"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

The destructive madness of hospital funding

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Martyn Goddard* Pic*
26.06.16 5:37 pm

The number of patients being treated in Tasmania’s public hospitals is set to fall for the first time in almost a decade. The yawning gap between funding and actual costs make that inevitable. Next year, nominal funding given to the hospitals for the direct treatment of patients will rise by 0.9 per cent and over the four years of the forward estimates by 3.7 per cent. But costs are rising much faster. Just to stay where we are, with the number of patients rising by their usual long-term average, costs will outstrip funding by $92 million next year and $367 million over four years. By 2019-20, the hospitals will have to trim their costs by 30 per cent. And because years of cuts under Labor and Liberal governments have already pushed the system to breaking point, no fat is left. There will be no alternative to cutting staff and treating fewer patients …

EARLIER today on Tasmanian Times ...

The AMA’s attack on Liberal policy ...

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The AMA’s attack on Liberal policy ...

Lindsay Tuffin* Pic: of Acting Professor Tim Greenaway
26.06.16 1:37 pm

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The Tasmanian President of the Australian Medical Association, Acting Professor Tim Greenaway has launched an extraordinary attack on the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s Budget and the role of Health Minister, Michael Ferguson … And he backed up this conclusion with regular Tasmanian Times’ health analyst Martin Goddard whose most recent analyis concluded that the Liberals’ Budget was A horror budget for patients.

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End of an empire

Phil na Champassak* Pic* First published June 25
26.06.16 6:44 am

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The world’s geo-political axis has been turned topsy-turvy as a result of a major tectonic shift that no-one really saw coming.

FOR and AGAINST leaving ...

John Pilger: Why the British said NO to Europe

Laurie Penny, New Statesman: I want my country back This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world … It says something about this campaign that I’m no longer at all worried about risking hyperbole or unoriginality when referencing all that Nazi history they made us study in school. I’m just frightened. I’m frightened that those who wanted “their” country back will get their wish, and it will turn out to be a hostile, inhospitable place for immigrants, ethnic minorities, queer people – everyone and anyone who wasn’t included when Farage proclaimed victory for “ordinary, decent people” this morning in front of a posse formed entirely of angry-looking, whey-faced blokes in suits …

Nick Cohen, Guardian: There are liars and then there’s Boris Johnson and Michael Gove … Yet they gazed at the press with coffin-lid faces and wept over the prime minister they had destroyed. David Cameron was “brave and principled”, intoned Johnson. “A great prime minister”, muttered Gove. Like Goneril and Regan competing to offer false compliments to Lear, they covered the leader they had doomed with hypocritical praise. No one whoops at a funeral, especially not mourners who are glad to see the back of the deceased. But I saw something beyond hypocrisy in those frozen faces: the fear of journalists who have been found out. The media do not damn themselves, so I am speaking out of turn when I say that if you think rule by professional politicians is bad wait until journalist politicians take over. Johnson and Gove are the worst journalist politicians you can imagine: pundits who have prospered by treating public life as a game. Here is how they play it. They grab media attention by blaring out a big, dramatic thought. An institution is failing? Close it. A public figure blunders? Sack him. They move from journalism to politics, but carry on as before. When presented with a bureaucratic EU that sends us too many immigrants, they say the answer is simple, as media answers must be. Leave. Now. Then all will be well.…

Guardian (Observer): View from Wales: town showered with EU cash votes to leave EU In Ebbw Vale, with little immigration and perhaps more EU investment than any other UK small town, the sense of injustice is greater than the sum of the facts

OffGuardian: Guardian Watch: Insults fly in post-Brexit hysteria

AND ... James Dryburgh ...

James Dryburgh, Right Now: AUSTRALIA: BECOMING THE “OTHER” Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński spent his life immersed in human conflicts all over the world. Reflecting upon decades of observation, he concluded that the Self is not a solitary individual – its composition includes the Other. In simple terms we use the concept of “Other” to distinguish between ourselves and those of different traits – such as nationality, religion, gender, or ethnicity. Since the Howard era, collective Australia, “public Australia”, has been obsessed with negative perceptions of the Other and in doing so has damaged the Australian Self. Heading toward the 2001 federal election and fearing defeat, Prime Minister John Howard embedded a strong concept of the Other into our public language with the now infamous words: “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.” We heard the clear implication that “boat people” (they) are not like us. The Other was demonised with parroted lies about children being tossed overboard by “the kind of people we don’t want in Australia.” At least since the time of Plato, it has been understood that for politicians it is easier to pander to our inherent vices than to harness our virtues. It is also well known that when fear increases, society becomes more conservative. …

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Tasmania’s Alternative Government: Who really runs Tasmania?

Graeme Wathen*, Secretary, Friends of the East Coast Inc. Pic* First published June 25
26.06.16 6:33 am

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Almost 300 submissions were made to the Tasmanian Planning Commission on the Draft State Planning Provisions. One of the most telling submissions was made by the Property Council of Australia (PCA), Tasmanian Division …

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When Does Democracy No Longer Matter?

Kim Peart* Pic*
26.06.16 6:30 am

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I love democracy. The British people have expressed their democratic will to leave the European Union. Australia is in the midst of our national election carnival, which determines who serves the community. I had my own shot at the Federal election in 1996, running in Franklin on a platform of social justice. I ran in many Clarence Council elections after that, and one year, nearly got in. I have been engaged in democracy with community concerns, as when the Bellerive Advancement Group was formed to question Council intention to pursue development around Kangaroo Bay, before properly asking the people about it …

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A new approach to democracy

Ray Norman*
26.06.16 6:15 am

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A new approach to democracy in Local Government would surely be a breath of fresh air in Tasmania. The state’s Local Govt Act 1993 is way past its use-by-date and in any event there are way too many councils for an essentially static population of 517,000 people. The Act is too open to perverse interpretation and one doesn’t have to look far to witness that in action. Moreover, with 29 councils it stretches the available resources – human, fiscal and other. Demonstrably, its a stretch to find enough representatives with the appropriate skills and experience to do the job that’s asked of them …

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BASSLINK: Energy Council damns Libs’ Energy Strategy

Lindsay Tuffin*. Pic* First published June 24
26.06.16 6:00 am

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The Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council (TMEC), in their submission, questions the 33% rise in electricity prices since the Energy Strategy was released in May 2015; and has set out a comprehensive list of questions in regard to Hydro Tasmania’s and Tas Network’s cash flows, revenues, costs and debts, as well as energy security … The TMEC questions are astounding. In effect, they list the numerous gaps in Tasmania’s Energy Strategy and effectively demonstrate the poor capacity for strategic planning by the current Tasmanian Government.

• Gordon Bradbury in Comments: Wow! The TMEC submission pulls no punches. Four pages of very succinct text that rips the current State Government to shreds! And not a word from mainstream media ... Very entertaining and enlightening reading.

• Luigi in Comments: Hydro Chairman Grant Every-Burns:  “In my 45 years’ experience in the power industry as a power engineer, senior executive and board Director I have rarely seen a situation more difficult than that recently faced by Tasmania and I have never seen a response so effectively executed,” he said. What he neglects to mention is that the crisis was caused by the Hydro selling our water energy in the teeth of an exceptional dry period throughout 2015.  With water energy levels at 25% in December, they were still exporting when BassLink fried. And they’re exporting again now with water energy levels at 27%.  And running the Gordon Power Station to do it when its level is under 15%. Sack the lot of them.

• Lyndall Rowley in Comments: There seems to be a fairly uniform pattern of expert negative assessment flowing towards the government in its parliamentary inquiry. I was shocked enough to read the Tasmanian Energy and Minerals Council submission which clearly criticises the Tasmanian Government’s Energy Strategy and management. But the submission from the Launceston Flood Authority provides an equally eye-opening account of poor management from a slightly different perspective. It’s a passionate and convincing but damning plea for the return of full flows to the South Esk River and Cataract Gorge through the closure of the Trevallyn Power Station …

• Mark Temby in Comments: … I hope I’m misinterpreting the thrust of this article but it appears someone didn’t do their job properly in 2015 and the buck stops with the Minister just like Gutwein with councils or Hidding with road safety. …

• Lyndall Rowley in Comments: I’ve just finished reading the entire ‘Mervin C Reed FAICD FChFP AAFA JP, Chartered Financial Adviser’, submission to the parliamentary accounts committee re government owned energy entities.  Wow, what an entertaining read! Trouble is, if taken as gospel, it’s a damning (even frightening) indictment of the management of Tasmania’s energy system by the three ‘energy entities’. There are too many gems to repeat here. But just to give you a sample of the tone and content ...

• Jack J in Comments: #20 Lyndall. I can only second William’s recommendation. The amount of well digested detail and excellent analysis you have provided for the fire management debate was impressive enough. This post is on par. First rate. We’ve got the famous 4F’s in Tasmania. Fire, Foxes, Forests and Flood. Add to that this damning analysis of how our water and energy have been mismanaged and can one ignore what seems to be the bleeding obvious any longer? Because we seem to have a systemic failure of governance in Tasmania. Reform is needed at a fundamental level concerning how we do business. I don’t believe that party politics are the answer, in fact, it may well be the problem. Nothing really changes concerning the QUALITY of the outcome irrespective of what party has power and what luminary sits on a board of directors.

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World’s largest wind farm study finds sleep disturbances aren’t related to turbine noise

Simon Chapman, Emeritus Professor in Public Health, University of Sydney. Photo: Bob Burton. First published June 24
26.06.16 5:30 am

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During the Abbott government, the often recalcitrant Senate cross bench was thrown a big, juicy bone plainly intended to sweeten their disposition toward government bills which needed their support to pass. The anti- wind farm Senators were outraged with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) 2015 report on wind farms which found no strong evidence of health effects from turbine exposure. There have been 25 reviews with similar findings published since 2003. The government may have promised these Senators the gift of the office of the National Wind Farm Commissioner which by February 2015 had received just 42 complaints about 12 wind farms, seven of which have not even been built… State governments are increasingly removing wind farm planning barriers and the availability now of the Health Canada health report should drive another large stake through the forces determined to slow the growth of wind energy in Australia.

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Huon Valley Council: I will fight on as mayor, says Peter Coad

Peter Coad, Mayor, Huon Valley Council, Statement. Pic* First published June 23
25.06.16 5:30 am

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Widespread and strong support from the Huon Valley community, and from supportive councillors, has convinced me that I must remain mayor of the Huon Valley Council until the council’s dysfunctional condition has been resolved. The decision of the Minister for Local Government, Mr Peter Gutwein, to reject his own Board of Inquiry main findings and recommendations, can only be considered a real disappointment to concerned valley residents. The Minister requested, last September that the board provide him with its findings and recommendations by 30 November. The board, discovering that such a deadline was impossible to meet, requested an extension. Now, seven months on, the Minister has made a decision — after a process that has cost ratepayers, and me personally, tens of thousands of dollars — that resolves nothing …

• Mark Temby in Comments: Mr Gutwein’s lack of strategic direction, decision making capability and, ultimately, action is symptomatic of many in politics today. Specifically, he is no different to Hodgman, Groom or Hidding. They will stand to take credit but cannot point to any specific decisions that lead to achievements in tourism, industry, state budgets or council amalgamation. As an outsider to the process I remain curious as to why Mr Gutwein has not acted. His decision can only be seen as a measure of support for the HotH team and placing pressure on Mayor Coad. Is it simply a matter of most Independents in local council being closet LP members? I doubt it given none in the HVC example are worth the support. Has there been lobbying within government or from the business community? The only local ones under this scenario would be Paul Harriss, Robert Armstrong and those in southern forestry.

• Funding & Disclosure (Inc) in Comments: Mayor Coad was one of the candidates who chose transparency and declared all donations on the F&D (Inc) website at the last LG elections. Under current Tasmanian laws candidates can spend as much as they want on election campaigning and can accept money from anyone (including developers) with no obligation to declare anything. A clear recipe for corruption; as we saw in NSW before new laws were introduced. It was noted that none of the “Heart of the Huon” candidates declared their donations.

• Peter Cleary in Comments: As a Sydneysider who saw the light & relocated to Tasmania, and in particular, the Huon Valley two years ago, I’ve sensibly kept my head down, and my mouth shut as I’ve adjusted to living in a new State, and a new Community, reading and absorbing as much as I can about how things are down down here. Having seen how local Politics has been played out in various councils in greater Sydney, I’ve followed the local stoush very closely, and i just want to put in my two bob’s worth and say, “Hang in there Peter Coad!” you’ve won my vote.

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What Happens When the Sky Starts to Fall?

Kim Peart*, Ross. Pic*
25.06.16 5:15 am

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A flake of paint blowing in the wind will do no harm on Earth, even if it hits the windscreen of a speeding car. In space, where there is no air, a flake of paint flying at 34,500 km/h is in a whole different ball park. When a window of the Capola observation deck on the International Space Station was cracked recently, it was believed to be the result of a flake of paint in space moving at high velocity. If a flake of paint could do that much damage, imagine what a lost nut would do?

There are over a trillion dollars worth of satellites whizzing around above Earth and a great many dead satellites, as well as a huge volume of space junk of all sizes, from discarded rockets to flakes of paint.
Satellites are in many ways the invisible face of modern society, providing weather information, environmental monitoring, communications, navigation with GPS, internet services and more. [1] Without satellites, we would have little or no warning about many severe weather events …

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The horror of Australia’s Live Export trade. Rally TODAY (Sat)

Lindsay Tuffin*. First published June 23. Pic*
25.06.16 5:00 am

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I watched in horror last night as Australia’s Live Export Trade was further revealed by the 7.30 Report as the awful, indefensible trade it is ...

• Suzanne Cass in Comments: Following damning revelations over the last two weeks from the scandal plagued live animal export industry, a FLASH RALLY is being held this Saturday at 12 noon at Franklin Square in Hobart. DATE: SATURDAY, JUNE 25, 2016. TIME: 12 NOON. PLACE: Franklin Square, Hobart. CONFIRMED SPEAKERS: Suzanne Cass, Lead Senate Candidate for Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Denison and Karen Bevis, Lead Senate Candidate for the Animal Justice Party (apologies from Peter West, General Manager, RSPCA Tasmania) …

• Suzanne Cass in Comments: There were no surprises in the revelations on the ABC’s 7.30 program about Australian cattle beng sledgehammered to death in Vietnam last week, and the apparent corruption in the ranks of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and that is truly saddening. As outrageous as all of this this is, and always has been, we must all remember that the standards we walk past (ignore) are the standards we accept. Gandhi said that ‘the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated’. If we were to judge Australia by those words, it’s a horror story …

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The faceless men of the Tasmanian Liberals’ Senate team

Bob Burton, First published June 17
24.06.16 5:29 am

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An unspoken rule of political campaign posters is to portray candidates as warmly as possible with humanising high-quality portrait photos. The Tasmanian Liberal Party’s posters for its Senate candidates though are faceless. Why?

• Michelle Hoult in Comments: Thank you Bob for this article! I am working on a similar piece outlining the lack of women the Liberal Party have chosen for candidates, 1 out of 11. In 2016. What kind of a message is that sending to women? To women like myself who are aspiring politicians? Or to my daughter?

• Greg James in Comments: Without doubt, the local Liberal leadership is stupid. They expect Abetz as No 1. to do what? Be a vote catcher, when in fact he has an atrocious record, losing 25,000 votes over the previous Colbeck, lead ticket. Yet, did you expect an intelligent result, given their local leadership of the party of free enterprise promotes a monopoly. Arriving completely unprepared for government, the Hodgman Liberals declared it was their turn ... that was all they had to offer, ‘it was their turn’. So it goes with these faceless candidates and as it is with the ALP faceless women ...

• Keith Antonysen in Comments: … Morally it is quite reprehensible what has been happeninig in Detention Centres. Prior to the last election for a long time I was considering not casting a valid vote on the basis of how asylum seekers were being treated, information then was quite tame compared to what is being disclosed now. What is happening now is even more shameful. That is, unless you believe it is fine for young people to try committing suicide, or to be sexually assaulted. That is what you are supporting if you choose to ignore the situation.

• Dr Kevin Bonham in Comments: … A 1-6 above the line vote may be equivalent to a below the line vote for 12 candidates, or it may be equivalent to a below the line vote for a few more.  It doesn’t matter because the voter, whether above or below the line, has the freedom to vote for more parties/candidates if they want to do so.  Nobody is required to stop at 6 (above) or 12 (below).  So the answer to the questions in #36 is no - at least not for the reason stated.  Indeed the High Court has already looked at a lot of the theoretical arguments against the new system and gave them all very short shrift indeed. I don’t usually post here so I’ll just take the opportunity to plug my article on how to best use your vote in the new Senate system while I’m here: HERE. This article explains whether given voters should vote above or below the line and some handy tips for those who want to get the maximum value out of their vote. …

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The questions around Biosecurity Tasmania’s review ...

Lindsay Tuffin*.
24.06.16 5:00 am

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A Media Release from ‘Friends of Biosecurity Tasmania’ raises a series of questions about a Review into Biosecurity Tasmania. These are serious questions ... which demand answers. Will they be forthcoming? Will this review be released? Read the questions in the MR HERE

• David Obendorf in Comments: Biosecurity Tasmania should be a “core business” asset and a flagship responsibility of the mega-Agency we know as DPIPWE. It has a history and a legacy that are inter-twined. The fore-runners to BT were Quarantine Tasmania and the DPIPWE portfolio Division of Market Access & Product Integrity. I have long argued that the unique advantages of the island of Tasmania require ‘public good’ investment in the biological and climatic advantages of this State. The advantages of cool temperate climates, good soils and rainfall to grow food, fibre and fish.
There are several areas within DPIPWE that, in my opinion, are outdated and redundant in the 21st Century. Biosecurity Tasmaniais not one of them. Finding a way to finance and promote the public good and the private/commercial benefit of safeguarding Tasmania’s unique market advantages in disease, pest and weed freedom is the chalice that was placed in Minister Jeremy Rockliff’s hands in March 2014. Will Minister Rockliff find the sustaining elixir to place into this precious vessel or will biosecurity become the “poison chalice” that it became for a succession of Labor Ministers from 1998 to 2014? The clock is ticking ... ...

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A bright new extension lead for Basslink, which is down (again)

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic* First published June 21
23.06.16 5:30 am

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Yet no-one important rates Labor’s chances, although the independents, especially the Xenophon Party in South Australia, get a massive talking up causing Malcolm Turnbull to warn that chaos will result from voting for minor parties - as opposed to the halcyon tranquillity and stability of his own party which has had two prime ministers and fifteen cabinet changes in three years together with an approach to economic policy and tax reform which involves keeping everyone guessing.

When a cut to the pathology rebate was proposed, Tasmania’s head of pathology could not get an appointment to raise his concerns with the retired Brigadier. Nor could local Baptist Church pastor Jeff McKinnon who reckons Nikolic doesn’t listen to people who hold opposing views.

In Tasmania, in microcosm, are writ the deficiencies of our national energy policy over successive governments. Solar and wind energy resources abound and yet we cannot break away from the fossil fuel capture of the energy market and build up our solar and wind capacity. Last budget, the Turnbull government, cut one billion from Australia’s Renewable Energy Agency. …

ABC: Tasmanian Government response to SECOND BASSLINK OUTAGE in nine days ‘really is scandalous’ … Energy Minister Matthew Groom, who talked to media on Tuesday about the energy system, said in a statement the outage was “another reminder of the importance of continuing to manage water supply systems carefully”. Labor Leader Bryan Green said he was worried that Mr Groom’s failure to hold another press conference would send the wrong message to energy customers. “It really is scandalous,” he said. “Most people look towards the Minister for confidence when it comes to these issues, but by not fronting that actually undermines confidence” …

• phill Parsons in Comments: So we find out Bass Link Cable owners and the Hydro were in dispute over capacity from the day the cable opened for transmission. We find that the Hydro has been used to prop up the budget through dividends to it’s owners managers, the Government. We find that it has broken down a second time yet they say it has not been fried through high use. There is no point in an age of climate change to a second, or any other cable, if they are not made to as pre-agreed carrying capacity, well managed to ensure their capacity is not abused and only carry renewable energy.  …

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The ‘attack on the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act 1999’ ...

Lindsay Tuffin*. First published June 23. Pic*
23.06.16 5:18 am

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He’s approached the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous ... but has yet to receive a reply.

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Making the Arts An Election Issue

Scott O’Hara, Senate Candidate for Tasmania, The Arts Party. Pic: of Scott. First published June 22
23.06.16 5:14 am

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The Abbott/Turnbull Government is without doubt the most harmful one to the Arts sector since Federal Governments started taking an interest in the Arts in the late ‘60s.

• John Biggs in Comments: Excellent Scott. The Libs state and federal are utter barbarians—and not only with regard to the Arts. “Blue-tied bogans” as I described them in the Mercury and which it published …

• Hans Willink in Comments: Well said Scott, the Arts have always punched well above their weight in Tasmania and emerging artists in particular deserve support. When arguably the world’s best writer, Richard Flanagan, had to seriously consider moving to WA during the mining boom to earn a living, you know we have a problem. I also have a particular concern with Liberal changes to tax law that have severely impacted on indigenous art communities …

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Challenge to LCC’s gift to UTas: LCC DEFEATED

Ray Norman, Launceston Concerned Citizens. http://lcc63.blogspot.com.au/ First published June 6
22.06.16 5:00 am

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WEDNESDAY June 22 ...

• Basil Fitch, in Comments: DEFEATED: Result of Public Meeting over gift of land (i.e Willis Street and Old Velodrome site with M.O.U. with Council, State Government and University) defeated in a unanimous motion. A second motion was passed that the land be put on the open market and its valuation tested.

On Tuesday night in Launceston, a public meeting will take place to challenge Launceston Council’s decision to gift land valued something in the order of $5million to the University of Tasmania (UTas).

• Leonard Colquhoun in Comments, HERE: Whatever else happens after these ‘rain events’ in Launceston, one effect should be the washing away of that dodgy UTAS / Inveresk / LCC deal. What say the UTAS Big Wigs down in Hobart are forcibly made to wade through our flooded areas here, in their best bespoke suits and hand-tooled footwear, of course. But, to balance this brickbat, a bouquet: (as far as one can tell) the university’s takeover of the Australian Maritime College has -  so far -  not gutted that highly successful institute of learning, teaching, and training (and, yes, eggheads, that’s as in T-R-A-I-N-I-N-G).

• Ray Norman in Comments: CONTEXT: On Tuesday night a Public Meeting was held in Launceston’s Albert Hall to discuss Launceston Council’s decision to gift land to UTas to facilitate the university’s proposal to relocate nearer to Launceston’s CBD. The Public Meeting was an outcome of a citizens’ initiated petition that called upon Launceston’s Council to call a Public Meeting to discuss the issue. Here are a few ‘dot’ points to summarise Tuesday night’s Public Meeting …

• Ray Norman in Comments: Dear Prime Minister ...

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A poisoned chalice ...

Chris Nobbs*, Norfolk Island. Pic*
22.06.16 4:45 am

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Australian Government’s legacy to the Norfolk Island Regional Council – A poisoned chalice?

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Let’s hear it for the voiceless, and those left behind ...

Bill Rowlings, CEO Civil Liberties Australia: http://www.cla.asn.au/News/
21.06.16 5:30 am

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We’ve been inundated by escalating promises of the main players, steered by media-grabbing ploys by parties, lobbyists and chancers, and made fearful by dire poll spike predictions set fair to eviscerate a candidate or two. But there’s a whole range of important national issues and ill-considered people we haven’t heard about.

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Political Harlotry ...

John Hawkins, Chudleigh. Pic*
20.06.16 5:57 am

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Tasmania is currently swathed in a mantle of blue. My television incites me to vote for a “Liberal Senate Team” - a group of faceless men ( Bob Burton, TT HERE ).

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Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice

A bright new extension lead for Basslink, which is down (again) 



New Money The Only Fix For Chronic Underfunding 



Smokie’s Utterly in our eyes and ears! 



Black Inc and Nero July new releases ... 



Tasting Tasmania ... 



The journey continues ... 

What's On

What's On

DEC, 8pm Nov 11: Smokie! 



Imagined size of electorate. Actual size of electorate ... 



#19 Garry thank you for your question, and it was lovely to meet you briefly the other day. I was asked a similar question…

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