« February 2008 »
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
about editor
aust govt
big media
contact us
donations to SAM
election nsw 2007
election Oz 2007
free SAM content
human rights
independent media
local news
nsw govt
nuke threats
publish a story
zero waste
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
official indymedia
ecology action Australia
ecology action
Advertise on SAM
details for advertisers
You are not logged in. Log in

sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 24 February 2008
Big Media press backgrounder: Did Morris Iemma get a green vocation in Adelaide?
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: big media

Preface - we've been in the job market this last week and fallen behind in writing up Big Media both fair and tricked up reportage, which is not to say we haven't been keeping up, just no time to write the damn stuff down and share.

- The NSW Govt is doing as best it can behind the scenes to shut down those who are out of their control in the big media. At least that's the gist of the pseudo funny oh so serious column of Joe Hildebrand in

Hunted by John Hatzistergos Sydney Daily Telegraph 23 Feb 08

who we think has seen the error of his ways in praise of Deborah Cameron on abc 702. We intuite a certain aggression by the Iemma Minister 'The Hat' to Hildebrand for his coverage of the public energy assets, a coverage that the somewhat captured Simon Benson at the same paper is predictably Yes Minister in style. By comparison Alex Mitchell for one has served up barrow loads of sharp critique on Crikey.com.au and local abc radio. To be clear we think Benson is captured by the ALP right.

- Even so we would take NSW AG 'the hat' over what plays for justice in Indonesia - what a shocker this story really is for a rusty lawyer:

Squeezing justice from court mafia - Opinion - smh.com.au 23 Feb 08

- Yep even with the growing Rudd credibility gap on real action, with another being "lofty words" on FoI reform, it's still a democracy one can appreciate here in good old Aussie, as long as we work at it:

Culture of secrets hard act to break - Opinion - smh.com.au 23 Feb 08

At least Minister Carr is working up his transparency credentials:

Gag to be lifted on research vetoes | The Australian 13/2/08

- We are working up a traverse on rich folks controlling and abusing our democracy, not least the up coming Ayne Rand conference in Sydney and we will add this to the manilla folder:

The bucks stop here - National - smh.com.au 23 Feb 08 The PM, a union official-turned-senator and the public are demanding that company executives rein in their extortionate rates of pay, writes Andrew West.

- The first of a cascade of scandals, each of a certain repellant fatal momentum and beauty in the art of political observation here in NSW: The first sentence is a cracker

"As managerial disasters go the Tcard debacle might eventually overtake the Cross-City Tunnel"

Lets' just dwell a moment shall we. The pun about overtaking in a road tunnel, the impacting compare and contrast with the very real politik pain of the CCT in 2006-7. The normally reasonable, but in NSW incredulous, assumption of government providing managerial expertise. An opening sentence to die for. Go Leah Mason of EcoTransit here:

Tcard mess a no-brainer: simplify fares - Opinion - smh.com.au 14/2/08

 - These front pagers below say it all as regards the wheels falling off the credibility of the "good government" of NSW as newly elected Premier Iemma wishfully claimed back in March 2007, and replayed in the out take to Stateline ABC last Friday night 22nd Feb:

That was "momentous" Friday 22 Feb as veteran reptile Alex Mitchell refers in his summary pieces with ABC 702 morning shows Fri and Sat just gone.

Here is Thursday 21 Feb:


Saturday just gone is no better, misplaced in the Brazil style paper flurry here at SAM desk.

Here is another front pager from last week's Sydney press:

which incredibly echoes in so many ways the great 2006 DVD movie of classic All The Kings Men (ATKM) with Sean Penn in the lead, a thinly disguised parable of ascendant Huey Long who ran Louisiana 1926 -1935 who apparently was fast and loose with correct governance ("dictatorial tendencies") and his libido, and cunning, very cunning, with a platform of 'just build it'. Huey/Willy Stark/Sean Penn comes to a sticky end too. The real Huey even has a passing resemblance to Morris Iemma:

Huey Long

We spoke to Cr Jeremy Buckingham (Greens) based in Orange and he said this hospital building debacle has resulted from ALP mates as the contractors doing a bodgy job. In ATKM it's a dodgy school that kills 3 kids, rather than a bodgy hospital or three:

Hospital crisis prompts review of all projects - National - smh.com.au 22 Feb 08

, but there is a new hospital central to the story line too, and even this Warren cartoon looks like the phallic Parliament buiilding of Louisiana prominent in the movie as fact and fiction merge here in NSW:

Maybe it's true everything that happens here has already happened over in the States?

The underlying subtext is the press barons want this particular State govt gone and they perceive the great majority of NSW voters do too so they are reflecting their readership. The sad thing is symptoms of this culture of cronyism go right down to the local community centre level as reported in part here on SAM, this time involving the Left clique ex MP Meredith Burgman and her network of mates:


Saturday, 16 February 2008

So you see it's a case of 'ALP Left Monkey see what ALP Right Monkey actually does so why can't we' in their own seats of Grayndler/Marrickville. This is what Quentin Dempster at the big presser with Iemma at 11 am last Friday 22nd Feb was meaning with the accusation of a culture of patronage over merit within the 12 year old government. Too old, too long:

Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 2:32 PM
Subject: ARC

G’day Tom,

Thanks for your recent emails. It can be confirmed [office manager] commenced employment on Monday.

With regard to Natalie McCarthy, she is the representative of "Roomies" which is not an incorporated body or registered name but a wholly ‘owned’ operation of the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre (NNC has 2 incorporation Reg’n Nos 1585126455 and INC9880928) and pays the rent for Roomies. Natalie is the nominated representative at ARC for NNC. It can be argued that Newtown Neighbourhood Centre is controlled by Marrickville Council by virtue of allowing them a peppercorn rent for the Newtown building and having some of the Council’s social workers operate from the Centre (?). If this is so, then Roomies (NNC) would not have a vote at ARC under the same rules which denies votes to the Child Minding Centre, the Community Garden and the Artist in Residence. Peter Olive does not agree with this argument - he maintains NNC operates independently of Council. A councillor or Council of a different political persuasion might have a differing attitude.

If you have a look on the National Names Index on the ASIC website you will find that "THE ADDISON ROAD GALLERY ARTS ASSOCIATION INCORPORATED" Reg No INC 9888276 has recently been registered - it was not on the register in December 2007. There is no other information on the public register but the rumour is that Meredith Burgmann is the chairman and the group either has or is in the process of negotiating a new lease with ARC for the Gallery on the same terms as the previous arrangement with Terry Cutcliffe.

The next meeting of the Board of ARC (26-02-08?) will presumably appoint an honorary member to replace YA and elect a new chairman.

With this campaign to bring ARC under acceptable rules of governance and conduct it may be worthwhile to take a broader look at the problem.

Some of the older members probably would claim to have a stakeholding because of their involvement at the beginning with the fight to retain the Centre in public ownership. This claim has translated into a view that they are entitled to pay little or no rent as a reward for their past efforts - I do not agree with this view. Other tenants have negotiated extremely beneficial arrangements for themselves and as a result have compromised themselves. In some cases there has been a great imbalance of power between ARC and its tenants and, in the past, ARC management did not have either the skill or the will to get a reasonable result for the Centre. Whatever has happened, the result has been that most tenants refrain from any involvement with the operation of the Centre. Consequently, an unrepresentative minority have obtained control by default and any change is resisted.

As you are aware there have been several court cases where directors of not for profit organisations have been held responsible for poor governance and have lost their homes as a consequence. At the outside, only 4 of the tenants at the Centre would understand this responsibility and is a factor in their reluctance to be a member of the Board of ARC. Marrickville Council must also be aware of its exposure.

You might also look on the websites of the Arts Council of Australia where you can confirm that the allocation to SIDETRACK PERFORMANCE GROUP LTD for 2008 is $143,418 and from Arts NSW in 2006-7 the same group received $100,000 plus $10,000 for consultancy. From this incomplete information it would not be unreasonable to expect this group to receive in excess of $250,000 during the 2007-2008 year. From a casual observation the question might be asked - does the community get value for money?

Yet with all this heavy duty pressure on Iemma he didn't sweat as usual under the glare of the presser last Friday. Garry Linnel, a smart usually moderate cookie now with the Sydney Daily Telegraph reckons its the calm of the victim before the kill "accepting his fate". We have an alternative theory - In extremis Iemma has discovered a new mission and a new faith - dangerous climate change, as per the Garnaut report speech to the Premiers Conference held in Adelaide recently, and see Tas pro Logger Lennon below for more on this resolution appearing in the neurosis of the big developer spiv ALP in favour of what Iemma seemed to be referrring to as "the public interest". Iemma's people cutely adopt a phrase back to a scathing editorial heresame day:

While the public may know and reluctantly accept that those in power are weak and incompetent, it will not - indeed, cannot - accept that they can use that power to betray the public interest.

Talk about aspiring to the lowest standard of weak and incompetent but not corrupt!

Labor's rot starts at the top - Editorial - Opinion - smh.com.au

- So where are we going now with the leadership of the NSW Govt? John Sutton, chief of the national CFMEU is calling for the 'Left's Watkins to take over, Koperberg has avoided the big union rally on Tuesday 26th and notice this we wrote last night:

Big Phil is no longer bound by Cabinet solidarity on energy sale On February 23rd, 2008 ecology action ... says:

... such as sale of the public energy assets in question at the big union rally this Tuesday with a picket line of some kind, though I don't think they are blocking MP access as such.

 Big Phil has just been on Ch9 [Feb 23 6 pm]  "explaining" why he had to resign for health reasons saying and I quote "it's not delibitating, its not life lifethreatening but its something I have to do ... I should be fine in a few months" or words to that effect.

Cabinet decided to sell the energy assets in Dec 07 when Big Phil, just after he had been forced to step down. Now as a leading Left faction minister I think he can't afford to be in Cabinet.

And whose to say Iemma will be Cabinet much longer, in which case we might just see Big Phil's health suddenly improve markedly, and yes return to Cabinet.

He was walking and talking with remarkable ease on Ch9 and it was no ambush either. It was a set piece.

Just a guess but there is more that meets the eye on this but not so cynical as those above. 

The tv coverage builds on this story in the herald earlier in the day:

I was happier when I was fire chief - National - smh.com.au 23 Feb 08

We played our own small part in poor ex Minister Koperberg's alleged health troubles when we delivered the full paper version of this submission to his GMT ministerial office early last week

Maroota sandmining II: 'experts' alleged 'fraud' exposed on dam into groundwater, dust on local school?
Mood:  irritated
Topic: ecology

which if you track through the links to a related January 08 submission contains this doozy about statewide maladministration of water licensing:

We understand that statewide the Dept of Water Annual Report 2005-2007, 2006-7 p28 reports no prosecutions statewide for breaches of the Water Act 1912 in either year, only 2 penalties for the Water Management Act 2000 in 05-06, none in 06-07, and only 1 prosecution under the Rivers & Foreshores Improvement Act 1948. These low figures of enforcement are derisory compared with 90,000 ground water bores and 13 900 surface water licences according to the 06-07 Annual Report.

Iemma was too calm for Linnel at the SDT not to notice:

 No-sweat Iemma's death-row calm | The Daily Telegraph 22 Feb 2008

And the Premier did have cut through even with all the muck on  him politically. The Premier was flanked by his climate savvy young political turks too Verity Firth and Nathan Vass (both of them up to their eyeballs in a higher class of developer money politics re Callan Park sellout to Sydney Uni, and $2B Desalination Plant respectively, and again Firth running interference on iar pollution  threat to Balmain/Marrickville of a $5B truck tunnel via smog stacks).

These ministers and Iemma himself are young enough to care and to accept environmentalism on a more objective basis unlike the browns like Costa or Macdonald. And young enough to be ambitious too. We wonder if Iemma may just have moved further over to one side of the previously paralysing neurosis in the ALP Machine of traditional growth fetish versus dangerous climate action agenda. We get the impression that Ross Garnaut read the riot act to the premiers down in Adelaide earlier this week before releasing his frightening Interim Report. Garnaut was definitely down there last Wednesday as were the premiers, Robert F Kennedy and Dr. Zhengrong Shi Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. It all seems to have been about a Solar Cities Conference.

 Has Iemma seen the greener side of things and taken it on board? Time will tell. The teasing question is indeed why the calm? Linnel takes the cynical defeatist view, we are still holding out a bit on the Let Bartlett Be Bartlett moral scenario of a guy who has decided what's right whatever the cost. Yes it is quaintly naive.

Or maybe because Iemma has now decided to support political donations reform 

 Premier's edict will derail the gravy train - National - smh.com.au 23-4 Feb 08

perhaps responding to this scarifying editorial late January 28 08

Gripe more than sour grapes - Editorial - Opinion - smh.com.au

Iemma may  feel this is way sufficient moral virtue to cover his otherwise embarrassing nakedeness most of last week? Perhaps for a guy whose whole raison d'etre has been money politics it is a big change that he feels is life changing and morale boosting. From his own paradigm he is probably right. Methinks it is good progress and indeed necessary but not sufficient, with Warren capturing it as he tends to do:

A big union protest about publicly owned energy assets on Tuesday 26 Feb 08 may finalise some more big changes all round.


- on the theme of jobs on merit or otherwise we noticed former rugby forward, ex NSW Premier then federal MP, lung cancer survivor, bereaved parent and now World Anti Doping Authority chief, is advertising for help. That's jumping Jack Fahey quick to protect Prince Charles in 93, good enough to see in an Olympic Bid via mostly the work of minister Bruce Baird (quietly sidelined so JF could reap the PR), and still harvesting the benefits of Big Sport with a choice job in WADA:

We even thought about applying but then checked our own innocent naivety.

- On matters even more fundamental Terry McCrann reckons Garnaut has made a threshhold assumption which is bonkers, to

"assume" a de-coupling of growth and carbon energy

in A cool response is right for unheated climate debate | The Australian 23-24 Feb 08

is even possible. This is the ex PM Howard Old Australia line in The Australian dependent on fossil fool advertising and Hard Right revenues as per this shaky editorial recently. They surely have the growth fetish. It is also social and ecological suicidal thinking - because if China and India etc don't decouple, just as they had to on the similar global ecological real politik of ozone depleting substances (ODS) with CFC and FC's (pictured below) then its goodbye climate and most if not all of the human project.

The largest Antarctic ozone hole recorded as of September 2006
The largest Antarctic ozone hole recorded as of September 2006

Sad isn't it. You can't eat money. We are starting to see why God has not allowed us to have any kids in our greenie media vocation, to spare us the trauma of parents everywhere and they do have our sympathy, as per the old black and white grim empty streetscapes of On the Beach in Melbourne. Check out the chilling Salvation army rally scene. It's not much fun actually.

 Meanwhile page 1 news here:

Councils must identify rising sea risk | The Australian

which surely will increase panic in the political economy, and not just in Australia but every coastal zone in the world. As we wrote elsewhere if the global re insurance industry is not satisfied with Australia's measures to combat dangerous climate they may just withdraw their coverage and that would make HIH collapse look like a kindergarten picnic in terms of economic disruption. So finally we see government biting the bullet to quote the above article:

Sea-level expert and head of geosciences at Sydney University Peter Cowell, who is working closely with insurer IAG, said hundreds of thousands of homes faced possible inundation resulting from climate change over the next 20 to 30 years. ....

[Paul Bell president of the Local Government Association] said he feared decisions made now, in the absence of modelling, would trigger "strong litigation" from property owners.

"There will also be a huge political backlash," he said. "It's something we can't blink at any more or walk away from."

Mr Bell said some councils had received funding from insurance companies with similar concerns to conduct research in their own districts. 

But the issue needed a national approach.

"There are differences in Port Douglas and Cairns with some event that causes huge tidal surges to what might happen in Melbourne and Sydney," he said. "We've seen a lot of good work already done by many of our councils, but it's the real science that needs to be applied to our coastline that is the issue now and it needs to happen very quickly."

He said the problem was more urgent than many people understood, with the community council on Saibai Island, in the Torres Strait, already forced last year to move some residents off the island. "They're an island that is 2.7m still out of the ground and they are saying 'You've got to do something, you've got to use planning'," he said.

Insurance Council of Australia communications manager Paul Giles said insurers remained concerned about the lack of reliable data on flooding and were close to producing a flood map based on data obtained from all states and territories.

"Flood cover is not widely available in Australia because we simply don't know the risks," Mr Giles said. "(They are) the same problems as the local councils have."

Mr Giles said the flood modelling would allow insurers to identify areas of risk and allow them to price the risk.


- McCrann above, as does the The Australian editorial refers to dinosaur unionists opposing electricity privatisation in NSW, as does it appears Mark Latham in the recent Australian Financial Review last week. We know this because Big Mark is regurgitated in the weekend editorial traverse of The Australian and favourably quoted. Cutely selective of them to leverage Old Mark eh who they delighted in kicking to death politically. But we fear all three, Latham, McCrann and Oz editorial are wrong in the same way Garnaut (who might have been JK Galbraith in another WW2 context) refers to dangerous climate change being a "market failure" unsuitable to "market" solutions :

See this rally call

Stop the Sell-Off and keep power in our hands

and specifically our comment:

public energy assets relates to effective climate policies On February 23rd, 2008 ecology action ... says:

The green movement can with confidence get behind the Union campaign on public ownership on several grounds:

 1. As the recent Garnaut Report makes clear 'dangerous climate change' is upon us and much quicker than realised due to ..."market failure". The implications of this "market failure" are huge: We simply cannot trust policies relating to our very social and environmental existence to such a capricious and dishonest market, externalising ecological reality at every turn which translated in the climate context means winners and losers - the losers in dangerous climate are dead poor people outside the affluent island enclave, from drowning, or thirst or civil war or whatever. There is no logic in trusting a failed market on climate with the very energy assets critical to that reform and transition of climate policy. On the other hand the social capital, organisational capacity and good will of the union movement will actually be critical to such a massive structural reform.

2. To restate point 1 effective climate policy really does require as much sovereign control by the state over the relevant sectors of the economy as possible such as energy assets. This is one area like a war itself where a centrally planned economy stands up as far more efficient even in economic rationalist terms.  For instance down the track we may well need in a sovereign way to avoid climate tipping points by putting eco taxes, tariffs and bans on highly ghg embedded production, imported or domestic. A multinational owner energy producer will do all they can to sabotage that kind of approach. A strong state control on the other hand can enforce hypothecation of such tax revenue into clean renewables and progressively scale down dirty energy. In the same way JK Galbraith who won two US Presidential medals of freedom (the only person in history) as a political economist was instrumental in WW2 in tightly controlling prices of essential supplies to the US domestic population when captains of industry were always knocking on his door to profiteer in the crisis. 

That's a very fair parallel of where we are heading in the climate crisis and domestic energy market. The corporate model is totally unsuitable to a major ecological threat.

3. It's no accident the 'brown' ministers most in denial over dangerous climate like Costa and Martin Ferguson are most gung ho for the privatisation to take the revenues and feed into big ticket greenhouse creating developments (like $5B truck tunnel to Port Botany, dredging Botany Bay for super containers with cheapie junk imports highly ghg embedded).

4. energy is genuinely 'a natural monopoly' meaning there is no real choice but to buy the energy from the provider for basic survival and existence (even if there is superficial retail contestability all from the same supplier). In this way a profit is guarranteed. There is no genuine role for private enterprise in this sector. Same for water supply, health and education. Let them stick to genuinely discretionary areas of the economy where life and death are not at issue.

5. Anyone who has seen The Corporation documentary will know that these legal entities originally invented by society have become unaccountable pathological monsters for profit. Even to the extent of ecological suicide. Corporations are very  stupid, narrow and blinkered like that:

Promotional poster for The Corporation

The profitable electricity public assets in NSW are being stalked by big business: The rent seekers are out for their corporate welfare as here, underlining exactly the convergence of energy market and the imperative of public climate change policy :

Compo urged for power firms | The Australian


Probably a more intelligent and balanced summary of the interplay of public energy assets and dangerous climate threat is here by Marian Wilkinson, but we wonder about Iemma's resolve increasing after Garnaut read the riot act to the premiers in Adelaide (more below):

Squabbles, obfuscation and resignation as the world warms - National 23-4 Feb 08

Marian Wilkinson Environment Editor
February 23, 2008


PHIL KOPERBERG'S decision to pull the plug as NSW Minister for Climate Change the day the Garnaut review was released is a telling sign that the urgency of the global warming challenge has escaped the Iemma Government.

Well before Koperberg's resignation, the vital decisions affecting the state's rising greenhouse emissions were being made by the Treasurer, Michael Costa, a proclaimed climate sceptic, not the climate change minister.

The most important decision is the privatisation of the industry and the push to build a new power station, which has been steered by the Treasurer and the energy department, whose director-general, Mark Duffy, is a close friend of the Treasurer.

The NSW Treasury has repeatedly argued for more baseload power and privatisation to pay for it. Treasury modelling has dismissed arguments that energy efficiency measures could postpone the need for a new plant.

The Owen inquiry last year endorsed much of Treasury's thinking on the state's power needs. But, critically, it found boosting energy efficiency might have delayed the need for a new power station - except that the "lack of reliable information" on the state's energy saving programs made it "not prudent" to rely on this strategy.

This lack of data was an indictment of the state's climate change policy and its ministers past and present. By December, the upshot was a cabinet decision to encourage investment in either polluting, coal-fired power, or a somewhat less polluting gas plant, by privatising the industry.

Significantly, the decision was made in Koperberg's absence. Days earlier, he was forced to stand aside after media reports of domestic violence allegations by his ex-wife.

With his climate change minister in limbo, Iemma announced the privatisation but promised a new, "energy efficiency strategy" to cut greenhouse gas emissions, especially in government buildings, hospitals and schools. Much of this new strategy was in reality repackaging of programs introduced almost a decade ago.

Despite the enthusiasm of the former premier Bob Carr, Treasury and other key ministries stymied the energy-efficiency drive for 10 years, as the rift between the "green" and "brown" wings of the Government undermined the programs.

A new climate change minister, Verity Firth, is stepping into the hot seat in NSW. But with the "browns" in the ascendancy, her influence over the biggest source of the state's greenhouse gas pollution, the power industry, will be extremely limited.

The Garnaut report is a warning to the NSW Government that the state's coal-fired power stations will not be given a free ride to pollute in the future.

The stations' value will likely be reduced in any privatisation, investment in any new coal-fired power station will be costly and cutting the state's profligate use of energy will be central to the fight against global warming.

Even so, no time off for protesters supporting the public ownership of our energy assets:

Iemma bans workers from protest | The Daily Telegraph 23 Feb 08

Bureaucrats denied time off to protest - National - smh.com.au 24 Feb 08

We repeat what we wrote above about Iemma in Adelaide with the international big nobs because it's all in the mix this Tuesday 26th Feb 08:

We wonder if Iemma may just have moved further over to one side of the previously paralysing neurosis in the ALP Machine of traditional growth fetish versus dangerous climate action agenda. We get the impression that Ross Garnaut read the riot act to the premiers down in Adelaide earlier this week before releasing his frightening Interim Report. Garnaut was definitely down there last Wednesday as were the premiers, Robert F Kennedy and Dr. Zhengrong Shi Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. It all seems to have been about a Solar Cities Conference.

Hard to say. Certainly the rest of the ALP machine is hedging its bets:

MPs snub public forum as Iemma pushes power sell-off p7 Australian 20/2/08 by Imre Salusinszky, offline by the looks of things re Illawarra forum.

Survery finds resistance to power sell-off is soft 21/2/08 The Australia again by Imre and again offline.

And so is the financial markets by the look of things:

Fears that electricity deal may fizzle - National - smh.com.au 15 Feb 08

Utility sell-off 'misses the boat' | The Australian 15 Feb 08

and even the government seems to be getting panicky about cutting a deal:

 Unions claim secret deal offered on power sell-off - smh 21 Feb 2008,

THE Iemma Government allegedly offered unions a secret deal for a 'mum and dad investor' float of the state's publicly owned electricity industry.

- We noticed alot about bottled water issues in the press and electronic media. We will write about this separately because we noticed some sadly superficial analysis which really fails to meet Coca Cola Amatil's business case and therefore continues to fail to beat them at their own wasteful game. Their corporate business case revolves around the point of sale service not the bottledwater itself:

  • 1. with all the concern about healthy diet, it's one of the very few sugar free beverages in convenience shop fridge with no caffience;
  • 2. the consumer is buying the services of (a) transport of a heavy object (water) to a just in time location (the pedestrian drinker) and (b) chilled refreshment, hence a shop ALWAYS charges more for refrigerated versus room temperature bottled anything.

So all the rhetoric of dear greenie friends allies and rivals continues to miss the point arguing one can get a drink for free out of the tap, stamping their feet. And Coca Cola Amatil's Sally Loane knows it. It's the refreshing cool temperature, and transport, they are selling, not room temperature tap water as such. Is it lazy and precious? Yes but that's why it costs money. We know this as we know 5 years of pavement pounding as "distribution manager" for Alternative Media Group publishers of such as the City Hub 02-07.

- We chortled at the direct honesty of "brilliant" :

Obama happily confessed to smoking pot with a dig at the dissembler-in-chief, Bill Clinton. "When I was a kid I inhaled, frequently, that was the point," he says.

Brilliant because as charming as the comment is, it's also astute that G W Bush had a drug use history he put behind him. Therein is the safe political port and the wedging of unreal sophistry of the Clinton machine, not least that bum Bill who hugely exploited his wife's loyalty, rather than simply divorcing her. Who else but George Megalogenis has the gripping quote in Keep kids in the picture if you want to win | Meganomics Blog ... 23-4 Feb 08

- Ross Gittins likes the credentials of Nicholas Gruen and says he should be at the 2020 Rudd Summit in April 08. We can but only agree with the great and good Gittins -

Lateral thinking should be given some latitude | smh.com.au 23-4 Feb 08

- Pine Gap four under the dogmatic national security approach of the Howardistas in 05-07, walked free recently after winning their legal appeal, only to promise to return to Pine Gap mid 2008 with more protests. That's courage and a certain dogmatic idealism one tends to admire, not least Donna Mulhearn. Talk about gutsy activist.

Pine Gap four cleared | The Australian 23 Feb 08

This matter has been covered alot more comprehensively on Sydney Indy Media, reporting how they were locked up on touch down in typical NT jack boot fashion prior to their legal appeal 13 Feb 08,  as here:

Pine Gap 4 Imprisoned in Berrimah, Darwin- write 'em a letter ...

- Another one from the 'dangerous climate change unifying theory of everything' convergence of real politik here: Premier Lennon twigs (!) that wholesale destruction of Tasmanian Forests in Lennon to target forestry | The Australian 23 Feb 08, Christine Milne of the Greens almost fell over in agreement by surprise as per the Mercury in Hobart here. It's becoming obvious even to woodchippers that the smart money is on trees, new ones or one's already upright, an approach apparently blessed by management heavyweights McKinseys:

 'Efficiency and forestry' key to cuts | The Australian

and the academic loggers appear to be trimming their sail too: Forestry not all about harvesting in SMH Feb 13 2008 p19 offline. Or maybe Premier Lennon has been noticing the credit crunch as well:

Banking strife to hit mill finance Matthew Denholm THE exposure of ANZ and other banks to the US sub-prime collapse will make it harder for projects such as the Gunns pulp mill to secure affordable finance

But Matthew Warren 'Environment writer' begs to differ as we have come to expect relying on Professor McKibbin on the Reserve Bank board no less:

 Plan to slash emissions is 'optimistic' | The Australian 18/2/08

Senator Milne has this to say about the tragic pose of Minsiter Wong.

 [Greens media release]

Wong admits 60% target has no scientific basis

Canberra, Wednesday 20 February 2008  After questioning Climate Change
Minister Penny Wong in Senate Estimates hearings today, Australian
Greens climate change spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, said that
the Government's claim to have science-based climate change policies is
a complete nonsense.

Senator Milne said "The Rudd Labor Government has plucked its 60% 2050
target from the atmosphere and has foolishly locked itself into this
target even though it must now understand it has no scientific validity.

"When asked what her understanding of dangerous climate change was,
Minister Wong could not answer.

"When asked what her understanding of how much warming, in degrees
centigrade, should be avoided in order to prevent dangerous climate
change was, Minister Wong could not answer.

"When asked what her understanding of what concentrations of carbon in
the atmosphere would be likely to cause dangerous climate change,
Minister Wong could not answer.

"The Government has no scientific basis for its 60% target, and it
should be abandoned in favour of a target that will actually see
Australia playing a constructive role in preventing dangerous climate

"These revelations come after questioning earlier in the week revealed
that the Government's key climate programs, such as the National Solar
Schools program, the Solar Hot Water Rebates for Households and Expanded
Solar Cities, have no set performance benchmarks in terms of emissions
reductions. The Minister admitted that these programs are designed in
part to raise public awareness.

"Whilst providing photo opportunities for Minister Garrett and Labor MPs
across the country to pose with the one solar panel provided to each
school, the Government's multi-million dollar programs will do next to
nothing to actually reduce Australia's greenhouse emissions.

"The question now becomes - did Professor Garnaut understand that his
advice on targets was to be sidelined? How does he now feel to be
relegated to an 'input'?"

Contact: Tim Hollo on 0437 587 562

- How ironic to see the 'dodgy brothers' nuclear reactor made by the dodgy Argenitinian INVAP here in NSW, continues to be dodgy with construction flaws:

Idle reactor keeps sick waiting for treatment - National - smh.com.au

This was predicted by the green movement years ago but the Howard govt don't listen to their enemies, even at their own expense:

Green Left - Issues: Lucas Heights reactor from 'Dodgy brothers' 30 August 2000

- We notice acting comrade of  that Heath Ledger RIP, Jake Gyllenhaal in his new movie Rendition is keeping faith pretty much to the same highly critical politics of the Iraq War as Ledger made clear on the Denton show years ago regarding the ideological national security mantra. That's one good way to honour the professional friendship:

     YouTube - Rendition Trailer The official trailer for the new movie "Rendition" starring ...
2 min 31 sec -

- the genetically engineered food debate is still going hammer and tongs with quite some scientific weight to the critics with Allen Greer a biological scientist in the Higher Education supplement in The Australian

GM concerns continue to crop up | The Australian 13 Feb 08

and letter writing reactions from one "Chris Kelly of Woomelang Victoria" with lots of angles and assertions but otherwise no claim to industry or lobbyist profession (?). We wrote more about this recently at

Thursday, 14 February 2008
By comparison another critic Mark Ragan does declare his academic interest from the University of Queensland. The pro GE lobby are definitely in there pitching as per this:
Bob Phelps of Gene Ethics Network counters with such as this:
NEWS MEDIA RELEASE - February 14 2008

The annual industry review of commercial Genetically Manipulated (GM) crops for 2007 (See: http://www.isaaa.org/) again shows they stalled long ago..

"GM technology and its products are a dud," says Gene Ethics Director, Bob Phelps.

"For yet another year, the ISAAA inflates growth in the GM industry, boosts adoption figures and ignores the negative health, environmental and economic impacts of GM crops.

"In 1996 GM soy, corn, canola and cotton were launched, with two new traits - tolerance to lethal weed killers or built-in Bt insect toxins but in 2008, just the same four crops and two traits are commercially available.

"Seven countries grew 97.5% of GM crops in 2007, the same as 2006.

"And five of those countries are in North and South America, where most GM crops are used for animal feed or biofuel production.

"No-one, anywhere, wants to eat GM foods and if they were fully labelled as they should be, GM food crops would not be grown.

"The number of countries that grew more than 50,000 hectares (500 square km) of GM crops fell from 14 in 2006 to 13 in 2007.

"A few other countries are dabbling in GM crops but drop them when environmental, animal and human health impacts appear.

"For instance, last year Iran cancelled its entire GM crop program.

"And Australia's cotton crop shrank from 220,000 hectares in 2005, to 134,000 in 2006, and about 60,000 hectares last year.

"GM is responsible for cotton's collapse as it follows the lifting of the 30% cap on GM cotton in 2005, when GM's share shot up to over 90%.

"Australian GM cotton is an ecological and economic failure.

"The global acreage of herbicide tolerant GM canola also stalled in 1999. The two GM producers - Canada and the USA - still grow less than 20% of the crop.

"In contrast, eighteen countries are GM-free and as Australia is the world's main GM-free canola exporter we sell it anywhere, at a premium up to $120.

"If the Victorian and NSW governments end their bans on herbicide tolerant GM canola, we'll be overrun by a plant version of the cane-toad. GM canola will exchange pollen with wild radish, turnip and charlock, making super weeds that can never be recalled.

"Ideology, not facts, are blinding our governments and scientists.

"The ISAAA is flogging a dead horse and our governments should continue to ban GM crops," Mr Phelps concludes.

More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500 or 03 9889 1717 (H)

Posted by editor at 6:10 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 24 February 2008 3:04 PM EADT

View Latest Entries