Monday, June 28, 2010

TAP claims of "being shut out" without substance

Roger Hanney's article (here) says TAP report being shut out of "negotiations between major players, as the pulp mill debacle enters its next phase under a Gunns now devoid of former chair John Gay".

For starters I attended a forum of environmental and community groups in TAP's hometown of Launceston on Sunday which bought together community and environmental groups from the north of the state and Hobart for the express purpose of giving them a forum and a very clear pathway into stakeholder discussions which as it turned TAP were alreay involved in.

Despite being invited, TAP was a no show.

This meeting was an incredible opportunity and for TAP to not make more of an effort to be represented is bemusing.

A TAP member who did attend the meeting on his own steam told me that at last Thursday night's the TAP meeting TAP's top dogs expressed a real ambivalence about attending this forum and that was of course born out yesterday in the TAP leadership's no show.

It was also revealed by a number of participants at yesterday's forum that TAP have been invited to participate in the stakeholder group discussions to which TAP claim they are being excluded.

There has in fact been a real attempt, as with other groups, to include TAP these stakeholder/groups discussions about the meetings with industry.

TAP were invited to and attended the 1st of a multi stakeholder meeting convened by Christine Milne – where strategy re. the Premier's Bartlett’s roundtable was discussed, talks with industry, the need for broader engagement with community were discussed and some plans put in place.

Indeed TAP have been invited to all 3 of Christine Milne’s forest meetings, including today's. TAP only turned up for the first one.

Sources inside TAP also tell me there also been ongoing email dialogue between a senior TWS staff member and TAP spokesman John Day over the last weeks
I also know that a senior member of the Wilderness society travelled to Launcestoon last week for the express purpose of giving TAP a forum to express their concerns about TWS and the discussions.

TAP also continues to be a member of the No Pulp Mill Alliance which is also closely linked to members of the reference group discussions and where TAP can have direct access to stakeholder group members. At a recent meeting of the NPMA TAP explicitly distanced themselves from statements made by Greens West Tamar Councillor Karl Stevens about the No Pulp Mill alliance.

So for TAP to "report" as Mr Hanney claims to have been shut out is very curious indeed.

The fact is that the key environmental groups have included TAP in a number of meetings directly relating to the talks between industry, ENGO's & ET.

It is common knowledge amongst the groups involved in the stakeholder discussion that groups have bent over backwards to give TAP a voice.

Yet even last week TAP once again circulated a very negative media release declaring that the "Forest talks" were "set to fail" .... “Private discussions between environmentalists and forest industry groups to solve conflict over logging in the State are doomed to fail if the wide-ranging concerns of the public are not considered”, said John Day, spokesman for the community group TAP Into A Better Tasmania.The proposed forestry roundtable to thrash out a way forward for the industry in Tasmania has been sidelined in favour of private talks between environmentalists and the timber sector.“Environmentalists do not speak for communities hit by aerial spraying, lost jobs in food production, depleted water supplies, and many other impacts from the way forestry is currently practised”, John Day said

TAP continue to attack the organisational structures in the Tasmanian enviromental sector, structures that have taken decades to arrive the point they are now.
I support TAP's right to challenge those structures, however I suggest that TAP also have a duty to its members in the Tamar Valley to ensure their concerns about the proposed pulp mill are being represented effectively at such a crucial moment in the debate.
TAP's attacks on and obsessive preoccupation with changing these structures and the consequent alienation of other's in the campaign at such a pivotal point in the forests debate are ill-timed. It is a high risk, low percentage strategy and means that TAP is wasting more of its precious energy railing against a network that is and has been for a long time demonstrably friendly to TAP.

By all means try and change the system, but do it by winning support from your peers and do it through genuine diplomacy not megaphone diplomacy and do it when the time is ripe and not at the expense of your members and your core mission.

My own opinion is that senior TAPPER's are demonstrating a real lack of maturity in on the one hand claiming ENGO's are either attempting to subsume TAP or exclude them when the evidence points to the opposite being true.

The real irony about TAP's claims, and this is this based on direct experience is the only group demanding that other groups take on their policies and ideology are TAP.

My experience is that other stakeholder groups are more accepting of TAP than TAP are of them.

My experience in the campaign is that TAP are accepted for who they are and have been accommodated probably more than most other stakeholder groups.

Everything I said here can be verified and supported by other participants & stakeholders in the current campaign.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tasmania's 'Jekyll & Hyde' Government back flips on large projects policy: Keeping Hobart Green and Launceston Brown

The decision by the Tasmanian planning commission (formerly the RPDC ) to reject Walker Corporation’s Lauderdale canal development is a welcome one for the majority of Tasmanian's.

Compared to the scandalous spectacle that was the Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill assessment, the Tasmanian planning commission was permitted to assess the Walker corp. relatively free from pressure and outside interference by government and industry.

And as they did when Gunns withdrew from the RPDC, Labor and Liberal are singing from the same song sheet.

However this time with no Paul Lennon or Gunns involvemend and despite the planning commission declaring the Ralph’s Bay project would bring economic benefits and jobs, Will Hodgman and David Bartlett are applauding the palnning commission's decision

In a federal election year Liberal and Labor are in open agreeance that they dont want Walker Corporation’s high impact canal estate development proposed for the increasingly green Hobart electorate of Franklin

It would seem that the RPDC has suddenly gone from villain to hero.

Premier Bartlett rightly applauded the planning commission’s decision to reject the canal estate proposal despite the commission's admission that the Walker Corp project would have created jobs and economic growth. However unlike his government’s attitude to the community on the Gunns pulp mill, Premier Bartlett also applauded the fact that the planning commission’s decision was in accord with community sentiment ......"The Tasmanian community has also spoken on this issue – with the overwhelming majority of public submissions opposed to the Ralphs Bay proposal. A ban on canal estates would give comfort to the community"(Premier Bartlett, June 22, 2010)

Indeed, in another stunning yet welcome back flip on government policy on large projects Premier Bartlett also declared the government would deliver certainty for potential investors by banning canal estate developments in Tasmania.

It is surely unprecedented for any Liberal or Labor government in Tasmania to argue that a statewide ban on certain developments is a way of providing certainty for business. Such a move would have been unthinkable during the reign of  David Bartlett's predecessor Paul Lennon who, as he did for Gunns went to extraordinary
lengths to enable the passage of Walker's project to the approval stage.

The Greens Cabinet secretary Cassy O'Connor rightly argued the ban is partly due to Greens members in cabinet.

"It's hard to imagine that six months ago, a year ago, six and a half years ago [that] we'd have a Labor premier announcing a move to protect Tasmania's beautiful coastline," she said.

It is likely however that political survival is the key driver behind the position taken by the Bartlett Government on Ralph's Bay.
Tasmanians may well be less than 3 months away from a  federal election at a time where polls are showing Labor & Liberal have been haemorrhaging votes to the Greens.
The last thing that the Bartlett government would want at this time is another large environmental stoush in the increasingly green Hobart electorates of Denison & Franklin where Labor are still licking their wounds from being belted in the March state election.

The question Launceston and Tamar Valley residents might now ask the Premier in an election year is how he reconciles such affirmitive reaction to the planning commission's decision on Ralph Bay to the sickening and shameful scenes in 2007 when, on behalf of the Gunns logging company, the entire Tasmanian parliament bar the Greens turned lynch mob on the very planning scheme it had created?

Tasmanians have not forgotten how adamant Will Hodgman, Paul Lennon and John Gay were that Gunns were blameless and how Gay, Tasmania’s most controversial CEO, regarded with suspicion and loathing in sections of the community, was framed by Liberal and Labor Parliamentarians as the victim of a fatally flawed planning system. Many would remember how apart from young Labor backbencher Lisa Singh, no Liberal or Labor politician would be seen criticising Gunns - in or outside the parliament.

The glaring contradictions between the government's stunning canal estate ban and its continued support for the inappropriately sited & unpopular Gunns pulp mill cannot be ignored.

How do Tasmanians make sense of  a premier who has flipped from opposing a ban on canal developments to legislating for one, yet who also flipped from virtually renouncing government support for Gunns pulp mill to championing it?

Nothing to do with the nimby factor or a looming federal election ?

How does the Mr Bartlett reconcile his public recognition of the communities right to have their position honored by government and the planning commission in the matter of the Lauderdale Quays proposal to the sheer contempt displayed by government towards opponents of the Gunns Pulp Mill?

And how does Mr Bartlett reconcile supporting Gunns Pulp Mill in the name of jobs, economic growth and investor certainty to opposing Walker's Canal estate proposal despite its recognised economic credentials and then banning such developments to create investor certainty?

Indeed, despite objections by the RPDC and the majority of Tasmanians to the corrupting of the mill’s assessment and its inappropriate siting in the Tamar Valley, Premier Bartlett continues to ignore this instead clinging to the Tasmanian government's tradition of patronage of Gunns. Just as his predecessor Paul Lennon did when he recklessly and stubbornly championed the economically, environmentally and socially unsustainable project to the point that it cost him his political career.

Canal estates are banned in NSW and Victoria because government has recognised the serious environmental & social problems associated with canal estates.

If the Tasmanian government is consistent, not only should it repeal the 2007 Pulp Mill Assessment Act which has been roundly criticised for having been written for and by Gunns but it should also specifically ban any future possibility of a bleached Kraft pulp mill in the Tamar Valley because of this type of industry’s ability to add large extra volumes of polluting wood smoke, noxious odorous gases & foggy vaporous emissions to the Tamar Valley air shed.

Launceston & the Tamar Valley are recognised as sometimes having the worst polluted air in Australia during winter mainly because of the inversion layer trapping pollutants in the valley. Indeed, the winter air quality in this area does not comply with the National Environment Protection Standard goal for PM10 because of unsustainable levels of pollution from domestic wood heaters and forestry burn offs.

From the Tasmanian Government’s own Air Quality Strategy.....“At times, Tasmania experiences the country’s best air quality, as measured at the Cape Grim baseline station on the North West Coast. However, there are some areas that suffer from poor ambient air quality during some periods of the year. The problem of poor air quality in Launceston relates to elevated concentrations of particulate matter, PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10 μm). It is believed that other areas, such as some suburbs of Hobart, may also experience elevated levels of particulate matter during winter. Whilst the issues around poor air quality have been largely driven by the problem in Launceston, this Strategy focuses on Tasmania as a whole”. (

Despite the compelling case against the use of the Tamar Valley as the preferred site for what would be the world’s fourth largest Kraft mill, the Tasmanian Government are still backing a project that will burn approximately 500,000 green tonnes of bark, fines, sawdust, wood waste and other forest residues to supply steam and power for the pulp mill.

Dr. Warwick Raverty, Australia’s foremost expert in Kraft Pulp Mill odours has stated regarding one aspect of the mill’s emission in the Tamar Valley...”This is a real issue with a tonne of water vapour expelled into the atmosphere for every tonne of pulp produced. In Alabama, USA, there is a drying facility that produces water vapour in similar quantities and this produces 'white-outs' on local highways that have been responsible for multiple pile-ups and deaths. These 'white-outs' are most likely to occur on the East Tamar Highway as it passes the Longreach site”.

Indeed, late night and morning fogs occur in autumn and winter making driving in the Tamar valley dangerous. With no rail plan in place, degraded local roads and a general doubling of log truck traffic it is almost certain that a continuous stream of water vapour from the mill will exacerbate these already dangerous conditions.

Arguably the most important issue in terms of emissions facing local residents is odour.

Kraft pulp mills the world over still smell badly because they emit, amongst other compounds, a gas called
hydrogen sulphide (HS). HS smells of rotten eggs and can be detected by the human nose at concentrations below one part per hundred million. A typical odour footprint of a large mill is 50 kms which means that people may be affected as far away as Launceston airport. In Finland they call Kraft Pulp Mill odours “the smell of money” and people get used to it - but they don't have a large tourism and iconic wine industry like the Tamar Valley does.

Again, Dr. Warwick Raverty on Kraft Pulp Mill odours....“The odour from the Kraft pulp mill at Tumut took five years to control. The Tumut mill is one fifth the size of Longreach and was built and is operated by a firm, Visy, that have years of experience in running pulp and paper mills. Gunns have no experience with pulp and paper mills at all. There is no such thing as a Kraft pulp mill that does not smell and to build one in a valley with an inversion layer where 100,000 people live does not seem a very sensible decision. There are over 400 places in a mill that can cause odour and so it is difficult to pin the cause down. The very latest high technology mill at Stendhal in Germany has developed odour problems in its second year of operation, probably due to all of the many thousands of plastic pipe and pump seals becoming saturated with odour over the course of the first 12 months of operation. Finns and Swedes, like Jaakko Porry's experts, considered odour-free would be quite unacceptable to the noses of most Tasmanians”.

Before the RPDC was dumped by Gunns & the Tasmanian Government they stated:.... 'While they are extremely smelly and can be detected by the human senses at extremely low levels, they can be controlled but cannot be eliminated entirely given the nature of the process.' ........ AND...... 'The commission is advised that the odour-free Kraft mill does not exist' ....... AND....... 'Selection of a site that minimised the nuisance should be a prime consideration because complete odour elimination from Kraft mills was not possible”.

Former Gunns CEO John Gay who was forced out of the woefully underperforming company by angry investors was along with Robin Gray & Paul Lennon the brains behind the Gunns pulp mill. (Gay, Gray & Lennon all lost support and ultimately their jobs largely because of their obsession with the pulp mill).

Gay’s view on potential emissions from the mill was as follows.. 'Issues surrounding mills of days gone by, such as odour, noise, emissions, effluent and containment, have been addressed by international engineering experts”.

With the Bartlett Government’s recent progressive policies on Hobart’s waterfront development, canal estates, animal welfare, sustainable transport and cycling infrastructure he clearly has a green vision for the backyard of Tasmania’s political and business elite, whilst his vision for Launceston & the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ Tamar Valley is to remain Tasmania’s dumping ground for brown development, ultra heavy industry and the home of the bogan vote.

The Bartlett government remain beholden to Gunns, the who's who of the Tasmanian logging industry, powerful forestry unions and that shared view of the world which is orientated around creating the continued circumstances that enable them all to remain in power.

However today the Bartlett government derives a good chunk of its credibility from its alliance with the Tasmanian Greens who are clearly behind some of the progressive policies, programmes and decisons that have been laid out since the March election.

The world is changing and is catching up with the Tasmanian Government and the logging industry.
The three great champions of the Gunns pulp mill, John Gay, Robin Gray & Paul Lennon lost their respective careers largely because of what the market & the community percieved was an indecent obsession with pulp mill and the abuse of power to realise it.

The Bartlett government's backflip on the pulp mill was a factor in its near loss in the recent state election but for the Greens coming to the rescue.

The Premier of Tasmania now has a fresh opportunity to break the hold that Gunns has over his party and to break with the past. If he fails again, with Nick Mckim and Will Hodgman now more popular than ever with voters and Labor more on the nose than ever, David Bartlett may not get another chance.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Examiner article on Bartlett, backflips & the Greens.

Angus Livingston, have you been reading TPOS?

You read about Bartletts backflips here first.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Anatomy of a conspiracy theory. How to spot the nutter in your midst

Conspiracy theories are fringe theories, peddled by fringe dwellers.
More often than not conspiracy theories eminate from religious, political & ideologically driven cults which are often populated by maladjusted cranks who have become isolated from society.
Indeed, committed conspiracy theorists are often angry & emotionally dysfunctional people who have backgrounds of substance abuse and are attracted to churches and extreme political & environmental groups which offer quick fixes and simple solutions to personal and social problems. Though he/she would not hear of it, a committed conspiracy theorist is actually less committed to moral convictions as they are to his/her own anger.

A conspiracy theory is normally characterised by a cunning, complex & covert plot. The aim of the conspiracy theories author is usually to expose persons or groups who most of us generally percieve as good but the conspiracy theorist is convinced is actually involved in secrecy, treachery & deceit.
Indeed, some conspiarcy theorists regard themselves as whistleblowers even martyrs.

Conspiracy theories rely on speculation. They speculate wildly on the motives and actions of persons or groups, are rarely supported by conclusive evidence, and are usually unfair & inaccurate giving little credo to the principles of natural justice. Obsessive conspiracy theorist's are malicious, get very nasty & often revert to abusive, hate filled, ad hominem attacks on their targets.

More often than not peddlers of conspiracy theories will cling obsessively & fervently to their theories against all reason and pleas to see alternate points of view. It is almost impossible to convince a obsessed conpiracy theorist to give up their pet conspiracy theroy. Attempts to speak reason to the conspiracy theorist are often met with aggression, anger and abuse & usually result in frustration for the friend or therapist who is attempting to help.

It is because of this mindset that conspiracy & democracy cannot live together. Democracy suffers where conspiarcy thrives.

Here is an absolute TEXTBOOK case study of a conspiracy theory website.
I feel sorry for the nutters behind this website. If it werent so tragic it would be hilarious.

If you recognise a conspiracy theory in your local church or environment group, for the sake of your own mental health, give them a wide berth.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gunns say they will stop using 1080. And its about bloody time! Dinosaur Liberal party resist Greens calls for total ban.

Sports stuff & getting fit

Well my campaign to regain peak fitness & hopefully return to some racing this summer is picking up momentum. 3k quality swim yesterday with the lunch crew and a cold but solid 51km on the bike this a.m. My unfortunate paunch persists, but I did look down & sight my toes yesterday which was encouraging.
Socceroos go up against Ghana tonight at midnight aussie time in a match we cannot afford to lose.
Indeed we need a win and a few goals. Fingers crossed.
Argentina looked awesome the other night in winning 4-1 v South Korea whilst Germany lost in a surprise to Serbia.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Bartlett Backflip: Neither clever nor kind - updated Thursday 17/6/10

(with footage of real Bartlett backflips captured by TPOS cameraman Simon de Little - here ......and back by popular demand -  David Bartlett's Easter)
Premier Bartlett does another backflip on the Forestry
In just two years since inheriting the job of Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett is now routinely described by disillusioned Tasmanians, the local media and his political opponents as "Backflip Bartlett".
Despite the spin driven rhetoric about "honesty, restoring trust, and telling the truth" and the strident protests about not basing policy decisions on polls, David Bartlett's reputation for flip flopping and breaking trust with the public is entrenched.
Whilst breaking promises and backflipping is nothing new for politicians, some have argued that Tasmania’s greenhorn premier has turned the political back flip into an art form.
And it continues to hurt him electorally.

Only a few weeks ago, the quarterly survey of voter intentions conducted by pollster EMRS confirmed the worst. Only 3 months after Will Hodgman & the Greens handed the Premier a post election lifeline, David Bartlett has now led Labor to a position where its support is a staggeringly low 23%. 1% behind the Greens.

Premier Bartlett personal approval rating has plunged to an all time low of 26%.
A drop of 3% since the March election.
Mr Bartlett is now only 3% ahead of Greens Nick Mckim and a whopping 14% behind Will Hodgman who can hardly be regarded as one of the stronger Liberal leaders in recent memory.
Two years of unfulfilled promise and a plethora of serious policy backflips have almost halved the 46% approval rating Mr Bartlett enjoyed after he suddenly replaced on the nose former premier Paul Lennon in May 2008.
A review of Mr Bartlett's burgeoning catalogue of policy backflips may reveal why the Tasmanian Premier is increasingly on the nose with voters.

Power hike backflip - the latest
With two more policy backflips this week Mr Bartlett may be due a visit to the chiropractor.
In another broken election promise the Tasmanian Premier has reneged on a 3 month old election promise that power prices rises would be capped at 5% for householders & small business' for the next two years.
Last week the Premier pleaded with the parliament "Restricting tariff increases to all at five per cent at this stage would undermine our ability to consider those complex relationship issues ”.
The Bartlett government’s new policy will see the cap only applying to concession card holders.
Rather than apologising for the obvious back flip, the state government attempted to spin its way out by attacking the Liberal opposition and bragging about Labor's supposed tradition of protecting the battlers.

Tasmania Tomorrow backflip
Indeed, the power hike back flip was the Premier’s second in a week after the government was forced to abandon a large component of the Tasmania Tomorrow education reforms.
The Tasmania tomorrow education reforms nearly cost the stubborn young Premier his job until the Greens came to his aid, however last weeks decision to overhaul the TT reforms will still cost Tasmanian taxpayers around $6 million.
This was the second reversal of a major education policy under Labor since 2002, following the collapse of the disasterous Essential Learnings (ELS) program.

Pre-election backflips - pork barrelling
Three months earlier in December 2009 Mr Bartlett also gave Tasmania's national parks a $3.9 million-a-year funding boost as part of a series of pre-election policy backflips.
This came only six months after the Premier had ditched the entire Department of Environment, Parks & Wildlife to "cut costs". The axing of the Parks & Wildlife department triggered national outrage with accusations that the Tasmanian Government had cycnically turned its back on Tasmania's iconic wilderness and heritage assets.
At around the same time Mr Bartlett also admitted to Tasmanians that he had made a major policy backflip on land tax after his government came under sustained pressure from big business. Then there was the Bartlett government decision to backflip & ease its freeze on public service jobs.
And of course there was the Bartlett governments backflip on Water & Sewerage bills which had been cited as one of the flagship reforms of the Bartlett government.

Election Backflip - the judas backflip
Only 2 months ago, in the wake of the state election, Tasmanians witnessed what was perhaps Mr Bartlett’s most spectacular back flip.
In the lead-up to the March 20 election Mr Bartlett vowed that Labor would settle for life in opposition rather than be part of a minority government with the Greens. The Premier also stated repeatedly that if voters delivered a 10-10-5 deadlock and the Liberal opposition received the most votes, he would advise the Governor to allow Liberal leader Will Hodgman first divs in forming a government on the floor of the house.
Mr Bartlett declared ..."My commitment to the Tasmanian people (that the political party with the most votes at last month's election wins) is an honest one. "I will stick to my promise and on Wednesday after the declaration of the polls I will visit the Governor and advise him that I cannot honestly say I could expect to enjoy the confidence of the House if [Labor] was asked to form the next government."

Oh dear.

Richo & the Mckim back flip.
It was around the time of the election that Premier Bartlett launched a vicious public attack on former federal labor minister Graham Richardson.
Richardson had appeared on the ABC Q&A programme immediately after the March 20 Tasmanian state election. During the programme Richardson made what turned out to be a prophetic suggestion, urging David Bartlett to negotiate with the Greens to retain government
Richardson said.......”Well, I thought the comments from Bartlett that basically under no circumstances would he deal with the Greens was pretty silly. I hope he rethinks it. I hope he gets together with some of his colleagues and has a couple of quiet drinks one day and works out that that’s pretty dumb and moves forward. If anyone can work with the Greens, it will be Labor.”
The response from David Bartlett was typically over the top and ego-driven
Bartlett flew off the handle saying...."Graham Richardson would crawl over his grandmother to get to power; I am not that man; I do not believe in the philosophy of 'whatever it takes'," Bartlett empathically said. "My commitment to the Tasmanian people (that the political party with the most votes at last month's election wins) is an honest one. I will stick to my promise and on Wednesday after the declaration of the polls, I will visit the Governor and advise him that I cannot honestly say I could expect to enjoy the confidence of the House if [Labor] was asked to form the next government."

What did Mr Bartlett do next?

He did the deal with the Greens that Richardson had advised. The Greens immediately declared their support for Bartlett Labor and thus David Bartlett held on to power.
Mr Bartlett then took another giant leap away from his pre-election position, surprising political pundits by making Green’s leader Nick Mckim and MHA Cassy’ O’Connor members of cabinet.
Richo must have laughed to himself at the naivety of his young Tasmanian counterpart.
Observers of the “Richo back flip” are well justified in asking Premier Bartlett if he might well be that "whatever it takes" man. That Judas.
That Graham Richardson who Bartlett alleged would crawl over his grandmother to get to power. Indeed, many observers of Tasmanian politics have identified the Bartlett tendency to react badly to advice and criticism as an Achilles heel.

The Richo back flip was classic Bartlett. Over react.... off....back flip.
The same pattern of behaviour can be seen in Bartlett’s relationship with former political foe Greens leader Nick Mckim. Right up until the post election deal with the Greens Bartlett had maintained a contemptuous posture towards Greens leader Nick McKim. Slick, untrustworthy and a "wolf in sheep's clothes" were some of the more benign descriptors used by Bartlett to denigrate McKim. The Premier's intense dislike for his green political opponent was particularly palpable on the parliament floor.
However as soon as the Greens provided a way for Mr Bartlett to hold on to power, suddenly we were witnessing the Bartlett/McKim mutual admiration society with the leader’s texting each other and going on long bike rides together.

Top Cop Backflip
Then there was the backflip that almost triggered a constitutional crisis.
In 2008 Premier Bartlett infamously backflipped on his appointment of Richard McCreadie to acting Police Commissioner. Retired police commissioner Richard McCreadie was to temporarily return to the role while current commisioner Jack Johnston fought charges alleging he disclosed official secrets to state politicians. Premier Bartlett told the Tasmanian parliament he could not appoint (Richard McCreadie) as temporary police commissioner as he had recieved advice there was a "legal impediment".
As a result of this highly controversial saga the Premier became embroiled in a very public stoush with the Director of Public Prosecutions which could have resulted in the downfall of the Government or the DPP

Pulp Mill backflip - The Mother of all backflips.
David Bartlett first demonstrated his political naivety immediately upon assuming office in May 2008 from the deeply unpopular and controversial Paul Lennon.
Before resigning in May 2008, the pro-logging premier Lennon self-destructed in one of the most scandal ridden periods in the state’s history. The fall of Paul Lennon could be linked to a number of issues, but most Tasmanians would concede that it was Lennon’s personal obsession with the Gunns pulp mill that killed his political career.
After Lennon resigned, with an approval rating of 17 per cent, the new Premier David Bartlett immediately set about winning over a jaded public by distancing himself from the former premier, and from Gunns.
At his first media conference as Premier, Bartlett declared... "I accept that recent events in the Tasmanian political scene have led to a degradation of trust in our democracy and anything we can do to reconnect with the Tasmanian people and continue to build their trust will be absolutely vital."
David Bartlett had seen the risks of tying ones political fortunes too closely to Gunns Ltd and seemed determined not to sacrifice himself for Tasmania’s most powerful company.
The new Premier declared "I believe that this Parliament and, therefore the Government have done pretty much all we can [for Gunns pulp mill] and some would say too much … we have drawn a line in the sand regarding any future government involvement in the pulp mill project."
Mr Bartlett also declared he was open to the protection of more forests.

Through a series of rosy public statements, including twice personally telling Tamar Valley residents he didn’t think the project "would get finance or go ahead,", Mr Bartlett led Tasmanians to believe that his Government would resolve the pulp mill debate and give Tasmanians closure on the mill issue by Christmas 2008.
To the relief of the Tasmanian people, the new Premier set a time frame for the pulp mill "to live or die by" declaring that from 30 November 2008, government permits and involvement in the project would end unless Gunns had achieved real finance and real progress on construction".
In declaring "the Tasmanian people have a right to say enough is enough" David Bartlett appeared to have finally recognised the rights of other stakeholders.
Then in 2009, Tasmanians watched in horror as Premier Bartlett performed one of the most spectacular political back flips since John Howard’s GST.
David Bartlett did not deliver on his promise that by 30 November 2008 his Government would withdraw permits and involvement in the project unless Gunns had settled questions of finance. The Premier also quickly backed away from any suggestion of protecting more forests after being pulled into line by Tasmania’s politically powerful forest barons
Eighteen months on, with Gunns yet to meet Bartlett’s conditions, the "line in the sand" has been well and truly washed away.
Or as Richard Flanagan argued: " He (Bartlett) didn't draw just one line in the sand, he ploughed up the entire beach."
To make matters worse, after claiming it had been informed of a potential legal problem with expiring State Pulp Mill permits, the Bartlett Government quickly moved to draft the ‘Pulp Mill Clarification Bill’ — yes, another special law for Gunns which extended the pulp mill permit until late 2011.
When questioned about this, Energy and Resources Minister David Llewellyn said "The pulp mill is the biggest thing for Tasmania; it is essential for the Tasmanian economy."
Yet Llewellyn’s statement directly contradicted state Treasurer Michael Aird who recently talked down the planned pulp mill’s importance to Tasmania’s economy, saying that if the pulp mill did not go ahead, it "would have only a marginal impact on the government’s finances".
Despite the best efforts of Bartlett’s bloated and expensive army of spin doctors, Tasmanians have woken up to the double game underway.

No more Government support for Gunns Pulp Mill Backflip. Aird Backflips too.
In late 2009 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 (now ex) Gunns boss, John Gay, in May 2008.
A few weeks after the Premier's secret backflip Gunns dropped the treasurer in it when they put out a press release thanking Treasurer Michael Aird for…
Agreeing to lobby its prospective pulp mill partner…Gunns spokesman Matt Horan said last night while the Tasmanian Government had always been clear about its backing for the giant pulp mill, ‘every little bit’ of open support helps. Mr Aird left yesterday for a week-long, $50,000 trip to Europe, during which he will meet the unnamed companies Gunns hopes can be convinced to invest in its controversial pulp mill”.
Treasurer 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.
Respected Tasmanian political scientist Richard Herr, who is normally moderate in his public utterances, has been scathing about the Tasmanian Government’s treatment of the public on the mill issue, saying: "Parliament took the stance ‘if we shove the legislation through quickly no-one will notice’ … but the people did notice and will not forget."

Reconnecting with Tasmanians has been a consistent theme in the Bartlett rhetoric.

Mr.Bartlett promised to heal community divisions when he took on the job of premier but his constant back flips have only served to exacerbate what he referred to as "the degradation of trust in democracy".
Indeed, after a disasterous opinion poll in November 2009 Mr Bartlett declared,... "We have not demonstrated to them that we care and we have not demonstrated to the Tasmanian community that we are listening and we need to do more of both,"
However residents & businesses in the Tamar Valley and Tasmanians in general remain irreconcilably disconnected to the Gunns Pulp Mill project and increasingly so to the Tasmanian Government largely because, like his predecessor, David Bartlett has played a double game by talking the talk but failing to walk the walk.

In this sense Premier Bartlett is no different than most politicians for politicians are people of words.
Politicians like Mr Bartlett want us to judge them on their words, their intentions and their finest achievements.
Voters, however are looking for action, actions that match the promises politicans make.
Politicians who are able to bridge the gulf between word and deed are inevitably the ones who gain the respect and the nod from voters.

So where does this leave Premier David Bartlett? Mr 26%. Perhaps like the proposed Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill, facing a seemingly impossible task in winning back the trust of the Tasmanian people.

Rick Pilkington

Friday, June 11, 2010

Must watch video's on Gunns & the pulp mill.

Check out these two Lateline pieces from last night: Community consultation the way forward:
Gunns could have changed business practices:Cousins
Bloggers note.
Today Senator Brown told the Tasmanian media a pulp mill in a different location with a different pulping process could possibly get the backing of the community.
Aunty (ABC) deserves a rebuke for its mischievous reporting of Senator Brown's comments.
In news reports today the ABC demonstrated that it is not averse to tabloid style reporting by consistently omitting the key point that Senator Brown opposes a mill in the Tamar Valley.
Clearly Aunty was more interested in running provocative headlines.

Indeed, I recently wrote to Senator Browns office seeking clarification on the Australians Green position on the Proposed mill and recieved the reply below which states..... "Senator Brown’s position has always been very clear that he does not support a pulp mill of any sort in the Tamar Valley, due to the social and environmental issues. "The Greens, both State and Federal, have said that they would only support a pulp mill that passed both environmental (closed loop, plantation based, chlorine free) and social (accepted by the local community) criteria. Again this totally rules out the Tamar Valley as a suitable site".
I have also recieved the same assurance from The Tasmanian Greens and the Wilderness society via Paul Oosting the wildo's Pulp Mill campaign manager who was featured in last nights lateline interview.

Pulp Mill opponents should take comfort in the fact that Geoffrey Cousins is in part being guided by the advice of Senator Brown & the wilderness society, whom cousins describes as "extremely effective. This was apparent in the lateline interview.

It was significant that Cousins stated that the company (sodra) Gunns had cited as a "potential" pulp mill joint venture parther "had told him that the standards the Australian government were applying to proposed mill are not good enough"......
...."and you know, the Australian Government at the time came out and said, “This is going to be world’s best practice.” The Opposition didn’t question that.

This company has said to me directly, Sodra, they have said through a representative, they wouldn’t build a mill to the standards that the Australian Government approved. They are just not good enough.
That’s the level of our politics. It is a pretty shameful thing and as I say, it’s taken the efforts of a lot of people, many of whom have been involved in these issues an awful lot longer than I have, to get this done where the politicians turned their backs on it" (Geoff Cousins)

This raises a few questions. Have Gunns now sacked Sodra as they did the RPDC for not giving the company the answers it wanted?
Also, if Sodra says the proposed mill isnt up to standard then who exactly are Gunns three new potential equity participants in Southern Star corporation (the company established to build & operate the bell bay pulp mill (  as per todays asx announcement)?
Are Gunns seeking to lower the bar that Sodra may have wanted to set?

Cousins comments about the State & Federal Governments are also damning.
The Tasmanian government & opposition's complete failure in the five & a half years of the pulp mill proposal to progress its monologue to something more sophisticated  than "We support a worlds best practice pulp mill in the Tamar valley & we support downstream processing" shows their complete disregard of constituents & shareholders, the Tasmanian taxpayer.
No foresight, no use its legislative powers and influence to guide Gunns towards a sustainable triple bottom line. Rather than acting as an agent for change and peace in the forest, & in the Tamar Valley, the Tasmanian government & opposition have never ceased to treat the pulp mill & forest conflicts as sites from which political advantaged can be leveraged.
Both Liberal and Labor have been completely reckless and lacking in any vision in relation to the mill and Gunns can thank their parliamentary friends for helping take the company to the brink during what has been a disasterous backward slide for Tamania's largest Company.

What the Tasmanian & Australian Government's & Gunns now need to work through is how they come to terms with the fact that the relationship between the proposed Tamar Valley mill and the Tasmanian comunity is irreconcilably damaged and if, where & when a pulp mill in Tasmanian is still viable.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Premier "Backflip" Bartlett reaffirms support for Pulp Mill. Greens Kim Booth to introduce legislation repealing PMAA & Permits.

From ABC news online
Gunns boss looks for new way forward
The chief executive of the Tasmanian timber giant Gunns has foreshadowed a new direction for the company after the resignation of its high-profile chairman.
Mr L'Estrange has given his first television interview since John Gay severed all ties with the company last month amid pressure from disgruntled shareholders.
Gunns shares hit a low of 26 cents recently after the company posted a 98 per cent fall in its half yearly profit but the stock has gained ground since Mr Gay's departure and yesterday closed at 46 cents.
Mr L'Estrange has told ABC1's 7:30 Report that the recent interest shown by foreign investors is a positive sign.
"I think the company is moving more away from conflict as a means of resolving issues to, how do we actually sit down and work for resolution," he said.
Pulp mill support
The Premier has reaffirmed the State Government's support for the company's pulp mill proposal in northern Tasmania.
The Greens' Kim Booth used yesterday's Question Time to ask David Bartlett if the Government had stopped supporting the pulp mill project.
"Will you now make a commitment that in this new Bartlett government that all government support and expenditure of public money will cease?"
Mr Bartlett did not refer to financial support for the mill in his repines.
He would only say that the government wanted to extract as much value out of harvested trees as possible.
"That is why we support a clean, world class technology pulp mill in Tasmania," he said.
Mr Booth says he will soon table legislation aimed at repealing the pulp mill's approval and revoking its permits.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

From the 7.30 Report last night. Backflip Bartlett still holding on to his pulp dream

New road forward for timber industry.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 08/06/2010
Reporter: Martin Cuddihy

The resignation of Gunn's Chairman John Gay is viewed by many as one signpost on the road to sustainability for the timber industry in Australia.
KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Significant changes underway in Australia's timber industry, with a big effort in Tasmania in particular to break down traditional hostilities that have dogged the landscape for decades. The chairman of the Australia's biggest publicly listed timber company, Gunns, John Gay, resigned recently after sustained pressure from institutional investors. He was the driving forcing behind the contentious pulp mill proposal in northern Tasmania. His departure is viewed by many as one signpost on the road to sustainability for the industry and now a new player has emerged in a bid to get green groups and the timber industry working together. Martin Cuddihy reports from Hobart.

ADRIAN BENNETT, LOGGING CONTRACTOR: I'm fourth generation in the industry. Followed in me father's footsteps. It's in the blood sort of thing. You know, it's what I've done since I left school.

MARTIN CUDDIHY, REPORTER: Logging contractor Adrian Bennett says there's nothing he'd rather do. Everything he harvests here goes to the timber giant Gunns. Most of it will be turned into saw logs, flooring and timber veneer. About 15 per cent will become woodchips. But times have turned tough.

ADRIAN BENNETT: We've had to tighten our belts here to keep our men employed. The men are pretty loyal us to, we look after 'em and that there, we've got a good crew.

GERARD BENNETT, CABLE LOGGER: I've got a family, I've got a mortgage. It's - you know, my house is on the line, and nearly every guy on the job's the same.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: It's no secret there's rot in Australia's timber industry. This year, the international woodchip market has expanded by more than four per cent, but local experts have fallen by 25 per cent.
The decades-old conflict between loggers and green groups who've been blamed for much of the downturn.
Feelings run high between the two and sometimes boil over into violence.

DAVID BARTLETT, TASMANIAN PREMIER: In Tasmania, there has been, I guess, a - almost a civil war going on over our forests.

ROBERT EASTMAN, INDUSTRY ANALYST: There's no doubt that the forest industry, both in Tasmania and across Australia, is on a watershed.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: Paper and forestry analyst Robert Eastman believes the industry can turn around provided it capitalises on groundswell of corporate and public sentiment.

ROBERT EASTMAN: Some changes are happening. They're not very significant to date. But I think with some new management and some change in attitudes. I for one would also like to see far greater consultation with community and stakeholders.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The recent resignation of Gunns' chairman John Gay, reportedly because of pressure from institutional investors, may prove to be a watershed moment. He ran Australia's largest forestry company for 28 years. Mr Gay was seen as an environmental vandal by green groups and had a reputation for ruthlessly pursuing the company's business interests.
So was Mr Gay difficult to do business with then?

GREG L'ESTRANGE, CEO, GUNNS: I think John is a - he's a very, ah, ah - can we just stop there for a second?

MARTIN CUDDIHY: I can ask the question again if you like. Was Mr Gay difficult to do business with?

GREG L'ESTRANGE: I don't think John was difficult to do business with. He had a view of where the business needed to go.

DAVID BARTLETT: John leaving the job might enable institutional investors and others to change Gunns, to modernise it, I suppose.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The market reacted strongly to news of his exit, the share price rose 40 per cent in a day. Chief executive Greg L'Strange says the firm has softened its hardline stance.

GREG L'ESTRANGE: I think the company is moving into - more away from a conflict as a means of resolving issues to how do we actually sit down and work for resolution?

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The company's number one priority remains building a pulp mill in northern Tasmania. The $2.5 billion project was John Gay's ambition vision. Since his departure, there's been renewed interest in Gunns from China, South America and Europe. The German investment Deutsche Bank now owns more than five per cent of the company.

GREG L'ESTRANGE: We're heartened by the interest, and - but, again, we have to continue through that process and when we are in a position to make sort form of announcement, we will do that.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: Gunns says the mill won't use any woodchips from native forests. Regardless, environment groups remain fiercely opposed. They say it will pollute both Bass Strait and the air in the Tamar Valley. Finding any agreement between Gunns and the green groups won't be easy.
Still, Tasmania's Premier, David Bartlett, is going to try.

DAVID BARTLETT: I'm not interested in another piecemeal approach that simply locks up some more trees but doesn't end the challenges we have in our markets, doesn't provide us with more downstream opportunities, value adding opportunities. We need to have the conversations that will see if we can get to that point and provide real resolution.

PHIL PULLINGER, ENVIRONMENT TASMANIA: Now is the time and the opportunity to create a solution to this issue that both protects our native forests and protects a future for our timber industry.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: Dr Phil Pullinger is the director of Environment Tasmania and part of a new alliance called Our Common Ground. It's an unprecedented move, but some in the timber industry and green groups are now working together. The group wants the industry to exist on plantation timber only.

PHIL PULLINGER: Common Ground is a coalition of environment groups, business leaders, community leaders, timber workers and people from a broad array of backgrounds all working towards solving this issue.
DAVID BARTLETT: I am optimistic that the forest industry in Tasmania does have a bright future, but there's a lot of work to be done to get it to that bright future.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: In the southern forests, Adrian Bennett reckons he doesn't have much of a say in what happens next, but the mill would provide his business with certainty.

ADRIAN BENNETT: The pulp mill, we'd like to see that go. That'd get the industry back on its feet sorta thing.

GREG L'ESTRANGE: We have to have a framework that both industry and the environmental groups can see as a path forward to create a future.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Martin Cuddihy with that report.

Kim Booth sticks it to backflip Bartlett on Mill. Pilko joins in with savage upper cut.

Kim Booth MP Greens Pulp Mill spokesperson

"The Tasmanian Greens today called on Premier David Bartlett to rule out any further Tasmanian Government subsidisation of Gunns’ proposed pulp mill.

Greens Pulp Mill spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that given the Premier’s infamous backflip on his “line-in-the-sand” over financial assistance for Gunns, a new commitment is required from this new government that it will not waste one more dollar of taxpayer’s funds on a divisive proposal for a private pulp mill in the Tamar Valley.
“Premier David Bartlett today flunked the opportunity to be a statesman and issue a death certificate for the mill, instead reverting to his old ways and attempting to resuscitate the corpse of the pulp mill,” said Mr Booth.
“The economy of the Tamar Valley has stalled under the cloud of this toxic mill proposal.”
“The public have rejected it, the market has rejected it, Gunns’ shareholders have rejected it, and it now seems that the only people on the planet who want a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley are David Bartlett and Labor.”
“Tasmanians who were hoping for a new direction would be bitterly disappointed that the Premier has chosen to prolong the pain.”
“David Bartlett must commit to the proper expenditure of taxpayer’s money instead of pandering to the needs of this divisive and destructive pulp mill proposal,” said Mr Booth".
Onya Kim. Its time the Greens led by Nick Mckim went for the jugular on the elephant in the room pulp mill. If Labor expect continued compromise from the Greens then it will have to work both ways. Either that or end up with more protest and more embarrassment for the lickspittle Laborials.

Funny thing, today on ABC radio I heard St. Michael Ferguson of Bass at his nauseating & sanctimonious best. Fergie was bleating about how the Greens were now falling into line with Labor on policy. Two words for you Slick Mick - Pulp Mill.
Anything to do with Gunns, Federal Hotels, the environment, Pokies and big business has seen the Liberal party vote consistently and unanimously with recent Labor governments.
Clearly Fergies bible does not contain the word Hypocrisy nor does it emphasise truth & honesty.
One compartment for Liberal Party Politics and one for the Lord ay mick?


3 Tassie Cyclists in Aus. World Championships squad....and...interviews with Porte, Wurf, Sulzberger & Goss.

Australia announces worlds long lists
Published: June 8, 09:42
Cycling Australia has announced a long list for the elite men's squads to contest the UCI Road World Championships on home soil from September 29 to October 3.
While the world titles are more than three months away, the lists reflect those riders who are eligible to compete in the elite and under 23 men's races in Geelong and Melbourne in late September.
According to the federation, "riders not included in the squads have the opportunity to be added on the basis of their performances prior to the announcement in August of the elite men's long team and U23 men's team."
There could be some new faces in the final lineup, including Richie Porte, who recently starred at the Giro d'Italia, winning the best young rider title after spending several days in the race lead (pictured above).
Luke Roberts is back in contention for a place, having spent the last few years on the periphery due to illness and injury. He has enjoyed a solid comeback with German ProTour squad Milram and could be an asset to the team due to his powerful style and track background.
The inclusion of Brett Lancaster on the long list is also being welcomed after the Cervélo TestTeam rider enjoyed a win at the recent Amgen Tour of California which indicated a return to some of the Olympic gold medalist's best form.
In the under 23 ranks, exciting 19-year-old rider Michael Matthews has been named in the long list after enjoying a fantastic season thus far. He has won stages in the Tour de Langkawi and the Ringerike GP plus a second place in the GP Liberazione on April 25.

Elite men long list
Graeme Brown OAM, Simon Clarke, Baden Cooke, Allan Davis, Cadel Evans, Simon Gerrans, Matthew Goss, Adam Hansen, Mathew Hayman, Brett Lancaster OAM, Matthew Lloyd, Robbie Mcewen, Cameron Meyer, Travis Meyer, Stuart O'Grady OAM, Richie Porte, Mark Renshaw, Luke Roberts OAM, Michael Rogers, Wesley Sulzberger, Chris Sutton, Matthew Wilson
U23 men long list
Nick Aitken, Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge, Ben Dyball, Michael Hepburn, Benjamin King, Patrick Lane, Joseph Lewis, Michael Matthews, Timothy Roe, Malcolm Rudolph, Nicholas Walker

Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world

Great interview with Portey here

Interviews with Portey, Sulzberger, Wurf & Goss here

Vintage at Stoney Rise Vineyard with Buzz Lightyear (Gravelly Beach, tamar valley)

Check this out.

No Sleep till August. Cycling and World Cup Soccer. Woohooo!

Here is the SBS broadcast schedule for this months FIFAWorld Cup. All matches live on SBS.
Also the FIFA match schedule.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fitness & Sports stuff.

Tasmanian cyclist Matthew Goss has continued his Stage winning Giro d italia form by winning the prestigious Philidelphia International Cycling Championship.
Goss won the 251km one day classic in a sprint finish from Liquigas rider Peter Sagan.
Goss said of his win...
"I can't compare it to all the others but it was the hardest one I have done, even when in 2007 we went about half an hour quicker," said Goss. "The wind made the race really hard, especially along the bottom road [Kelly Drive - ed.]"

"I felt strong, I was still there but I didn't feel incredible. I couldn't follow Sagan when he went on the last climb [of the Manayunk Wall]. I had to take a risk and gamble, stay in the bunch and hope that it would come back together."
The last month has been especially good for Goss as the Australian won the Giro d'Italia's 9th stage on May 17. "I still think the Giro was my biggest race win. I don't want to take anything away from this race, I love this race and I wanted to win it so I was happy to be able to do that today." (
In triathlon, Launceston Triathlete Joe Gambles has failed to finish the Revolution half ironman distance triathlon in the U.S.
Gambles was in a great position having moved into second place early on the run but was forced to abandon around the 5km mark with an achilles tendon problem.
Best of luck in your recovery Joe. This blog hopes to have an exclusive interview with Joe in the near future
The Gravelly Beach Veteran (your truly) is beginning to get back to some semi-decent training volumes.
After a 50km ride on saturday, I swam comfortably for 2.8km on Sunday and today I walk/ran 7.5km with 21 minutes of running. Achilles& ankle still not 100% but I am on the way.

Shareholders Gunning for Gunns.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

More stuff

Had a great 50km ride this morning. Rode into legana then turned and rode back through exeter and out to Winkleigh before turning for home. Ran into Three peaks legend Timmy "pied" Piper who sounds like he his loving being a dad. Really happy for him.
Looking forward to watching the stosur/schiavone French Open final tonight.
Swim in a.m.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Had a great 2.5k swim the lunch boys today.
Arrived home to find the solar panel installers hard at work. 12 new panels. 2kw system.
I thought the young installers might appreciate a few midnight oil tunes so i've popped my copy of "Batts are Burning" on and am maintaining a most menacing look whenever i go outside. Naaaaah but seriously its exciting. Note to self ; get of grid 100%. Shit they are drilling a big hole in the wall....gottta go!

Intersting article from the North Shore Times

Shareholders with Gunns grab power
04 Jun 10 @ 01:12pm by Andrew Main

SHAREHOLDERS in public companies are finally starting to make their presence felt with errant boards of directors.
Don’t expect to see heads on poles any time soon, but the old clubby world of directors doing pretty much what they wanted over issues such as pay and company strategy has given way to a more transparent relationship between companies and the people who actually own them.
That’s partly because of government policy and partly because institutional investors are finally turning more activist.
Earlier this year the Productivity Commission, an advisory body, recommended that if a company’s board gets a significant 25 per cent-plus no vote against its remuneration policy for two years running, then the entire board will have stand before the shareholders for re-election.
That’s not law yet although the two strikes recommendation was accepted by the government in April (by minister Chris Bowen) and should become law later this year. That’s a step forward from the previous temporary arrangement whereby shareholders have been empowered to cast a non-binding vote on every listed company’s remuneration policy.
A bit like encouraging shareholders to shout “boo” in annual meetings without changing anything: a measure designed to make them at least feel better.
During the past year that’s happened to several companies, including giant insurer QBE and transport group Asciano, as well as smaller companies such as Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and Challenger Financial Services.
That’s a start, but it’s worth remembering that mum-and-dad shareholders hold little sway, often no more than 15 per cent or so, compared with the big institutions. But those institutions, mostly fund managers who are actually managing your superannuation, are turning activist with sometimes startling results.
A push by some of Gunns’ biggest shareholders last month succeeded in persuading former Tasmanian premier Robin Gray to retire from the board.
Then, on May 28, John Gay, the former chief executive and current chairman, cut all ties with Gunns a day after I reported a shareholder saying: “We’d like to see John Gay go immediately.”
It’s rare for shareholder pressure to oust a chairman - usually such pressure is on the chairman and the board to oust an underperforming chief executive.
But as with every sharemarket trend, once something like that starts to happen it spreads.
Gay is a proud Tasmanian and a tireless champion of Gunns, but it’s widely felt he did not take enough notice of what shareholders were saying about some of the company’s more controversial plans. Company chairmen will look a lot more closely at such issues now.

Andrew Main is business editor of The Australian. For the latest business news see

Bring back the biff! Cowards castle attack by Labor polll on Tasmania's DPP backfires.

Punters have sided with DPP Tim Ellis after he gave Labor polly Duncan Kerr a well deserved spray in Hobart this week.

see links below..

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Birthday boy

It was my birthday today. 43yrs old. Had a good day. A long walk/run with the bear and a short ride in the p.m. Anna cooked me dinner and we watched Invictus, the story of the 1995 South African world cup. Another great Clint Eastwood film. Tomorrow night its a birthday dinner at Kouklas in Gravelly Beach. \
Truly Launceston most scenic and best restaraunt. A platter washed down with a bottle of 2000 Jansz is on the menu. Thanks for a great Birthday Anna. I love you.
Cannot believe how great the autumn weather has been. Its june 3 and it still does not feel like winter has hit. Famous last words??
Bring on the world cup of soccer next weekend.

CBA ditches Gunns shares

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Premier Bartlett gets on the Richie Porte bandwagon.

Hey Mr Premier how about putting your money where your mouth is and increasing the Tasmanian governments pathetic $5,000 funding of the Launceston Cycling Classic?
You could get on your bike, ride up to the classic and announce a nice 3 year deal which would keep this world class event alive.
Good for you, good for Tasmanian cycling and good for Launcesons CBD. How about it??

Tasmanian Government Media Release

Congratulations to Richie Porte

The Premier, David Bartlett, today congratulated Tasmanian cyclist, Richie Porte, on his outstanding victory in the youth section of the Giro d’Italia.
Mr Porte clinched the coveted white jersey overnight, becoming the first Australian, or indeed non-European, to do so in the award’s 23-year history.
The 25-year-old finished “The Giro” in seventh overall, and also wore the leader’s pink jersey in two stages.
“As a Launceston boy who devoted himself to cycling only four years ago, Richie Porte has done his state and his community proud,” Mr Bartlett said.
“Conquering the grueling 3,500-kilometre Giro d’Italia is reason enough to celebrate. To finish among the world’s elite, and claim the prestigious white jersey, is truly remarkable.
“As a lover of cycling, I can only marvel at Richie’s achievement. I’m sure he has a fantastic future ahead of him” Mr Bartlett said.
The white jersey is awarded to the highest-placed rider in the Giro d’Italia, aged 25 or under.

Team Saxobank boss praises Tasmanian cyclist Ritchie Porte.

Bjarne Riis Proud Of Giro Line-Up
[31.05 20:57]
Team Saxo Bank had an adventurous Giro d'Italia. When Michael Mørkøv, Anders Lund, Richie Porte, Gustav Larsson, Lucas Sebastian Haedo, Laurent Didier, Baden Cooke, Chris Anker Sørensen and Nicki Sørensen entered the race in Rotterdam May 8th including four Grand Tour debutants and a team leader who had just returned to road cycling after having broken his collarbone a few weeks earlier in the line-up, very few people relied on any success in Italy.
But three weeks, two stage victories, three days in the leader's jersey, an overall victory of the young rider competition and an overall seventh later, eight Team Saxo Bank riders, including all four debutants were able to put a Giro d'Italia well done on their resume. An achievement team owner, Bjarne Riis is very proud of:
”The Giro has been a fantastic journey for us with two stage victories and a debutant winning the young rider competition and finishing seventh overall. I have paid attention to each rider's enormous individual will to fight but more importantly, I'm so happy to see the guys working together as a solid team around Richie (Porte) and it really shows team spirit and their general quality as riders. Richie surprised everyone around him and it's not every day you see a star being born like that. It's going to be interesting following his development in the years to come," says a proud teamowner.

and...more Portey news

The destruction of Tasmania's flora and fauna compared to the killing fields of cambodia, vietnam, hiroshima, nagasaki,uganda, dresden, the holocaust etc etc. Read this disturbing insight into the bizzare mindset of Tasmania's deep green subculture.

"And — like humans in the killings fields of Cambodia; in Vietnam post- Agent Orange, napalm, bombs, bullets and landmines; in Uganda after Idi Amin; in Rwanda and Burundi after the genocide; in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the Enola Gay; in Dresden in the wake of England’s late-World War II vengeance; in Germany’s conquered lands after the Holocaust; in China after the Cultural Revolution; in Hungary and Czechoslovakia after the Red repression . . . — the surviving life forms in Tasmania’s devastated forest lands (without knowing why their homes have been bulldozed, chainsawed and burnt around them) are doing their best to pick up the pieces”.

Quote taken from here.....

Are team saxobank trying to kill our portey

Only a few days after finishing the ridiicously exhausting 3 week Giro d Italia, Ritchie Porte is listed to start todays mountainous Tour of Luxembourg. You poor bugger Ritchie. Ouch!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Is corporate brown nose Peter Gutwein spruiking for a job on the new foreign owned Gunns?

Dont you love Pulp Mill Peter Gutwein. Like Baghdad Bob, the iraqi war minister for information selling the world the idea that the rampaging US military were being slaughtered by Saddas tin pot army.
Peter Gutwein should consider a career in comedy.
I put a question to Peter Gutwein at a public forum in Scottsdale just before the 2010 election.
I asked him how any jobs there would be for Tasmanians to walk into at an operational longreach pulp mill?
He either couldnt or wouldnt answer the question.
What i got was the usual cocky, evasive non-answer that i have come to expect from the Tasmanin Liberal party.
I have asked CFMEU & Labor bovver boy Scott Mclean the same question. Nothing.
I put the same question to Will Hodgman on radio and got the same result. Nothing.
After nearly 6 years on the books they still cannot tell Tasanians how much local employment the proposed mill will provide in return to Tasmanians
In the Press release below Gutwein is now saying the proposed mill will provide hundreds of Jobs for Tasmanians.
What happened to the 2000 new full time jobs for Tasmanians the former Premier Paul Lennon promised (cheered on by Mr Gutwein and his Liberal colleagues) when he rammed the pulp mill through the parliament?
Even the construction unions Tony Benson recently said Tasmanians would be lucky to secure any of the employment during the construction of the pulp mill let alone during its operation.

One more thing Mr Gutween. The proposed Gunns pulp mill is dead.

Peter, if you had looked up from your tissue box and your John Gay photo album recently you may have heard the news that the remaining Gunns board have all enrolled in foreign language classes at TAFE. Thats right Pete.

Any pulp mill now will be Gunns eight dragons or Gunns Jackie Chan pulp mill.

Smoked Salmon & Cesar Salad will soon be off the Menu at the Lindsay street cafeteria and will soon be replaced by combination chow min & wanton soup
It was mentioned in the press yesterday that the reason why Chinese companies could be showing interest in Gunns is beacuse they are less concerned with corporate ethics issues than the Japanese.
Whilst this is pretty obvious what does it say about the future direction of the company that Stephen Mayne describes as Australia's most ethically challenged being taken over by one of the world's most ethically challenged regimes?

Oh yeah Mr Gutwein, that will be a huge step forward in Gunns battle to gain the company a social licence.
The idea of the already unwanted pulp mill being chinese owned will go down like a cup of cold vomit with the 100,000 people in Launceston and the Tamar Valley.
If the Tasmanian Govt and Mr Gutwein's jellyfish opposition continue to spruk a Chinese owned Gunns Tamar Valley Pulp mill they may as well just go to the next election with "Don't Vote for Us" campaign slogan.
Here is Pulp Mill Pete's media release.....

The proposed Gunns' pulp mill is an essential part of the forestry industry's future.
There is no doubt that a clean, safe pulp mill will provide certainty in a region hit hard by the forestry crisis. It will provide jobs for hundreds of Tasmanians and will value-add to a sector that is crying out for diversification.
The Tasmanian Liberals remain 100% behind a clean, safe pulp mill being built at the Longreach site.
However, we now have a Labor-Green Cabinet that is split on this issue. David Bartlett has previously said he supports the pulp mill, while Nick McKim and Cassy O'Connor oppose it.
It is now up to the Premier to make clear the position of the Labor-Green Government. Do they support the pulp mill or not?
This is the time for David Bartlett to stand up and show some leadership. Tasmania simply cannot afford for him to go weak at the knees and cave in to his Green coalition partners.

Brian Green was re-elected. Who needs the Tarkine road now? The feast or famine cycle set to continue in Braddon

What do you know. With the Tarkine road on the nose statewide and the reelection of Labors most ethically challenged Minister secured, all of a sudden the Tarkine road isnt worth fighting for. Go figure.
Whilst state Labor pork-barrelled the bejesus out of Braddon in the lead-up to the 2010 election the good folk of the NW should brace themselves for famine for the next 4 years.