If it does succumb, it will take any hopes of reviving the Tasmanian forestry industry with it ...

Don Knowler* Pic: Swift Parrots, Flickr, Dave Curtis
10.12.16 4:00 am

Image for If it does succumb, it will take any hopes of reviving the Tasmanian forestry industry with it ...

The dead parrot sketch ( HERE ) might have been one of Monty Python’s most popular, but the demise of our own swift parrot is no laughing matter, writes Don Knowler

Timberbiz: Cold comfort for Tasmanians Six Tasmanian government businesses are operating with a letter of comfort from the Treasurer including Forestry Tasmania. During a government business enterprise hearing scrutinising the Tasmanian Public Finance Corporation, Labor MLC Craig Farrell asked Treasurer Peter Gutwein which state-owned entities currently had a letter of comfort. Mr Gutwein named Forestry Tasmania, Hydro Tasmania, Tasmanian Irrigation, TasRail, Tasports and Tasracing. Hydro Tasmania has been operating under various letters of comfort from Mr Gutwein — also known as a support agreements — since the Liberals took office …

• John Hayward in Comments: This parrots’ prospects would be dire enough if the bumbling LibLabs were merely indifferent to their fate, but all evidence is that these pollies bear the same blanket resentment toward nature that they do toward those humans who wish to protect it.

Geoff Law: Groom flouts UNESCO request to protect wilderness character in World Heritage … “Minister Groom has ignored the request of the World Heritage Committee and his own commitment to accept the recommendation of UNESCO’s experts and is undermining the protection of wilderness,” said Geoff Law, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society. “Wilderness is a defining feature of Tasmania’s World Heritage Area, a powerful brand for Tasmania and something that has always had strong, clear protection through previous management plans. “Now, Minister Groom has signed off on a plan that explicitly allows private, commercial developments to intrude within secluded and tranquil settings. Buildings and helicopter noise will degrade this wilderness. “The plan released today will reduce the protection for wilderness, an indictment on Tasmania and a genuine threat to our credibility in the international World Heritage arena …

Matthew Groom: Outstanding significance of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area protected with new management

Rosalie Woodruff: Warped Liberal Politics Put MONA’s Macquarie Point Vision at Risk

Rosalie Woodruff: Liberals Prioritise Presentation over Preservation in the TWWHA

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Writers | Don Knowler | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society

The War on Welfare ...

Maddison Garden, Sydney, Australia ... From an anonymous Trainer in the Job Active System Pic* First pub: Dec 8
10.12.16 3:40 am

Image for The War on Welfare ...

A Comment on New Matilda’s article, Unemployed Worker’s Union Report Reveals Shocking Job Network Failures ... Trans-Ed or Foundation Skills as it is otherwise known, targets ‘transitioning’ welfare recipients including those on disability payments ‘ toward work’ as part of the government’s ongoing policy of war on welfare.

• Ed: Tell your stories of dealing with ‘job providers’ in Tassie in the Comments section …

• Terentius in Comments: … A rep from Centrelink told me soon after this when I asked for release from the Newstart ‘agreement’ that major heart damage and permanent physical impairment were beside the point. Having been dead and then revived meant that my health situation had improved and I was recovering. The words “improved” and “recovering” were part of the Centrelink disability claim form questionnaire … I congratulate those who are well intentioned toward providing for those less fortunate amongst us. I observe and despair at the ongoing mistreatment of the unemployed, the disaffected, the disadvantaged, the disabled and the poor. I fume at and wish great misfortune upon those porcine entrepreneurs and leeches at the vast government trough who claim small fortunes in the fields of job providing, job training, education, child minding, welfare and numerous other good lurks where the priority is self enrichment rather than the stated goals …

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Politics | National | State | Economy | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Personal | Society

People of Tasmania would like to know ...

Pete Godfrey. Pic* First published December 5
10.12.16 3:30 am

Image for People of Tasmania would like to know ...

Pete Godfrey in Comments, HERE So if the government don’t accept that the damage to the Basslink cable was a force majeure, then what do they think caused the damage? The people of Tasmania would like to know.

ABC: Tasmanian Government rejects Basslink’s ‘no-cause’ finding on cable fault

• Pat Synge in Comments: As far as I know the location of the Geelong Star when the cable was damaged has never been ascertained and now it has left Australian waters.

• Kelvin Jones in Comments: … Then there is still the question: where was the Geelong Star at the critical time of cable failure? No one has presented any proof that it could not have been the cause.

ABC: Power bill hike fears if Basslink regulated, Bryan Green says

Bryan Green: Secret Basslink power play exposed

• Kelvin Jones in Comments: Lightning ... Without going into transmission line theory Pete Godfrey is on the mark. A lightning bolt sufficiently powerful enough to overcome the spike protectors entering the cable would blow the insulation along the cable length. This will continue until the voltage in the spike was attenuated by arching to earth through the shattered insulation. The rest of the energy pulse would continue down the cable until absorbed to earth by the cable capacitance. It would not, I repeat would not blow a hole from inside to out … In view of leaving port with newly and extensively modified nets it would no be unreasonable that Geelong Star set a course running south of Geelong to allow a quick return if net testing showed more land based modifications were needed. If this initial course was taken then not needing to return to port would put Geelong Star on a course to NSW waters that is highly likely to cross the cable at the damage point. If the net for some reason took an unexpected sudden dive whilst they crossed the cable we have a recipe for the damage to the cable.

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Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Opinion | Legal | Society

A letter to Dr Vanessa Goodwin on foxes

Dr Clive A Marks, Dr David Obendorf First published December 5
10.12.16 3:15 am

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… We seek to clarify aspects of Tasmanian law in respect of importing and distributing fox carcasses, scats and tissues in the environment …

• Ian Rist in Comments: I don’t think they will ever admit to the damage this badly thought out and executed 1080 meat baiting campaign is responsible for ....Quolls definitely have worn the brunt of it, Devils copped it as well. One small population of five Devils that I was on a first name basis with completely disappeared after 1080 meat fox baiting occurred in their home range area.
I have been contacted by owners that have lost domestic and working dogs, a dreadful tragedy that simply should never have been allowed to happen…especially when it was all based on a “bright shining lie” …

• Ian Rist in Comments: … In excess of 350,000 1080 fox baits have been put out in the Tasmanian Landscape since 2002.

• John Hayward in Comments: It is well-established that sub-lethal doses of 1080 have been found to cause residual damage to organs such as the brain, heart, and reproductive system. What I have never encountered, despite repeated queries, is a Tas Government response to this issue. In light of this, the Tas Govt’s refusal to countenance the re-introduction of disease-free devils to the mainland, which is strongly urged by the scientific community, needs to revisited by credible authorities.

Mercury: Man to appear in Launceston court over fox find by Frankford Highway

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Writers | Clive Marks | David Obendorf | Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

Boycotts ramp up on The Body Shop and L’Oreal

Isla MacGregor*. Pic: The Body Shop ...
10.12.16 2:39 am

Image for Boycotts ramp up on The Body Shop and L’Oreal

In the lead up to Christmas cosmetic retailer The Body Shop is coming under increasing pressure from women’s human rights groups with calls for consumers to boycott their products. The Body Shop is one many corporate offenders on the Collective Shout 2016 Crossed Off list an annual blacklist of corporate offenders who have sexualised girls and objectified women throughout the year …

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Writers | Isla MacGregor | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

Growing Within the Community ... The Christmas Party ...

Josie Young* Pic: The Chrissy barbie ... First published December 5
10.12.16 2:20 am

Image for Growing Within the Community ... The Christmas Party ...

… A Story of Gratitude from the Hobart Women’s Shelter … … Every so often however it is through the kindness of a stranger, a simple act of selflessness that I am snapped back to the reality of the time we live in. Our community faces huge challenges, but we can change that …

Christmas came early ... Christmas came early to some of Glenorchy’s most special residents with our annual women’s and children’s Christmas Party. Attended by 50 children, and 30 women this was one of our biggest gatherings yet. Amidst laughter, water sports and a traditional Aussie BBQ Santa arrived to add some magic and gifts to the mix …

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Writers | Josie Young | Politics | International | Local | National | New Zealand | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Philosophy | Personal | Society

The rise of the lumpen fuhrers ...

Jo Zananiri* Pic*
10.12.16 2:00 am

Image for The rise of the lumpen fuhrers ...

You see them here, you see them there, you see them almost everywhere … yes the lumpen proletarian are being conjured up eerily across the globe at the behest of some rather nakedly ugly politicians playing racist tunes.  And indeed they have a new Clinton-coined name ... the basket of deplorables …

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Regulars | Josephine Zananiri | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

NATION: All tip and no iceberg ...

Urban Wronksi (aka David Tyler*) Pic: Donkey Hotey, Flickr First published December 5
09.12.16 5:00 am

Image for NATION: All tip and no iceberg ...

“A bunch of bong-sniffing, dole-bludging, moss-munching, glue-guzzling, K-Mart Castros are again vandalising Parliament. And stopping other opinions being heard.”

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Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | National | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Society

Letter to the Editor on Eric Abetz ...

John Green* Pic: of Eric Abetz from his website First published December 8
09.12.16 4:45 am

Image for Letter to the Editor on Eric Abetz ...

When I read the Eric Abetz article in the Features Pages of The Mercury on Wednesday 7 December 2016 I had the weird feeling that someone from a parallel universe was trying to make contact with Planet Earth. Eric Abetz seems to live in the sixth dimension who are born with blinkers and extremely narrow minds … Eric Abetz would have credibility as a Human Rights Advocate if he also condemned the evil dictators that the CIA helped to install in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. Eric Abetz is of course a member of a Government which has placed people fleeing prosecution by evil dictators in prison camps where conditions are such that the refugees and their children have suffered severe psychological damage …

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The Liberals Plan to Flog off Taroona’s School Bushland

Ted Mead* First published December 7
08.12.16 4:30 am

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Flogging off more of the family silver to developers! With no community engagement, The Liberal government has submitted a subdivision proposal to Kingborough Council for the residential development of a 9 lot land parcel within the Taroona School bushland precinct.

• Phillip Lowe (UK) in Comments: I remember this land around the Taroona School and a very nice place it is to walk. It does seem sad to contemplate residential housing on this community social space. What is even sadder is the picture that your commentating readers paint of Tasmanian politicians and establishment authority in general. What kind of confidence would this give to anybody who was thinking of moving to Tasmania?

Jeremy Rockliff: Halt to Taroona High School subdivision

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Writers | Ted Mead | Politics | Local | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Health | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society

Poverty of 20th & 21st century architectural imagination ...

Stefan Petrow* Pics* First published December 7
08.12.16 3:15 am

Image for Poverty of 20th & 21st century architectural imagination ...

Book Launch Municipal Magnificence: The Hobart Town Hall, 1866-2016 Tonight ( TT here ) we celebrate the history of the building that more than any other reflects the social, cultural, religious and political history of Hobart over 150 years …

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Politics | Local | State | Books | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Society

Change The Date

Erik Jensen* Pic* First published December 5
07.12.16 4:15 am

Image for Change The Date

At a basic level, politics is the search for will. It is about finding the possibilities for a country. But if anything has defined the past decade or so of public life in Australia, it is the misplacing of this key principle. It is no longer plausible to expect our leaders to lead. That is why this message is not directed towards politicians. They are not listening. This is a message to musicians, to artists, to families. It is a call to boycott Australia Day celebrations on January 26. It is a call to find a new date to celebrate as one people. It is a call to move the culture, so the politics follows …

New Matilda: CHANGE THE DATE: Read This If You Want To Know Why Australia Day Is So Offensive

First Dog: Wait what?! You want to move Australia Day?! You monsters!!

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Politics | National | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Society

Feminists celebrate MPs’ defeat of Victorian Birth Certificate Bill

Tessa Anne* Pic*
07.12.16 3:00 am

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… We were disappointed to see that Labor member Gayle Tierney continued to deny the impact of the proposed law on women’s right to female-only spaces and services, such as domestic violence shelters, changing rooms within female-only facilities and sports teams. …

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Writers | Tessa Anne | Politics | State | Economy | Health | Opinion | Legal | Society

The Masturbation Series ...

Paul Carter*
06.12.16 3:30 am

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Read, see,  here

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Writers | Paul Carter | Arts | Society

Tarkine Gems Threatened by Future Liberal Logging

Ted Mead* All pics: Ted Mead. First published December 4
06.12.16 3:00 am

Image for Tarkine Gems Threatened by Future Liberal Logging

There is no longer a Forestry war between Industry and Conservationists, yet the State Liberals want such a controversy, and they are convinced that opening up old wounds through the logging of deferred forests prior to the next state election will win them governance again.

Bob Brown Foundation: Only 8 weeks to stop Tarkine rainforest destruction

Analysis of logging plan shows important values need protection

Bob Brown ob Brown Foundation making final appeal to the state government to remove sections of the Tarkine from Forestry Tasmania’s logging schedule

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Writers | Ted Mead | Politics | International | Local | National | New Zealand | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Personal | Society

Abrupt Climate Change ...

Keith Antonysen* Pic*
02.12.16 5:00 am

Image for Abrupt Climate Change ...

On a New Zealand radio station Guy McPherson suggested that humans would be extinct within 10 years. He made these comments on 24 November 2016 …

• Mike Bolan in Comments: … Could we be extinct in 10 years? Yes given the right alignment of systemic failures. Can a Turnbull/Trump world save us? Staggeringly unlikely. What must we do to survive? Revert to smaller self-sustaining communities, seize control of our own lives and futures, and stop relying on the growing hordes of people who say that they know what’s best for us. If we haven’t worked out yet that handing our survival over to political parties is a mistake ... well ...

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Politics | International | Local | National | New Zealand | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Health | Opinion | History | Society

Peace: the final frontier

Kim Peart* of Ross. Pic*
02.12.16 4:30 am

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Writers | Kim Peart | Politics | International | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Personal | Society

First Day ... December ... a tribute to Leonard ...

Giles Hugo
01.12.16 4:00 am

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December 1 ... and Hobart photographer Giles Hugo celebrates the incomparable Leonard Cohen ... who performed at the Derwent Entertainment Centre in 2010 ...

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Politics | State | Arts | Economy | Environment | Opinion | Media | Society

End discrimination against Tasmania ...

Peter Brohier* Pic* First published November 30
01.12.16 3:45 am

Image for End discrimination against Tasmania ...

Senators ... this is your chance to respond ... … Today Tasmanians continue to be unjustly separated from family and friends. Their major commercial activities also lack the necessary access to people. A move to integrate Bass Strait into the national highway system has failed leaving a massive interstate infrastructure gap on the highway between Melbourne and Hobart. At the same time, the rest of the nation enjoys equitable access to and from their state of origin crossing deserts, rivers and mountain ranges using a surface transport network costing taxpayers billions.  …

The purpose of federation was to link all the colonies into an integrated economy though the movement of both people and freight. The transport barrier of the Strait was described by the Coalition in 1996 as, “the single most serious impediment to the growth of jobs, investment and population for Tasmania”. Regrettably this impediment largely remains today.

Note: This letter was sent to all Australian Senators on Sunday. The question is ... will any of them move this petition into the Senate? The petition will be made available if published in Hansard.

• Gordon Bradbury in Comments: Great work Peter. The thought occurred to me the other day that Tasmania has neither a rail connection nor a National Highway connection to the rest of Australia, but the ATO does not consider Tasmania a remote area for taxation purposes! Talk about hypocrisy. We get taxed as though we are part of the Nation when in fact we are treated as second class Australians.

• Mick Kenny in Comments: Victorians are paying $18 billion over 27 years to the operators of a desalination plant, simply to remain on standby. Without dwelling upon the controversial issues surrounding construction of the plant itself, that alone is a lot of money. Reasonably priced vehicle access between Tasmania and the rest of the country and massive road network isn’t that big an ask. The big challenge seems to be overcoming the ideological mindset dominating major public infrastructure, fixated as it is on private corporate models.

• Steve C in Comments: So if Jackie Lambie is Federal, then she can use Section 52 of the Constitution which includes …

Download petition ...

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Politics | National | State | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Society | Transport | Travel

Foxes ...

Lindsay Tuffin* First published November 30
01.12.16 3:30 am

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Tasmanian Times has been asked to allow comments on whether or not foxes are prevalent in Tasmania; whether or not hoaxing is the basis of a The Great Fox Hunt which has consumed the past decade and cost at least $50 million of your (taxpayers’) money. TT has its own interest in this issue ... hosting through forensic biologist Dr David Obendorf a $5000 Fox Reward for five years until 2010 ...Truth ever so slowly emerges … perhaps the ABC’s latest reports indicate that it was all a hoax … so, the columns of Tassietimes is open for comments (having been closed of late because of the viciousness of debate). I just ask that you be respectful of other people’s deeply-held views …

• John Hayward in Comments: Even when an inconvenient truth fully emerges, stark naked and bigger than life, Tasmanian officialdom will steadfastly ignore it until it goes away.

ABC: Concerns about federal fox funding raised two years ago, Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie says

• Dr David Obendorf in Comments: The search for proof or evidence is, in my opinion, over. This issue has dragged on long enough with considerable expenditure in time and effort to firstly discover the buried truth and then have the responsible bureaucracy acknowledge and confront that reality. There appears to be an entrenched stupidity which borders on a form of psychological illness which has allowed this folly to tranform from an ill-conceived and sensational narrative into a full-blown travesty. The longer it goes on as an unaccountable issue it will only weigh down on the standing of that department, its employees and more worryingly on the State. There are likely to be implications if this type of corporate malfeasance is not addressed. For everyone’s interests, open communication and a shared clarity are needed to work out exactly what is at stake here. It seems pointless for the hierarchy of DPIPWE or the current government to delay, obfuscate and remain aloof from the inevitable need to confront a systemic failure in proper oversight and governance …

• O’Brien in Comments: … Minister(s) responsible, Messrs Groom & Rockliff have publicly said and done nothing, true to form. The Minister responsible denies responsibility, arguing he relies on departmental advice, which is true. What we have here is a textbook example of the devolution of Westminster parliamentary democracy. A system in decay …

• Jack J in Comments: The risk of someone introducing a genuine live fox has never been greater. A lack of any genuine attempt to resolve the issue by DPIPWE has permitted those responsible for this egregious scam to simmer. The latest hoax fox on the Frankford Rd has put to bed the fantasy of “upgraded biosecurity” forever. There are dangerous idiots out there with the capacity to introduce a live fox. It’s not hard to do. And what are the laws to prevent this happening? What do they offer as a penalty and means of prevention? A slap on the wrist. Never has the motivation of the fox scammer to prove a point been greater. The people with that motivation are still here and have not been exposed. DPIPWE has provided them the cover through inaction. This has enabled a bigger problem and bigger risk. But the greatest idiots by far are those attempting to make this all go away with silence. Silence is golden, but so is the colour of pissing on the public with contempt. For they are more concerned with saving their own skins than they are with saving Tasmanian biodiversity. It makes me almost physically sick to see those basking in the hero glow of conservation rhetoric walk away from the disaster they have overseen. Get real DPIPWE Minister and do your bloody job. The longer this goes on the greater the risk becomes.

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Writers | David Obendorf | Lindsay Tuffin | Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Personal | Society

Why? BAFTA-Award winning doco on Mr Flanagan has received no ABC promo ...

Lindsay Tuffin* Pic* First pub: Nov 29
01.12.16 3:25 am

Image for Why? BAFTA-Award winning doco on Mr Flanagan has received no ABC promo ...

Why? Why? Why has this documentary been hidden? Why is there no ABC link? Why? This is a BAFTA award-winning documentary ffs ... and yet there has been no promotion in Australia. And it’s on tonight - Richard Flanagan: Life After Death - ABC1 at 9.30pm.

• Poppy Lopatniuk in Comments: We are indeed fortunate to have such a great storyteller as Richard Flanagan in our midst. As an ancient relic of Tasmania I can relate to all the infamous times that he brings to light and to me especially the great poignancy of the Burma Railway episode which will forever have scars for many …

• Margaretta Pos in Comments: Further to my comment #6, Today’s Choices in the Mercury’s television guide for the said night were: First Dates UK (SCTV) and First Contact (SBS). It was only when I glanced down the guide that I saw the Flanagan program. Shame on the Merc … for which I worked for 21 years and which I still have delivered.

• Editor in Comments: Amanda Meade in the Guardian has detailed this tale of gross under-promotion ... HERE ... Says Amanda: “It might surprise you then to hear that the documentary was broadcast on the ABC on Tuesday and you probably missed it. For reasons unknown even to people inside Aunty, the doco was completely sidelined: not given the courtesy of a press release, a publicity campaign or an-air promo. “It is more than strange when a documentary on an Australian writer can succeed on the BBC and be set up for resounding failure a year and a half later on the ABC,” one insider said. So why did they bury something that would be popular, given the right handling? Politics? Resentment that the BBC made a successful blue-chip, Bafta-winning documentary about an Australian writer? We have no clue.

• Daniel in Comments: No conspiracy, merely incompetence, the iView version ends abruptly 4 minutes short. Probably a cap on the ABC servers data storage, or a failure to set it correctly. Luckily I watched the program on broadcast - I was deeply affected and so promoted it to family, that we watch it together on iView. The Burma Railway carries terrible significance to us and it was very disappointing to crash out of the program short of the summation and finale. Unfortunately, the ABC is buggered.

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: Came across the Flanagan documentary by accident. Had no idea it was on. For those who missed it, it is well worth chasing down on iView. Tasmania is indeed fortunate to have someone of so many fine talents. His capacity to say so much in so few words, a non-intrusive interlocutor, and good archival footage, made this fascinating television. I expect our own Booker prizewinner will be long dead before his truly immense value to the state is recognised by those in high office, who will, in all probability, still be ludicrously insisting that Tasmania is “clean and green” — and, worse, still believing themselves.

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Writers | Richard Flanagan | Politics | International | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Media | Personal | Society

NATION: Into the gutter with Dutton ...

Urban Wronski* (aka David Tyler) . Pic: of Peter Dutton, Flickr, Dingram_Kiwi First Pub: Nov 28
01.12.16 3:20 am

Image for NATION: Into the gutter with Dutton ...

… “The reality,” he says, “is Malcolm Fraser did make mistakes in bringing some people in the 1970s and we’re seeing that today.” Fraser should have been able to eyeball refugees then and pick which ones would bear terrorist-related offending grandchildren. In a payback to a dead man who dared criticise his punitive detention and off-shore torture policy, the classy Dutton argues in effect that Australia should be admitting only the right kind of refugee, the immigrant who fits in and eagerly assimilates. It’s a preposterous rationing of human compassion and a wilful denial of the government’s own non-selective policy and the UN Refugee Convention. It explains the delay in Syrian refugee arrivals. Posturing as a moderate against a “tricky Bill Shorten”, Dutton ends up wedging Turnbull who is daily revealed to be a weak leader, our weakest Prime Minister ever, who must appease his right wing captors at all costs even if it means indulging overt racist hate-speak in parliament. Each time Dutton gets into the gutter he drags his captive Prime Minister down with him. Worse. For WA Labor MP Anne Aly, Dutton’s dog-whistling evokes several immediate threats of bodily harm. A Facebook post next day reads ” I would love to kill you and poison your family. ” Another reads “Peter Dutton was right,” referring to “Leb thugs”. “Pack your bags and piss off back to where you came from and take all of your terrorist faith with you.”  …

Fairfax: Crashing to zero: Malcolm Turnbull’s support evaporates in Fairfax-Ipsos poll

Lambie welcomes Liberals’ Backpacker Tax Back-down

• Simon Warriner in Comments: … If party politicians are looking for the reasons they rank well below prostitutes on the public trust scale this is a bloody good place to start. Politicians from other parties need not think they have dodged the bullet. Their role was to scrutinise govt and hold it to account. YOU missed this! Our kids are entering a job market in a shambles, with double digit youth unemployment, and you let this shit happen? Shame! …

• Wining Pom in Comments: #7; ‘If party politicians are looking for the reasons they rank well below prostitutes on the public trust scale this is a bloody good place to start.’
That is a gross insult to prostitutes, using them to compare.  I mean, with prostitutes, you pays your money and you get satisfaction.  With politicians you’re expected to be the limp receiver of the missionary shaft and then be expected to thank them for the attention.

• John Hawkins in Comments: This contract is for nearly three billion dollars. How much more has been spent since December 2014 Mr Dutton? This must be the most profitable contract ever let in terms of percentage. This is only for the refugee programs.

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Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | International | National | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Legal | Society

Light rail ... It beggars belief ...

Andrew Wilkie, Independent MP for Denison. Speech to Parliament. Pic* First pub: Nov 30
01.12.16 3:15 am

Image for Light rail ... It beggars belief ...

Deputy Speaker … building light rail in Hobart would link communities, reduce road traffic congestion, ease the cost of living and help clean up the environment. And it could be easily achieved because the land corridor is there, the community wants it and the media is on board …

So Deputy Speaker, the fact that Hobart still doesn’t have light rail really does beggar belief. It is, I regret to say, yet another symbol of the long-running failure of governance in Tasmania, and of too many lazy and incompetent politicians …

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Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Personal | Society

Arnold Bloch Leibler, acting for the Receivers v Abetz Curtis, acting for Forestry Tasmania

John Hawkins* Chudleigh. Pic* First published November 29
29.11.16 7:25 am

Image for Arnold Bloch Leibler, acting for the Receivers v Abetz Curtis, acting for Forestry Tasmania

A most interesting case is currently before the Supreme Court of Victoria, S ECI 2013 2095 between …

• John Hawkins in Comments: Henry Melville comment #7 is correct ... the matter is now subject to a Deed of Settlement over the Restitution Claim conditional upon the Court giving or making the directions and orders sought by the Application. The important fact that Melville omits is that the Deed of Settlement between Forestry Tasmania and Korda Mentha is Confidential. The figure will therefore remain unknown ... perhaps John Lawrence could elucidate how it can be tracked down with the costs in this gravy train and how they fell? …

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Writers | John Hawkins | Politics | International | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Media | Society

The USA elections and our broken system ...

John Biggs* Pic* First published November 26
28.11.16 4:14 am

Image for The USA elections and our broken system ...

Thank you Donald Trump! That subheading does not reflect my views as a citizen, but acknowledges that the Trump tsunami helped me crystallise what I think has gone wrong with our own political system …

That outcome is surely beyond belief when seen through the lens of conventional politics. Donald Trump, a racist, misogynistic liar, arguably psychopathic, who had no political experience, nominally representing the Republican party when the leaders of that party were strongly opposed to him, promoting few if any sensible policies, had won the presidency of the most powerful and influential country in the world. What unreason is that! …

High degrees of racism were the inevitable result. Workers’ wages had not changed significantly for 30 odd years while the wealth of the urban, already rich, had multiplied many times over. Sixty years ago, the top 1 percent of the wealthy own 9 per cent of the total wealth of the USA, today the top 1 percent own 35 per cent of the nation’s wealth. This imbalance of wealth is certainly worse in the US than in Australia, but the pattern is the same as in the US …

Dr Michael Powell in Comments: The Last Trump ... There is something apocalyptic about the election of Donald Trump. No one can quite define it but there has been an utter alteration. In a tilt at our obsessive commercialism, one commentator described it as ‘product improved fascism’ and certainly this feels like an election for all those that missed the 1930s …

The Archdruid Report: The End of the American Century

ABC: Trump and Brexit success could herald Australian regional, rural revolt

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Writers | John Biggs | Politics | International | National | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Society

Tasmania at the crossroads: The Planning Scheme Future

Graeme Wathen* Pic of Professor Buxton by Rob Blakers, First pub: Nov 26
28.11.16 4:00 am

Image for Tasmania at the crossroads: The Planning Scheme Future

An Interview with Professor Michael Buxton 15 November 2016. Michael Buxton is a professor of Environment and Planning at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.
… Now if Tasmania doesn’t wake up to this, it’s going to do two things: destroy its most scenic landscapes excluding all but the privileged few, and secondly it’s going to leave towns languishing. So the people of Tasmania are going to be the losers in both ways …

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

The Peter Gutwein no-show. Video. National Trust warning ...

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Should public opinion determine policy?

Max Atkinson* Pic* First published November 25
28.11.16 3:53 am

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Political philosophy, like other realms of moral philosophy, deals with issues which cannot be settled by a formal test or procedure - such as a rule of law or the judgment of a political official; either because there is no rule or the rules are unclear, so that someone must first decide what the rule should be …

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Thursday to Thursday ...

Leo Schofield* Foxtel Pic: of Leo Schofield. First published November 26
28.11.16 3:45 am

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Notes on a week on the island … How did I feel returning to Tasmania? Waves of nostalgia constantly broke over me. Not quite a tsunami but enough to constitute a warm immersion. Despite the best energies of the developers this remains a place of great beauty and I had the sense that awareness and appreciation of its unique attractions was growing. How lucky we were to be here to hear some of the most sublime music ever written performed by such outstanding musicians. And it was all happening in Hobart. Incredible. With the bonus of a road trip. …

• Bronwyn Williams in Comments: Leo’s right … the TSO was in perfect form, the three vocal artistes sang their tits off - in German - and the audience was a revelation.  Like the most conscientious of library users while the music played, and crazed, whooping, foot stomping Black Sabbath fans when it stopped. The ladies wore fabulous glittery dresses, and the singing gent looked like he’d just finished a day’s work on a horse drawn carriage, or been to a VERY fancy wedding.  There was a disembodied voice coming from the rafters, and a mesmerising oboe solo emanating from the same unseen location, and a chorus singing somewhere else entirely. …

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C H Smith Development Proposal on Council Agenda today (Nov 28)

Ray Norman*
28.11.16 3:30 am

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At Launceston City Council’s second last scheduled meeting for 2016 Council will consider a proposal for the development one of the city’s iconic heritage sites, the C H Smith Buildings on the lower end Charles Street …

Examiner: Launceston Alderman Janie Finlay’s conduct charge dropped

Peter Gutwein: Northern Economic Stimulus package supporting CH Smith investment


Launceston Concerned Citizens: How to find 9 million smackerooz in a hurry ...

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Talking of failures ...

Andrew Ricketts, Convenor The Environment Association (TEA) Inc Pic: Ted Mead of myrtle in the Tarkine First pub: Nov 24
27.11.16 3:30 am

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… Talking of failures: The State Forestry Minister, Guy Barnett’s recent foolish proposal to trash a significant amount of National Reserve System informal public reserves in Tasmania is an international disgrace. The current Tasmanian Government under Rebuilding the Forest Industry Act 2014 (RFIA) set aside the 400,000 Ha of the TFA forests (originally to be reserved) at least until 2020. Now the Liberals are reneging - cannot be trusted to even honour their own legislation …

• Jack Lumber in Comments: … No matter what view people have on Tasmania, we must all work together to ensure popularists and snake oil merchants never achieve such influence in any part of Australia.

Most Tasmanians locked out of Regional Forest Agreement process

BirdLife Tasmania: Forestry Tasmania’s careless insect spraying threatens to bring forest silence

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