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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 5 April 2007
Greens shove aside ALP patronage machine infecting the green ngo sector
Mood:  party time!
Topic: election nsw 2007

SAM shook the proverbial sandles of the craven peak environment group in NSW pandering to the corrupt Carr ALP government patronage machine in 2000 or so when we resigned from the executive committee of the NSW Nature Conservation Council having been elected twice to that 'august' body. They had pre emptively buckled to 20 year logging resource security for woodchipping while taking the govt's shill.

As this devastating report in the Herald pre election makes clear, via one conservative rival group WWF to the ALP hegemony in NSW, most green non government groups (ngos) were failing their duty on biodiversity conservation in spades, and I knew it in 2000 and expressed my disgust at the time. 7 years later the feeling still burns deep:

Revealed: legal land clearing's savage toll - Environment - Specials

This report of late Feb 2007 refers to half a million hectares cleared legally with a hundred million native critters dispatched let alone native flora 1998-2005 under the Carr government. Not even considering very significant illegal clearing.

The green ngo establishment didn't even have the guts to admit to themselves let alone the public how badly they were losing, which might possibly have galvanised a public backlash. As it was the Carr ALP were elected with an increased majority in 1999 and 2003 for my green movement failure to really bare witness. They just kept taking the hush and access money from the ALP ministers and their manipulators.

And there is a federal election dimension to this because then ACF president Peter Garrett was part of that hush machine in NSW. As was John Connor then executive officer of the NSW NCC now with the Climate Institute (patron Bob Carr) actively soliciting grant money from the same NSW Government.

As was Jeff Angel director of the Total Environment Centre because he had primary responsibility on the NSW Native Vegetation Committee reporting to the Resource & Conservation Assessment Council reporting direct to Cabinet Mnisters, from about 1997 onwards. Angel's duty was to blow the whistle on the government and their effective green light to panic clearing for the next 10 tragic years but it never really came. They strung him along for years and never delivered real enforcement of clearing controls.

Picture: Ian Cohen MLC (Greens) at an evocative Sculpture by the sea, Tamarama Beach

I rang Ian Cohen MLC (Greens) on the record today and asked him what role he thought Jeff Angel had played in the most recent election, in other words did he agree with our impression Angel had disappeared from sight?

Cohen qualified his answer saying he was not up for re election and did most of his electioneering in the country areas but yes was sympathetic to our suggestion the Greens had held most of the space in the electioneering on environmental policy matters in the general media. 

Cohen added the electoral laws contributed to that in that green ngos were prevented this time handing out at the polling booth so the Greens were expected to carry the responsibility and burden.

We at this news blog say thank God for that. And we have little doubt that our backgrounding about Angel had an effect over the last 2 years. As did that knockout WWF report late February 2007. Unlike 2003 we never saw a green brand on the ALP from Big Jeff in 2007. The ALP were reduced to tv adverts singing their own greenwash praise.

Indeed in late 2006  the NSW Govt were pretty cock sure Angel was under their thumb, as he was, even when he didn't have the wit to know it, as per this extraordinary exchange back in November last in NSW Parliament regarding good old door mat Jeff:

 

NATIVE VEGETATION REGULATIONS

Page: 4347



Mr IAN COHEN: My question is directed to the Minister for Natural Resources, Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Mineral Resources. Does the Minister agree that the changes the Government forced through Parliament in relation to the invasive native species module of the Native Vegetation Regulations did not have the backing of Jeff Angel or his ministerial review committee? Why did the Minister claim, in answer to a question asked by me on 26 October, that he had that support? The report fails to set out adequately how the changes will improve or maintain environmental outcomes, which is the object of the Act, and three prominent environment organisations—Total Environment Centre, the Wilderness Society and World Wildlife Fund—have condemned the changes. Can the Minister explain how the broad-scale clearing of native vegetation followed by the planting of exotic species will benefit biodiversity? Is the Minister able to name a single species in New South Wales that will benefit from the changes, which essentially facilitate native habitat destruction?

The Hon. IAN MACDONALD: That was rhetoric of a ferocious kind! I say straight out to Mr Ian Cohen that the changes that the Government has put into effect will produce a very workable system that will benefit both producers and the environment. As to the other point in his question, during question time on 26 October there was considerable discussion about the Government's latest groundbreaking reforms to invasive native scrub [INS] management. These changes were based on the recommendations made by the INS review group, chaired by Dr Denis Saunders, which were subsequently endorsed by the independent Natural Resources Commission. I stated that Jeff Angel, in his capacity as a member of the native vegetation ministerial review group, made recommendations in relation to this matter. That is entirely correct. In its consolidated report of October 2006 the ministerial review committee recommended that the Government "consider the proposed amendments of the INS tool as advised by the relevant agencies and the NRC". That is entirely consistent with my statement. In fact, there was a unanimous recommendation by the ministerial review committee that the relevant committee consider the INS report. That is exactly what the New South Wales Government has done—in fact, we have endorsed the report.

The INS changes protect the environment while giving farmers a practical and flexible system within which to work and get on with the job of farming. The consolidated report is on the Department of Natural Resources web site. Mr Ian Cohen might try reading it to get a bit more information on the matter than he revealed in his rather limited question. The report endorses the New South Wales Government's native vegetation reforms and notes that the system is working. That is why Mr Ian Cohen is feeling so aggrieved. Despite all his scaremongering, stakeholders have come forward to note that the system is working. Instead of knocking the system, Mr Ian Cohen might try getting behind the reforms, reading the science and contributing to the debate.

Mr IAN COHEN: I ask a supplementary question. In a letter to Adam Badenoch, Mr Jeff Angel wrote:

 

 

"I would like a correction (below) from the Minister about his statement in Parliament yesterday that I and the MRC supported the Saunders INS recommendations.

What the hell did the Minister thinking he was doing?"

 

 

Surely the Minister for Natural Resources owes the man an apology.

The Hon. Don Harwin: Point of order: The question is clearly out of order. It is clearly not a supplementary question. It did not ask for the elucidation of any part of the Minister's answer. It just put extra information onto the record, plus it contained argument.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The question was not a supplementary question and is, therefore, out of order.

 

And then in 2003 ex Minister Craig Knowles refers to good guy Jeff as

 "Jeff Angel, who can only be regarded as a solid warrior for the environment, recognises that as a partnership we have had substantial success [on landclearing regulation]."

Remember this is all the while 1998 to 2006 panic clearing is going on, and still going on in NSW in 2007.

In fact we rang Wendy Frew to congratulate her for her article in the Herald referenced above pre 2007 election vote, with a sting in the tail to the effect of

'keep in mind Wendy the gist of your report was known and understood as it was happening and the guy entrusted with the whistle from 1997 on the peak govt committee was Jeff Angel, and he never did blow that whistle. You have to ask yourself why not?'

Now Ian Cohen MLC has reported this first ray of sunlight today for the thrashed regional bushland of NSW with this media release today. No wonder the Total Environment Centre listed the Green Party at the end of it's election grid. The better the Green Party do, the less duchessing and leverage for his ngo at the expense of the environment he was honour bound to protect. If Angel is not corrupt he is certainly guilty of something just as bad in this business - a dupe for Big Govt and Big Agri business land clearers:

Media Release   -   5 April 2007

Environment the winner in departmental restructure

Greens MLC and environment spokesperson Ian Cohen has applauded the NSW
government’s restructure of environmental, land use and water
portfolios.

“The establishment of a new Department of Environment and Climate
Change, along with the abolition of the Department of Natural Resources,
is to be commended. I am optimistic that the transfer of native
vegetation legislation to the environment portfolio is more likely to
see advances in ending illegal land clearing and the regulation of
private native forestry.” Mr Cohen said.

“I welcome the appointment of Phil Koperberg to the new environment
ministry and hope to have as productive a relationship with him as I did
with Bob Debus to ensure important advances in environmental protection.
The inclusion of Climate Change in the portfolio is an overdue but
welcome recognition that this is an overarching issue which affects all
facets of the environment.

“The relocation of marine reserve management and aquatic threatened
species from the Department of Primary Industries to the environment
portfolio is an important step and will hopefully bring about better
results in the conservation of marine habitats.

“Likewise, the transfer of environmental water management, coastal
and floodplain management from the Department of Natural Resources
should lift the standard of protection in those areas of environmental
management.

“The departmental restructure is an excellent start, but Minister
Koperberg will have a huge job ahead of him to end illegal land clearing
and improve the management of water and vegetation in NSW. I look
forward to working co-operatively with him to achieve real progress in
these areas.” Mr Cohen said.

Further Information: Ian Cohen: 0409 989 466

......................................

Now that the election is over we see Angel back in the green policy market place on the issue de jour [PDF link on greenhouse targets] but really he has no business being there and should be run out of the policy business if it were legal to do so.

There are plenty of other examples of how the ALP corrupted the NSW green movement over the last 10 years, such as supporting the Lake Cowal Environmental Trust to greenwash a water guzzling cyanide gold mine, to the great alarm of people like ...Ian Cohen MLC (Greens) and other actually independent green ngo voices.

 

Picture: Idealist grassroots activists on schools roadshow Jan-Feb 2005, highlighting for instance the mine at Lake Cowal will be as deep as Centrepoint Tower is high. Were they betrayed back in Sydney?

This scandal was again brokered by ... that 'solid environmental warrior' Jeff Angel:

Nov 06 - Alarm of independent greens over miner 'Environment Foundation' pay off to badly compromised 'peak' greens

and

3rd Nov 06 - Lake Cowal cyanide gold mine chewing up farmers drought water, 20m water table drops to 50 m depth!

and

15/3/04...The dirty Lake Cowal cyanide gold mine trust terms discussed here in 'Lake Cowal and real politik of mining decisions under Carr govt' 

Indeed there are historicly sound reasons why such groups as North East Forest Alliance and Greenpeace have stayed out of membership of the Sydney based peak green groups, in particular the TEC/NCC/NPA complex of ALP lap puppies. The suspicion surely is that it involves selling one's soul like Peter Garrett is famously accused of doing now.

Postscript #1: Arrests made after mine protest turns ugly Sydney Morning Herald 9th April 2007

"Eighteen anti-gold mine activists have been charged following a protest in central NSW, which concluded with a man allegedly ransacking the protesters' campsite while armed with a knife.

The activists, who included members of the Wiradjuri people, Friends of the Earth and the Australian Student Environment Network [ASEN], were arrested about 1.30pm yesterday after allegedly breaching the perimeter of the Lake Cowal gold mine, which is run by the world's largest gold producer, Barrick.

They claim the mine's operations are environmentally damaging.

"Barrick ... is stripping NSW of its precious water resources, internationally significant wetlands and destroying Wiradjuri history and culture," ASEN's national convenor, Nicola Ison, said in a statement released by Friends of the Earth yesterday.

"Barrick is transporting over 6000 tonnes of cyanide annually from Gladstone, Queensland, to Lake Cowal, New South Wales, creating risk of spill and lethal contamination of waterways along the 1600 km transport route," Ms Ison said.

The activists were each charged with entering enclosed lands. They were granted conditional bail and are due to appear in West Wyalong Local Court on April 26.

Police said a 32-year-old man was arrested yesterday evening after allegedly driving into the protesters' campsite and damaging vehicles and tents.

He was charged with malicious damage, failing to undergo a breath analysis, stalking/intimidation, carry a knife in a public place, as well as driving offences.

He is expected to appear in Griffith Local Court this morning."


Posted by editor at 3:51 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 9 April 2007 10:45 AM NZT
Monday, 26 March 2007
Tebbutt declines cabinet confidentiality on road tunnel plan of "a good government" to raise her 6 year old instead
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: election nsw 2007

On Saturday we met then Education Minister Tebbutt as pictured here at the Warren Rd booth in Marrickville

and raised the horror scenario of a container truck accident in any of the Sydney motorway tunnels, as happened last Friday in Melbourne’s Burnley Tunnel.

 

Question: "Tom McLoughlin, SydneyAlternativeMedia news blog. On the record Minister, in relation to the terrible truck accident in the [Burnley] Tunnel in Melbourne, do you think that could happen here in Sydney with so many motorway tunnels?" Answer by Carmel Tebbutt local ALP MP for Marrickville: "I don't know anything about that. I really couldn't say."

 

The question required no answer. The point was all in the asking: We knew she was not the responsible minister for transport, emergency services, treasury or any other possibly related portfolio.

 

The point of the question was the subtext: Carmel Tebbutt as local member knows that the massive expansion of Port Botany will result in a road tunnel under Marrickville unless the politics are radically changed. All those containers can’t go on rail (40% maximum) and even the rail is disruptive already as per this recent letter to the editor:

Indeed local MP Tebbutt has been fighting off fiesty local Green Party members in the local Cooks River Valley Times March 8th 2007 front pager "Road tunnel"

 

"Labor MP for Marrickville Carmel Tebbutt, said the Minister has made it clear that there are no proposals before the NSW Government to build the M4 East or any such thing as an inner west motorway."

 

and from same paper apparently quoting her unchanged 2006 statements:

 

"While the $500 million investment in Port Botany will benefit the NSW economy , Sydney Ports Corporation must make every effort to ensure this proposed expansion does not adversely impact on the quality of life of local residents ..... I will continue to advocate the concerns of local residentsto Sydney Ports Corporation and ministers for Planning and Ports. As usual the Greens Party are offering no solutions".

 

In her February 2007 colour brochure Carmel states

 

 "Johnstons creek corridor abandoned/ The Johnstons Creek road corridor will be abandoned entirely between Parramatta Road and the Illawarra rail line. Road reservations on those roads which would have fed into Johnstons Creek road corridor, including Llewellyn Street and Addison Road, have also been abandoned. "This decision gives certainty to residents worried their properties may still be affected," said Carmel Tebbutt MP. " pictured standing next to colleague Minister Eric Roozendaal.

 

And then an expose of exactly what the minister has strongly implied won't happen, happened: $5b secret road under Sydney | The Daily Telegraph that is a secret RTA plan for a tunnel under Marrickville because anyone who has studied the Port expansion knows it's part of an overall scheme to deal with the 3 million plus containers, a tripling of volume.

 

And Tebbutt has form in the art of political double talk, and it would be very naive to think she is some kind of feminista political saint. Life is not like that:

 

"Ms Byrne [Greens candidate said] Ms Tebbutt "blatantly misled the public" about Greens preferences at the a climate change forum in Marrickville last Tuesday night. Ms Tebbutt told the forum that the Greens had preferenced the Coalition before Aboriginal Labor MP Linda Burney in the seat of Canterbury during the 2003 election ...This is false. The Greens have never preferenced the Coalition ahead of Labor in any state or federal electorate in NSW." in Valley Times p6 Thus 15th March 2007.

 

This is a direct accusation of electioneering fraud by Carmel Tebbutt at a public forum being levelled by The Greens.

 

Who knows if there is more to her move to the back bench? Maybe she saw those school kids late last week protest against the unfiltered Lane Cove Tunnel (Families protest against lack of filtration in Lane Cove Tunnel ...) which is in her portfolio. Maybe she considered our unexpected mortality as per those poor victims literally incinerated in the grim prophetic Burnley Tunnel and decided ‘no way am I going to miss my kid growing up’. On Friday we emailed to the local community this story on our blog:

 

 23rd March 2007

Container truck tunnel crash is Sydney's future too under ALP transport policies

As the three major dailies today editorialise to remove the ALP government in NSW in the vote tomorrow, and Ch9 prime time news ruin Opposition Leader Debnam's last pitch due to technical problems with a live cross, a tragic tunnel crash involving container trucks in Melbourne today (Road catastrophe: Tunnel crash kills three) underline everything wrong with the Inner West Motorway tunnel exposed by the press during this election for Sydney: $5b secret road under Sydney | The Daily Telegraph

Container truck numbers from the Port are set to skyrocket under the ALP (Task force to oversee Port Botany expansion. 25/11/2006. ABC News ...) to 3 million per year  at least (Port Botany - NSW Department of Planning) but likely even more than that (NSW Ports Growth Plan - Summary Sheet) with massive impacts on the Inner City congestion and suburban amenity from the Port Botany Expansion - 10/11/2005 - ADJ

The ALP over ruled an independent planning Commission of Inquiry (Port Botany expansion plan unwarranted: inquiry. 14/10/2005. ABC ...) and tried to stall the release of that report for 3 months (Port Botany Report - 15/09/2005 - QWN REP) making a new motorway tunnel an inevitability under the Iemma ALP Govt. One can assume fatal truck accidents like this today will also be an inevitability as above.

On Sunday another insecure road tunnel will open as the result of the election is finalised: Children at Lane Cove Tunnel protest - The Australian - 21 Mar 2007

Noxious road tunnels are indeed a powerful symbol of this ALP government as we go to the vote tomorrow as per The Greens last PR event for the day

The way Carmel tells it her son made it clear a couple of weeks ago she was needed at home. Morris Iemma says she told him on election night. Curious timing. Kevin Rudd is quoted pictured here The Glebe March 22nd 07 p3 presumably with no notion of Carmel’s intention to bail out to the back bench:

 

“When you’ve got Carmel as a senior minister in this government and as an effective local member, you are really getting double bang for your buck and I think that’s really good,” : Kevin Rudd

That’s false election advertising in reality.

 

In the same paper Tebbutt states “I think I am feeling nervous and anxious at this point” but in another local press article (a bit hard to locate now) she said she was a lot more relaxed than at the byelection 18 months ago, and that was the view of Deputy Premier Watkins too on ABC tv coverage last Saturday night. If the Greens were going to win it was going to be at the byelection. Only they suppressed the Commission of Inquiry report on the Port Expansion until 2 weeks after that byelection as well.

 

Indeed Tebbutt has moved from the comfort of an upper house seat with ministerial portfolio free of managing the needs of an electorate to a lower house seat with all the cost and expense for the ALP that implies and has decided to bail out to the back bench now?  And all the expense of a hard fought general election now to keep it?And she wants to bail out to the back bench?

 

Indeed Treasurer Egan virtually anointed her as a future Treasurer or Premier when he resigned with Bob Carr. Mind you who would like to look like the increasingly exhausted and aging Anna Bligh Deputy Premier and Treasurer (Queensland Treasury). Or pack on the kilograms as Chubby Morris below, or indeed Jodi McKay with increasing girth (pictured in the Telegraph) from all that worry contesting the seat of Newcastle.

 

That’s one hell of a conversation with your six year old for Carmel whose child has already grown up in a political family. (Sure enough, she is pictured with child in the press Tuesday 27th March.) That sure is enlightened parenting but lousy political organisation unless there is just a bit more to the story.

 

As a minister she could never defend Marrickville from toxic exhaust stacks from the inevitable push on to build a road tunnel under her electorate. Cabinet confidentiality would only be the start of her predicament. She would have to endorse the cabinet decision just like Gary Punch was expected to over the 3rd Runway at KSA and resigned instead.  Those shipping containers are coming as night follows day and her people and indeed family are in the firing line. She would never be re elected anyway after that in 2011 if she was seen to have betrayed her electorate. This is a fight she has to take on just like the Greens she has been sledging..

 

Also her husband federal MP Anthony Albanese is in real strife. If the ALP national conference supports expanded uranium mining as they will, Anthony will be stranded in a rampantly green voting area of Sydney. He will be lucky to survive the federal election and will need all his spouse’s help there.

 

So it's not only Mr Debnam whose “work here is done” to borrow the phrase from Two Weeks Out episode of the West Wing last Saturday night which cartoonist Warren must also have been watching by the look of this in the Telegraph today:

It looks like Carmel Tebbutt MP's work in covering up for the boys in Iemma's so called "good government" is over for the time being too as regards their Truck Tunnel. And that's a good thing. Bravo.

 

One last thing Morris: Go on a diet


Posted by editor at 9:51 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008 11:18 AM EADT
Retiring MP email after the NSW vote
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: election nsw 2007
1.
From: "Bob Debus" <Bob.Debus@debus.minister.nsw.gov.au>
To: "ecology action australia"
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2007 11:27 AM
Subject: Re: Container truck tunnel crash is Sydney's future too underALP Iemma transport policies (Retiring from State Politics)

At the election on March 24 I will be retiring from state politics.  
This email address will not be active as of March 23.

If your matter is urgent please contact the new minister after the
election is finalised or ring the relevant department on - 
Attorney Generals - 9228 7777
Environment and Conservation - 9995 5000
Arts - 9228 5533

2.

From: "Meredith Burgmann" <MeredithBurgmann@parliament.nsw.gov.au>
To: "ecology action australia"
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2007 11:27 AM
Subject: Re: Container truck tunnel crash is Sydney's future too underALP Iemma transport policies (I Have left Parliament)

I am leaving Parliament on the 24th March, however I am not taking up bowls.

All Parliamentary business should be directed to Jason Stewart on 9230 2548 or xxxxxxxxx
Personal Emails will be sent through to me on a daily basis.

Yours sincerely,


Meredith Burgmann


Posted by editor at 2:19 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007 9:45 AM NZT
Sunday, 25 March 2007
Iemma's ALP taken back to '52:48', knives out in next few weeks
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: election nsw 2007

Picture: Voters in marginal seat of Marrickville yesterday in local Anglican Church hall: Democracy here feels like a religious obligation dominated by power mongering and frightening corruption, where the sheep are duped and abused.

[This replaces our usual Sunday tv political talkies article. We missed 10 Meet the Press, and 7 Riley Diary, we are catching 9 and 2 now.] 

 

As predicted by most the ALP have 4 more years with a lot of bark off them, no landslide, no restored credibility. The Big Media on election night were openly describing the winner as yet “deeply unpopular” (Riley, 7). And as we suspected the Big Press can take alot of credit for the late swing away from the government with all their threshing of brand ALP in the last 3 days or so.

 

John Howard was even willing to appear with the loser Debnam 20 minutes after his feisty concession speech. That’s not a PM scared of this result. In fact a defensible loss here enhances his chances federally a great deal.

 

Barry O’Farrell who might actually have won as leader, and once aspirant for the leadership looked tired and not very hopeful of taking Debnam’s job on the ABC panel. The catchcry for the conservatives is ‘1st swing against the ALP since 1988’ which rings true. Barry consoled himself the talent pool in parliament for the work of the official Opposition is greatly boosted with a senior prosecutor, maybe Prue Goward, enviro lawyer Stokes in Pittwater and others. This new blood should shake the tree and really exploit the Iemma Govt’s flaws, incumbency or not. With Debnam as leader with such gains when totally outspent by the ALP.

 

What Morris Iemma shows with his lack lustre victory speech is that he knows he bought the election with $100M + of taxpayer funded advertising, and pandering to dangerous forces in society – the construction lobby for the desalination plant at Kurnell, the gun lobby for cowboy shooters on public land, the developers more generally in every suburb of Sydney with a good $8M in donations in the last 6 years and gutting of planning assessment laws, the ALP bureaucracy’s own lust for secrecy.

 

The ALP will argue (eg Anthony Albanese, federal MP Grayndler taking in Marrickville on AM special this morning) that the Liberals failed to take one seat from the ALP government. But that's an exageration of the situation if technically true. No one doubts the MP's in Pittwater and Manly for instance though independents were effectively centre left labour if not Labor. And the Nationals in the Coalition did take an ALP seat out west of the state from Peter Black. And then many ALP seats are far more marginal. The Howard federal government will want to exploit that lurch to the right in the face poor service delivery by Labor in NSW. In short a far more polarised society.


(From Sydney Morning Herald election day 24th March 2007)

In effect Iemma has the same team on a slide and even heavier expectations (and didn't he look tired last night on tv) with very little public goodwill. It’s a recipe for grinding misery really and a difficult parliament. Not as bad as minority government but pretty grim.

There is not an informed person in NSW who thinks democracy is not at least half broken here as per the startling interview on Stateline last Friday here: The Last Interview

 

Perhaps Morris Iemma knows how thin the ice has got because he may have 'turned the phones off' for the sake of his family today, celebrating his Dad's birthday, but there he is on the box anyway trying to boost the ALP brand again on Insiders 2 in a live cross and 9 Sunday fielding brutal bouncers from Laurie Oaks.

 

Simon Santo on abc tv Insiders says the vote after about 75% stage is 53:47 this morning, with a swing of 3% to the Coalition. Last night one of the commercial tv stations was reporting 52:48. The ABC is calling 53 seats to the ALP but Sunday 9 is calling it 49 so far.

 

But the other ‘mandate with a message’ is surely for the NSW Greens. As Leigh Sales of ABC TV accurately suggested, to paraphrase ‘surely you would have expected to do better?’ An extra seat in the Upper House making now 4 Greens up from 3, of limited effectiveness still, beaten in Marrickville and Balmain seats it seems and on average only 8.5% of the primary vote in a year of unprecedented ecological awareness. Truly the Greens are not ‘an enviro group’ despite their colour code to quote Lee Rhiannon, contradicting her ally and new MP John Kaye who once said ‘we are of and from the environment movement’. That systemic confusion in short explains the muted gains of ever hopeful Greens. If they worked a lot harder and effectively on the broad environment and less on boutique social issues, or just more effectively on green and social issues they might actually win a lower seat?

 

One could only feel sorry for Fiona Byrne of the Greens with half obscured/over exposed postage stamp posters the opposite of the ALP or Liberals Peter Shmigel large format jobs, or even Clover Moore. If your party can’t present decent posters how can you manage an electorate? No doubt they tried their hearts out and their glossy leaflets I saw were very good. But all the materials have to be winners in the big game of lower house seats.

 

Which brings us to big hearted Rochelle Porteus candidate in the generally vain society of Balmain voters. If the ALP relied excessively on telegenic policy bimbos for cute packaging in this election, the Greens preselection of Rochelle suggests a shallow pool. She may be brilliant and have a heart of gold for all I know and God knows real beauty is not skin deep, but we are campaigning on earth not heaven. I made this point to a Greens stall worker a month ago, and she smiled with no dissent or offence. Rochelle did extremely well to get such a close competitive vote but not good enough. I don’t judge a book by its cover but that’s not voter land. At the least we should have seen a crash diet in the media age of biggest loser.

 

The Greens are vaguely going forward and holding their position and this is essential for healthy politics in NSW and Australia. But they are going very slow because they seriously lack a meritocracy in their culture where expertise and qualifications mean more than tribalistic ideology in the organisational wing. The triumph of safe mediocrity over geniune talent.

 

ABC election analyst Antony Green, even allowing for his known ALP leanings (briefing one of the thinktanks) and cynicism says this morning the Greens have reached "their ceiling" and that's a comment that hurts.

 

Mike Carlton says it's all about the next few weeks of slash and weeding in the NSW Government and that rings true: Next item of business, blood-letting in Macquarie St. Similarly Alex Mitchell says today in Fairfax Iemma will "ruthlessly deal with recalcitrants". Yep. It's a scary place here on Planet ALP.


Posted by editor at 9:42 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 25 March 2007 11:52 AM NZT
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Nasty drunken threats of ultra violence at the booth, two ALP bystanders look the other way
Mood:  hug me
Topic: election nsw 2007

Well the start of the day could have been nicer.

 Picture: An ALP worker on polling day in Marrickville who reckons this writer "has a mental problem" (possibly parroting Piers Akerman here Greens and sanity? That's a bridge too far | Daily Telegraph ) and somehow "a bully" (?) for chalking "NO TUNNEL" at a polling booth. This same chap when we revisited the booth 3 hours later (to take some pics as below, and vote) said to this writer shamelessly, "why did you assault and defame a member of the public this morning?". Very disturbing. This writer as per the story below was the one being stalked by a random crazy drunk as they knew, and I received several threats of ultra violence from same 'member of the public' and these ALP folks were the witnesses, the Pharisees passing on the other side of the street metaphorically speaking, but more, blaming the victim (me) with it. Talk about ugly ALP machine. This writer may have a sharp tongue but also Gandhi 10 principles of nonviolence pinned to my front door.

Story

AT 6am we went on our morning jog and bought the daily press. The fruit and veg shop next door to the newsagent was setting up and a drunken fellow with cropped hair was talking to the ethnic shop owner in a slur. I stopped to see if everything was quite allright. Holding my paper up as if to read I said "I think I will buy something too". The street fellow suddenly decided not to be there anymore. Curious. The shoppie told me he had already had a box of plums stolen that morning. He had been up since 3am at Flemington markets.

 "Thanks for your support" he said. "That's okay, see ya later."

Picture: Our local vegies and fruit man taken at 9.30 am 3 hours later: "You want to take a picture of me? Take a picture of my shop ....what's it going to cost me?" he asked insightfully, gently, as I said hello again. "Nothing" I said hopefully.

I held my Daily Telegraph which is a handy size in a roll as I walked home  from the newsagent still pre dawn in case I needed to defend myself.

But the morning was to get alot worse than that.

At the church on the corner the ALP were early, and first as usual, setting up their booth props in the shadows. I got in a mutual sledge about the "liars from the ALP in their tax payer funded cars" wanting to build "a Marrickville Truck Tunnel". They sledged back:

"It all in your head. You're going to support a [Green?] Party that can't deliver anything."

I said

"8 million containers are coming from Port Botany. How are they going to get to western Sydney? ....1000 people die of air pollution in this city every year ..... the govt hid the Commission of Inquiry report for 3 months ..... The trains can only take 40% ..... You set up a secret committee by Laurie Brereton when the Inquiry didn't give you the right answer"

That could have gone better. But it was about to get alot worse.


Picture: Taken at 9.35 am this morning at corner of Illawarra Rd and Warren Rd Marrickville, 3 hours after earlier incidents, 24th March 2007: Question: "Tom McLoughlin, SydneyAlternativeMedia news blog. On the record Minister, in relation to the terrible truck accident in the [Burnley] Tunnel in Melbourne, do you think that could happen here in Sydney with so many motorway tunnels?" Answer by Carmel Tebbutt local ALP MP for Marrickville: "I don't know anything about that. I really couldn't say."

On a whim I went home, close by, grabbed my big chalk and went back at 6.45 am now, and started scribbling NO TUNNEL on the footpath outside the booth. Probably illegal as not authorised or registered but hey I was doing free speech on the day of democracy. I was willing to run the gauntlet.

Picture: Embarrassing secret ALP policy? We chalked about 5 of these NO TUNNEL signs and they were washed off presumably by the ALP booth workers within 10 minutes before 7 am corner of Warren Rd and Illawarra Rd 24th March 2007.

The ALP guys hated that, but were relatively restrained applying emotional violence but not the physical kind: "You've got a mental problem doing that at this time of the day .... your a bully."

Charming.

I say: "Why do you say I'm a bully for exercising free speech? Are you projecting ALP culture [laughing]?" 


Picture: Green booth worker next to poster, image taken later this morning Warren Rd booth.

But it was about to get alot worse:

The drunk had appeared from the earlier creepy situation at the Vegie Shop looking for more trouble.

The drunk was at that empty phase 3 hours from his last drink, starting to sober up, unloved and unwanted, angry and obnoxious. Like a rat with plague he scuttled into the animated verbal exchange with ultra violent menaces 

"There is no fucking tunnel here. It's in Lane Cove. Get your fucking facts straight" bearing down on me crouched with chalk.

"Put your head up so I can take it off"

I say to the ALP guys: "This is the guy who tried to rob the veggie shop." I didn't actually know that but he was quite suspicious bailing out of the vegie shop so quick just for being watched, and I was warning the ALP blokes not to throw their lot in with this vicious looking fellow for nothing.

To be fair the 2 ALP booth workers had nothing to do with this nasty drunk although they unintentionally contributed to the danger with their side of the sledging.  At one point I said to them 

"Can you just stay close by, I don't deserve to be assaulted by this guy." 

But the ALP guys were too busy shrinking back it seems or just putting up their booth, or enjoying my predicament.

Well that sledge about the Vegie Shop really endeared me to the drunk. For the next 10 minutes I raised my fists twice crouching in self defence as this "I do black belt" nasty kept advancing at me and promised to take my head off. I said stuff to confuse him like  "I'm very strong ....Your an alcoholic, that's sad ....I'm a lawyer ... I will bankrupt you."  All before 7 am on a Saturday. Phew.

He was way down on the alcoholic anaesthesia now and seemed to need some red rage to postpone his own private hell, the inevitable black dog. He had an evil leer towards the end, of a desperado who needed someone's blood on the floor to get him through his own tragic world. Twice he crossed the road to pursue me and the second time moved to block my exit like a hunting jackal. At this I retreated the long way around the block to get home in one piece without "a punch on".

Picture: Peaceful democracy in action: A lefty radical hands out at the booth. The hostile ALP witness (to my predicament with the nasty drunk I never did get a picture of) is in the background in blue shirt. This is the same guy in the first picture above who used personally abusive sledges when I mentioned 'the Marrickville Truck Tunnel plan' of the Iemma Govt.

Marrickville is like that. You try and help a veggie shop owner, and criticise the ALP grip on power, and nearly get your head taken off, with ALP cronies treating it as a sideshow display. Any correlation between this crazy menacing me and the fact it's been an ALP seat for so long? One wonders when the dominant political paradigm is emotionally violent personal attack rather than honest policy, that seems to promote actual physical violence by others one step removed.  The gentle Graham Richardson giving permission to the frightening Tom Domicans of this world?

That drunk was living proof to me of someone taking ALP denials of their Truck Tunnel plan (as reported front page Daily Telegraph) as a justification for his own threats to "take my head off": Get your facts straight indeed.

To be fair the ALP booth workers didn't really want anything to do with the drunk. He was simply a nasty piece of work all of his own doing who lives directly opposite me (!) and knows "you're the guy with the van, with the [anti] nuclear poster. I pass it every day". He kept saying I was a "fucking hermaphrodite". Perhaps that's the clue - the guy is a self hating gay or Fred Nile supporter or unstable child sex victim? Certainly dangerous and a bit close for comfort. (For the record I am a hetrosexual with all the bits in working order and where they belong.)

No help from the ALP guys through all this extended menacing. They couldn't have cared less I reckon.

To show just how sly the local ALP can be, when I saw the fellow pictured above 3 hours later pictured here on the right: 

Picture: Ethical dilemma. The ALP booth worker, at right, is vexed about witnessing a determined menacing assault of this writer a trenchant critic of same ALP Party. What indeed has happened to society to lose its common decency to ignore the plight of someone in real danger? Said ALP booth worker told us after this photo "I wouldn't have let him hurt you, that's why I followed you down the street. [The drunk] came back here and starting sniping at us too." 

he loudly asked 'why did you assault and defame a member of the public this morning?' Charming.  

As if I was the one slurring "I'm going to take your fucking head off." Talk about victimising the victim of an assault. So now I had attacked a thug while crouching trying to chalk a message "NO TUNNEL", who had pursued me for 50 metres, crossing the road twice to get at me. Do the ALP have any shame with this false witness and bending of reality? Or was he worried I would indeed "complain" about the ALP booth workers lack of assistance to their boss Tebbutt MP? Not that I really blame them, the thug was really quite scary.

As God is my witness I never touched or threatened anyone and really was fearful actually, doing all I could to extricate myself, and tried several times to avoid this crazy from the local boarding house, feeling like Stephen Mayne on Walkley night. But unlike Glenn Milne this Thug was fit (like out of the Joint) and youngish and a much more serious proposition. Fact is violence makes me feel ill, but this Thug somehow had learned or been conditioned to feed on it like John Howard enjoys political conflict. Just strange really and frankly outside my experience. I was this Thug's sport and he was dog shit on my shoe I couldn't get off. Unlucky me.

But that's the ALP, black is white, night is day when under pressure. And so tricky. It's all about power really, in this case over the embarassment of the Marrickville Truck Tunnel plan. 

Democracy is so degraded here in NSW from fear and grasping, as per the tough questioning of Premier Iemma by Quentin Dempster last night about developer donations destroying democracy here on Stateline The Last Interview (which is damn quick transcribing work too up already from last night), and the machine workers seem to have learned their lesson well making fiction out of dangerous reality:

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Mr Iemma, if re-elected, will you bring to an end the practice of developer donations to political parties?

MORRIS IEMMA: As part of – as part of a national system, because that’s the only way to achieve it, we have written to the Prime Minister, my predecessor had as well, Bob Carr had, we’ve called upon the Prime Minister as part of a national system - yes, we would.

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: You are not prepared to take leadership in something that is alienating the public and leading to public distrust about the integrity of the planning process?

MORRIS IEMMA: We have tough disclosure laws. It has to be a national system, otherwise you will end up with the donations being funneled from Canberra back into the states.

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: There is a skew here because the public has seen on the blip screen of Labor Party ads up to 15 million, we don't know exactly how much, that your party, through incumbency, has been able to get the slush funding from the developers. That's part of a systemic problem in New South Wales. That disconnect needs to - that situation needs to be addressed, does it not? You have had a huge incumbency advantage of getting slush-fund money from developers.

MORRIS IEMMA: The Labor Party undertakes the fundraising through the course of the term and does that fundraising from a wide range of groups, and individuals.

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Developers donate money to buy access, and that's unhealthy.

MORRIS IEMMA: No, donations are made – all, all, who come to Government, put a case to Government are dealt with appropriately. We fundraise from a wide range of groups. Now, in relation to donations and disclosure, we have very tough provisions in New South Wales. As part of a national scheme, that's how it would work.

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Can you assure the public that Brian Burke-like influence peddlers, people like Graham Richardson in the Sydney scene, will not be given access to your ministers if you’re re-elected?

MORRIS IEMMA: I can give that absolute assurance, nothing, nothing, inappropriate. All our dealings are appropriate.

.......................................

Postscript #1, 3 pm same day: After hiding from the Thug in my place  for several hours, then sneaking out to remove all identifying stickers and posters on my van, I called Marrickville Police to tell them I was scared. He's perched on the street and hurls abuse about bizarre gay sex and genitals at every nerve wracking attempt to transit. If he hasn't been in jail he's got an unusual sense of horizontal sports.

The police arrive pretty quick at about 2.30 pm and give me an interview. I'm grateful for being visible and for hearing me out. The cops have identified the now sober Thug opposite my place and promise to talk to him and tell him to leave me alone. They say I shouldn't have to hide, just keep out of his way. As I write this I can literally hear said Thug swearing at the world.

One of my colleagues in the activist movement send me a text from the polling booth nearby, and it reads "The police r here over the incident this morning they were talking 2 the alp guy who I think gave yr name they took a report."

When I rang said source back, she (NN) says ALP also mentioned this website, the police also spoke to the Greens booth workers, who had arrived during the second group of menacing assault and possibly witnessed the foul mouthed obscenities, and more verbal threats to "take my head off" and maybe menacing pursuit by the Thug down the street as I tried to get away from him (I couldn't be sure as I was too busy watching out for the Thug in fact).

One can only guess what self referential story the ALP cronies will cook up to make themselves look clean, just like the 'non existent' Marrickville Truck Tunnel plan. Their usual approach is to say I'm aggressive etc and that it was all my fault.

That's the ALP Left's preferred method of attack - emotional violence regardless of fact. It was the same at Waverley Council when I beat them pointless shutting the Waterloo Incinerator that they controlled (indeed a new $40M redevelopment plan for a waste to energy plant via incineration, and not easy to forgive). That's life in the ALP's NSW if you buck their system. And come 7pm tonight it will be again most likely.

Postscript #2 (about 8pm, same day) The Thug as we call him here has been noticeable the  last 4 hours of daylight sitting on the street frontage and wolf whistling and cat calling to every woman who has had the misfortune to walk down this street near a major bus stop, polling booth, shops and supermarket. This is the character of the Thug that the ALP booth worker above is potentially running against our witness above in the minds of the police today? I don't think so. And whoever wins in Marrickville today some old fashioned campaigning against sexual harrassment is in order around here. A neighbour who is a medical doctor was telling me this arvo he can hear the cat calling in the street from our backyard. Conclusion: The Thug is a social menace. And no I haven't seen anything quite like this specimen in all my time in Sydney.


Posted by editor at 8:03 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 26 March 2007 1:20 PM NZT
Friday, 23 March 2007
Container truck tunnel crash is Sydney's future too under ALP transport policies
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: election nsw 2007
Picture: from News Ltd inside the Burnley Tunnel in Melbourne today after a horror crash that killed 3.

As the three major dailies today editorialise to remove the ALP government in NSW in the vote tomorrow, and Ch9 prime time news ruin Opposition Leader Debnam's last pitch due to technical problems with a live cross, a tragic tunnel crash involving container trucks in Melbourne today (Road catastrophe: Tunnel crash kills three) underline everything wrong with the Inner West Motorway tunnel exposed by the press during this election for Sydney: $5b secret road under Sydney | The Daily Telegraph

Container truck numbers from the Port are set to skyrocket under the ALP (Task force to oversee Port Botany expansion. 25/11/2006. ABC News ...) to 3 million per year  at least (Port Botany - NSW Department of Planning) but likely even more than that (NSW Ports Growth Plan - Summary Sheet) with massive impacts on the Inner City congestion and suburban amenity from the Port Botany Expansion - 10/11/2005 - ADJ

The ALP over ruled an independent planning Commission of Inquiry (Port Botany expansion plan unwarranted: inquiry. 14/10/2005. ABC ...) and tried to stall the release of that report for 3 months (Port Botany Report - 15/09/2005 - QWN REP) making a new motorway tunnel an inevitability under the Iemma ALP Govt. One can assume fatal truck accidents like this today will also be an inevitability as above.

On Sunday another insecure road tunnel will open as the result of the election is finalised: Children at Lane Cove Tunnel protest - The Australian - 21 Mar 2007

Noxious road tunnels are indeed a powerful symbol of this ALP government as we go to the vote tomorrow as per The Greens last PR event for the day:

MEDIA RELEASE - 23 March 2007

Greens 'De Grout' Lane Cove Tunnel opening

The Greens MP and roads spokesperson Lee Rhiannon today staged a mock
opening of the Lane Cove Tunnel, with 'Premier Iemma' and the 'Tunnel
CEO' cutting a ribbon and exchanging cash besides a filthy, smoking,
unfiltered stack.

"The Greens have been forced to do a 'De Grout' and cut the ribbon
before the official opening. The difference here is that former Labor
Premier Jack Lang was proud of his harbour bridge and put the people
before banks," Ms Rhiannon said.

"Delaying the tunnel opening until the day after the election is a
'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' arrangement between the NSW
government and tunnel operators designed to keep a potential Lane Cove
Tunnel stink away from the polling booth.

"Premier Iemma might want to sleep in on Sunday and leave the tunnel
opening to the workers, but Sydneysiders will wake up to all the sins
of another motorway.

"Motorway tunnels are a potent symbol of Labor in office.

"Sydney's tunnels represent the abandonment of opportunities to build
a more sustainable Sydney and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

"The government's promise that tunnels will be accompanied by world
class bus, bike and pedestrian facilities are out-and-out lies, with
the Lane Cove Tunnel being a fine example.

"Lest we forget the Cross City Tunnel that stands as a hollow monument
to Labor's incompetence. It's here that profits came before the public
interest by closing local streets, funnelling traffic and obliterating
bus and bike lanes.

"Secret tunnel deals have resulted in millions of dollars worth of
compensation handed to private sector tunnel operators that could have
been spent on schools and hospitals.

"Public confidence in impartial government has been shaken by the free
flow of donations from tunnel builders, financers and operators to
both Labor and the Opposition. On the off-chance the Coalition is
elected tomorrow these donations suggest it will be tunnel business as
usual.

"Lane Cove Tunnel consortium members donated more than $2.2 million to
the major parties during the last seven years, of which almost $1.1
million went to Labor.

"Across Sydney public health is being affected by Labor's stubborn
refusal to filter what experts call the 'new asbestos' from the Lane
Cove, Cross City and M5 East tunnels.

"After the election the Greens will continue to campaign with the
community to reform political donations, promote open government,
invest in public transport, filter motorway tunnels and say no to new
motorways," Ms Rhiannon said.


Posted by editor at 7:30 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007 8:30 PM NZT
Thursday, 22 March 2007
Marrickville, Balmain tipping to the Greens despite the Rudd glow?
Mood:  crushed out
Topic: election nsw 2007

Kevin Rudd federal Opposition Leader has exchanged exaltations with Premier Iemma on the tv news tonight, and is pictured in today's edition of The Glebe (News Limited suburban freebie, in a quick turnaround given his visit only today), walking in Leichhardt in the marginal seat of Balmain. We have edited the picture to try and show what we call Rudd Love from onlookers:

The picture of the onlookers is especially revealing we think because there is a certain expression implying "there is our next Prime Minister". It is an innner city electorate friendly to the ALP true but Norton Street is pretty up market, not your average battlers.

The picture below shows other items in the letter boxes and front yards today in the marginal seat of Marrickville. Most damaging probably is the ALP state government failure reported in the Valley Times to filter toxic emissions in the M5 East Tunnel. The volume suggests the major parties are fighting hard over Minister Carmel Tebbutt's seat such that it will fall to the Greens, or not.


Posted by editor at 8:22 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007 9:03 PM NZT
It's Small Thursday for Morris Iemma, thanks to nasty sticky note trick, but Greens do well too
Mood:  surprised
Topic: election nsw 2007

Well who would have thunk it: A sticky note doing over hapless Mr Debnam of the Liberals on our Herald today front page hovering above a very happy pro federal ALP headline Rudd raids Telstra fund for supernet (pictured below). This follows the 'Big Wednesday' (after the surf movie of same name) of nasty Big Media like a dumping surf on Morris Iemma's ALP yesterday. Thus we have dubbed today 'Small Thursday' instead.

This complements of course Ruddy, Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd, adding his "star" power to an Iemma set piece speech today apparently. It also exposes as rubbish our theory yesterday of a 3 day combined press perfect storm against Iemma at the end of the election period. The Telegraph today similarly runs on a human interest story unrelated to the NSW election. But then again there are still two days to go.

Does the sticky note have an authorisation text on it for the electoral laws? Yes indeed over the back if you ever checked it

"Authorised by S. Kaine, ALP 377 Sussex St, Sydney. Printed by Adprint Visual Pty Ltd, 25-29 Wangaratta St, Richmond."

But what caught our eye next was the bold deep green supplement "How to live GREEN" also advertised on the front page with a spunky model on lawn sofa. If that's not subliminal advertising for a certain minor party I don't know what it is, totally free.

(It contrasts with a very nasty head kick by the Telegraph back in 2003 where they placed a Greens Party paid for colour advert next to a same shade of green image of a big paddy field where an Indonesian terrorist Bali Bomber hails from. Talk about conservative malice.)

Actually our sticky note was over the pneumatic said model but here is the supplement cover in full:

 

Ian Cohen MLC (Greens) has issued this devastating critique of the Coalition rednecks aka The National Party:

The Greens NSW Media Release March 22 2007

Nationals' scorched earth policies ruin Opposition's credibility on environment, say Greens.

 

 

The NSW Opposition cannot hope to win any credibility on the environment as long as the National Party continues to call for wind backs of land management practices, said Greens MLC Ian Cohen.

 

 

"The Labor government has let down the conservation movement in key areas of land management, leading to massive amounts of land clearing and destruction of threatened species. The Greens are the only viable opposition on this issue, as the Opposition would make the situation far worse." Mr Cohen said.

 

 

"While the Greens work towards improving the government's land management, the National Party threatens to take us back 50 years. The Opposition will not win middle ground on the environment with the millstone of the National Party around their necks.

 

*The Nationals have promised to:

 

 

-  Reverse National parks in western NSW

-  End sanctuaries zones in Marine Parks

-  Send coastal rivers westwards with no consideration of environmental impacts

-  Allow cattle to graze in National parks

-  Allow commercial logging to be considered a routine agricultural management activity and not be subject to environmental regulation.

 

 

"Land clearing in NSW generates as much as 35 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, which is the equivalent of more than 7 million new cars on our roads. The NSW Labor government needs to show its commitment to ending broadscale land clearing, which it promised to do by the year 2000.

 

 

"The Greens will work towards closing the loopholes in Native Vegetation legislation including:

 

 

- Ensuring that a stringent code of practice is introduced and enforced for Private Native Forestry.

- Amending the loophole for 'invasive native species' clearing to ensure sustainable management of thickening native scrub.

- Mandating the use of appropriate satellite technology for monitoring landclearing.

- Ensuring that on the ground monitoring and compliance are enforced."

 

 

Further Information: Ian Cohen: 0409 989 466

Well said.


Posted by editor at 10:28 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007 9:18 PM NZT
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Premier Iemma may need a helicopter in this perfect storm of Big Media hostility
Mood:  energetic
Topic: election nsw 2007

Picture: What’s going to happen to Morris? He’s fit, but the surf is up and he is going to need all the polling muscle he has built up over the last 18 months. His electoral fate comes down to the punishing Big Media rough and tumble this next 3 days. (Images from 27th March 2006 by this author, ripples of Cyclone Wati reach Sydney's Tamarama Beach.)

At the risk of coming across like a sycophantic Imre Salusinszky in The Australian this last week or so, I have sneaking admiration for Morris. He played Aussie Rules as a young bloke. Like that and woud kick a footy with him any day. He's a sophisticated Italian Aussie - tick for that too. And yes I'm envious because he's got a great family and career success.

But as a wonk I am really enjoying the washing machine beating he is getting in the mainstream press today, with more expected these next 3 mornings Thursday, Friday and Saturday. No wonder he looked boyish and subdued on ABC tv last night declining to condemn anti coal protesters as he braced for the press stories coming today. The threshing is ferocious and the bruising something fearsome.

As they say (eg Matt Price recent column), there is nothing so entertaining for a wonk as a pollie in trouble. Almost as relaxing as watching someone else work hard. Call it a streak of sadism.

And the press today had it all, not just the front page biffo regarding

- Sydney Daily Telegraph worst trains in the world story based on a serious study dishonestly covered up Sydney trains world's worst and having been on say the Paris underground and Santiago service I thinks it's probably good criticism, and not entirely 'comparing apples and oranges' even when you take into account greater density of population re pricing or greater areas to cover re infrastructure cost ; and

- Sydney Morning Herald safety threat from train disasters again from "suppressed documents" prised out via FoI procedures, and richly complemented by another secret school principals document of 10 years of failed maintenance in public schools Schools left to deteriorate Cover-up: rail crash risks compared to Granville

No there was too much 'funny' election grist in the press today really to meet my writing deadline, but here goes as best one can:

- Lord Mayor 'a hypocrite' on donations from developers by said lick spittle Imre, a very clever fellow, in The Australian quoting political donations expert researcher Norman Thompson who has quite a deal of credibility here. Yes a measure of truth regarding Clover Moore as Mayor and MP running this Saturday for showing ostentation as a career lefty, and for getting a bit patchy on ethical funding sources but this should be balanced against the great need in 2004 to oust the ALP state govt attempt at gerrymander of City Hall.

Unsurprisingly in 2004 the Liberal developer side of politics equally wanted the ALP out on the basis of your enemy's enemy is my ally and chipped in $30,000. That's the grey world of real politik. Declaration: this writer uses old Clover how to votes from the 2004 municipal election for note paper including this story and was a volunteer like Norman for that campaign. [And note coverage next day 22nd March Clover is reported helping to serve meals on wheels to poor residents - that's the spirit we admire Clover.]

- the revelation p9 of the Herald that Alan Jones of 2GB is AWOL this last week, actually laryngitis.

- the mesmerising elegance and intellect let alone ethical brilliance of Elizabeth Farrelly with one of her best  Voters face a stark choice which by the way balanced the revolving door every Wednesday of the duopoly federal MP gerrymander at top right of the same page with Tanya Plybersek MP (ALP) (this space should rotate to the 30% of political reps not ALP or Liberal);

- As if to balance the Herald shock horror story is a chunky advert p12 from Sydney Ferries Corporation in their rival The Sydney Daily Telegraph for an "Injury Management Coordinator". Which surely is a horse that has bolted?: Man dies after ferry collision - National - smh.com.au

- Patrice Newell candidate in the upper house and arguably spoiler to the Green Party gets the fluffy lifestyle spot with little colour pic p51 in "style food and wine" by Sue Bennett in the Teleg. Which reminds of her other half Big Phil Adams piece yesterday on the "oxymoronic politics" of the greenhouse debate like "clean coal and safe nuclear power". So true Phil (and don't forget the declaration of interest next time?): Oxymoronic politics rules the greenhouse debate

- After our sledge yesterday, to wit

"Mind you Ruddy (Kevin Rudd) as federal Opposition Leader seems to have his own PR blemish being conspicuously absent from the NSW election campaign by Morris Iemma formerly known as the parliamentary leader of the ALP in NSW."

Now read today: Rudd to bring star power to campaign Is this the metaphorical helicopter rescue service in our headline for Morris in the Big Media Surf? (ha ha)

- Minister Tebbutt education minister as we reported yesterday ('Minister Tebbutt, UN$W under Hilmer $ellout the sustainability business') is implicated in doing over the Solarch facility at UNSW sited at Little Bay in the eastern suburbs. Conveniently as she debates with Trioli there is a matey piece about the UNSW staying in the sustainability business after all, maybe, in ten years, perhaps: Science turns sun, surf into green energy (ten years regretably is political shorthand for never never)

-  Strong moderately scary advert in the Herald by the National Seniors with a pox on both major parties "Poor responses from both parties highlight policy shortcomings"

- A reminder on the madness of USA gun culture by Mark Coultan on the back page of the Herald Even superheroes can die in gun-crazy Gotham  - too bad Morris is busy promoting it Lee Rhiannon MLC - Greens E-Brief No. 163 

- And MY FAVOURITE from the press today, a little complex but oh so embarrassing to our favourites at the NSW Police and Daily Telegraph:  Police Drug raids cancelled POLICE were forced to cancel a major drug operation on Sydney trains and buses last week because the State Govt feared another transport meltdown.

Actually the strap line reads in the paper version "Panicky Government cancelled police operation" but it's not that embarrassing to the Govt on sound public policy grounds, because it was only ever a pre election anti drugs Law and Order Industry beat up and self indulgence designed to do over the progressive Green Party on decriminalising drug users, harm minimisation and sanctioning of dealers.

This is clear from the choreographed front page and 2 page follow up mugging of the Greens on the very same Thursday last week edition of the Telegraph. Prepared in concert by the Telegraph, Iemma Govt and NSW Police. Only we were spared the cynicism via one broken pentograph the Wednesday night before on a harbour bridge train instead which put 40,000 commuters in very angry public transport treacle, and wiped the cynical pre set media beat up of the Greens in favour of a beat up of the ALP itself.

Now the police and Telegraph via their old slugger Luke McIlveen (well known to Media Watch discipline), are recycling the half warmed last weeks news, after the Greens have rebuffed the cynical dishonest reportage of their drugs policy. Which reminds us of the amusing comment by the Herald veteran Damian Murphy on Monday p9 under the headline "It's unofficial: the Greens have won" being a sledge on their rival the Daily Telegraph for their web based election site clearly being monstered by Green party supporters - and who could blame them for some cyber discipline after all their Big Media malice.

And what were the police going to find anyway? People drinking out of cans of coke?:

"Coca-Cola denies ever having used cocaine in earlier versions of its drink but will not say whether the natural leaf forms part of its secret recipe.  Until a few years ago the Atlanta based company bought tonnes of leaves annually." in Things go better without Coke, say Bolivians - World - smh.com.au dated 19th March 2007.

- Perhaps my WORST example of electioneering in the press today is Fred Nile borrowing the Green Party's clothes with a "DAM THE WATER SHORTAGE" slogan on page 4 of the Daily Telegraph promoting water recycling but also to build a new dam. Nile is truly yesterday's man and surely would have dammed the famous Franklin River in 1983 if he could have. The man is an ugly piece of work on so many levels squandering God's creation:

And a final word from Triple S, that is formerly Senator Santo Santoro and his cute witicisms

"The wise man in the storm always prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. It is the storm within that endangers him, not the storm without." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson."

And speaking of deliverance from Big Media storms, you can almost hear the dramatic dueling banjoes from here suggesting political life and death struggle. As I said to that lady producer on the abc talkback this morning, its not the dying days of the election at all. It actually started today and has 3 daily press print runs to go, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Good time to start praying Morris.


Posted by editor at 9:34 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007 10:26 AM NZT
Monday, 19 March 2007
Greens candidate menaced, target of chainsaw vandalism
Mood:  down
Topic: election nsw 2007

MEDIA RELEASE - 19 March 2007

 

Intimidation, vandalism at Greens candidate's home

cuts close to heart

 

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon has called on police to fast track their investigation of the destruction of a large number of native trees along the driveway leading to the property of Conny Harris, Greens candidate for the seat of Wakehurst.

Greens MP Ms Rhiannon said: "Dr Harris and her family were put in a dangerous situation last night. More than 10 native trees were cut down with a chainsaw and the family were blocked from using their driveway.

 

"This vandalism occurred between 11pm last night and 5 am this morning. The trees cut down were part of a massive bush regeneration project Dr Harris has been involved in.

 

"Dr Harris lives with her husband and three children in Oxford Falls. Both Dr Harris and her husband are doctors at public hospitals and were unable to attend work today.

 

"Dr Harris has a strong local profile as a conservationist and I can only guess that this act of vandalism has been done to intimidate her.

 

"She is recognised locally as an authority on eucalypts and native vegetation and lectures to plant groups and on community education days. This act of vandalism has caused her a lot of personal distress.

 

"Dr Harris' family have experienced this type of intimidation in the past. She has had her letterbox stolen and property vandalised.

 

"Emergency Services personnel have visited Dr Harris' property this morning to work out how to restore access to the family home.

 

"The police need to take this investigation seriously because the threat to Dr Harris and her family has been very upsetting."

 

Greens candidate Dr Harris said: "This kind of dirty politics is very irresponsible.

 

"These native trees are close to my heart and my family feels threatened.

 

"I am a doctor at a public hospital and was unable to get my car out of the drive and go to work today. This act has potentially harmed more people than just my family."


Posted by editor at 3:46 PM NZT

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