Ted Mead. First pub: May 26
27.05.15 6:00 am
Is it merely just an anthropocentric view? Then why is it that Tasmanians always want to burn the bush? The answer to this may simply be – Because it is there!
• Ted Mead, in Comments: P.S - I failed to mention notably about the loss of all living things in these areas when they are torched - Billions of insects, invertebrates and vertebrates, and loss of breeding and browsing habitats. The Knole Plain area near Waratah scheduled for torching is quite unique in sub-alpine heathland and scrub. It has abundant mammalian fauna and is an important feeding ground for Wedge-tailed eagles so I discovered last week. Torching Knole Plain is complete and unwarranted madness. Even in our evolutionary neanderthal days we would have had a better understanding of it.
• Jon Sumby, in Comments: I agree, it does not make sense and is, frankly, stupid. Tasmanian animals, plants, and ecosystems have evolved with natural fires caused by lightning strikes. However, research done by the CSIRO Bushfire CRC shows that 90% of bushfires by lightning strikes burn less than 10 hectares. Over the last decade or so lightning strike bushfires have increased by around 140% in Tasmania, but we haven’t noticed because they aren’t that big. The overwhelming majority of bushfires that are big and damaging are caused by us; mainly agricultural causes, recreational fires, or deliberately set. The fires planned by the TFS are ecologically extreme and intense; like several large 1-in-a-100-year fires burning at the same time. This is not ‘fuel reduction’ it is environmental destruction.
MEANWHILE ... elsewhere (what is it about anything associated with forestry) ...
Haydn Walters, Julia Walters, Kathryn Barnsley UTAS
27.05.15 5:55 am
Each year 60,000 Australians and millions throughout the world die from cigarette smoking. One billion people are projected to die of tobacco-related disease by 2050. This is a national and international scandal.
Rodney Croome* Satire* First pub: May 25
27.05.15 5:45 am
The thumping Irish vote for marriage equality is bittersweet for Tasmanian marriage equality supporters. We watch the Irish celebrate with joy and pride, and we think “that could have been us”. In 2012 Tasmania had a chance to lead Australia towards a reform that has been called “the civil rights issue of our time”. But instead, a combination of fear and misinformation defeated marriage equality by just two votes in the Upper House. Now, the Upper House faces another test. This week it will debate a government bill watering down the Anti-Discrimination Act …
SUNDAY ... on Tasmanian Times ...
The Editors. Pub: May 18
27.05.15 5:30 am
WEDNESDAY, May 27: Nine days after our appeal ... and immense thanks are due to John & Peter, Anon, Stephen, Andrew, June, Anon, Anon, Anon, Karl, Luuk, John, John, TGC, Bronwen, Leon, Anon, Estelle, Michael, Richard, Anon, Ian, Anon, Casey, Peter, Onya, Anon ... and the monthly contributors who include, Anon, Anon, Service, Onya, In The Loop. Thankyou!x
MONDAY, May 18: Tasmanian Times (TT) needs you. TT believes that the democratic purpose of the media is best served when information is freely available to citizens. While many other news websites opt to put their articles behind subscription screens or barrage readers with annoying pop-up banner ads, TT has swum against the tide.
Bob Hawkins. Pic* First pub: May 26
26.05.15 5:00 am
Huon Valley Guessing Games Just as Huon Valley Council’s management ignored or dismissed the 188 objections to Dennis Bewsher’s “vision” of a Waterloo Bay bulk-handling facility ( Waterloo Bay: The Great Deceit and More Pie-in-the-Sky in the Huon ), it has done much the same with its ‘Proposed Strategic Plan’. (The Local Government Act 1993 requires council to “prepare a strategic plan”.)
26.05.15 4:19 am
Charles Wooley. Pic: of Xavier Herbert
25.05.15 5:49 am
…In classrooms and lecture theatres around the nation the book was, without affection, better known as ‘Poor Fellow My Reader’. In the early eighties, I met the writer in a shack in far north Queensland by which time I had only just recovered from his books and was reading again. I remember he offered me a consoling large can of beer, which I accepted. It was warm and took forever to drink.
Reading has always been a big part of my life and these days, naturally, I am deploring that the kids don’t do enough of it. On the other hand some of my adult friends are not helping the situation by doing too much writing. I don’t want to name, or fall out with, anyone here and maybe its only because I’m a journalist, but it seems everyone I know is writing a novel. Worse, many are even publishing them. And still worse, most of the work, proverbially, isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. It just devalues the literary coinage.
Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ Pub: May 25. Pic: ABC of Julie Bishop in Parliament
25.05.15 5:48 am
Accountability is the cornerstone of good government. It ensures answerability, a readiness to explain itself; to provide sufficient information and justification to the people for its actions. We, the people, feel secure in being listened to, understood and provided for by our elected representatives who may be relied upon to provide wise leadership at home and to justly uphold our rights and discharge our responsibilities as members of an international community of nations abroad. And so it was last week that Australians of all walks of life rejoiced in a wealth of edifying and illuminating explanations ranging from Australian dogs’ best friend, Barnaby Joyce, whose Yorkshire terrier turn-back was a triumph of diplomacy and statesmanship to our barking mad Prime Minister’s gnomic repudiation of all notion of social contract ‘Nope, nope, nope.’
Never to be outdone, Julie Bishop elbowed our recycled former health watchdog Peter Dutton out of the spotlight with her forensic rationalisation of our nation’s cruel indifference towards several hundred wretched men, women and children found starving, destitute and begging for help in a wooden fishing boat turned back by Malaysia to fend for itself in the Andaman sea. How do we know they are real refugees? Bishop asked.
Tom Bailey* Pub: May 25. Pic*
25.05.15 5:45 am
“Reviewing the Integrity of the Tasmanian Heritage Register” by delisting selective sections of selective streetscapes starting with Launceston ... … The accumulative effect is the beginning of the destruction of Launceston streetscapes.
Then there is St Georges Square – a picturesque green block at the top of High Street – on this Removal List. Alarm bells start to go off here. Why remove a park? Am I too cynical if I wonder if this little piece of park is earmarked for development? A galling aspect of all this is that these beautiful intact streetscapes bring tourism to Launceston. What we have is unique. We have one government department, Tourism Tasmania, supposedly promoting tourism for our island state, and then we have another government department, Heritage Tasmania, deliberately dismantling it.The fate of this island depends as ever on the whims and personal agendas of our politicians whose catchcry is ‘Development at any cost’. We should be building on the unique asset we already have, not destroying it piecemeal. Napier in New Zealand got it right, so should we.
Jenny Weber Campaign Manager The Bob Brown Foundation Media Release. Pub: April 7
25.05.15 5:42 am
The Bob Brown Foundation is hosting a series of events at The Peacock Theatre in Hobart about the Tarkine. Integral to our campaign to protect the Tarkine is to host public talks so people can hear tales from the advocates past and present working for protection of this wild place, see images of the wild and scenic beauty and help raise funds for the Foundation’s Tarkine campaign.
EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...
Markets For Change CEO, Peg Putt Media Release
25.05.15 5:40 am
… The proposal to burn native forest biomass is being pushed by the Coalition and the forest industry in Canberra. Whilst opposed by Labor nationally, in Tasmania the State Labor leader has broken ranks in support of the bid. “It’s clear that some entity wants to claim public support for native forest biomass to go into the Renewable Energy Target to put pressure on the Senate in what is expected to be a tight vote,” said Markets For Change CEO, Peg Putt. “It’s likely that the move is also designed to drive the Labor split in Tasmania on the issue further.”
Greens spokesperson for Fisheries, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson Media Release. David Obendorf. ABC Rural. Pic* First pub: May 22
25.05.15 5:35 am
… The Greens and environmentalists have warned for years that the rapid growth of the salmon industry in Macquarie Harbour was potentially a ticking time bomb due to deteriorating oxygen levels. “This is not about the stocking rates of any one company; this is about the cumulative load of farmed salmon in the Macquarie Harbour system. Concerns have been raised that there is only so much excess nutrient load a semi-closed system like Macquarie Harbour can tolerate. —
• ABC Rural: Petuna says up to 85,000 fish killed in Tasmanian West Coast storm event a ‘one-off’ Tasmanian company Petuna rejects claims that the loss of hundreds of tonnes of salmon in a West Coast storm event calls into question fish farming expansion plans in the region. …
via Veterinary Pathologist Dr David Obendorf ...
• DC Reid, in Comments: In BC Canada, we are trying to move the government to get fish farms out of our pristine ocean. I suggest you do the same. There is an election in six months and the federal Conservatives that do not support wild BC salmon are going to be voted out. I have summarized 15,000 pages of science on fish farm issues. By all means, take a look: http://www.fishfarmnews.blogspot.com Don’t call for more science or more boards. Fish farm companies loves the call for science, etc. as it gives them another decade in the ocean before, well, calling for more science. Etc. Tell you government you want them out and on land, or they can go back to Norway.
• Dr David Obendorf, in Comments: … The pre-existing and well-known dissolved oxygen levels in Marquarie Harbour are acknowledged by Petuna as the basis of this, ‘the biggest single aquaculture fish kill in Tasmania’s history’. Both the EPA and DPIPWE had been warned that declines in dissolved oxygen levels could trigger sub-lethal and lethal incidents that could be triggered by weather events or higher water temperatures at these fish farms. The relationship between the fish loads DPIPWE is allowing in the harbour and the commensurate drop in dissolved oxygen levels after the expansion of fish farm leases from 2009 onwards must be investigated as an ecological and an industry sustainability issue.
George Smiley, 'The Picker's Tax Hike' at georgesmileyblog.BlogSpot.com . Pic: of Brett Whiteley
25.05.15 5:30 am
Dear Brett Whiteley, After your last community tea at Stowport you said I had been uncharacteristically quiet. As you might have noticed that day, having anything worthwhile to contribute takes a lot of thought and research and there was simply no point in adding my voice to the outcry against selling secretly compliant halal foods at the major supermarkets, and the potholes on Greta Road. So there is no hope and I felt some sympathy for you.
Does our entitled leadership actually know anything at all about the macro and microscopic facts of life? Have any of them ever gone beyond fitting straight lines to crooked charts or actually got their hands dirty, even in their youth - beyond enjoying free higher education, schmoozing at Young Liberal fundraisers or risking the accidental begetting of bastards in the manner of weak but deeply - committed (oops; deleted for reasons of decency) everywhere? Someone once said ‘the future is another country’. Or maybe that was the past. I used to think it was this one.
John Hawkins, Chudleigh. Pic: John Hawkins' Ad
25.05.15 5:20 am
Senator Eric Abetz has been granted Leave of Absence from Parliament by the Prime Minister - this poses the question as to why?
Caroline Dean, TEDx Pic: of Caroline Dean
25.05.15 5:19 am
Published on 15 May 2015 Caroline’s story is quite a shock. Her experience is deep and traumatic from time working inside the closed community of the Australian prison system. She talks of the systematic failures to understand the issues, the people that pit one person against another and the denial, denial, denial. How can such behaviour on this level be ignored? In fact this type of ‘victim’ versus ‘perpetrator’ model is the fundamental problem. Caroline finds clarity and systemises a way to build a culture and systems around this with alarming results.
Clinton Brown, KORT
25.05.15 5:18 am
KORT has announced an alternative plan for the North-East line which combines the better of two forms of tourism. Their suggestion leaves the rails in place for small railcars but also includes the infilling of the gap between the rails to allow the rail trail to proceed.
Clive Stott, http://www.cleanairtas.com Pub: May 25
25.05.15 5:15 am
Back in 2008/09 Tasmania was blanketed with shocking planned burn smoke. It was happening before this but let’s start here. In fact there was so much smoke it was hard to pinpoint where the burns were.
Tony Orman Journalist/Editor BLENHEIM, 7240 New Zealand
25.05.15 5:00 am
Possums in Australia are protected in mainland states but in New Zealand just a few hours flight away and in total contrast, the possum is classed by authorities as a destructive pest, sentenced to death by extermination and hounded by mass poisoning efforts. The sharp contradiction seems bizarre and the more you delve into the New Zealand attitude and policy, it is ...
• Morton Bartlett, in Comments: Nailed it in one, this stuff is slowly killing this country, species by species
• John Hayward, in Comments: I have yet to see a Tasmanian official admit 1080 causes residual tissue damage at sub-lethal dosages, nor is there any acknowledgement that baits scattered on the ground might be taken by birds. What passes for tough-minded pragmatism in Tas looks a lot like the condition known elsewhere as stupidity.
• Mary Molloy, in Comments: I am a farmer who farmed for over 40 years without TB but with an abundance of possums some years before the massive poisoning from squads of helicopter, firstly from fixed wing planes but now helicopters. We had a vibrant birdlife and over abundance of possums and no TB. Now we find possums very rarely, poor bird numbers except the opportunist sparrows, magpies, starlings etc. On our second farm we had a case of Tb which is now proven to have been bought in, a risk we knew we took. We however checked every group of new cattle ourselves, with local vets and with AHB which is now TB Free - we still got one with TB as our systems in NZ are not open enough nor good enough at identifying risk areas, its a bloody big secret and we are noted proactive people. Tb is a farmer problem, it is not a bush problem, possum problem, goats problem or anything else problem ...
Johann Hari, Huffington Post
25.05.15 4:45 am
It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned—and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments.
25.05.15 4:30 am
As negotiations for Australia to conclude the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) enthusiastically pushed by Trade Minister Andrew Robb it is revealed ... US trade officials pushed EU to shelve action on endocrine-disrupting chemicals linked to cancer and male infertility to facilitate TTIP free trade deal
EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ... the TPP and its implications explained ...
John Quiggin, REneweconomy, reproduced from The Conversation
25.05.15 4:15 am
Prospects for global energy markets have been reshaped by two recent pieces of news, one of which helps to explain the other.
25.05.15 4:10 am
25.05.15 4:05 am
This week on Tassie Pine Tony Abbott discovers a new love for women through the art of product design …
Bruce Guthrie, Editorial Director The New Daily
25.05.15 4:00 am
US talk show host retires after 33 years – but would he have had the same long and illustrious career if he’d said ‘yes’ to Rupert Murdoch?
Australian Marriage Equality national convener Rodney Croome Media Release
24.05.15 6:18 am
“If traditionally-conservative Catholic Ireland can endorse marriage equality, Australia’s political leaders have no more excuses for dragging the chain.”
- Rodney Croome
YESTERDAY on Tasmanian Times ...
David McKnight, Associate Professor, Journalism and Media Research Centre at UNSW Australia. Pic* Pub: May 22
23.05.15 5:30 am
When journalists justify what they do, they invariably say: “We hold governments to account. We act in the public interest.” It justifies the most noble investigative journalism. It is a sacred catechism taught in journalism schools. But the same public interest arguments are also trotted out by the types of journalists who hacked mobile phones to produce sex scandals for Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World. All of this makes The Guardian’s Nick Davies a very unusual journalist. Davies did what few other journalists do. He undertook investigative journalism on journalists themselves. For this, says Davies, the former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, jailed for hacking, called him a “traitor”.
• John Powell, in Comments: Listened to his interview with Richard Fidler on ABC Conservations - HERE - during the week. Amazing commentary on the corruption and manipulation of the Rupert Murdoch media empire. Now clearly evident in the manipulation of the Abbott Government and the MSM representation of the untruths therein enunciated. Shame to all involved.
• Mike Ward, in Comments: I note David McKnight did not declare himself as the author of Rupert Murdoch: An Investigation of Political Power - probably my favourite Murdoch hatchet job, not to mention a sobering and disturbing read in its own right.
Richard Griggs, Deidre Murray, Terry Polglase. Pic* Pub: May 23
23.05.15 5:29 am
Religious freedom is a fundamental civil liberty but it does not extend to excluding children from enrolling at publicly funded schools because of their religion ...
EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...
Benedict Bartl Solicitor, on behalf of 10 signatories* Pic: of Jacquie Petrusma
22.05.15 5:25 am
Dear Mrs Petrusma (Human Resources Minister), Re: Salvation Army Reintegration for Ex-Offenders Program We are writing to express our concern at the decision to cut funding to the Salvation Army’s Reintegration for Ex-Offenders Program (‘the REO Program’). In our opinion, the decision is short-sighted as the failure to provide ongoing funding will result in increased cost and reduced community safety.
• Steve Biddulph, in Comments: As the very qualified list of signatories demonstrates, this is a terribly misjudged decision by Ms Petrusma and her department. It costs almost half a million dollars a year to incarcerate a prisoner in Australia. And the human suffering - for prisoners and their families - of reoffending and reconviction, is very great too. The research is clear that its in the early weeks and months of leaving prison that a person is vulnerable to returning to crime through lack of ways to make a meaningful alternative path in life. These services were devised and developed for a good reason, and have proven effect. That’s not something you throw away.
• Pete Godfrey, in Comments: … Poor effort Ms Petrusma. Not much of a Christian response to the victims of crimes or to the prisoners.
Independent Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie Media Release
22.05.15 5:15 am
“Cadbury’s announcement today that it is sacking 80 staff is a terrible blow to the greater Hobart community. This is 20 per cent of the chocolate factory’s staff, many of whom live in the Glenorchy City area which already has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state,” Mr Wilkie said.
• Jack Lumber, in Comments: An absolute disgrace ... BTW, FFS even I am embarrassed by the continuation of funding to the forest industry vis a $3.5M grant for “excellence and innovation ” .... please they know what to do and it will all be frittered in overheads ...
Dr Michael Powell*. Pic: of Andrew Nikolic. Pub: May 18
22.05.15 4:45 am
Vilification of that order is extreme yet it is the language applied by government to young mums accessing both workplace and government paid parental leave. Such payments were legal and intended in legislation and less inequitable than Mr Abbott’s preferred scheme, yet it is now loaded with condemnation. So what has Mr Nikolic done to justify any vilification? As a member of parliament he receives a very handsome salary but in addition he is entitled to a very generous army pension, something you would kill for. A full time salary plus a pension while still working?
• Karl Stevens, in Comments: Peter Henning. The Liberal ‘two-tiered system of entitlement’ goes beyond anything I had imagined. This week we saw Prime Minister Abbott supporting two multinational mining giants against Australian miner Andrew Forrest. The two big miners both use Singapore to avoid paying billions of dollars of tax in Australia. No wonder Fortesque Minerals cannot compete with them but they have PM Abbott on side because they are bigger. I really find it hard to believe Abbott even represents Australia. His number one cheer leader Andrew Nikolic popped-up in Braddon this week opening a sausage factory. Maybe he has a reciprocal arrangement with fellow ‘Amigo’ Brett Whiteley? Nikolic is your quintessential Gemini in my view. Except he is in some kind of dark realm inhabited by the ghosts of 19th century white supremacy.
• Peter Henning, in Comments: Your comments are closely related to the free trade agenda of the neo-libs of course. If they can get the same kind of free trade arrangements which the US got with South American dictatorships some years ago, they can trash national legislation applying to public health and the environment. The current free-trade agreements being negotiated by Australia - eg the Trans-Pacific - will give transnational corporations the power to sue those who protest against any environmental destruction they inflict on places where they operate. This is a major reason why the Abbott government supports such agreements, because they override national and state jurisdictions re protection of the health and welfare of the public and the environment. The Abbott government is committed to undermining and unwinding the federal legislative framework currently in place which recognises the public interest is best served by imposing standards of conduct on capitalists. Free trade arrangements which give corporations legal power to override national legislation are just fantastic for governments like Abbott’s. It’s nirvana. The bold Duke Prince Philip’s knighthood is a mere bit of icing on the forelock compared to the incomparable glory of gifting Australia’s political autonomy to the highest bidders in the globalised free market.