals becoming another Tea Party - by Andrew Bartlett

From Blogotariat

Are the Liberals becoming another Tea Party?
Bartlett's Blog - May 26, 2010 - 8:38pm
For the last few months, I’ve found it hard to shake the idea that the Liberal Party’s overriding approach to politics and policy has deteriorated to a level little better than where the US Republican Party now finds itself. I think the reason why things have sunk this low has a lot to do with the perverted nature of the so-called culture and history wars which were embraced with such fervour by the Howard government.
The public and policy debates engendered by the culture/history wars were driven by political point-scoring opportunities and a desire to reframe public perceptions in a way which fitted a hardline conservative worldview. It is no wonder Malcolm Fraser resigned from the Liberal party – a decision I am sure he would not have taken lightly.
Facts have been an optional extra in any of the arguments used to advance the culture/history war positions. Once a group of people engaging in political debate no longer feel the need to adhere to a reality based framework, and even basic tenets of logic and rationality are readily dispensed with if they get in the way of a desirable slogan or soundbite, then we are really are faced with a very different type of politics.
Just as the Republicans seem to think that, by definition everything Barack Obama is automatically another part of his socialist, big government, big spending, high taxing, pro-Muslim, anti-American, anti-religious, pro-abortion, gun-hating, pro-terrorist plot to destroy America from the inside – so the Liberal-Nationals now seem to feel every action by other parties, no matter how mundane, straight-forward or rational, must immediately be seen as another example of a fundamental threat to whatever it is they decide they believe in this week.
Julie Bishop’s latest bizarre attacks on the very middle of the road decision by the Rudd to eject one Israeli diplomat from Australia in response to that country’s action to forge Australian passports and steal the identities of at least 4 Australian citizens is a small but telling example.
Expelling a diplomat in this sort of circumstance seems like a very stock standard, almost tokenistic going-through-the-motions type of action by Foreign Minister Stephen Smith. Yet Ms Bishop immediately tried to portray this as some sort of anti-Israel action aimed at currying favour with Arab nations. So desperate was she to take a pro-Israel approach, and to suggest that what Israel did was no big deal that she stated that the Australian government (or our spy agency) did the same sort of thing when it came to passport forgery and identity theft.
There is plenty to criticise the Rudd government for, but replacing coherent critiques with knee-jerk shrieking sloganeering is not a good sign. It may even be that this low road approach of manically pushing every negative button in sight could work well electorally – but heaven help us all if it does.
I am not convinced that the Tea Party movement will achieve much politically in the long run other than splinter the Republican vote, but in the mean time they are making any attempt at coherent, rational policy debate in the USA almost impossible. The Liberal’s incoherent, self-contradicting approach on a whole range of policy issues – most worryingly even on economic and tax policy – might be sufficiently obscured by their continuing inchoate war on everything as to provide electoral benefits for them. But once rational thinking is no longer required – in fact becomes an impediment to launching the latest barrage – then there is no guarantee it will ever be returned to at some stage down the track.

Great cycling song by the Style Council & 2 more Style Council classics

Porte's dream continues at the Giro - from

By: Jean-François Quénet Published:  Wednesday, May 26, 2010, Giro d'Italia, Stage 16

Richie Porte (Saxo Bank), leader of the best young rider classification, has been a revelation in this Giro edition.
At his first attempt in a Grand Tour, Richie Porte remains near the top of the Giro d'Italia standings during the third week after producing a solid ride up the Plan de Corones.
He finished 17th and lost only 1:10 to overall favourite Ivan Basso, who now sits just nine seconds ahead of him on general classification while compatriot Cadel Evans remains behind him in fourth place.
More than his position overall, Porte was concerned about the performance of the other contenders for the white jersey of best young rider. "I'm ahead of the other young guys, right?" he asked after descending the podium steps with the traces of rose lipstick on his cheeks to which he's become accustomed... at least until he rejoins his team-mates in the Saxo Bank team bus.
Porte scored a better time than Robert Kiserlovski and Bauke Mollema who finished 31st and 29th respectively. He's 6:21 ahead of the Croatian overall and 12:40 ahead of the Dutchman while Dario Cataldo has moved up thanks to his ninth place at Plan de Corones but he's 11:34 down on Porte in the best young rider classification.
"Uphill time trials aren't really my forte," Porte told Cyclingnews. "But I rode comfortably all day and I'm happy to consolidate my white jersey. I'm having a fantastic Giro d'Italia.
"Thanks to my team, I race stress free. I think this is the most important. I had no idea how I could time trial in the third week of a stage race but I think I've got the legs to do it.
"To bring this white jersey home is a major goal. With teammates like Chris Anker Sørensen who is dedicating himself for me in the climbs, I can be confident."
Porte could well make the top 10 - if not better - in his first attempt at a Grand Tour. "I love my new job," he said with a large smile. "For the GC, realistically, there are big guys chasing behind me. It's gonna be a pretty big war on the road. My position gives me the liberty to not go into the red."
And while the Australian wore the maglia rosa for three days during the Giro's second week, the maglia bianca is the jersey he's after and for good reason - he's a very realistic chance of taking it for keeps on Sunday in Verona"

Getting fit.

Hope you enjoy the piccy of Paper Beach taken this morning. I never get sick of riding in my backyard area of Deviot. 43 chilly km's this a.m from Blackwall Hill, Deviot rd, Paper Beach, Batman bridge, Tamar Ridge.
Plenty of hills today. Have managed about 800km in last 6 weeks which is o.k.
4km of swimming this week and also starting to run after nasty ankle sprain. Loving the autumn weather here in the Tamar Valley.

Frank Strie from Timber workers for Forests says Gunns FSC claims misreported and exaggerated by industry

From Frank Strie......

It’s now time to report the truth in the whole process:

Statement @ 2:45 pm 26th May 2010:

” FSC has not certified Tasmanian native forests or forest products. No forest or plantation in Tasmania has been certified to FSC standards; no Tasmanian forest management company has an FSC Chain of Custody certificate and; no forest or plantation has been certified as complying with even the minimum requirements to enter the FSC supply chain that is FSC Controlled Wood.
Gunns has embarked on a process toward FSC certification but this will take time and change.
Gunns Japanese customers, who are already FSC certified, have had their verification audit approved by their certification body. That means they can obtain non-FSC certified controlled wood from Gunns on the basis that wood from controversial areas (coupes listed by environment groups as containing high conservations values) will be excluded from any shipments to these Japanese customers.”

So reported by Michael Spencer CEO FSC Australia

This in contrast to this ABC headline report: "Timber contractors buoyed by forestry ‘tick’ ABC Local News"
.......... Forest Contractors Association says the FSC certification will help sales. ...
Forestry Tasmania Managing Director Bob Gordon says the announcement debunks the myth that FSC does not certify wood from sustainably managed forests. ...

UBS says 'Gunns Pulp Mill a long shot'.....SMH says "internal" brawling at Gunns......OZ says Gunns "trashed"

The news just gets better and better for everyones favourite logging company. See links below

......"Mr Eastment said there was an internal struggle in the company not unlike the factional dispute tearing apart Gunns's nemesis, The Wilderness Society.

He said ''old-guard'' board members were fighting against new management led by chief executive Greg L'Estrange"

and from the OZ......

and from Business Spectator.........................
........"Things have been difficult for the Tasmanian timber group Gunns since its major banker, ANZ Banking Group, declined to fund its flagship pulp mill in Tasmania. Investors have grown impatient over the years as alternative funding failed to emerge (albeit in tricky conditions). Then there’s been concerns over Gunns’ debt load, anaemic Asian pulp demand, managed investment scheme troubles and a class action in regards to its disclosure over a profit slump – negative sentiment pushed Gunns shares to a record low of 26.5 cents yesterday, with some speculating it will exit the S&P/ASX200 altogether and rumours about its demise as an independent company gathering pace. On the plus side, Gunns has announced some steps on board renewal, non-core asset sales are underway, Deutsche values it at 60 cents per share and its Japanese customers have been granted Forest Stewardship Council “controlled wood status” for wood chips sourced from parts of Tassie".

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gunns shares close down a staggering 24.3% to 26.5cents. The lowest ever?

ABC news reports......"Sydney-based market analyst, Peter Warnes, says four million Gunns shares have been sold, most likely by big institutions.

"I think a lot of people are just fed up with the lack of corporate governance," he said.
Financial analyst Matthew Torenius says this is the lowest Gunns shares (31cents) have been since 1999.
"Much lower and it will be the lowest ever," he said.
"Gunns shares lost almost a quarter of their value today, as nearly five per cent of the company's stocks changed hands.

Shadforths financial analyst Matthew Torenius says it is surprising today's announcement has not boosted the Gunns share price.
"Investors are really spooked," he said.
"We've seen the share price just close down almost 25 per cent today, or 8.5 cents to 26.5 cents.
"Volume today: around 40 million shares traded so that's the heaviest volume in Gunns, in trading in Gunns shares for this year at least."

........from The OZ... Not so great Gunns
IF Gunns Ltd was a start-up company, the analysts wouldn't be looking at it.
Yesterday's $40 million deal with the Lowe's-Woolies-owned hardware outfit Danks & Son is clearly a constructive development for the buyer and particularly for the 283 affected employees but the vendor's market capitalisation is now around the $285m level. Shares in what was once Australia's all-powerful timber giant closed unchanged at 35c yesterday as market watchers mostly changed the subject when the topic of Gunns came up.
It's hardly surprising since the planned $2 billion Tamar River pulp mill is now disappearing over the horizon of the timber group's plans, thanks to the enormous and unfashionable leverage that would now be required to finance it. News from the bunker is sparse and most reports on the company highlight litigation funder IMF's class action, managed by Maurice Blackburn Cashman, alleging Gunns breached its continuous disclosure obligations earlier this year.
Gunns reported a 98.7 per cent profit drop in the half year to December 31, 2009, and the class action alleges the company failed to make the market aware of its deteriorating financial position.
To give you an idea of how well the company is travelling, that news in February knocked the share price down by 22 per cent from 88c to what seemed like a low 68c. Now it's just over half that."

.....from Launcestons financial rock god Jarvis Cocker...."When will the silly suggestions that Gunns is a takeover target come to an end? Takeover targets tend to be companies with share prices well below asset value, or those whose value is misunderstood by the market. I wouldn’t have thought either of those applied to Gunns. In the current economic climate, there isn’t likely to be a buyer for Gunns timber assets regardless of price. I suspect Gunns’ liabilities greatly exceed the recoverable value of assets. Shares have just finished the day trading at 26.5 cents, valuing the company at just slightly more than my local fish and chippery.There isn’t any indication a single buyer is taking any interest. No doubt The Examiner will harp on about Gunns being a target, but I don’t know any institution remotely interested in this sort of basket case. The Board deserve to be [!] (or at least reprimanded by the ASX) for their latest lack of disclosure. Whatever happened to protecting the interests of your shareholders by letting the ASX know why the price is plummeting? I’m sure John and Robin know why".

.........from Business Spectator....
...."Elsewhere, an announcement yesterday saw Woolworths further its hardware ambitions and the unravelling of timber group Gunns, with the retail giant (via Danks) paying $40 million for five Gunns retail stores in Tasmania, as well as a timber joinery centre and truss manufacturing plant".

The Pulp Mill is dead - not so says chemical Ali

First published here by pilko and reproduced by blogotariat

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cyco Killers

Article from The Mercury about idiots who are setting barb wire traps on trails in South Hobart. Catch them and lock em up!
Cycle wire mantrap anger - PHILIPPA DUNCAN, The Mercury

May 23, 2010 08:05am
"POLICE are investigating who laid a barbed-wire mantrap that mauled a mountain biker in South Hobart.
The trap, across a popular walking and cycling track on private land earlier this month, shocked the mountain biking community, which fears someone could be killed.
Nathan Chilcott rode into the barbed wire strung at shoulder height across the track between two trees.
Luckily the wire broke, otherwise the injuries could have been a lot worse than the puncture wounds and bruises on Mr Chilcott's arms.
The bloodied cyclist posted pictures of his injuries on the website, warning others to watch out because "some retard" was putting barbed wire across tracks.
"Something has got to be done about these assholes," he wrote.
Mr Chilcott did not want to speak to the Sunday Tasmanian, but another cyclist, Nathan Meyers, said mountain bikers were worried about the potentially deadly attack on one of their own.
"It is a real concern, this was set up as a mantrap designed to really hurt someone," he said.
"In my opinion, barbed wire across a trail at neck height could certainly cause life-threatening injuries."
Mr Chilcott reported it to Tasmania Police, who said "inquiries have been conducted".
It is not the first time a rider has hit wire in Hobart.
Early last year a woman was lucky to escape serious injury when she hit wire while cycling downhill in Coningham State Recreation Area.
It prompted Commander Peter Edwards to warn offenders they could face jail because of the potential for serious injury.
Mr Meyers said mountain bikers sometimes came across logs and rocks placed in the middle of tracks on Mt Wellington.
He suspected walkers laid the booby traps, not to hurt riders but to slow them down.
"Some walkers believe they have a greater tenure than we do because they have been using the mountain for 100 years and we have only been on it for 10 years," he said.
Wellington Park Management Trust manager Michael Easton condemned the barbed-wire trap.
"This could take a guy's head off," he said.
"If that had happened in Wellington Park we would be absolutely horrified."
He reminded walkers to respect the right of cyclists to use designated tracks on the mountain".

Porte's pink jersey dream ends in Asolo - From

Porte's pink jersey dream ends in Asolo

By: Jean-François Quénet, Published: May 22, 18:31, Updated: May 22, 18:36, Cycling News, Saturday, May 22, 2010, Giro d'Italia

"Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) may have surrendered the pink jersey today, but the Australian still leads the young rider classification.
Rookie Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) has had the pink jersey for three days at the Giro d'Italia but his dream has ended today in Asolo as David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), second place at the start of the day, took over the race lead. The 25-year-old Tasmanian is now only 39 seconds down on general classification but he knows he won't get back in the maglia rosa. However, Porte remains the leader in the best young rider classification.
Climbing over the Monte Grappa, Porte quickly realised he wouldn't be able to accompany the favourites of the Giro d'Italia when the Liquigas-Doimo team started to make the race difficult. Porte did his best to minimize the deficit, though, with the help of several Saxo Bank teammates. "The team was incredible today," Porte said at the finish line. "I can't believe they sacrificed their own race for me."
Porte wasn't disappointed about losing the pink jersey. "I've lost it but I'm content," he said. "Three days in pink are much more than what I could have imagined. I'm a happy man.
"I guess I'm back to my initial goal, which is the white jersey," Porte said. "Robert Kiserlovski [Liquigas-Doimo] is probably my number one rival. He was chasing behind his own teammates, it means he wants to be the best young rider. It's a funny game."
Kiserlovski is 1:56 behind Porte on GC but it will also be interesting to follow the progress of Dutch climbing sensation Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) in the coming mountains where steep hills will make huge differences, starting with the Zoncolan on tomorrow's stage 15"

Saturday, May 22, 2010

MEDIA WATCH -Well done to Tasmanian print & electronic media on its coverage of Tasmanian cyclists in Giro

Tasmanian print & electronic media have rallied behind Ritchie Porte and the other Tasmanian boys at the Giro d Italia.
The ABC local radio in particular have been outstanding with Tim Cox, Rick "hollywood" Fontaine and Peter Niewlands all taking a keen interest.
Indeed, Peter Niewlands dedicated a large chunk of ABC local grandstand to the Giro, including a chat to Tassie Giro cyclist Cameron Wurf from Wurf's team hotel in Italy. Click on the link below and click on "Tasmanian Grandstand" Sat. May 22 at the top of page.

MEDIA WATCH. Spot the conflict of interest

MEDIA WATCH. An excellent and timeless article of a few years back by Greg Barns ....and....a mission statement from TT about what the Tasmanian Times used to be like.

Bloggers note - I stumbled across this older article the other day.
Once upon a time I disagreed with Greg Barns on this.
Not so much anymore.
I certainly dont agree with everything Greg Barns says, nor am i a fan of the Tasmanian logging practices or the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill. That is well known. However i do like to think, talk and write about other things and i believe the left wing media should also

However if forestry is all you ever think about and you can keep your contrarian views to yourself then the Tasmanian Times is for you. Submit an article. Make a comment See what you think.

Greg Barns writing for The Mercury, Monday, June 20, 2005
THE majority of Tasmanians probably don’t know it exists but those in the media and politics certainly do — and it’s won a couple of awards and been written up in The Australian newspaper.
It’s the website tasmanian
The aim of this site—that it “exists to be a forum of discussion and dissent, a cheeky, irreverent challenge to the mass media’s obsession with popularity, superficiality and celebrity’’—is one that’s rarely met.
There is nothing feisty about it. It is self-absorbed and boring, the antithesis of what a challenger to the established print medium ought to be.
Why does it matter? Because, as the owner of this newspaper Rupert Murdoch rightly noted earlier this year, people are turning increasingly to various forms of internet media for the news and information they want.
“We need to realise that the next generation of people accessing news and information, whether from newspapers or any other source, have a different set of expectations about the kind of news they will get, including when and how they will get it, where they will get it from and who they will get it from,’‘ he told a conference of American newspaper editors.
However, if you’re a Tasmanian who wants to find a reliable internet source of information, views and ideas about your state and what’s happening in it, will not help you.
In contrast to other Australian sites, such as Australian Policy Online and onlineopinion (I am a director of the company that owns onlineopinion), which are diverse and intellectually engaging, seems stodgy and complacent.
Like many writers in the state, I have written for and had articles I’ve had published elsewhere republished on the site; I have participated in the online argument and commentary section of the site.
However, I’m always left wondering “Why bother?’’ There’s a cricket team of individuals who dominate the site. Nearly all have a similar world view: that Tasmania is corrupt, dominated by conspiracies and that Bob Brown will save us all one day when he ascends to the green heaven.
Let’s take the fellow who calls himself “phill PARSONS’‘. Here’s the opening paragraph of Mr Parsons’ latest offering, published on June 7:
“Suddenly realising that there is at least a changing climate, perhaps even a looming global emergency, but no, not a crisis, never that, all sorts of reverse and rear-end lights are mouthing on about some need for clean electrical energy’‘.
One assumes Parsons means to tell us there is a debate about energy sources, given the climate change crisis. Then again, maybe not. His opening paragraph is as clear as mud.
Then there’s the character known as “The Hag’‘. Here’s the contributor’s breathless story of May 19 this year:
Hag, shambolically reminiscing on great carousings past, was staggering around the top end of Paterson St, Launceston last week when she thought she saw the eminent Apologist For All Things Forestry, Mont, and former Chief Media Harasser for the Bacon Government, Kenny, heading towards The Examiner building’‘.
Talk about keeping it all in-house. Who the hell are these people? I mean, I know—but does the average reader?
The dominance of forestry on the website is its downfall
Every day (almost literally) there is some person somewhere ranting about Gunns, Forestry Tasmania, the Lennon Government, chemicals in the water, Recherche Bay, log trucks disturbing their kids’ sleep, smoke from forest fires or logging. Rarely is there any attempt made by the site to balance the anti-forestry tirades or to check their accuracy.
Then there’s the comments section. Here, for example, is Mr Paul De Burgh Day, a regular commentator on the site, on the state of Tasmanian democracy:
“Politics anywhere on this darkening planet is all too often dismal in the extreme. Tasmania has to be near the bottom of a slops filled bucket’‘.
Oh, please! Tell that to the people of North Korea, any number of Middle Eastern countries or to those who suffer daily at the hands of megalomaniacal African dictators.
Tasmanians have more politicians and levels of government than they can poke a stick at and the media are as accessible as anywhere in this country.
The site’s layout is dull, uninspiring and reflects the paucity of meaty content that gets uploaded on to it. In an aesthetic sense, the layout is also a poor reflection on the state’s presumed creative capacities.
Tasmanians who seek sources of news, information and entertainment — in addition to the three newspapers that serve the island — deserve better than the myopic and clubhouse style banter of
It might have started its life as a good idea but it has failed for lack of editing, new voices, new issues and decent writing".


Here we stand- From the Tasmanian Times
"As Tasmanian Times has written before following an earlier legal threat (from former Premier Jim Bacon) Tasmanian Times believes that Tasmania’s future is best served by the truth, and so it will continue to bring you the truth about Tasmania, even when it offends and threatens the powerful.
Our masthead comes from a reference in John West’s History of Tasmania (1856). West was in a great Tasmanian tradition of dissenting journalists that begins with Henry Melville, who was imprisoned by Governor Arthur for his views.
John West — ironically — the Editor of the Launceston Examiner in a period when that paper was a major force for change in mid-nineteenth century Tasmania, went on to become the first great editor of the Sydney Morning Herald …
Defamation law is complex. Tasmanian Times urges its readers to study it for themselves. Of particular relevance are Sections 13, 14, 15:
Tasmanian Times exists to to be a forum which takes seriously a democratic society’s right for individuals to express their opinion on issues heartfelt or fleeting. Tasmanian Times is particularly concerned with issues of justice and the just treatment of individuals.
This forum is open to allcomers.
Tasmanian Times takes seriously its role as a forum which will publish all views. It has published immediately trenchant criticism of itself – witness Premier Paul Lennon’s statement that it is “f … g useless”.
(Cough, cough, splutter, choke, splutter....oh please!)

BLOGGERS NOTE - This blogger can testify from personal experience that once upon a time the Tasmanian Times did live up to the above mission statement. 
Well at least i thought it did.
I personally dedicated hundreds of hours of writing articles and comment for the website over a 6 year period. All of which i gave freely. I had many nervous days hoping i would not go to the letter box to find a nasty lawyers letter from some polly or businessman I had offended.
I was never paid a cent for my writing. When the editor asked for more, I gave more,  putting my neck on the chopping block by writing articles critical of powerful Tasmanian politicians and companies like Gunns.
However I noticed a distinct change once my articles dried up and I started to question some of the comment being written by Tasmanian Times stable of uber green opinion makers. When i tried to blow the whistle on some of the nastier going's on in the local environmental movement I hit a brick wall at the Tasmanian Times.
When my critical comments did make it to print (benign that it was) all of sudden I started recieving abusive emails, phone calls & threats of litigation from zealots and hard nosed idealogues on the site. People i once thought were friends turned on me savagely.
My comments were being censored, something that had never occured previously. I had to struggle, argue &cprotest to have the most benign comment published. All of a sudden I became dispensible and was eventually shut out.  Things were o.k whilst i was writing media analysis critical of other Tasmanian media outlets, however when I focussed my pen on TT and some of its content things got difficult.

The last paragraph of TT's mission statement says.....
........."Tasmanian Times takes seriously its role as a forum which will publish all views. It has published immediately trenchant criticism of itself – witness Premier Paul Lennon’s statement that it is “f … g useless. This is robust, honest reaction. We welcome it."


Friday, May 21, 2010

Gunns share price 34 cents. Down 30% in 7 days and over 90% since Pulp Mill proposal announced in late 2004

John Gay once promised Tasmanians that the proposed pulp mill would be 100% owned by Gunns, would deliver umpteen thousand full time jobs to local Tasmanians and umpteen billion dollars into local coffers.
He also said the Mill would be built and running by 2009. Its now half way through 2010 and not only do Gunns not have the money, we now know that the prospects of even a 50% Tasmanian owned mill are remote, just as the likelihood of the project ever getting off the ground. People in and associated with the industry have already admitted that Tasmanians will be lucky to get any of the work associated with construction of the mill.
Gunns financial situation is as dire as I have ever seen it and as market continues to be unimpressed by the so called "company restructure" the share price is in freefall.
One local financial analyst said this week that building the pulp mill was imperative for Gunns as the company couldnt afford to write off the $150 million plus it had thus far capitalised on the project. I'm no economist but I would argue that it is not sound or safe for anyone involved to build a $2.5-3 Billion dollar heavy industrial project for such a reason. And that is before we even begin to talk about the existing problem of the project already being on the nose with everyone except a few politicians and lumberjacks.


Crashed & Burnt. Could this be the end of the road for Lance?

Excellent articles about Portey from cycling news & The Mock

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My beautiful Tamar Valley.

Driving home from the pool this a.m along the West Tamar Highway, the Tamar Valley and the river looks so stunning. It steels me to keep fighting and speaking out against the insane proposal to build one of the world's largest and smelliest pulp & chemical facilities in this area. On the radio they sa that Gunns shares have dipped to 36cents. Another fall of 10%. Whilst i do not wish ill of Gunns employees I am happy to see this company in decline as long as they persist with their pie in the sky plan to build a pulp mill in place for which it was never intended and it is not wanted.

Richie Porte rides into historic Giro d Italia maglia rosa

Mike Tomalaris on twitter said  "It took Cadel 8 years to wear Giro pink again and @porteye does it in the second week in his debut appearance in his first pro year".

Today was the Giro's longest stage a 262km jaunt to my mums home region, abbruzzo finishing in the recently earthquake struck L'Aquila. Once again the riders were faced with atrocious conditions.
Porte managed to get himself in a large breakaway group of 50 riders which inclued GC contenders Sastre and Wiggins.
Porte crossed the line with this group which finished the stage more than 12 minutes in front of the maglia rosa group containing Vinokourov, Basso, Nibali & Cadel Evans. This means Porte will take a 10 minute plus lead on this group of contenders into tomorrows stage. Porte will lead the race by 1.42secs from David Arroyo. Incredible.
By my reckoning Porte is the first Tasmanian ever to wear the leaders jersey in any Grand Tour.
Congratulations Ritchie. More on this tomorrow. Back to the live coverage to watch the prestation.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Boot on the other foot?

Company, IMF Australia has told the ASX it proposes to fund class action by Gunns investors alleging misleading and deceptive conduct by Gunns directors.

Late today Maurice Blackburn Lawyers also announced potential shareholder action against Gunns Ltd

It is proposed that a representative or class action proceeding be instituted against Gunns Limited (Gunns) as a result of its alleged failure to disclose material information to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) concerning its performance during the six month period ended on 31 December 2009 (1H2010).

Gunns shares closed down 9% today to 40.5cents.

See links below

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Abott you rabbit! Check out the new Dan Quayle of Australian politics.

It seems its o.k for god botherers to lie if they are politicians. Cause its o.k for pollies to lie....right?
Plus rude Rudd strikes again with ETS backflip tanty. ABC's 7.30 report website
(see videos 'Angry Rudd defends ETS backflip' & 'Abbott quizzed on mixed message')

Articles from Cyclingnews on Matty Goss and his stage 9 win. Only 2nd Tasmanian ever to win grand tour stage.

Excellent article in todays Mercury about Richie Porte

Monday, May 17, 2010

Greens more popular than Labor. Deep green cyncics have egg on face.

From the Tasmanian Times website.

Not a great advertisement for country footy.

Mama's dont let your babies grow up to play country footy!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mama's dont let your babies grow up to be saints supporters.

Saints lose to Bombers. What a disgraceful capitulation by the St.Kilda football club. From Premiership favourites to losing to lowly Essendon & barely hanging in the eight. Next week the Saints travel to subiaco where I predict they will be flogged by a resurgent Eagles. Goodbye Finals. Goodbye 2010. Stkilda you are pathetic.

Article on Richie Porte from Cyclingnews. Portey has regained young riders white jersey.

Aussies at the Giro
Cadel Evans 2nd, 1.12 down
Richie Porte 10th 2.00
Baden Cooke 32nd 12.18
Matt Goss 52nd 21.34
Matt Lloyd 83rd 33.17

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Great article on Shipsterns Bluff from The Mercury

On the crest of a wave - SHAUN WALLBANK
The Mercury - May 15, 2010 09:33am

FOR the uninitiated the giant surf is untouchable. but Shipstern Bluff can be tamed, says Shaun Wallbank.
I'M usually a really good sleeper but on the eve of an impending surf session at Shipstern Bluff I toss and turn for hours.
It's impossible not to think about the next day, it sneaks back into the subconscious no matter how many sheep are counted.
I visualise riding a Shipstern wave in my head, playing it start to finish over and over again.
It's a curious concept because planning for the ride is hopeless anyway, the wave is so unpredictable.
This can be best explained by the architecture of the seabed below it.
The rock shelf under the cliff at Shipstern is a series of platforms approximately 10 metres long which make up huge steps down into the ocean.
These platforms provide the jump-off area where the shelf drops off into deep water.
At the top of the point the rock shelf protrudes further out into the ocean which forms the reef for the waves to break on.
As ocean swells that have travelled thousands of kilometres over deep sea meet the shallow bombie they lurch towards the shore with so much force it creates a barrel big enough to stack two b-doubles inside without even touching the sides.
The structure of the reef is further mirrored in the wave face as it reveals bumps and kinks while it hurls itself over huge underwater boulders.
For a successful ride at Shipstern, one first needs to navigate their way down this series of steps and get to the bottom of the wave.
Before explaining the rest of the ride, it is necessary to revisit the elements of surfing.
The fundamental purpose of surfing is to stay as close to the breaking part of the wave as possible every manoeuvre is based around this principle.
The Association of Surfing Professionals judging guidelines stipulate that riders are awarded points for critical manoeuvres within the critical part of the wave.
Riding inside the barrel is considered the ultimate display of control over this critical space and attracts maximum points in competition.
This practice is also widely acknowledged as the ultimate euphoria for a surfer and the level of euphoria can be reasonably related to the size of the barrel the bigger the barrel the better the reward.
Shipstern produces barrels about as big as they come, so for a surfer this is one of the best kicks you can get.
I was talking to a medical expert and close friend of mine the other day about the nature of adrenalin.
He was explaining in simple terms how the body reacts to such a chemical and we chatted about the phenomenon of "adrenalin junkies".
It actually is real, he confirmed. There are people who become addicted to the feeling they get when adrenalin is released within their body commonly known as the rush.
I don't think I'm one of these people but I do know that standing beneath the lip of a section at Shipstern sure activates a few endorphins.
After one has negotiated the steps in the face it's time to position the board and pick a line through the barrel.
There is so much water sucking up the face that it's important to get the right angle aim too high you become a projectile in the lip, too low and you risk losing speed and being engulfed by the breaking wave.
From here it's pretty much said and done. If you picked the right line you are about to go home a very happy person, if you didn't ... that's bad.
A wipeout at Shipstern is a story in its own right: each cubic metre of water weighs one tonne.
Let us consider the physics of that equation for a moment. If you could measure precisely the amount of water held in a shipstern wave it would be more than 100 tonnes of weight.
Wearing the impact of the lip can leave you feeling numb and wondering whether all your limbs are in fact still attached.
The best thing I can compare it to is an electric shock impossible to fathom until it hits you.
It would be amazing to see what a wipeout looks like underwater. There would be some extreme bouts of contortion going on under the surface.
There's only one good thing about a wipeout down there once you've been shoved to the bottom, dragged back up 10 metres and whipped back down again but survived you know the worst is over.
Like the wave in general it's brief but intense.
Hopefully you have avoided the wipeout and ideally you're now crouched inside an auditorium of water which feels like a vacuum as seconds pass like minutes.
Just as you're starting to feel comfortable and the light at the end of the tunnel gets closer the whole wave takes a gasp of air like a gigantic lung.
Upon exit, air and water is ejected from the barrel so hard and so fast the force is enough to knock a man from his board.
Your face and lips and ears are lashed with spray and it stings for minutes afterwards.
As you pull onto the shoulder and the consequent safety of deep water it's hard to contain your excitement.
It's considered conceited to celebrate your ride, but inside I'm dancing like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Friday, May 14, 2010

No compromise on Tamar Valley Pulp Mill say's Wilderness Society

How would you like to earn your money doing this? The mountain climbs that face the riders in this years Giro d Italia

I got butterflies just reading it. Ouch!!

TAP spokesman scathing of industry support package

TAP spokesman Bob McMahon writing on the Tasmanian Times today....

..TAP is part of the process and has always been part of the process. There are many members of TAP who have a thorough knowledge of forestry and forest (mis)management over the years, as well as a knowledge of the lengths to which government will cook the books to aid and abet certain elements of the benighted logging industry.

TAP’s view of yet another Labor handout to the logging industry is very similar, and I would guess identical, to the views of a logging contractor with whom I spent Friday morning in discussion.
I promised I would represent his views in upcoming discussions next week.
In brief, he was totally opposed (in extremely pithy terms) to the government throwing money, money that should be spent on health or housing, at a dead horse. The reasons are many and it is not possible to canvas them here, nor is it possible to even mention some of them in public. Grubby stuff as you can guess.
The message of opposition to hand-outs is coming to me loud and clear from just about everyone I bump into. People are implacably opposed to Bryan Green playing the hero and throwing bundles of money at his chosen mates. Do we have an audit on where the last rescue package ended up and on what it was spent? Let natural selection run its course is the clear message outside the halls of power and influence.
When the beggars in the logging industry, like Terry Edwards, Chippers and a bunch of contractors, talk of supporting the industry until the good times roll round again, they mean until such time as the pulp mill gets built.
Give ‘em nothing and take ‘em nowhere. It’s transition time boys and girls. Get on board or die like the dinosaur in the tar pit.

Posted by Bob McMahon on 14/05/10 at 06:08 PM

Premier announces $3.6 Million support package for contractors. $5.4million given so far this year.

Nick Mckim and Forests minister Bryan Green will make reccomendations to the Premier on stakeholders who should sit at upcoming forestry roundtable.

Time for all interested parties to pick up the phone>

Check out this article in today's Examiner on the logging industry crisis
Also check out the readers comments below the article

You have got to be joking Terry Edwards!!

For Terry Edwards and the logging industry to expect residents & businesses of Launceston and the Tamar Valley to "swing" behind the proposed Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill is akin to a person who has broken his word & abused his neighbour to then demand that they remain friends. You have got to be joking Terry. It will never happen.
More grist for Gunns pulp mill
From The Australian - Matthew Denholm, Tasmania correspondent From: The Australian May 14, 2010 12:00AMA COMPROMISE on the Gunns pulp mill will be on the table at proposed formal negotiations between conservationists and Tasmania's timber industry.
Elements of both camps appear willing to discuss the stalled, $2.5 billion mill as part of historic negotiations, revealed by The Australian yesterday, seeking a solution to the decades-long conflict.
Forest Industries Association of Tasmania chief executive Terry Edwards yesterday said the future of the Tamar Valley mill "absolutely" needed to be part of the negotiations.
"We would like to see one of the outcomes of the discussions (being) a pulp mill that is supported by all players," Mr Edwards told The Australian. "These discussions are going to have to require compromise.
"To date all of the compromises have come from the industry side: the FSC certification that Gunns has talked about, the move to plantation-only feedstock."
Some mill opponents, such as businessman Geoffrey Cousins, have indicated a willingness to swing behind the project if Gunns refreshes its boards and adopts Forest Stewardship Council accreditation and total chlorine-free bleaching.
The location of the proposed but stalled project in the Tamar Valley, home to an emerging wine and tourism industry, would remain a stumbling block.
Labor Premier David Bartlett yesterday warned that the industry, struggling to survive a deep and protracted downturn, "must change" to survive.
He will meet industry representatives today and is expected to be asked to fund an independent mediator and the provision of independent data to serve as the basis for broader talks.
"Our industry is approaching crisis," Mr Bartlett said. "If we are to have an ongoing place in world markets for our forestry products, we have to change.
"I am determined to lead the way so that in years . . . to come we have a forest industry that is strong and sustainable."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paloma Faith Rocks. Check her out on Jools Holland Show.

Paloma Faith Rocks. Check her out on Jools Holland Show.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Top ten pop/rock falsetto songs - as heard on Tim Cox's (with 'music man' Mark Cutler) ABC mornings program 12/5/2010

1 - Don’t stop till you get enough – Michael Jackson
From Michael Jackson’s best album “Off the Wall”. Watch the music video to this song and you see a young, soulful and naturally handsome Michael Jackson oozing cool & self assurance and dance genius. He wrote, he sung and he danced it. Slick, soulful and his best song ever. Jacko’s Zenith.

2 -Small-town Boy – Bronski Beat
Cry boy cry!
The moving story of a young Gay man, his rejection by peers and his family The song is powerful & one of the most unforgettable tunes to come out of the 80’s. Jimmy Somerville’s vocals are staggeringly beautiful. Soooooo close to getting the nod for no.1

3 -Good Vibrations – Beach Boys
I realise that I may get slapped for not having this at No 1. Anyway who doesn’t appreciate this song. The best beach boy’s song ever? Probably. Complex & ahead of its time just like the bloke who wrote it.

4- More than a woman – Bee Gees
It would be criminal not to have a bee gees song on this list. This song is a bee gees masterpiece & a huge favourite of mine, not only because it is such a beautiful song but because it evokes images and feelings of Saturday Night Fever and the disco era. Get the movie out again Tim.

5- Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
I defy anyone to listen to this song and not like it. I only came to appreciate this version recently. If you know nothing about the singer who unfortunately passed away a few years back check out the video of the song on You Tube. Israel was one big unit but oh what a voice.

6- Corpus Christi – Jeff Buckley
Not everyone’s cup of tea I know. For me though when I listen to this song I imagine Jeff Buckley pitching this song’s place on his Grace album to the hard headed record execs. Only Buckley could get away with this. What a voice, what an artist. Along with Kurt Cobain the biggest loss to rock music since Lennon died.

7 - It aint over - Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz at the peak of powers. Super cool song and interestingly apart from the string and horn sections, Lenny played all the instruments on the song.

8 –I get around – Beach Boys
An early BB classic, but its hard to find a better BB song. Definitely in my top 5 Beach Boys songs.

9 - Who was that masked Man – Van Morrison
From the album Veedon Fleece, Van’s most underrated album. Flawless, incredible soul singing, a wonderful lyric and beautiful acoustic guitar. Timeless masterpiece

10 – Insincere because I - Dandy Warhols
From the Welcome to the Monkey House album. The song has a simple yet beautiful hymnal quality. The Dandy’s have this ability to write beautiful soaring melodies and sonic masterpieces and this song is one.

Saxobank Team mate Andy Schleck writing in his diary on Richie Porte

"One race that has looked really tough is the Giro. I managed to catch a bit of the first few stages and while I can’t comment on the route, I have to say that my teammate Richie Porte is doing a great job in his first Grand Tour. In case you don’t know, it’s also his first year as a professional and right now, going into the first rest day, he’s second overall and leading the white jersey competition. Impressive.

It reminds me of 2007, when I won the same competition and finished second overall. It’s a really long race and the last thing Richie needs is pressure on his shoulders right now, but I hope he does a good ride and if he stays upright, he’ll get the support from our team".

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Check out Cadels diary entry from stage 3 - ouch!!

Tasmanian cyclists experience unprecedented success at Giro

After the prologue and first two stages of the Giro d Italia Launceston cyclists Richie Porte is an unbelievable 2nd overall same time as Alex Vinokourov who leads) and Matt Goss 6th.
Today is a rest day and then tomorrow see the Team Trial, which may see Porte become the first Tasmanian and only the fifth Australian to wear the maglia rosa.
Cadel Evans who wore the pink jersey going into the stage was caught out and dropped from the front group in the crosswinds and lost 43 seconds. Importantly for Evans his main competion Carlos Sastre & Bradley Wiggins lost more time than Evans. Evans should be able to make this time back up in the time trials and mountain stages.
In the meantime fingers crossed for Portey and Gossy and lets hope we can one of these boys into the leaders jersey

Monday, May 10, 2010

Disgraceful Saints.

St.Kilda can forget about flags this year after tonights disgraceful display.
 They have won 2 out of the last 12 quarters and tonights last quarter was simply horrible. The way Stkilda are playing they will be lucky to make the eight.
Note to Ross Lyon - Your obsession with possession is killing us. Some times cobber, its better just to bloody kick the thing and back your big men up the ground. Drop zac dawson (he is costing us big time and Raph Clark needs a kick in the arse too) and get goddard back in defence. Get Brett Peake and Robert Eddy back also. We need pace. Get a plan B and remind the players they are allowed to kick the friggin ball as well as handball. 50 or 60 points aint gunna win games either Tiger.

Tassie Cyclists smashing it up in U.S & at Giro d Italia

 Stage 1 Giro.

Matt Goss from tassie 2nd in the stage.

Cadel Evans goes into the maglia rosa (pink leaders jersey)

Richie Porte moves up to 4th on the overall GC and remains in young riders white jersey.

Through Twitter PorteY said porteye "Hectic day, still in the White jersey! My team were awesome in keeping me out of trouble. Happy to see fellow Tassie lad Matt Goss 2nd".

At the Joe Martin stage race in the U.S another Tassie boy and former triathlete Karl Menzies won the final criterium and finished 6th on the overall classification followed in 7th by Flowery Gully's Bernie Sulzbereger.
In the womens race Aussie girl Alexis Rhodes won the final crit.

Huge day for Tassie, huge day for Aus riders.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Interesting read by Sue Neales at the Mercury

Neales makes some valid points in this article about the Greens first week in parliament and what it might mean for them in the future. Neales certainly doesnt hold back.
Greens need more humility - SUE NEALES from The Mercury - May 08, 2010 08:21am

Instead of humility in victory, arrogance reigned too often for the Greens this week.

THE first two days of the new-look Tasmanian Parliament this week were an unusually uncomfortable, scrappy and vicious affair.
The most charitable view would be that with 11 new MPs sitting in the 25-member House of Assembly for the first time since the March state election, it was always going to be a vastly different parliament.
Add to that the new dynamics of a chastened but gleefully returned minority Labor government back in power by the skin of its teeth, to the dismay of an embittered but enlarged Liberal Opposition, and the stage was set for a showdown.
But the unknown in the pack was always going to be how the five members of the Tasmanian Greens would play their newly dealt "power-sharing" hand.
With Greens leader Nick McKim and fellow Greens MP Cassy O'Connor now sitting at Labor's power Cabinet table -- and Labor reliant on this pact with a "wolf in sheep's clothing" to remain in power -- it was clear the parliamentary role adopted by the balance-of-power Greens would be the catalyst to the success of the "new paradigm" of governance in Tasmania.
Unfortunately, if the first parliamentary week was anything to judge by, the Greens have not yet found the right tenor for their party to adopt on the floor of the House.
Instead of humility in victory, arrogance reigned too often, as well as the sense the two Greens were trying to be "more Labor than Labor".
It was not helped by confusion, especially in Labor ranks, about exactly what responsibilities the new Greens ministers have, and how closely or not that will bind the Greens to government policies.
Mr McKim and his colleagues have spent much time talking about the "unique dynamics" and unrivalled opportunities for Tasmania in the new Labor-Greens model of government sealed two weeks ago.
It saw Mr McKim made Human Services, Corrections, Climate Change, Alternative Energy and Community Development Minister in a nine-member Labor Cabinet, with Ms O'Connor also handed a seat at the table of executive government as Cabinet Secretary.
The cosy arrangement -- particularly awkward and compromising given Ms O'Connor is also Mr McKim's partner -- essentially delivers two ministerial positions to the Greens while allowing Premier Bartlett to portray it as just one Greens minister.
But while Ms O'Connor cannot officially call herself a fully fledged minister, she has almost all the power and perks -- the chauffeur-driven limousine, the extra staff, the big office and a boosted salary.
Ms O'Connor has also made it plain she believes she has full responsibility and authority, both within the bureaucracy of executive government and on the floor of Parliament.
With the two senior Greens members now an integral part of the new Labor Government -- or "inside the tent pissing out", as some Labor MPs have privately explained the Labor-Greens deal -- the Greens as the third political party in the Tasmanian Parliament were always going to have to find a new role post-election.
No longer could they possibly hope to occupy the high moral ground in the House, adopting the time-honoured role of "keeping the bastards [on both sides] honest".
Nor could the Greens continue to act as the chief political opponents to Labor -- a task they have executed in the past four years to the detriment of two former deputy premiers in Bryan Green and Steve Kons and, ultimately, premier Paul Lennon.
The Greens describe their new arrangement with Labor in different ways. Tim Morris cutely says his colleagues are just helping out, "assisting" Labor with its ministerial workload.
Ms O'Connor and Mr McKim explain it as a model, not a coalition, all about showing maturity, guaranteeing government stability and offering new ways and "paradigm shifts" of thinking in how to run and lead a state like Tasmania.
Manifestly obvious, though, at the end of this first parliamentary week were the strategic benefits to the returned Bartlett Government of the new Labor-Greens era of co-operation on the floor of Parliament.
No longer was the articulate Mr McKim -- easily the best and most damaging performer in Parliament -- firing all barrels in their direction. Instead his sights and cutting barbs were turned on the Liberal Opposition benches and hapless leader Will Hodgman.
It left Mr Bartlett to sit relatively quietly, preserving his ammunition for strategic moments and appearing almost statesman-like.
Presumably that is Labor's tactic, to use the debating skills and repartee of Mr McKim and the lashing tongue of Ms O'Connor to full effect on the Liberals while allowing the Premier to stay out of the rough and tumble of the parliamentary bearpit.
The dilemma for the Greens -- particularly for the three Greens MPs who are not Cabinet ministers -- is that it remains patently unclear exactly what their new role is now their party has joined hands at the top with Labor.
Are Tim Morris, Kim Booth and newcomer Paul O'Halloran compliant government backbenchers or genuine opposition members?
And how can they realistically be the latter -- which Mr Booth certainly wants to remain -- when their leader and colleague are now Labor government ministers?
The three are not aligned to Labor. They have not bound their souls to Team Bartlett's with the signing of a ministerial deal already branded by Liberal hard-hitter Peter Gutwein as akin to "30 pieces of silver".
It must be galling for Kim Booth and Tim Morris in particular to sit there and not say a word while Labor ministers such as Bryan Green repeat government platitudes and positions that only six months ago the same Greens were branding as "corrupt , disgraceful, scandalous and shameful".
This noticeable tension in the House finally erupted when Mr Booth could contain himself no longer as Mr Green, resurrected as Labor's Resources Minister, was back singing the virtues of the responsible forestry industry.
"Wrong," yelled Mr Booth from the Greens' back row.
"What do you call that, friendly fire?" asked the Liberals of Premier Bartlett, to much laughter.
But the point was well made. How do these three Greens -- whom Mr Gutwein described as ultimately "holding the fate of this Government and the fate of honesty and integrity in this Parliament" in their hands -- react and respond in Parliament and scrutinise a government of which they are now part?
This conundrum is heightened by Mr McKim's already expressed expectation that he will request Messrs Booth, Morris and O'Halloran to ask pre-arranged soft questions -- Dorothy Dixers -- of himself and Ms O'Connor.
The only reason for such questions -- usually the domain of government junior MPs -- is to allow ministers to highlight positive developments or policy initiatives in their own portfolios.
It is not a role that one would expect to sit well with the plain-speaking Mr Booth, who has already made his displeasure public at the Greens getting into bed with the Labor government he has spent eight years unveiling as corrupt.
But the main problem for the Greens this week was not about their newfound Labor friendship, or even the apparent readiness of Mr McKim and Ms O'Connor to become Labor's acquiescent attack dogs.
More it was about the misjudgment shown by the flavour and tone of their remarks, asides and speeches, that tended too often towards self-satisfaction and smugness at their own new power status and gloating vitriol towards the vanquished Liberals.
It is often said the mark of a true sportsman is that they are equally gracious in both victory and defeat.
As Premier Bartlett has learnt himself the hard way, especially in his first two years as a new education minister, being too cocky, clever or snide does not translate well in the theatre of Parliament.
Healthy egos can quickly look like arrogance on the floor of the House. Confidence and political excitement at new challenges ahead can just as easily appear as unattractive triumphalism.
The world knows the Tasmanian Greens have achieved the extraordinary and improbable double of holding the balance of power in an Australian Lower House and becoming the first third-party ministers in a Labor Cabinet.
It is a landmark result that puts real power into the hands of Mr McKim and Ms O'Connor.
But in the face of such a stunning victory, it is worth remembering that humility -- nakedly absent from Mr McKim and Ms O'Connor this week -- will always win over more sceptical voters than pride.

More sports news & getting fit

Tasmanian cyclist Bernard Sulzberger (Fly V Australia team) won the 2nd stage of the Joe Martin stage race in the U.S.
Sulzberger, from Flowery Gully in the Tamar Valley & brother of Wes who is racing in Europe with the Francaise Dejeux team is 7th after stage 3. Felow Tasmanian cyclists Karl Menzies 13th, Sean Sullivan 89th and Olympic Mountain Biker Sid Taberlay is 119th.

Richie Porte goes into tonights 1st stage of the Giro d Italia in 6th and holding the young riders white jersey.

The Gravelly beach veteran managed a solid 10.5km swimming, 100k of cycling and a lousy 15min run before rolling the ankle which is still quite bruised and swollen. Paunch shrinking slightly.

Porte earns white jersey in Grand Tour debut

Porte earns white jersey in Grand Tour debut - By: Jean-François QuénetPublished: May 8, 23:27, Updated: May 8, 23:31

Richie Porte (Team Saxo Bank) confirmed during the Giro d'Italia's opening stage that he's a great time triallist in the making as the 25-year-old Australian finished in sixth place, five seconds behind winner Bradley Wiggins. In addition to a top ten finish in the first stage of his Grand Tour debut, Porte will wear the white jersey of the best young rider during stage 2 from Amsterdam to Utrecht.
The biggest surprise came from the split times. Porte only clocked the 26th fastest time after 4.1 kilometres but was the fastest from km 4.1 until the end at km 8.4. In the second half Porte rode three seconds faster than his compatriot Cadel Evans and four seconds faster than race winner Bradley Wiggins.
"I don't know why there is such a difference," said Porte. "I was a bit nervous at the start. It might be because of my crash last week. Or maybe I rode too conservative. I guess I have to bang my head against the wall."
Although Porte knew he was time trialing well this season, having won the 23.4km race against the clock at the Tour of Romandie last week, to ride a prologue was something different. "I'm not a prologue rider like Brad McGee was," he said of his current coach at Saxo Bank. "But now I really know that I can be up there with the big guys in any kind of time trial."
Tomorrow, Porte will start stage 2 wearing the white jersey of best young rider on his shoulders. "This is incredible," he said. "It's a big dream I guess."
Porte suspects that the two Dutch riders who are second and third on the best young rider classification, Rabobank's Jos van Emden and Tom Stamsnijder, will be motivated to race on home soil and will contest the bonus sprints to gain precious seconds back on the white jersey holder.
"I'm ready for a good fight," Porte said

Porte 6th in Giro prologue and takes young riders white jersey.

Read the report from cycling news.

Porte said on twitter  --  "would have liked to emulate my hero @bdlancaster and take pink jersy, but still happy with white jersey and 6th overall".

also an excellent interview with Portey from Velonation in the lead up to the Giro.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Updated 2.30pm...Fahey takes final set to win 10th consecutive World title......Tasmanian Rob Fahey on the way to retaining Royal Tennis World Title for the 10th time.

 Getting real in tennis?
From the Sydney Morning Herald
 From Henry VIII to Punt Road MARTIN FLANAGAN
May 8, 2010

IF PROFESSIONAL tennis strikes you as a bit tedious with too many people doing much the same thing, then I have found the game for you. Real (or royal) tennis.
Henry VIII is said to have been playing when he got the news that his wife, Anne Boleyn, had been beheaded. On the internet, I found a 17th-century French woodcut of a real tennis court more or less identical to the court off Punt Road in Richmond where I saw Rob Fahey defend his world title this week. Or, rather, I saw the first day. The final, decided over the best of 13 sets, can take three days.
Fahey is from Tasmania. That made me barrack for him from the start. His second favourite game to play is golf. His second favourite sport to watch, notwithstanding the fact he now lives in England, is footy. I asked him his favourite Carlton player. He has a slight smile which accompanies a quietly thoughtful way of speaking. ''Chris Judd,'' he replied. ''He's a beautiful machine.''
Fahey does something no world champion has ever done before with me. He takes me out on to his chosen sporting arena and lets me have a go. I'm lucky to get the ball across the net. The racquet is the size of a squash racquet but of uneven shape. The interior of the balls are made of cork - like cricket balls - but covered with felt. They are hand-sewn and, according to Fahey, travel ''between 120 and 150 miles per hour''. That's a hard ball moving at around 170km/h. One way people get injured in royal tennis is by balls flying up off racquets.
Fahey shows me but two skills of the game. One is a backhand with back spin aimed low and fast at where the end wall meets the floor - it therefore doesn't bounce. He then points out that on one side of the court the main wall bends out at 45 degrees for about 30 centimetres before continuing straight. This is the tambour. If you can hit the tambour, the ball flies sideways. Fahey shows me an even finer art - missing the tambour by such a fine margin that your opponent doesn't know whether to run to the wall or wait in the middle of the court for the ricochet.
I can't explain the scoring system. That's like trying to understand a card game like bridge. But what I respond to is its variety. Remember backyard cricket? Remember how you were out if you hit mum's pot plant and knocked it to the ground? How it was four if you were good enough to play a cut shot that went behind you, through a certain doorway. That's like real tennis. You get a point if you hit a window up the back with a monk on it. On the first night of the final, I asked a spectator when the picture of the monk as an object to be hit entered the game. He thought around the time of Henry VIII, which made good sense to me but I also met an Englishman who exclaimed, somewhat impatiently, that too much is made of the influence of Henry VIII on the English game. But was he a good player? I persisted. ''He wasn't that good,'' the man replied. ''But he gambled a lot on the results.''
Basically, a real tennis court is like a mediaeval alleyway. Down one side, according to Fahey, are what once would have been a row of merchants' stalls. The server, I kid you not, is required to run the ball along the rooves of the stalls (called the gallery) and drop it into the court. In one of the stalls is a bell. If you hit that, you also get a point. The tambour is like the back wall of a cathedral or large building.
Real tennis was like backyard cricket for people with very large backyards. Henry's court, at Hampton, was built by Cardinal Wolsey. Fahey has played at Hampton Court. He's played at Fontainebleau Palace where Marie Antoinette and Napoleon lived. The title which he defended this week can be traced back to 1743. Fahey has won it nine times. No one in the game's long history has won it more.
Fahey was a university student when he applied for a job as an assistant professional at the Hobart Royal Tennis Club for ''beer money''. A promising lawn tennis player, he knew nothing about real tennis. Fahey is solidly but not heavily built, particularly from the waist down. He is credited with having introduced power to the game although he says power alone is not enough and talks about the need for ''compact technique''.
I understand what he means during the first day of the final when a shot from his opponent comes swerving towards his head like a Brett Lee bouncer. You need a compact technique to deal with that. Frank Filippelli, the Melbourne club's head professional, describes real tennis at this level as ''brutal, awesome, savage and intellectually demanding.''
Fahey's opponent in the final was 29-year-old Steve Virgona, from Ballarat. Fahey is 42 with a recent back injury. He commanded the court early, taking the first two sets. Virgona, now based in the US, fought back to take the third. At four-all in the fourth, Fahey somehow powered through. That, say followers of the sport, is what he does.
It was only the end of day one but the champion came off the court and gave vent to his fierce delight. At that moment, I sensed the sort of feeling that might have accompanied Henry VIII when he left the court after a loss. The final ends this afternoon with Fahey leading six sets to two

Porte a favourite for Giro prologue

............For the prologue, the other of our compatriots to watch is Richie Porte."
Porte, a neo pro from Saxo Bank, is among three Tasmanians along with HTC-Columbia's Matt Goss and Androni's Cameron Wurf who help bring the total number of Australians in the race to 13. Porte recently won the 23.4km individual time trial at the Tour of Romandie, but his performance at the prologue of the Swiss race was not a good predictor for his performance tomorrow. "This prologue for the Giro d'Italia looks technical but it doesn't bother me as long as I don't crash like in Romandie," he said. "I think I can be up there tomorrow. It's not really my distance but after last week, I won't rule out anything."...........

Wiggins-Millar duel predicted for Giro opener -
By: Jean-François QuénetPublished: May 7, 21:45, Updated: May 7, 21:45Race:Giro d'Italia, Stage 1

Amsterdam time trial favors pure power
In 2007, the British duel was predicted to take place between David Millar and Bradley Wiggins in the streets of London for the prologue of the Tour de France, but it never materialized. The pair may well prove to be the main protagonists of tomorrow's Giro d'Italia opener in another prestigious European city, Amsterdam.
None of the 198 participants has been able to properly reconnoitre the course of the prologue of the 93rd Giro d'Italia because of the traffic in Amsterdam, but they have been speculating over the main qualities required to win the stage 1 time trial: is it speed or power? The riders will be able to ride on the course on Saturday morning, after which they'll be more aware of what to expect.
Marco Pinotti, winner of the prologue at the Tour of Romandie last week, names Millar and [Alexandre] Vinokourov as time triallists he thinks will be strongest. "It's for pure chronomen," said the Italian engineer who took a few minutes before the presentation of the girini (the contenders of the Giro) to visit the Anne Frank museum.
Several riders chose Team Sky captain Wiggins as their bet for the first maglia rosa.
"Track riders like Wiggins who can travel at the highest speed have the biggest chances of winning," said Dutchman Rick Flens of Rabobank who is expected to perform well on home soil after finishing fifth in the prologue of the Tour of Romandie. As he hails from Oostzaan only ten kilometres away from the centre of Amsterdam, he's the régional de l'étape.
"I've only seen a video of the course," Flens continued. "I know the corners but the long streets will make the difference. For riders like me who rely more on power, it'll be difficult to compete against the fastest guys, but I hope for a top 10. I also hope the weather will be the same for everybody and it will be a fair race. Amsterdam deserves to have such a great event."
If not Flens, the best Dutchman might be Omega Pharma-Lotto's Michael Elijzen who also hails from the region. Sunday's stage finish in Utrecht is just 10 kilometres away from his birthplace. "This prologue [sic] is very special to me," he said. "It's a very different course from the one I won at the Eneco Tour and the competition here is a little bit higher. Now I'm also not in such a good form as at the Eneco Tour but I'm feeling good enough to target a top 10 as well."
For the British duo, the main competition might not come from the local riders, but a pair of Australian specialists. Recently crowned track world champions Cameron Meyer and Jack Bobridge will be on the line for Garmin-Transitions. Yet Meyer already played down his chances after being sick, as did Bobridge.
"I'm not gonna win tomorrow," said Bobridge. "I'll give 100% but I'm still chasing my road form after the period on the track. Maybe after the Giro, I'll be good enough to have a go at the time trial at the Tour de Suisse, but for now I'd be happy to have the opportunity to help Tyler (Farrar) or [David] Millar to defend the pink jersey."
Roberts, another rider who hails from Adelaide with track cycling background, is hoping to challenge Wiggins. "This is my first Giro," Roberts said. "I haven't done a lot of training specifically for this prologue [sic], my objectives are more in the second week. I'm coming fresh because I haven't raced since Paris-Roubaix. It's exciting to be here with 13 other Australians racing. For the prologue, the other of our compatriots to watch is Richie Porte."
Porte, a neo pro from Saxo Bank, is among three Tasmanians along with HTC-Columbia's Matt Goss and Androni's Cameron Wurf who help bring the total number of Australians in the race to 13.
Porte recently won the 23.4km individual time trial at the Tour of Romandie, but his performance at the prologue of the Swiss race was not a good predictor for his performance tomorrow. "This prologue for the Giro d'Italia looks technical but it doesn't bother me as long as I don't crash like in Romandie," he said. "I think I can be up there tomorrow. It's not really my distance but after last week, I won't rule out anything."


Friday, May 7, 2010

Peter Garrett rocks again

Be sure to support your local Labor branch and buy a copy of Peter Garrett's new album (see above image).
I've been playing it all week in the monaro and some of the songs are great. Some of my favourites are "Blue Sky Mine is o.k by me", "Put down that placard" "Dead Worker" "Power & the Pension" "When the Generals talk I listen" Earth and Sun and the economy" "Labor Country "Tasmania is my Redneck Wonderland" "Stars of Canberra" and of course the smash hit single "Batts are Burning".

Look even if you are not a Minister Garrett fan or a Labor punter, do yourself a favour and give this album a listen. Batts are Burning is full of electricity. It will shock you. A dead set certainty to go straight through the roof. Its hot, hot, hot.

Tasmanian Politics & Other Stuff Exclusive....."Brave New Business" by former investment banker & shareholder/climate change activist Dani Ecuyer.

Brave New Business by Dani Ecuyer

Consumer Advocacy in the 21st Century

Gunns Ltd a case study in what not to do

Logging and wood chipping behemoth, Gunns Ltd has long been a contentious company for its clear felling of old growth native forests (also known as high conservation value forests) in Tasmania.. The controversy surrounding Gunns intensified in 2007 with the fast tracking of the approval process for the development of one of the world’s largest pulp mills in Tasmania’s north eastern Tamar Valley, under the aggressive stewardship of Chairman John Gay.
Three years on Gunns Ltd has not been able to secure finance for the $2 billion plus pulp mill.
Its 2009/10 half yearly results showed a severe decline in its woodchip sales to Japan, its major customer. Although a few factors resulted in a 98% collapse in first half profits to $0.4million, including a stronger Australian dollar and the lack of credit from the GFC contributed to problems financing the pulp mill project; there is one overriding issue which continues to dog Gunns and affect its ability to operate- the use of old growth forests as feedstock.
The intense lobbying and consumer awareness campaigns which have been spearheaded by NGO’s like The Wilderness Society, local groups like Tasmania’s against the Pulp Mill (TAP), conservationists and The Greens Party have resulted in heightened knowledge and awareness of the forestry practices of Gunns.
The international trend to sustainable forestry as monitored and accredited through the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), alongside heightened consumer awareness has ensured a shift away from using old growth forests as feedstock for timber and pulp/paper products.
Gunns Ltd has been put in the position where its major customers will no longer buy its woodchips, unless FSC accreditation is secured and global financial institutions are not prepared to finance its pulp mill project, unless fully sourced from plantation stock only.
In February 2010, a report produced by CS Dev Associates for Environment Tasmania, the White Paper ‘Levelling the playing Field: Reforming forestry governance in Tasmania’ cites a former ANZ Bank employee who was interviewed and “reported that public opposition played a role in ANZ’s decision not to extend finance for the Gunns Ltd pulp mill project and continues to be a factor in Gunns Ltd’s difficulties in securing financing for the project, with potential investors concerned about the questions of social licence and the clearing of native forests.”
Potential pulp mill joint venture partner, Swedish company Sodra specified it would only consider a working relationship in the project if Gunns met environmental standards, such as FSC certification of its products which would signal an end to logging of high conservation value forests.
Many other issues have been called into question, including the transparency of the working agreement between Forestry Tasmania and its main customer Gunns; the long term supply of water for plantations and the proposed pulp mill; the effects of the effluent in Bass Strait from the pulp mill and the current inclusion of chlorine in the process. All have been fiercely debated and brought to the attention of financiers and the general public.
Gunns Ltd’s travails and reputational problems are an excellent example of a company who has failed to fully acknowledge and respect the significance of its corporate, environmental and social responsibility. The global trend to increased transparency and the supply chain of feedstock for all products can no longer be ignored, as the global consumer seeks to buy sustainably produced goods.
Note: At the time of writing this Gunns announced a full year EBIT downgrade to $30 to $40m from analyst estimates of $40million. Chairman John Gay announced he will resign as Chairman of Gunns and become Chairman of the soon to be created 51% owned subsidiary Southern Star Corporation, which is intended as the vehicle to develop the pulp mill. Mr Timo Piilonen has been appointed to the role of Pulp Mill Project Developer. He worked between 2004 and 2008 on the highly controversial Metsa Botnia Fray Bentos pulp mill in Uruguay. Mr Robin Gray, former Tasmanian Premier will resign from the Gunns Board and head up the plantation operations.
Gunns purchase of Great Southern Plantations will deliver sufficient plantation feedstock for the proposed pulp mill; however Gunns retains a 20 year agreement with Forestry Tasmania for at least 20 million tonnes of native forest wood according to the Wilderness Society, leaving old growth forests susceptible to ongoing destruction.
Despite major shareholder requests for John Gay to resign over the pulp mill debacle and the collapse of profits, not to mention his sale of stock prior to the half yearly profit announcement, Mr Gay has inflamed tensions further by embedding himself in the new pulp mill vehicle. Mr Piilonen’s appointment is no less controversial, signalling Mr Gay’s intent to engage with direct competitors of Sodra, once mooted pulp mill joint venture partner.
However with $661m in net debt, a market capitalisation of $440million, it is hard to envisage how Gunns’ subsidiary will attract sufficient finance for the Bell Bay pulp mill, even with a joint venture partner. The changed political landscape post Tasmania’s recent State election may further erode the potency of Gunns influence.
Whatever the outcome the twists and turns of the Gunns saga seem set to continue; whilst increasing awareness of the less than optimum practices of this company as forged by John Gay’s obsession to pursue an unsustainable pulp mill will no doubt continue to undermine Gunns potential to raise funds.


and all the links to the latest news on everyones favourite logging company....