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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
SAM blog stats for early 2012 - OMG an upward trend!
Mood:  surprised
Topic: independent media




This community news blog has been fairly quiet for 2 years as its editor worked full time as a solicitor in the private sector (and pro bono), while noting the blog was established in January 2007 (5 years - woo hoo!). Judging from the hit rate it appears less is more, because on the occasions we have posted in the last 2 years responding to something so outrageous in the big media that it demanded a reply, it seems our hit rate continued to trend upward, especially now in months Feb and March 2012. How ironic.

Posted by editor at 3:06 PM NZT
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Sydney Daily Smog left naked by false skyline front page image?
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: big media


Pictures above and below taken by the author today 27 March 2012 at about 8.00 am from Eastwood looking south over Parramatta River to Strathfield and beyond.


Mmm, funny how the front page today of the Murdoch owned Sydney Daily Telegraph has sanitised the Sydney skyline by airbrushing the typical brown smudge of smog.



Could it be the smog is an inconvenient truth about promoting more motorways and hence more traffic on said tarmac? The fact that literally 1/4 to 1/3 of the Sydney landscape is already dedicated to motorised transport whether it be roads, garages, carparks, and probably other land tenure doesn't seem to rate. But the truth is that's alot of valuable real estate quarantined for cars and trucks and arguably quite excessive already.



Indeed we recently went to NSW Dept of Health website and noticed  their figure up to about 2009 or so that premature deaths from smog in Sydney is now running at 640 to 1,400 people a year. Putting aside the rather large statistical spread of those figures, it is clear that smog is a killer "right here, right now" as one federal politician Greg Hunt is prone to say.

The Sydney Daily Telegraph articles today are prominent in their support for the M4 East and M5 road expansions, but NO ONE believes they won't just choke up like Parramatta Road in a few years unless there is substitution off the roads. 



We understand Australians buy 1 million cars a year, and a great many of them are in Sydney right here, right now. 

There is token reference to the North West rail line in the SDT package of stories but it's a left over really. It seems the package is all about building the next road. And given head of infrastructure Nick Greiner is a road builder one doesn't have to be a genius to know who the Coalition aligned newspaper is barracking for.

No wonder the public are cynical about the Murdoch media, not just politicians. How about addressing the smog Mr Editor? Like supporting conversion to bicycle based transport for short trips? 

It seems to us fundamental change to transport in Sydney is just too big an ideological problem for an editor who is prone to bashing the current Mayor of Sydney who actually supports bicycle based infrastructure. 

Posted by editor at 12:00 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2012 12:05 PM NZT
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Thoughtlines on those shallow big media reviews of Bob Carr
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: big media


 Picture: [Above] The author in tie and scruffy beard alongside then MP Richard Jones and others in 1994 in a spirited campaign for change in government policy away from high impact woodchipping of natural forests.The speaker on the tray truck is Karenne Jurd then director of The Wilderness Society removed soon after in a Keaing PM inspired coup in the TWS. [Below] is a massive banner on the cliff line opposite the Sydney Opera House - again involving the author as it snagged part way down and required some cliff hanging to release back in our rock climbing days. Alot of work went into electing Bob Carr on 25 March 1995 to save forests but the results were disappointing.

First the good before the ugly. We did enjoy this article about Carr's contradictory postures and indeed cunning by the ABC's Jim Middleton:


We note this text from our own web archive on Carr's time at the helm of NSW as the public went back to the polls in 1999:

Apart from deliberately and dishonestly conflating the notion of "forest protection" with "new national park", the other variation on Carr's boasting was that his government had created one million hectares of reservations in NSW and this was a "world record". The Wilderness Society as quoted in Parliament by Ian Cohen MLC has shown convincingly using World Conservation Monitoring Centre figures that NSW as a unit is still behind 74 other countries in terms of terrestrial protected areas, and just below the 6. 29% of land area conserved on average per country. For the 4 year term of office Carr has made less significant conservation decisions than

  • Brazil (3.5 million ha in 1990, 6 million ha in 1979-82),
  • Indonesia (3 million ha in 1978-81, 2.5 million ha in 1980-82),
  • Columbia (2 million ha, 1977).
  • Even in Queensland in one year 1977 a million hectares of national park was created, and in NT nearly a million hectares in 1990.

There is not space here to list other protection decisions in China, USA (4 different states) or Venezuela that outstrip or equal Bob Carr's "world record" fantasy.

We also note that Carr was a gifted thespian on the floor of NSW Parliament - that is, he was acting, and relying on comedy to avoid substance. The general message is therefore - cross check Bob Carr before you believe his stentorian voice.

We note Carr stated on live abc radio in about 2006 that the internet was irrelevant to mainstream politics just before Obama used the web to fundraise his way to the presidency of the United States. Gore Vidal on a visit here, in the studio with Carr almost choked when he heard Carr's ignorant pronouncement more to do, perhaps, with Carr's edict banning government press releases being archived on the web for the public to access.

Here is more on the grim statistics of green Bob Carr on the environment:

  • Carr ALP dodges 1999-2003
  • Carr ALP dodges 1995-99
  • and also here:

    NSW forests & woodland natural heritage

    Our understanding is that Carr sold out 50% of the unprotected publicly owned forest to private logging interests, that is forest that wasn't already in national park that he couldn't get his hands on. To avoid accountability on that Carr hoodwinked the public and the media with expensive tv advertising about 'trees and jobs living together'.This is the factual context of the huge price paid for Carr's PR boast of 300 odd new national parks patchworked across the eastern division of NSW. In our view way too high a price being paid every day now in 2012.

    (Consider this - risk of bushfire, as wildfire, as megafire, can only increase with destruction of natural forest canopy with it's naturally wet micro climate  and high humidity - that is, bushfire resistant. A logged landsape by comparison soon returns as dry schlerophyll regrowth and a dusty dry  flammable landscape. A landscape of kindling for megafire is one potential outcome of Bob Carr's 20 years of woodchipper resource security.)

    In addition to forests proper east of the dividing range, our understanding is that Carr presided over between one and 1.5 million hectares of woodlands in agricultural areas west of the ranges being cleared over about 10 years. (Stephanie Peatling of the Sydney Morning Herald wrote several stories with the official figures which were horrifying when extrapolated over years.) These woodlands would be crucial to moderating record floods today. But at that time in 1995 to 2005 we in NSW were at the end of a 20 year period of mostly drought - the huge loss of nature was arguably even more devastating.

    Given NSW is mostly arid (or was until the most recent ephemeral floods) and a total of 80 million hectares in size with a humble fringe of coastal green, the loss of nature under Carr was grim. The sensible elements of the green movement today mostly refer to that period of alliance with Bob Carr as delusional.

    The significance for modern politics is that it is the Carr political PR strategy on the morality of environmentally sustainable forests that is being applied by the federal ALP on climate. It's all tactics for the ALP rather than conviction, to wedge the liberal national party, which admittedly are even more evil on conservation of the environment and therefore easy to wedge. Compare say the Tories in the UK who actually have a strong climate protection policy in unison with their opponents - presumably out of a conviction their little island in the North Sea will be doomed by climate change - which it may well be. 

    Such are the contradictions of Bob Carr, thespian and gifted comic of NSW politics, quite well expressed by Jim Middleton in his article referenced above.  



    Posted by editor at 9:30 AM EADT
    Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2012 11:33 PM EADT
    Sunday, 29 January 2012
    Collective big media amnesia of 2003 fire attack on Aboriginal tent embassy
    Mood:  d'oh
    Topic: indigenous

    Interesting to read Laurie Oakes in a News Corp lead opinion piece this weekend with a comment that only a twisted mind would view Tony Abbott's recent words as suggesting a tear down of  Aboriginal tent embassy.

    Oh really?

    Wikipedia carries this entry:


    "There have been a number of suspicious fires at the site, with the most devastating being the loss of 31 years of records when the container burnt down in June 2003.[8]"

    Reference: "^ Yaxley, Louise (19 June 2003). "Aboriginal Tent Embassy burnt out". The World Today. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 31 May 2010.

    We say Oakes is suffering amnesia, and not just about suspicious fires during the halcyon days of the Howard regime served by Tony Abbott. We note David Oldfield nurtured his bigoted One Nation party in Tony Abbott's electorate office.

    Fact is Tony Abbott is sitting on the fence on constitutional reform in favour of the Indigenous and is part of the former racist regime on native title.

    We say Piers Akerman gave the true version of Tony Abbott's views on the Aboriginal Tent Embassy today in the Sunday News Corp tabloid - an honest form of racism, if you like. To quote the bloated one:

    "The 40th anniversary of this monstrosity should be it's last."

     Or in colloquial terms - tear it down.

    13 years ago Tony Abbott's current mentor, then PM John Howard, delivered bucket loads of extinguishment of native title.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Including the lazy big media giving a shallow view of political reality.

    Posted by editor at 6:46 PM EADT
    Updated: Sunday, 29 January 2012 6:55 PM EADT
    Tuesday, 20 December 2011
    Moral clarity and hypocrisy on refugees - reply to GH
    Mood:  d'oh
    Topic: human rights


    The Greens and the Left in effect believe people have the right to die trying to be free in Australia. And not persecuted when they succeed in their marathon trek.

    The Right in effect, like Gerard Henderson today, and some others who should know better, prefer people die in silence in a theoretical queue in the country of persecution, or a living death in a hostile intermediate country, away from the Australian public eye - in equal or greater numbers.

    These folks from the Right are the ones who read down say 650,000 deaths in the Iraq war, to "tens of thousands" or "over one hundred thousand" deaths in the news reports last week. Raw numbers of death of innocents is a very slippery concept for these types - like Henderson.

    There is alot of talk about derisorily low numbers of boat people swamping the 13,500 annual refugee intake figure. But the treaty on status of refugees doesn't refer to arbitrary limits, it refers to "fear of persecution".

    Fact is Australia is lazy. Henderson is lazy. The ALP and the Coalition are lazy.

    And dishonest - boat people are a scapegoat for the 250-300,000 economic immigrants that apparently Australia has no trouble accomodating every year not least for cheap labour for big business. I don't remember Henderson, Morrison or George Pell for that matter saying we should hypothecate economic immigration to refugee lives? That is less of the former and more of the latter.

    When they start talking about that we might start listening to the alleged moral analysis of the authority figures. Until then we will do our refugee duty in the legal sector.


    Posted by editor at 7:27 AM EADT
    Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2011 2:01 PM EADT
    Sunday, 11 December 2011
    Julian Moti's complexion
    Mood:  quizzical
    Topic: aust govt

    Julian was a student for several years at the Australian National University in the 1980ies.

    He was noticeable by his coloured heritage and his attractive long time law student girlfriend, also a person of colour.

    This writer's direct observation of him over those years as law student peer was that he evidenced no vices or personality flaws, was a competent student and in control of himself. No drug issues. No conflicts. No crash outs.

    As regards university days, Moti does not present like the recollections on the public record of disgraced de-registered (?) Dr Suresh Nair.

    We might not say that about all the peers from those days if pressed, which we are not. Nor are we so innocent of a toke, a stolen bottle of wine and other games of greater and lesser seriousness in our youth.  

    As a legal colleague noted there is always the private versus the public side to every personality.  We've not had any contact with Julian for 20 years. 

    As another legal colleague noted late last week, how reliable is the testimony of a 13 year old, vulnerable to manipulation, in a toxic political context, with signifcant money changing hands in a criminal prosecution/persecution (your choice dear reader)?

    We simply say, uni days are contrary indications of the reputational damage to Julian, this last many years. And we don't pretend to understand the truth of all this grim allegations.

    We do say this - if Moti has been done wrong, which is a real question, it's going to be a huge compensation claim - and maybe that's just the way it has to be, if only for surviving so long against such odds. For a traditionally chubby guy he runs quite a marathon.

    Yes we are concerned about protection of minors as a public policy. And also mindful of slum politics where western (suburban Australian) moral norms in reality don't fly. In that context we even wonder about Shakespeare's time when 13 year olds were of marrying age and life was short and often cruel.  Or who might exploit that millieu. All quite vexed. Talk about Doubt - which ran as a movie on free to air last night in Sydney.

    If Julian reads this we are not adverse to hearing his side of things or just talking off the record, not least given our transition into the world of politics and community media, with a fierce commitment to independence.




    Posted by editor at 10:55 AM EADT
    Saturday, 10 December 2011
    Au contraire LO
    Mood:  caffeinated
    Topic: aust govt

    SAM Editor's view of the withdrawn Australia Network tender:

     1. Rudd was keen either when PM or after to trade support for the government for Murdoch's greed, with the price being sell down of ABC turf. A logical if amoral bargain. 

     2. Now post NOTW scandal cabinet make a very different political calculation that they can buck the Murdoch regime, and maybe they can too (no disrespect to the Sphere who writes for the Daily Liberal Party tabloid).

    3. The sabotaged tender keeping Aunty in the "soft diplomacy" business, charter of independence notwithstanding, suggests to this punter and probably quite a few more in the beltway and general public land (?) that the ALP are masters at the fix, same as it ever was.

    4. Item 3 above is inconsistent with Laurie Oakes' theory that the sabotaged tender will evidence incompetence to the public as the resonating message. Au contraire - that's not our experience, in NSW where funny things happen too often to be random.

    5. Rather all this evidences the jaded reality of national politics where good process and good policy outcomes are disconnected from political economy and careerism. Same as it ever was (refer Giuseppe De Lampedusa's awesome novel The Leopard for a beautiful case study in the context of the Sicilian aristocracy).

    Posted by editor at 12:07 PM EADT
    Updated: Sunday, 11 December 2011 10:34 AM EADT
    Saturday, 5 November 2011
    Peta Credlin: "swirling rumours" and clumsy dirty laundry metaphors
    Mood:  accident prone
    Topic: aust govt


    We've managed to flush out the defensive Peta Credlin profile from the flagship of the Liberal Party media machine, namely The Weekend Australian, via their colour supplement and teaser on page 1 main paper.

    It's a grasping the nettle sort of situation for the Liberal Party and the newspaper itself so heavily invested in that side of corporate politics.

    The opening line is priceless, referring to those "swirling rumours".

    We posted this on facebook, last week, complete with politician network, as follows:

    Tom McLoughlin

    I think it's time to acknowledge the rumour swirling around the Canberra insider club aka beltway. The rumour, even if false, is that the leader of the opposition is having an affair with his chief of staff. I've heard this rumour exists, from two independent sources now in the last 4 weeks, the latest political in Canberra. Even if it is not true it is swirling. Abbott's family values platform may be up for review in an election. Wednesday at 2:31pm

    Of all the verbs journalist Kate Legge could have chosen in her opening sentence, it turns out to be an echo of "swirling". We used the same word on a Crikey thread last week also.

    And the two independent sources of the rumour "swirling" in Canberra are real.

    Four years ago at the outset of this SAM blog we nailed Abbott for being a student thug in the 1970ies.

    Now we offer these comments on Credlin:

    1. For a West Winger fan she missed the one about Josh Lyman ("joking lie man"!) and the imperative of the chief policy adviser staying out of the spot light - "it's not what we do" he laments.

    2. Seems her husband and no doubt herself are interested in two things out of this story, given it had to be written, with social media closing in:

    (a) to harvest the profile position for her own career ambition to be the first conservative female PM, if and when Abbott crashes (as predicted by the real political journalism today by ... Laurie Oakes in the sister SDT), that is some insurance post Abbott;

    (b) to get ahead of the social media curve and control the story of those dirty laundry rumours.

    3. But what the Liberal Party can't publish are updated pictures of happy families - the Abbott marriage, the Loughnane-Credlin marriage, in contra distinction to the Happy Couple PR image of PM Gillard and partner at CHOGM recently over in Perth - under byline of Gemma Jones of the Sydney Daily Telegraph in the belly of the conservative beast, so to speak. That sort of says it all.


    4. Credlin and her allies may want to note (unkindly) this story leads the soft and gossip section of the newspaper with not one reference of substance in the main newspaper. That's an expendable kind of PR perch there. Most serious colour mag profiles have a cover article in the main press too.

    5. Despite clumsy metaphors about dirty laundry and washing of Abbott's lycra, the article ominously did not meet or even attempt to address the real "swirling" rumour and by ramping Credlin's attractive 40 year frame can only intensify the swirl, so to speak. Is this indeed the infamous News Ltd turning of the rack on Abbott's DLP economics and a warning of corporate big brother to get back on script re the IMF funding etc? One does wonder. If so, it highlights the danger for Ms Expendable in a much bigger game of real politik thuggery internal to the Coalition over 'pure' free market economics after the GFC made it look like the mumbo jumbo it really is, and of course, IR ideology etc.

    And what we noticed about alleged bright burning brain Credlin in my google research last night, pre The Australian story, was this quote with clumsy, awful grammar, of a so called lawyer of words amongst mere mortals, courtesy of the Sacred Heart Women newsletter:


    "I wouldn’t be able to have achieved the things I have without my grounding at SHC and the leadership of extraordinary teachers ... not forgetting, of course, the wonderful Sr Carmel."


     "wouldn't be able to have achieved the things I have ...." Whoa, stop, help, give me oxygen, grammar crime underway! Passive, not active, repetition of word choice, excess length.

    That ain't no Ainslie Hayes talking there (badly hazed Ainslie - everyone's favourite conservative on West Wing show, and the hilarous Gilbert & Sullivan episode with the dessicted hate flower delivery, saved by gallant Sam Christ Born err Seaborn).

    And note the confusion over hair colour - seems some therapy may be called for contrary to the 'happy in her self' cliche from Ms Legge. Perhaps via the First Bloke known for his hairdressing and listening skills?



    Posted by editor at 3:06 PM EADT
    Updated: Saturday, 5 November 2011 3:42 PM EADT
    Sunday, 30 October 2011
    Alan Joyce - archetypal 'little man' syndrome?
    Mood:  caffeinated
    Topic: aust govt

    We've met one or two in our political activist career, both nominally same side and opposition. The truism about the enemy being behind you tends to apply.

    These short arses can be quite recalcitrant about their own central and special power role. They won't compromise. They will push and push and push until yes, metaphorically they magically grow another 12 inches from 5 to 6 feet as properly befits their status in the world.

    This is the psychology the Australian people are dealing with in Joyce, who as smart and plausible as he is, assumes above all democracy that he must know best. That is, an attack on democracy itself aligned to corporate executive self interest.

    Napolean is th exemplar, who famously spent human lives as a daily allowance of cannon fodder. 

    No doubt union hard cases have another psychology again, of ideological rejection of individual talent and profit above the group interest.

    Pre GFC the corporate free trade mantra might have been valid, but those days are gone, well gone. Govt intervention is highly necessary including nationalisation of the carrier again.

    Posted by editor at 9:17 AM NZT
    Updated: Sunday, 30 October 2011 9:19 AM NZT
    Sunday, 23 October 2011
    PM Gillard is NOT fooling around with her chief of staff ...
    Mood:  accident prone
    Topic: aust govt
    By all signs the first bloke is a good match and it's all going along smoothly. We don't suggest anything to the contrary.

    Really.So what the hell is the point of this post? You work it out, smarties. Caio, caio.

    Posted by editor at 11:24 AM NZT

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