"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

HVC’s $54,000 BoI defence is still under wraps

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Bob Hawkins* Pic: Simone Watson, Peter Gutwein, Peter Coad. First pub: August 30
31.08.16 5:00 am

Huon Valley Guessing Games If the “dysfunctional” council down here in the Huon wishes to win back electorate respect it may once have enjoyed, it should, at Wednesday’s (August 31) ordinary meeting, unanimously vote to debate in “open council” an issue its general manager has decided should be heard in “closed council” …

Isn’t Telopea Pty Ltd the company of Dennis Bewsher, the man whose application, a couple of years back, to impose a huge barge operation at Surges Point ended in failure; and cost HVC huge, unnecessary, amounts of money as its management spent weeks, maybe months, trying to justify (unsuccessfully) why that application should succeed? I wonder if Mr Bewsher is still considering using huge barges (which council then did not have the authority to adjudicate on, and now knows for sure that it hasn’t) and a double-handling system for export cargoes — from land-to-barge and then from barge-to-seagoing vessel …

• Ed: Mr Bewsher, as is Ms Watson, are always welcome to put their side of the story ...

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Before I saw the light ...

Charles Wooley* Pic: Charles Wooley of a Scottish valley ... First published: August 29
31.08.16 4:45 am

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Before I saw the light, it always amazed me how the folk at Forestry Tasmania and their many compliant friends in Parliament, their social media supporters and those who write splenetic letters to the editor denouncing so called ‘tree hugging greenies’ could be so certain they alone were right. Was their conviction just an act of faith given the scant science and the dubious economics of forest residues?

• Ted Mead in Comments: Yes Charles - a good tongue in cheek approach - The problem with your article is that many in Tas would take your epiphany as a devout Forester now, and are probably looking to enlist you as a FT clear-cut ambassador to all things draconian. Fortunately for me I introduced you to these forest giants in the Styx when we did that 60 mins take so I at least know where you’re coming from, whilst many others are probably scratching their heads with disbelief.

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NATION: Scott Morrison’s War on the Poor ...

David Tyler* (AKA Urban Wronski*) http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic* First pub: August 29
31.08.16 4:30 am

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… Blowing a billion a year on offshore detention is OK? Morrison’s $55 million Cambodian Solution resettled four refugees, but has now dwindled to one. Not a word about any of this. It’s not our banks or mining corporations. Nor is it the mega-rich whom we subsidise with tax cuts or those billionaire bludgers who pay no tax at all. And it’s certainly not the $14 billion per year of unfunded company tax cuts his government is determined to put through. It’s the bludgers on welfare who are the problem. Welfare recipients, nearly half of whom are aged pensioners, are second class citizens and if not he’ll do his best to make it so. A “great divide”, he adds helpfully, comes between us. Overlooking the GST paid by all of us and ignoring government data reflecting a long-term trend away from welfare support, Morrison breaks the nation into two: the taxed and the taxed-not. If you’re not paying income tax you’re a worthless, shameful failure …

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: As a former Australian Government official child abuser and human-rights violator, Scott Morrison, like his immigration minister successor Peter Dutton, is an experienced exploiter of other people’s misery. I pity the poor, the meek, the vulnerable, the disinherited, the sick . . . should they ever, mistakenly, knock on the Treasurer’s door and ask for help of any kind. Morrison, Dutton, Turnbull, and immigration ministers and PMs before them back to the middle-1990s — all perpetrators of policies that bring great shame on a nation that actually was beginning to look quite morally respectable. Well, it did appear that way until apartheid crashed in South Africa. Then we were exposed for what we are: a nation that, by the evidence of polls, doesn’t, in the majority, give a damn for anyone who is out of sight and out of mind.

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Tasmanian Whistleblower tells all in explosive new book ...

Isla MacGregor* First published August 28
29.08.16 5:00 am

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... One Flew Over the Kookaburra’s Nest For the first time in Tasmania we will read the full account of Kevin Moylan’s story, one of the state’s high profile whistleblowers from the 1990’s.

• Isla MacGregor in Comments: Kevin’s stories of the multiple rapes of women held in mental health institutions perpetrated by patients and staff, and which were not properly investigated,  makes me realise that the current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sex Abuse should have been broadened to include adults. Kevin’s claims of Police inaction over sexual abuse allegations in mental health institutions might have some significance in other matters the Royal Commission is currently investigating.

• David Obendorf in Comments: A real labor of love and generosity to put on the record the things ordinary people don’t want to realise are perpetrated in the name of the community!  Congratulations Kevin for your determination to chronical this sordid recent Tasmanian history; a history as sordid and treacherous as the atrocious conditions of inmates at Willow Court over a century ago and beyond. The three-part mini-series that just featured on ABC TV Exile is a dramatisation of the awful reality of medical practitioners within institutions exerting power over the poor and the mentally unwell. It is based on true stories. Well done mate ... put your feet up, you have gone where brave people fear to tread.

• John Biggs in Comments: This was one of the most important book launches I have attended. Actually the government (or someone close to the government) did take action over Kevin’s complaints as he mentioned at the launch: he was harassed up to the point where one guy told him to get out of Tassie or he’d stay here six feet under. Immediately on leaving that encounter in a pub, a car tried to run him over. He left. This version of Tas Inc reminds me of David Whish-Wilson’s fictional but based in fact book “Line of Sight” about endemic corruption in 70s WA. The failure of the Integrity Commission today, the 90s Liberal Govt’s failure to act, all point to something enduringly rotten in the State of Tasmania.

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The Circus goes to Canberra

Josephine Zananiri* Pic: Fanny Natasya, Flickr
29.08.16 4:30 am

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Ring Master Malcolm, the King Penguin and his circus return to Canberra Sept 2016, stated the large placard spread across a modest table.  Malcolm despite his age, still a presentable penguin, fluffed his feathers with pleasure as he viewed his image.  “KP”,  he reminded himself of his affectionate name or should that be mighty King Penguin? …

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ASIC ... and ‘overdue’ payment

Lindsay Tuffin*
29.08.16 4:15 am

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I couldn’t believe it … I go to pay my normal ASIC bill - we should be not-for-profit, but after Premier Jim Bacon tried to sue me all those years ago - I set up a ‘business’.

• Luigi Brown in Comments: It’s bills like this, and everything else levied on us by governments, that are the real drain on a business.  The major imposts on any small business are government taxes - be they council rates, water taxes, land tax, payroll tax, GST, income tax.  There is no end to it. This is what red tape really is - not headworks charges on new property development - and this is what is suppressing and dragging on small business generally. But what choice do you have?  None.  Pay up or else.

• Pete Godfrey in Comments: I would say NO. You should not pay it. Why don’t you just turn yourself into a pirate internet site. Tell them you are based outside the territorial limits on a boat. It worked for radio stations in England for a while. One question Linz, what do you get for your $76? Maybe you need to become a co-op. Where the site is not actually owned by anyone at all. Tell them to go jump Linz.

• Ted Mead in Comments: The problem Linx is - if your going to run a business then it’s gotta be big - Corporation like. Particularly relevant to the resource extraction overlords. Then you can tap into all the subsidies and exclusions like no payroll tax, royalties, fuel subsidies, endless tax rebates and perennial government grants. It’s a piece of cake when your one of the big players, you get it all in return for a pittance donated back to an election campaign. Australia is well founded on this ethos - If you don’t play the game you lose big time! …

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Can secret political donations be justified?

Max Atkinson* Pic: of Frank Lowy by Eva Rinaldi, Flickr. First published August 27
28.08.16 6:00 am

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… For no-one doubts that influence is the name of the game - by gaining access to ministers and other officials, but also by an unspoken reminder that the donor’s interests are tied to the party winning government, and thus to the political aims and careers of these decision-makers. It would be interesting to hear Lowy’s response had presenter Sarah Ferguson asked if this philanthropy might dry up if the funds were re-directed by law to the Australian Electoral Commission, to be disbursed in line with its criteria …

While this is understandable with current budget problems, there is a more important issue at stake. This is the integrity of the democratic process, and the idea that electors should decide who governs, not big business or unions. At present party leaders need only persuade themselves that the benefits are, for whatever reason, also in the public interest. This is how NSW clubs prevent poker-machine reform and why the Manildra group is a beneficiary of laws which force small service stations to sell their monopoly product …

• Funding and Disclosure (Inc.) in Comments: ”.....there is a more important issue at stake. This is the integrity of the democratic process, and the idea that electors should decide who governs, not big business or unions.” Max Atkinson has hit the nail squarely on the head. This whole donation issue goes to the heart of the democratic process and until something sensible is done about it (along the lines of what Max suggests) this cancer will eat away at our system.

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Careers Australia and its long-running tangle with controversy

Bob Burton Photo: Takver, Flickr First pub: August 24
28.08.16 5:45 am

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In its decade-long life as a private training company Careers Australia has never been far from controversy. The company has been at the centre of a Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) inquiry, been forced to repay tens of millions of taxpayer dollars gained from inappropriate marketing of training courses and is currently under investigation by the Federal Government training regulator over further complaints.

• John Hawkins in Comments: … What say you Senator Abetz?

• John Francis in Comments: I taught in the TAFE system for eight years and saw its decline in that time.  Managers were appointed to areas they had no expertise in, and were simply appointed to progress the neo-liberal agenda of New Public Management.  Consequently, the job of teaching became more and more difficult as bean-counting became more and more central to the task.  Being harassed by my manager was the last straw for me, and even though I had a good teaching record, was well-liked by students and well-qualified to undertake the role I performed, I could not work one minute longer under that oppressive and decaying regime. Such a shame, because TAFE formerly had a positive reputation in vocational education.

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Careers Australia digs deep to donate to the Tasmanian Liberals

Bob Burton. First published August 23
28.08.16 5:43 am

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Careers Australia, the controversial training company which could have reaped more than $300 million from misleadingly recruiting students whose enrolments were subsequently cancelled, is a major donor to the Tasmanian Liberal Party. While the company insists it has had “no dealings” with the Tasmanian Government, neither Premier Will Hodgman or Deputy Premier and Education Minister Michael Ferguson would confirm or deny whether they have had contact with company representatives.

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Over 600 Tasmanians caught up in Careers Australia marketing scandal

Bob Burton Photo: Dave Barger, Flickr.
28.08.16 5:42 am

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More than 600 Tasmanians applicants were potentially on track to incur big debts for Federal Government-subsidised training courses run by Careers Australia before the company’s misleading marketing practices were revealed. With the company under investigation over new complaints, many questions remain about the marketing practices and internal procedures of one of the Tasmanian Liberals’ major donors.

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Celebrate the foundation of an invaluable wild identity ...

Vica Bayley, Tasmanian Campaign Manager The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) Inc. Pic*
27.08.16 4:35 am

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This weekend, Tasmanians will celebrate 100 years since our early leaders had the foresight to declare our first conservation reserves, later to be converted into national parks …

Vica Bayley in Media: Celebrating 100 years of National Park success reinforces calls for new parks in iconic forest areas

Cassy O’Connor: Centenary of National Parks Highlights Failures of Minister

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The Moo-Brew etchings ...

Lindsay Tuffin*
27.08.16 4:33 am

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So that’s it ... a familiar image ... Every time you pluck a stubby of Moo Brew Pale ... there is the wondrous image.

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Feasibility of a second Tasmanian interconnector – Preliminary Report June 2016-08-23

The Hon. Warwick Smith AM LLB via Lyndall Pic*
27.08.16 4:31 am

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The preliminary report to the Australian and Tasmanian governments is now publicly available for viewing …

• Pete Godfrey in Comments: Does anyone else find it strange. The politicians decide that it is a good idea, and whammo out comes a flaky report saying just that too. I wonder where the donations came from to push for this thought bubble. It was Basslink that caused our recent lack of supply, now we are supposed to think another cable will fix the problem. Hopefully this cable will go via one of the islands such as King or Flinders, drop some power off there on the way and also facilitate easier fault finding next time a ship drops anchor or dredges up the cable.

• Jack Gilding in Comments: Note that Warwick Smith has departed this role. See “Tasmania power blow as Warwick Smith suddenly resigns review role”, Matthew Denholm, The Australian, 15 Aug 2016 ( HERE (if you can get through News Corp paywall). To the best of my knowledge the inquiry will continue. It is worth making submissions, including raising the question, “If we had a billion dollars to increase Tas Energy Security, would another interconnector be the best way to invest it?”

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1080 and the contamination of water

John Veysey*,
 Coromandel, New Zealand
27.08.16 4:03 am

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Water contamination is of concern the world over currently; Tasmania has had its concerns as well with long lists of boil water alerts recently. But what is the outcome of an industry deliberately dropping poison baits in and around water catchment areas? This was raised in Tasmania when the Pet dam catchment area, Burnie’s main water supply was baited with 1080 for foxes in March 2013 …

• Penelope Marshall in Comments: Clyde Graf:  Thanks, John. Just a correction - most of the Coromandel folk were drawing water the day of the drop, and without knowing the poison was dropped into their streams. Had a meeting about this with the Waikato DHB reps, on Thursday. Cheers

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‘I am just so happy to be alive’, he said ...

John Martinkus* Pic*
26.08.16 5:20 am

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Many people in Afghanistan risked their lives and their families to help foreign journalists. But foreign correspondent John Martinkus says after the West has no need for such people anymore, we often leave them to be killed.

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Recovery Plan fails the Freshwater Lobster

Peter McGlone*, Director Tasmanian Conservation Trust. Pic* First pub: August 25
26.08.16 5:15 am

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… The Draft Recovery Plan is generally inadequate and significantly inferior to the previous plan. A key reason for this, we believe, is that the current draft was prepared by the Australian Government, with very limited consultation with the responsible state agencies and no community consultation. Traditionally recovery plans have been drafted by the relevant state agency and the recovery team for the species and the Australian government has merely provided input. We have no idea why this change has occurred but it clearly has led to a decline in standard. …

• Todd Walsh in Comments: Hi Peter, The last time the state government ran the Recovery Plan, half of those involved were excluded from meetings for almost 2 years. Those excluded were the community-based groups, if you think that was a higher standard of community consultation then we are on different planets.

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Sex industry lobby group disrupts Survivor book launch

Simone Watson, National Director Nordic Model Australia Coalition
26.08.16 5:00 am

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On Sunday 21 August, sex trade advocates tried to derail the launch, in Townsville, Queensland, of Prostitution Narritives, a recently published compilation of sex trade survivor testimonies.

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Susan Neill-Fraser faces her 8th year in Risdon prison

Jennie Herrera* Pic: of the yacht at the centre, Four Winds
26.08.16 4:45 am

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On Saturday August 20 Hobart grandmother Susan Neill-Fraser faces her 8th year in Risdon prison.  Still the haunting question remains to me – What if she is innocent?

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Launched! Physick ... and a true Elder

James Boyce*
23.08.16 5:15 am

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Launch of Pete Hay’s, “Physick”. Hobart Bookshop Thursday 18 August 2016 Book launches traditionally do two things. They celebrate the author who has been locked away in a place of solitary madness and needs to be welcomed back into the world with a big hug in order to receive reassurance that, if not sane, they are at least loved.

So deeply earthed is this man that when spotted walking his cute little terriers in St David’s Park you can choose to see either the venerable academic, the good bloke you had a beer with and who gave you some ideas for your latest project, or a Van Diemonian emancipist bushman out with his kangaroo dogs to get dinner and ensure that the celebrated elite finally get to know what it is liked to be pissed on if only by a dog. All these images contain a truth but none come close to describing the fellow.  Suffice to say that Pete Hay, though he won’t like the description, may be the closest thing we have to a true Elder, a bloke who knows stuff, not just in his head but in his heart …

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The threat posed to women’s rights ...

Tessa Anne* Pic* First published August 20
23.08.16 5:00 am

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The Women’s Liberation Front Southern Tasmania (WoLF Tas) has written to Tasmanian and Victorian MP’s warning them about the threat posed to women’s rights if proposed legislative changes tabled yesterday in the Victorian Parliament by Premier Daniel Andrews and also similarly proposed in an Options Paper by the Office of Equal Opportunity Tasmania (EOT), go ahead …

Atlanta Progressive News: Georgia ACLU Director departs over transgender litigation …

Kut.org, News from Austin, Texas: Federal Court Halts Guidelines on Transgender Bathroom Use in Schools

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NATION: a government drowning by numbers

David Tyler* (AKA Urban Wronski*) http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic* Twitter*
22.08.16 3:30 am

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… Off the hook, huckster Hunt recites Coalition Border Force spin. 1200 people, “1200 beautiful souls,” he extemporises, “drowned.” How little each soul means to his government is seen in the way it destroys the lives of survivors in concentration camps. No-one challenges his hypocrisy. Hunt could add in a spirit of scientific objectivity that between 400 and 700 are estimated to have drowned under Coalition governments. He’s a model of misleading and false information …

Guardian: Rising inequality in Australia could cost 3% of GDP, study finds

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