Tom Ellison* Pic: of Peter Gutwein in Parliament, with Will Hodgman, left, and Rene Hidding, right. Pub: Aug 28
30.08.14 7:30 am
Nobody doubts why the Hodgman Government won so convincingly in March – it was viewed as a better economic manager than its predecessor. Its primary mandate could be likened to that of the administrator of a failed company – tasked with keeping the place afloat and making some tough decisions. Like restructuring, cutting staff, increasing efficiencies and removing the dead wood accumulated over the course of 16 years. This Budget goes some way towards achieving that.
• TT Media HERE for all the responses - from Labor to Greens, unions to conservationists .... • And, use the TT NEWS dropdown menu (top nav bar) for MSM reports
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens senator for Tasmania. Pub: Aug 29
30.08.14 7:00 am
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens senator for Tasmania offers the following comments on the impact of the Government’s climate policies on Tasmania: “The reckless climate policies of the Abbott Government such as repealing the price on carbon will have dire consequences for Tasmania as was clear in yesterday’s state budget. “Hydro Tasmania is the leading producer of clean energy in Australia, generating approximately half of all the country’s renewable energy, and Abbott’s climate sceptic policies have just smashed it. “Hydro has been providing a river of gold to state government coffers. Abbott has made these rivers of gold run dry.
ABC. Pic: Daniel Haley. Pub: Aug 27
28.08.14 7:30 am
The Tasmanian Government is on the cusp of repealing the historic forestry peace deal after the Legislative Council voted in favour of the broad plan to overturn the deal.
WHAT CONSERVATIONISTS SAY ...
• TT Media HERE for the range of viewpoints, including Kim Booth’s MR revealing that taxpayers are continuing to subsidise Forestry Tasmania, and Nick McKim’s MR revealing that the anti-protest laws have been sent to an Upper House committee ... Legislative Councillors explicitly outlined that they were ignoring a swag of personal messages received in the past week from Tasmanians opposed to new forestry legislation which scuttles promised ‘peace deal’ reserves and also opens hundreds of existing protected areas for logging. The Premier has also received and ignored over 1500 letters of concern sent to him since Friday over the opening of 1.5 million hectares for logging. A dire situation for conservation has arisen after amendments of the Legislative Council were adopted that aim to ensure Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification is achieved by Forestry Tasmania despite the abandonment of environmental commitments and a new assault on forests. “The government has gone much further than tearing up the Tasmanian Forest Agreement and has shamefully maintained their intention to open protected reserves of many years’ standing to environmentally destructive logging for specialty timbers, despite an outpouring of community concern,” said Tasmanian Conservation Trust Director Peter McGlone.
• Paul Harriss goes all King Canute-ish and ‘turns back the Green tide’ (for the first time in Tasmania’s history), Vanessa Goodwin reports on shunting the Workplace Protection from Protesters Bill to committee, and there’s learner drivers, hearts, and Eric Abetz ‘s backdown. PLUS Christine Milne saying the Tasmanian Brand is trashed. All in TT Media HERE
• Anne, in Comments: Apparently Ivan Dean (who couldn’t wait to vote according to Harriss and Hodgman’s dictates) reckoned 90 per cent of the emails he received were from people urging him not to repeal the bill. Ivan, however, chose to disregard everything that was said by all these concerned members of the community - and people he was elected to represent - on the arrogant assumption he’s better informed. The arrogance (and ignorance) of these MLCs is appalling.
Bob Hawkins. Pic: of HVC Mayor - and MLC - Robert Armstrong. First pub: Aug 26
27.08.14 6:58 am
Huon Valley guessing games Claytonesque seems the best fit for Mayor Robert Armstrong, MLC these days. Huon Valley Council’s sometime mayor, for the second time in a row, wasn’t there for his council’s monthly public meeting (Wednesday, August 20). Last time, he was visiting his new grandson in Melbourne. This time, he was away in Hobart playing law-maker in the Legislative Council and delivering his maiden speech — neither of which activity can be deemed unreasonable.
Bob Burton. Pub: Aug 25
27.08.14 6:30 am
“Nathan Carswell”, it seems, is back from his reported recent trip to Brisbane. Friday week ago “Nathan” called, a little over two days after the “Who is Nathan Carswell?” story first went live on Tasmanian Times. “Nathan” was a man on a mission: he wanted a full retraction of the original story with no ‘ifs’ and no ‘buts’.
• ROCC: Hobart City Council stalls Pinnacle rezoning The Hobart City Council tonight sent a clear message to the Wellington Park Management Trust (WPMT) calling on them to provide information on how the proposed amendment to the Pinnacle Specific Area furthers the vision, principles and objectives of the Management Plan for the mountain. As landowners, the Council asked for the process to be suspended until, as landowners, they were given more information about the justification for the proposed amendment. “ROCC fully supports the council motion,” said Mr Ted Cutlan, spokesperson for ROCC. “The chairperson of the trust Dr Christine Mucha has repeatedly claimed that the amendment to the pinnacle is not related to any particular development and yet tonight Alderman Freeman said repeatedly that ‘we all know it is about the cable car’. Who is right?”
Jane Teniswood* Pub: Aug 25
27.08.14 5:15 am
Since the 1980’s I have worked both in Burnie on the North West Coast and now in Triabunna on Tasmania’s East Coast. With this experience I was appalled to read in last week’s Weekend Australian Magazine article “Down & Out” ( By Greg Bearup in The Australian here ), of the simplistic, callous response of Local Member Brett Whiteley, to the unemployment issues facing the once-thriving industrial town of Burnie.
I wonder if Brett Whiteley used “controlled crying” on his own children, who I understand live interstate.
• Idiot Tax Blog: When you have no economic value Local Liberal stooge, Brett Whiteley bagged the seat at the last election on the “he’s not Labor” vote and was up in arms about the article. Whiteley too wanted a focus on positivity. Look at his motivations and it’s easy to understand why. He’s walking a fine line. The sunshine and lollypops routine is needed or else his unwavering support for brain dead welfare reduction schemes becomes farcical. Playing on the lie that jobs exist and the unemployed are little more than children who need a paddling, allows him to puff his chest out and offer the following … The type of blindness you’d expect from a certain type of Liberal. The type, who as far back as I can remember, has been under the employ of the local, state or federal taxpayer. I couldn’t put my finger on one notable thing he’s done. And in 25 years time, when he croaks, we’ll be encouraged to remember his “loyal public service”. While the CEO of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence raised the prospect of the poor becoming destitute under the new welfare regime, Whiteley rejected it. Whiteley also likely rejects poverty being the parent of crime and revolution. Brett loses either way, because if it’s not social upheaval, maybe it will be political. • Read more HERE
Age. Pic: of Tony Abbott
27.08.14 5:05 am
Will Prime Minister Tony Abbott follow the fine example of Tassie’s Michael Ferguson ( Red-faced Ferguson pays back $776 luxury taxi fare AND More luxury taxi revelations of Ministers’ abusing the system ) and repay the cost ...
Joe Duggan Media Release Pic*
27.08.14 5:00 am
Fear, anxiety and exasperation are some of the worrying feelings being expressed by Australia’s leading climate researchers in a new science communication project by Australian National University (ANU), Masters Student Joe Duggan.
• Chris Sharples, in Comments: Yep too! That’s how I feel. Appalled at the inane simple-mindedness of most climate change denier arguments: their instinctive use of cherry-picking (seeing only the evidence that they think supports their denial); repeating refuted arguments so often that most people forget they have been refuted (“no warming for 17 years” etc); imagining that with no background in climate science at all they can easily spot fallacies in the painstakingly studied evidence of thousands of scientists who have spent their professional lives studying the climate; resorting to absurd theories of a global conspiracy amongst climate scientists (to explain the fact that an overwhelming majority of those scientists agree anthropogenic climate change is real), etc, etc. Frustrated by the huge irony that the “success” of climate change denial campaigns and the resulting political and public complacency only means that things are going to get much worse than they would have if we had acted smart enough soon enough. Saddened ...
Nick Mooney Wildlife Biologist Pub: Aug 25
25.08.14 4:00 am
In 2013 the editor/moderator of Tas Times kindly posted several hundred still photos of the development of a brood of Peregrine falcons in Tasmania. The photos were taken by myself with equipment supplied by Simon Plowright of Natureworld. Despite my more than 30 years experience with this species in the wild the camera revealed many things I had not seen before – original observations such as the adult female feeding the adult male while he brooded hatching chicks.
• Watch 12 amazing videos ...
Andrew L. Urban, Ben Lohberger. Pic: Four Winds, yacht at the centre of the case
25.08.14 3:49 am
Andrew L. Urban: In what acclaimed legal expert Dr Bob Moles describes (60 Minutes, 9 Network, Sunday, August 24, 2014) as the worst miscarriage of justice in 40 years, the 2010 murder conviction of Sue Neill-Fraser has now been fatally and forensically undermined with the latest report from the Victorian Police Forensic Services Department.
Ben Lohberger: The evidence at Susan Neill-Fraser’s trial speaks for itself.
• Eve Ash, in Comments: Anyone who missed 60 Minutes 24 August and the new evidence, new leads, and problems with the forensic science in the case ...
• Ben Lohberger, in Comments: Susan Neill-Fraser’s supporters appear to have access to the transcript of Ms Neill-Fraser’s trial, a transcript that is not available publicly. If they are going to cherrypick ...
Thomas Connelly, http://bogong-moth.blogspot.com/ Pic: of Leo Schofield. Pub: Aug 25
25.08.14 3:45 am
Recently there has been much discussion about the funding issues of the Baroque Festival in Hobart. I have followed this discussion over the past few weeks. As I am no expert in these issues, and I find accounting issues to be beyond dry, I am writing this to clarify things in my mind, and not as an attempt to persuade ...
• Jane Rankin-Reid, in Comments: Hobart Baroque was most certainly a critical success, as the many positive reviews and nominations for high level awards testifies. Critical success is something all Tasmania’s cultural events and arts facilities should always be striving for, whether in exhibitions, festivals, concerts and so on. Sadly, this essential element of artistic excellence has been dumbed into submission by political appointments, ministerial duplicity and under qualified executive mismanagement at TMAG for instance. Usually, all the public hears is how local institutions have met their “targets”, not how well a particular show was received by professional critics. No wonder the public is sceptical. As page space is so scarce for cultural reviews, coverage of lesser artistic standards rarely make it into print. No government should ever put itself in a position of claiming critical success in the absence of professional reviews of artistic performances. Leo Schofield is a seasoned arts impresario who recognises critical excellence as a fundamental requirement at least in regards to what is required of an international classical music festival. Hobart Baroque was widely covered in positive reviews and features in national media, as well as specialist classical music publications. I agree with the need for increased financial transparency and a higher level of independent assessment of the true impact of cultural spending. But it is the government’s oversight that it can’t demonstrate the economics of cultural spending sufficiently convincingly to the public, not Hobart Baroque’s.
Malcolm Knox, The Monthly. Pub: Aug 25
25.08.14 3:30 am
The Nikitaras brothers’ corner store has a hallucinatory shine, like a set from a period movie. Staff in navy blue uniforms and white net caps smile from behind jars of preserved clementines and glacé peaches, pineapples and cherries. Glass cases present dioramas of stuffed olives, mushrooms and peppers; above them hang fragrant salami; the shelves are packed with Tasmanian wine and crusty loaves. In the fresh vegetables section, greens glisten and truss tomatoes blush. Yet Hill Street Grocer is not some niche big-city organic haven; the shoppers in the aisles are also filling their baskets with canned tuna, washing powder and packets of nappies. This is a West Hobart neighbourhood supermarket, a family grocer the way they used to be.
Ted Mead. Pic: of Cape Huay. Pub: Aug 25
25.08.14 3:20 am
It seems that almost every month the 3 Capes project exposes another event of illogical blundering, bumbling bureaucracy and visionless political agendas.
Max Atkinson. ABC pic of Peter Underwood. Pub: Aug 25
25.08.14 3:15 am
The life of Peter Underwood was recently honoured by a State funeral, with tributes to a distinguished lawyer, Chief Justice and Tasmania’s Head of State.
Don Knowler, http://donaldknowler.com/ Pic: Wikipedia*
25.08.14 3:00 am
The “Respect the Mountain” forum ( here, here, and here ) at the Hobart Town Hall earlier this year prompted Don Knowler to return to a diary he compiled after daily rambles on Mt Wellington during the previous year. In what promises to be a momentous year in the modern history of Kunanyi, the weekly diary gives the mountain and its wildlife its own voice. All Don’s Mother Mountain columns - and much more by this superb writer - can be found under the Category, Don Knowler, here
Victoria Rollison, The Australian Independent Media Network via Jon Sumby. Pub: Aug 25
25.08.14 2:45 am
Dear Joe Hockey,
Back in 2012, when you said the age of entitlement was over, I was so relieved. I was relieved that highly-paid politicians like Tony Abbott would no longer think it acceptable to charge tax-payers for personal book tours. I was relieved that filthy rich politicians like Malcolm Turnbull, and like yourself, would put an end to ethically-suspect rental schemes, where your tax-payer funded Canberra housing allowance is paid to your spouses for investment properties they have cleverly put in their names.
Sue Hickey Media Release
25.08.14 2:40 am
Evan Whitton. Pic: Lauren Bacall ... in the 50s
25.08.14 2:30 am
The brief [March 1986] said: photographic session in the Presidential Suite, followed by lunch with Miss Bacall. The omens were not good: there was a delay while a barber got Miss Bacall’s hair right; bald, bearded Warren Mitchell, dashing in red T-shirt, denim shorts and sandshoes, inquired plaintively at large: ‘Do they serve dinner while we wait for the lifts?’ and Miss Bacall winced when we shook hands.
Kim Williams, The Age. Pic: of Kim Williams
25.08.14 2:20 am
During my time at News Corporation there were frequent frustrating leaks, much like the one this week, a comprehensive set of numbers on the company’s Australian enterprises.
25.08.14 2:10 am
Andrew L. Urban Editor & Publisher http://www.pursuedemocracy.com Pub: Aug 18
25.08.14 2:05 am
Several serious legal errors were made at the 2010 trial of Sue Neill-Fraser, any one of which warrants the murder conviction being set aside, according to a legal expert in miscarriages of justice.
• Andrew Wilkie ... Sue Neill-Fraser: ``Closer to home, there is a desperate need for Sue Neill-Fraser’s murder conviction to be reviewed. “The revelation on 60 Minutes last night that Victoria Police forensic services has debunked the DNA evidence underpinning the guilty verdict surely must prompt Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin to refer this matter back to the Court of Criminal Appeal. “Unless certainty is brought to this matter the community will remain anxious about the effectiveness of our justice system.’’
The Age, Online Opinion
25.08.14 2:00 am
• This is a blog post/response from Simone Watson, a former sex worker from Victoria ...
Peg Putt, Markets For Change Media Release. Pic from Catamaran logging, by Daniel Haley
24.08.14 1:11 pm
... that 1.1 million ha of reserves to be opened to logging, targeting rainforests As community concern rises over provisions to open 1.1 million ha of established reserves and rainforests to logging, the Tasmanian government has attempted to deflect pressure by making seriously misleading and incorrect claims.
Tom Ellison* Pic* Pub: Aug 22
24.08.14 6:00 am
At the Federal level, there’s scope for influencing consumer demand and business investment through application of monetary policy, and the labour market through regulation. As we’ve seen in recent years, a mirage of economic prosperity can also be created through Keynesian stimulus. But it’s only an illusion, and when the school halls are built and the Family Tax Benefit bonuses spent, the real economic forces at play come back to haunt us.
Virtually none of the multitude of handouts, subsidies, grants, benefits, or waived revenues has made a positive impact to Tasmania’s finances in recent years (as far as we can tell, because in most cases, regardless of the dollar value, there has been no analysis or evaluation of the benefits). And we’re talking billions of dollars here. Looking at the long and sordid history of corporate welfare in Tasmania isn’t a happy exercise. It’s the sort of capitalism a committee might dream up – acknowledging the ability of the private sector to create positive community outcomes, then distort the same system by favouring some participants over others or throwing cash around at random. A level playing field on a 60-degree slope. Or Robin Hood on acid. So the Treasurer hands down his first Budget next week ...
• TT Media HERE for every Opinion including FSC, education, Bryan Green, West Coast roads, police boats, Protest bill, GE, National Parks, Mike Kent mayoral candidate, Jan Davis, Community Cup, Refugees ... etc etc AND GP tax, SN-F, Mt Wellington, Waterway fears, Bacon on the Budget ... HERE
WHAT MSM says ...
• A Staff Reporter: In June this year Premier Hodgman triumphantly announced the relocation of the Qantas Call Centre and 245 jobs to Hobart citing a 10 year deal after payroll tax concessions of $10.9 million were offered. Mr Hodgman said he expected job numbers to grow.
Edith Bevin, ABC Pic* Pub: Aug 23
24.08.14 5:30 am
The Commonwealth prosecutor’s office has revealed disgraced Tasmanian businessman John Gay made more than $3m through insider trading, and has vowed to pursue the funds.
• Pete Godfrey, in Comments: Interesting how the powers that be could not decide how much money he made from the insider trading, now the commonwealth dpp has found a way. Fairly simple eh just multiply the number of shares by the price he got. Of course he may or may not have got less if he waited to sell them but the facts are that he did not wait. There may yet be some justice done. Not holding my breath though as we all know the laws are written by the rich to advantage the rich.
Kim Booth MP | Greens Leader Media Release. ABC pic of Paul Harriss and Will Hodgman. Pub: Aug 21
22.08.14 6:00 am
The Forests Minister Paul Harriss, must confirm whether he has sought formal advice from Forestry Tasmania regarding the impact of his last-minute amendments to the Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Bill upon its application for Forest Stewardship Council certification (FSC), said Greens Leader and Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP.
• Download Basil Fitch submission: SKMBT_C45214082015230.pdf
Professor Eleanor Ramsay, Emeritus Professor Michael Rowan, educationambassadors.org.au Media Release
21.08.14 12:55 pm
Tasmania’s poor school retention rates in years 11 and 12, and unacceptably low Tasmanian Certificate of Education (TCE) completion rates are the real lesson from the latest NAPLAN results, according to a new education alliance.
“But every year the majority of our young Tasmanians leave school before completing year 12, so we are failing to develop and wasting the talents of more than 50 percent of our next generation” Professor Ramsay said. “This makes it harder for our kids to find jobs, less likely that they will gain higher paying and more secure employment, and has negative impacts on their physical and mental health and overall well-being. It also makes it harder for our employers to find the skilled workers they need to grow their businesses and match their interstate competitors” she added. Professor Rowan added: “It is just not fair that young people in Tasmanian schools cannot simply go back to their school after completing year 10 to undertake years 11 and 12 like students in schools all over the rest of the country.”
21.08.14 10:35 am
Media giant News Corp - which controls a majority of the nation’s print media - has cut up rough, threatening legal action over Crikey’s publication of apparently damaging internal financial analysis. It’s not the first time the media Big Boy which loves to dish it out, has shown its super-sensitive side ... • Here’s Crikey’s latest ...
Phil na Champassak Pub: Aug 20
21.08.14 6:30 am
“The economy, stupid”. Remember that phrase that propelled Bill Clinton to a successful US presidential campaign against the incumbent George H W Bush in 1992? Well this phrase will come to haunt Tony Abbott, who will have to beware of the drover’s dog. His government has unfortunately worsened the budget bottom line and endangered the economy after 11 months of inaction, and for introducing a harsh and failed budget that has alienated large sections of the community: the retirees, the sick and disabled, the school leavers thinking about a university education, the young about to enter into the workforce and those aged 50 plus looking for non-existent jobs, those from the public service and sunset manufacturing industries about to join the growing legion of unemployed, the parents of schoolkids, small business owners, multicultural Australians, ADF personnel losing danger pay in operational theatres overseas, and I probably forgot a few other groups – all who have to compulsorily vote.
USE THE TT NEWS Dropdown Menu (top Nav bar) for the latest on Clive/Jacquie’s comments ...
• Will Hodgman: Tasmania’s Door is Open to China I believe they were entirely inappropriate and I repudiate them as offensive and very inflammatory. I will be communicating in very clear terms the views and policy objectives of the Government, which I believe reflect the views of the vast majority of Tasmanians. I will be doing that to senior Chinese Government officials and, most notably, the Chinese Ambassador and also the Federal Government.
• Lenore Taylor, The Guardian: Crisis, what crisis, asks Coalition, spinning as the budget wheels come off ... Yes, the appropriations bills have passed, but the lack of urgency stands in stark contrast to the rhetoric up until now
• Guardian: Scott Morrison sees detaining children as a ‘consequence’ of border protection. Immigration minister defends hardline policies, saying they discourage asylum seekers from risking their lives at sea
John Lawrence, Tasfintalk. Paul Tapp picture Pub: Aug 19
21.08.14 5:00 am
Submission to Inquiry into the Triabunna woodchip mill The committee is to be commended for delving into this period of public policy. If lessons can be learnt and processes, checks and balances established we may be able to avoid a repetition of the disastrous lost decade for Tasmania. More than any other event the hurried sale of the Triabunna mill suggests the insolvency of the previous owner at that time, yet public policy makers and their masters, the willing or unwilling victims of cognitive capture turned a blind eye to the obvious and further delayed the inevitable. The relentless pursuit of a policy objective come hell or high water has proved to be an extremely risky strategy not only for the beleaguered residents of Triabunna but for all Tasmanians.
• Nick McKim: New Legal Advice on Radical Anti Protest Laws Legal advice from Mr Greg Melick SC has confirmed that the government’s anti-protest laws carry “...a high risk of capturing individuals who would not in any sense be characterised as extremist”. Mr Melick has also advised that the legislation’s sentencing regime “...diminishes the separation of powers and is likely to lead to unjust outcomes…”, and that “...it is very likely that it could be challenged as to its Constitutional validity…”.
• Download Basil Fitch submission: SKMBT_C45214082015230.pdf
• Graeme Wells, in Comments: Well done John! The probity report on Gunns’ compensation, from Wise Lord and Ferguson, is coy about the advice received from Treasury as to options available to the government regarding implementing the IGA. But to quote the probity report, “The Treasury advice concludes that there is no right answer with respect to what is required to extinguish the existing contractual arrangements. They have recommended to split the available money equally between the parties”. In the end, of course, Gunns got the whole $23m. As to whether the government did due diligence on the solvency of Gunns, I wrote to the Premier on 4 August 2011 asking whether the government had ever done a study of the commercial viability of the pulp mill, and whether the $23m was just propping up Gunns. I did not get a direct answer on the first issue so I concluded that no study of commercial viability had ever been conducted. Premier Giddings’ reply is reproduced below.
• PB, in Comments: In answer to one of John Lawrence’s questions the following information confirms that the $11.5 million payment to FT came from public funds via the IGA. I raised my concerns with the Auditor-General over the potential misuse of taxpayer funds by email on 20 September 2011 as follows ...