Friday, July 30, 2010

Room of mirrors for pathetic saints

Saints absolutely pathetic tonight. With an inflexible game plan a flat footed saints looked more like a bottom four team than a top four team tonight going down to the lowly bombers...again. In a round where other top four contenders have tough games, the saints blew a chance to move into the top two. They were completely absent in the first quarter and this ultimately cost them the game.
What was Ross Lyon thinking playing so many slow talls against the speedy bombers who have beaten us the last two time mostly based on leg speed? Some one has to say it. Since Riewoldts return the saints forward line has been dysfunctional. Milne who carried the forward line during Rooeys absence has been marginalised and his goals have dried up. Saints had 52 inside 50's to  the Bombers 45 tonight but still lost. What does that tell you Ross Lyon? They need to get this right very quickly.

Grubby politics or Senator Abetz copping a bit of his own medicine?

Article from the Mercury here

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Federal Labor pulp mill cash softener for the Tamar Valley wine industry??....PULP THE MILL group refuse to meet with Gunns spin doctor....more Dave Groves pics of Tamar Valley inversion layer.


More Liberal party links with Gunns

We know that Bass Federal Labor candidate Geoff Lyons is locked into support for the unpopular Tamar Valley mill proposal, but did you know that Liberal candidate Steve Titmus is another in a long line of Tasmanian Liberal politicians with close links to the big logger? It just never stops.
Tasmanian Liberal party president Sam Mcquestin's close links to Gunns are well known as are former Tasmanian Liberal Premier Robin Gray who until recently was long serving Gunns board member. We also know that state Liberals Rene Hidding and Peter Gutwein worship the ground former Gunns CEO John Gay walks on and so it goes

Whilst Antony Greens election website tells us..... "46 year-old Titmus started his career in journalism as a cadet at the Launceston Examiner. He later worked in Tasmania and in Adelaide as a television journalist and presenter before joining Southern Cross television in Tasmanian in 1992 as sports editor and presenter, becoming the news anchor in 1997. He read the news until 2002 when his contract was not renewed because of a perceived conflict of interest with his dual role as a public relations consultant for Gunns. For a short period he was news director at Win Television".......

Titmus own website is silent on his work history with Gunns -  or
Why the silence Steve?


An interesting article from The Age on the Liberal and Labor candidates for bass..

From The Age ........
......."Liberal candidate Steve Titmus, a former TV journalist and until recently development officer for the Tasmanian Chamber of Industry, has been on the ground since last September.Titmus, 46, is a hard-headed campaigner, as one of his former media roles shows. When the timber giant Gunns Limited realised it had an image problem, Titmus was hired to do what he calls ''vignettes'' - TV ads in which he extolled Gunns' virtues as a good neighbour". ()

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No social licence. The Tamar Valley Pulp Mill, irretrievably damaged.

The Gunns Ltd/joint foreign owned pulp mill is proposed for Longreach in the Tamar Valley.  Both locals and visitors agree that the Tamar Valley, including Longreach and the Rowella peninsula on the opposing banks is an area of stunning beauty.

The Tamar Valley is home to Tasmania's second largest city Launceston and has a population of 100,000 people.  Government and Gunns frequently use the phrase 'the Bell Bay pulp mill' which is mischievously employed to give the impression the mill would be sited in Georgetown's Bell Bay industrial estate.  However any registered map shows that mill is proposed for Longreach, a narrowing of the Tamar River about 10km south of the Bell Bay estate.

Longreach is on the eastern bank of the Tamar River approximately 35 km north of Launceston, adjacent to the two Gunns Tamar woodchip mills. Gunns already own two woodchip processing facilities on the proposed mill site which interestingly Gunns always refer to by its correct name - the Gunns Longreach woodchip mill.
Longreach is a former nature reserve and haven for nationally listed species like the green and gold frog, and Tasmanian wedgetail eagle, provided a natural buffer from industry until former premier Paul Lennon, and his Labor Government removed its reserve status when it introduced fast-tracked legislation to approve the controversial pulp mill project.

Despite Gunns' attempts to makeover its image the company continues in its attempts to mislead investors and the general public about the nature of the area where the mill is proposed.  Yet the cold hard reality for the people of the Tamar Valley and the residents of Rowella remain.
Gunns, against the wishes of the majority of Australians want to build one of the largest Kraft pulp mills ever built less than 800 meters from working vineyards, farms, organic producers and people's homes on the western shore of the Tamar River.  Locals refer to this area as the ‘Sacrifice Zone’.

Indeed, the Longreach pulp mill site’s closest neighbours are the vineyards, farmers, fishermen, organic producers, aqua culturists, lavender farmers and residents who live directly opposite on the banks of the West Tamar on the magnificent rowella peninsula.  The stunning residential hamlets of Rowella, Kayena, Richmond Hill, Bonnie Beach, Sidmouth, Deviot and Batman Bridge are all in fact closer to the proposed mill site than the Bell Bay industrial area.

Residents, businesses and the region in general face very serious and very real public and environmental health risks as well as certain social and economic loss if the mill is built.  With the noise, odour, light and massive emissions from the smoke stack whose girth at the base is a large as the Myers building in Launceston it will be extremely difficult for people to continue to reside in this area.  Millions of dollars of business and real estate value will undoubtably be wiped out and based on the impacts of similar sized pulp mills around the world it is arguable that the area will be uninhabitable to residents.

To this day neither Gunns or the Tasmanian government have conducted an independent cost or risk analysis of the pulp mill's impacts on the Tamar Valley. 

Today it almost certain that Gunns will never achieve a social license for this project and many observers believe that the only reason Gunns still persist after five fruitless years searching for an investor is because they cannot afford to write the project off.

A perverse basis for the project to proceed.

If the project does proceed we only need look to the social unrest caused by unpopular Botnia Pulp Mill at Freya Bentos on the Argentine/Uruguay border to see what will unfold in the Tamar Valley.
Late last year Premier David Bartlett spoke at the national press club in Canberra.

When Premier Bartlett finally inclined to mention the unpopular Pulp Mill in his Press Club speech he did so as an afterthought with a dutiful plug at the end of a 40-minute speech.  To say the Premier looked uncomfortable talking about the divisive and controversial pulp mill in front of a cynical national press would be an understatement.

Mr. Bartlett segued from a lengthy eulogy about Tasmania’s future techno revolution to his short pulp mill reference with what is now a standard Bartlett anecdote about the mobile phone company Nokia.

.......“Most of you in the room today will have a mobile phone, if it’s not an I phone or a blackberry its probably a Nokia, and for many Australians, you wouldn’t know but Nokia began life as Forestry Company. That’s how it made its wealth before it branched out...Now we have older industries…or should I say traditional industries in Tasmania like forestry……… we are talking here about a very technologically advanced mill, meeting the strictest environmental standards anywhere the world. It too will provide opportunities for innovation and the effective use of new generation technologies”.

It’s not difficult to imagine how the Nokia anecdote has found its way into the Premier’s repertoire.
However, hitching Gunns’ pulp mill to the rising star of ‘new generation technologies’ came across as lame and contrived.  Attempting to link the Gunns Pulp Mill to Tasmania’s future new world of IT and speedy communications is extremely tenuous and at worst makes the Premier look suspiciously like another in a long line of Tasmanian Premiers who have one compartment for good governance and good sense and another for the powerful Tasmanian logging industry.

Many Tamar Valley locals fear that whilst Gunns' Pulp Mill will benefit its distant shareholders, the quiet, clever and diverse community who have managed to live harmoniously for generations with the local environment will be left to pick up the pieces as the Gunns Pulp Mill business fails.

There are indeed many precedents of this occurring in many countries all over the world.

Indeed, it will be of little consolation if the pulp mill does go belly up and the Tamar Valley is left with a Gunns mobile phone shop and a $3 billion hi-tech squat for the homeless.

At that stage there will be little recourse for compensation.  Gunns, unlike existing locally owned businesses, will not be directly accountable to locals, rather protected from them by law.

If celebrated local chef - 2003 Tasmanian young achiever award winner - Daniel Alps can no longer serve the freshest, cleanest seafood and organic vegies because he can no longer afford to buy, or indeed to source them locally then the young people he employs from local towns like Exeter and Legana will be laid off.

If this occurs will the Bartlett Government be forthcoming with a bailout package?

Likewise local family business Miller’s Orchard was established in the 1930s and employ up to 60 full-time workers with a large percentage of their produce destined for the export market including France, Holland, Taiwan and Italy.  Millers’ produce is more expensive than many of its competitors but it maintains its market because of the quality of the produce and the perception that it comes from a clean and pristine environment. Millers may well lose their export markets as their buyers worry about the damaged Tasmanian Brand and the impacts of pollution on the produce.

The continuing effect of the Gunns Pulp Mill on public life in Tasmania will be one of division. Terrible division. 

Supporting the project stopped being clever long ago.  Most Tasmanians have already worked this out.
The kindest thing to do for the Island of Tasmania would be for the Bartlett Government to disconnect itself form the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill and reconnect to its line in the sand.  Until the Bartlett Government does so, the Gunns Pulp Mill will continue to be a millstone around their necks, as it locks Tasmania into a future so irreconcilably at odds with Premier Bartlett’s vision for the state, as outlined in his speech to the Press Club.

Tasmania’s future does not lie in the massive bulk exports of raw materials, it lies in low volume high quality, high value exports. To do that we need to re-think our logistics, transport systems that are low emissions intelligent systems…It’s about our skills sector, science, and innovative agribusiness. It’s about transforming our logistics into smart, low emission transport systems, and drawing more people to visit our State through our growing food and wine tourism sector. That is a clever Tasmania in action
(Premier David Bartlett, October 2009).


Monday, July 19, 2010

16 cars pile up in 3 seperate prangs on East Tamar highway

16 cars piled up in 3 seperate prangs on the ET highway due to fog. And the state government are prepared to see a doubling of log truck traffic on this road with the proposed Longreach pulp mill.

We Tamar Valley locals know that fogs occur in Autumn and Winter on still nights in the valley making driving dangerous. The RPDC warned that this problem would be worsened 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.
Lets hear our infrastructure ministers explain why adding a log truck plague to Tamar Valley roads is not a massive risk to human life.

and from the Examiner...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Polleys crackers

Member for Lyons (my electorate) Michael Polley reckons he is "doing the best he could by the Lyons electorate and the people and communities he had represented for the past 38 years in the Tasmanian Parliament".
Hands up who has seen this bloke in the electorate?
Polley is of course one of the biggest advocates of putting Gunns pulp mill in your Tamar Valley.
No wonder we never see him here except for a few signs when elections roll round.
Apparently Polley and labor had a big bag of crackers leading up to the election.
For once i agree with Ivan Dean who said of Polley's big bag of election crackers ...."the money was being used mainly by Labor Party MPs as a "slush fund" to win votes. "It is hugely disturbing that so much money has been handed out in such a way almost exclusively by Labor Party members," Read about Polleys pork barrel in The Mercury - here )

Follow Launceston cyclist Wes Sulzberger in Le Tour

and...  (nice one mock)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From the Moscow Times

Paper Mill Upsets Baikalsk's Hopes for Strawberries and Skis - 06 July 2010
By Alexander Bratersky and Maria Antonova

BAIKALSK, Irkurtsk Region — Baikalsk, a town of 15,000 located on the shore of the famed Lake Baikal, is haunted by two fears: unemployment and accompanying social unrest or foul waste that would endanger the world's biggest freshwater lake.
Tatyana Glukman, deputy mayor of Baikalsk, shows a colorful brochure listing “fresh mountain air” and “Baikal water” among the five reasons to visit the town during an upcoming Strawberry festival in mid-July.
But she concedes that efforts to attract tourists are rendered useless by the presence of the Baikalsk paper mill, which dumps its wastewater into Baikal.
The problem is that the plant, opened in 1966, also employs 1,600 people, or about one-third of the town's work force.
“On the one hand, I want the plant for the jobs it gives,” Glukman said. "But now it is disrupting the city's development. It is impossible to develop tourism while the plant is functioning.
“It is hard to live in a 'to be or not to be' situation."
A public campaign to close the plant has been ongoing since the mid-1980s and involved many environmentalists and public figures, including the renowned Russian writer Valentin Rasputin.
But the drive has failed so far. The plant, until recently controlled by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, was shut down in October 2008, but Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered in January that the mill resume operation.
Putin's move was viewed as an attempt to avoid public protests similar to the one that shook the town of Pikalyovo in 2009, necessitating Putin's personal intervention. Pikalyovo, a town in the Leningrad region based around three main plants, including one owned by Deripaska, faced social collapse after the plants started shutting down.
Baikalsk workers also protested the closure of the paper mill in 2008. Those rallies prompted the government to start developing a plan to rescue the town from its dependence on the mill, possibly even turning Baikalsk into a model example for hundreds of similar single-factory towns nationwide.
But nothing ever came of it other than Putin's order to resume the paper mill's operations, Baikalsk residents told The Moscow Times.
"We even registered a cooperative for strawberry conservation back then, but no help from the government came in the end," said Yury Levinsky, a local resident and advocate for alternative industries in Baikalsk.
The town is known throughout the region for its delicious and abundant strawberries, and even organized a weeklong strawberry festival after the mill closed. The second annual festival will open July 17.
Levinsky said that only the state can provide businesses with reasonably priced loans because "banks ask for highly liquid collateral of up to 150 percent and only give one-year loans."
He said the government should focus on supporting private initiatives that would provide employment without threatening the lake.
"Baikalsk does not need this mill. I don't know why they launched it — it is beyond logic," he said.
When the plant stopped operations, local tourist operators crossed their fingers.
“The time when the plant was not working was very promising for us,” said Natalya Sorokovikova, marketing manager for the local Gora Sobolinaya mountain ski resort, located a 10-minute drive away from the rundown center of Baikalsk.
Neat wooden houses at the resort look a far cry from the town's shabby buildings.
Sobolinaya, which styles itself “the best resort in Eastern Siberia,” hosted about 30,000 visitors from Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Chita last year.
Incidentally, the resort, now partly owned by Sberbank, was built in 1999 by the paper mill's management.
Business is going well, but Sorokovikova acknowledged that the odor of emissions from the plant's smokestacks turns away many potential visitors.
“I hope that the reopening of the factory is a temporary measure and it was done to shut it down properly,” Sorokovikova said.
Some of the paper mill's former workers remain reluctant to return to the plant despite high unemployment in Baikalsk.
Svetlana, 23, has found a job as an assistant in a local church. She said she earns much less than she did at the mill, but she still wants it to be closed.
“I don’t want this plant [because of] all of the professional illnesses I got were from work,” she said, adding that she developed a constant cough at the plant.
She declined to give her last name, saying she feared retribution from the plant's management.
But on the whole, environmentalists do not get much support from the locals in Baikalsk.
“People are indifferent to politics. They just want to grow strawberries,” Taisia Baryshenko, a retired teacher and activist with Baikal Wave, an environmental watchdog, said as she walked past artificial ponds filled with wastewater from the plant. The place around the ponds has been turned into a huge garbage dump.
The case reached the United Nations in June when UNESCO received a petition with 125,000 signatures collected by Russian environmentalists protesting the reopening of the plant.
Francesco Bandarin, UN's assistant director general, has agreed to discuss the Baikal issue at an UNESCO meeting in Brazil on July 25.
“We are confident that the authorities will understand that Lake Baikal requires decisions that will effectively protect its conservation,” Bandarin said in a statement.
Bandarin made no predictions for Baikal, but Igor Ogorodnikov, a member of Baikal Wave, said UNESCO might strike the lake off the World Heritage list.
The mill finished collecting all required permits in May, but will not start work full-scale until October, the deputy prime minister of Irkutsk region, Vladimir Pashkov, said in June. It is currently running in test regime.
The mill needs to convince its suppliers to provide timber, chemicals and other materials — and, more important, solve its huge debt problems.
The plant owes about 1.7 billion rubles ($54 million) to more than 60 companies, the regional arbitration court said in April. It also owes 16 million rubles ($514,000) in taxes to Baikalsk, Deputy Mayor Glukman said.
"The mill presently has no idea where to get the money," one of the creditors said on condition of anonymity. "They are holding talks with the government, but no decision has been made yet."
A representative from Continental Invest, the company that holds the controlling stake in the paper mill after buying it from Deripaska in March for an unspecified sum, said the plant is vital for Baikalsk.
“We all want to live in a clean environment, but it is a town-forming enterprise, and people need jobs,” he said, promising that the plant would monitor the environmental situation in Baikal.
A possible solution for the problem is introducing a closed production cycle, which does not require dumping wastewater into the lake. But industry experts doubted that the company would stay afloat with this technology.
“The closed circle will skyrocket the costs, since the company would be obliged to buy expensive wastewater treatment facilities,” said Dmitry Baranov, an industry analyst with the Finam brokerage.
Ogorodnikov of Baikal Wave said that closing the plant could only be done through a political decision by the authorities.
“We need to try to achieve it,” he said.
The Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use has been issuing warnings to the Baikalsk plant for years. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Yury Trutnev said in 2007 that the mill’s pollution exceeded the allowed limits by 1,000 times, adding that such “carelessness is unacceptable.”
But the government apparently found it acceptable again now, and the Supreme Court seems to agree because it threw out in June a suit by Russian environmental organizations contesting Putin's decree to reopen the mill.
The single important battle won by pro-Baikal activists happened in April 2006, when the state-run Transneft oil pipeline monopoly was planning to build a pipeline to China on the lake's shores, threatening a possible oil spill.
The story caused such an outcry that Putin eventually ordered that the pipeline be moved away from Baikal. A televised report showed him personally drawing an alternative route for the pipeline on the map with a pencil.
“I don’t know what the authorities might use this time to shut the mill. Maybe a marker?” Ogorodnikov said.

Good on you Jan.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gerrity you goose!

One of the first sensible ideas i have ever heard from Kevin Harkins. Harkins called for a feasibility study into housing asylum seekers in Tasmania while their claims are assessed. He also wants them to be encouraged to settle in the area if they are successful.

And what do we get from the West Coast's throwback yokel mayors?...

West Coast Mayor Daryl Gerrity - "Sarah Island is still empty, so is Port Arthur," ."The area hadn't traditionally attracted a lot of settlers from warmer climates. "I don't think the climate here would suit them, it's a bit cool around here," Cr Gerrity said. "It would be too dramatic. Even Harkins doesn't come here, so why would he send someone else? "It's pie in the sky, just a way to get a headline. There's just not the climate or the industry or the land." And he said the area was ill-equipped to deal with the population it had now. (From The Mercury - see above link)

Waratah-Wynyard Mayor Kevin Hyland - "I would have thought we'd need to have some more industry here to have some jobs for them to come to," he said. "It's all very well to create residential areas or whatever you want to do to get people here and to house them, but you've got to have some long-term strategies in place to make it sustainable, I would have thought. "He needs to take a cold shower and come and talk to a few people who live in the North-West before he goes making those outlandish statements." (From The Mercury - see above link)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Exclusive Q&A with Launceston's international triathlon champ Joe Gambles.

Professional triathlete Joe Gambles was kind enough to answer a few questions for Tasmanian Politics & other stuff.
These days Joe is based in Boulder, Colorado in the U.S which is now a mecca for international athletes.
During the Australian Summer Joe returns to Launceston for some off season training and family catch up.

I first met joe when i moved to Launceston in 1996 and joined a local run training squad. Joe must have been around 14 at the time and already showing an obvious talent for running.
It would have been about this time Joe took up triathlon.
In 1998 a mate and I were competing in the Tamar Valley classic, a yachting, bike and running race. My mate and I had the running legs covered and very fast boat but were scouting round for a good cyclist.
One sunday I dropped into symmons plains to watch a local duathlon and saw Joe who must have been 16 at the time putting some of the best bike/runners in the state to the sword.
His cycling was particularly impressive.
If joe hadnt have dropped a chain, he would have won the race that day.
I went back and told my mate, 'I think I have found us a cyclist'.
Joe joined our team, snuck under the handicappers guard & slayed some very good local roadies, putting a few noses out of joint in the process. My mate and I ran well and we were looking good for the win until our yacht was demasted.
Despite being out of the race for overall honors, Joe still picked up a heap of prizes for his exploits on the bike and arrived as a gun cyclist and a genuine triathlon prospect.

These days Joe is regarded as one of the strongest cyclist in the sport of triathlon and one of the best triathletes over the half-ironman (70.3) distance in the world racking up multiple wins and podiums on the lucrative U.S scene. I believe that Joe is realistic chance to win the Hawaii Ironman in the future.
TPOS (Tas Politics & Other stuff)
J.G (Joe Gambles)

TPOS: First up Joe. How is your season going and what are your major goals?

J.G: I have only raced once so far and it went well. I came 2nd at Wildflower to the current 70.3 world champion and fellow TREK/KSWISS team member Michael Raelert. This was the 6th time I had raced Wildlfower and this was my fastest time at 4hrs 1min.

TPOS: If you were not a pro triathlete what career would you have pursued?

J.G: Something in event/athlete management/marketing

TPOS: Have you decided on when and where you will do your first IM? How about giving me the scoop?

J.G: I will return to race Abu Dhabi next year if they have the race. Or I will race either ironman Oz or Nz and see how it goes.

TPOS: Who owes their parents more money. You or Portey

J.G: I'm pretty sure Portey!

TPOS: Do you make enough money these days to train full-time. If so, how long has that been the case?

J.G: Yes, I haven't had a proper job since March 2008. If I didn't start racing in the USA I think I would be still have to work a part-time job to support my career as an athlete. Triathlon, especially Ironman events are a lot bigger than in Oz.

TPOS: Here is your chance to plug your sponsors Joe. Who are they and what difference do they make to your career?

J.G: This year the TREK/KSWISS triathlon team was formed and I am one of the nine members of the team. I was already with KSWISS in 2009 and when this opportunity came up I jumped at it. I am also sponsored by Ascend which is a Melbourne based nutrition company specialising in Protein recovery products. I am also sponsored by Aquasphere wetsuits and goggles, Prologo saddles, Spider-tech tape and Oakley.

TPOS: Have you been inspired by your old riding buddy Portey and his recent exploits in the Giro?

J.G: For sure, he has done a fantastic job and deserves his success. It just goes to show that Tasmanians can achieve anything if they work hard and want it badly enough.

TPOS: Describe an average day for Joe Gambles including training volumes?

J.G: 3-4hr ride with 60-90min of TT efforts - 75min threshold swimming work out (4-5km) - 45-60min run

TPOS: Are you still a vegetarian and do you believe that has helped you athletically?

J.G: Of course! I wouldnt have it any other way. I recover very quickly as my body doesnt have to waste precious energy trying to digest a dead carcass!

TPOS: Finally Joe, will you eventually settle in Tassie when you retire or can you see yourself staying in the U.S

J.G: I would really like to do both and continue living the life style that I do at the moment. I would take on the role of a coach/manager and have a elite stable of athletes that look after around the world.

...........and another two recent interviews with Joe Gambles

 and .....(text and video) from Finishline

Monday, July 5, 2010

Excellent article by Greg Barns in The Mercury. John Howards failed ICC bid.

"Paying the price for the past"
by GREG BARNS , THE MERCURY, July 05, 2010

Australia and John Howard have only themselves to blame.
Their arrogant attempt to foist the former prime minister on the cricketing world as chairman of the International Cricket Council failed last week.
Don't believe for a minute the line being swallowed by journalists as eminent and normally sensible as Peter Roebuck who think that Howard is missing out because he took a set against the odious regime of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe when Howard was prime minister. Or that some nations like India did not want Howard as boss of cricket because he would be too difficult to control.
No, this is about Howard's past catching up with him and Cricket Australia's stupidity in trying to put up an unsuitable has-been politician when the best Antipodean candidate was New Zealand's John Anderson.
The power in cricket today lies not with the former colonial master England or its white satellite, Australia, but with India. Just as economic gravity is moving towards the developing world in this century, so is cricketing clout.
And India influences other nations which are part of the developing world -- Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the West Indies and Zimbabwe. All of these nations are acutely aware of claims of cultural superiority on the part of Australia and England, and they have suffered as a result of the racist politics of both countries over the years.
So when someone like John Howard comes along and is presented by Cricket Australia as someone to lead the game forward, is it any wonder that these nations turn their backs on him?
This is particularly given Howard's appalling record on race issues over the years. As Drew Cottle and Dawn Bolger noted in a 2008 paperback, in the 1970s and 1980s "Howard remained silent on the question of apartheid in South Africa and spoke out against the Liberal government's plan to ban all sporting links with South Africa until the end of apartheid.
"Moreover, in 1985, Howard argued against those who supported economic sanctions against South African apartheid," they noted.
Then there was Howard's crude dog-whistling political tactic of 1988 of opposing the rate of Asian immigration into Australia. In government, John Howard used race more than any other Australian prime minister in recent memory. He gave a wink and a nod to the ranting of Pauline Hanson, demonised asylum seekers, sought to delegitimise Aboriginal desires for recognition, and sought to use the disgraceful Haneef prosecution in 2007 for his own political ends.
It is all very well for the tin-eared officials of Cricket Australia and John Howard to claim that the former prime minister is now paying a price for opposing Robert Mugabe's excesses so vigorously.
This conveniently ignores that while this was happening, Howard was happy to suspend the Racial Discrimination Act in the Northern Territory so he could execute a military-style humiliation of Aboriginal communities.
And don't think for a moment that other cricketing nations are not aware of Howard's legacy of race politics. His various forays got plenty of international attention and did Australia's image as a supposedly tolerant, multicultural nation enormous damage.
"It's incredibly disappointing that a man of John Howard's stature has been knocked off from this job," Cricket Australia's chairman Jack Clarke said last week. No, Jack, what it shows is that you and your colleagues on the Cricket Australia board are just plain insensitive or dumb when it comes to recognising that Howard's record on race issues might be a problem.
Cricket Australia's other cardinal mistake was in thinking they could lord it over New Zealand by spoiling the chances of that nation having their candidate accepted to lead the ICC. No wonder the Kiwis find Australians to be bully boys.
Back in February this year, Cricket Australia and its New Zealand counterpart set up a committee to choose between Howard or Anderson -- the latter does not carry Howard's race politics baggage. But the committee was chaired by Rod Eddington, an Australian, and so the result was not in doubt. Anderson was dispatched and Howard got the nod. Big brother Australia got its way over little New Zealand.
If Australian hubris and hamfistedness had not been allowed to win the day, Anderson might well be the next chair of the ICC, and the Antipodean nations would have their man in the top job.
So let's not believe for a minute the nonsense being spouted by another so-called cricketing doyen, Gideon Haigh, who wrote last week: "Say what you like about the members of the International Cricket Council, they are utterly consistent. No matter how far you lower your expectations, they always find a way to underperform."
No, Gideon, it was Cricket Australia that underperformed and they rightly deserved to fail.

30 years on inaction on Tamar woes. State government keeping Hobart green and Launceston brown.

Launceston resident and Tamar advocate Jim Collier lets rip.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sports news and getting fitter

Well my life took a turn for the better this wek when my wife let me get an AUSTAR package. Oh my freakin god I'm in heaven. Speaking of heaven and pay tv i was able to watch the saints v melb game at home today rather than slink off down to the pub. This time of year is pure sporting heaven as we are smack in the middle of the European summer. World cup foodball, Le tour (more on that later), wimbledon, and AFL as usual plus any other god dam sport I wanna watch!

One sport i couldnt watch today was triathlon - the European Ironman champs in which 5 time OZ Ironman and Hawaii IM winner, Chris Mccormack came a respectable 3rd. The winner was a german named Andreas Raelert who is name to watch for at this years Hawaii Ironman in October.

In the next week or so I will have an exclusive Q&A with Tassie's own triathlon champ Joe Gambles who is now based in Boulder in the U.S. I know that Joe is recovering from an Achilles tendon injury and i wish him well.
Also watch out for Tasmanian cyclist Wesley Sulzberger who is riding the Tour de France with the Francais de juex team. Wes is from Flowery Gully in the Tamar Valley.

Yours truly is slowly getting fitter and hoping to get in some sort of shape for a race or two this summer.
Running is improving slowly, swimming around 10k/week and getting a few rides in. Still too fat.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Premier in the mood to chat. But was he really listening?

Last night about 10 residents of Launceston & the Tamar Valley braved the cold to take their message to the Inveresk tram sheds where the Premier was opening an exciting new exhibition of computer games through the ages. Local media guru Garry Stannus captured the moments where the Premier stopped to talk to protesters on his way home. Garry brilliantly photographed the moment and took some audio which he has transcribed for TPOS.
The exchange between Premier and the northern residents was clearly polite and good natured which is an absolute credit to these people who have been emotionally hit from pillar to post by Government and Gunns for four years of Pulp lies and injustices.
Why did the Premier stop to talk?
Why did he ask the questions he did?
What will he do with information he gleaned.
Does Mr Bartlett really expect us to trust him after his line in the sand backflip?


VARIOUS: Mr Bartlett, Mr Bartlett

MR BARTLETT: Yeh, I’ll come and have a chat with you
U/K: Good, that’s lovely
MR BARTLETT: Please don’t take a photo of [his son].
GARRY: Okay.
MR BARTLETT: Thanks. Hello how are you, [I’m] David
SUSIE: I’m Labor person, through and through, but I just want you to listen to us.
MR BARTLETT: Sure. Well, I’m here to listen. How are you?
U/K: Good for you. [polite, not ironic]
MR BARTLETT: You’re doing well ... cold out on a cold night
U/K: yes we are [friendly]
MR BARTLETT: and you’ve waited quite a while as well
SUSIE: we’ve waited because
FAIRLEY: it shows the passion of our purpose
SUSIE: you know me, I’ve been in the Labor Party for forty years,
SUSIE: and I love Tasmania
SUSIE: and we want you to do the right thing for Tasmania, and the pulp mill is not good here
FAIRLEY: we want a simple...
MR BARTLETT: Is there any, can I ask you a question, is there any circumstances under which a pulp mill, you know, if you think about it, if it was totally, um, chlorine free, if it was closed loop, if it was in another place, I’m just saying, I’m trying to ask you, is there a scenario and it was obviously all plantation fed and accredited by FSC, is there a circumstance under which you would say “No, that’s a reasonable project” ? Would you object or not? I just, I’m interested in
FAIRLEY: Well personally, I would say no
MR BARTLETT: Right, okay
FAIRLEY: for other reasons as well
FAIRLEY: Um, I don’t think it’s appropriate that we should have a pulp of that, of any size, if one was built, it could be the beginning of a lot more being, um, like that could just be the catalyst for further pulp mill and I don’t think that, I think Tasmania’s a small, it is a small place that is much more suited to small industry
SUSIE: Niche, niche industry
FAIRLEY: and – niche industry – and if – the thing about, when you have a big industry like a pulp mill and it’s not actually in the long run going to employ a lot of people it will only in the ... would, it would , not it will, it would in the construction, but the thing is that if ever, when the market goes down and it, and it gets um becomes a, a ‘no-no’, it’s not wor..., it’s not operating, you’ve got to find places for those people, we’ve found in many of the other industries have got to find work, now while Tasmania sticks to small industry, niche industry and, and export our...
MR BARTLETT: Look, look can I say, I’ll always want to find common ground and can I say I don’t disagree with you on small ... so I’ve created a portfolio of Innovation, Science and Technology myself
U/K: Yeh, yeh [polite]
MR BARTLETT: and I do believe that Tasmania’s future’s about an investment in innovation, and in science and research, technology based industry, I agree with all of that
MR BARTLETT: Is there anyone else here, like would ... that there are circumstances under which a pulp mill would be a reasonable thing?
LEE?: Sure [inaudible] set of circumstances [inaudible] I could see a possibility, perhaps it would be possible to have a pulp mill
GARRY: but the Tamar valley
LEE?: the Tamar Valley [general hubbub]
MR BARTLETT: so obviously, the place is very important?
LEE?: Critical.
CHRIS: Oh, it’s critical.
SUSIE: and with the MIS schemes there has been a vast amount of good arable land taken over by plantations
MR BARTLETT: Yeh. In lots of ways I don’t disagree and I’ve got to tell ya this
SUSIE: Clearfelling of ...
MR BARTLETT: in my first day as Premier I introduced the Prime Agricultural Land new state policy that ruled out, that ruled out tree plantations on
FAIRLEY: We don’t need any more plantations
MR BARTLETT: grades four, five and six land
U/K: yeh
U/K: One, two and three
MR BARTLETT: 1,2 and 3 lands, sorry what’d I say? ah, so I have made some moves in that direction
ESTELLE: that clearfelling of ... specially the Launceston catchment is very important, that’s where
MR BARTLETT: Well look, can I also say there’s some, there, obviously you are people who watch politics closely and there’s some really interesting times in politics, there’s new times and I’m very excited about it. It’s some interesting times where I think there’s some opportunities to think differently about it
FAIRLEA: Yeh, yeh.
MR BARTLETT: and there’s a group, there is some good groups of people and some good conversations about thinking differently about trees, about forestry
U/K: [inaudible]
MR BARTLETT: I agree with you totally
U/K: Not just like, ahm, combatitive like Kim and them, but
MR BARTLETT: Agree totally
SUSIE: but [inaudible] people [inaudible] together because all of us [inaudible] Tasmania
LEE? Are you going to talk to the community as opposed to vested interest, who call themselves the community?
MR BARTLETT: Yes, I understand what you’re saying there and I know
LEE?: This is the community of the Tamar Valley
MR BARTLETT: Yeh, I know and I do understand what you’re saying there. One of my, you gotta understand, one of my challenges always will be that as Premier you almost have to deal with peak bodies, or repre..., constituent bodies, very difficult to talk to every in, every one of five hundred thousand individuals, and ah, and I know when I look at what we’re doing at the moment and I think, in terms of the government and cabinet it’s working very well. I know Nick has his challenges, on his side, to convince people he’s doing the right thing and I have my challenges on my side [inaudible] doing the right thing.\
SUSIE: I want you to do something really good.
MR BARTLETT: Yeh, and, and when it comes to the conversation about trees, I, you know, I read Tasmanian Times and I read other bits and pieces and I see that I’m, that actually I could, um if you like, if you, if you, you know, take a whole view of it, sides, and I don’t think there necessarily is, but on the one, the timber side, I think there’s a lotta more united voice at the moment about wanting to move forward, wanting to change things, wanting to involve the environmental NGOs and I, I do actually see, when I see the politics which I don’t understand [inaudible] my side of politics but anyway I see there’s a fair few scoops opening up and I think that’s a dangerous thing because, if, if we’re ever to resolve this debate, there will be compromises, there won’t there won’t be a perfect world, it won’t be that no trees are ever chopped down in Tasmania
FAIRLEY: Nobody has ever asked that that should be the case
MR BARTLETT: Well, well, I have heard, I don’t, I’m not accusing any of you, no,
FAIRLEY: No, we’ve got to be realistic
MR BARTLETT: I have heard people say that and that’s a you know, we need to find a middle ground that is a sensible middle ground that also, um, sets us up for the future and gives people lives and gives people economic opportunity as well.
FAIRLEY: But there’s, there’re not the jobs in, ah, forestry as there used to be
MR BARTLETT: No you’re dead right about that
FAIRLEY: And that’s, so that when
MR BARTLETT: You’re dead right about that
FAIRLEY: Exactly, so
MR BARTLETT: And I don’t think there ever will be again
FAIRLEY: No, no.
MR BARTLETT: What there will be though, is opportunity to have a ... I don’t think broad-scale plantations, but I think on farms, small-scale eucalypts or native-forest based, but, not that, but plantation grown, and I also think, you know I get very disturbed when I hear people in the environmental movement saying that we should never cut down any specialty timbers again, because what’s gonna feed close to five...
FAIRLEY: [undecipherable hubbub]
MR BARTLETT: I know your people as well
MR BARTLETT: What I, all I’m saying to you is that this is a very um challenging debate with many many views and what I’m
FAIRLEY: And it’s gotta be better controlled
MR BARTLETT: endeavouring to do at the moment is create a environment in which people can come together and have a conversation about it,
FAIRLEY: Yes, good
MR BARTLETT: Share views, well we are doing that. We are doing that. Most definitely.
ESTELLE: You need that, not just the two, like the environmentalists and the loggers, you need the in-betweens
MR BARTLETT: the community,
CHRIS: you need the rest of the people
ESTELLE: and then it’s not adversarial, if you’ve got three people it’s not adversarial. It’s not as bad, is it? If you think about it. It’s not
ESTELLE: it’s not us and them, it’s sort of we
MR BARTLETT: anyway, I’ve gotta go and see my mum, she lives up in [...] She’s cooked me a beautiful stew, so I’m going home
FAIRLEY: Can we come along too? [pleasant joke, general laughter]
CHRIS: Have a very pleasant evening
FAIRLEY: and thank you for stoppiing
MR BARTLETT: [inaudible] out of the cold now
FAIRLEY: thank you very much
U/K: Whose is the camera?
U/K: That’s Garry’s
U/K: Garry’s.

Thank God for Jan Cameron.

See here

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The ABC should tell Premier Bartlett to get stuffed.

Premier David Bartlett has once again demonstrated his immaturity and chronic inability to seperate ego from important issues.

Before the Georges River Water Quality post report consultation process was even complete, the Bartlett Government which commissioned the so called independent investigation has attempted to muzzle the ABC's Australian Story programme with an aggressive and highly political attack.

In an obvious attempt to intimidate the ABC into removing itself from further involvement in the St Helens water quality story, the Tasmanian Premier demanded that the ABC remove the "Something in the Water" programme from the website and explain to viewers that the St Helens water story was based on wrong information, and to apologise to the people of St Helens for the distress that it caused.

In the worst tradition of the previous thug Lennon Labor government the Premier has taken aim at the messenger, further dividing the St Helens community just when it most needed the Government to remain independent and dispassionate.

Long time observers of the St Helens Georges Bay would be familiar with the Tasmanian's government's attitude towards Drs Bleaney & Scammell

Indeed not long after the Australian Story episodes, The Tasmanian Premier savagely attacked Dr. Bleaney in an interview with the Australian newspaper accusing Dr.Bleaney of "leading the Green charge in the past two state election campaigns".

The Premier said it was "strange, Dr Bleaney had raised fears about the pesticide atrazine in the lead-up to the 2006 election campaign, and was now running a similar push before the March 20 poll. Can you see a pattern here -- 2006, Alison Bleaney leading the Green charge with a whole range of concerns proven to be completely false," Mr Bartlett said.

Mr Bartlett went further .."What a happy coincidence for the Greens that a few weeks out from another election, this raises its head and dismissed testing commissioned by Dr Bleaney and Sydney marine scientist Marcus Scammell from independent scientists as "supposed data".

Dr Bleaney's decision to release the evidence publicly before handing it to the health department was suspicious. "This just seems like a very strange tactic to me, and one that I think Tasmanians should be very sceptical about," said Mr Bartlett.

Dr Bleaney responded saying "Mr Bartlett's accusations were "hilarious" and were a case of "shooting the messenger"."My motivation has all the way through been public health. "I support many of the Greens' policies and the way they do business, but I'm not a member of the Greens and I'm not a politician or a political animal."

Dr Bleaney said she had been "raising concerns about the St Helens water supply and issues of water catchments in plantation forest areas since 2004.. and trying to... "get the government interested for years, and had no control over the timing of the Australian Story program"

This extraordinary attack on Dr Bleaney, a profoundly committed and much loved rural GP is from the same Premier who in his Ten point plan to strengthen trust in government promised to.......... 'Protect Whistleblowers and 'significantly changing the culture of government and of government processes'  and to introduce 'a new approach  to the way we govern and to the way we connect with the Tasmanian people'.

Indeed not long after taking office Mr Bartlett declared...
"Too often debates in Tasmania are characterised by, if you like, because we disagree on ideas we somehow seem to have to hate each other and that's not the sort of politician I am. I genuinely believe mutual respect, decency goes a long way towards, will go a long way towards Tasmanians building trust within their democracy".

How on earth do Premier Bartlett's ill tempered attacks on Dr. Bleaney and the ABC accord with those goals?

How do we reconcile Premier Bartlett's irresponsible verbal attack on a private citizen and the ABC with his claimed status as a "democratist"?

What this episode does amount to is yet another example of the fickle nature of our young Premier.

The Bartlett government's attacks on Dr. Bleaney and his very clear insinuation that the St. Helens water quality concerns were merely an ABC and Greens politically motivated conspiracy is much more in line with a decades old culture of vindictive and bigotted governments in Tasmania
When threatened, particularly by those whose message has an environmental component, government has villified its own taxpaying Tasmanian citizens like Dr Bleaney as being Green or being brainwashed by Greens.

In other words, authentic or normal Tasmanians dont behave or think this way.

Indeed, in Tasmania for one to protest or dissent or to help organise opposition in any effective way against the government or particularly the logging industry puts one at risk of being treated as an illegitimate, a deviant fringe dweller or some sort of sub-citizen.

Thus far the Australian Story programme have refused to accede to Mr. Bartlett's thuggish bully-boy demands. The Australian Story's executive producer Deborah Fleming said the program "took no editorial position and reported Dr Bleaney's concerns as concerns, not as facts. It reported the concerns, and the history of the issue in St Helens".

Fleming went on..."Our story reported the concerns of reputable figures in the community and drew on various high-level scientific opinions,". "The scientists interviewed in the program were independent and highly credible so no doubt they will have something to say once they have had a chance to go through the government report. It may be that this boils down to an ongoing scientific dispute about methodology and testing".

Fleming said she had no communication from Mr Bartlett and defended the program's editorial integrity saying "The program made strenuous efforts to obtain on-camera comment from anyone in the Tasmanian government but all our requests were declined".

Perhaps if successive Tasmanian Governments icnluding David Bartlett's had listened and responded properly to the community concerns of St Helens residents earlier & reacted appropriately the story would not have ended up being splashed all over the national media.

Personally, I hope the ABC holds its ground and tells the Tasmanian Premier to take his compliants and go and get stuffed.
....and see here for former Labor environment minister Dr. Andrew Lohrey's scathing assessment of the GRWQ panel findings.