"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Very little made sense … apart from crowd control and money-making

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Dr David Obendorf, Veterinary Pathologist.
24.11.14 5:00 am

Before the March 2014 State election the State Liberals indicated they would stop the wastage of public funds directed to the fox program. In May the Tasmanian Legislative Council unanimously passed a motion that effectively ended the political underwriting for Tasmania’s fox eradication program. Not unsurprisingly, in the circumstances, this was a silent finale that contrasted to the years of fox media. The end was not covered in any Tasmanian media.

The heavy reliance on the local media to highlight fox stories, the dismissal of well-reasoned criticism and the absence of genuinely independent scientific review seems to have led to its own form of lingering embarrassment. There were important lessons to be learned for Tasmania from this Cry Wolf program. Unless Tasmania accepts the defective processes used in the conduct of this costly attempt to eradicate an invasive species that remained intangible and changes its approaches to its biosecurity responses, a future high-risk invasive incursion might not be taken seriously.

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The Wedding Hiatus ...

Lindsay Tuffin
24.11.14 4:45 am

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The Principal Editor’s beloved daughter is getting married this week from Howrah Flats ... so TT will rely on the good offices of Bob, Jimbo and Peter. Articles and Comments will still be posted but the normal ‘Newspaper of Record’ elements - Media Releases, Plate/Grape. Travel, etc won’t be happening ... Blessings, Linz!x

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Devil disease: I wish I was a scientist

Garry Stannus
24.11.14 4:30 am

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Devils:  It might have begun with atrazine, 1080, or even with tree cloning experiments, but the scientists say it’s transmitted by biting…

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Unique Plan a Recipe for Secret Deals for Liberal Mates

Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader Media Release. Pic: Bob Brown. Pub: Nov 20
22.11.14 5:30 am

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Greens Leader Kim Booth MP today slammed the Hodgman government’s proposal to establish a secret new development process, saying it fails modern transparency and accountability expectations and opens the door to a corrupted process.

TT Media HERE for other perspectives ...

What Matthew Groom says: Government open for innovative business ideas

Luke Martin: Tourism industry welcomes Unsolicited Proposals Policy

• ABC Radio is reporting there are 100 expressions of interest in developing in or around National Parks ... ABC HERE for updates ...

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The Devil Disease: The Counter Argument ...

Greg Woods*, The Conversation
22.11.14 4:00 am

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Tassie devil facial tumour is a transmissible cancer On Monday this week The Conversation published a story under the headline “What’s killing Tassie devils if it isn’t contagious cancer?” ( TT HERE ) The article suggested evidence that the Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) is a transmissible cancer is inconclusive and instead, environmental chemicals could be to blame. This misrepresents the state of the science.

• Dr David Obendorf, in Comments: Going back over 10 years and knowing what we know about the science of the devil facial tumour today I am certainly disappointed at how politically controlled this disease in Tasmania’s largest carnivorous marsupial became.  In my opinion, the opportunities for ground-breaking research caused a feeding frenzy no less comparable to the competitive fighting bouts between hungry feeding devils that are regularly displayed to visitors to this island; so many skerricks and bits of knowledge about the beginnings of this malignant cancer were gobbled up before science could do them justice. The importance of knowing the genesis of this index event was discussed by credentialled scientists at the first science conference on the facial cancer in October 2003. The State government in 2003 did not want to explore the causal links for this unique transmissible cancer and that’s regrettable. I guess Tasmania being seen as Clean, Green & Clever’ precluded any official approval of research on the genesis of such a devastating, transmissible cancer. PS: There are other fatal cancers affecting free-living devils which have received lesser attention than this malignant Schwann cell sarcoma [aka DFTD].

• Steve Biddulph, in Comments: I’m with A.K. and Richard Kopf. Its not even an either/or situation.  Most human cancers are lifestyle and diet related, thats the core message of cancer prevention in the western world.  We’ve caused the diet of Tassie’s peak carnivores to be seriously contaminated both from water sources and the dead marsupials they feed on.  At the top of the food chain is the place to see environmental harms accumulate first and most strongly.  Thats a place we and the devils share.  Cancers still mutate and occur frequently in all mammals but are dealt with by their immune systems when in good health.  Compromise that, and it gives diseases a foothold.  Nothing in ecology has a single cause or pathway. But keeping the environment free of non-understood new chemicals or genetics is a no-brainer.

Andrew Ricketts, in Comments, HERE Tasmania is not clean or green. Killing quolls with 1080 fox baits was dumb. Proposed clearance of 2,000 Ha of high quality Devil and Quoll habitat in Welcome River catchment where there are healthy devils will, if it goes ahead, (and regardless of who owns it) never get a social license. If Chinese are buying VDL they should simply reserve that important natural forest under a Private Nature Reserve gazettal. Would gain much good publicity.

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Forestry Poisons implicated in devil disease ... as President Xi strokes baby devil ...

Jody Warren*, Brian Martin* The Conversation. Pub: Nov 17 ABC Pic*
22.11.14 3:45 am

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What’s killing Tassie devils if it isn’t a contagious cancer? … Even though the panel agreed with EPA that the epidemiologic evidence does not strongly suggest a link between atrazine and cancer, the panel did not agree that a lack of strong evidence justifies a conclusion that atrazine is not likely to be a human carcinogen. Also of concern is the poison 1080, used to kill native species that are a key part of the devil diet. The Tasmanian government says devils have a relatively high tolerance to the poison but it also concedes there is a risk of secondary poisoning with three poisoned pademelons likely to be fatal to a 5kg devil. Plantation forestry pesticides contaminate 44 of 48 river catchments in Tasmania. So a role for pesticides and poisons seems plausible, because the devil disease is found only in parts of Tasmania where there are extensive forest plantations. Furthermore, because devils, as carnivores, are at the top of the food chain, toxic chemicals in the environment are concentrated in their diet.  …

• Kev Rothery, in Comments: The geographic correlation between DFTD and plantation forestry couldn’t be more obvious really, could it? I know I’m not alone in having suspected a causal link for years. I’m not holding my breath waiting for an impartial investigation of course. There’s too much interest vested in the forestry debacle within this state, and our government is therefore blindfolded to the risks to public health and the demise of an iconic island species.

• Dr David Obendorf, in Comments: If nothing else Tasmania lost an opportunity to become research hub for important cancer research when the scientists in UTAS were cowered by the control from DPIPWE and the State Labor Government; the University that lost its independence.

• Dr Alison Bleaney, in Comments: 10 years of a new aggressive cancer in a marsupial that has relatively little known about it (immune system, cell signalling, endocrine and reproductive sensitivities, chemical sensitivities) which lives in an environment of increasing chemical mixtures. The toxic ‘soup’ of pesticides, dioxins, PCBs etc etc present in the water catchments with DPIPWE not knowing what is being used where in what quantity and the legacy of the ‘soup’ remaining in our soils, water and waterway sediments and constantly being added to. There has been no research done on chemicals and DPIPWE reluctantly introduced a raw water sampling programme for pesticides only in 2005; now cancelled after some pretty damming evidence of consistent pollution with highly hazardous pesticides. And still no research on Tas Devils related to chemicals/ toxins in their environment; chemicals they are regularly exposed to as are the ecosystems and Tasmania’s raw drinking water… So the questions have to be asked..Has the toxic soup or some of those chemicals really compromised the ability of the Devil to stay healthy?  Are we all at risk? How would we know? As there is very little data on the ‘soup’ and its effects and absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Peter McGlone: Warning to Chinese investors: investing in Van Diemen’s Land dairy company may result in destruction of Tasmanian devil habitat As the Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Tasmania, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust is using the opportunity to advise potential Chinese investors that by investing in the Van Diemen’s Land company dairy expansion they may be financing the destruction of endangered species habitats and threatened forest communities.

Premier Will Hodgman: Welcome President Xi and Madame Peng The President will be introduced to three baby Tasmanian devils.

ABC HERE: While the Tahune Air Walk and Cataract Gorge did not made it onto the president’s five-hour itinerary, he will get to meet three Tasmanian devil joeys.

Ted Cutlan, Residents Opposed to a Cable Car: RESPECT   尊重

• What Christine Milne says about the President Xi visit: Xi_Tas_visit.MP3

ABC: Chinese President meets Tassie Devils

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

Dr Alison Bleaney: Tasmanian Water Monitoring – another casualty of State Budget cuts

Nick Mooney: Not everyone likes devils ...

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NATION: Reef will be ‘slaughtered’: scientists dismiss Julie Bishop’s claim reef not at risk

21.11.14 5:35 am

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World-leading scientists say the Great Barrier Reef will be “slaughtered” this century as seas warm and become more acidic, dismissing comments by Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop that Australia’s natural icon was not at risk.


New York Times: Obama moves ahead to reshape immigration system


ABC 7.30 report: Man labelled ‘budding Australian terrorist’ ...

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Ferguson Cops Out on Medicinal Cannabis Reform

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Health spokesperson Media Release
21.11.14 5:15 am

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Despite promising to take seriously the recommendations of the Legislative Council inquiry into the decriminalisation of medicinal cannabis, the Hodgman government has copped out at the first opportunity, Green Health spokesperson Cassy O’Connor MP said.

TT Media HERE for other perspectives ... including Libs’ Michael and Labor’s Lara

What MLC Leonie Hiscutt says ...

• ABC Radio is reporting committee chair Ruth Forrest MLC’s astonishment at an apparent backflip by Leonie Hiscutt ...ABC HERE for updates ...

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The questions around a Vice Principal ...

20.11.14 4:00 am

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Did the late Vice Principal of Taroona High School, Kenneth (Ken) Haines, sexually abuse the troubled boys that he took under his wing while working at the school?

• Richard Atkinson, in Comments: Just note that the url in the article is an ‘unofficial’ link to a lawyers’ website. The official Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse link is: http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/share-your-story

ABC: Child sex abuse inquiry: Ex-headmaster admits failing to question staff, pupils over paedophilia claims

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ABC, SBS: Another Broken Promise

Andrew Wilkie, Independent Denison Media Release. Pub: Nov 18
20.11.14 3:50 am

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The announcement that the Federal Government intends to cut a further $50m from the ABC represents another broken promise and is clearly not in the public interest.

Crikey: Dateline purge as SBS hunts down traitors and dissidentsBS yesterday told almost all the staff employed by Dateline that it would not need their services next year, as the multicultural broadcaster continues its radical shake-up of the program. Almost all the program’s video journalists were yesterday told their current ...

ABC Friends: Phone a Coalition politician day – happening today for the ABC

Fairfax: Christopher Pyne’s ABC petition attracts ‘protest’ signatures On the same day the government announced a 5 per cent cut to the ABC over five years, Mr Pyne launched a petition on change.org to protect the ABC’s Adelaide production unit. The petition quickly gathered signatures from detractors who used the “reasons for signing section” to savage Mr Pyne for what they saw as a NIME (Not In My Electorate) approach.

Tony Wright, The Age: Tony Abbott, the ABC and SBS: when election promises become lies

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Decimating Tasmanian Solar ...

John Thirgood, http://www.saveoursolartas.org Pic: Bob Burton
20.11.14 3:30 am

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The Tasmanian Government should stop ignoring the embedded rooftop solar energy installations. Anecdotal evidence from within the industry reveals that the reduction of the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) by 78%  has decimated the local Tasmanian solar industry by more than 85% and diminished the annual GST revenue to the State by from some $4 Million dollars to near $400,000 instead.

Read more HERE, where you can also comment

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‘Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’

Chris Sharples, November 2014 Pub: Nov 17
18.11.14 4:15 am

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Why Not Evidence-Based Politics? … Thus inequality tends to increase resulting in an increasingly dysfunctional society until the point is reached where a major shock occurs which forces a fundamental re-adjustment to a more equal society.  In my opinion the French Revolution was one such shock, World War II was another, and climate change (with all its associated social chaos) will be the next.  This trend towards more unequal societies with increasing social dysfunction has been most marked in the USA since the 1970s, and now we have the horror of an Australian government, supported and directed by powerful elites such as the fossil fuel industry and the Murdoch media, which seems to be deliberately trying to force us further down this path in Australia. …

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The Customer is Always Right ...

Karl Stevens Satire. ABC. Pub: Nov 17
18.11.14 3:45 am

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Mercury: City lockdown: Excitement and security builds for Chinese President’s visit

Allan Witt: Tasmanian design at its best ...

TT Media HERE for the parties’ spin

Peter McGlone: Warning to Chinese investors: investing in Van Diemen’s Land dairy company may result in destruction of Tasmanian devil habitat

ABC HERE: While the Tahune Air Walk and Cataract Gorge did not made it onto the president’s five-hour itinerary, he will get to meet three Tasmanian devil joeys.

• What Christine Milne says about the President Xi visit: Xi_Tas_visit.MP3

• Leyon Parker, in Comments: Like a bunch of New Guinea natives after WW2 we look to the sky for a Chinese cargo plane dropping yuan into our empty pockets. Makes a change I guess from expecting the planes to reach us from Canberra.

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This is our humble abode ...

A Tasmanian Citizen. Pub: Nov 17
18.11.14 3:30 am

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This is our humble abode.  A little cottage and garden surrounds slowly taking shape since 1984 in what once was an unmaintained cow paddock.  Since this photo was taken there’s been a lot of work done on landscaping etc.  It looks better but so what!  No matter what we do to beautify and improve our home, this place has now become unviable as an abode.  We can no longer live here in safety nor without a constant feeling of trepidation each summer. I don’t want my real name and my house to be linked together in the public sphere.  I don’t feel protected at all from the malevolence of people in government or the industry that supports this monstrous invasion of our human right to basic security.

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Rust Belt 2.0 - What will the China-Australia deal mean for Australian jobs?

Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson Media Release. Pic: of Andrew Robb Pub: Nov 17
18.11.14 3:20 am

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The Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson provides the following comments on the today’s announcement about a China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Jan Davis: Major benefits for the dairy industry “We can see major benefits for the dairy industry, for fruit and horticulture and for wine,” she said. “That’s a two-way opportunity. China is already the biggest market for our produce.

TT Media HERE for the parties’ spin

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Reviewed! Burlesk As You Like It!

Amber Wilson. Pub: Nov 17
18.11.14 3:15 am

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It’s appropriate that as I take my seat ahead of this saucy teasefest that is Australian burlesque at its best, a red feather gently sashays its way from above and into my lap. An escapee, no doubt, from a feather boa gracing the neck of some sex kitten about to tantalise audiences with her womanly wonders. I’ve always preferred the implied to the contrived, which is why I’m not necessarily the hugest fan of art forms like pole dancing and strip tease – but I’ve always admired the burlesque performers for their ability to revive a seemingly extinguished art form and for their celebration of the female body in all its forms. But as I settle into the performance, I soon learn that burlesque is about so much more than that, from what would seem an unlikely source – a bloke.

Read more HERE, where you can also Comment ...

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The Monster Ants

© Niels Hav – Translated by Heather Spears
17.11.14 3:55 am

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I have the feeling that we small
monster ants are alone at home
on this mystical planet.

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Barack Obama’s Brisbane address: 10 memorable quotes

17.11.14 3:00 am

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An invite-only crowd packed the University of Queensland to hear the president speak about gender, climate change and world politics. Here are 10 memorable quotes from his speech.

Andrew Probyn, West Australian: Barnett backs Obama’s climate plans

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Wilderness and Development ... Having your cake and eating it too!

Ted Mead
17.11.14 2:45 am

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Looks like an early Christmas for Wilderness Exploiters Expressions of Interest Closes November 23rd. PWS & TITC Freebee Tender Box. Entrepreneur Gift Request Open Slather.

Satire: How Wilderness and Woodchips can co-exist

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Reducing the rights of Tasmanian citizens

Andrew Ricketts Convenor, The Environment Association (TEA) Inc. Pic: Andrew Ricketts
17.11.14 2:40 am

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The Land Use Planning and Approvals Amendment (Streamlining of Process) Bill 2014 (Bill No 36 of 2014) … This Bill is a set of pragmatic ambit claim style amendments that increase the powers of the Tasmanian Planning Commission (TPC), decrease the ability and powers of local government and significantly reduce the rights of the citizens of Tasmania. …

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Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice

‘Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’ 



School crisis meetings highlight extent of savage budget cuts 






The perfect crime: Michael Robotham in Conversation 



Tasting Tasmania: Pointing to food, wine reviews, with latest news, MRs below ... 



Travel Videos: Meet the locals: Cape Tribulation 

What's On

What's On

Fractangular:  February 6 - 8 at Buckland 



Decoding Julie Bshop ... 



At 44 Mr Halton wrote:  “Local knowledge of neighbours and their concerns were addressed…” …

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