"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

Save the Native Forest of the Mutual Valley

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Peter Coxhead and Tim Slade. Pic*
08.02.16 5:15 am

A couple of weeks after the community of Lapoinya tried to keep its local forest, Paul Harriss and FT are targeting another community’s local forest ... On Saturday, 13th February, we invite YOU to come into the Mutual Valley, Derby, to share in a moment of reflection, to contemplate what it is that is about to happen here,  and to add your energy, in the hope of a better future for this forest. The Mutual Valley community has decided that on Saturday, 13th February, we will welcome every interested person to participate in a day of presence, meditation and prayer. Forestry Tasmania’s work in the Mutual Valley is to satisfy a purely financial obligation.  The people of the Mutual Valley wish to flag this unsustainable process to the notice of the public, by use of a non-confrontational, inclusive and peaceful method …

It is evident to us that Forestry Tasmania no longer wish to achieve Forest Stewardship Certification.  Forestry Tasmania do not understand sustainability as it is applied to forestry.  Or, if they do, they are desensitised to the principals of sustainability – a process encouraged by governments who have hurled money at them to prop them up …

Sign this PETITION for the Right to peaceful protest in Tasmania

Roger Bradley: We want to secede

From wet sclerophyll to dry sclerophyll forests

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Lapoinya: A slow walk ...

Tim Upston*
08.02.16 5:00 am

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… Amid the sounds of massive trees thumping into the ground the surreal sensation of watching the clearly-distressed Bob Brown refusing police orders to leave, was matched only by the more surreal sound of myself also refusing, despite the clear and threatening consequences posed by the State. Perhaps that need to protest was driven from a deep realisation that I was standing in the same land my forefathers had settled, where my father and his six elder sisters were born, and where my grandfather and grandmother had forged a hard living in the backwoods behind Wynyard during and after the First World War. The stories of my Auntie Kath Doherty came flooding back of a life of hardship , tempered by a loving extended family. Her writing tells of a family living on the aptly named Hyena Rock Road, and of the day in 1919 when the whole region came alive after my grandfather Frank Upston, captured a live Thylacine, then known in Tasmania as a hyena.

The machinery used to smash apart this piece of Tasmania was operating while barely 40 kilometres it could have been used to save pristine areas in the Tarkine which were on fire for the first time in thousands of years. …

Sign this PETITION for the Right to peaceful protest in Tasmania

Roger Bradley: We want to secede

From wet sclerophyll to dry sclerophyll forests

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Flogging off the (dairy) farm to China ...

Charles Wooley
08.02.16 4:45 am

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The disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers should be disturbing news for those who think that flogging off the (dairy) farm to China is the hope of the side.

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Road Safety: Inaction by our local and state politicians and relevant authorities ...  (5)

Mark Temby* First published February 8
08.02.16 4:42 am

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The Forgotten Roads, Link Roads and Back Roads Not all is lost! We did have a win in late 2015. It is a short story of bureaucratic incompetence, inertia and a dearth of leadership. The Ranelagh-Judbury Road turns away from the Huon Highway near Huonville in an 80kph zone.

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Following in the footsteps of our First People

Hilary Burden, Hilary Burden* https://hilaryburden.wordpress.com/ Pic*
08.02.16 4:37 am

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We’re on a route that takes you directly to one of the rich Aboriginal sites on the wild West Coast. This sea country fills you with awe. The track itself is an adrenaline-rush: deep, rocky ruts and soft sand make it four-wheel-drive only.

I think of these flat rocks at our feet on drifting sands as are our Stonehenge, our Macchu Picchu, our Leaning Tower of Pisa. For non-Aboriginals the journey of discovery is neither obvious nor easy. Access to these coastal sites has been won, it seems, without a robust framework for deep appreciation. We are still learning how best to protect and manage Aboriginal living heritage. A Liberal election promise advocated the upgrading and re-opening of a number of 4WD tracks in the Arthur-Pieman. But, the Federal Court ordered an interim injunction to close them, ruling heritage must come first. …

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From Wet Sclerophyll to Dry Sclerophyll Forests ...

Karl Stevens
08.02.16 4:32 am

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In January 2016 Tasmania was experiencing unprecedented climate change and ecological breakdown in the form of drought, bushfires, water shortages and energy shortages. Many of the drivers of this calamity were external to Tasmania but some were domestic. As one of the world’s largest coal exporters and one of the world’s largest deforesters, Australia has a pathetic ecological record. Has Tasmania been intelligently managing it’s evolved ecology? No.

Sign this PETITION for the Right to peaceful protest in Tasmania

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NATION: Turnbull has no time for democracy over GST

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ . First published February 8 Pic*
08.02.16 4:21 am

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Friday afternoon, Malcolm Turnbull drops a bombshell. He intends to ignore the will of the people over tax reform. Speaking on ABC Adelaide he says ...

Four months into his Prime Ministership and eight months out from an election, as Lenore Taylor reminds us, Turnbull may not have a clue who he is or what he stands for but he knows what he doesn’t like. Unpopularity. The PM may have a pathological need for approval but that aside he’s shrewd enough not to sign his own political death-warrant. If only it were so easy. Turnbull’s change of policy on consultation will come as a shock to those hundreds of Australians who made submissions to The White Paper in good faith that they might be listened to; that their voices might influence policy, by a politician who came to power promising a consensus model which ‘respected the intelligence’ of the electorate. Now at least he’s cleared up something. The people’s voice doesn’t matter. …

Fairfax: Tax white paper: why Turnbull killed the green paper and probably a higher GST

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We want to secede ...

Roger and Maureen Bradley, Boat Harbour
08.02.16 4:15 am

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… I (Maureen) have been a volunteer fire fighter for the past 20 years. On numerous occasions putting my life in danger fighting fires in Forestry Tasmanians plantation.  I have been peacefully protesting with hundreds of other passionate people who care about their environment, trying to save the Lapoinya coupe from destruction from our government and Forestry Tasmania. All I get from peacefully protesting is a heavy fine or imprisonment under the new anti-protest laws which seems to favour governments and big businesses. …

Sign this PETITION for the Right to peaceful protest in Tasmania

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A positive note on population

Dr. Baljit Singh* PhD (La Trobe University), Melbourne, Australia
08.02.16 4:07 am

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Population is a positive factor in development Human beings depend on other human beings to meet their basic needs and ensure the equitable distribution of resources.

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Letters to my grandchildren (5)

Anton Clever*
08.02.16 4:00 am

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Dear Chilliwops, Today I was reading a web page that delivers the quote of the day.  Today’s “nature quote” said, “Let us permit nature to have her way. She understands her business better than we do.”  The author was sixteenth century French writer and philosopher Michel de Montaigne.

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More Zika virus victims expected in Qld

news.com.au BBC pic
08.02.16 3:45 am

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A child is one of two people who have tested positive for Zika virus in 24 hours in southeast Queensland as experts warn more cases are likely

Zika Outbreak Epicenter in Same Area Where GM Mosquitoes Were Released in 2015

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Tassie’s devastated World Heritage ...

Dan Broun, Daily Mail Pic* First published February 5
07.02.16 6:30 am

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Wilderness photographer Dan Broun walked six hours into the bushfire ravaged area on Friday and camped overnight to document the damage.

• Carol Rea in Comments: #5 TGC and others I am no expert but I respect those who regularly walk and document these areas. The logging of areas below the plateau - mainly for woodchips - has decreased the wet forest buffer zone that has protected the Plateau for millenia. Rob Blakers comment on the Plateau fires “The fire that began as a lightning strike near Lake Parangana on Jan 13th was unstoppable as it roared up the Fisher River to Lake Mackenzie. Its spread across the Plateau over the following two weeks, however, could have been checked. We need to establish dual priorities for fire fighting. It is imperative that rainforest, alpine vegetation, peat soils and thousand year old pencil pines are prioritised, as well as human life and property.” This fire roared up an area that has been logged and replanted - it used to be diverse wet forest now dry eucalypt replanting. We change the landscape and we are responsible for what happens.

• Simon Warriner in Comments: I understand the distress at the loss of unique vegetation types and wilderness, and the attraction for some to find fault with “forestry”, and even the wilful ignorance of the likes of the first comment, but, and I am trying to be kind here. This is a bloody huge distraction from the one question that needs to be answered FIRST. “Why did our emergency response system wait for 6 days in the face of an unprecedented event with rapidly escalating consequences before calling for available help?” Had that help been applied early the consequences would not have been do dire. Had that help been applied early and those dire consequences been avoided, it is possible this discussion would not be taking place at this time in the process and possibly not at all …

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Biomass for future renewable energy

Paul Harriss, Minister for Resources Media Release
07.02.16 6:00 am

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The recent unprecedented events including the failure of Basslink and low rainfall has been challenging, and the Government is determined to ensure Tasmania’s future energy needs are catered for. One option that the government is actively considering is biomass – residues from value-added forestry operations sourced from timber production areas and used as a renewable energy source.

• Pete Godfrey in Comments: Here are some figures for a 20 Megawatt woodchip burning biomass plant in the US: Fuel 1 Bone dry tonne per Megawatt hour. So it needs 20 BDT of woodchips per hour to output 20 Megawatts. According to Paul Harriss he is considering putting in a 90 Megawatt generator so it would use around 90 BDT per hour of fuel. That is 788,400 tonnes of woodchips per annum, remembering that this is Bone Dry woodchips so that is equivalent to 1.5768 Million tonnes of green wood. The cost of the fuel in the US varies between $15 and $60 per tonne depending on distance but for an 80 kilometre carting distance it is around $38 per tonne. So the fuel for Mr Harriss plant would cost $59,918,400 if it was carted a similar distance. I am sure that the fuel would be carted much further than 80 kilometres in Tasmania ... so a lot more. So we have $38 per tonne of fuel to produce 1 Megawatt/Hour of power, not taking into account the cost of the power station the input cost is going to be around 3.8 cents a Kilowatt Hour for fuel. Doesn’t sound like it would stack up. Someone has to make a profit, someone has to maintain the plant, pay wages etc. I have to agree here with Jack Lumber ... it is a dud.

• Luigi in Comments: Hello?  Hello?  Anyone home? Here we are up to our neck in alligators.  We’ve got no water in the dams and floods in the streets.  The state is on fire.  Some idiot scrapped the Bell Bay power station.  Bass Link is broken. No electricity.  And nobody’s home. Except for Paul!! Where would we be now if Paul didn’t have the nous to start burning the forests to make electricity?  And water, being a by-product of biomass combustion, will be an unexpected dividend, too!  We just need to condense it and pipe it back upstream! The rest of the government may be missing in action, but at least we have Paul Harriss’s intellect to rely on in extremis.

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Basslink: A short summary of risks ...

Chris Harries* First published January 29 Pic*
05.02.16 12:30 pm

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Without warning, Tasmania’s power link to the Mainland suddenly ruptured in December 2015, just as it was being called upon to shore up power supplies. This event has sent shockwaves through the Tasmanian administration.

… Tasmania generates approximately 90 percent of its power demand (in average rainfall conditions) thus requiring us to import the remaining 10 percent – so this need can be seen as a necessity in the absence of the state lifting its renewable capacity. By exporting high value peaking power and importing low value base load this gap could theoretically be made up at a profit and with a net greenhouse emissions reduction. Environmental arguments went both ways, but the Tasmanian Greens and the broader environmental movement generally disapproved the project fearing that it would result in a net transfer of coal-fired power from the mainland to Tasmania, thus breaching our valued reputation as an all-renewable electricity island. As it turned out this is, in fact, what has transpired. During the ten years since the project was officially started up in 2006 the net power transfer has been from north to south by a strong margin …

• Anne Cadwallader in Comments: Chris, which large industrial consumer is likely (as you write) to pack up and go?  That does, as you indicate, seem to be a massive game changer.
Hydro industrialization was a major part of our state’s development, but can’t last forever.  But if we once again become awash with electricity, surely it positions us well for a low carbon world?  I never minded the idea of being Australia’s national park (a lot better than being its disused quarry, as W.A. is rapidly becoming).  But being Australia’s hydro power battery pack sounds wonderful.  We can be both profitable, and a positive force in the world.  Then there will be no more dying old people lying on the floor of the Royal Hobart on towels:

• asoka nelson in Comments: on the 28th of jan 2016 a vast amount of moisture was in the atmosphere above the fires on the west coast, if a 747 aircraft was loaded with 50 ton of dry ice…..it would have induced a significant rainfall it the area it was most needed…..I contacted Greg Carson at Hydro Tasmania and he automatically said no we will not help you and we will not investigate the concept….I also contacted CSIRO and they said we do not investigate other peoples ideas…I contacted the fire department but they were all busy ...I sent an email to the premier and doubt it will be investigated….the fire team actually has large aircraft but did not fly on the 28th because there was cloud cover was too heavy,....50 ton of dry ice injected into those cloud could have produced 500,000 ton of rain. the fires are changing the weather system, as the hot air rises it pushes moisture out of that area….. cloud seeding is required to induce rain

• Andrew Wadsley in Comments: There never was a business case for Basslink to be profitable, even in the good old days. Submissions to the JAP on Basslink clearly showed that the project was uneconomic and under sustainable trading would lose at least $70m / year. Hydro Tasmania have been selling the State’s resources (in this case water) just like Forestry Tasmania sells our trees (Lapoinya?) for short-term gain with long-term loss.

• Jack Gilding in Comments: … Thanks Campbell (Gizmodo). A good summary of an aspect of the Basslink break that hasn’t got much coverage so far. It’s not explicit in your article but I presume that the fibre failed on 20 December at the same time as electricity connection was lost. I’m surprised we are not feeling more pain if we have dropped from 645 to 5 Gbps. Alternative explanation is that fibre is still in operation but will be lost when the cable is cut to repair the electricity break.

Mercury: Wind backed as power solution

• Shaun in Comments: … I do think the media is a lot to blame however. Throughout the current situation there has been a lot of words but very little hard, factual data presented to the public. Very few seem to understand the true situation and there’s a real risk that we’ll end up spending a fortune on unnecessary and potentially pointless “fixes” as a result. What’s the bet that we end up over-building new sources of supply and the next problem is how to deal with the financial consequences of doing so? Pretty likely I expect given the general misunderstanding that we’re not actually short on long term electricity supply as such, it being a question of the very short term only in that sense plus a question of the merits of imports from Victoria versus gas versus something new. It’s like saying someone could have earned $130K last year in their occupation but chose to not work too much and is now short on cash. That doesn’t mean they need to move interstate or do another degree to increase their earning potential, it just means they need to go back to work.

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Zero tolerance of fires in Australia: a new paradigm for want of new technology and tactics?

Lyndall Rowley* Pic* First published February 3
05.02.16 5:15 am

Image for Zero tolerance of fires in Australia: a new paradigm for want of new technology and tactics?

Enough is enough.

Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick, Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies in the School of Land and Food at UTAS, Mercury Opinion: Charred heritage the burning issue … It is easy to rapidly rebuild houses and bridges. It is impossible to rebuild the Huon pine and King Billy pine forests that make Tasmania so special and attract people from all over the world to admire their beauty. The East and West of Tasmania are different worlds, but in both areas our floral natural heritage is in danger. In the grasslands, heaths and dry forests of eastern Tasmania, a reduction in fire frequency has resulted in local losses of biodiversity, while protections against clearing and degradation of significant places for threatened vegetation types and plant species have been politically subverted. Forest and woodland dominated by black gum picks out the most fertile and moist ground in eastern and northern Tasmania, so only 4 per cent of its original area was uncleared in 1997, the time of the Regional Forest Agreement, which therefore “protected” it. Yet a casual perusal of the reports from the Forest Practices Board, which monitors forest clearance, reveals a continued substantial attrition of this vegetation type, all politically approved, if not encouraged, as in the case of the Meander Dam. The smoke screen of offsetting has been used with much of this clearance. …

• Isla MacGregor in Comments: I applaud Lyndall and Jamie for speaking out about this devastating problem of fires in our landscape and agree enough is enough with prescribed burning.

• WATCH Wandering Foxbat’s aerial pictures of the fires, captured February 1: HERE

• Download Expert Papers ...

• Simon Warriner in Comments: … Unfortunately the TFS play a major role in the SFMC and as can be demonstrated comprehensively, that organisation does not understand the mantra “a stitch in time saves nine”. A member of the government has sufficient details to institute a judicial inquiry into the conduct of the TFS management going back at least a decade, and while some of those responsible have retired, there are current officers who stood and watched and did nothing while bad things happened, and that calls into question their judgement and thus their suitability to be involved in such a critical role. It is clearly time for the government to differentiate between the TFS management and the firies on the ground, and hold the management to account for their actions. At present they use the rightful public appreciation of the actions of the troops as a shield against proper scrutiny. For our government to fail to properly scrutinize is to fail in a clear duty to the public good, and right now many in the public realm can see the problem very clearly and are getting more than a tad pissed off with the delay in addressing it.  Clear enough? (I admit some culpability, in that I could have taken the facts to the media back in 2013 but elected to work through “proper” process because I was concerned that if the public knew what was going on in the TFS at that time the volunteer force would have been negatively impacted. That was a mistake and my family has paid a very high price for it. )

• Download SATURDAY Expert Papers UPDATE ...

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57 comments

Safe Haven for some, legal limbo for many ...

Michael Simmons* Pic* First published February 3
05.02.16 4:44 am

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In October 2015 Tasmania acceded to the Federal Government’s Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) program, becoming only the second state to do so. Premier Hodgman proclaimed at the time that Tasmania was opening its hearts and doors to those in need. However, it seems that Tasmania’s generous spirit and the possibility for the State to derive significant long-term benefits from the SHEV program have been significantly undermined from the outset.

MEANWHILE ...

SMH Editorial: No need to trade off children’s rights for border protection So Australia’s offshore detention regime at Nauru and Manus Island is legal, a majority of the High Court has ruled. But is it moral?

SMH: Churches become potential flashpoint after offering sanctuary to asylum seekers in wake of High Court verdict

• Urban Wronski in Comments: People smugglers are a no threat to our sovereignty postured Malcolm Turnbull in Question Time, Tuesday, as the beleaguered PM dug into the same dung-heap Tony Abbott once bucketed us with, in order to engender a sense of crisis, foster division and justify extreme measures. Operation Sovereign Ordure was up and running all over again. Or was it? Desperate to stop the rats in his ranks, Turnbull drops his pitch below rodent poop to win the support of his party’s rabid right and Abbott-government-in-exile, the Monkey Pod Bros, a rabble of unhappy nut-bags, deposed prime ministers and other trouble-makers. Top banana, former QLD copper Peter Dutton, claims to be in charge. He orders the Chinese takeaway and with Jamie Briggs helps set the table and the moral high ground …

• Liz Breen: Let Them Stay, says Amnesty International Launceston Action Group ...

Learn more, Sign Amnesty’s Petition HERE

Waleed Aly, Fairfax: Nauru: How long can we keep lying to ourselves? The history of asylum seeker policy in Australia will be remembered as a story of how successive governments legislated their lies to justify a world of make-believe borders and imaginary compliance.

Fairfax: ‘These children are among the most traumatised we have ever seen’

• Carol Bristow (Tas Refugee Action Group), Alex Kline Community organizer/ Amnesty: “Let Them Stay” Honkathon Action ...

The Age: Australia’s asylum seeker politics ‘toxic’ since 2001: Tanya Plibersek

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Assange warrant still active: UK police

Sky News. Pic*
05.02.16 4:32 am

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British police have insisted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be arrested if he steps outside the Ecuadorian embassy, where he has been holed up for more than three years.

SATURDAY February 6 ...

The Age: Julian Assange requests Australian passport, consular assistance after UN ruling

Ambassador Craig Murray: Assange – A Fundamental Vindication

New Matilda: Freeing Julian Assange: John Pilger On The Final Chapter

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Tasmanian Liberals disclose origins of less than one-fourteenth of income

Bob Burton. First published February 1
04.02.16 6:00 am

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The Tasmanian branch of the Liberal Party has disclosed the origin of less than one-fourteenth of the income they received in the last financial year.

ABC: Political donations: Here’s what the latest data doesn’t tell us The Australian Electoral Commission has released its annual figures on political donations but much of the real action remains hidden due to Australia’s political donations laws, which are among the most lax in the Western world. So why don’t the figures tell the full story, and what can be done to change that? …

• Funding and Disclosure Inc. in Comments: One almost has to start by defining the word ‘donation’. When does a ‘donation’ become a ‘bribe’? … This is what Funding and Disclosure (Inc) is lobbying for. For more information: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Mercury: Tasmania’s political parties see dip in donations for last financial year ONLY small percentage of donors who contributed to Tasmanian political parties last year have had their identity made public …

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8 comments

As much resemblance to a Festival of Voices line-up as I do to Leonardo di Caprio ...

Leo Schofield AM Artistic Director, Brisbane Baroque. Artistic Director, Sydney Sings. Pic: of Leo ...
04.02.16 5:55 am

Image for As much resemblance to a Festival of Voices line-up as I do to Leonardo di Caprio ...

Letter to Tasmanian Times … The dates of the new festival and a couple of elements thereof were mentioned in the Minister’s press release and in the Sydney Morning Herald, but no detailed program was announced. And yet for some unaccountable reason, Mr.Tony Bonney, with whom I am unacquainted, chose to see sinister motives behind the bland details of name and dates. Mr. Bonney, who it transpires is the director of Hobart’s annual Festival of Voices, telephoned the Deputy Arts Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald to accuse me of ‘stealing’ his event. Why did he not speak to me? …

• Luke Martin in Comments: Oh, gawd, haven’t we heard enough from this bloke?

• Leo Schofield in Comments: Ah yes, Luke Martin. How soon we forget. Isn’t he the soi-disant tourism guru who never returns telephone calls, never keeps appointments and is so alert to the possibilities of a good idea that he didn’t even know the dates of the baroque festival and went to nothing. Too busy I suppose issuing daily press releases, the all-purpose pundit. if anyone qualifies for the sobriquet of ‘media nymphomaniac’ it’s good ole’ Lukester. His understanding of cultural tourism is on a par ...

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7 comments

Launceston’s Big Public Meeting

Ray Norman, Tasmanian Ratepayers Association
04.02.16 5:34 am

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Big Public Meeting, Tramsheds Function Centre, 7pm Tuesday February 9

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8 comments

Climate science on chopping block as CSIRO braces for shake-up

ABC
04.02.16 5:22 am

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The CSIRO’s climate science divisions are expected to be pared back as part of a massive shake-up of the organisation.

• Peter Whish-Wilson in Comments ...

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Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice

Save the Native Forest of the Mutual Valley 

Media

Media

Stop Abuse of Horses in Racing. Action at Hobart Cup 

Arts

Arts

Always Be Writing 

Books

Books

Black Inc. and Nero: New books ... 

Plate/Grape

Plate/Grape

Tasting Tasmania ... 

Travel

Travel

Secrets of The Great Ocean Road 

What's On

What's On

Lauderdale School & Community Festival 

Satire

Cartoons

Lapoinya ... 

Comments

Comments

Thanks Ivo (#80), For clarification, the Hydro’s own estimate of Tasmania’s self reliance in hydro power is 87%.…

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