Articles

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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Politics | National | State | Economy | Environment | Science | Society

Stop Needless Live Export Abuse

Chris Simcox, Animals Tasmania Media Release
04.02.16 5:16 am

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Animals Tasmania are appalled that 56 cattle died on a ship travelling from Tasmania to Victoria ( ABC HERE ).

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | Personal | Society | Transport

Andrew Robb is running scared on independent TPP scrutiny

Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson Media Release
04.02.16 4:59 am

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Today Andrew Robb has signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) on behalf of the Australian government. Greens spokesperson for Trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, provides the following comments ...

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NATION: Soft-and-cuddly Sco-Mo resets to Rottweiler ...

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ First pub: February 3. Pic*
03.02.16 3:45 am

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Don’t tell waste your breath telling the Federal Treasurer his tax plans are unpopular. Being unpopular will only serve to flatter his colossal ego.  Don’t ask how he can ignore the will of the people. Or delay the hundreds of submissions to his green paper on tax reform options. ScoMo knows what’s good for us. He’s about to launch a 15 % GST hike upon us.

A democratic government respects the will of the people. It does not trash popular opinion to follow its own agenda of protecting privilege by offering tax cuts to its mates. It cannot merely be the servant of entrenched division and inequality. It cannot seek tax reform submissions and just sit on them. It cannot offer slogans instead of explanation of its aims. If it seeks more tax revenue it must make its case for increased prosperity for the common good.  …

SMH: Paul Keating slams a bigger GST as faux reform but admits hospital funding crisis

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Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | National | Economy | Environment | Opinion | Personal | Society

SUNDAY: Albatrosses latest victims of Geelong Star. WEDNESDAY: More wildlife victims ...

BirdLife Tasmania convenor, Eric Woehler Media Release. Pic: of Geelong Star. First published January 31
03.02.16 3:30 am

Image for SUNDAY: Albatrosses latest victims of Geelong Star. WEDNESDAY: More wildlife victims ...

WEDNESDAY February 3 ...

• Rebecca Hubbard in Comments: More Wildlife Killed by the Geelong Star Super Trawler as Fisheries Management Continues to Fail the Australian Public ...

SUNDAY January 31 ...

BirdLife Tasmania has condemned the news that the factory freezer trawler Geelong Star has recently killed seven albatrosses, including 5 in a single shot of their net. “Albatrosses are already under pressure globally from fisheries by-catch, “ BirdLife Tasmania convenor, Eric Woehler, said. “They are amongst the most threatened of seabirds anywhere in the world”, he added. “The killing of these iconic seabirds by this trawler is completely unacceptable,” Dr Woehler said.

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John Lawrence: FT directors quit ... and ...

John Lawrence, Tasfintalk: http://www.tasfintalk.blogspot.com.au/ First published February 1 Pic*
02.02.16 4:15 am

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TUESDAY February 2 ...

• Mike Buky ... Dear Friends of a Dying Lapoinya ...

• Bob Brown ... … These were also the first arrests under the Hodgman government’s draconian anti-protest laws, specifically designed to stymy people from peacefully defending Tasmania’s forests and wildlife. Minister for Forests Paul Harriss’ bullying and counter-productive invasion of Lapoinya may not be unrelated to the resignation of Forestry Tasmania’s CEO and 3 board members this week. FT’s efforts to get green certification risk being scuttled by Harriss’ wanton destruction of this protected species’ habitat. But the invasion of the Lapoinya Forest is far from over. I was arrested on Monday for making a stand with the local community. More arrests are occurring. But you can help save Lapoinya and all Tasmania’s life-filled forests too, without being arrested …

The Japan Times: Tasmanian bush fires raze ancient World Heritage forests

SMH: ‘Like losing the thylacine’: Fire burns Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

CNN: Did ancient Egypt suffer from climate change? ”(It was) a crucial period when the Old Kingdom started to face major critical factors: The rise of democracy, the horrific impact of nepotism and the role played by interest groups,” he says, adding that climate change also played a role in bringing an end to not only the Old Kingdom empire, but those in the Middle East and Western Europe at that time. Within 200 years of the Queen Mother’s death, the Nile no longer flooded and drought consumed the kingdom.

ABC: Tasmania fires: First images of World Heritage Area devastation emerge, show signs of ‘system collapse’

ABC iView: Earth On Fire: A Catalyst Special

MONDAY February 1 ...

• FT directors quit ... … Directors come and go but Boards work best if there’s some continuity. The three replacement directors are mainly from forestry academic backgrounds. Which is a little strange given that FT is chronically insolvent. Reconstruction and marketing skills might’ve been handy around the Board table? Instead Minister Harriss has stacked the Board with forestry academics and is proceeding with his plan to sell immature hardwood plantations to cover operating expenses for the next 2 years so that it can concentrate on unprofitable native forest operations. It does suggest the impotence of the Board given Mr Ferrall’s role as de facto Voluntary Administrator. …

• Are Forestry Tasmania’s losses even greater?

• Ta Ann dossier ...

Mercury Talking Point: … The loss of Bob Annells, who decided not to seek another term as FT chairman, needs to be viewed alongside the investor confidence trashing actions of Mr Harriss in revelling in an old-style “greens versus loggers” fight over a forestry coupe that no one thinks is particularly important, except the locals who live alongside it. Mr Annells is a highly experienced and politically savvy director with a strong track record in Victoria and Tasmania of understanding how government enterprises work. He has said nothing about his decision not to seek another term. Sometimes silence is the statement itself. Other directors who retired at the same time as Mr Annells include highly capable businessman Rob Woolley. The FT board has lost serious intellectual horsepower when it most needs it. What led to this untidy state of affairs? …

• Mike Bolan in Comments: 20 years ago Tasmania’s forestry leaders were being heavily buttered up, flown around the world and congratulated on their ‘world class’ operations by Nordic hustlers for pulp mills. Harriss, Lennon, Gay, Gray and others were all in the conga line for international strokes. Supporters of ‘industrial forestry’ became so enamoured of their own far-sighted brilliance that they ignored the obvious contradictions in attempting to profit by trashing trees that took decades to grow, converting them to undifferentiable woodchips and putting them onto declining international commodity markets. … Enter Paul Harriss whose frown, pursed lips and accusatory speech is backed by laws (not designed to punish ordinary Tasmanians) that punish ordinary Tasmanians. Could this be the face of our future? “Revenge of the Suckers”?

Examiner: Burned ...

Mercury Talking Point: It’s a special place called home … It’s ludicrous and embarrassing on a global scale. We are not hippies or extremists chaining ourselves to trees. We are not even anti-logging, but we are against unsustainable logging such as clearfelling as proposed for the Lapoinya forest coupe. We are teachers, nurses, councillors, scientists, tourism operators, artists and the list goes on. We are everyday people who do not want to pay for the destruction of this forest, this habitat which many plants and animals call home …

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Writers | John Lawrence | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Science | Society

Huon Council to review credit card payments

Peter Coad Mayor HVC Media Release. Pic: of Mayor Coad campaigning ...
02.02.16 4:00 am

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… Mayor Coad said he had endeavoured to obtain the credit card information from the General Manager, but had been denied, the GM arguing that it was not within the role or functions of the Mayor to obtain this information. He said approval of Cr Mackintosh’s motion was a positive step by Council towards becoming more open and transparent. It was not about whether things had been done inappropriately, he said. Rather, it was about Council meeting its fiduciary responsibilities under the Act. Cr Mackintosh’s motion was supported by Mayor Coad and Crs Lydia Eastley, Bruce Heron and Liz Smith. Deputy Mayor Ian Paul and Crs Pav Ruzicka, Ken Studley and Mike Wilson voted against the motion.

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List of properties to be de-registered from Tas Heritage List

Editor. Pic*
01.02.16 4:05 am

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The list of properties to be de-registered from Tas Heritage List ...

• John Hawkins in Comments: … Here at Bentley in Tasmania I am helping the village as they fight to prevent the destruction of an idyllic landscape by the creation on the high ground of the proposed new village of Chudleigh North a creation forced on us against the best wishes of the village residents who virtually en block petitioned against it to the Meander Valley Council. When we succeed it will be as a result of the efforts of those in the village making a supreme effort to protect themselves from those they have elected who seem to act entirely out of spite. Tasmania has no Landscape Legislation, no Cultural Landscape Legislation and the Heritage Council has actively campaigned to maintain this crazy exemption to facilitate the vested interests of the bankrupt logging industry. Today at lunchtime in the village there were two large coaches, the Honey Shop was packed not a logging truck in sight and all the tables were full in the Village Store. We will succeed.

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: … What has happened since 1975? That wise and insightful 349-page document has mouldered somewhere in the Commonwealth archives. Today, we are in an era when antique, heritage, history, intrinsic, and other such words redolent of the sense of “the things that you keep” are so unfashionable that government authorities (so many of which have been found to be corrupt in recent years) can treat them with contempt. To the valiant rearguard up there in Bentley, I say: “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”. And to John Hawkins: “May your cry of, ‘We will succeed’, put fear in the hearts of barbaric, money-hungry developers.

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First Day ...

Isla MacGregor First published February 1
01.02.16 4:00 am

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On the first day of every month we celebrate the beauty and wonder of the natural world of Tasmania ...

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Writers | Isla MacGregor | Environment | Editor's Choice | Society

Road Safety: Inaction by our local and state politicians and relevant authorities ...  (4)

Mark Temby* First published February 1
01.02.16 3:25 am

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Channel Highway Confusion and Business Development The Channel Highway is on a published and promoted tourist route known as the Huon Trail. The Huon Trail is a circular drive from Hobart south through Kettering, Cygnet and Huonville and is popular with families, cyclists and motoring enthusiasts on their weekend tours. It is also the access road onto Bruny Island with its international tourism reputation. Unfortunately, as it runs across both the Kingborough and Huon Valley Council regions variable maximum speed limits create uncertainty for motorists. The maximum speeds are 100kph and 90kph for Huon Valley and Kingborough respectively.

In particular, there were three high profile businesses that agreed to support a review of speed zones across the Huon-D’Entrecasteaux region in the public sphere. They are attuned to current tourism trends through their business successes and, as locals in business, recognise the dangers of business accesses from high speed traffic flows. These businesses are the award winning Willie Smith’s Cidery (Grove), Grandvewe Cheeses (Woodbridge) and Home Hill Winery (Ranelagh). Such supportive surveys within the residential and business communities demonstrate how councils and state departments are out of touch with current community sentiments and needs. The perspectives of business are important and a survey where two thirds support a review should be noted in any deliberations by Huon Valley and Kingborough Councils or the Department of State Growth.

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Writers | Mark Temby | Politics | Local | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Society | Transport

NATION: Morrison’s fantasy nightmare path to recession

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ . Pic*
01.02.16 3:00 am

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In the 1990s, when Malcolm was still a merchant banker, the Turnbull family commissioned one of Lucy Turnbull’s father’s artists, Lewis Miller, to paint a portrait of Malcolm.

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Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | National | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

The Inaugural Le Tour de Cygnet on Sunday February 14th, 2016

Le Weekend Cygnet Organising Committee
01.02.16 2:45 am

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It started as the mere germ of an idea or as the French would say ‘une petite idée.’

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Politics | Local | State | Cycling | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society | Transport

Mark Latham: Former Labor leader says domestic violence a ‘coping mechanism’ for men

ABC. Pic: Matt Newton
01.02.16 2:37 am

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Radio network Triple M has come under fire after former Labor leader Mark Latham used his podcast with the station to say men hit women as a “coping mechanism”.

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Letters to my grandchildren (4)

Anton Clever*
01.02.16 2:30 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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Writers | Anton Clever | Opinion | Personal | Society

All five bright planets come together in the morning sky

Tanya Hill Honorary Fellow of the University of Melbourne and Senior Curator (Astronomy), Museum Victoria
01.02.16 2:05 am

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For the first time in more than 10 years, it will be possible to see all five bright planets together in the sky. Around an hour or so before sunrise, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, the five planets that have been observed since ancient times, will appear in a line that stretches from high in the north to low in the east.

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Revealed! NZ’s Vegetation Browsing Evolution

Tony Orman Journalist/Editor P O Box 939 BLENHEIM, 7240 New Zealand
01.02.16 1:30 am

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New Zealand’s half a century of anti-wild animal campaigns and associated hired deer killers and aerial bombardment of forests with 1080 poison for possums may have been a total waste of public money as well as ecologically damaging to the country’s wilderness areas with use of poisons. That is one conclusion to be drawn from recent findings by Canterbury Museum work using “state of art 3D modelling”. The work had given greater insight into New Zealand’s vegetation prior to humans migrating here and how the vegetation had evolved.

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Government deception over Freycinet National Park Management Plan changes

Peter McGlone Director, Tasmanian Conservation Trust Inc Media Release. Pic: of Freycinet Lodge
31.01.16 6:10 am

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With public submissions due tomorrow on proposed changes to the Freycinet National Park Management Plan, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust has called for the state government to scrap the changes entirely in light of its deception over the true extent of the changes. The TCT Director Peter McGlone said that “The implications of the proposed changes go well beyond the government’s stated objective of allowing the expansion of the Freycinet Lodge. “The effect of the amendment will be to allow the Minister to issue licences or leases for built accommodation, without limit, in the entire Coles Bay Visitor Services Zone, opening up the entire area to new built accommodation.

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Fires in the Wilderness - the Long Hot Summer Ahead

Ted Mead. First published January 25
31.01.16 6:00 am

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Tasmania’s precious World Heritage forests are currently facing the worst crisis in decades.

• Bob Brown’s letter to Malcom Turnbull ...

• Carol Rea in Comments: Why isn’t there an Aircrane deployed here. Two of these could have made all the difference a few days ago. Now there is a window of opportunity.  Greg Hunt and Malcolm Turnbull need to step up to protect our WH and Tarkine reainforests. There are 6 Aircranes in Australia - three in Victoria. The S64 Aircrane can drop 2,650 gallons (7,500 liters) of water on fires in a single pass. With specialized snorkels, the Aircrane can also refill the tank in nearby bodies of water in less than 30 seconds. Fire Aviation HERE

Guardian: World heritage forests burn as global tragedy unfolds in Tasmania A global tragedy is unfolding in Tasmania. World heritage forests are burning; 1,000-year-old trees and the hoary peat beneath are reduced to char. Fires have already taken stands of king billy and pencil pine – the last remaining fragments of an ecosystem that once spread across the supercontinent of Gondwana. Pockets of Australia’s only winter deciduous tree, the beloved nothofagus – whose direct kin shade the sides of the South American Andes – are now just a wind change away from eternity. Unlike Australia’s eucalyptus forests, which use fire to regenerate, these plants have not evolved to live within the natural cycle of conflagration and renewal. If burned, they die. To avoid this fate, they grow high up on the central plateau where it is too wet for the flames to take hold. But a desiccating spring and summer has turned even the wettest rainforest dells and high-altitude bogs into tinder. Last week a huge and uncharacteristically dry electrical storm flashed its way across the state, igniting the land. While these events have occurred in the past, says David Bowman, a professor of environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania, they were extremely rare, happening perhaps once in a millennium. “It’s killing trees that are over 1,000 years old; it’s burning up soil that takes over 1,000 years to accumulate,” he says. If this truly were a once-in-1,000-year event, says Bowman, then to be alive when it occurs is like “winning TattsLotto” for a fire scientist. But we no longer live in the same world. “We are in a new place,” he says. “We just have to accept that we’ve crossed a threshold, I suspect. This is what climate change looks like.” …

FRIDAY January 29 ...

Mercury: Tourism Industry Council Tasmania’s fear for wilderness in wake of fire threat

What The Examiner Editorial reckons (also known as the Troglodyte pronounces ...) IT is politically naive for the Greens to seek funding for fighting fires in remote World Heritage areas while the rest of the community is stressing over the defence of their homes and livestock. It makes you wonder at times if the Greens holiday on another planet. We know that they are definitely not saying: sacrifice life and property for the sake of the wilderness. Their emphasis, however, on protection of the World Heritage area, while not being strong advocates of burnoffs, does not endear them to the broader community …

ABC: Tasmanian fires: Lightning strikes spark more blazes after rain fails to douse flames

UTAS Professor David Bowman, The Conversation: Fires in Tasmania’s ancient forests are a warning for all of us … The fires are extremely destructive for two main reasons. First, the fires are threatening vegetation that is unique to Tasmania, including iconic alpine species such as the Pencil Pine and cushion plants, as well as temperate rainforests. Second, the fires are burning up large areas of organic soils upon which the unique Tasmanian vegetation depends. It is extremely unlikely burnt areas with the endemic alpine flora will ever fully recover given the slow growth of these species and the increased risk of subsequent fires given the change to more flammable vegetation and the slow accumulation of peat soils, which takes thousands of years. …

Watch the Cl 415 VIDEO HERE or HERE

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

Gutwein Huon probe report due Friday

Bob Hawkins*. Pic: of Peter Gutwein. First published January 27
30.01.16 6:05 am

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Huon Valley Guessing Games Unless the two-person board of inquiry into the Huon Valley Council has sought another extension of time, its report should be with Minister for Local Government Peter Gutwein by close of business Friday (January 29). Few think its findings will be a clean-sweep exoneration of all involved. That would be far too embarrassing for Gutwein because he knows he must be seen to be doing something about problems afflicting some councils in the South.

FRIDAY January 29, SATURDAY January 30 ...

• Bob Hawkins’ Updates ...

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: #4 Hi Linda: If I were 20 years younger, and I thought I had any chance of becoming a councillor, I would have stood for election long ago. But I’m nearing the end of my eighth decade; there’s no way I’d get elected without joining a political team; and I can’t find anyone to take on the task of trying to keep our council up to the mark. And, anyway, who would want to be gagged by an establishment-orientated local government act that makes it almost impossible for anyone inside council (elected or staff) to speak out freely should they spot something that is not being done according to the rules? As a citizen of a parliamentary democracy, I’m entitled to an opinion, and — because, at least for the moment, we are still entitled to freedom of speech — to express it. I’ll continue to attempt to bring balance to the political debate in the Huon by offering views that run counter to years of council spin, which the valley’s media have been happy to publish, mostly verbatim, and mostly without question. I receive no remuneration for my articles; I have no business interest in Tasmanian Times; and I do not stand to benefit financially in any way as a result of what I write. Whenever you raise a valid criticism, I’ll do my best to respond fairly, or to concede that you have a point. In the meantime, each of us is entitled to to do our master’s bidding. In my case, I like to think I take orders from my conscience. Who do you take yours from?

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Writers | Bob Hawkins | Politics | Local | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Planning/Heritage | Legal | Society

Hydro, Basslink ... Is it true ... ?

Pete Godfrey. Pic* First published January 28
30.01.16 6:00 am

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We have been told by our Government that all will be well with the Power system in Tasmania, and that the Hydro Power will be able to cope until Basslink comes back online.

Is this really true?

John Lawrence in Comments: Pete, those figures look pretty right. Except, part of AETV, a Rolls Royce 60 Mw machine, is overseas being repaired. Some say wind in Tassie operates at 40%. Shenhua supposedly did their figures on Woolnorth and Musselwroe at 38% but output hasn’t been quite to expectations? HT only has a minority (25%) interest in the joint venture, so it doesn’t disclose too many details in its Annual Report. Solar operates at around 15%.

• Chris in Comments: How prudent was it to reduce the feed in tariffs to 5 cents per KWH thus turning people off installing household solar? Just imagine if 10,000 homes were to install say 5 KW units with some incentives, (like headwork gifts to developers) then there is a potential for a further 50MW to be added to the system …

• Steve in Comments: #19; Mr Harriss; if you have been following this debate on TT, you would be aware that John Lawrence has done a detailed economic assessment which indicates that it’s very improbable that the logging of Lapoinya is going to turn a profit: HERE .You are obviously across the economics of the situation, as indicated by your costings of protest action. Please could you supply a rebuttal of John Lawrence’s analysis, indicating which of John’s assumptions are unreasonable, and why. As a tax payer, I’m concerned that fellow taxpayers, such as the residents of Lapoinya, are forced to suffer the destruction of an area that’s special to them, and all at a net cost to the State. It would be of great value to have the economics of the situation explained in detail.

• Derbytas in Comments: … Tasmania has more than a Billion Dollars of Debt, from the building of these dams, still unpaid. The punters of Tasmania have been paying the interest on this debt and subsidising these bulk users for decades. But that seems to be how things are done in Tasmania.

• Clive Stott in Comments: I am not sure why the Basslink fault cannot be accurately pinpointed, the type of fault known and communicated to the public? Someone is not telling us the full story, unless I have missed it. I cannot believe we have to physically dig up a cable to see where and what the fault is …

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Politics | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Society

Government blindness spells doom for an ailing company

Peter Boyer, http://www.southwind.com.au First published January 26
30.01.16 5:45 am

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FRIDAY January 29 ...

• Stewart Hoyt, convenor for Forests of Lapoinya Action Group (FLAG): Government Conducts Phoney Forest War ... Adrian’s letter to Joan Rylah: … You stated that you “strongly believe compassion for others is the glue that holds community together” in your maiden speech. If this is how you show compassion, by sticking it to the locals and sticking up for a foreign-owned company? Our small community is destined to go the way of Muenna. Low quality forestry plantations and maybe some dairy, soon after that, just low quality plantations. I wait somewhat apprehensively for your reply, and would very much appreciate a reply from you, not an automatic response or even better, call in for a cup of tea and a chat …

• John Biggs in Comments: #19. “Every time a protester enters the coupe at Lapoinya, Forestry Tasmania has to suspend operations in order to protect the safety of workers, and the protester.” Mr Harriss, that is not true. FT doesn’t have to suspend operations. People standing by are not stopping anyone from working, they are not obstructing or damaging machinery. They only “prevent”: people from working because that is your edict. You and FT seem to be deliberately inflaming the issue.

TUESDAY January 26 ...

When representatives of industry, timber workers and the conservation movement signed an accord back in 2011, some of us hoped Tasmania’s crippling forest wars were over.

When a government is elected, it has a responsibility to govern for all. Will Hodgman should know that hostility towards portfolio stakeholders is no basis for a ministerial career. He should not have put Harriss in charge of forestry operations. But it was the blind leading the blind. The premier has for many years echoed Harriss’s extreme pronouncements. Held captive by their shared ideological spin, Paul Harriss and Will Hodgman have dug themselves a deep, dark hole, and it’s only getting deeper.

• Mark Temby in Comments: A personal observation I’ve had from the first day of the Hodgman government was the speed of enacting the enabling legislation to criminalise and gaol these protesters. My goodness, I never saw so many alert “independent” Legislative Councilors keen to put their stamp of approval on legislation. These are the same ones who drag their knuckles on every other change, hide beneath their cloaks of independence and, together with the government, reject moving forward at every other opportunity.

• Download former Greens Leader Kim Booth’s takedown of Paul Harriss’ ‘lie’ on ABC Local Radio: HERE and HERE

• John Biggs in Comments: … As to the economics, economist John Lawrence estimated that the Lapoinya operation will not make any money at all, but cost the people $250,000. So we destroy what the local community desperately wants for a net loss to the taxpayer. And by the way, when MLC, Harriss declared a pecuniary interest he had been given gifts by Ta Ann. And now as the relevant minister he is delivering for Ta Ann. Surely a serious conflict of interest. Does anyone know of any connection between Harriss and Ta Ann? Has anyone in the Liberal Govt and in FT any integrity at all?

Dr Kevin Bonham: Lapoinya Scrapes The Barrel Of Tasmania’s Forests Conflict  Tasmania has seen some big environmental contests down the years.  Lake Pedder, the Franklin dam, Farmhouse Creek, Wesley Vale, the Bell Bay pulp mirage, Ralphs Bay.  The latest flashpoint, Lapoinya, isn’t one of them.  To many veterans on either side it must be astonishing that we now have a barney over the logging of forty-nine hectares of regrowth - that anyone would bother protesting it, let alone getting arrested over it, or on the other hand that anyone would bother with the logging or arresting.  To put it into perspective, bushfires in Tasmania have burnt almost 900 Lapoinya-coupes worth of native vegetation in the past fortnight alone. The Lapoinya argument seems like nothing more than a vintage example of Sayre’s Law (the contest is so bitter precisely because the stakes are so small).  Behind what has become a comically petty contest in the context of the battles of the past, however, are some players with a bigger game to play.  But before I get onto specifics of Lapoinya (then all that), I’d like to look at how we got here …

• Steve Biddulph in Comments: Thanks to Peter Boyer for this great perspective and inside story. “If these are extremists then I don’t understand the word” is a wonderful observation. And attributing the whole thing to bloody mindedness by Harriss has the ring of truth. Its a tiny coupe, being logged at a loss, even before police time is taken into account. And its destruction is deeply opposed by a local community who love their valley and care for it well. Everything good about Tasmania is on the line once again.

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

Professor West and the Lone Soldiers of Lapoinya

John Hawkins, Chudleigh. Pic* First published January 23
30.01.16 5:30 am

Image for Professor West and the Lone Soldiers of Lapoinya

MONDAY, January 25 ...

• Stewart Hoyt, 11.30am: At approximately 11 :30 AM Bob Brown and three others walked into the Lapoinya Forest exclusion zone.  Bob Brown and Roger Bradley from Sisters Creek were arrested, two others were escorted out by Tas Police incurring a fine. Bob Brown and Roger Bradley are currently on their way to the Burnie Police Station where they will be processed and bailed.

• 8.30am: Stewart Hoyt: Lapoinya under Seige ... By 8:30 this morning, ten vehicles had entered the Lapoinya Forest Coupe. There are Forestry Tasmania reps, Tas Police and contractors. A grader was seen on Nelsons Road in an attempt to breakthrough to Broxhams road in the heart of the community here and turned back …

• Paul Harriss in Comments: …Dr Brown is entitled to his day in court, but the law is clear: No protestor is entitled to interfere with the right of other Tasmanians to earn a living.

• John Powell in Comments: Minister, you are a liar. FT did NOT compromise on the coupe for conservation reasons. The coupe clear felling area INCREASED from the original 38 ha to 49 ha AFTER community consultation. Of greater interest is why machinery was operating in Lapoinya on a day of Total Fire Ban. Is that not in contravention of FT protocol on such days. Why was that machinery not supporting Fire Tas?

SATURDAY, January 23 ...

Professor Jonathan West was Chairman of the Independent Verification Group of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement. His report is on Tasmanian Times HERE.

• Frank again, in Comments: John, Most people are ‘over it’, or we can call it cynical, sad, disappointed, deflated just sick of it all. The rape of the once “working” forests, the plunder and the wanton waste, the mining of the unique commercial, social and environmental forest values Tasmania still possessed when we moved here more than 28 years ago are history now. Right now the terrible fires in the NW in the Dip Falls / Pipeline region there used to be cool, moist Rainforests and wet mixed species forests until 1998 / 99 - 2000. These forests were trashed and replaced with dry, thirsty Eucalypt plantations - what a shame. Now the reality bites - there will be no profits made from these areas for a very, very long time ...

• Michael Buky: Dear Friends of Lapoinya ... The road construction and the protests have started. There have been two arrests and several on-the-spot fines in the last 48 hours. Road construction has to be stopped every time a protester is spotted by Forestry Tasmania. The protests will continue as long as Forestry Tasmania continue the destruction. Morale is high but the more support we have, the stronger we become. If enough people break an unjust law, the law gets changed, so please come to Forests of Lapoinya Action Group (FLAG) headquarters at Nelsons Rd, Lapoinya or tel: +61 (0)3 6445 4223 for info as to how you can help …

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Writers | John Hawkins | Politics | International | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

Port Arthur archaeological dig uncovers prisoner tokens for gambling

Mercury
30.01.16 5:10 am

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THE first physical evidence of illicit gambling by convicts has been uncovered at the Port Arthur Historic Site.

• geoff hewitt in Comments: Congratulations on your PA dig. At the risk of being a wet blanket over your story, I would suggest that gaming pieces are not necessarily gambling tokens. I note that the pieces seem to be either essentially circular or square, which may represent the more usual black and white of draughts (checkers) pieces. Certainly players may have gambled on the outcome of a game of draughts but that can hardly be assumed. The ceramic tokens are more likely to be earthenware than porcelain and they are more likely to have been ground against a convenient stone wall than filed as your report implies.

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Writers | Lindsay Tuffin | Economy | History | Society

Infrastructure Tasmania gives Hobart Rail the Green Light

Ben Johnston President, Hobart Northern Suburbs Rail Action Group Media Release Pic*
30.01.16 5:05 am

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The Hobart Northern Suburbs Rail Action Group welcomes the findings of Infrastructure Tasmania’s review of the Hobart Light Rail project. The review acknowledges deficiencies in the previous Government’s studies and makes two clear recommendations …

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

Jakarta terrorism’s roots in oppressed Aceh

John Martinkus, The Saturday Paper.
30.01.16 5:00 am

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January’s Jakarta terrorist attacks have their roots in the oppression and unrest of Aceh’s hidden war.

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Politics | International | History | Society

Recommendation to Raise Quota for Super Trawler Fishery

Jon Bryan, John Edwards, Rebecca Hubbard Media Release. ABC pic
29.01.16 4:32 am

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A stakeholder forum heard yesterday that the newly appointed scientific panel for the controversial Small Pelagic Fishery in which the super trawler Geelong Star operates, is recommending an increase in the total catch despite ongoing concerns from recreational fishers and conservationists that it will cause localised depletion, impact on protected species, and the operations are shrouded in secrecy.

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Politics | International | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment | Opinion | History | Society

NATION: Morrison’s pitch to raise the GST rests on a pack of lies ... and worse

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ Pic* First published January 28
29.01.16 4:30 am

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The Abbott-Turnbull government’s new, improved, ScoMo is a soft and fluffy laundry powder with extra whitener. Attractively packaged on ABC and aggressively promoted, it is another of its unmitigated campaign disasters.

The Age: Archibald winner Lewis Miller destroyed Malcolm Turnbull portrait after future PM said he looked ‘big, fat and greedy’

• Links to social media campaign Save The Farm. Treasurer Morrison has the final say on the sale of the VDL company ( Jan Cameron explains why she is bidding ... HERE ) which rests now in the hands of the Foreign Investment Review Board ...

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Regulars | Urban Wronksi | Politics | National | Economy | Editor's Choice | Opinion | Personal | Society

He’s not Kevin, says Eric ...

ABC. Pic* First published January 25
27.01.16 2:45 am

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Tony Abbott’s supporters are moving to crush comparisons with Kevin Rudd after the former prime minister revealed he will be recontesting the federal seat of Warringah at the next election.

… Former employment minister Eric Abetz was quick to defend the move, denying Mr Abbott was like Mr Rudd, who returned to the prime ministership three years after he lost the leadership to Julia Gillard. “Tony Abbott is absolutely no Kevin Rudd,” Senator Abetz told AM. “Kevin Rudd was always about one thing only, Kevin Rudd, whereas Tony Abbott has always been about one thing, namely the Australian people” …

THE QUESTIONS have never been answered ... John Hawkins five years ago on Tasmanian Times ...

Abetz and Channel Highway land deals

• Keith Antonysen in Comments: ”...Tony Abbott has always been about one thing, namely the Australian people.” Tony Abbott’s first budget was an attack on defenceless people;  driven by an extreme ideology. Abbott has been generally about the big end of town. He supported the coal industry to the hilt at the expense of tax payers; yet, pushed out the motor vehicle industry. Any promise he made was worth nothing. Every week there was at least one stuff up. Abbott was a man of his time…that is…1950s. There was a palpable sense of relief when he was ousted by Turnbull.

• John Hawkins in Comments: Dear Editor, It was just over 5 years ago that I wrote up the seemingly suspect Land deals of Abetz on the Channel Highway. Since then for over 5 years in order to keep the matter in the public eye I have paid for an advertisement on TT which your readers may click on to read all about it. I ask Senator Abetz who seems happy to spew out his bile on most subjects: Has the matter of your Channel Highway land deals been investigated and audited by the Tax Office if so what was the result? If not why not?

• Keith Antonysen in Comments: Abetz has excelled himself by saying that he will not support the views of a plebiscite if electors vote to provide social justice for marriage equality. Isn’t he meant to be reflecting the wishes of his constituents? Like Abbott, Abetz is a man of his time…that is ...the 1950s.

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Politics | National | State | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | History | Society

Stan Grant: the Australian dream is ‘rooted in racism’

The New Daily. First published January 26
27.01.16 2:15 am

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Indigenous journalist Stan Grant has been praised for a ‘Martin Luther King moment’.

• Watch the speech ...

Mercury: Walshy and Bruce French get an Aussie Day gong

ABC: Australian of the Year: David Morrison, former Army chief, given top honour for gender equality work ... and WATCH the viral video ...

Sign the Petition: Change the date of ‘stralia day ...

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: Thank goodness we have the likes of Stan Grant to remind us of our failure as a nation to deal with the biggest challenge it has ever had to face — treating the continent’s original owners as we would want to be treated ourselves, and as equals. It’s time the January 26 Australia Day was consigned to the shit-can of history; and time that we demonstrated our democracy by drawing, willy-nilly, from a hat, a date for an inclusive Australia Day. At least that way, as long as the drawing was properly supervised, if anyone’s political interests were served it would be purely by chance, and, therefore, offensive to no one.

• Cassy O’Connor Media Release in Comments: Each year, on the 26th of January, Australia is a nation divided by its history. While many Tasmanians celebrate with pride, our First People feel only the pain of a country taken at the point of a gun. My Green colleagues, Andrea Dawkins, Nick McKim and I are joining Aboriginal Tasmanians at their Invasion Day march in Hobart today because we believe it’s time to change the date on which Australians celebrate who they are as a nation.

• Christopher Nagle in Comments: With respect, the whole racist narrative that is supposed to define our history is just that; a narrative; a story we tell ourselves to confirm our current beliefs and myths. The modern industrial world smashed into the settled beliefs and ways of life of everyone it touched. starting with the removal of millions of European peasants from their land and into places populated by dark satanic mills. And as this world globalized, it dealt with everyone according to where they stood on the timeline from when people moved into villages in the neolithic period to those who were on the cusp of industrializing anyway …

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Politics | International | National | Economy | Environment | Editor's Choice | Opinion | History | Society

Norfolk Island in Turmoil in lead-up to Minister’s Visit

Chris Nobbs, Norfolk Island
27.01.16 2:00 am

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Norfolk Island is in turmoil as it prepares for the visit of the Australian Minister for Major Projects, Territories, Local Government, and Major Projects, the Hon. Paul Fletcher, MP, slated for 28-29 January. As the new Minister responsible it will be his first visit to the island.

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